bookmark_borderHow To Get Rid Of Cockroaches For Good

How to Find a Cockroach Nest (and Get Rid of it for Good)

You’ve probably heard warnings about how quickly cockroaches can reproduce and spread through a house. When cockroaches take up residence in a home, it’s because they’ve found conditions they like. A lot.

What Does a Cockroach Nest Look Like?

A roach nest isn’t a tightly wound basket of twigs and grass like you might expect from a bird. And it’s not the sort of carefully gathered nest of materials that you might expect from a mouse or rat.

Basically, a cockroach “nest” looks nothing like a nest. It’s more like the roaches’ messy bedroom, where everything’s lying around in the same general area. Finding a cockroach nest means finding several (or several dozen) cockroaches and, probably, a few dead ones.

You’ll also see plenty of roach droppings and old egg cases lying around. Cockroach droppings are tiny and look like coffee grounds or black pepper. Droppings start to collect in areas with high activity. You might even find it inside kitchen appliances.

Where Do Roaches Live?

Most cockroaches love humid places. Depending on the type of cockroach, some like it hot and some stick to cooler, damp places. But one thing just about all of them have in common is a need for moisture.

 

How to Get Rid of Roaches

There’s nothing worse than flicking on the kitchen lights and seeing (or hearing) the scuttling legs and antennae of cockroaches on your countertops, cabinets, or floor. Not only are these pests a major eyesore, but they can contaminate your food, transmit dangerous bacteria, and worst of all, survive even the best-intentioned eradication attempts. That’s why we turned to an entomologist and pesticide applicator to find the fastest and most effective way to get rid of roaches. Regardless if you’re tackling one sneaky pest or a whole army of cockroaches, follow this five-step guide to shut down even the most stubborn infestations.

Identify the problem area and seek professional help if needed.

Out of over 4,000 cockroach species in the world, most Americans encounter only one or two types: German cockroaches and American cockroaches.

Since cockroaches can taint your food and countertops with illness-causing E. coli and salmonella, don’t take an infestation lightly. If you’re struggling to eradicate roaches or identify where they’re coming from, you may need to bring in pest control professionals to pinpoint the source of the issue

Cut cockroaches off from their food supply.

Just like people, these pests need sustenance to survive. Unlike people, they can live off almost anything left out for them, like unopened food, debris, and even crumbs.

Eliminate any and all hiding places.

In addition to food, roaches need harborage to thrive. Their favorite nooks and crannies include stacks of paper and cardboard boxes, so recycle any materials you have laying around. Cleaning up any clutter will deter roaches from hanging around — or coming back.

 

How to Get Rid of Cockroaches

Few things are more frustrating than a roach infestation. These persistent pests will make themselves at home in your kitchen, bathroom, and other living spaces as they search for food. Unfortunately, they multiply fast – intensifying the problem. If you’re tired of sharing your home with these cringe-worthy critters, then let’s figure out how to get rid of roaches for you!!

Most Common Cockroaches in the US

There are a few different species of roaches that are present here in Florida, with the most common being the German cockroach and the American cockroach. German roaches are dark brown and usually 1/2” – 5/8” in size, while American roaches are darker and bigger at 1-1/2” to 2”. Both types of roaches are active year-round, using coming out predominantly at night to find food and water. Roaches are nocturnal creatures and usually spend their days hiding away in dark, protected spots around your home.

What Attracts Cockroaches to Your Home

No matter the type of pest – whether it’s roaches, ants, termites, or rodents – they’re all most likely searching for food and water sources which they can easily find in your home. Roaches, in particular, are drawn to warm,

How Roaches Enter Your Home

Roaches are attracted to your home for a variety of reasons (listed above), but attraction is only the first part. They have to actually be able to get INTO your home to wreak havoc

Thoroughly Clean Your Home

This may seem like a given, but roaches are attracted to dirt and filth because they’re always on the lookout for new sources of food. The easiest way to keep roaches out of your home is by keeping it clean

 

Where to find cockroaches at night

We all know that cockroaches are not friendly household companions. They disturb your day, contaminate your food, and when you try to kill them, they run away to places you can’t reach them.

They are experts of circumvention, and they can run around in the tiniest nooks and crannies, especially in dark places. There are over 4000 species of cockroaches, but only 40 of these species are considered house pests. They are most attracted to food and water, which are highly present in your home.

Even when you try and protect your home from these pesky creatures, they always find a hideaway place in your home. There are so many places around your home that they can be in, these are some of their favorite places.

They lurk in pipes

Because cockroaches like water, they will hang around pipes. Cockroaches need water to keep them hydrated, and can only live up to a week without any water.

Parts where pipes come into homes like through the walls, floors and behind cabinets, are often moist and good places where there is strong humidity that can be very attractive to cockroaches. Always make sure to check for any leaks and repair it as soon as possible to avoid cockroaches and other pest infestation.

 

will natural cockroach repellent works?

How to kill cockroaches naturally with baking soda

Who would have thought if baking soda may be the solution to remove pesky pests like bed bugs and cockroaches at home? Besides useful for used in baking cakes and pancakes, baking soda is also known to be a great ingredient to make roach traps because it’s effective and safe to use around pets if you have any at home.

Method: Take equal parts of baking soda and a pinch of sugar in a shallow bowl, then place it near to the cockroach-infested areas or in where roaches are usually roaming at your house. The sugar attracts the cockroaches while baking soda will kill them. Once they eat it, baking soda will react badly by creating gas inside of the stomach and cause its stomach to burst. All you have to do afterwards is just clean up the dead roaches.

How to kill cockroaches naturally coffee grounds

Don’t throw out those used coffee grounds! A lot of people already know coffee grounds can be composted for your garden, but little they know if coffee grounds can be a good natural repellent for cockroaches at home.

Method: Cockroaches do not like acids produced from coffee grounds. Sprinkle coffee grounds near to the entry points that usually cockroach passed. This natural repellent may keep roaches from getting inside your house.

How to kill cockroaches naturally with garlic

The aroma of garlic has long been known to have repellent effects to many insects, including cockroaches. Garlic has a pungent smell that cockroaches don’t like.

bookmark_borderReasons It’s Better To Invest In A Home Remodelling

How to Choose a Home Remodeling Contractor: Your Complete Guide

Are you looking to hire a home remodeling contractor? Who should you choose? Check out this guide to learn how to choose a home remodeling contractor. Did you know that the average homeowner spends $15,000 on home renovation projects? With the massive amount of money that you spend investing in turning your home into your dream home, finding the perfect home remodeling contractor to help turn your dream home into reality can be challenging.

Do Phone Interviews

Once you have a list of contractors that you’re interested in working with, make a quick call to each of the contractors. During the phone interview, you should ask the contractors you’re interested in hiring the following questions.

Have a Face to Face Meeting

Moving forward with the contractors that you feel passed your phone interview, ask to meet in person. The contractors that you’re asking to meet in person should be able to answer all of your questions in full detail, with ease. It’s crucial to hire a contractor that has solid communication skills, as they’re going to be completely responsible with making sure that you get what you’re wanting out of the project.

Get Credentials

Don’t hire a contractor after the face to face meeting! Before hiring, make sure to double-check the credentials of the contractor you want to hire. Make sure that the contractor holds all of the required licenses that the state and city municipalities require for the region you live in. You should invest your money into contractors who have invested in training to earn certifications!

Start Bidding

Now that you’ve narrowed down your potential list to just a few names, it’s now time to start bidding! A contractor that’s worth your investment will want a complete set of blueprints and a list of what you (as the homeowner) want out of the project. After they’re received this information from you, they should give you an estimate of what they’re going to spend on your project.

 

Before You Remodel Your Home

Draw Your Dream

Even before you consult an architect, you can begin sketching out your ideas and imagining your dreams—just get over the reasons not to remodel your home first. If you are adding or expanding a room, think about how the space will be used and how the changes will affect traffic patterns. Also consider how new construction will affect the overall context of your home. An oversized addition may overwhelm your house or crowd a small lot. A simple home design software program can help you visualize your project.

Learn From Others

One of the best ways to get inspiration and to avoid pitfalls is to follow the experiences of other homeowners. A number of Web sites offer online chronicles of home improvement projects, along with reply forms, message boards, and chat rooms that let you ask questions and get feedback.

Think Ahead

Although you may dream of having a spacious new addition, the project may not make sense if you plan to sell your house in a few years. A luxury bathroom can price your house beyond the values in your neighborhood. Some projects, such as vinyl siding on a Queen Anne Victorian, will actually decrease the value of your home. Moreover, your own family’s needs may be very different in a few years.

Count Your Money

Even the best-laid budgets can go bust. Chances are, your remodeling project will cost more than you expect. Before you set your heart on high-end ceramic tile, find out how much you have to spend and make sure you have a cushion against cost overruns. For must-have items that could wipe out your savings account, explore home improvement loans and other financing options. If you own your home, a line of credit is often the best bet. Consider online borrowing from reputable companies that bring together small investors with borrowers. The Better Business Bureau reviews companies, such as the Lending Club. Some people depend on crowdfunding, but you should know your comfort level and understand what you’re getting into.

