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Residential and Commercial plumbers and plumbing contractors available in Orland Park, Tinley Park, Oak Lawn, Palos Heights, Midlothian, Oak Forest, Homer Glen, Mokena, Frankfort, and the surrounding Chicago South Suburbs. 24 Hour Emergency plumbers.

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Kevin Szabo Jr Plumbing Blog

Kevin Szabo Jr Plumbing is Tinley Park, Orland Park, Oak Forest, Midlothian, Orland Hill, Homer Glen, Mokena, Frankfort, Crestwood, Palos Heights, Oak Lawn, local plumber. Read our blog for advice, tips, a good laugh, and basic home improvement.

**We are moving our old blog to our new and improved website. Too see all our posts visit kevinszabojrplumbing.blogspot.com

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Six Houseplants That Are Great For Bathrooms

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Six Houseplants That Are Great for Bathrooms

You might think your bathrooms aren't good candidates to grow indoor plants seeing as they typically don't have much in the way of natural lighting and experience dramatic shifts in humidity and temperature, but did you know there are still plants that can easily thrive in these conditions with a minimum of maintenance?

Even small indoor plants continuously add fresh oxygen to your space and absorb carbon dioxide. They also tirelessly work to purify the air by removing toxins like formaldehyde, benzene, xylene and others. Some plants even become more adept at eliminating indoor pollutants with practice.

Just about any common indoor plant offers benefits both aesthetically and to the overall health and wellness of your household. But some are easier than others to maintain, especially in the tricky environmental factors that go part and parcel with a bathroom.

But it's worth the extra effort to make sure that the enclosed, somewhat claustrophobic spaces bathrooms inevitably represent are decorated with the invigorating and lively presence of living species. And as you read on, you'll come to find that with the right selections it really isn't much extra effort at all.

Did you know that formaldehyde is a carcinogen that is found in virtually every household where synthetic materials can be found? Even if you carefully choose what household products you bring into your kitchen and bathroom, it turns out formaldehyde is outgassed even by many building materials, which means that it is almost impossible to avoid. Fortunately, plants can minimize the impact of formaldehyde by filtering it out of the air. Other plants can reduce odors by working as nature’s air fresheners.

Let’s take a look at some of the plants that make the best additions to your bathroom:

Cast Iron Plant (Aspidistra elatior)

The cast Iron plant is an excellent choice for most bathrooms. This plant thrives in a low light setting and can tolerate a stingy watering schedule. It can do well with both higher and lower temperature settings. The plant should be kept in an area with indirect sunlight.

The plant comes in both small (18 inches) and full size (2-3 feet high) varieties. Leaves may vary from dark green to yellow striped or dotted.

To care for your Cast Iron Plant, water it thoroughly when the soil becomes dry.

The Aspidistra does well in the humid conditions

The plant is also a great air purifier that effectively removes formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene from the air.

Ferns

Ferns do very well in bathrooms because they like humid environments. Different types of Ferns such as Bird Nest, Boston Fern and Staghorn Ferns do well in low light settings.

Ferns need regular watering and misting. However, with too much water they will develop yellow or droopy fronds - a sign of root rot.

Ferns can tolerate significant temperature fluctuations characteristic of most bathrooms. However, if a bathroom is kept cold to the point that humidity is reduced, the fern may begin to struggle. Try misting them more frequently or move them to a location where the air isn’t as dry.

Note: some ferns and fern-like species can be mildly toxic. If you have pesty pets who are likely to munch on whatever they come across (or babies who do the same… you know who you are) then you may want to do some research on the species you have or look for an alternative.

Dragon plant (Dracaena)

Dracaena comes in more than forty varieties. It has long spear-like leaves which range in width from a few millimeters to a couple of inches wide. The available colors range from solid green to greenish-maroon and variegated. The leaves of the plant emerge from the stem.

The plant works as an excellent air purifier for the bathroom. It grows well in artificial light and indirect light. Direct sunlight should be avoided.

Dracaena is a drought-resistant plant and doesn’t need a lot of watering. Water it only when the soil feels dry and then pour lukewarm water generously until water trickles through the holes in the pot. Empty the drainage receiver pan after about an hour and never allow the pot to stand in water. The plant thrives in rich soil with plenty of organic material.

