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Basement Renovations

Asthma and Allergies – Preventative Maintenance For Asthma and Allergy Sufferers

There are multiple ways you can minimize your suffering to Asthma and Allergies. They are really very simple and easy to implement. Maintenance is the answer to most problems and needs to be done on a regular basis. It is amazing how many problems I find during an Environmental Inspection that could have been prevented by the homeowner or renter. We will focus on the following areas:
1 Filtration
2 Chemicals
3 Moisture
4 Duct Work
5 Exterior
Filtration:
1. Look at your filter in place and see if air is bypassing the filter. You can tell that by dirt lines around the edges of the filter. If so, the filter is the wrong size or rated too high.
2. Check to see if the replacing filter changes the airflow of the system. It could be too high a rating.
3. Replace filter if it is affecting the airflow.
Chemicals:
1. Do not store any chemicals in your home. It is important that you properly dispose of any chemicals that have expired. Each City has a place to take expired chemicals and paints.
2. Always dispose of any chemicals that you don’t anticipate using before their expiration. Remember that chemicals slowly leak out the container via the air. A note to the consumer, once the seal is broken, it can leak into the air.
Moisture:
1. Check underneath all sinks for leaks or dripping faucets.
2. Look behind the toilets for leaking toilet or water supply lines. Is the exhaust fan exhausting properly to the outside.
3. Check the edges of the shower door around the bath/shower for any moisture or toxic mold.
4. Look at your ceiling on a regular basis for any moisture stains or visible toxic mold stains.
5. Check the attic and crawl spaces for any moisture or staining that can lead to toxic mold. Do you smell any musty odors in house?
Duct Work:
1. Check to see if any duct work is sweating with condensation on the exterior.
2. Check to see if any supply grills are sweating with condensation.
3. Check to see if any duct work is leaking.
Exterior:
1. Is there any pooling of water around the foundation? This is serious.
2. Keep the gutter system clean of leaves and debris.
3. Check gutter downspout extensions and make sure they are moving water away from the foundation.
4. After a rain storm, check for water pooling on window sills.
5. Check for cracks or any discoloration of the exterior walls. Fix cracks immediately.
If you have any questions about these matters, feel free to call us or visit our website.…

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General Article

Companion Planting For Your Garden

Companion Planting For Your Garden

Sometimes, plants grow more efficiently when they are planted near other plants. Using this method can help to prevent pests, and can give nutrients to plants that they would not have naturally. Companion planting can be a great method for a healthy and productive garden.

Some vegetables add and fix nutrients in the soil like nitrogen. Examples of these plants are peas and beans. Planting them close to nitrogen feeding vegetables like tomatoes and peppers is a very good idea. Tomatoes and peppers also do well when planted together. Onions and garlic are workhorses in the garden. They repel animal pests like deer and rabbits as well as insect pests like aphids and Japanese Beetles. Garlic gathers sulfur which is a great help in fighting garden disease. Also plant garlic near carrots as it confuses the carrot root fly. Onions planted among strawberries will also help to prevent disease.

There are herbs that are great companions for a variety of vegetables. Dill will repel pests because of its distinctive odor, and also attracts beneficial insects that will kill offensive pests in your garden. Cilantro will also repel pests like aphids when left to go to flower and produce seed. The seeds are known as the common spice coriander. Both borage and basil are good companions for tomatoes. They are said to improve the flavor of the tomatoes and growth of the plant. Basil also deters thrips which are a common pest for bean and pea plants.

Some plants are good companions because one provides shelter and wind protection for the other. Tomato plants are tall, and are good at shading lettuce which needs some protection from sun during the day. Peas are also tall growing plants and are very good for this purpose. Flowers can also be used effectively in companion planting. Many flowers will either attract beneficial insects, or will play host to harmful pests so that your vegetables are not affected. Nasturtium is a good sacrificial plant that will play host to aphids so that they do not attack your tomatoes. Geraniums are good for repelling Japanese Beetles. Asters will attract beneficial insects to your garden, while flowers such as sweet pea and other fragrant flowers will attract bees for pollination.