Choose your team

Unless you plan to take on the entire remodeling project by yourself, you’ll need to hire helpers. Naturally, you’ll want to make sure that the folks who work for you are qualified, licensed, and properly insured. But, finding the best team for your remodeling project goes beyond a simple reference check. The architect who has won top awards may have a design vision very different from your own. If you have an older house, hire someone who knows the time period when your house was built; putting a finger on historical appropriateness is an undervalued skill. Use these resources to find the professionals you feel comfortable with

 

When Is the Best Time To Remodel?

There are plenty of home renovations you could do at any point in the year, but knowing the best time to do these projects can significantly cut down your costs. Spring and summer are popular seasons for remodeling, but they might not be the most economically efficient times to work on your project.

Ideally, you’ll work with a contractor on your remodel before their busy season is in full effect. This will allow your contractor to devote ample time and resources to your project. Depending on where you live and what type of project you’re looking to do, different times of the year may be better than others when it comes to remodeling

Summer

Fix Up the Fireplace: When it’s hot outside, you’re not thinking about coming inside to roast by the fire — and neither is anyone else. That’s why summer can be the prime for hiring fireplace remodeling professionals. Whether you’re repairing cracks, putting on a fresh coat of fire-rated paint or mixing up the materials that make up the mantel, you want the fireplace ready to roast chestnuts as soon as those temperatures drop.

Fall

Paint the House: Summer might be the most popular time of year to repaint a home’s exterior, but depending on the climate where you live, fall may be a suitable and slightly less expensive option. Power washing is often done in the fall — and that is an important preparatory step for any outside painting job. But before you schedule a pressure washing session and new paint job back to back, check with a professional painter in your area on how to best time these services.

Winter

Build a Deck: If you want to enjoy sitting out on your new deck in the spring and summer, you’ll want it built toward the early part of the season. A deck designer will need to map out a plan before any construction can begin, and because winter is their slowest season, it’s probably the best time to reach out about your remodeling job.

 

Common Home Remodeling Questions & Answers

Remodeling your home is a big project to undertake, even if you aren’t doing the remodeling part on your own. As an experienced remodeling company in Delaware, we get a lot of questions regarding remodeling a home. We’ve compiled this list of the most common home remodeling questions and answers to help you with your remodeling journey and be the informed consumer you want to be before diving into a remodeling project in Delaware. If you have questions we didn’t answer, leave us a comment or give us a call, we would be happy to help in any way we can.

How much will my remodel cost?

Of course, your specific remodeling costs will depend on the level of remodeling, the features you choose, and the size of your space. We have a couple of generalized cost guides to help you get a better idea of how much your remodel will cost.

How long will my remodel take?

Again this question depends on the type of remodeling you are interested in for your home. The remodeling timeline will be different depending on which room you’re remodeling, how big the space is, and the decision making between you and your remodeler. Here are a couple of resources on the most popular remodels and how long they take

Where should I start remodeling?

If you’re looking to remodel your whole home, you may be wondering where to start or if you should do it all at once. If you’re living in your home through the remodel, you may want to take the remodel room by room. However, if you won’t be in the house throughout the remodel, you may want to do everything at once

How do I start remodeling my home?

The first step to remodeling your home is research. Take a look around your home – now what is a functional problem and what is a design problem. What would you like your home to look like? Get some inspiration from sites like Houzz or Pinterest and what others have done. Once you have a good idea of what you’d like to do, start researching remodelers who can help you achieve your vision.

 

home renovations that return the most at resale

renovations can make us happier in the places we call home, but some updates can add real value when it’s time to sell or refinance. Because some renovations —  think an updated kitchen, new deck or remodeled bathroom — can get pricey, it’s helpful to know what kind of return you might expect before you decide to take on a remodeling project.

Why to consider a home renovation

Remodeling your home adds to your enjoyment, but it can also boost your home’s value over time, too. When you refinance your home, for instance, renovations will be taken into account when a property appraiser assesses your home’s current market value. A higher home value means you’ll have more equity, a lower loan-to-value ratio. You might even be able to cancel private mortgage insurance payments earlier than anticipated.

How much you should invest in home renovations

Before you shell out big bucks for custom updates in your home, having a solid understanding of what renovations yield the highest return for the money is key. You also have to take into account your budget and your renovation goals.

Best home renovations

Whether you plan to stay in your house for a long time or just a few years, it’s smart to know which home renovations add the most value. Here are the six home remodeling projects that deliver the highest returns, according to the Cost vs. Value report.

Garage door replacement

A good-looking garage door tops the list when it comes to getting cash back on your investment when you decide to sell your house. The estimate for this job is based on the cost of removing and disposing of an existing 16-by-7-foot garage door (or two-car garage door) and replacing it with a new four-section garage door with heavy-duty galvanized steel tracks, assuming the motorized garage door opener is compatible. This curb-appeal enhancer will get you back almost every dollar you spent on it when you sell your house.

bookmark_borderWinter’s Biggest Pest Problem Is Rodent Infestation

What are the methods of controlling rodents?

THREE STEPS TO IMPLEMENTING RODENT CONTROL IN YOUR HOME

Rodent control is a major issue for many homeowners. Rats and mice have the ability to transfer diseases, contaminate food and cause structural damage. They are also accomplished chewers, known for gnawing their way through barriers with their powerful front teeth. In fact, the word rodent originates from the French word, rodere, which means “to gnaw.”

Follow these top three methods for rodent control:

BLOCK ENTRANCEWAYS

For effective control of rodents, it is important to ensure that rats and mice have no way of entering your home. Do a thorough inspection of your house, checking for cracks, crevices and other openings. The Mallis Handbook of Pest Control by Arnold Mallis, advises sealing all gaps with an exterior-grade sealant, or cement whenever possible.

Large areas around pipes should be covered in mesh first, and then sealed with cement. Metal panels at the bottom of wooden doors or windows can help prevent rodents from chewing through. You should also cover ventilated areas with mesh.

PREVENT EXTERIOR ACCESS

Trees, weeds and overgrown vegetation can provide access to your home and serve as a food source for rats and mice. For effective rodent control, keep trees trimmed, ensuring that no branches are touching the outside of your home. Eliminate weeds and cut back grass and vegetation, keeping it at low levels.

Store outdoor items and firewood at least a few inches off of the ground. If you have outdoor pets, try to schedule feedings during daylight and do not leave food out overnight. To prevent rodents from accessing garbage, keep trash bags tightly sealed and stored in garbage cans with lids. If you have excessive trouble with rats or mice, consider using rock or concrete landscaping along the edges of your home to keep vegetation at a more suitable distance.

REMOVE INSIDE ATTRACTORS

Sanitation is critical to rodent control. Rats require about 1 to 2 ounces of food per night and at least double the amount of water. Mice require less food and do not require water daily. Do not leave food out on the counter or in open storage. Put all food in airtight containers and keep it stored in cabinets and pantries, or in the refrigerator. Throw garbage out nightly, clean crumbs off of countertops and vacuum floors if necessary.

 

The Basic On Rodent kontrol

Removing rodents with traps or poisons will not keep rodents out of your home in the future. To permanently keep rats and mice out of your home or business, you will need to prevent access by sealing all possible entry points. It is equally important to eliminate rodent attractions such as food and water by keeping food in tightly sealed containers and repairing leaky pipes.

Common Sources of Food and Water

  • Food in unsealed containers such as bags of chips, rice, cereal, crackers, flour, and other non-perishables.
  • Pet food and water left out overnight or in a bag rather than in a secure container.
  • Fruits or vegetables in open bowls left outside of refrigerator.
  • Leaky pipes or faucets throughout the house.
  • Open trash and compost containers.

Common Rodent Access Points

  • Holes near cabinets, closets or doors leading to outside or crawl spaces.
  • Holes around sink or appliance pipes.
  • Cracked foundations in the basement or unscreened ventilation holes in the attic, especially in older structures.
  • Holes around windows or doors.
  • Missing screens in vents or crawl spaces under buildings.

 

Mechanical control

Two types of mechanical control of rodents can be used

Entry proofing

By blocking rodent pathways and entry ways rodents can be controlled effectively. Consider this method for drains, ducts, doors, windows and any other entrances that can be used by the rodents. Use of wire nets and ensuring that all windows and doors have no gaps is a good measure. Start by preventing them from entering the compound first if possible and follow up with blocking entrances to stores. For grain stores, poultry houses and other elevated areas, rodent deflectors made of simple sheet metal placed on the supporting posts will effectively prevent rodents from entering.

Trapping

Many types of traps exist. The most common are trigger traps, cages and glue traps

  • Trigger traps

The trigger traps trip when a rodent walks on them and the quick tripping action hits and traps the rodent. Large rodents have been known to drag these traps to their hideouts.

  • Cages

The cages work by luring the rodents into the enclosure that has a trap door. This means that once the rodent is inside, it cannot be able to leave the cage. The rodent is then allowed to die or starvation or killed by any other means.

  • Glue traps

Glue traps are place on rodent pathways. They are most effective against mice due to their small size. A rodent bait can be placed on the glue to encourage the rats or mice to walk on the glue. Once trapped, the glue plate has to be discarded. Glue traps can be bought or can be made by smearing rodent glue on cardboard pieces

For all mechanical traps, it is important to inspect the traps regularly to remove the trapped rodents, to replenish the bait, to clean the trap and to reset the trap.