Snake plant (Sansevieria)

Sansevieria also known as “Snake plant” or “Mother-in-Law’s tongue” is very suitable for bathrooms. It is one of the most low-maintenance plants you can grow.

The plant filters out formaldehyde from the air which is commonly found in cleaning materials and cosmetics.

The plant would grow well in light levels ranging from low to bright indirect sunlight. It will also thrive well under fluorescent light.

Water the plant only when the soil is almost completely dried out, which should be ever two to six weeks depending upon the temperature, light and humidity of your home. The plant does well at most humidity levels. Choose a soil which drains freely, and use a terracotta pot to make sure that water doesn’t accumulate in the pot.

Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)

The white flowers of the Peace Lily make a great complement to the décor of most bathrooms. The plant does well in low light conditions and is easy to take care of.

Don’t let the Peace Lily’s delicate appearance fool you: it is a hard working plant when it comes to air purification. The plant also reduces the mold spore levels in bathrooms.

Peace Lily does well in low light during summer and spring but in order to grow well, it will need exposure to indirect sunlight during the rest of the year.

Peace lily requires consistently moist soil, but like other low-maintenance plants, it doesn't like to sit in standing water. Water it when the top inch of the soil is dry, and keep watering until the overflow of water starts from pot’s drainage holes. Return the pot to its regular place once drainage has stopped.

English Ivy (Hedera helix)

Ivy is one of the easiest indoor plants to keep. The plant enjoys warm and humid conditions which makes it perfect for greening up the bathroom. Ivy can give a very good display if the aerial roots of the plant are trained to climb a moss stick or trellis.

Ivies grow well in the medium light, but will also thrive in bright light. They are generally less tolerant of low light conditions than the other plants listed here.

Ivies prefer drier soil, so let the soil dry out before watering it again.

The plant can effectively remove traces of airborne mold spores - making it a perfect addition to bathrooms, the kitchen or anywhere else mold or mildew can loom.

Guest Contributor, Ryan from Fast Partitions

How To Remove Clutter From Your Yard

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Crestwood Plumber

How to Remove Clutter from Your Yard

Many home owners notice that their yard never looks as they imagined it would. That’s because it’s not neat and there’s always clutter in the yard that makes it look less than what it could be, even if your plants are all doing rather well.

There are ways to fix this problem and return your yard to its true glory. This doesn’t require that much work or that much investment, if you discount the work that you’ll need to put in. However, making sure your garden is clean will be a long-term job.

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Throwing things out

The first step may seem like a rather simple one, but it’s the one that will take the most work and the most planning. You should start by throwing out everything in your yard that isn’t actually used. It’s possible to hire professional junk removal from Sydney if there are a lot of items that you need to throw away at once.

It’s important to be strict with this and to throw away just everything that isn’t supposed to be there, regardless of how old it is and whether it could be useable at some point.

Shed

There are many tools that you’ll need to maintain your yard and most of them are used seasonally, which means that storing them until they are needed becomes a problem of its own. That’s why some yards have a pile of tools laying in a corner somewhere until they are actually used.

It’s best to avoid this by setting up a small shed. That’s both better looking and it will keep the tools useable for a longer period of time, simply by hiding them from the elements. The sheds could be pre-made and installed in a yard within hours.

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Pruning

A lot of the times, the yard isn’t crowded and ill designed at all – it’s just not maintained as it should be. Plants grow faster in the summer and they could quickly overtake your yard if they aren’t pruned and maintained on a regular basis.

It’s best not to wait for the plants to grow, but to have a schedule for pruning and mowing the lawn that you’ll stick to regardless of how grown the plants are at any moment. The same goes for watering, which should be done on the schedule based on what plants you are planting.

Garbage

The yard needs to have at least a few garbage bins and recycling cans. You’ll end up using them more often than you think and it’s best to always have one nearby. However, these cans don’t look that nice, especially if you’re going for a clean look for your yard.

There are ways to hide them, that will still keep the recycling accessible and easy to organize, but won’t damage the overall look and feel of the yard. The cans could be painted green and hidden behind bushes or within wooden and decorative containers, for instance.

Yards can easily get crowded and cluttered if they are not maintained properly and with care. This can make even the most beautiful of yards look bad and it can easily be avoided with a little bit of work and a little bit of planning.

