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How to Create a Mini Yard on Your Apartment Balcony

Posted by on Feb 9, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on How to Create a Mini Yard on Your Apartment Balcony

Exposure to nature is proven to have positive effects on your mental and physical health. However, if you’re one of the 11% of Australians living in a flat, you’ve probably not had the luxury of a yard to visit every day — until now. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to turn your apartment balcony into a miniature garden. 1. Lay Artificial Grass The logistics of laying down real turf on a concrete or wooden balcony are a little too complex to make it worth your while, but astroturf is a great alternative. High quality commercial synthetic grass can look just as good as the real thing, without all the drawbacks. As long as your balcony is relatively flat with good drainage, you’ll be able to get artificial grass laid on your balcony with little difficulty. Call in a professional to ensure your luscious lawn is the perfect foundation for your new mini yard. 2. Get Potted Plants Since you won’t have any soil to grow them in, pot plants are your next best bet. A variety of plants will adapt to container growing — from flowers to vegetables. The right plants for you will depend on how much space you have, which containers you prefer, and whether your house faces the sun. If you do your research before choosing, you’re bound the find the perfect foliage for your new yard.  3. Place Outdoor Furniture What good is a yard if you can’t immerse yourself in it? Depending on the size of your balcony and its weight limits, you’ll have plenty of options for outdoor furniture. If you like relaxing, an outdoor chaise lounge and parasol will give you the opportunity to bask in the glory of your new garden. If you’re a foodie, why not opt for a table and chairs with a small barbecue? Unless your have a balcony that can withstand a very high load, opt for lightweight, wooden furnishing. 4. Attract Wildlife You’ve got the flora — now you need the fauna. Being high off up the ground, you’re in the perfect position to attract birds and butterflies to your new yard. Plants with pollen and nectar (like lavender and honeysuckle) will create a haven for pollinating insects like bees and butterflies. If you prefer birds, they’ll appreciate brightly coloured flowers too. If you have enough space, birdbaths, nest boxes, and feeders will all boost your chances of creating your own tiny wildlife park. Even if you don’t have a lot of space, it is possible to create a mini oasis so you can enjoy the benefits of the...

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Improving Treatment of Your Household Wastewater to Reduce Contamination

Posted by on Jan 28, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Improving Treatment of Your Household Wastewater to Reduce Contamination

Having a wastewater disposal system in your home is important. However, with such systems, your household wastewater should be properly managed as well. This is because the wastewater may contain contaminants that can degrade the quality of water for uses like drinking, food preparation, and watering of livestock. Some of the potential contaminants in your household wastewater include infectious viruses, excess nutrients like nitrates, and disease-causing bacteria. Properly installed and maintained systems for the treatment and disposal of household wastewater will reduce the impact of the system on surface and ground water. Therefore, here are ways of effectively handling your household wastewater.  Volume Minimizing the volume of household wastewater that enters your treatment system is an effective strategy. This is because less volume improves the treatment by reducing the number of times you have to empty your holding tank. This means that waste will spend more time in the system, increasing the time for settling, aeration, decomposition, and soil contact. To reduce the volume of wastewater, you will have to minimize water use. You can do in many ways. For instance, eliminate the non-functional uses like flushing your toilets to dispose of waste, such as tissue, which can be disposed like solid waste. You can also turn off the water between uses and fix any plumbing leaks. More importantly, create awareness in your family on how to reduce water use. Quality Domestic wastewater often contains some amounts of contaminants. This amount can be relatively small, but has a huge impact on the usefulness of the water in your home. Therefore, to ensure that you are improving the quality of your wastewater, try the following: If you have a garbage disposal unit, minimize its use because they deposit large amounts of organic matter and suspended solids into your septic system. Moreover, they use additional water, and since you want to minimize water use, this won’t be so good. Don’t push disposable diapers, paper towels, tampons or grease down the drains of your septic tank because such materials can clog the system and affect its performance. Avoid putting toxic substances in the drain of your septic tank because they will end up in the ground water. Such substances include solvents, acids, degreasers, and the like. Collection Collect all the waste that should be treated to minimize the escape of untreated waste. Leaking treatment pipes or tanks can allow the wastewater to return to your water supply system without being treated adequately. Moreover, don’t let rainwater or water from your roof drainage to add to the volume of your wastewater. Instead, divert the clean water away from your house. For further assistance, contact local professionals, such as those from Multiple Trades &...

