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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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Building Your First Home: The Essentials

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Building Your First Home: The Essentials

Since the real estate market is currently not quite blossoming, many people actually decide to build their first home rather than buy it. Aside from the fact that this enables them to flat out create a house of their dreams it also allows them to choose the materials their new house is going to be built from, among other things.

That being said, building your first home is no easy job. Aside from making sure that you have the necessary budget for the project you also need to ensure that you’ve picked the right area, contractors and materials. With that in mind, let’s see what the essentials of building your first house are.

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The budget

As mentioned earlier, you need to ensure that you have enough resources to see your project through before you actually get down to organizing it. This will require you to do some thorough research and try to find out the estimated prices of things your budget will need to cover. Chances are that you probably won’t have that amount of money stacked and ready to go, which means that you will most likely need to find some alternative budgeting options. This will probably require you to apply for a loan which means that you’ll also need to ensure that your credit history and credit score are healthy and optimal.

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The location

Aside from securing the funds, you will also need to find the perfect location. First, you should check out all the available pieces of land and see which location suits you best. Here, you should assess how far away you’d be living from your job/your kids’ school if you were to build your home at a particular location. This will help you significantly with the elimination process. Another thing that can help you when choosing a piece of land is how much work will it require in order to connect your home on the water and electricity grid. The more work the piece of land requires pre-building, the more expensive the project will be, so keep that in mind as well.

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The contractors

The contractors you choose for the job also play a huge role in this type of projects. By ensuring that you’ve found the best possible fit for the task at hand, not only will you guarantee quicker and more seamless completion but you’ll also ensure that everything’s done the way it was originally intended. With that in mind, in some countries, such as Australia, hiring different contractors for different parts of the project is actually quite a common practice. That’s why so many Aussies chose to hire professionals in Sydney Commercial Carpentry when building their homes to ensure that all their desires are being met – and sometimes even exceeded – and all the right materials are being used.

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The materials

Finally, when it comes to choosing the right materials, the majority of homeowners want to ensure that they’ve gone green and sustainable as much as possible. It’s important to mention here that if green and sustainable is your goal as well, aside from looking at the material’s stats and traits, you should also see where it is from. What this means is that while bamboo, for instance, is a very sustainable material, the place it originates from is Asia. So, when you account for the distance it needs to travel to get to you, it will actually lose quite a bit of sustainability. That’s why it would be best to focus on finding salvaged and locally-sourced materials for your building project.

These were just the essentials of a house building project you should keep in mind when building your first home.  Aside from them, make sure you think ahead of time when deciding on particular features, layout and similar things because who knows? The fact that you’re building your first house doesn’t have to mean that you’re also building your forever home. So, consider including some popular elements in your house design that will boost your property’s value and make it more appealing to potential buyers if you ever decide to sell it.

 Guest Contributor, Diana Smith

Modern Decor That Will Bring Life to Your Traditional Home

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Modern Decor That Will Bring Life to Your Traditional Home

Living in a traditional home can be a very comforting experience to a degree. Just think about it: everything seems old like a relic from a bygone era and for those who are nostalgic that can be a very calming and relaxing experience. Yet, in order to make life more comfortable, sometimes traditional homes need to be upgraded. If you’re currently living in a traditional home and you’re looking to make it more modern, here are some tips that will show you how to do it:

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Add some bold colors

Traditional homes aren't known for having boldly colored decor pieces or furniture. Instead, homeowners tend to prefer neutral colors that are easy to match with the rest of the home. If they do experiment with colors, they usually like to incorporate them into textiles and fabrics used for sofas and bed covers, mostly. Therefore, if you’re looking to revamp your old home, make sure to add furniture pieces that are yellow, bright green, purple or even turquoise, as that will be a great way to add some life to your traditionally-designed space. In case you don’t like vibrant colors that much, you can still stick to pastel tones as the main design theme, while bold colors can be used to make your place more exuberant. Painting a room white or beige can look very classy, but remember that adding colorful paintings or modern plants in minimalist pots will transform your home for the better.

Have some clean areas

A lot of modern home design is about minimalism, so if you have too many antique furniture pieces or other decor items at your home, make sure to declutter the space to make it more breathable. Now, that doesn’t mean you have to get rid of all the valuable items and family heirlooms, but always make sure to have at least one clean area in each room, so your house will feel more like a home, and not like a museum or an antique store. Besides, decluttering the place will give you more room to experiment with modern design options. Having too many furniture pieces or decor items will make the home look too crowded and dark which is something you should definitely stay away from.