The work starts with throwing away all the things that are laying in your yard and that shouldn’t be there. It’s also important to have a storage area for the yard alone, since you’ll need a lot of tools and you need a place to store them away. The yard should also have plenty of recycling bins but they could be hidden not to spoil the overall look.

Guest Contributor, Diana Smith

6 Common Culprits Behind an Unexpected Energy Bill

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Crestwood Plumbers

6 Common Culprits Behind an Unexpected Energy Bill

If you recently opened your electric bill only to see an astronomical figure, chances are, once you picked your jaw up off the floor, you asked, "Why is this so high?" Multiple factors can impact your overall bill. Aging appliances, several devices left plugged in constantly and leaky windows and doors can result in you paying much more.

The good news? You can reduce your electric bill by following the six tips below. Stemming the flow does require you to be a bit more conscientious about your behavior, but it will save you money and reduce your carbon footprint. Here's what to look out for and how to solve each issue.

1. Have You Recently Bought New Electronics?

Many people leave electronic devices plugged in and turned on all the time, even when these items are not in use. If you live in a four-person household where everyone has a laptop and tablet, that's a lot of devices!

Save money by powering down devices when they're not in use. If you need the ability to hop on a laptop in seconds for work or school, at least put them in sleep mode. Better yet, power them down and shut them off altogether, especially at night. Doing so saves energy and helps protect devices from hackers who need sophisticated tools to power devices on remotely.

2. Your Fridge Gasket Is on the Fritz

Did your mama ever tell you, "Stop standing there with the refrigerator door open! What, are you trying to cool the whole neighborhood?" While she was right — holding open the fridge trying to decide what to eat does waste energy — another culprit may lurk behind your astronomical electric bill.

Your refrigerator gasket refers to the springy plastic material that seals when you close the door. If this seal breaks down with age, you'll lose a ton of cooling out the cracks. Luckily, you can replace your fridge gasket quite easily, and all you need is a screwdriver, an Allen wrench and some petroleum jelly (plus the gasket itself, which costs about $75 at most hardware stores).

3. Your Appliances Are Aging Poorly

If your appliances are older overall, you may need to replace them to save energy. Today, every appliance comes with an ENERGY STAR® rating that gives crucial information about how much electricity the appliance consumes. As a result, engineers now design appliances double or more the efficiency of earlier models.

Are you a renter whose landlord refuses to upgrade? You can still save money and energy. Simply invest in a countertop microwave and toaster oven, and hand wash dishes instead of using the dishwasher (except for with large loads, like Thanksgiving dinner cleanup).

4. Your Air Filters Are Filthy

Be honest: How often do you change your air filters? Experts recommend changing them once per month, less often in the summer if you have a heating-only system. If you have pets or smokers in the residence, you should change them monthly year-round.

Filters cost less than $10 at many grocery and hardware stores. If your filters become clogged, the reduced air flow through your heating and cooling system can cause your heat exchanger to overheat and shut off too quickly. This issue will cost you approximately $175 to repair, and in the meantime, your house won't feel warm even as your electric bill soars.

5. Air is Leaking out Windows and Doors

Take a look at your front door (go ahead, do it now!). Do you see light leaking through cracks between the frame and the outdoors? You're bleeding heat and AC right out to your neighbors if you do. Unless you have a vested interest in keeping your front porch squirrel visitors happy all winter, invest in some inexpensive weather stripping to save significantly.

Do you feel hot or cold when you're sitting near a sunny window? If so, you may need to upgrade your windows. Renter? Instead of improving your landlord's property (they get enough of your hard-earned money), invest in some blackout curtains. These curtains can reduce the amount of heat transferred by your windows by as much as 24%, and as an added bonus, they reduce noise from outside, so urban dwellers rejoice!

6. You Need to Call an Electrician

Finally, if you've unplugged and checked the items above, you may need to call in a pro. An unusually high electric bill can indicate a problem with the meter or a short somewhere in the house. Since electric work carries a fire hazard, let a licensed professional do the work. This requirement is one area where renting has advantages — structural issues such as electric shorts are the landlord's problem to deal with.

Cutting Your Electricity Costs

There's no need to pay astronomical electric bills to feel comfortable in your home. By identifying the culprits sucking your energy like vampires, you can save money and protect the planets' resources.

