The Factors That You Want To Understand About Outdoor Electrical Lighting

Outdoor Lighting Buying Guide

Add beauty and security with outdoor lighting. Our guide helps you understand outdoor lighting fixture types and functions so you can choose the best and safest accent lighting, post lighting and deck lighting for your home.

What Is Outdoor Lighting?

Outdoor lighting includes a variety of light fixtures that address and improve exterior home security and safety. Additionally, these outdoor lighting fixtures highlight landscaping and architecture at night and come in a variety of styles and finishes

Power and Performance

With options ranging from hardwire flood lights to plug-in dusk-to-dawn lights to even solar motion lights, you can find the perfect outdoor flood lights for your landscape and the exterior of your home.

Solar-powered outdoor lighting draws the energy it needs to make the lights operate from sunlight. Though this option can cost more for the initial purchase and setup, you can ultimately save on your energy bill. Be sure to install the solar panels in areas that receive sufficient sunlight, and avoid dark and shadowy areas of your home.

Security and Flood Lights

Security and flood lights are broad-beamed, high-intensity lights designed to flood large areas with light. As a result, these fixtures are often used as a preventive measure to reduce criminal activity and increase feelings of safety, especially when equipped with a motion sensor that causes the light to illuminate when movement is perceived

DIY Outdoor Lighting Tips for Beginners

No Electrical Experience Necessary

Since most outdoor lighting is low voltage, it’s safe and easy enough for any DIYer to install. In fact, the only special tool you’ll need is a wire stripper. Find out what’s trending in outdoor lighting before embarking on your project.

Install Underground Wiring After Planting

To prevent accidental cutting of wiring for ground-level fixtures, install wiring after your landscape has been planted. That way you won’t accidentally chop through it with a shovel. Also, don’t install wiring in digging areas like garden beds, and be sure to bury low-voltage wire at least 6 in. below the surface.

How It All Fits Together

A low-voltage system has three parts:

The transformer plugs into a nearby GFCI-protected outlet and reduces 120-volt current to 12 volts.

The low-voltage cable carries current between the transformer and the light fixtures.

The light fixtures get connected to the cable with wire connectors made specifically for outdoor use.

Keep Your Fixtures; Upgrade Your Bulbs

For decades, halogen lights reigned supreme in low-voltage outdoor lighting systems, but LEDs have all but replaced them because they cost less to operate and last much longer. But you don’t have to tear out all your old halogen fixtures to enjoy the benefits of LEDs—retrofit bulbs are available. Just be sure to replace each halogen bulb with equivalent wattage and the same base type. Expect to pay about four times more for an LED bulb, but they use less energy and you’ll get up to 20 years of life from one compared with only two or three years from a halogen

Don’t Overlap Pools of Light

The purpose of most deck lighting is ambience, and professional outdoor lighting designers say it’s best not to create overlapping ‘pools’ of light on decks and patios. So avoid mounting fixtures too close together. For decks, choose fixtures that cast a 4- to 5-ft. pool of light. Keep them 30 in. up off the deck’s floor and space them up to 10 ft. apart. Overlapping lights on deck stairs and walkways can be a good thing, however, by providing enough light to help people avoid tripping. You might want to consider one of these cheap landscaping ideas to really make your yard pop

The Best Ways to Light the Backyard

Darkness needn’t put a damper on backyard activities like swimming and barbecuing. By installing backyard lighting, you can keep the party going long after dusk, boost outdoor ambiance, and protect your property from unseen threats.

The three main types of backyard illumination are safety lighting to deter prowlers and improve navigation, landscape lighting to accentuate garden features, and accent lighting to put the focus on the hardscape. Ultimately, you’d want all three types in your backyard to achieve different lighting levels for different needs—and within each of these categories, there’s a variety of lighting choices. So let us shine a light on the best backyard illumination options, so you’ll know what to put in your outdoor space

Security Lighting

Security lighting, generally the brightest backyard lighting, is safety lighting to illuminate large areas and scare off would-be burglars or destructive animals. Powered by standard, 120-Volt current, this lighting is installed high spots such as the eaves or above a garage to cast wide beams of light down onto main walkways or the backyard fence entrance.

Security Lights

blends in with your home’s trim when positioned on the eaves or the underside of a covered patio. But you’ll know that this wired light is there when you approach: Its three optical LED lights produce a powerful 2400 lumens to light up your landscape as bright as day for up to 100 feet for as long as you choose. And, when placed at the corner of the eaves, the rotating optics on the Revolve can be adjusted to light up two sides of the house.

Path Lighting

Path lighting is soft to moderately bright safety and landscape lighting designed to help you navigate walkways while attractively highlighting them. Install it on the ground along both sides of main walkways from the back door to your fence door, along stepping stones from the main walkway to a backyard feature like a fountain, and/or around flower beds to emphasize their contours.

String Lighting

String lighting is soft, low-voltage accent lighting used to evoke a warm, intimate ambiance that’s especially desirable for entertaining. Hang string lights wherever the activity is—be it on the eaves of the home to brighten an outdoor kitchen or from the posts of an outdoor pavilion or gazebo to illuminate patio furniture.