 

Monitoring

An important element of any rodent programme is monitoring. Usually it means surveillance for the presence of rodents. However it should also mean looking for features in the environment which would encourage rodents to migrate into it. Monitoring should be organised formally and regularly; that is, specie c staff should be made responsible for it and report regularly, maybe once a week to a superior on the situation. The report should include the following aspects:

  • dates monitored;
  • number, types and positions of signs of rats;
  • condition of the building (broken pipes, walls etc., state of produce, tidiness or cleanliness);
  • conditions immediately outside the building with respect to potential infestation points;
  • qualitative reports by others;
  • dates of baiting;
  • number of bait stations used and positions;
  • amount of bait and labour used;
  • recommendations for improvement, such as repairs to structures, or further action required.

Control of a rodent infestation is rarely completely successful; but if it is, it is usually only for a very short period. Therefore there is a need for continuous monitoring even after a successful control campaign regardless of the techniques and bait used.

 

Sanitation

Just like all other pests, rodents enter your home in search of food and shelter. Since they tend to settle near their food source, your first task is to make sure you stop being a food provider. Otherwise, you will constantly share your home with uninvited roommates that will make a real mess. Think about all the places in the house where rodents might easily find a meal. You should always store food in plastic or glass containers with tight, fitting lids. This also applies to your pet’s food. Never leave food in paper or plastic bags because rodents can tear them with a single bite.

Rodent-proofing

Although sanitation is the most important aspect of rodent control, sometimes even the cleanest of houses experience trouble with rodents. This can happen due to a large rodent infestation close to your home. As soon as they breed to the point where there’s not enough food for everyone, rodents will try to enter your home. That’s why you can’t have proper rodent control without rodent-proofing your house.

Rodent “hunting”

If sanitation and rodent-proofing fail you, or you are already facing a big rodent infestation as you read this, you’ll have to find a way to get rid of these pests. You can do this in several ways.

Natural predators

You can successfully deal with rodents by keeping natural rodent predators such as cats or barn owls. Just have in mind that some cats are not natural rodent hunters. On the other hand, a family of barn owls can eat more than three thousand rodents during their nesting season. You can attract barn owls by placing a shelter box outside your house.

bookmark_borderWhat You Need To Know Before Short Listing The Best Wedding Photographer

What your wedding photographer wants you to know.

Most wedding magazines and sites will give you a list of questions to ask a wedding photographer. Stuff like: “Can you describe your style? What equipment do you shoot with?” But let’s be real: Those questions are boring. And you probably don’t actually care about the answers anyway, So I surveyed some wedding couples and photographers, and put together a list of all those questions you really want to ask with all those things we really want you to know below –

How do I pick a good photographer when there are hundreds out there?

First, check online. Obviously, if you’ve checked trippix, you’re in the right place. The photographers listed are initial partners and are accustomed to online inquiries and bookings.

How many photos do I get after the wedding?

Each wedding photographers typically deliver 50–100 photos for every hour of coverage. So, a couple of hundred photos may seem like a lot, but your wedding photographer is preserving all those little details and the moments you missed while you were mingling.

 

I love those photos with the blurry backgrounds. How do you get that look?

You’re talking about shallow depth of field. Photographers get that look by using professional lenses that are able to focus tightly on the subject.

I found one photographer whose images look soft and pastel, one whose images look clean, and one whose images look like they were shot on old film. What’s the deal?

Every photographer has a different way of editing their images using computer software (the high-tech version of a darkroom). This is called “Post-Processing.” Most photographers do some basic lighting and color adjustments, but you can also use editing software to create a unique look. Three popular styles right now are:

  • Clean: lightly processed to appear natural
  • Matte: a low-contrast look with muted pastel colors, similar to vintage film
  • High Contrast: a vibrant look with rich colors that pop

It doesn’t matter which style you go with, as long as you love it!

Why is wedding photography so freakin’ expensive?

This is the question I see most from brides on the interwebs. Wedding photography seems like easy money — work for one day and rake in the cash, right? But most full-time wedding photographers I know carry over $15,000 worth of wedding gear and often work 60-hour weeks. (Remember those 800 images from question #2? It takes several full days just to edit those.)

Add insurance, taxes, software, advertising, albums, repair, shipping, and studio expenses, and many photographers end up making less than minimum wage for the first few years of their career.

 

The more you trust me, the better your images will be (and yes, your dress will get dirty). 

Fact. My favorite words a couple can say to me, are “we’re up for anything!” Those are the couples who get crazy beautiful images. We try things that seem nuts to them at first, but they trust me anyway, and are blown away with the results! This includes the time of day you get married, and how much time you give me for photos of the two of you. Lighting is EVERYTHING for photos. Yes, your dress will likely get dirty and you might think I’m crazy, but I don’t think you’ll regret it once you see your photos! The more freedom you give me to be creative, the better your wedding photos will be. Truth.

I’m not God.
Nope! I hope you already knew this. But I’ll say it again, I’m not God. I don’t control the weather, or the lighting. That’s up to the man upstairs. If it rains, I’ll roll with it! Shooting in the rain is less scary than it seems and we can still get some beautiful photos. But don’t expect me to have a tent and umbrellas for 300 people in my camera bag. That’s just silly.

I don’t want you to look at me.
No seriously. During your engagement session and bride and groom portraits, I don’t want you to look at me! Unless I tell you to. The goal is to get you to interact with each other and share some beautiful moments together! I’m just there to capture it all. Of course, I’ll give you some cues and help you out along the way. But for the most part, just try to forget I’m there, and you’ll love your images!

 

We need to eat when you do.

Not only that, but we just plain need to eat. Sometimes we get forgotten, but by the time dinner rolls around we have most likely already been working for 6 or 7 hours. You and your posse are our #1 priority. Nobody wants their picture taken with a mouth full of food, so plan for us to eat while you eat so we can be finished when you are. Some reception venues and caterers will insist on serving vendors last, so be sure to address this with your venue or caterer prior to your wedding day.

Don’t forget about your photographer in the midst of a sea of iPhones.

Everyone wants a photo with the bride and groom on their wedding day – you are looking and feeling fabulous and it’s a once in a lifetime event. Don’t forget and most definitely don’t be shy when you are taking a group photo with someone’s iPhone. Call us over – we would love to capture a photo on our cameras so you have a copy. We’ll even take a photo with your friend’s iPhone so they can be in the picture too!

 

Instruct your DJ to communicate with the photographer during the reception.  

It’s best if they let me know BEFORE they start the cake cutting, bouquet toss, etc., so I can be prepared for these shots. Your aunt Margorie might have dragged me into another room and is having me take pictures of your second cousins twice removed while something important is happening on the dance floor. And then I’ll miss it. And you’ll be upset. And so will I!

Brides should go first (or close to it) for hair and make-up.  

Too many times bridesmaids make lots and lots of changes and that takes up the make-up artists’ time, which makes the bride late to start – which means late first look, rushed bridal party portraits, and all together… less photos. Bridesmaids can really sabotage a day. And sometimes on purpose!

bookmark_borderMain Job Description Of Camera Operator

Random Tips from a Professional Camera Operator

My childhood dream was to be a camera operator. I wanted to be the person looking through the camera and framing a shot. While I would have enjoyed having a long career as an operator, I entered the business at a time when operators were a dying breed, and the only people guaranteed careers as operators were Steadicam operators. I wasn’t particularly interested in doing that, so I moved towards being a director of photography faster than I had expected. Most of the shoots I do don’t require, or won’t hire, an operator, so in a way I’m still a career operator. I just get to light the shots as well as operate them

No one taught me how to be an operator. At a young age I found myself drawn to strong compositions in certain TV shows and movies, and I sought to emulate those compositions with my Regular 8mm film camera. Over time I learned, through trial and error and the occasional tip from those more experienced than I, how to move the camera predictably and repeatedly

LEARN THE GEARED HEAD

I really enjoy working with geared heads, although I rarely get to use them anymore. Most of my projects can’t afford to rent one for me. Hopefully this will change with the advent of the Gearnex geared head, which I’ve now used on several shoots

Buy, rent or borrow a geared head and strap a laser pointer to it: learn to write your name in light on a wall.

Although this is the most commonly recommend way of learning the wheels, I’m skeptical of this method as it teaches you to write your name in light on a wall–which is something you’ll never do. In my career–approaching 23 years in the film industry–I’ve only once had to follow text with a geared head, while operating second camera on a feature called “No Way Back.” A gang member spray painted words onto the side of a tunnel, and I had to follow his writing in third gear, with no rehearsal, on an 85mm lens. I nailed it, and I’d never done anything like that before.

Buy, rent or borrow a geared head and strap camera to it: follow people around.

Learning to read, and react to, body language is a huge part of operating a camera. You’ll get a lot farther faster if you learn to follow people around and interpret body movement and language through the wheels than you will simply learning the craft of moving the wheels, which is what the laser pointer technique teaches

 

Tips for being an Outstanding Camera Assistant

Being a professional Camera Assistant can be the hardest job on the crew. It carries more responsibility than most people think and even worse… while everyone else is on a tea break, the Camera Assistant is usually working, loading magazines, filling out Camera Report Sheets or organizing the camera equipment for the next set-up.

The stuff I’ve written here is based on film camera assistants but the rules apply for video assistants too. So, without further ado… let us begin! All experienced camera crews working at the top end of the film and TV industry such as   Cinematographers, Lighting Camera men/women, Camera Operators and Focus Pullers, have all done their time as Camera Assistants.