Guest Contributor, Holly Welles

Holly Welles is a home improvement writer who believes anyone can make the most of their space. You can find more of her work on her blog, The Estate Update.

 

5 Top Traits That Mark a Reliable Plumbing Contractor

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5 Top Traits That Mark a Reliable Plumbing Contractor

Whether you have a leaky faucet or want to renovate your bathroom fixtures, your best option is to hire a professional plumber. But among the available plumbing contractors in your area, which one should you choose? 

There are certain characteristics that make some plumbers exceptional at providing their professional services. These people are passionate about the job and will go out of their way to provide excellent customer service. So if you are looking at getting the services of a plumber, you need to look for these five characteristics that mark a reliable plumbing contractor.

1. Certified

Plumbing is a regulated profession, which means almost all U.S. states require them to have a license to practice in their respective states. Requirements vary across states, but in general, a plumber can obtain the certification if they possess the necessary knowledge and skills to pass a state-approved exam. 

Having a license is a good indication of the expertise of a plumber, so if you are planning to hire one, ask if they have a license to work in the state. Most states have a website where you can verify their license number. Not having a license is a huge red flag and you should think twice before hiring them. 

2. Provides a clear estimate

Before getting the job started, one of the first steps of the process involves the plumber examining your plumbing system and providing a quote. This is an opportunity for you to judge the reliability of a plumber. You can tell that the plumber is an expert by the estimate that they provide. 

The job quote should be clear and detailed and should include a breakdown of the cost estimate of the materials needed. It should also include labor costs. Finally, the plumber should also specify how they want to be paid and how they will address extra time or materials needed. 

3. Puts emphasis on safety

As with all home improvement and repair projects, plumbing jobs pose a risk of injury not just to the contractor but to other parties as well. Reliable plumbers will always prioritize safety and will strictly follow safety procedures. They will follow safety guidelines to the letter to prevent damage to life and property. They will also have the right tools and equipment to do the job safely.

In addition, reliable plumbers carry two types of insurance—liability and worker’s compensation. The former protects the contractor in case something is damaged or someone is injured as a result of the job, while the latter provides medical benefits to the contractor in case of injuries. 

4. Punctual

A professional plumber provides a precise time of arrival and sticks to it. They respect the time that you have and will call immediately in case they are running late or coming in early. When they arrive, they will apologize for their tardiness, even if it is just by a few minutes. Punctuality is a reflection of their work attitude and ethic, so if the plumber you are planning to hire arrives on time for the appointment, it’s a sign they value your time and your work. 

5. Willing to fix issues

Not everyone is perfect and even the best plumbers make mistakes. There may still be issues with your plumbing after the plumbing contractor has done their job. If you notice some problems with the plumber’s work, feel free to ask the plumber about them. A reliable plumber will be able to explain what looks to be an issue, and if it is indeed a problem, they will also be willing to rectify the mistake. 

Your home is your most significant investment. It makes sense that you want repairs and renovations handled by a true professional. Look out for these top five qualities of reliable plumbers to have peace of mind when having your next plumbing job done. 


Guest Contributor, Aki Merced

About the Author:

Aki Merced is the Content Manager at Handle, where they build software that helps contractors, subcontractors, and material suppliers secure their lien rights and get paid faster by automating the collection process for unpaid construction invoices.

Benefits Of Installing Granite Sinks

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Benefits Of Installing Granite Sinks

The one place in the house that holds a lot of importance in our life is the kitchen. We have to make sure that has an outstanding kitchen so that we can enhance the overall look of our house. Hence one such way of enhancing the kitchen of our house is installing granite sinks. These are quite a trend in these days and can bring about a great change in our kitchen. Granite is material that is found naturally on the surface of earth and has many good properties which makes it the perfect choice for our kitchen sinks.

Not only kitchen sinks but we also find granite as tabletops in our kitchen and also as counters. Therefore, you can understand that having granite in kitchen has become customary. A good amount of money is involved so it is better advised to take help from a professional.

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Let Us Now Have A Look At Some Of The Benefits That We Get From Installing Granite Sinks.

