Category Archives: Products and Services Reviews

Do It Yourself: Cleaning Your Home’s Air Duct System

Home Air Duct

Home Air DuctHome Air DuctWhen your air ducts are clogged with dust and debris, a lot of things can happen. All that dirt can cause respiratory problems to you and your loved ones, or if you’re in an office setting, your employees. It’s necessary to be able to perform proper air duct cleaning yourself and in this guide, we’ll talk about exactly just that.

Before we begin, keep in mind that most cleaning professionals recommend that you consult with them before attempting any cleaning yourself. They can help prevent any major disaster you might run into.

What You’re Looking For

Your home’s duct system can cost you a lot of money in utility bills if they are left unchecked and unclean. In addition, they could also expose your family to mold, dust and other harmful elements that get built up within your walls. If you suspect that your ducts need cleaning, look for obvious cracks and leaks in your system. You can tell where dust escapes by noticing certain streaks of dirt at juncture points and open spaces where air enters and exits freely. A professional may be able to determine leaks by forcing air through your system.

Things You Need

A bucket with three parts water and one part household cleaner, some rags, a brush for applying air duct sealant, a screwdriver, some zip ties for attaching ducts and a lot of time, about twenty minutes per duct.

How to Do It

Detach the outer and inner liners from the connectors. These may be on your ceiling or on your wall. Use rags soaked in cleaner solution and wipe the liners clean, reaching as far inside as your arms allow. You should expect to only be able to clean the ends of the ducts.

Brush mastic or an air duct sealant lightly over the inner liner and slide them back into the metal duct connector.

Repeat this process for all the vents and ducts in your home and you should be dust and mold free for a good few weeks!

Better Upgrade Than Be Sorry: It’s Time To Upgrade Your HVAC System

HVAC System

HVAC SystemHVAC SystemIt’s understandable you feel reluctant to spend money for a failure that has not yet occurred. But paying double for something easily preventable is more inconvenient and impractical. When you start to notice the telltale signs, be wise and loosen the purse strings a little for the comfort of your home.

Your Unit Is Dying

HVAC systems, like all things, have a lifespan. Yours will start showing signs of old age, such as consistent system failures, when it has almost reached its end. This is the perfect time to upgrade your heating and cooling units to save money on repair costs.

When installing a new system, you want to have the most sustainable units for your home. The best HVAC systems for colder regions combine electric unit for cooling and natural gas furnace for heating.

Your House is Getting a Renovation or Expansion

When this happens, your HVAC system may need to move or expand. Getting the advice of the technicians will ensure that your heating and cooling units are re-installed properly and the new space is just the right size for the units. Hartman Heating and Air Conditioning says that an over sized furnace will cost you twice due to the erratic on-and-off cycles.

You Want to Increase Energy Efficiency

Heating and cooling eat up most of the energy in your home, taking up almost 48% of the electricity bill. Today, HVAC system technologies have improved in design and efficiency. Installing a system that consumes less energy will significantly reduce your electricity costs and benefit the environment.

It’s Just Not Doing It For Your Family

They’re often taken lightly, but the comfort and convenience of your family should be your utmost priority. Proper heating and good ventilation are essential for a productive and healthy life. If they’re not satisfied with your old HVAC system, don’t deprive them of a well-designed, energy-efficient system.

For upgrades, you can either replace old furnaces and air conditioning or install an entirely new system. Partial replacement sounds like the easier option, but it will actually cost you more on labor compared to replacing the entire system all at once. Ultimately, the efficiency of the system depends highly on the suitability of the units.

Tips on Securing Your Data: How to Prevent Anonymous from Hacking Your Network

Securing Your Data

Securing Your DataSecuring Your DataHacking systems is an easy activity for computer geeks, especially those that you see in movies getting into the government’s database. One person can already be a threat to your data, and a group is even more alarming. “Anonymous” is an international network of hack-tivists that gained fame by hacking and attacking numerous government sites in different countries worldwide.

The agents from NetStrategy say that network protection is vital in keeping the data secure. Loss or leaks will hurt your business, that’s for sure; the only question is how bad. While they rarely target private-owned sites, it’s better to put up solid protection of your database in case similar groups get interested in your site.

See Things in a Larger Sense

Don’t focus on a particular aspect of protection. You never know what these hackers think and which area of your site and database they’ll attack. Always consider a broader sense of security. The more you try to get ahead of them, the less prone you’ll be to experiencing surprise hack attacks.