Tips for Safe Outdoor Lighting

Most of us have some lighting outside our home that belongs to us, and that we control. Porch lights or security lights, for example. A lot of people also like to add outdoor lighting as part of decorating for the holidays — some at Halloween and even more at Christmas.

We all like to be safe too, and to keep our house, our family, our pets, and our guests safe too — even if they’re only staying long enough to pick up some candy or sing a carol. That means that we want the lights, power cords, controls and everything else associated with our outdoor lighting to be done with safety in mind.

Install Outdoor-Rated Fixtures

If you’re installing a lighting fixture outdoors, it must be designed and built to be there. For two quick examples, a light that’s under your porch roof and never gets wet needs to be rated for damp locations, or say “outdoor” on it, because it will still get damp, cold and hot, and it needs to be able to take that.

Use Outdoor-Rated Light Bulbs

In an exposed fixture such as an outdoor flood light, most of us think of this. But it’ll pay you in terms of the life of the bulb and the ease of replacing it to do the same with your porch light. If you’re having trouble finding a standard bulb that’s rated for outdoor use, check the fine print on some appliance bulbs. If it can survive in a freezer or an oven, it can probably survive outdoors

Don’t Overlamp a Fixture

Most fixtures, indoor or outdoor, will have a sticker or label that says “Maximum Wattage: 60W”, or 75W or 100W. Whatever it says, respect that. It’s there to keep you from putting in a light bulb that will overheat the wiring in the fixture, which will damage the insulation on the wires. What matters most is the actual wattage of the bulb — not the “incandescent equivalent.” If you’re putting a CFL bulb in a fixture with a 60W rating, for example, you can use one that draws any amount of power up to 60W (which would put out more light than a 200W incandescent bulb)

Outdoor Lighting Guide: Rating, Sizing, Placement, Finish & Style

Outdoor lighting is growing in popularity as an addition to many homes as it not only increases the curb appeal, but helps with security and ensuring the safety of guests. From the gorgeous outdoor pendant that greets you at the front door, to the modern post lighting that guides your way through the back yard, outdoor lighting can help enhance all exterior areas around your home

While of course there is no law which says you must hang and mount your outdoor lighting fixtures according to our specifications, we have provided a guide of the best practices for sizing and placing various types of outdoor lighting. These practices have been developed not only for aesthetic appeal, but for safety as well. You will find that many frequently asked questions regarding the sizing or placement of particular lighting types will be addressed within the text, tables, and infographics throughout our outdoor lighting guide.

HOW TO CHOOSE BETWEEN A WET OR DAMP RATED LIGHT FIXTURE

When it comes to choosing the perfect fixture for your outdoor area, one of the most important factors is the UL (Underwriters Laboratories) rating that the fixture carries. UL wet and UL damp ratings are both indicators that your fixture can be installed outdoors. However, these different ratings indicate which outdoor areas are suitable for your fixture. While wet-rated lighting fixtures can stand up to the elements, some damp rated fixtures may only hold up to a certain level of moisture and indirect weathering.

DETERMINING THE SIZE & PLACEMENT OF YOUR LIGHTING FIXTURE

The main goal when determining the size and placement of your outdoor lighting fixtures is to enhance the curb appeal of your home. While it’s certainly fun to get creative with lighting placement around the home, there are safe and effective ways to measure and place your lighting fixtures in various outdoor locations.

GARAGE DOOR LIGHTING

Outdoor garage lighting is not only an attractive addition for the exterior of your home, but it is also a functional fixture to consider. Not only can you install wall mount fixtures on the sides of the garage door but you can also install lighting above the garage door to help light the surrounding driveway and areas. Below, you can see the best practice for installing garage lighting above the garage door. To see how to place lighting on the sides of the garage door, please refer to the outdoor wall lighting instructions.

How To Keep Squirrel Away From Your Bird’s Food

Tips To Keep Squirrels Away From Your House

If you have a squirrel problem at your house, you’re just a phone call away from help from professional pest control specialists, who will be necessary if you have discovered a squirrel inside your home. Many people insist on trying to get rid of squirrels that have invaded their home without the help of trained exterminators, and this is just not wise because of the danger involved with these animals.

If you have a squirrel problem, our first suggestion is to avoid squirrel repellents you see in home goods stores because they simply don’t work. While these products may serve as a temporary deterrent for the squirrels around your yard, they will not get rid of them for good. Squirrels are extremely determined little pests, and once they choose your home as their new hangout, they are very hard to get rid of, but there are steps you can take keep them out of your yard, garden and home for the time being.

First, remove any food and water provided for your pets from the decks, porches, and yard surrounding your home. With colder temperatures upon us, it’s time to keep your animals indoors as much as possibly anyway. Those bowls of food and water are invitations to the squirrels in your area to hang out near your home, so the sooner you remove the bowls of food, the sooner your squirrels will be forced to look elsewhere for their next meal.