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Clogged Central Vacuum System? 3 Areas to Look

Posted by on Jan 22, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Clogged Central Vacuum System? 3 Areas to Look

Having a central vacuum cleaner or system in your home is convenient because of its many advantages. With this system, you can quickly clean up messes whenever they occur. Nonetheless, despite being essential, central vacuum systems are prone to clogs. The good news is that you can actually take care of this problem by yourself. The bad news is that if you don’t even know how to locate the clog in the first place, you will find yourself seeking the local central vacuum cleaning and repair services every time your system develops this problem. Therefore, to make sure that this doesn’t happen, here are 3 important areas to look at: Filter/Bag Clogs If your motor unit hasn’t been maintained well or if you vacuumed fine particles recently, the filter or bag of the unit can be clogged. Since locating the clog is the first thing you will have to do, it is important to look out for the signs that your system is clogged. For this reason, the clearest indicator is often low or no suction at all. If the filter or bag of your motor unit were clogged, you would observe low suction from each inlet, including the one on your motor unit itself. To take care of this problem, you need to replace the filter (for bagless units) and the bag (for bagged units). Hose Clogs If your motor unit is not clogged and you are still experiencing low suctions at every inlet, your hose could be the issue. The easiest way to do this is by running a ball bearing or marble through the hose to observe whether it will pass all the way through. If it doesn’t, you can clear the hose by running a plumber’s snake or a stiff wire through it. Alternatively, you can fit the hose into the inlet valve of your built in vacuum in reverse and let the system clear out the clog. Nonetheless, this may not be a good idea since you can easily transfer the clog into your central vacuum system. Piping/Inlet Clogs If just one inlet valve is not receiving suction and there are others, check them as well to help you isolate the clog’s location. To do this, you can place a facial tissue in front of every valve and open the valve for the tissue to be sucked in. You can then check your trash receptacle to identify whether the tissue made it down, and if it did, move to the next valve. To take care of these clogs, you can tightly fit the hose of another vacuum cleaner to the clogged inlet valve with your built in system turned off. This will hopefully suck out the clog. You can loosen the clog by switching the other vacuum cleaner on and off....

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Types of underpinning for foundations

Posted by on Jan 15, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Types of underpinning for foundations

If the foundation of your home can no longer provide support, you may be required to carry out underpinning. In construction or renovation, it is the process of strengthening the foundation of an existing building. A building may require underpinning for a number of reasons which include the following: The original foundation is faulty or not stable enough. Weight, such as an extra storey, is being added on to the structure A change in the properties of the soil surrounding the foundation Construction of nearby structures that requires soil around existing structures to be excavated. To increase the depth of existing foundations Movement of the foundation as a result of earthquakes, floods or other natural causes Soil subsidence which has caused the foundation to sink. Available underpinning methods The reason why your foundation requires underpinning is an important indicator of the method to use. And while underpinning services are carried out by specialists, having some little knowledge will help you make the right decision when you receive quotations from structural and geotechnical engineers The methods available for strengthening your foundation may, among others, include the following. Beam and base underpinning This is a more technically advanced variation of concrete underpinning that involves construction of a reinforced concrete beam either below or above an existing one, or in replacement of the existing footing. Mass concrete bases are then constructed strategically and the weight of the building transferred on to them by the reinforced beam. Mass Concrete Underpinning Concrete underpinning increases the mass of the foundation to strengthen it. Extensive excavation is done around or under and then concrete is poured strategically. The method is applied where the existing foundation lies at a shallow depth. It is a simple and cheap method that does not require use of heavy machinery though it can be a slow process. Also, the building can still be used while renovations are being done. Expanding resin injection underpinning This underpinning method is fast, least invasive and does not involve excavation. A mixture of hardener and resin is injected into the ground. The mixture expands and fills any spaces or cracks and also compacts loose soil. The process may even raise sunken parts of a building. Resin injection is a simpler and less expensive method. Underpinning costs Whatever method you choose to use will have varying costs depending on a number of factors, which include the following: Location of the building The type of footings in the foundation Soil type Accessibility of the foundation Amount of materials...

