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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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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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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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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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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

Designing Your Backyard the Eco-friendly Way

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Designing Your Backyard the Eco-friendly Way

Due to the rising awareness of the importance of environmental protection and the growing popularity of green living, eco-friendly backyard and landscaping ideas have become a common thing. It’s all about being environmentally responsible and making the lowest possible impact on our surroundings.

There are now many resourceful and creative ways to save on water, energy and money when designing your sustainable backyard oasis. Here are several ideas to help you get started.

Use Native Plants

One of the smartest, low-maintenance options for your eco-friendly backyard is using native plants. They are already accustomed to surviving in your region, so they need less water and generally have fewer disease and pest problems. They also provide a friendly habitat for local wildlife seeking food and shelter. Once these plants get established, they require very little maintenance as they need no fertilizers, pesticides or additional watering, making them very inexpensive to have and environmentally friendly.

Keep Your Lawn High And Dry

By letting your lawn grow a bit higher, it’ll be much better in tolerating drought in hot summer months. In this way, the lawn retains more moisture, roots grow deeper and the blades thicken, which also means fewer pests and diseases. Moreover, leave the grass clippings on the lawn as they contain a lot of water and help keep the moisture in the lawn.

Increase Hardscapes and Shade

Increasing the square footage of hardscapes in your landscaping will provide you with more outdoor living space, it’ll make it more functional and most of all, it’ll reduce the amount of water needed to water your backyard. It will save thousands of liters of water a year if you replace a portion of your natural lawn with a stone-paved patio or a synthetic turf. Both require very little maintenance and blend in well with the rest of the natural landscaping.

Moreover, by increasing the amount of shade in your backyard, you’ll be able to reduce the overall temperature that will make your stay outdoors more pleasant. For instance, by installing a Best Sheds carport, you’ll have your car nicely tucked away under shade, protected from the elements, plus, you will contribute to the environmental protection since those carports cost less to produce, transport and install. All the material is locally sourced from the Australian manufacturer and with the elimination of the middleman, the entire process is shorter and cheaper.

Be Water-Savvy

As droughts are becoming more frequent, being water-savvy has become a must. Harvesting rainwater is one of the most eco-friendly ways to green up your landscaping efforts. It can be used to water all your plants, flowers and the garden, as well as for washing your car. Another plus is that by capturing stormwater runoff, you prevent pollution of the general water supply.

In addition, if you water your backyard early in the morning by 10am or in the late afternoon, you’ll avoid massive evaporation due to cooler air. Also, make sure you water near the base of plants and not overhead and use soaker hoses, as they are more economical in spending water. You can also opt for an automatic irrigation system that will do the same, but more efficiently. It also encourages plants to grow deeper and stronger roots, making them more resilient to droughts.

Start Composting

Composting is an excellent way to reduce the amount of trash we all produce and at the same time, make free, natural fertilizer. To start your own composting pile, all you need is a warm, sunny area and some soil. The most practical way is getting a composting bin in which you’ll throw your household and garden waste, including food scraps, newspapers, cardboards, wood shavings and weeds. This will provide a favourable ground for compost-making bugs, and in the following six to nine months, you’ll have a rich fertilizer to use in your garden.

Following these tips, you’ll turn your backyard into a natural, eco-friendly environment that will require less maintenance, save more money, reduce your carbon footprint and give you a beautiful space to relax and enjoy all year round.

Guest Contributor, Amelia Atkins 

Home Builders: How To Tell Genuine Experts From The Rest

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There are a lot of horror stories regarding building a new home going around, so it seems like the perfect time to say a few things on how you can tell actual experts from the rest of the crowd. When building a new home from the ground up, hiring reliable experts should be your only acceptable course of action. However, just like in any other business, finding true experts can be a bit difficult. That’s why you should do your research well ahead of time, to avoid hiring someone who is just all talk, no action.

So, let’s see what some of the traits of a genuine home building expert are.

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Experience

The first thing you need to understand is that building a new home is not cheap. Therefore, you can’t expect the contractors you want to hire to be cheap either. Building a home from scratch is a serious, huge endeavor, so if the contractor offers you a price that seems suspiciously low, this should be your first warning sign. So, when looking for experts to hire, make sure you ask them about their previous jobs and ask to see their portfolio. If they refuse to provide you with any of the two, keep searching on.

Warranty

Next, know that the estimated end date will probably be pushed a bit further once or twice. This is due to unforeseen circumstances that are bound to happen, just like with any other project. However, experts who warranty their work will make sure that everything continues to run smoothly even if some hiccups do happen along the way. Also, make sure you get this warranty in writing to avoid any potential problems.