Next, take a thorough walk around the exterior of your home and check for any holes or spaces that these critters can enter your home through, and patch them up immediately. Make sure you close holes and spaces with durable materials that will last such as metal, glass or aluminum. Squirrels can gnaw their way through plastic, wood and similar lightweight materials, so choose the toughest stuff on the market to protect the interior of your home from these pests.

If you have bird feeders in your yard, move them to the farthest corners and as far away from any doors or windows to your home as possible. Squirrels are big fans of bird feeders, so if the feeders are close to your home, the squirrels will be close to your home, also.

Squirrels

Squirrels are probably one of the most common species of wildlife the average city dweller runs into (outside of pigeons). Most of the time, they are running around lawns, trees and bushes and around wooded areas. They are famous for grabbing acorns and nuts and hiding them in the ground as well as running up trees and across electrical wires, rooftops and other areas.

For the most part, squirrels are generally not a nuisance, but the act they live in such close proximity to homes and other buildings which means they can sometimes get inside walls, attics, basements and other areas. It’s then that squirrels can become a destructive nuisance and may require contacting a squirrel exterminator.

Where do squirrels live?

Squirrels usually live in trees. They build very large nests high in the trees to give birth, hide food and raise their young. The nests are made from leaves and other debris, but they run up and down trees on a constant search for food. During certain parts of the year, they hide food in trees, bury it in yards and find other places to hide food so they can get to it during the winter months.

Squirrels live all across North America. They are highly adaptive and live in warmer climates and climates where there is severe winter, snow and cold. They are also found in all corners of the world, except for Antarctica and the Arctic Circle. They survive in rural areas but also adapt well to urban areas.

Are squirrels dangerous?

In general, squirrels just want to be left alone, so they are not usually dangerous. They are sometimes a nuisance, however. Plus, if cornered or sick, squirrels will bite to fight their way out of a situation. Finally, their tendency to gnaw on objects can also be a problem.

SQUIRRELS

About Squirrels

Since we continue to invade wildlife’s natural habitat with our buildings and homes, we leave them no alternative but to enter our homes.

Squirrel populations are expected to continually rise due to the plentiful food supplies and mild climate patterns.

Humane Squirrel Removal

Envirotech’s strategy is to use humane methods to remove the squirrel(s) as safely as possible. Typically, we try to establish a strategy that forces the animal to leave your home without return, (one-way exit). This way the squirrel(s) are able to leave and find shelter on their own terms, along with bringing their pups if any are present.

Exclusion

After we safely remove the squirrel, we find and secure entrance points, such as holes, wires, cracks, and beams – anything they might use to reenter the structure. We make sure that your house is 100% nuisance wildlife proof.

Sanitize

Our squirrel pest control experts will then complete a proper cleanup to ensure the animal’s harboring area and feces are cleaned up and thoroughly sanitized. This provides safe living conditions for your home after the critter has been driven out.

Squirrel Control

The incessant scratching, gnawing and chattering of squirrels in the attic or ceiling voids of your home or cottage can make you crazy. Squirrels are active throughout the year and gain access to your home or cottage through tiny holes in the soffit, facia or even through compromised vents. Squirrels are a species that can cause a lot of damage to a home – insulation, (In severe cases the damage to attic insulation, substantially reduces it’s R value and requires replacement) electrical system, wood beams – and they not only let themselves in, but their entry points easily lead the way for other wildlife to enter. Squirrels can squeeze through small holes and cracks, and if they can into a home through one, so can mice, bats, skunks, rats, and sometimes even raccoons. The longer you wait to take control of your squirrel issue, the higher the chance you’ll be paying more out of your pocket.

Squirrels carry quite a bit of nesting material into the attic of your home or cottage which could be disease ridden of full of gnats, ticks and flees. They urinate and defecate all over your attic which develops into a terrible odour which is toxic and can cause damage to your ceilings. Squirrel feces can spread Salmonella and their bite transmit rabies to humans and pets.

Inspection and Assessment

During this step, our expert wildlife technician will gather information from the home/cottage owner or resident and conduct both an interior and exterior assessment of you home or cottage, this service will take up to an hour depending upon the individual needs of your Squirrel situation.

Gathering information, the information gathered from you is beneficial in your technician being able to focus his/her attention on the key areas and situations specific to your experiences and needs.

Your interior assessment, during the interior assessment the technician will require access to your attic as well as any other area where you have experienced Squirrel sightings, noises or have found droppings, excrement and or damage. In these key areas he/she will be investigating to determine both the level of infestation as well as ascertaining that it is a Squirrel that is the invader. Attention will be paid to possible nesting sights, runways (Squirrels often use wall voids, between ceiling to move throughout your home or cottage), damage incurred, accumulation of droppings, location of droppings and the presence of wildlife babies. This information is necessary in the strategic removal of unwanted Squirrels from your home or cottage

Squirrel

Squirrels have a tendency to chew on edible and non-edible objects. Because their teeth grow continuously, their constant gnawing helps maintain sharp teeth and prevent overgrowth.