Durability

One of the major reasons why we find most homeowner installing granite sinks in their kitchens is that they are extremely durable. This means that you can easily take a break in the kitchen and sit on the counter tops without having to worry about breaking them. This also is great as the kitchen is the place in the house which is more exposed to a lot of wear and tear. Having a durable countertop and sink may actually work in our benefit. This is also a great advantage in the face of heavy usage in the kitchen. We also find that granite is the perfect material for our sinks as granite sinks can also withstand heat and different chips and dents. Now you know why they are the best option for our usage.

Fashionable

As said previously the look of our kitchen may make or break the interiors of our house. Hence you shouldn’t be surprised to see that that people are willing to go extreme lengths to have the perfect kitchen look to match with the interiors of the house. Having granite sinks may actually work in our favor in this respect. This way we can also select the best one for our kitchen without compromising anywhere. We can also get the granite sinks in many shapes and sizes which also add to the benefit of customizing it according to the needs of our kitchen and house.

Maintenance

Despite all talk about fashionable stuff and good looks the one main ingredient that has to be present in the kitchen is something which is easy to clean. We have to ensure that we find only materials that are extremely easy to clean off without much trouble. It should not surprise you that one of the most easy to maintain materials is granite. The granite sinks are very easy to clean and hence this makes them the perfect choice for our kitchens.

Affordability

We should also not forget the fact that granite sinks are very cheap and are affordable in their rates. This is a low expense way of making sure that we have good looking kitchen. A great benefit that we get from having installed granite sinks in our kitchen makes us feel that the purchase was worth the money.

These are some of the important benefits that we get from installing granite sinks in our kitchen. Hence this is a major advantage that we get from installing granite sinks in our kitchen.

Guest Contributor, Lara Buck

Eco-Friendly Roofing Options

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As increasing studies suggest the deteriorating state of the planet, it triggers strong convictions among environmentalists to protect the environment. These encourage them to find sustainable solutions and change lifestyles to impact the environment positively.

The materials used for built structures such as homes also play a vital role in becoming environmentally friendly. An unexpected aspect of going green is the type of roof you have. Every home’s roof provides protection from the harsh elements like sunlight, rain, snow, and hail.

Roofs have limited lifespans and will need replacing after some time. When looking for roofing material, most people go for those that are durable and affordable roofing materials. There’s nothing wrong with focusing on these things since they do matter.

However, it might be wise to consider alternative roofing material like a selection of eco-friendly materials before changing your roof. Eco-friendly roofs have been gaining popularity for many homeowners as they consider environmentally friendly options. While eco-friendly roofs can be more expensive than your average materials, the benefits would favor you as well as the environment.

Through efficient energy use, an eco-friendly roof would produce fewer carbon emissions. It also keeps trash out of landfills while reducing the impact on the world’s finite resources.

Besides reducing the environmental footprint of the household or the impact on resource use and pollution, an eco-friendly roof is becoming an attractive option for homeowners. It also lowers the energy bills which homeowners are seeking ways for.

However, there are plenty of eco-friendly roof options readily available to the environmentally friendly homeowner. This infographic by Fahey Roofing Contractors lists a few eco-friendly solutions that will not only help the environment but help you in the long run as well. 

Guest Contributor, Fahey Roofing Contractors

How To Get Powder Makeup Out Of Carpet?

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Plumbers in Crestwood IL

How To Get Powder Makeup Out Of Carpet?

Dropping makeup on your carpet is an eventuality you cannot avoid. However, once you do end up getting some onto your expensive rug, it is important to act quickly and smartly to ensure that the powder does not set on the carpet fur nor does it spread out thanks to people stepping on it. Here are the best ways you can get powder make up from your carpet from our best house cleaning Dayton Ohio.

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Things To Be Wary Of

First, you need to be calm before grabbing the next tissue and start attacking the affected area. It will not help remove the stain and, more likely, will just spread the mess and make a permanent stain on your carpet. Furthermore, once you do start cleaning up the mess, it is important to be gentle with your application and to ensure that you do not damage your carpet fibers from harsh wipe downs or leave permanent marks due to the make-up powder.

Using a lot of force during the cleanup process is sure to work the makeup into the fibers of the carpet and make your problem a lot worse than it was. If you work the makeup deeper into the carpet fibers, you will have a much harder time removing it and getting rid of the stain that comes with it. Finally, grinding is absolutely forbidden as it will leave a stain permanently on your carpet and if it can be cleaned, you will need expensive chemical products to clean it off. Therefore, be gentle and act calmly when trying to remove makeup powder from your carpet.