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Never Try to Handle These Jobs Without the Help of an Electrician

Posted by on Jan 6, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Never Try to Handle These Jobs Without the Help of an Electrician

Many homeowners assume they can handle a number of renovation, construction, and remodeling jobs on their own, without the help of certain professionals. It’s true that online videos and other tutorials can go a long way toward teaching you how to install floor tiles, a new sink, and so on, but there are still many jobs that you don’t want to handle yourself. Jobs that involve electricity can be especially dangerous to do on your own; note a few of those jobs here so you know when to call an electrician to assist. 1. Installing a hot tub Installing a hot tub on your back deck or other such area means much more work than simply setting it up and plugging it into a wall outlet. The heater and jets of the tub will demand quite a bit of electrical power, so chances are it should be wired to its own circuit. You also want to ensure that electrical cords, outlets, and other such components are safely covered or otherwise protected when near any type of water fixture, including a hot tub. Don’t assume you can just handle this installation on your own, but have an electrician check the wiring and all other electrical components for you. 2. Putting in a new home theater or entertainment system You may not think that televisions, DVD players, gaming systems, and such components will be a drain on your home’s electrical systems, but these pieces do require quite a bit of power to run. This is especially true if you have many of them working at the same time; if you have the gaming system plugged into a large television and the stereo system, you’re demanding quite a bit of electrical power. Trying to do this with older wiring can overload those wires and, in turn, cause them to become frayed and bare. When you’re ready to install a new home theater or even an upgraded entertainment system, have an electrician check the amps needed for those pieces and if your home’s wiring can support those demands. 3. Removing old wiring It’s easy to think that you can simply remove old wiring by disconnecting it from its circuit and then closing up the wall around it, but this can be a mistake. If you don’t properly cap off those electrical wires, this can allow electricity to still circulate and, in turn, potentially char and burn the building materials around it. Before you remove any old wiring, call an electrician to ensure it’s done properly. For more information, contact a local electric services company like All Electrical...

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How to Deal with Aluminium Supply for Finished Products

Posted by on Dec 29, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on How to Deal with Aluminium Supply for Finished Products

The supply of aluminium alloys is normally done in the form of semi-finished products. It therefore calls for dealership processes to turn aluminium materials into finished and usable products. These semi-finished aluminium products include sheets, coils, wires, plates, extrusions and tubes. However, all this aluminium supply can be fabricated into finished products through a wide range of processes. This article looks at the various processes that aluminium supply goes through when contractors and manufacturers make finished products. Methods of Cutting Aluminium Depending on the shape and form, aluminium can be cut using several methods. Plates are cut using specialized saws, lasers and water or plasma jets to produce finished pieces with the desired elaborate shapes.  Cutting with water jet is especially advantageous because the process does not generate heat and therefore does not interfere with the properties of aluminium. Tubes and extrusions are cut using circular saw blades with carbon tips. This can be improved by the use of stick wax on the blades for lubrication. Guillotining and band-sawing are other cutting methods suitable for aluminium supplies. Joining Aluminium Welding is a perfect way of joining aluminium. However, aluminium has a strong oxide layer that has higher melting point than aluminium. This means that this layer must be removed and prevented from re-forming before welding is done. This layer is removed by chemical, electrical or mechanical means by qualified professionals.  Care must be taken not to overheat aluminium, as this may affect the properties of the metal. Unlike stainless steel supply, aluminium has a lower melting point. When producing finished products from aluminium supply alloys, grade selection should consider the durability of the alloy when in use. Aluminium joints are also dependent on the alloy tempers and formability. Deep Drawing Aluminium cans are made using this fabrication method. All finished products through this method assume a cup-like shape. It entails the use of force on a sheet of soft alloy to produce a female cavity. How to Bend Aluminium Aluminium supply materials are bent using four techniques. These are three roll bending, three point bending, wrap and mandrel bending and stretch forming. All these techniques are used on different aluminium alloys to produce different finished products. Soldering and Brazing Aluminium Like in welding, the oxide layer must be removed and temperature controlled to get the desired results. Aluminium is difficult to solder but a professional will still manage. A small area of the metal can be soldered while a longer portion can get distorted. The flux used to remove the oxide must also be removed immediately after soldering, as it corrodes aluminum. Brazing aluminium can also be done when proper temperature control is...