Diet

Generally, squirrels feed on tree bark, seeds, walnuts, acorns, other kinds of nuts, and the various fungi that are found in the forest region. They are an opportunist in searching for food, and therefore can adapt to a wide variety of habitats. Squirrels change their diet based on the current season and eat whatever is available. They feed on buds of hardwood trees in spring, winged seeds of maple in summer, along with some other berries and other wild fruits. During autumn, their diet comprises mostly of hard nuts, hickory nuts, beechnuts, pine seeds, and butternuts. During this time of year, they are also working hard to stock up their supplies for winter.

Habitat

Often seen scampering from branch to branch, squirrels are seen in all kinds of environments, including parks, neighborhoods and wooded areas. The ideal habitat for a squirrel has an abundance of nut-producing trees and a diverse selection of other food sources available during different seasons

Life Cycle

Gray squirrels breed in mid-December or early January and again in June if food is very abundant. Most females begin their reproductive life at one year old. Males usually are sexually mature by 11 months, but maturity can be delayed by as much as two years if the young males are around a dominant adult male. During the breeding season, noisy mating chases take place when one or more males pursue a female through the trees. When not breeding, the gray squirrel is solitary. Pregnancy lasts about 44 days with one to eight pups in each litter. The young are cared for by the mother and are weaned after they are two months old.

Diseases

The gray squirrel is a host to many diseases and parasites, including lice, worms, and ticks.

Are Car Dealer Websites Important For Used Car Dealers

Top Tips for Choosing the Best Car Dealer

When looking the car dealer to do business with, you should check the types of cars that they stock. First of all, you should identify a car dealer that sells and buy both old and new cars. This way you will be sure that you are covered. You should also make sure that they deal in a wide range of cars that you can choose from. It is essential to make sure that they are stocking the latest cars especially if you wish to purchase a new one. Here you should look for vehicles such as Kia cars, SUVs, sedan, limousine, minibus among others that you may need

Apart from that, you should also choose a full-services auto dealer. This means that apart from selling cars, they should also be selling their parts, offering repair services as well as maintenance services among others. One good thing about buying a car from these people is that you will not have to be worried about where you will repair your car or get the replacement parts.

The other thing that you should check is the other services that they are offering. For instance, you should check if they are offering towing services or delivery services. You should also confirm if they allow trade-in. This is where you have a used car that you would like them to take plus some cash in exchange for a new car or a different one. Not only that you should also confirm if they offer financing services. One thing that needs to know is that buying a new car is not easy and you may need some loan of which you will pay in installments.

Besides, you should also check if they provide you with a warranty. It is not wise to choose a car dealer who does not have a warranty. Make sure that the potential car dealer provides a written warranty that lasts for many years on their vehicles and parts. This way you will be able to enjoy free or affordable repair, replacement and maintenance services when the warranty is on. It is also true that dealers who offer warranty have the best quality cars and services.

Lastly, you should also check their pricing. In this case, you are required to choose a dealer who will provide you with the best quality cars at competitive rates. Here you will be able to save a lot of money on your next car

How to choose a good car retailer

Before the average person buys a car, they spend 11 hours doing online research to find just the right model. Do they think about where to buy it from, though? Probably not. But they should… In the UK, there are three main types of car dealer – franchised, independent and supermarkets – and, as you can see from our film above, you can have a good experience at any one. You just have to find the one where you feel most comfortable and happy.

Before you start, remember you’re not looking for the impossible. What you want are things all legitimate retailers can show. Our film will give you more details, but we recommend three things to help you find the right retailer: find independent reviews and ratings; look through the company’s website; and, see if they are members of any recognised industry organisations.

Thankfully, the days of dodgy dealers are swiftly becoming a thing of the past, as customers start to buy cars from ‘retailers’, who offer a good-quality car with great customer service. What’s more, the internet has made the whole market much more transparent. Both you and the retailer can check similar cars for sale all over the country, so you can be sure the one you’re interested in is priced fairly.

In other words, you can find the car you want, turn up at the retailer, and feel much more confident you’re buying the right car at the right price. In many cases, you can also turn up with an independent valuation of your part-exchange, so you know the whole deal is fair.

Top Tips To Choose A Car Dealership

It is fact that the consumers looking for cars are not down with the scarcity of car dealers in the market. There are thousands of car dealers to choose from but then it is a fact that your car shopping experience completely depends on the kind of the dealership you go for. People have good experience with some dealerships while they are disappointed by others. Your experience does not come as a luck rather it is the result of the steps you follow to make the choice.

Price: When purchasing a car no one wants to pay more and everybody wants to be sure that they have made the best deal. Its human nature, there is no solution for this!

Service: To keep the car moving, people need people and most of the dealerships gain a good amount from customer service. Right service works to strengthen the root of the relationship between the consumer and dealership. You will be able to find the right solution for your car without having to spend on unnecessary expenses.