Utilise Top-rate Protection

Don’t short change your protection measures. If you can get hold of the top security systems, do so. At least apply tried and tested content management software that automatically updates and comes with support and patches. Many say that customising settings on your own is an open feast for hackers.

Hash and Rehash Passwords

Reinforce your protection system with multiple layers of passwords. Make sure you frequently hash and rehash these codes stored in the databases. Hashing and rehashing passwords add layers of difficulty that may take a longer time for hackers to penetrate. Harder coding that takes more time threatens hackers.

Make their Hacking More Complicated

Keep in mind that when you set passwords, it has to be as complicated as possible. Use a combination of letters and numbers and don’t follow a pattern – be random. Longer passwords are stronger; usually this means more than eight characters. Moreover, when you change codes, avoid using the ones you’ve used before.

With the rise of the age of technology, machines and software systems are now integrated in much of the business processes. Protect your data from hackers by applying the strongest security measures.

American Sniper Success Makes Unfair Trial Atmosphere

American Sniper

American SniperAmerican SniperMovie enthusiasts are split down the line on whether art imitates life or the other way around. Regardless of where anyone stands on the debate, it’s clear that there are more than a few intersections between the real world, and people’s perception of it. This situation may be good for healthy debate, but it can create a volatile atmosphere, which can lead to lasting consequences.

The court trying Eddie Ray Routh to the murder of Chris Kyle finds themselves in this condition. For anyone living under a political rock for the past few months, the Oscar nominated movie “American Sniper” depicts the life of the Iraq veteran sniper Chris Kyle. The soldier nicknamed “Legend” is the deadliest sniper in American military history, with a hundred and sixty confirmed kills.

The success of the movie – a hundred and five million over a January weekend – has given the case an unprecedented amount of press, as well as vitriol for the defendant. The movie made sure not to depict the actual shooting of Kyle, but noted that he was killed “by a veteran he was trying to help” at the end of the movie.

This line was enough to unite the fans of the movie against Routh, with many calling for a guilty verdict, with more extreme examples even suggesting execution. Kyle’s widow – Taya Kyle – went on record with the Los Angeles Times, condemning the defense’s strategy of using Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), to plea for temporary insanity.

The rush of media attention and the venom of public opinion are making it hard for the defense to see a fair trial coming for Routh. The likelihood that the movie will influence prospective jurors regarding Routh’s fate is very real. Surveys and legal studies on jury selection, as well as experience gathered from sources such as indicate that media such as movies and op-ed pieces are very influential in the mid-teen to young adult demographics.

Routh will just have to contend with the success of the movie hounding his trial, though it’s unlikely that a judge will approve a change of venue or postponement. The nationwide – and even international – attention the movie has received, renders the local bias argument redundant.

Real Estate Myths and the Truth Behind Them

Newly Renovated Home

Newly Renovated HomeNewly Renovated HomeReal estate can be complicated. With different issues affecting the industry such as foreclosures, rising house prices and mortgages, it’s no surprise that most people are wary to dive into the unknown that is real estate.

From renovation needs to buying a property through SMSF, acknowledges the fact that people who try real estate may get confused. To resolve their questions, homeowners ask for expert opinion and professional advice.

Unfortunately, some people are deceived by the following myths:

Myth 1 – I Don’t Need a Real Estate Agent

People who believe they can survive real estate without an agent are in danger of misunderstanding the complexities of selling their home. Realtors and agents exist to aid homeowners in selling and negotiating.

When it comes to buying or selling homes, there’s a growing need for mediators. If you try to sell your house on your own, chances are that your buyer will have a hard time trusting you due to your lack of house marketing knowledge.

Myth 2 – Newly Renovated Homes Sell More

Renovating can increase your home’s value, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it will sell more. Consider where you invest your money and if those changes add value to your current. To increase your property’s value, it’s best to know your home’s current value range first.

Myth 3 – The Best Time to Sell is (Insert Season Here)

Some believe that spring is the best real estate season. Others vote for winter.

In reality, the best time to sell a house is when you are ready, when the market is doing well and when there are a number of buyers available. Neither the season, nor the month matters; the market and your home are your primary considerations.

To know if it is the right time to sell, you may want to check online or your neighbourhood.