You can deal with spilled makeup in two main ways. The first method involves the use of a soap and water solution to gently blot and remove and the second method goes straight for some makeup remover instead. Let’s look into how both of these methods work.

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Removing Powder Using A Water And Soap Solution

If you drop some of your precious powder on the carpet, you will need several things at hand before you can get into the process of removing it. First off, go find yourself a blunt butter knife or spoon so that you can easily scoop off some of the excess powder that has not made its way into the carpet fibers. It is important to do this as quickly as possible as it will prevent the powder from digger deeper and causing a more annoying stain.

Next, you need to draw up a concoction of some dishwashing liquid and water. Mix a few drops of dishwashing liquid with some cold water and grab a paper towel. However, if you have microfiber cloths, they will serve you even better, but a paper towel should be just fine.

Your next task is to lightly dab and blots the affected area using the paper towel dipped in the dishwashing liquid and water mixture. Be very careful, as excessive force will work the makeup into the carpet and due to the dampness, make it much harder to remove later. Another point to note is that you should be working into the patch, from the outside. This makes sure that you do not make the mess spread further than it already has, and keeps it within appreciable bounds.

Until you see that there is little to no powder left on your carpet, keep blotting around the powder and use new paper towels when required. Eventually, you should see that most of it is gone. From there, you have let the carpet dry out for a bit before grabbing the vacuum and doing the final stage of cleaning.

For the final step, start the vacuum up and clean up the remaining traces of powder from your carpet. After all your efforts, you will be left with a clean and stainless carpet.

Removing Powder Using Makeup Remover

Similar to the previous methods, you should be careful when using makeup remover on your carpet. It is quite easy to spread the mess and very likely that you will end up using too much of the liquid makeup remover and end up moistening the carpet a little too much. In order to avoid these catastrophes, be sure to get yourself a piece of cloth or paper towels.

On the paper towel, add a few drops of the makeup remover and blot the affected area repeatedly until only traces of the powder makeup remain. From there, grab a fresh dry paper towel and dab away on the area while it dries.

In some cases, using the soap and water solution might not be enough to get rid of the entire spill, and this is when the makeup remover comes in handy. However, it is important to remember that you should be extra careful when using the makeup remover, as allowing any of it to seep into your carpet backing can cause some damage to the carpet.

A Friendly Reminder

The solution you use to remove makeup powder from your carpet is up to you and how careful you can be with the solution. Exercising caution is the most important thing when it comes to removing stains from your carpet. Remember to be gentle and slow, and always work into the stain, not outwards. Working outwards will spread the stain more and ruin your carpet even further. Moreover, never use a lot of pressure when dabbing the damp cloth. Working makeup powder into your carpet fibers will lead you down the road of a more expensive cleaning procedure where you will need to hire carpet-cleaning professionals to come down and give your carpet a thorough treatment.

If you want to prevent getting makeup on your carpet, you can always try to lay down an old sheet or a towel under your mirror or your dressing area, and allow that to catch any makeup spills instead of letting your poor carpet handle the mess. This saves you the hassle of cleaning up your carpet if you get some on, and if you end up staining your carpet by any chance, you will not have to pay for extensive cleaning costs, which might be expensive in some cases.

Guest Contributor, Lara Buck

Tips on How to Create a Shade for Your Patio

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Plumber in Crestwood

Tips on How to Create a Shade for Your Patio

Smoldering hot weather used to be reserved for summers, but these days it is quite normal to see temperatures that are typical for the peak of the warmest season extended well into autumn and as early as spring. This is why, if you own a household with a backyard, it is important to take the necessary precautions and create convenient shading. If your backyard seating area still doesn’t have a necessary cover, here are some tips on how to create a shade for your patio. 

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Umbrella always works

If you are wary of fixed elements, you can always purchase a stylish, convenient umbrella and see how it fits. At the end of the day, if the shading becomes the integral part of your setup and you cannot imagine how your yard had looked before you brought it in, you can always replace the umbrella with a pergola or something more, for the lack of a better word, permanent. Furthermore, the benefit of installing an umbrella (or two) as shading is that there is simply an endless palette of aesthetic choices to pick and choose from.