Availability: Availability plays a very critical role as you want to have the car of your choice available in the stock. In case the dealership does not have much choice then they will have to get it for your from the manufacturer or you will have to buy from what you find. In both the scenario the shopping experience is affected. So you will need to find a dealer who has enough choice to offer you

It is not possible to hide poor services anymore and you will easily find a review about a dealership on the internet. It becomes important for the dealership to follow transparency and it will help the consumers to evaluate the dealership

How to Choose the Right Pre-owned Car Dealer

Cars are an essential part of our lives. They not only complete our transportation needs, but also become our companion for long journeys. Buying a new car is not an easy task. Whether you buy a budget hatchback or a premium SUV, choosing the right car is not everyone’s cup of tea. After all, it involves a lot of your hard-earned money. That is why the best decision to make is to consider buying a pre-owned vehicle. But to bring home the best pre-owned car, you need a trusted and transparent dealership.

Since the pre-owned vehicle market is now an immensely diverse niche, a lot of new players and business entities are trying out their luck in the field. But with so many sellers and dealership, it is hard to make out which one’s genuine. A lot of innocent buyers often find themselves trapped in a fraudulent or scam transaction. However, to protect yourself from getting scammed, here are a few things you must look out for in a pre-owned car dealer

A diverse inventory

One of the most defining features for any pre-owned dealership is it’s inventory of cars. Whenever you go out to look for your next pre-owned vehicle, make sure to transact with a dealer that offers a diverse inventory. This way you can be assured of finding the perfect car that matches your budget and other key preferences. Ask your dealer to show you cars based upon your budget, type, colour or any other preference. This way you will know that the dealer is genuine and does not deal in cars that could potentially be stolen or acquired without a good title

Non-Accidental Cars with a Good Title

Another thing you must make sure while transacting with a pre-owned car dealer is that each car you inspect must have a non-accidental history and a good title. To make sure you are safe from any kind of fraud/scam ask your dealer to show you original copies of documents like Registration Certificate and Insurance History. Transacting with a dealer that provides you with original/authentic copies of title papers and insurance history, can prevent you from getting scammed

Fair and Competitive Pricing

Since buying a new car involves a substantial amount of your savings, make sure you transact with a dealer that offers competitive pricing. A good and fair dealership often removes middlemen to offer you a huge price advantage. While comparing prices offered by the various dealerships, make sure you keep in mind factors such as current and past market trends, demand and availability of the model you prefer, condition of the car and its interiors and future resale value. This way you tone down dealership options to ultimately chose a dealer that offers fair and competitive pricing.

things you need to know before buying a car

Buying a new or used car can be an intimidating experience.

Many car salespeople may pressure you to leave the lot with a purchased vehicle, so it’s crucial you’re armed with information about the cars you are interested in, the budget you can afford, and the value of your trade-in — if you have one. With these details, you have all the tools you need to negotiate properly.

Think about financing

Prior to visiting any dealership, have a sense of what kind of deposit you can put down and what monthly payment you can afford. It also helps to do some research on available auto loans to get a sense of what you qualify for. Or try a service like AutoGravity, which allows you to select rates and terms that fit your budget and then obtain offers from lenders.

Check your credit score

Knowing your credit score can be helpful as well. Justin Lavelle, chief communications officer for BeenVerified, says, “Having a good idea of your credit report and credit score and the interest rates available can help you negotiate a good deal and save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.”

Shop around

Research the cars you might be interested in before you head to a dealership, rather than going in unprepared. To determine what kind of car you want, use resources like US News Best Cars, where you can search anything from “best cars for families” to “best used cars under 10k.” Another resource is Autotrader, which can be used to search new and used cars in your area by make, model, price, body style, and more.

Compare prices

Lavelle also stresses getting detailed pricing info in advance: “Price the car at different dealerships and use online services to get invoice and deal pricing.” A reliable tool is Kelley Blue Book. Use the site’s car value tool to find out the MSRP and the dealer invoice of a car as well as a range of prices you can expect to see at dealerships. TrueCar is also helpful to use. You can search for and request pricing on any make, model, or year of car. You may get a slew of phone calls, emails, and texts from dealers immediately after, but having information from different dealerships can help you negotiate prices. You should also visit dealer sites to look for rebate offers.

Tips To Help You Hire Your Divorce Lawyer

Tips For Selecting The Right Divorce Attorney

The selection of your attorney will likely be one of the most important factors in the outcome of your divorce. With such a massive pool of lawyers to choose from, making such an important decision can be extremely difficult — particularly since the needs of every case will be different. It will take a lot of research and time, but the choice of your legal representation should not be taken lightly.

Don’t simply pick the first lawyer you contact

It is vital that you do your homework and actually meet with several attorneys before you put down a large deposit to retain one. Trust is extremely important in the relationship you will develop with your attorney, and you need to meet them to get a feel for that initial first impression.

Talk to people you know who have been through divorce

It can be an awkward conversation to bring up, but talking to friends, family or coworkers who have been through divorce can give you a good place to start. Despite the ability of researching on the Internet, first-hand accounts are still a really good way to get quality information.