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Details are important

Having a silver vase or a nicely framed painting from your local artist will surely make your home feel more contemporary. Similarly, you can also hang your favourite movie posters or even frame record covers instead of more traditional wall art. This will add a modern vibe to your place even if you decide to keep everything else traditional. Besides, having a vibrant tribal rug will make your home look more boho-chic without losing its original charm. Additionally, you can also incorporate old decor items such as candle holders with something more up-to-date, like silver or glass cube vases.

Update what’s old

The best way to blend traditional and contemporary is to make your home more eclectic and colorful. For example, replacing the old fireplace with the modern one will ensure you a similar vibe and happy moments in front of the fire, but without struggling to get the firewood to keep yourself warm. Also, keeping your old elegant sofa is fine, as long as you opt for modern pillows or even decide to change the fabrics of the furniture into something more current. When it comes to kitchen and bathroom, you can keep the old styles, but make sure to fix everything that’s old and run down, and replace all the appliances and furniture with something that is easy to use. A lot of brands sell modern kitchen appliances that look vintage, so if you prefer traditional kitchen design, there’s no need to compromise anymore.

Living in a traditional home can bring a lot of joy to you and your family. Just keep in mind that, in order to make it work, you need to replace or at least fix everything that’s not functioning anymore. Additionally, playing with various decor styles and contrasting old and new will surely infuse your home with a unique and eclectic atmosphere.

Guest Contributor, Tracey Clayton

Common Home Emergencies and How to Deal with Them

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Common Home Emergencies and How to Deal with Them

Every homeowner faces a few home emergencies that end up in expenses and repairs. This happens regardless of how well maintained your home is. Therefore, it’s best to be prepared for them as much as you can be prepared for an unexpected repair.

There are two main components of such preparations. Firstly, you need to have some money put aside to be sure you could purchase spare parts or hire a professional to make the repairs for you. Secondly, every homeowner should know how to do a few basic repairs quickly and have the proper tools to do so.

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A power blackout

There’s not that much that you can do to prevent a blackout since it’s usually a problem with the power grid. That’s why it’s best to prepare for a blackout by preparing the supplies that you’ll use while the power is out.

If this happens every once in a while, you might want to invest in a generator that will keep your home powered through the blackout. The emergency kit for a blackout should artificial lights, some water and food, a supply of medication, and a way to communicate with emergency services.

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A blocked toilet

A blocked toilet is one of those unpleasant emergencies that you need to react quickly upon without waiting for the professional to come and to make actual repairs. The first step to fixing a blocked toilet is to shut down the water supply coming to it. That will prevent the toilet from overflowing and give you time to make actual repairs.

This is where it’s best to call the plumber to help you out since it might require you to take out a pipe to remove the clog within it.

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Small fires

It’s crucial to be prepared for small fires, especially if you live in a large city such as Sydney. That often means that you need to alert the authorities right away since it might be difficult to evacuate quickly.  It’s best to hire an electrician from Northern Beaches to install a small smoke detector. This is useful in the most sensitive parts of the home such as the kitchen.

It’s also useful for a home to have a small fire extinguisher and for you to learn how to use it before it’s ever needed.

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Damaged roof

A damaged roof is probably the most serious emergency on our list and it will require a rather costly repair. Things are made even more difficult if the leak happens during the winter when you need to close it right away.

The best way to go is to inspect the roof on a regular basis. You may need to rent scaffolding and inspect the roof for damage or leaks at the start of every season. It’s easier if you catch the problem before it starts damaging your ceiling or requires the whole roof to be replaced.

Water leaks

Water leaks aren’t that big of a problem to fix, but they can be rather complicated to find or even notice. It’s usually noticed only when you figure out that your water bills are getting higher or that you’re losing water pressure somewhere in the house. 

When you notice the problem in the first place, it’s best to cut off the water for the whole home to avoid the waste. That’s where you need to hire a plumber to replace the busted pipe and install a new one.

Small home emergencies happen regardless of how well maintained your home is. That means you need to take the time to prepare for them, to avoid unnecessary expenses.

Guest Contributor, Diana Smith

How to Make Your Bathroom Look Expensive

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How to Make Your Bathroom Look Expensive

 

Your decorating budget doesn't have to be big to create a luxurious bathroom. If you know how to match and contrast colours, if you are the master of accessories and you know how lighting can bring the best out of existing features, you can spice things up without breaking the bank. Here are the most effective ideas.