Myth 4 – I Won’t Sell Unless It’s at the Price I Decide

We all want to sell our homes, at our preferred prices. Nevertheless, if you place an unreasonable value on your home, no one would buy it. Have your property valued properly to avoid disappointments and to make sure it sells.

Money Matters: Getting Over the Embarrassment of Loans

Money Matters

Money MattersMoney MattersTrouble in finance is one of the most sensitive but crucial hurdles young adults face. Borrowing money from people or applying for loans is never fun. A shocking utility bill, an unstable job, or insufficient funds for school, whatever it may be, some situations are really too tight to get out of without any help.

For first-time loaners, borrowing money from lending companies can be an embarrassing experience. During times like these, a financially troubled young adult must take his pride elsewhere and apply for that loan before all the lights in the apartment go out.

Loan Companies are Non-Judging Zones

It’s easier to get over the initial fear and embarrassment after convincing yourself that these people exist for people like you. Sure, it’s a first time and you’re nervous they will think badly of you. But they are experts and they’ve heard it all. No matter how unique your problems and needs are, they will come up with a solution that will fit your situation like a glove.

Lending centers are non-judging zones, homegrown Utah Money Center says to first-time borrowers who feel a little embarrassed. First-time customers are scared not only because of their situation, but also because they have no experience in borrowing. Excellent loan companies take time to explain everything to first timers to help put them at ease.

Educate Yourself

Help yourself by learning at least the basics of what you are getting into. Identify what you need. Do you need a cash advance? Are you looking for something more secure, like a student loan? Would you prefer a personal loan so you can use the money at your own discretion? Do you only need to borrow money until your next paycheck? Do you know how long it will take and how much you can borrow?

These are the usual concerns of first-time loaners. Lending companies understand the confusion and should always be willing to extend help. However, it will be easier for shy first-timers to know the answers to these questions and just consult experts for advice. Together, you can tailor a loan to meet your personal needs.

It’s okay to feel embarrassed when faced with financial strains. Know, though, that you are not alone with these problems. Many people have difficulties managing their budget and debt, and still go through life with grace. This is just of the many problems a person will go through in life. Just shake off that pride and it will be okay.

Take a Step: Tips for Improving Stair Safety

Preventing Falls

Preventing FallsPreventing FallsFalling down a flight of stairs can cause more than just physical injury like bone and soft-tissue damage. There are also psychological effects like the loss of a feeling of safety and decreased self-esteem. You can prevent falls by keeping in mind that there are risks when going up or down the stairs. Careful planning and simple strategies can help you and everyone in your family avoid falls and injuries.

Well-Lit Stairway

A stairway with sufficient lighting is easier and safer to use. This is particularly helpful for people with poor vision or sense of balance. It is best if stairs have low-intensity night lighting, and switches at the top and bottom of the stairs. You can also use lighting that makes tread nosings visible and does not cause glare.

Railings and Balustrades

Stairs and decks should have railings or balustrades. The railing should withstand appropriate pressure, like the force of a person, according to designers of balustrades and frameless glass pool fencing. Perth home designers also agree that gaps in balustrades cannot have openings greater than 125 millimetres. This is to provide support for those going up and down the stairs, and prevents falls from balconies and staircases.

Both Side Support

Handrails on both sides of the stairs are recommended, regardless of the number of steps. It is best to make sure that the handrails are easy to use, even at night or in low light. They should have a tactile indicator warning that the steps are coming to the end. You should make sure it is possible to wrap the hand around the rails.

Same Size and Height

If you are renovating a staircase or building new home with stairs, consider the relationship of the rise, the run, and the tread. Make sure to allow sufficient tread and gentle rise. Stair steps should also be in uniform size and height.

Other than these tips, it is also best to be cautious and deliberate when taking the stairs. Make sure that you switch on the stair light and hold on to hand rails. Take extra precautions on winding stairs, and wear footwear that fits right and has a non-slip sole.

Going Green with LED Signage

LED Signage

LED SignageLED SignageLight emitting diode (LED) technology has changed the digital signage industry, among others. Business owners who have lots to say in their advertisements now have the ability to get their message across without needing additional material. They’re able to provide real time information to potential clients, as well. LED signage isn’t only eye-catching; it’s also safe and practical.

Here are some ways in which LED signs can help your business go green:

Long Lasting

LEDs can last up to 20 times longer than other digital signage, so you don’t need to replace them often. All you need is to focus on their maintenance, which is more financially feasible than setting up a new one. As such, you can use your funds for other important expenses. LED signage reduces the need to spend on manufacturing, packaging, shipping or transporting, and installing them in their locations.