Don’t assume that if you’re a man, only male attorneys can successfully represent you

The chance of your attorney’s gender impacting the outcome of your case is not very high. It is much more important to worry about finding a competent and dependable attorney that you feel comfortable being around. What should matter most is that you trust them to fight for your best interests, regardless of their gender.

Be wary of advertisements

While TV and radio ads may indicate a successful lawyer or firm, that isn’t always the case. Ads are simply meant to attract business and don’t necessarily reflect the track record of an attorney.

How To Choose A Divorce Attorney

A divorce is one of the most traumatic events in a person’s life, ranking right up there with the death of a loved one. A divorce is also one of the few times – and maybe the only time – a person has to deal with the court system.

Ending a disintegrating marriage is made more difficult by the complexity of the divorce process and the emotional stress of dealing with the issues of child custody and support and division of assets.

Understanding the legal process is as baffling as trying to understand complex medical procedures, and just as you need to trust your physician, you need to feel confident with your attorney during a divorce. Your divorce attorney must be a combination of therapist, confidant, clergy person and “legal eagle.” So, how do you find this person to whom you can entrust your future?

Get referrals from friends

If you have friends who have gone through a divorce, ask what they liked and disliked about their attorneys. Was your friend’s case as complex or less complex than your own? Was the attorney equally competent in handling emotional issues such as custody and “business” issues such as division of assets? Also, ask about the attorney who represented your friend’s spouse.

Meet with several attorneys

Schedule appointments with several attorneys for consultations, and let the attorney know you are in the interviewing process. Most attorneys won’t see you free of charge since they have only their time and advice to sell, but some offer discounts for the initial consultation.

Ask the right questions

When you meet with an attorney, bring a list of questions regarding your concerns in choosing an attorney as well as your personal concerns in the divorce case. Ask how the law firm bills its clients and ascertain the billing rates for each person who will be working on your case

Secrets Your Divorce Lawyer Won’t Tell You

When competing for new business, it may behoove lawyers not to impart everything that their schooling and experience has taught them to prospective clients. That’s partly because some of what they know is not what a client wants to hear and painting an optimistic picture of the outcome can secure new business. What’s more, they might know something that, if they shared it with a new client, could negatively affect their bottom line. Below are twenty secrets that a divorce lawyer may not want to share with you.

It’s going to cost more than you bargained for

It’s not always the case—but more often than not, the costs associated with your divorce will often be higher than your lawyer’s original estimate. Contested divorces cost anywhere from $15,000 to $30,000, though there are plenty of ways to limit the staunch the outward flow of cash before and during the process. A key part is to keep an open mind and focus on tomorrow’s opportunities rather than yesterday’s injustices.

That legal costs may compel you to live very frugally

No one wants to lead by asking you to make some dramatic cuts in your expenditure, but you would do well to take a long, cold look at your cash flow and think of ways to make some significant changes if need be. Seeing a big dip in the manner to which you’ve become accustomed is dispiriting, but it’s better to temporarily cut corners in your lifestyle than be represented by a bargain basement lawyer who could miss opportunities in getting you a favorable outcome.

That you may have to accept responsibility for the divorce

Fault-based divorce is when one spouse committed an act that gives legal justification to the ending of the marriage. These acts include adultery, a felony conviction, cruelty, or desertion. If you are the spouse that committed one of these acts, it could have a negative impact for you on things like child custody and the division of property, depending on local laws. It’s important to prepare for this scenario and attempt to determine all defenses available to you.

That you’ll save money and heartache by being organized

Divorce lawyers often charge by the hour. If you take responsibility for being as organized as possible, not only are you likely to walk away from your marriage with a more acceptable outcome, you’ll probably save some money too

How do I find a good divorce attorney?

Question

My wife just informed me that she’s in love with someone else and wants a divorce. She already has a lawyer for herself. I’ve been getting names of possible attorneys from friends, but my friends often say things like, “This one will make sure your wife won’t get a penny.” Of course I’m angry, but I’m not sure I want this to turn into a heated battle. What qualities would you advise I look for in a divorce attorney?

Answer

A good attorney can change the course of your divorce. It can be the difference between feeling like you have an advocate to protect you, or feeling like you’re fighting a battle alone. Divorce is hard, but an experienced divorce lawyer can take on some of that burden and help you achieve your goals. Find out more about what to look for when choosing a divorce attorney.

What Type of Attorney do I Need?

When you’re getting a divorce, you’ll need an attorney who is experienced in family law matters. A old college friend who now practices medical malpractice law isn’t likely to be the best choice to handle your divorce. Different areas of the law have different rules and requirements. Attorneys in each practice area have different skill sets. Divorce can be a complex process and it’s essential to have an attorney who knows the nuances of family law and is familiar with your local court’s rules and judges.

Can My Spouse and I Share an Attorney?