Tools

Further, the thing you need to pay attention to are the tools used by the contractors. A genuine expert will have all the necessary tools for the job, and all the equipment will look sturdy and well-maintained. However, if a contractor tries to ask you to get the tools yourself, that’s the queue that you should look for a new contractor. For example, know that without a high-performance concrete laser screed setting and laying a leveled foundation is practically impossible which will only compromise the rest of the project. Therefore, make sure the experts you’re considering hiring have all the right tools for the job.

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Insight

When building a new home, people want to customize it to suit their specific needs. Besides, that’s the whole point of building and not buying a home. This means that you should get all the requirements written down so that your contractor can follow them to the letter – quite literally. However, if halfway through you decide you want to make some last-minute alterations, a quality contractor should be able to advise you on how they can get it done and what the best course of action is. So, to make sure that you’ve chosen the right contractor, run this scenario by them before actually hiring them.

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Transparency

Transparency is another trademark of reliable experts. This means that you should be presented with clear prices, house building plans and detailed specification sheet of all the work that needs to be done, as well as all the materials that are going to be used. Also, the document needs to contain a clear end date, as well as the plan of action if that date needs to be delayed for any reason. The document should then be signed by both you and the contractor so that you can use it as leverage in case anything goes wrong.

Eventually, finding the right expert for the job boils down to careful planning and thorough research. If you don’t do everything on your part, you can expect the people you decide to hire to do everything on theirs. Therefore, define everything clearly before you sign any contracts and agreements to both put your mind at ease and make the entire project as stress-free as possible.

Guest Contributor, Lillian Connors

How to Build the Perfect Home Gym

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How to Build the Perfect Home Gym

If you wish to improve the living conditions in your home in a way that it would also contribute to the health and fitness of the whole family, there is nothing better than creating a home gym. Although it would require an initial investment, it will soon pay off because you’ll have a nice feature that can be used by the whole family and guests and it also increases the resale value of your home.

So, if you realize that you have a spare room because your kid has gone to college or moved from your home or you’ve decided that you don’t need so much storage room in your basement, converting such space into a home gym makes a lot of sense. If that’s the case, what is your next step?

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Make Sure It’s The Right Space

Depending on the type of gym you’d like to have, there are several things you need to consider. If you’re planning on introducing some heavy equipment, make sure you don’t install the gym on the upper floor, since the floor may not be strong enough to support all the weight. Consider turning your back porch or patio into a gym if possible, since you might want to have an opportunity to exercise outdoors.

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Let There Be Light And Air

It’s very important that your home gym is as light and airy as possible. Ideally, you would have plenty of natural light coming from windows and doors, which would also make it possible for you to have enough ventilation. If that’s not really possible, you should install some kind of recessed lighting or simple lamps with soft white bulbs. Another option to make the space more inviting is to add plants. They will increase oxygen levels in the room and add a touch of nature to the place.

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Get Rid Of Clutter

It’s very important that your home gym doesn’t contain any items that are not really necessary. Otherwise, you may run a risk of tripping and falling over and thus injuring yourself. It’s also important to find the right place for every machine you need. Should you decide to have one of those amazing exercise bikes, make sure you place them closer to the wall, so that it doesn’t create a problem for anyone using the gym at the same time as you. Also, it’s a good idea to place it closer to a window, so that you can get more fresh air as you exercise.

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Step By Step

You don’t need to have everything at once. Some equipment is rather pricey, and you may not want to splash a lot of cash immediately. Instead, make a plan depending on your financial situation and furnish your home gym gradually. However, it’s important that you know exactly what you’d like the gym to look like so that you can tackle some construction works first. For example, if you know you want some heavy equipment, you need to make sure your floor is strong enough to support it and you need to address such an issue before you bring anything into the room. Also, it’s very important that everything you need for exercising has its place in the gym and that you don’t create a mess.

Use Your Gym!

The worst thing you can do is actually spend a lot of money and effort into creating a gym and then use it rarely or never. If you’re having trouble finding motivation, you could invite a friend and schedule a session together. That should help you keep your motivation high and you’ll both benefit from spending time together. Needless to say, if you have little or no experience with working out, you should consult a fitness trainer and your doctor before hitting the gym. The last thing you need is to jeopardise your health or injure yourself because you’ve chosen a wrong kind of exercise or pushed yourself too hard.

Having a gym at home is no longer the privilege of the rich and we should all use the opportunity to install one if we have enough room and are keen on keeping fit. Have fun working out!

Guest Contributor, Diana Smith