Always be a good time keeper and turn up at least 15 minutes before you are expected to start work. General rule of thumb: “If you’re on time… you’re late!”

Strive to be efficient and organized – Your aim is to be an outstanding Assistant. (Never aim for mediocrity, it won’t get you anywhere.)

When the camera is not in use keep it low on the tripod or preferably keep it in a safe place on the ground. Always place it on a groundsheet and protect it from moisture or dust with the rain cover.  Remember: “If it’s on the ground, it can’t fall any further!”

 

How To Be a Better Camera Operator

Welcome back to part 3 of my “How To Be A Better Camera Operator” series (if you haven’t read part 1 and part 2… what are you waiting for?! Haha). In this post we’ll be looking at Camera Equipment – there’s lots of information flying around all over the place about gear, so sometimes it can be very tough to see what’s really important about the kit you use. In this post I’ll try to cover what you need, why you need it and how to make sure it keeps doing what you want it to do!

Cameras

As there are so many different cameras out there I’m not going to discuss the ‘right’ camera to choose or use, as this largely depends on the type of work you do and anyway, as I’m sure you’ve already discovered there’s so much stuff online now about all the various cameras that are available, their pros and cons, special features and …well the internet groans under the strain of it all!

One thing I will say though is that having the latest, all singing all dancing camera with the brand new bells and whistles doesn’t make you a better camera operator. Similarly just because you have Microsoft Word on your computer doesn’t make you a better writer than William Shakespeare. I think you’ll all agree that even though good old Will had nothing but an unpretentious sharpened goose feather to work with… he kind of managed ok!!!

Camera Care

Looking after your camera is number one. It’s simple…Look after your equipment and your equipment will look after you.

DO: Always have a rain cover handy if you are filming outdoors. Also use a lens cap ready for the lens. Pretty obvious really, water and electrics don’t mix! To protect the lens from rain a great tip used by loads of camera assistants is to use disposable shower caps (the sort you sometimes find in hotels) because they are elasticated it only takes a second to snap one over the lens: it’ll protect it between Takes from those potentially damaging and annoying rain droplets.

 

qualities to look for when hiring a cameraman or crew

Great attention is given to actors, directors and producers, but what about the guy (or gal) you never see – the one on the other side of the lens? The one who holds a 25 lb. piece of equipment on their shoulder, while walking along a bumpy road with their vision tunneled into a small 1 inch rectangle, trying to get “the shot”….the cameraman

Easy to work with/Flexible

Finding someone who is flexible and easy to work with is always nice to have, but it is especially true when selecting a camera operator. You want someone who can: put those being filmed at ease; be patient when working on set during unavoidable delays; and be understanding about reshooting if you’re not getting what you had envisioned. You may be able to step in and do an “okay job” at other tasks, but shooting with a $50,000 camera and lens takes technical skills learned through school and years of practice

Honed technical skills/Tech savvy

Operating a camera, maintaining composition and adjusting camera angles is no easy feat. Learning, understanding and honing the technical skills required to become an operator takes many years – and then several more to hone a specialty. For instance, to be good at news requires a cameraman who is quick thinking and fast on their feet.  Others may be good at sports production and following the ball, or an expert in EFP (Electronic Field Production) which requires precise lighting and composition.  Still others specialize in multi-cam for meetings and the like, and then some can do it all.  Camera operators also need to stay up-to-date on shooting techniques, lighting, new equipment, and a plethora of formats, frame rates and resolutions

Physical stamina and strength

While keeping abreast of the latest news through industry associations, forums and journals is important for honing technical skills, the camera operator must also possess physical stamina, strength and manual dexterity. Shooting, although lots of fun, can also be very demanding – with long hours, challenging conditions, and the need to be on your feet all day

Creativity: they have a “good eye”

Creativity is something that cannot be taught. A good camera operator will be able to spot a good opportunity and have an artistic eye for framing shots. Having the ability to look through the lens and picture how all of the elements come together – visual composition, perspective, lighting and movement – is crucial so that the images captured will reinforce your message and tell your story in the way you want it to and one that is consistent with your brand image

 

A GUIDE TO BECOMING A CAMERA OPERATOR

Director of Photography Etienne Sauret’s Viewpoint

Experienced camera operators possess unique combinations of skills. They all seem to have artistic sensibilities – facile perception, a keen eye and the ability to compose balance and beauty in a frame; they also have impressive technical skills – a solid understanding of lighting, audio equipment, electrical requirements and even the physics required to produce the right shot with efficient timing. Due to the rigorous demands of the job, and the un-repetitious nature of the work, most camera operators build a career with a blend of education and on-the-job training. They also tend to be confident, lifelong learners willing to take on new challenges and learn new technologies to develop their craft.

The Camera Operator Job

A camera operator is someone who sets up a camera and records images that will later be edited for an audience. Camera operators are employed to film TV shows, motion pictures, music videos, documentaries, news segments, corporate meetings and sports events. In the US, most operators work in the motion picture industry or in television broadcasting, but the number of operators working in corporate video production is increasing. Some camera operators are employed by production houses, corporations and institutions such as churches with in-house studios; and others work as freelancers or owner operators. The median annual Camera Operator salary in the US is $38,938, as of November 07, 2016, with a range usually between $31,958-$47,334, however this can vary based on geography and industry. For example, the mean income for the motion picture industry is $64,810 and the mean income for Broadcast and Radio is $51,970.

Assess Your Physical, Technical and People Skills

Your path to becoming an operator starts with taking a self-assessment. Since a camera operator does indeed operate camera equipment and its related accessories (which can add up to over 100 lbs with the most sophisticated camera packages), there is a level of comfort with the physical and technical nature of the work that you must be able and willing to develop. Learning about the highly technical specifications and capabilities of cameras, audio equipment and lighting is the foundation of becoming an operator. If you are fascinated with gadgets and new technology and you can’t keep yourself from experimenting with your camera settings and the video editing software on your computer, you might have what it takes for the multi-year process to learn the craft.

Commit to Lifelong Learning

After you develop a basic understanding of the concepts and equipment camera operators use, you must put them into practice with an internship or camera assistant position with a film or video production crew. In such positions, you will be shadowing, moving equipment around, running errands, performing administrative tasks and occasionally adjusting a camera. Eventually after a year or two, you will work your way to running a camera or jib. It is important that you volunteer to do everything you have permission to do as an assistant to understand how a crew works and how each person impacts the production process. It is important to take these tasks seriously as they are all essential for a production to be successful. You will also establish your reputation as hard worker who is eager to learn, shows up on time and gets the job done.

A Very Rewarding Career

A camera operator’s career is one that truly gives back. If you put the work into it, you will get amazing rewards. These rewards start with the aesthetics and social impact of the films and video you help create but they don’t end there. As you build your reputation in this industry, you will stand out and be appreciated among a select group of people that chose this work. The sky is the limit if you stay focused and seize every opportunity

bookmark_borderHow To Clear A Clogged Toilet With A Toilet Auger

Tips For Preventing Toilet Troubles

DO clean your toilet regularly with a mild cleaner. Vinegar, baking soda, or a mild soap are all great for regular porcelain cleaning. Not only does cleaning your toilet help you keep a more hygienic, better smelling bathroom, it also gives you the opportunity to spot a leak or a problem with your bathroom’s plumbing fairly quickly. If you never really clean up around the toilet area, how will you know if that water on the floor is from your shower, your toilet, or the sleepwalking male members of your household?

DON’T use chemical drain cleaners to unclog your toilet. While some plumbers say ‘yea’ and others say ‘nay’ when it comes to using these products, we say it’s just not worth the risk. Not only are these products harmful to your health if accidentally splattered on your skin, consumed, or even inhaled too much, they can damage older fixtures and pipes, and really aren’t something anyone wants in our water systems. They can also cause a lot of trouble for homes with septic systems if they kill off the good bacteria in there.

DO inspect your toilet’s inner workings about every 6 months to make sure the components are still in good shape and functioning properly. Take the tank lid off and flush the toilet. Watch the components work, making sure the flapper is sealing well and the fill valve stops running at an appropriate water level.

DO fix a running or leaking toilet right away. Toilet leaks are typically “silent”, in that you won’t necessarily find a puddle of water on the floor since the water is usually leaking out from the tank into the bowl (and down the drain). This makes it fairly easy to overlook the leak, or to keep putting off fixing it. Toilet leaks are generally slow leaks too, so you might not even notice a small increase in your bills each month until you look back and realize you’re paying $100 more for water this month than you did at the same time last year.

DON’T use a brick to save water in your tank. Unless your toilet is older than the mid-90’s, you’re using 1.6 gallons per flush (or less), and most sewage systems really do need that much water to effectively move the waste. If your toilet is older and you want to save water, we recommend filling a water bottle with sand or small rocks and using that to displace some of the water. Bricks can break down and clog your pipes.

 

The Right Way to Use a Plunger

If your toilet’s overflowing or your sink’s stopped up, it’s time to take the plunge! About 90 percent of the time, a clog can be cleared with just a couple of thrusts of a plunger. To make the messy job easy, though, it’s important to have the right kind of plunger and the proper technique. As it turns out, not all plungers are created equal; some are best suited for sinks and showers, while others are appropriate for use on toilets. Once you’ve determined the best tool for the job, success is all about form. Contrary to popular practice, repeatedly flushing while frantically pumping won’t release the blockage any faster—instead, it will break the plunger’s seal and ruin the suction. To keep the water flowing freely down your pipes, avoid those amateur mistakes and learn to plunge like a pro with these valuable tips.