The short answer is “no.” The professional rules of conduct governing lawyers prohibit attorneys from representing both spouses in a divorce. This would create a conflict of interest for the attorney, since your interests, rights, and needs in a divorce are adverse to your spouse’s. A single attorney can’t ethically give good legal advice to two people in adverse positions.

How Do I Know If an Attorney Is the Right fit?

You should interview any prospective attorney just as you would someone who was applying to work for you. You need to like your attorney. It’s also important that you have confidence in your lawyer’s abilities and respond well to communication style. Some lawyers pride themselves on an aggressive demeanor, while others highlight their ability to collaborate and settle most divorces without a drawn-out courtroom battle.

How to choose a good divorce lawyer

The choice of a divorce lawyer is crucial to the outcome of your case and the way it progresses. Choosing the wrong lawyer can increase the emotional stress of being involved in a family law case and the cost to you and your family.

Identify the need for a divorce lawyer.

If you are contemplating separating from your partner it may be advantageous to meet with a divorce lawyer so that you are fully informed of your legal rights and directed in the best way to proceed after separation.

Ask for a referral

Lawyers, accountants, psychologists, financial planners and other professionals meet and work with divorce lawyers in the course of their work and are often a good source of referral. Ask them for the names of family law specialists with good reputations whose qualifications are most appropriate to your case.

Personal characteristics

You should avoid allowing a lawyer’s physical appearance to influence your decision about whether or not to engage them. Capable and skilled divorce lawyers come in many different sizes, shapes, genders and ages. These characteristics do not correlate with a lawyer’s ability. Irrespective of a lawyer’s ability, a client feeling comfortable is important if the lawyer-client relationship is to be a success. There is no reason not to engage a lawyer with whom you share personal characteristics with, but be sure you are not being influenced by stereotypes.

Identify your budget

Before selecting any lawyer you need to identify your budget. While market conditions such as supply, demand and competition dictate what lawyers charge, there can be a significant variation in fees.

Things To Consider When Planning For Home Remodeling

Things You Need to Know Before Remodeling

1. Understand the Potential Return on Investment

If your main goal of remodeling is to increase the value of your home so that you have the highest return when you sell, then you should do return on investment (ROI) research. Remodeling projects that are low maintenance, good quality, and aren’t too costly have the highest ROI. Sorry, but hiring a contractor to build the swankiest kitchen you see on Pinterest won’t give you a high return on investment.

According to HouseLogic, mid-range kitchen remodel projects will give you a nice ROI of 81.8%. Mid-range remodel projects have beat out high end remodels every year. A typical mid-range kitchen remodel would consist of new floors, refacing cabinets, new countertops, and new appliances.

2. Research Your Neighborhood

Just because you have the funds to remodel your home with the best features doesn’t mean you should. Home values are driven by the surrounding local market and there’s usually a ceiling to the potential selling price of homes in a neighborhood. For example, if homes nearby typically sell for $250,000 at best, then you don’t want to put more than $50,000 worth of upgrades into a home you bought for $200,000. Ask an experienced Realtor® about current home values in your neighborhood.

3. Check Local Building Permits

Depending on the details of your remodel, you may need a building permit. You’ll probably need one if your remodel involves something large like changing the footprint of your house, building an addition, or altering a load bearing wall. If you’re simply refacing cabinets and putting in a new countertop, you won’t need one. It’s smart to call your local government’s building or engineering department to double check.

4. Take Pinterest With a Grain of Salt

Pinterest is great for getting ideas (and wasting time). Just remember that the most pinned and re-pinned pictures of dream bathrooms are most likely from luxury homes. So don’t make a poor financial move just so you can share a cute picture.

5. Leave Room In Your Budget

Like Stephen King novels, most remodeling projects will come with an unexpected twist. If $10,000 is the most you can spend, then budget something closer to $8,000 so that you have some wiggle room.

6. Understand Where Your Money is Going

According to Home Advisor, labor counts for about 30-35 percent of the cost, while material products will take up 65-70 percent. When it comes to kitchen remodels, most of your money will be going towards new cabinets if that’s a part of your plan. If you’re the handy type, you can save a LOT of money by doing all or part of the labor yourself.

How to Keep Track of Your Remodel Project

1. Become a list writer. Making lists is key when it comes to project management. It’s the only way to properly organize your thoughts and prevent any details from being forgotten.

The most important list is your scope of work, or specifications, document. This is basically a detailed list of everything to be done, from start to finish. If you’re dealing with one main builder who’s organizing all the work, then you’ll need to make sure he or she gets a copy, so the goals are clear and all the information is provided.

2. Make sure you’re all on the same page. If you’re coordinating separate professionals and subcontractors (cabinetmaker, plumber, electrician), then it would be worth indicating who’s responsible for each task. Give a complete copy of the specifications to all of them, so they’re all aware of what everyone is doing. Discuss the specifications with your subcontractors since they may be able to provide help and advice. A schedule is also useful, so you can keep track of progress and everyone knows who’s going to be on-site on which day.