For any vegetable or fruit that you grow in your garden, there is a companion that will benefit it in some way. A little bit of research on the topic will provide all plants and their known companions. This method is a great organic way to provide disease and pest protection without the use of chemicals.…

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Kitchen Remodel

Kitchen Remodel: A Good Investment in Your Home

The kitchen is often one of the busiest places in the home. It is a gathering place for more than just meals. If your kitchen has outdated appliances, poor traffic flow, not enough storage apace, or is simply in need of a makeover, a kitchen remodel may be a good investment.
A kitchen remodel will not benefit you and your family now, it will add value to your home so that when it comes time to sell, you may get a better resale price. A modern and updated kitchen is definite benefit when trying to sell your house. With the competitive real estate market that we have been experiencing the past few years, a kitchen remodel is a good way to add value to your home.
Your kitchen is a very functional room. You need to have space to prepare your meals, store all of your appliances, and room to move around from place to place. If your kitchen has a strange layout or the flow of traffic is not smooth, you may want to consider a redesign of the room. A home design professional will assess the situation and make recommendations for an improved design that will function better and look more appealing. This may mean that counters, appliances, cabinets, and more need to be relocated. Once you have a plan for your new kitchen design, you can work on choosing which features you want to include.
One of the first things that people will notice when they visit your kitchen is your cabinets. They are a large part of any kitchen and make a big impact on the overall appearance of the room. With so many colors, wood stains, and styles to choose from, homeowners are able to find cabinets that will compliment the look of their home. Keep in mind that kitchen cabinets are not only stylish, they provide necessary storage for all of your appliances, dinnerware, utensils, and more. Therefore, you need to keep functionality in mind as you make your choice in cabinets.
Many homeowners choose to have their cabinets custom made to fit their space. This allows you to create cabinets that are specifically designed to work in your kitchen. Those individuals with odd-shaped rooms or hard-to-fit areas in their kitchen will appreciate the flexibility of custom cabinetry.
Countertops are another feature of your kitchen that make a big impact on the overall look of the room. Stone products, especially granite, are considered to be one of the best choices for countertops. Granite is highly durable and has a natural beauty that is not available with man-made materials. Imagine how elegant your new kitchen will look with beautiful, new granite countertops.
There are quite a few options when it comes to kitchen flooring. You want to choose a material that is both durable and appealing. Hardwoods are a popular choice because they blend well your furnishings, upholsteries, color palette, and any other features of your home. There are so many different styles, colors, and wood species to choose from that you will have no trouble selecting hardwoods that compliment your home.
Appliances are another large investment you will need to consider when remodeling your kitchen. There are many energy-efficient models available today that can help you save money on your electric bills. New appliances instantly update your room and make an old fashioned kitchen look modern.
Cabinets, countertops, flooring, and appliances are just a few of the major changes you will need to make when remodeling your kitchen. There are many more features you will need to discuss with your design professional. Whether you are only updating a few features, or completely redoing your room, a kitchen remodel is a good way to add beauty and value to your home.…

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General Article

Recession Gardening: Grow Your Own

Recession Gardening: Grow Your Own

Now, in these times of crunching credit, a new hobby has come about – recession gardening! It’s simply the practice of growing your own herbs or vegetables, in your own home garden. This should save you some money (perhaps not in the short term) and you’ll get delicious fresh produce to eat! Plus, when you’re trying out those new, exciting recipes, you’ll have the fresh herbs close to hand, in your personal herb garden.

In creating a “recession garden,” or a “depression garden,” we’ve seen some articles about the topic stating how some bloggers have started out in one medium size pot, and have expanded to include bits and pieces in their patio too, leading on to glasshouses and larger garden plots or even allotments.

Depending on what space you have available, you could think about where the best place would be to start. For example, you could perhaps create a small herb pot in a hanging basket in your porch. Not only have you fresh herbs to hand for all your gorgeous culinary creations, but the guests arriving at your house get a wonderful aroma as they are coming to the door.

Alternatively, you can make herb gardens out of window boxes. When you open your windows to get some fresh air into your house, the delicious herby smells would waft through the house too. Then when you are cooking, you can just reach out and grab a lovely handful of herbs for your meals! The best sort of herbs for planting in this fashion would be thyme, rosemary, parsley, basil.

If you have a big garden and you’re not stuck for space, simply plant whatever you want! Instead of just herbs, you could plant various vegetables and even fruits. My mom has a really big garden, and she has started to grow a plethora of plants. I have to say that the yummiest are the fresh potatoes, in the summer. They’re big and floury, you slather them in butter and they are just melt in your mouth. Don’t mention the fresh rhubarb and ginger jam though – it’s delectable!

If you’re not very green-fingered but would like to give this a try, there is a wealth of gardening information at your fingertips – here on the world wide web. Just Google for what you need, and you can find help at any hour of the day or night! With a smallish initial outlay, you can save yourself a few bucks over the years to come, with your home-grown produce!

And for those of you who are green-minded, you can be safe in the knowledge that your own home-grown produce is wholly organic, with no nasty pesticides or chemicals thrown into the mix.…

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Basement Renovations

Lead Based Paint: Ready or Not the New Law Is Here!