Pick the Perfect Plunger

Start at the very beginning: While there’s probably a shelf full of plungers available for purchase at your grocery or home improvement store, the two most common styles are the cup plunger and the flange. It’s smart to stock one of each and be familiar with their strengths so you can determine which one’s right for your mini-emergency.

he Cup: When you think of a plunger, the image that comes to mind most often is that of a simple wooden handle attached to a rubber cup. It’s this cup that gives the tool the name “cup plunger.” This design is most effective on flat-surface drains, which are found in the sink and bathtub. While it works well for a sink, shower, or bathtub clog, the cup plunger can’t create a sufficiently airtight seal in the curve of a toilet drain to produce adequate suction

The Flange: A toilet clog calls for a different type of plunger entirely: the flange plunger, which has an extra ring of rubber (the flange) around the cup. The flange is inserted into the toilet drain, sealing in the air and increasing the suction power. In a pinch, you can fold the rubber ring back into the bell of the plunger and use it to unclog a tub or sink drain, but a true cup plunger will be more effective

Plunging a Sink, Shower, or Tub

When using a standard cup plunger, start by covering the overflow drain, if there is one, with a wet towel. Doing so prevents air from escaping and decreasing the suction power. While you’re at it, it’s a good idea to seal off any nearby drains in sinks or tubs to ensure better results. To further improve the plunger’s suction power, create a tighter seal by lining the rim of the cup with a small amount of petroleum jelly.

 

Unclog your toilet with this simple and ingenious trick — no plunger required

Over the course of many years, I’ve practiced and honed the ancient art of unclogging a clogged toilet without needing to use a plunger. Why not just buy a plunger? Simply put, I never needed to on account of this particular bit of washroom wizardry. This technique is especially handy if you ever find yourself staring down a stopped-up commode in someone else’s bathroom with no plunger in sight — a situation in which you might be understandably reluctant to call for backup.

I didn’t invent this particular process for plunging without a plunger — the same basic technique can be found all across the web on plumbing and DIY blogs, both mainstream and obscure — but I can attest to its power and might

Most bathrooms have everything you’ll need

To perform this trick, you’ll need three things that can be found in almost any bathroom: soap, hot water and a vessel for transferring the water to the toilet bowl. Dish soap and a 5-gallon bucket work best, but if secrecy is paramount and leaving the lavatory would blow your cover, a small plastic waste bin and a few pumps from a hand soap dispenser will do just fine.

Mixing the magical potion

The objective is to get the liquid in the toilet bowl as hot and soapy as possible without letting it overflow. You can either pour (or pump) soap directly into the bowl and then add hot water, or you can mix the soap with the hot water before you add it to the bowl.

Carefully and gently add the hot water

Mixing everything up in the toilet bowl is the step requiring the most finesse. You want to raise the average water temperature and get the soap into every crevice, but you don’t necessarily want to create a slurry with what’s already in there.

 

HOW TO PICK THE RIGHT PLUNGER

Sinks, showers and toilets can often become clogged for many different reasons. For many such jobs, a plunger can do the trick and get things rolling again. However, in order to ensure a job well done, you must think like a professional plumber and make sure you are choosing the right plunger

GET THE RIGHT TOOL FOR THE JOB

There are two main types of plungers, and each type serves a unique purpose. The classic flat-bottomed plunger is meant, perhaps quite naturally, for flat surfaces like sinks. In contrast, the more curved bottom of a toilet requires a protruding flange plunger, which looks like a flat plunger just with an extra bit coming out the bottom.

MAKE SURE IT CAN FORM A TIGHT SEAL

Plungers work by creating a vacuum within the drain, and then allowing you to use this vacuum to your advantage to unclog things. In order for this to happen, however, the plunger needs to be able to make a tight seal around the drain in question. This is why older plungers with cracks or holes in them don’t work very well. Before getting a new plunger, be sure it is able to create a good seal both today and well into the future.

IS IT COMFORTABLE TO USE?

Sometimes, plungers don’t work unless you put a little elbow grease behind them. Be sure you buy a plunger with good grip that is comfortable to use, as you don’t want to strain yourself while clearing a drain.

 

How to Unclog a Toilet Like a Plumber

It’s every man’s worst fear. You’re at someone’s house, you  finish doing your business and flush the toilet, but instead of going down, the water comes up along with whatever you just deposited in the bowl. Would you be paralyzed with panic in that moment? Or do you know what to do?

Thankfully, unclogging a toilet isn’t hard at all. Even the most gnarliest of clogs can be taken care of with ease. To help us learn how to effectively unclog a toilet, I called up Rod from Roto-Rooter and got the scoop

top the Toilet Bowl From Filling Up.

If it looks like the water might overflow out of the toilet, Rod suggests taking the lid off the tank as quickly as possible and closing the toilet flapper. The flapper releases water from the tank and into the bowl. It looks like, well, a flapper. If you’re worried that your flush has a good chance of turning into a flood, take off the top before you pull the trigger. Then you can keep one hand close to the flapper while the other hands pushes the flusher. The minute it appears the water is rising, you’re ready to stop the deluge

Get the Right Plunger

Once disaster has been averted, it’s time to unsheathe your plunger. To effectively use a plunger, you need a good seal between it and the toilet bowl. Funnel-cup plungers are the best plungers for this. They’re the ones with a flange, or added piece, extending off the bottom of the rubber cup

Warm Up Your Plunger

Stiff, hard plungers don’t work as well as soft and pliant ones. Run your plunger under some hot water before you use it. This will soften up the rubber, which will help you get a better seal on the toilet bowl.

bookmark_borderIntroduction To Drywall Repairs Materials

HOW TO REPAIR A HOLE IN DRYWALL

Drywall repair is a common home maintenance task that many homeowners can do themselves. The skill set, tools and techniques required for drywall repair depend on the size of the hole. If you can flip a fried egg, you can easily patch a small nick in your drywall, but it gets trickier as the holes get bigger. But don’t worry; Mr. Handyman is here to help! Download our Drywall Repair Guide for step-by-step instructions.

Drywall Repair Techniques

The size of the hole will determine what method of repair you’ll use. You may not need all of these tools – before you purchase anything, reference the guidelines below to see what you’ll need. You’ll find the required materials listed with each step. Drywall tape is available in paper or mesh, select mesh if you have a choice. The tools in bold are required for each step, regardless of hole size.

HOW TO PATCH A SMALL HOLE (ANYTHING SMALLER THAN A NICKEL)

Small holes in drywall are simple to fix. Any hole larger than a nickel should be repaired with the instructions under Medium or Large hole. Use spackle or joint compound to fill the hole. If you’re using joint compound, buy it pre-mixed for small DIY jobs. Spackle may shrink as it dries in larger holes and may require an extra application. Joint compound may run out or bulge as it sets and will require sanding and a second application.

HOW TO PATCH A MEDIUM HOLE (ANYTHING SMALLER THAN SIX INCHES)

For a professional finish follow the instructions under Large hole. This method requires finesse to feather the joint compound into the rest of the wall – if not done correctly, you will see a slight bulge in the wall. You must feather the repair area (gradually reduce the thickness outward) when applying the joint compound and in the sanding stage. Use a drywall patch that is slightly larger than the hole that needs to be repaired. You can purchase these at your local hardware store. Look for a kit, which will include everything you need.

HOW TO PATCH A LARGE HOLE (ANYTHING LARGER THAN SIX INCHES)

Take your time, and be careful not to nick any wires or plumbing during installation. Although this method requires more tools, the final result is more professional looking.

 

Tips for Hiring a Professional Drywall Contractor

The place called home must be truly made and designed to provide the deserved welcome any visitor and home owner desires when entering into the house. This and many other reasons was responsible for home design and decorations many years ago. One of the ways to design the wall or ceiling of a building is the installation of drywall which is usually very difficult and laborious work. Drywall installation involves a good knowledge of the techniques to ensure and guarantee a good outcome. The cutting, shaping and putting the panel into place and fastening as part of the sheetrock process does not give room for unprofessional practices which can mar and destroy the whole of the work while the plastering and sanding to ensure wall smoothness and elegance also require a high level of expertise and experience. Thus, installing drywall requires you find a professional installer for quality and reputable service. If you want a home renovation or improvement done or you need a residential drywall repair specialist. If you intend to install drywall for a new home or office, finding a professional installer may be difficult. However, below are some very useful tips to help find professional and reliable drywall installation contractor easily

Find a List of Contractors

Finding the perfect drywall contract for your residential drywall repair or for drywall installation for new homes or offices starts with you finding a list of drywall contractors within and around your location. You can go online, visit home building stores or just through word-of-mouth from friends and colleagues. Be sure the contractors you find offer the service you need. Once you have a good list of commercial drywall contractors, you then need to vet them.

Interview Contractors

Now that you have compiled a list of commercial drywall contractors, you have to be sure you are hiring the best out of many and doing this requires you set up an interview for them. Place a call to each of the drywall contractors and ask very good questions. If you find it hard to do this, ask these questions; ask about the company and years of service, all the services they offer, ask about how the company will finish the job if eventually hired, ask of time to complete the job and many other very important questions.