Inexpensive luxuries

Although not many bathrooms feature specialised seating, having one is indispensable for larger families. Instead of perching on the side of the bath, bring in a classy stool that you and your partner can both use, while a pair of upcycled garden chairs can prevent kids from fighting at the sink when the toothbrush time comes. Swapping boring bath mats with Persian rugs, or custom linoleum patchwork doesn’t cost much, especially since it saves you from having to replace the old tile floor.

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Nature indoors

If you couldn’t make those luscious ferns and philodendrons take root in the dry, air-conditioned environment of your home, keep in mind that they will thrive in the bathroom. Tropical plants trailing down from windowsills can spruce up the element of luxury in any bathroom, while bundles of eucalyptus branches, exposed to shower steam, release the plant's natural therapeutic oils. If you're aiming for a clean and classic hotel finish, consider potted orchids, which also thrive in humid, low-light conditions. Even a few well-placed succulents like aloe can bring a sense of vitality to your bath space.

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Mirrors and lights

Have you ever wondered why everyone looks better in hotel bathroom mirrors? It all boils down to lighting. If you illuminate mirrors evenly on both sides, you can eliminate shadows. You can use rather rectangular wall lamps or hanging brass bulbs. If you have a penchant for glowy, low-lit, spaces swap simple bulbs for recessed LED lights hidden in alcoves or behind opaque bath panels. Although at the end of a stressful day nothing really beats a relaxing bath under candle lights but instead of a modern mood lighting considers soft, dimmable floor spotlights.

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Black and white

Reinvent your bathroom with a classical and striking noir palette by choosing black and white elements, accessories and fixtures. Classy black soap dispensers, tumblers, and dishes are a great inexpensive way to accent your décor. Even bathroom appliances can help you with this décor idea since manufacturers of best washing machines today offer their front and top loaders in black or white colour schemes. If you don’t know where to start, chose a remarkable black or white centrepiece such as a freestanding stone bath with a contemporary curving design.

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Neutral wainscoting

Even a simple change like painting the wainscoting a neutral colour other than white can change the mood of your bathroom completely, from nursing white to luxurious. Nowhere does it say that wainscoting and beadboard must be white. For such a painting project, first, you'll want to sample the new colours. Use a piece of wainscoting or trim to try out the colours, so you can move it around the bathroom to get a look at different lighting angles.

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Scents and essences

Use essential oils, scented soaps, and multi-layered shampoos to replicate the feeling of being pampered and relaxed while staying in a luxury hotel spa. Transform the boring shower routine into a multi-sensory experience. Give your hair a full spa treatment using products made of natural ingredients, like rosemary, cucumber or green tea. This way, every shower will have the additional benefit of improving your mood.

The bathroom is often cited as the most expensive room in the house to renovate, second perhaps only to the kitchen. However, you don't have to gut everything to make your baths space feel expensive. Most of the ideas listed here are budget-friendly and easy to restore, which makes them ideal for homeowners who are renting.

Guest Contributor, Diana Smith

 

 A Plumber's Guide: What Your Address Says About Your Business

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 A Plumber's Guide: What Your Address Says About Your Business

The plumbing industry is booming. Some reports have found that in the United States, the number of working plumbers has increased by 1.7% over the past five years, which has resulted in $110 billion in revenue. Even greater news is that the plumbing industry is expected to continue to perform well through 2026, with an expected 16% potential growth. 

But, as with any booming and growing industry, competition is fierce and reports estimate that no individual plumbing company accounts for more than 1% of the entire industry’s revenue. In order to stand out from the competition, you need to make sure that you have a strong business strategy in place. 

This strategy should include elements such as knowing your niche, specializing in certain types of properties, marketing your services correctly, having a logo, having a business card, actively engage on social media, and have a clear lead generation and sales process in place. For the purpose of this guide, we will focus on what your address says about your plumbing business and how the right address can significantly improve your marketing and sales efforts. 

The Importance of a Business Address

In business, as in life, first impressions matter. In today’s digitally connected world, your first impression is your online presence, which should provide potential clients with all the relevant information about your business.

If your business address is not listed, it’s listed in a residential area, or it’s somewhere people aren’t familiar with,  potential clients might question the legitimacy of your company. Potential clients could think that your plumbing services are a side gig, therefore that you’re not a professional, or they might be skeptical about sharing their private information (such as home address and phone number) if all they find is a name and an address in a neighborhood they’re unfamiliar with. 

This is why having a professional business address is key to plumbing business success. 