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Details to Look For in a Demolition Waste-Management Plan

Posted by on Dec 17, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Details to Look For in a Demolition Waste-Management Plan

Residential demolition projects are often expensive. For this reason, there is no room for mistakes when it comes to hiring a damage or demolition contractor or similar professional. There are various ways to determine the reputability of demolition contractors. Contractors worth their salt are aware of the importance of proper demolition waste management. As such, a reputable contractor should be in a position to present prospective clients with a detailed waste-management plan prior to the demolition exercise. Here are a few details that should not be overlooked in a demolition waste management plan. Financial Details As earlier mentioned, demolition-related exercises can be costly. Therefore, it is important for the homeowner to insist on the justification of all expenses to be incurred in the process. The cost of demolition waste management often has a significant impact on the overall cost of the project. In order to justify these costs, it is imperative for the demolition contractor to provide a detailed budget on the estimated cost of the most efficient way to manage waste. For increased accountability and transparency, the demolition contractor should have this budget as part of the waste-management plan, separate from the main budget for the project. Procedural Details Among the first things to look for in a demolition waste-management plan is an explanation of the various procedures or processes that the contractor will use in a bid to reuse or recycle waste products. Demolition waste products such as crashed concrete and timber can be put to alternative use on-site, or they can be used on construction-related activities on a different site. A good waste-management plan should also include details on the types of recyclable waste products that the demolition contractor handles on a regular basis. More detailed plans will include details of the recycling plant(s) that the contractor works with on a regular basis. The plan should also include details of procedures to be used in the disposal of demolition wastes and the final destination of such waste should the need for waste disposal arise. Structural Details On-site management of demolition waste creates the need to erect structures that will aid in waste handling and storage. Consequently, a demolition waste-management plan should provide detailed descriptions of all structures to be erected and drawings of the same wherever possible. Apart from helping the homeowner to establish the reputability of demolition contractors, a detailed waste-management plan provides an assurance that the demolition exercise will have minimal negative impact on the environment. Speak to a representative from a company like Dig Dig Pty Ltd to learn...

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Common Mistakes Most Homeowners Make When Choosing a New Air Conditioner

Posted by on Dec 10, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Common Mistakes Most Homeowners Make When Choosing a New Air Conditioner

Choosing a new air conditioner for your home is not something you should do quickly, as you want to ensure you find a unit that will work for your needs for years to come. You also want a unit that will be powerful enough to cool your entire home while still not overpaying for something you don’t need. Note a few mistakes that most homeowners make when it comes to choosing a new air conditioner so you can ensure you avoid those same mistakes and get a unit that is just right for your home. 1. Not considering two units A central air conditioning unit can keep your entire house cool, but what about at night when you’re in the bedroom, or during the day when only one person is home and in the living room the entire time? Getting two units can be a good choice; a split system unit for just one zone of the home along with a central unit can be the most efficient. You can run the split system unit for cooling just one area of the home as  needed, then run the central unit when everyone is home and you need the entire house cool. Consider having both units installed at the same time for the most energy-efficient option. 2. Overlooking how hot their home really gets Air conditioning units will tell you the size of the unit you need based on the size of your home, but many homeowners forget to factor in how hot their home really gets during summer months. If you cook for many hours or your home is in direct sunlight with no shade trees, this can make your home much hotter than usual. If your home has many occupants, this too can add to the overall heat of the home. If you don’t upgrade to a larger or more powerful unit because of these factors, you may see that your home is always uncomfortable and your smaller unit may suffer more wear and tear as you run it too often, trying to cool your home. 3. Not using a dehumidifier Humidity can trap heat and in turn, make your home very warm and uncomfortable. If you don’t have a dehumidifier in the home, you want to consider an air conditioning unit with a built-in dehumidifier. This will eliminate that excess moisture so your home feels more comfortable and is protected from potential mildew growth as...