Licensing and Insurance

The drywall installation contractor must possess every necessary documents from government agencies and establishments that offer license and authorization. You must be sure that the installation company is duly registered, authorized and licensed to work. You should also be sure that the company is insured so that they can pay if any damage occurs during installation. Check the documents physically to be very sure.

Get References and Reviews

Reference and Reviews always help to avoid scams and stay safe when hiring a professional drywall installer as commercial drywall contractor for your residential drywall repair at home or in the office. Ask about reviews from neighbors, friends and colleagues. You can also get some reviews on their website.

 

Dos and Don’ts of Repairing Drywall

Drywall is tough, but it’s not indestructible. Over time, gypsum-board walls can sustain ugly cracks or holes. Fortunately, drywall is fairly easy to repair, but there is an art to it. Here’s what to do—and what to avoid—when fixing drywall damage so it’s indiscernible to landlords, homebuyers, or visitors.

DO use the right stuff.

When repairing minor scratches or dents smaller than ½ inch across, fill them with a thin layer of joint compound (also known as drywall mud). Apply using a 3- to 4-inch putty knife made for drywall work—rather than, say, the kind of narrow utility knife you’d use for wood putty—smoothing the filler till it’s flush with the wall. Cracks or holes larger than ½ inch require reinforcing mesh prior to spackling. If you apply joint compound directly to large gouges, the damage will reappear as the house settles and the joint compound dries and crumbles.

DON’T waste time.

Avail yourself of pre-made products designed to simplify repair tasks. Patch kits with reinforced center panels and self-adhesive tape work great for smaller holes. A drywall compound and primer combo (such as 3M Patch Plus Primer, available on Amazon) leaves a surface that’s ready to paint

DO remember neatness counts.

Use a box cutter or other sharp blade to cut random strands of mesh tape or frayed edges of wallboard paper around holes or cracks before applying joint compound. Otherwise your finished work will show bumps and other blemishes

DON’T cut the cords.

Be safe and don’t cut into a wall to repair a hole until you verify that electrical cords and plumbing lines aren’t running through the cabinet behind it. If the hole is just a few inches wide, shine a flashlight into it to see what’s there. If you must enlarge the hole, carefully cut horizontally with a drywall saw—but avoid going deeper than an inch. It’s safe to assume that hot wires will be present near an electrical outlet, but don’t bet your life—or life savings—that homebuilders or renovators followed all electrical and plumbing codes. Wires and pipes are often found where they don’t belong.

 

Drywall Repair Cost: What Is a Fair Price for Your Project?

Drywall is used in 96 percent of homes today, so there’s a pretty good chance your walls and ceilings are made of this highly popular material. Unfortunately, it’s quite susceptible to damage, so no matter how careful you are, there’s a good chance you’ll encounter some bumps and dents that will need to be repaired, especially if you’ve got kids and pets.

While the thought of doing drywall repairs yourself may seem daunting, handling minor damage can be fairly inexpensive and can generally be done in a couple of hours. More complicated repairs done by a handyman or contractor will be more expensive due to the labor-intensive nature of the job but can yield excellent results.

So, how can you decide who should do the job and if the drywall repair cost is fair? We’ve put together a guide to help you understand all the ins and outs of drywall repair costs, when you can DIY vs. hiring a pro, and how to find a good professional when you need one.

Average Cost of Drywall Repair

So how much does drywall repair cost? The answer is dependent on the severity of the damage, accessibility and who does the work.

Drywall Repairs You Can Do Yourself

If you’re handy, you should be able to tackle small holes, nail pops, chips, and stress cracks (less than 6-inches across) and it will only cost between $10 and $30 for basic supplies like drywall mud, sandpaper, and touch-up paint. A handyman can handle these types of repairs within a couple hours and it will cost you between $60 and $180

 

Top Drywall Repair Companies Near Your Area

Ask About Licensing and Insurance

Depending on your location, a business license could be the only thing required for drywall repair. Find out which licensing procedures are required in your area, and then make sure that prospective drywall repair contractors are properly licensed. The right contractors will also be properly insured, and they will happily provide proof of insurance when asked.

Make Sure to Get a Written Contract

Whether your drywall repair project is big or small, a written contract is something that you can’t do without. If your prospective drywall repair company prepares the contract themselves, make sure that you read it thoroughly to ensure that all of the points are satisfactory. If there are any issues with the contract, don’t be shy to ask for revisions

Follow the Rule of Three

Before you start with contracts, get three estimates from different pros to compare local prices for this service.

Ask About the Tools They Use

Ask for a rundown of the repair process from start to finish including information about the tools that your drywall repair contractors will use. It’s also important to make sure that your contractors will clean up their own mess.

bookmark_borderMost Frequent Electrical Home Inspections Problems

Five Tips to Get the Most From Your Electrical Inspection

just like your car, electrical systems can develop a host of problems that are best fixed sooner rather than later. Many contractors on Angie’s List offer electrical inspections to root out issues ranging from mismatched wires to major safety concerns.

Check the code

Christopher Voglund, owner of highly rated Artisan Electric in Lafayette, Indiana, says he charges an average of $600 for top-to-bottom inspections, but the cost varies depending on the level of detail a homeowner requests.

Focus on safety

Rob Gruen, owner of highly rated Brighter Connection in Milwaukee, says he focuses first and foremost on safety during his inspections, which tend to cost about $100 depending on house size. “I’m looking for junction boxes missing covers, outlets that aren’t grounded properly, and outlets that should have GFCI, which is required in rooms [located] near water like kitchens and bathrooms,” he says. “These things provide an important protection against shock.”

Match the wires

Gruen verifies that the circuit breakers, wires and outlets all match up to the correct kinds of amperage for that circuit. Otherwise, the risk of overloading one or more elements increases. “When the amperage and wire gauge don’t match up, that’s the very definition of a fire hazard,” he says.

Test the panel

Any electrical inspection should address the main panel and circuit breakers. “You want to make sure the cover is installed correctly and that breakers are tight on the main panel,” Gruen says. “If those things aren’t tight, you start having problems. I look for discoloration or signs of burn marks, rust and wear. It’ll take years, but you can see that kind of stuff going wrong.”

 

How To Inspect Your Own House

A few months ago I wrote a blog post about homeowner maintenance inspections, wherein I promoted the virtues of having a home inspector conduct maintenance inspections on existing homes every five years or so.  I promised to follow up with a post on how homeowners could conduct their own home inspections, but I don’t know what I was thinking when I said I’d follow up with a “post”.  I should have said I’d follow up with my longest “series” of posts ever.  For the first part of this series, I covered the inspection of the exterior.  I took a little break in this series because I had a few other things to discuss that were somewhat time sensitive, but I’m back on the homeowner inspection series again.

Overhead Wires

If your home has overhead wires bringing in power, check to make sure there are no tree branches rubbing on the wires.  It’s the homeowner’s responsibility to maintain / trim trees on the property that may interfere with the overhead wires coming from the utility pole to the house

Also, take a close look at the connection point between the overhead wires right before they disappear into the mast head.  One wire is the neutral wire; it’s normal for this wire to be exposed, but the other two wires shouldn’t have any exposed contacts.  If there are, these are serious shock / electrocution hazards that should be repaired by the utility company.  The photo below gives an example of an exposed ferrule at one of the hot wires.  Touch that thing with an aluminum ladder, roof rake, or something similar, and it’ll be lights out for you

Every once in a while you’ll get a different reading, such as all three lights lit up, or a bright middle light and dim lights on the left and right.  These readings indicate problems that should be looked into further by an electrician. If there are loose outlets, the repair is usually as simple as removing the cover plate and tightening the screws that hold the outlet in place.

Cover Plates

Not only do cover plates help to prevent accidental shocks, but they help to contain any arcing or sparking that might take place within an electrical box, thus potentially preventing a fire.  Go through your home and make sure there are cover plates installed for all of the outlets, switches, and junction boxes.  A few of the more common places for missing cover plates are in unfinished basement areas, behind refrigerators, inside kitchen cabinets, and at garage ceilings.

While this is usually a very simple DIY repair, the photo above shows a situation where the fix isn’t quite so simple; if a cover plate was installed over the pegboard, it would leave a gap between the box and the cover that could allow sparks to escape and potentially start a fire.  The fix for this situation would actually involve cutting away the pegboard a little more so that a cover plate could be installed tight against the box

 

Tips for Passing an Electrical Inspection

Just this morning, my local township electrical inspector stopped by and reviewed the electrical work I had performed for our home office improvement project.  He gave us a passing grade, which means I officially have approval to cover the framing with drywall and finish the room.  He pointed out a couple changes I need to make before he returns, so I do need to take care of those issues.  This is probably the third or fourth time he’s been out to our house for an inspection so I’ve learned to prepare for the things he likes to see

Ask the Inspector First.  When you schedule the inspector, try to actually have a conversation with him or her about what they expect to see and what pitfalls you can avoid.  All inspectors should be looking for the same checks, but some have additional requirements or pet-peeves that can fail you.  Checking with them first is a great way to establish a name to a face and get a sense of their general requirements.