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Curtains for elegance

While you can find some truly elegant umbrellas on the market, hardly anything beats curtains in that department. What’s more, curtains are both easy to install, they add a sense of glamour and sophistication to the outdoor space, and they are cheap. Out of all the ways to create a shade for your patio, curtains have the most opportune price-to-utility ratio. They are especially useful if you already have some sort of structural elements that can easily support them, but be forewarned – by themselves, they are a temporary solution.

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Consider modular roofing

Maybe the shading does not necessarily mesh well with the stylistic setup of your backyard. Maybe the entire space simply works better without an additional element that makes the entire space appear a bit more cramped. In this case, it’s best to consider modular roofing, the convenient retractable roof systems which can be arranged according to your wishes and depending on the intensity of the sun during the day. These days, the technology of automation when it comes to these retractable roof systems has become standard, so you won’t have to break your arm in order to retract it. In a way, this type of aluminum awning offers the best of all worlds.

The astounding pergolas for a rustic appearance

Pergolas, as a type of shading, are in a category of their own. Most people associate this absolutely astounding backyard element with coastline towns, as well as Mediterranean retreats and vineyards that have a luxurious, rustic note. When one considers that both the name and the concept of the pergola as we know it came from Italy, everything begins to make sense. Pergolas are a solid and permanent structural addition to your backyard which you can choose if you truly want to commit to this type of shading. They strongly define space, and create both a sense of privacy and shade, especially if you decide to grow a freestanding garden all over it.

The lightweight shade sails

Shade sails are something between the aforementioned retractable awning and a curtain. Everything you need to know about them is already in the name – they appear much like ship sails and they serve as a sort of retractable canopy that is easy to install and even easier to maneuver, if you play your cards right during the installation. They can make your yard space look even more impressive and elegant as they flutter in the hot summer wind, but make sure to choose one in bright color in order to stay protected from sunrays. If you are opting for shade sails, you need to make sure that they are thick enough so they provide solid, reliable protection.

With convenient shading above your head, you can comfortably enjoy your private lush oasis. Just make sure that you are not only concealed from the scorching sunrays but also from the inquisitive gaze from nosy neighbors, and you practically have a perfect outdoor space on your hands. After a hard day at work, you can enjoy a freshly squeezed glass of lemonade below your shade, and nobody would blame you if you dozed off for a bit.

Guest Contributor, Diana Smith

The Various Ways to Prevent An Air Conditioner Breakdown 

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Plumber in Crestwood

The Various Ways to Prevent An Air Conditioner Breakdown 

In this economic tough time, no one wants to bear unnecessary expenses in the form of repairs. You never know when the air conditioner breaks down or when there is a plumbing failure at home to give you surprise. It is important for every homeowner to be prepared for such occurrences but still you may take necessary steps to avoid air conditioning break down. Mechanical parts of an AC unit need to be serviced from time to time but you may prevent such repairs in the first place. Besides the cost of repair, you need to bear a lot of inconvenience, associated with AC breakdown. Repairing air conditioning unit is a daunting task and the fact that it offers comfort, we cannot stay without it even for a day. Some of the most common problems regarding to the air conditioner may be avoided if you follow some tips.

The thermostat of the air conditioner is important component which needs to be calibrated well to ensure proper temperature control. It will save money on the operating cost and also assure comfort level. The condenser coil must be maintained properly and cleaned on a regular basis. A dirty condenser coil will not be able to cool the surrounding. So, the system has to run for a long time while you incur more and more energy bills. It is also important to maintain evaporator coil to ensure efficient air flow in the areas of the home.

Do Away With The Dirty Air Conditioner Filter  

Are you using a disposable air filter? If so, it needs to be replaced on a monthly basis. You cannot forget this part of the work. If the task of replacement moves out of sight, there will be restricted air flow resulting from a dirty filter. The air quality inside the home will be poor and the house will be less comfortable. Once the indoor coils freeze, you will have to bear very costly repairs.

Tripped Breaker Leads to Inefficient Cooling  

Tripped breaker results to no-cool calls and you may reset the breaker if you want. There is something which causes the AC breaker to trip. In fact, it may be the result of loose wire, bad breaker or a bad capacitor. This issue of tripped breaker needs to be repaired immediately.

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What To Do When There Is Refrigerant Leak?  