But a Business Address is Expensive…

Yes. But it doesn’t have to be. A virtual office for plumbers could enable you to have access to a renowned business address, as well as a place to meet with clients, workspace, access to business tools and resources (printing, faxing, copying, secretarial support, customer service support, etc.). The great news? Virtual offices come at a fraction of the cost, which means you can significantly reduce your overhead costs and instead use the funds to buy equipment, invest in marketing, create your website, etc. 

Not only can a virtual office help you with the above, but it can also come in handy when you’re applying for a plumbing license, contractor license, and plumbing permit. Keep in mind that oftentimes, these certifications require specific documentation, including a business address. While some organizations accept residential addresses or P.O. Box addresses, some don’t.

Your Business Address and Marketing + Sales

To be successful today, it’s imperative that you have an online presence. This doesn’t just mean having active social media profiles, but making sure that your plumbing business shows up at the top of the page when people search for plumbing services in Google. 

One way to improve your chances of being ranked higher is by registering your business in Google My Business. What Google My Business does is that it puts your company on Google Maps, and it’s especially useful for local searches. If someone in your town or city searches for a plumber, 

Ranking higher on search engine searches means that more people are likely to visit your website, which can translate into more leads and, therefore, more sales.

More than that, a renowned business address can go a long way in establishing trust and a sense of legitimacy with potential and existing clients. It also adds some privacy to your life, as you won’t be receiving any business mail in your home address, but rather through a virtual office. 

Conclusion

There’s a lot of potential and opportunities for growth in the plumbing industry. As you’re setting up or growing your plumbing business, try to take advantage of the available tools and resources you can leverage to reduce expenses, increase your exposure, and make a good impression. 

Plumbers need to have a professional and positive image if they want to attract new clients. Keep in mind that clients are inviting you into their homes or offices, and they want to make sure that whomever they’re hiring is legitimate and trustworthy. 

If you want to make a good impression from the get go, have a professional business address in an area people are familiar with. So, what can your address say about your plumbing business? It can say that you’re running a  legitimate and trustworthy operation, or it can say the exact opposite. 

Guest Contributor, Mat Calica

4 Factors That Make All the Difference in Your Bathroom Remodel

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4 Factors That Make All the Difference in Your Bathroom Remodel

Usually, when talking about bathroom remodels, people tend to think that it simply can’t be done without a lot of patience and a huge budget in place. However, this is not always the case. The fact is that you can completely change the look of your bathroom on a budget if that is the only change you wish to make.

On the other hand, if you are looking to conduct a more elaborate remodeling project you will need to set aside a hefty sum. So, depending on what you wish to achieve with your bathroom you will need to calculate the budget accordingly. With that in mind, here are some factors you should consider beforehand to make the remodel go as smoothly and as stress-free as possible.

Know what you want

Before you actually start hiring contractors left and right and start browsing various stores in search of the items you wish to incorporate into your new bathroom, you should first decide what you want to achieve with your bathroom remodel. If it is only a new look, you are going for the entire remodeling project shouldn’t last too long or require too big of a budget. However, if you are planning on completely relocating your existing plumbing and drains, do know that it will cost you much more and it will require appropriate funds. So, make sure you determine exactly what you want to achieve before you move on to the next step.

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Determine the budget accordingly

As mentioned, in order to determine the budget, you need to first define the scope of the project. If you are just changing a few things up in order to bring in a breath of fresh air to your bathroom you can easily focus solely on the cost of a new paint job, some new fixtures and a couple of new décor pieces. However, if you are looking for more elaborate plumbing upgrades, make sure you account not only for the estimated price of the project but the contingency as well. With projects like these, things can easily go wrong or you may even come across an issue you didn’t even know was there so you need to make sure that you are financially ready to cover anything that might come your way.

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Know how you want to achieve it

Once you have clearly defined your project, decide how you want to proceed further. If upping the style of your bathroom is the only thing you are interested in, turn to ever-so-fashionable Aussies for some inspiration. To up the style in their personal oases, many Aussies choose to incorporate a custom made vanity from Sydney in their bathrooms. Introducing such stunning yet simple pieces in any bathroom can easily elevate the style and pizzazz of the room to an entirely new level. On the other hand, if you are after bigger projects, you will have to clearly determine the order in which you want things to be done as well as the final goal you want to achieve in the space.