Don’t Add Any Devices.  During the rough-in inspection, there can’t be any devices on the circuits you are adding. No outlets, no lights, no switches, nada, nunca.  If you are adding an outlet to an existing circuit, then the NEW outlet should also not be installed either.  The rest of the outlets on that circuit that were originally there are probably fine, but if you disturbed the wiring in any outlet, it shouldn’t have a device for the inspection

Tie Your Grounds Together.  In each outlet or electrical box location, the ground wires should be tied together.  This is something my inspector noted today.  Don’t tie anything else together though.  The hot and neutral leads should remain separate

Fire Block.  Any holes or penetrations from one floor to the next or from one wiring passage to the next needs to be blocked so as to prevent a fire using the hole as a breathing hole or chimney.  Typically, you can use fire block expanding foam (which is bright orange in color) or regular fiberglass insulation to fill or plug these kind of holes

 

How To Inspect Your Own House

A few months ago I wrote a blog post about homeowner maintenance inspections, wherein I promoted the virtues of having a home inspector conduct maintenance inspections on existing homes every five years or so.  I promised to follow up with a post on how homeowners could conduct their own home inspections, but I don’t know what I was thinking when I said I’d follow up with a “post”.  I should have said I’d follow up with my longest “series” of posts ever.  For the first part of this series, I covered the inspection of the exterior.  I took a little break in this series because I had a few other things to discuss that were somewhat time sensitive, but I’m back on the homeowner inspection series again.

Overhead Wires

If your home has overhead wires bringing in power, check to make sure there are no tree branches rubbing on the wires.  It’s the homeowner’s responsibility to maintain / trim trees on the property that may interfere with the overhead wires coming from the utility pole to the house.

Outlets

To test the outlets at your home, go buy yourself an outlet tester.  These are sold at all home improvement stores and hardware stores for about $5, or a little more if the tester comes with a GFCI tester.  A GFCI tester makes it a lot easier to verify that non-GFCI outlets in your home are GFCI protected, but it’s not a valid way to test GFCI outlets.  More on that topic below.  The tester shown at right currently sells for $7.49 on Amazon. So now that you have a tester, go around and test all of the outlets in your home.  The light codes displayed by the tester will tell you if the outlet is properly wired, or what the problem is if the outlet isn’t properly wired.

Open Ground – more commonly described as an ungrounded three-prong outlet.  Click this link for information about how to correct an ungrounded three-prong outlet.  This is a condition that should be repaired by an electrician.

Open Neutral – this is a very uncommon defect; it means there is power at the outlet, but whatever is plugged into the outlet won’t work.  Every once in a while, this is the result of a switched neutral wire.

Open Hot – there’s no “hot” wire at the outlet… or there’s a live hot and no neutral and no ground.  Whatever is plugged into the outlet won’t work.  Sometimes this might be the result of a switched outlet and the switch is just off, but in many cases it just means it’s a dead outlet.

 

Will my electrical wires pass a home inspection?

You’d be surprised by how many homes have electrical wires that aren’t up to code. Some of these wires are simply old or made of outdated material. Others are damaged, worn out, or even dangerous.

Of course, it’s difficult to tell whether wires are up to code just by looking at them. That’s where professional home inspections come in

How do home electrical inspections work?

A home electrical inspection is a thorough review of your home’s entire electrical system conducted by a professional. A proper electrical inspection follows a procedure stipulated in the National Electrical Code (NEC). The NEC is a set of electrical safety standards that the National Fire Protection Association constantly re-evaluates and updates with input from electrical professionals all over the country. When electricians determine whether something is “up to code,” the NEC is what they’re talking about

Why wouldn’t my wires pass an electrical inspection?

If any electrical feature doesn’t “pass” inspection, that means it fails to meet the minimum safety standards established by the NEC. Wires are among the most common electrical features to “fail” inspection because they’re hard for non-professionals to check on

Age

Wires may wear down over time, especially if you installed them a long time ago. Older wires are also more likely to be made of substandard material or installed with substandard methodologies like knob-and-tube wiring. The older your home, the more likely it is that your electrical wiring is old, too. If you can’t remember the last time you had your older home’s wires inspected, then it’s probably time.

bookmark_borderSimple Bed Bug Elimination Plan

How to Detect Bed Bugs

Detecting bed bugs can be difficult, as they are small in size and able to hide in tiny cracks and crevices. However, evidence of a bed bug infestation may be found in bedding and on mattresses. Live bed bugs leave clusters of dark brown or black spots of dried excrement on infested surfaces. Bed bugs also exude a subtle, sweet, musty odor.

Where to Check for Bed Bugs

Bed bugs usually are found close to where people spend much of their time, and since bed bugs have flattened bodies, they like to get into small cracks and crevice near where people sleep. Examples include mattresses, box springs, headboards, footboards, bed frames and other furniture that is within 5-8 feet of the bed. Other common locations are cracks and gaps behind wall outlets, floor molding, window and door molding and where carpet edges meet the wall. Bed bugs have been known to occur in many different locations if their population is large and they have dispersed from their more common areas to areas where they are normally less likely to be found.

Bed bugs are easily transported into previously non-infested dwellings. If you have detected a bed bug infestation within your home, contact a pest control professional to discuss treatment options.

Bed Bug Control & Removal Service

Bed bugs are troublesome household pests. They’re sneaky, hard to find, and can pose potential health risks for you and your family. Armed with pest control capabilities backed by science, over 100 years of experience, and state-of-the-art tools and products, Orkin is well-equipped to assess your bed bug problem and mount a strategic response to rid your home of the pest and provide maximum protection.

Inspection & Treatment For Active Infestations

To the untrained eye, rooting out a bed bug infestation can prove difficult, and even if discovered, home remedies and over-the-counter deterrents are often ineffective. Utilizing our A.I.M. protection process, a highly-trained Orkin specialist will assess your home, implement a solution, and monitor activity to ensure the effectiveness of our efforts and offer added peace of mind

 

Things That Bed Bugs Attracted

Bed bugs attracted to carbon dioxide

Generally bed bugs attracted to human beings, it’s simply because we produce carbon dioxide. This pesky little pest are also tend to settle down in areas with a high concentration of carbon dioxide.

Bed bugs attracted to warmth

Bed bugs aren’t attracted to dirt and grime, they attracted to the warmth of our bodies instead! Since human beings generate heat and warmth, bedtime is like a gold mine of warmth for bed bugs.

Bed bugs attracted to dark bed sheets

Bed bugs are accustomed to a dark environment! A recent research revealed that bed bugs attracted to certain colours, especially for red and black colours. Because these colours mimics two things that they will always go for: darkness and blood

Bed bugs attracted to dirty laundry

In the absence of a human host, bed bugs tend to seek soiled laundry as a hive. The stack of dirty laundry on your bedroom floor can be the starting point of a bed bug’s journey across the entire room. Do you know what? Bed bugs love the smell of your dirty laundry!

How do you stop bedbugs from biting you?

Bed bugs prevention is a lot easier than eliminating the existing infestation at home. These are the list of bed bugs prevention tips that you can do according to the things bed bug attracted to!

 

How To Get Rid of Bed Bugs

Bed bugs infestation can spread easily and it’s very difficult to treat especially when a Cimex Lectularius infestation increases in epidemic proportions, as they thrive in any weather and environment. The key to eradicating bed bugs is early detection and quick treatment by an expert pest controller.

Identify Your Pest

Bed bugs hiding in the tiniest creak and crevice makes it a challenge to spot these flat and brown crawling bloodsuckers. Sometimes, bed bugs have been mistaken as cockroach nymphs or even beetles.

In this case, you would need to be sure if your place has been infested with bed bugs to quickly take action and prevent an infestation that can get out of control in a matter of just 10 weeks!

DIY or Professional?

When it comes to getting rid of bed bugs, you have two basic options: DIY or hire a professional. The DIY option typically prove to be ineffective and risk re-infestations. This is because bed bugs shelter in the narrowest of gaps such as seams of mattresses, bedframes or behind furniture. Most of the time, many of them faced hassles and stresses dealing with an infestation.

The professional option requires you to find your local pest control company in Indonesia to get rid of bed bugs problem for you. Expert advices by trained pest specialists help you to understand control methods best suited for each individual pest biology.

 

TIPS FOR FINDING BED BUGS

Bug Identification

Hopefully, you will see bed bugs before they start to bite you–and before they have infested your home; but in order to see bed bugs, you have to know what they look like. These insects go through five development stages before they get to adult size. When they are first born, they are transparent and about the size of the tip on a pen. As they go through each stage, they become more reddish brown in color.

Feces

If you have bed bugs in your home, you may see their feces before you see them. These pests leave black streaks on sheets, pillowcases, and near areas they are infesting. Look for it on baseboards, outlet covers, electronics, and the backboards of beds

Insect Shells

When bed bugs develop to the next stage, they will shed their cuticle. You can find these shed skins stuck to infested areas, such as on upholstered furniture and mattress seams. You may also find these skins in your bed.

Blood Stains

When bed bugs come to feed, they often leave blood staining. This staining will often look brown on sheets and pillowcases because it will usually be found after it has had time to dry and decay. Blood staining will also be found around areas of infestation.

Bites

If you, or someone in your home, are finding mysterious bites on your skin, they may be bed bug bites. Look to see if they are in a row or cluster and whether or not there is a significant rash around them. The rash doesn’t always accompany a bed bug bite, but when it does, it makes these bites hard to miss.