On April 22, 2010 the EPA enacted a new, nationwide set of regulations regarding lead based paint. It has been an absolute JOY (Not!) informing new and existing clients of the risks of lead based paint and the new regulations and fines enacted by Big Brother, I mean, our benevolent government. As a contractor, we are REQUIRED to be the bearer of bad news for those of you who own homes built before 1978. The fines for looking the other way, not informing you of the risks, not giving you the required literature, and not using the required lead paint renovation procedures, start at $37,000 per day! The government is very serious about this issue and the risks to your family.
Several potential clients have asked why we can’t just ignore the new law. Well, several reasons, in fact, 37,000 reasons. Obviously, the risk to your family is the most important reason, but beyond that, contractors can’t risk their business, their home and the physical and financial well being of their employees and subcontractors just to save a few dollars. Contractors have had to invested a lot of money sending staff to the required certification courses, purchasing the necessary protective and cleaning materials and tools, and implementing the required physical and record keeping procedures to be in full compliance. When a contractor suggests that you can ignore the new law, they not only put your family’s health at risk, they also put your financial future at risk. This law is so new, we still don’t know where all of the liability will end up. If you allow renovations to be completed that ignore the new law, you will have to disclose that fact when you sell your home. If you don’t disclose that fact, you open yourself up to huge legal liability. I’m sure we’re not very far off from the late night TV commercial with the deep voiced, concerned announcer who says, “Have you ever had your home remodeled? You may have been injured by lead based paint, and deserve compensation…”.
Make sure you take the time to learn more about this subject and protect your family physically and financially.…

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General Article

Garden Play Houses Are a Sound Investment

Garden Play Houses Are a Sound Investment

I have a picture of me sitting in my wooden train when I was six years old. My father used to build me garden play houses, trains, and forts. He was a skilled licensed contractor with a lot of spare wood around. He was not going to pay for one when he could create and build his own. If you had a dad like me you know what I mean.

But unless you are like my dad, skilled and licensed to build things, you probably will go to your local store that specializes in garden play houses. With all of these electronic gizmos on the market which keep kids playing on their computer or in front of their televisions a play house is a great idea. Is the complaint about kid’s video games over? Have parents simply given up the fight against violent video games?

Have parents surrendered to the video game manufacturers? Or have they no alternative to these games of killing and mayham? Give your children what they want, a chance to use their imagination. Do this and you will not have to wrest the video game out of their hands. Kids choose video games because no one is offering anything else to them. Change that.

Imagination exercise is what a play house is all about. Your daughter can have her friends over for a tea party. Your son can have a little library of all his favourite books. He can have a writing desk where he can practice his creative writing. Play houses are like regular houses these days. They have roofs that keep the rain out and windows with safety glass to keep out the wind.

And talk about variety. Does your child want a Victorian style house or does she prefer a Cape Cod look. Or you can customize it to look like your real house.

This might surprise you but a play house gives your child pride of ownership. It will actually help him or her plan on owning his or her home someday. It will build a sense of responsibility in your child. He or she now has his or her home to care for.

I remember that when I had my own I was happy to invite my friends over and see it. We spent time in there just as if it was my own home. But what difference was that compared to what we as adults do in our own homes? A play house is simply done on a smaller scale.

You give your children a chance to prepare for their future. A time when they will have a home like the one their parents own and it helps them prepare and plan for that time. Compared to killing and destroying things on their video computer garden play houses are a sound investment.…

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General Article

Stone Garden Ornaments

Stone Garden Ornaments

Every homeowner would surely want to have an area in their house where they can just hang around relaxing with their guests or family. The garden has been one of the most essential parts of a house that we all would love to have. And as you think of your garden not as a separate unit from your home, instead an extension of your home, it is definitely necessary that you also pay attention to its appearance and ambiance. Therefore, you should realize the value of stone garden ornaments.

Landscapers have a belief that a garden is lifeless if it does not have any work of art. It is just like when you were decorating the interior of your home. There are many things you considered to beautify your interior. Stone garden ornaments work just the same. So how are you supposed to get the best decoration for your garden?

First, you have to know what will work fine and why. People would normally make the mistake of overcrowding their gardens. It is like an instinct that the moment you see something in a shop that you think will look good in your lawn, you will take no time in thinking if it really fits and looks well as a stone garden ornament or not. You have to be patient in figuring out what matches and what does not. Once you have figured out what ornament you want to put in your garden, save some space for it and place it.

You also have to be aware of what is around you, even what is outside your own garden. If you happen to see some plants or gardens that really please your eyes, you can either take pictures of them or you can just write notes on what you see and love. This will allow you to generate more gardening ideas that you can always apply to your own garden. On the other hand, if you see something that you really like, but you don’t think others will find attractive, just get it. Your garden is your own paradise anyway.

Stone garden ornaments can also be an attraction in your home. You will definitely have some chances to host an event where several people will be visiting your home. A properly designed garden is definitely something that you can be proud of. Remember also to let your garden ornaments show who you are and what your personality is.…