Adaptable and Reusable

Most LED signs use red, blue, and green matrices to create a variation of colours. If you want to change the contents of your signage, all you need is to ask your commercial signage company to reprogram the board that contains the commands of the display. Instead of throwing the signage out when they’re not needed, you can make the most of them.

Green and Safe

LED signs release minimal heat, which means that they’re safer to use for extended hours because there’s no risk of starting a fire. LEDs need only a small amount of electricity – some can need only as low as 10-watts – than other digital signage, so electrical hazards are much lower. It’s possible to make them work with the help of alternative solutions like solar panels to avoid faulty wiring, as well.

LED signage is changing the way businesses think about their advertising and marketing efforts. Apart from being an effective means to grab attention, they can help your business go green and save more.

4 Factors in Choosing Shipping Containers

Shipping Containers

Shipping ContainersShipping ContainersTo run a business that exports goods across the sea, the simplest way of packing and sending your product across is to use shipping containers. Since these containers generally consist of aluminium or other similar materials, the products you pack and ship in them are relatively safe from transit damage.

The nature of your industry means these containers are a long-term investment, so it is important that you pick the right container to buy. Containers have different configurations, depending on the cargo that they would hold.

Here are some simple tips to help you find the best sea container, as compiled by Perth-based

  1. Size

Shipping containers come in various sizes. Transporting products on a large scale requires buying containers with varying sizes. While choosing a container, make sure that there are at least five feet of extra space on each side for safety purposes.

  1. Condition

Consider whether you want to buy a new or a used container. In planning to use the container for a long time, it makes sense that you buy a new container. Used containers are ideal if you are planning to use the container just once, or for a short period.

  1. Features

Many containers these days designed for shipping have several additional features. These features include racks, ramps and ventilation systems. The features you choose will depend upon the products you are planning to ship.

  1. Price

While the actual cost for the container depends upon the size of the container, its material, and any additional features it may have, you would have to pay extra costs, like for delivery.

You can easily find dealers who sell used or new sea containers through the Internet or classified ads. Uncertainty in the size or features of the container needs asking the dealer for advice before making your purchase.

Eclectic Finds and Surprising Office Ideas

Easy Office Ideas

Easy Office IdeasEasy Office IdeasOffice spaces remind us of routines and the bore of everyday tasks. They are mapped out the same way, desks and partitions are all identical, floors and walls in neutral hospital colors, and hardly without any space for creative design. These are said to bring out an environment that is most suitable for corporate work.

Does it, really? Productivity can be affected by the aesthetics of the space. Designing work spaces to inspire productivity doesn’t mean style has to be compromised. It’s easy to spice up your office with just a few tricks and without spending so much.

Color, color, color

Most office walls are prescribed to be white to facilitate concentration. But color can be incorporated in the interior design by other means. Peel off that carpet and replace it with red for an instant pop. Add colored plastic chairs in the pantry for an added fun during breaks. Swap the sad grey trash bin for a green one and that’s both a message and a splash of color.

DIY Wonderwall

Whoever said freedom walls ended in university? Pick up a used chalkboard or a corkboard (or use half of both – it looks more fun!), tack it up the wall and there you go – an instant wonderwall. Instruct your staff to feel free to pin anything, scribble anything, from little office reminders, to inspirational quotes, to secret messages to office crushes, and a lot of fun will surely ensue.

Vintage and rustic furniture

Lend a little style and character to desks and chairs by checking out your local shops. Main Street Office Furniture is a family-owned company in Utah that sells new and used high quality office furniture. From chairs to conference tables, they have a range of eclectic and luxury pieces that carry a story. If you’re aiming for a more eclectic look, why not check out flea markets selling cool antique chairs and tables. That will add interest and even become a conversation starter among your staff and even your clients.

Corner of curiosity

Other than a reading nook, why not add a little shelf filled with a variety of interesting trinkets from everybody? This corner can inspire plenty of meaningful conversations and spark story sharing during office downtime. Make sure to replace the pieces every now and then for a batch of fresh life curiosities.

These easy office space updates do not only spice up the aesthetics of the room, but also inspire productivity and genuine human connection. Plus with these eclectic but surprising ideas, there is really no need to splurge to bring your office interior design up a notch.