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Come up with a plan and stick to it

Finally, once you have all the answers and you know how you want to approach the matter, it would be wise to come up with a game plan and stick to it as much as possible. While it is easy to change your mind mid-way about the new wall paint you wish to have in your bathroom, doing so when relocating plumbing and drains can not only be extremely expensive, but it can also significantly set back the entire project. Additionally, keep in mind that the contractors you have hired are usually working on a tight schedule, so making any bigger changes mid-project can even result in them not having enough time to finish the work in one go because they need to move on to their next client and the next project they are hired for. There are numerous mistakes you can easily make when remodeling your bathroom, so it would be wise to get familiar with them so that you can avoid making any of them.

Bathroom remodels are usually stressful for people because more often than not, they don’t really know what they want to achieve with the space. However, if you have a clear idea in mind, based on which you can estimate the necessary time and the average budget you will need to set aside, successfully finishing this project should be as easy as one, two, three. 

Guest Contributor, Chloe Taylor

Beauty in Cohesiveness: 4 Excellent Tips for Creating Rooms That Flow Well Together

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Beauty in Cohesiveness: 4 Excellent Tips for Creating Rooms That Flow Well Together

An important aspect of designing appealing interiors, creating a sense of connectedness in a house is no easy task (unless you’re a professional interior designer, that is). If you take a look at their homes and the way they are decorated, you will notice that there is always something that ties the whole space together and creates a visual flow. Now, you can choose to pay them to do that for you or you can learn how to do it yourself and spend your hard-earned cash elsewhere. Read on!

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Make your home look cohesive by using the same design style

When it comes to decorating your home, deciding on the design style that you’re going to use throughout your house is the key to doing it successfully. When you have a defined style and you know what pieces, colors, and patterns you should be aiming for, the whole decorating process becomes so much easier as opposed to not having a clear idea of what your home should look like. Whether it is coastal, traditional, contemporary, or farmhouse, pick a style that speaks to you and that perfectly captures your personality. The last thing you want to have is a contemporary coffee table mixed with a vintage chair and an industrial lamp, as it will look messy and not cohesive at all. Instead, opt for pieces that complement each other so that the way you design your space looks intentional and well-thought-out.

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Connect the rooms by using similar colors throughout the home

Now, as much as you may like colors, it’s important to avoid painting every room in a different shade. This is especially important if you’re working with smaller square footage, so try using a palette that consists of 2 to 3 similar hues to create a sense of connectedness. When someone loves renovating and updating their spaces as much as Australians do, they do whatever it takes to make their home more appealing, and a good paint job is sometimes all you need to refresh your dated property and make it cohesive. When they’re in need of stunning property facelift, they turn to house painters from Brisbane to make this cosmetic improvement and ensure their home looks as appealing as possible. A relatively inexpensive upgrade, painting is definitely one of the easiest ways to visually connect your space and create a sense of unity in your home.

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Keep the floors consistent to create a visual flow

Another way of creating a sense of cohesiveness between the rooms is by choosing the right type of flooring. Keeping the floors consistent is a must when looking to create a visual flow and connect all the rooms in your home. Although different areas of your home will require different types of flooring (e.g. tiles in the bathroom and hardwood in the bedroom), as long as you use the same color palette for your flooring, your home will look like a cohesive whole. Nowadays, you can even get tiles that mimic the look of hardwood, so have that in mind when designing your living space. However, if changing your floors is not an option, you can still use area rugs that are the same color or material as an alternative to connect the rooms in your home.

Repeat the materials to achieve a cohesive look

Materials can be used as a common thread that will appear in each area of your home and help create a sense of unity. If you find yourself being drawn to a particular material, consider using it throughout your home, even if it’s something as simple as brass or gold detailing on the cabinetry and lighting fixtures. Marble pattern can appear on your floors, your benchtops, or your coffee table, while velvet can be used for the pillows in the bedroom, a sofa in the living room, and chairs in the dining room. Finding that one element and repeating it in each room will help tie the space together without going over the top. You can apply this design trick to any material of your choosing and create a nice connection.

With these four tips up your sleeve, we’re sure you’re going to create a home that will be worth showing off. Not only will you be saving a ton of money by designing your home by yourself, but you’ll also give it that authentic personal touch that no interior designer can do for you!

 Guest Contributor, Mike Johnston

About the author: Mike Johnston is an avid freelance writer and blogger from Sydney, Australia. He is a regular contributor to numerous lifestyle blogs and online magazines, where he writes about interior design (his specialty!), travel, family, sustainable living and other related and unrelated topics. Mike’s goal is to create insightful and compelling content that will help readers navigate through these vast and ever-changing fields.

 

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.