HOW TO FIND AND GET RID OF BED BUGS IN YOUR HOME

Most summer bugs are a nuisance, but bed bugs are among the most persistent pests you could ever deal with. A bed bug infestation can be hard to detect at the early stages, which is when you really need to tackle it.

How Do You Get Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs can hitchhike their way into your home from just about anywhere. Most homeowners want to know how to get rid of bed bugs before this happens, especially when they’re trying to sell a property. If they get a foothold, they can spread throughout the house and even travel into neighboring homes

How to Find Bed Bugs: Why Is It Difficult?

Detecting the presence of bed bugs in your home is a little more challenging than you’d expect. A visual inspection is rarely reliable, unless it’s performed by an expert. These insects may be mistaken for other summer bugs, such as carpet bugs, and may have spread throughout your property by the time they’re correctly identified.

Feeding, Life Stages and Other Habits of Bed Bugs

If you want to know how to kill bed bugs or even find them, you have to understand how do bed bugs look like, their eating habits, preferred living conditions, reproductive cycles and behavior.

Feeding and Excretion

Bed bugs usually come out to feed at night, but will also seek a meal in daylight if they’re hungry. It can anywhere from 3 to 12 minutes for bed bugs to feed, and large nymphs or adults will often drop feces from earlier blood meals while feeding. This is what leads to the telltale dark spots on bedsheets and mattresses.Do bed bugs bite animals? Their meal of choice is generally human blood. However, they will also feed on dogs, cats and other mammals or even birds, travelling between 5 and 20 feet from their hiding spots to find a host.

bookmark_borderYou Should Do Your Own Bathroom Remodelling

Bathroom Remodel Tips and Advice

Bathrooms are the number one place that homeowners love to remodel, even more than kitchens. The space is smaller, making the job a bit easier. Plus, this reduced space means reduced cost: less flooring and paint, fewer cabinets and countertop. Follow these tips to make your bathroom remodel more attractive while keeping the process smooth, efficient, and cost-effective

Recess For Extra Room

When space is extremely tight, built-ins such as recessed soap dishes, medicine cabinets, and even toilet roll holders pry out as much available room as possible from tiny bathrooms. You can even flatten the ceiling light by converting your ceiling light into a recessed light

Address Bathroom Ventilation

All bathrooms need some type of ventilation, by code, either in the form of a properly sized window or a bathroom exhaust fan. For bathroom fans, look at both their exhaust capacity (or how many cubic feet of air per minute they can move) in conjunction with their noise levels

Add Plants for Living Color

Plants in the bathroom should not be an afterthought. Plants bring much-needed color into sterile bathrooms. Consider adding a floating shelf expressly for the purpose of giving your trailing plants a cozy home.

Pick the Right Flooring

Solid wood floors, while they do infuse bathrooms with great character, are not the best type of flooring material for bathrooms, from a practical standpoint. Instead, pick flooring that is hardy enough to stand up against the rigors of daily bathroom use. Bathroom flooring favorites include ceramic and porcelain tile, luxury vinyl plank, vinyl tiles, and sheet vinyl flooring

 

Tips for Hiring a Bathroom Remodeling Contractor

A bad contractor could sink your bathroom remodel.

Installing a shower door or replacing a faucet or toilet seat are minor improvements many homeowners can do themselves, but extensive bathroom remodeling requires a higher level of skills and should be left to the professionals

A bad remodeling job can be costly to fix, so the best bet is to hire a remodeling contractor who will do the job right the first time. A professional remodeler has the necessary training and acquired skills to remodel your bathroom to your specifications

Brainstorm bathroom remodeling ideas

You’ve probably looked at pictures in magazines or online for remodeling ideas. If you know how you want your new bathroom to look and have compiled some pictures, save them to show the remodeling contractor. Likewise, if you already know what types of fixtures you want, or you have ideas for wallpaper, keep a list of these items to share with the remodeling contractor.

How Much Does a Bathroom Remodel Cost?

Average bathroom remodels fall between $9,600 to $11,000 in costs. A low-end remodels typically cost around $2,500 while high-end remodels cost around $23,000.

Hiring a bathroom remodeling contractor

Referrals and word of mouth are still the best ways to track down a reputable bathroom remodeling contractor. When the renovations are done on a professional level, and the customers are happy, this is how service industry businesses grow and prosper. So, if your neighbor, friend, coworker or family member was satisfied with a recent remodeling job, ask them for the service contractor’s contact information so that you can get in touch to get an estimate

 

Bathroom Design & Remodeling Ideas on a Budget

So you’re ready to redecorate and redesign your bathroom. But dropping $20,000 on a deluxe spa retreat is light years away from what you can afford to spend. Here’s the good news: You don’t need mega-bucks to transform your bathroom into a relaxing, cool space. There are plenty of ways to renovate and redesign on a budget.

According to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value report, an average bathroom remodel costs around $10,500 while an upscale remodel is going to run you a hefty $26,000. However, if you do the work yourself and get creative, This Old House estimates that you can do a remodel for $1,000 to $3,000, or even less, depending on how much you want to change

Moreover, updating or adding a bathroom to your home is a home improvement project that adds value. In other words, you’ll recoup a significant portion of costs when you sell your home, as much as 100%

Limit Your Tile

Tile gets expensive, especially when you hire a contractor to lay it all out for you. To save money, limit the amount of tile and focus on high-impact areas like the floor (instead of the floor and inside the shower stall walls). Alternatively, you could tile one horizontal strip along the wall and paint the rest.

Save on Counter Tops

A popular trend is to splurge on granite countertops. Because the bathroom counter is so small, the investment is often fairly low compared to what you’d spend on kitchen counters, for example.

 

The Pros’ Guide to Renovating Your Bathroom

Let there be no confusion: A bathroom redo is going to cost you time, money, and maybe even a few gray hairs. The price can range from “a few thousand dollars to spruce up an existing bathroom to six figures for a gut renovation of a high-end master bath,” says Dan DiClerico of HomeAdvisor. But if you’re smart about spending, the investment will likely prove worth it.

The trick is to choose upgrades that jibe with your lifestyle and routines—maybe you need a tub, because you’ll literally get into it every day; a wall niche if there’s nowhere to store shampoo; two sinks because teeth brushing should not be an elbow war. “We ask lots of questions about daily routine and storage needs, and emphasize function first,” explains Britt Zunino of Studio DB. Happiness is the end goal: According to a 2019 remodeling report from the National Association of Realtors, 70 percent of consumers “have a greater desire to be home” after a bathroom renovation, so read on and soak up the secrets

Ask Questions Before You Start

First things first—before you even start mood-boarding or falling in love with a bathroom design you want to recreate—ask yourself the boring questions. You may not even realize they impact your bathroom needs, but they do! Any designer worth hiring would run these past their clients before getting started. So get your answers ready, talk to your designer, and then start gathering inspo photos

Understand the Shower/Tub Basics

A freestanding tub—if you have room for one—is great for resale value in a kid-friendly neighborhood. But if your space isn’t big enough for both a spacious walk-in shower and a bath (and you don’t have small children to bathe), a shower/tub combo is best. “Back in the McMansion era, Jacuzzi-style bathtubs were all the rage, but the pendulum has swung back towards showers, especially in master bathrooms. At the high-end, there might also be a nice soaking tub in there, but the walk-in shower is the top priority,” says DiClerico.

Know Your Materials

Natural Stone: Easily the most sophisticated and formal, natural stone is a bathroom surface favorite. With the right sealant, any natural stone will do well in a wet environment, so it’ll mostly come down to price and aesthetic

 

Bathroom remodeling guide

good ideas

When you’re investing in a home remodeling project, you want to make sure that the results not only please you but add value to your home and save you money on energy and water as well. These seven steps will help you take advantage of the latest design trends, technologies and products

Budget for the unexpected

Hidden water damage is a common problem in bathrooms, whether from a leaky shower pan or running toilet. “If the floor feels spongy, that’s a sign of serious water damage,” says John Petrie, owner of Mother Hubbard’s Custom Cabinetry in Mechanicsburg, Pa. Other issues are truly hidden, for example a vent stack inside a wall that you thought you were going to knock down

hide the toilet

A master bath that’s stylish and functional can also be discreet. That’s why it’s nice to hide this fixture away, either in its own “room-within-the-room” or behind a half wall. A piece of furniture—an armoire or dresser, say—can create the necessary barrier without the expense of a framed wall

Do choose appropriate surfaces

Your master bathroom’s surfaces do more than just contribute to the overall aesthetic. They also take lots of abuse. Porcelain tile is a favorite among designers, for use on the floors and walls alike. “You can find some versions in the $5 per square foot range that look like natural stone,” says Petrie. He recommends larger tile sizes to minimize grout lines, easing the upkeep. That might mean 18-by-18-inch tile on the floors and 12-by-12-inch on some or all of the walls, perhaps transitioning to 6-by-6 tiles on the diagonal with a glass mosaic transition strip.

Splurge on the shower

The empire of the Roman tub is officially over. “People started to realize that they could count on one hand how many times they actually used the tub,” says Petrie. “We’re now using that space to create larger showers, often with his and her showerheads, body sprays, and even steam generators.”