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Keeping the Cost of Your House Extension Down

Posted by on Dec 2, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Keeping the Cost of Your House Extension Down

While building an extension onto your house can be a great way to add more space and to increase the value of your house, they can be quite expensive. When you are using the best materials and doing extensive work, it will not come to a cheap price. However, there are many different steps that you can take in order to reduce your construction bill without sacrificing quality in the process. Many home renovations come in over budget, and now you will have the tools to perhaps come in under budget. Here is some of that advice. Keep the design simple Curves and corners are costly to build, so you should keep this in mind when creating your design. The cheapest structural shape is a square or rectangular area that has a pitched roof. You can create the design around many of the available off the shelf products that can be found. This means that you won’t have to get things such as windows and doors custom cut and fitted. You should always avoid using anything that needs to be made to order. You should always use readily available materials and ones that are incredibly easy to use. This means you should use materials such as cast concrete as the sub-floor material, use concrete block in order to build the walls and a timber roof structure. By avoiding building on or near complicated groundwork such as drains, sewers and trees, you will save yourself a lot of hassle and money. If your property is built on land that cannot avoid these problems then you have little choice in the matter. Do it yourself as much as possible Labour costs make up the vast majority of your construction bill. If you have experience doing certain related projects, you should do some of the renovation process yourself. Maybe you are a great painter or carpenter; you can do these tasks instead of hiring a professional to do so. The easiest tasks to do yourself are the landscaping, decorating and labouring. Other simple enough tasks include tiling, fitting the kitchen and bathroom as well as fitting and fixing the architraves. Make sure that you are fully confident that you can complete the job to a standard that you and your spouse are happy with. You don’t want to try and do some of the work yourself only to mess it up and have to call a professional in to rectify your mistakes. Therefore, instead of wasting time, energy and materials, call in a professional if you cannot do parts of the work yourself. Talk with a contractor from a company like Destin Constructions if you have specific questions about building...

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Electrical Services That Can Protect Your Home

Posted by on Dec 2, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Electrical Services That Can Protect Your Home

Electricians aren’t just able to repair electrical shorts, damaged circuit breakers, and malfunctioning outlets, they are also able to provide you with electrical  services that can protect your home against fire and theft. Here are some specialty services that electricians can offer you to enhance the safety within your house. Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors—Electrical contractors can hardwire smoke detectors in your home so that all the detectors work off one circuit. This means that if a detector in your study is triggered, the detectors placed in all other areas of your home will also sound, giving you increased protection against house fires. In addition, electrical contractors can install photoelectric smoke detectors, which are able to sense any particles in the air that are the result of burning electrical wires, stripped electrical wires, or trace smoke from a smouldering fire. Electricians can install these specialized smoke detectors throughout your home to provide you with enhanced protection against fires that burn slowly before igniting into a large fire. Electrical contractors are also able to hard wire carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home that work off a single circuit and are fully integrated. Integration is important to prevent a situation in which you are in one part of your home and can’t hear a smoke detector or carbon monoxide detector that has been triggered in another part of your house. Motion-Sensor Lights—Electrical contractors can also install an entire motion-sensor lighting system for the exterior of your home. These sensors detect movement and activate floodlights to illuminate during the evening and night hours, and they act as a deterrent to home invasions. Electricians typically install motion-sensor lighting directly outside your front door and above your driveway so that you are safer when coming home late at night. Motion-sensor lighting works through the use of detection of infrared waves, which emanate from animals, humans, and vehicles. Electricians set a timer to the motion-sensor so that the sensors are inoperable when it is light outside. Motion-sensor lights are also available with an adjustable range setting to prevent what is known as ‘nuisance’ activation caused by things such as leaves or a vehicle that passes on the street in front of your home. Your electrical contractor may suggest that you place motion-sensor lights in all areas where safety is a concern, such as your back door, fence, patio area, deck, and even dark areas of your backyard that are covered by bushes and hedges. Contact a service like Royalty Plumbing and Gas to learn more about what electricians can do to protect your home or to set up an...

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