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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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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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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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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

RH Business Marketing Solutions

crestwood plumbers

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

RH Business Marketing Solutions

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