You already know that the AC unit is sealed and so there is no chance of refrigerant leakage. But, if this happens, the efficiency of the AC unit falls, and the energy consumption also rises. There can be variety of issues resulting from refrigerant leakage and they are, compressor getting damaged, freezing coil or the AC unit fails to cool. If there is refrigerant leakage, you must summon a professional for inspection. The technician will use a range of tools for tracking refrigerant leakage.

The Event of Clogged Drain Lines

To cool the surrounding or reduce the temperature of your home, an air conditioner pulls humid air. Through the home plumbing system, the liquid is drained out. Use the drain pan as backup or else algae can grow in the drain lines to clog the line if there is no secondary condensate drain. There may be serious water damage in the home resulting from it. When taking up AC repair and servicing, do not forget to include AC tune-up and clear the drain lines. Regular cleaning of drain line is important for the efficient functioning of the AC.

There may be various issues in the air conditioning unit to deteriorate its functioning like the dirty evaporator coil, dirty condenser unit or duct leaks. Call an HVAC professional if you think the AC is not functioning well.

Guest Contributor, Amelie Lawrence

5 Smart Updates For Your High-Tech Bathroom

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5 Smart Updates for Your High-Tech Bathroom

The bathroom has always been one of the most functional rooms in your home. After all, you can do without a living room, a reading nook or even a bedroom, if need be. However, a home without a bathroom is impossible to even imagine. Still, for the bathroom of 2018, it takes more than just plumbing work. In fact, you need to start introducing smart technology as soon as possible. With that in mind and without further ado, here are top five smart updates for your high-tech bathroom.

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1.     Water-Saving Sink and Faucet

By installing a high-end technological marvel of a faucet, you can reduce the tap flow and set the temperature of the water digitally. On the annual basis, this one degree of a difference in temperature and the amount of water wasted can mean a massive budget difference. Furthermore, the fact that this technology works on the basis of sensors and not touch, means that it’s much more hygienic. At the very end, most of these taps come with many programmable features, which means that you can set up different programs for different tasks. In this way, you could make massive savings while brushing teeth, for instance.

2.     Warm Drawers

One of the most amazing things about innovation is how the simplest of upgrades can make a huge difference. With the help of warm drawers (which some also like to call towel warmers), you’ll raise your overall bathing experience to a whole new level. Imagine walking out from the shower in the morning knowing full well that there are clean warm towels waiting for you in the drawer. It really doesn’t get any better than that. When compared to some other items on this list, this innovation doesn’t even make that much of a difference.

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3.     A Toilet and a Bidet

The next step in your bathroom innovation should be the issue of a smart toilet and bidet. Namely, in this field you stand to make some massive savings, seeing as how a low-flow toilet wastes almost one-third of the water on flushing while achieving the same effect. A smart programmable toilet can go even further, especially when coupled with the automatic, self-flushing option. As for your bidet, you can do pretty much the same thing and further maximize its pragmatism by getting bidet toilet seats that can be controlled by a remote. What is more, some of these models even offer advanced drying capabilities.

4.     Waterproof TV

Now, it’s time to erase the boundary between your living room and your bathroom by installing a waterproof TV on the wall opposite of your bathtub. Like most other items on this list, this feature can hardly be considered mandatory, yet, it can drastically improve the quality of time you spend in your bathroom. Even though you definitely do not intend to splash any water at your TV, keep in mind that these things do happen. Moreover, a leak is more likely to occur in the bathroom than in any other place in your home. Getting a great outdoor TV is a suitable solution.

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5.     Sensor Mirror

The last great idea worth looking into is the sensor mirror you can place on any available surface in your bathroom in order to ensure that you never walk into a dark bathroom again. Due to the fact that most of these sensor mirrors are equipped with the LED technology, they are expected to last for over 100 years. By the time this expires, you’ll doubtlessly find a suitable alternative. This is a minor investment that could make a great difference when it comes to your day-to-day bathroom interactions.

At the end of the day, these smart updates are just the tip of the iceberg of all that you have available. Some honorable mentions are smart showers and high-tech standing bathtubs. Moreover, the issue of smart illumination (not the one we’ve discussed in the sensor mirror section) is also viable, yet, we failed to mention it due to the fact that it’s not exclusive to the bathroom or even primarily targeted at it.

Guest Contributor, Diana Smith