3. Create subsections. In addition to your main specifications, it’s a good idea to have sublists for each separate element of your design. For example, your main specifications may say “install 6 x recessed LED downlights in ceiling,” but your lighting specifications will detail where they are to be positioned, the type of bulb, the hardware finish and so on. The more information you provide, the more accurate your quote should be and the less likely it will be for mistakes or misunderstandings to occur. It will also minimize any unexpected costs.

4. Plan everything ahead. Finalize your design before starting any work, rather than trying to do it as you go along. The process will be much more enjoyable without constant deadlines presenting themselves, and if you haven’t planned, you may find your options restricted based on work that’s already taken place.

5. Never assume. You know the saying. When writing your specifications or drawing your plans, never assume that someone else will know what you want unless you explicitly state it. Include every tiny detail, no matter how picky it may seem. As well as avoiding mistakes, it also prevents any disputes over what is and isn’t included in the quote.

Things Not to Do When Remodeling your Home

In most homeowners life there will come a time when remodeling and upgrading your current amenities will be a way of life. Whether you are wanting to add space to your rooms, upgrade materials, or because your home needs more functionality, taking on a remodeling job could be in your near future. Before you get started, there are several factors to consider.  While your favorite home and gardens show may make it look easy in a few days – here are 10 things not to do when taking on your remodeling home job.

Don’t assume you know how to do every home remodeling project:

Every DIY remodeling project isn’t considered equal. Before you decide which project to begin first at your home, determine what skill set and experience you have to execute your project. Many home projects will involve more expertise than others. While you may think all you need to do to replace a lighting fixture is detach the current fixture – you may forget that turning off the electricity to that circuit and other necessary requirements are necessary. Do your homework!

Don’t enlist friends and family to help you if they aren’t experienced:

In order to save money many homeowners think of hiring or asking their friends and family to help. This can lead to costly mistakes, injury, and damage to important elements in your home. While friends and family can be used for moving belongings, furniture, cleaning and other household “chores” – only let experienced family and friends assist with your home renovation.

Never assume that your budget won’t go over your estimation:

While you may have done your homework on how much your materials, labor, and miscellaneous remodeling components will cost, there always should be a budget for going over budget. Many remodeling projects will involve unforeseen circumstances that will not be conveyed until the project starts. Opening up walls can often lead to electrical, structural or plumbing surprises. Remodeling older homes can often unveil mold, pipes leaking or rotting and deteriorating wood. Keeping this in mind, create a lower budget than you think you will need, just in case.

Don’t risk your safety to get a home remodeling project done quicker or for cheaper

You may think this is self-explanatory but hospital emergency rooms around the world are filled with home improvement accident injury victims that could have been prevented. When working on high areas ensure you have the proper scaffolding, ladders, extension poles, and fall-protection safety wear to execute your job safely. If you are unfamiliar around high power tools, working around electricity and other technical portions of your home, hire a professional for your remodeling project.

Budget-friendly DIY home improvement projects

1. Clean your vinyl siding

2. Repaint the front door and update exterior accents

3. Apply removable wallpaper

4. Paint your walls

5. Refresh your cabinets

Remodeling Design Considerations

When you first begin to consider a home remodel, whether it’s a whole home renovation or a kitchen or bath transformation, cost and timeline are the most common concerns. However, there are some critical remodeling considerations that can be avoided with some careful planning.

Here are the top ten remodeling design considerations:

USE STYLES DRIVEN BY TRENDS OR FADS SPARINGLY

Whether you’ve purchased a home with lots of potential or have decided to give your existing home a facelift, it can be tempting to use trends and fads to influence your design. However, these in-today-out-tomorrow style statements often don’t age well. To make the most of your remodeling investment, keep structural, architectural, and key materials (such as floors, counters, and cabinets) timeless in design.

MAKE A PLAN AND STICK TO IT

One of the most costly mistakes can be avoided by adequate planning and committing to a budget as well as to design and material selections. While there may be some minor modifications that occur with any home remodeling project, having a detailed plan in place can keep your project moving forward with minimal delays and without breaking your budget.

UNDERSTAND THE WORK FLOW

Pesky problems such as tight spaces, troublesome doorways, and lack of access are common symptoms of design challenges. Understanding how you plan to use the space is the first step in defining the design and recommended changes.

PROVIDE PLENTY OF COUNTER AND STORAGE

Beyond the obvious needs to renovate, such as updating to a more current or personal style, one of the most common complaints about lackluster rooms is the need for additional counter and storage space.

LET NATURE SHINE

While lighting workspaces and primping areas are common sources for lighting, windows also provide an excellent source of both light and heat, especially during cold winter months.

REDUCE MOLD, MILDEW AND COOKING SMELLS

Merge moisture, improper ventilation, and overpowering smells and it’s the perfect breeding ground for mold, mildew, and lasting odors. This is why ventilation is an absolute must in kitchens and bathrooms alike. Not only does ventilation draw out undesirable smells, but it also keeps the humidity level at bay. The end result is that your home will look and smell fresh, and the ventilation will protect your investment by ensuring that your home isn’t overtaken by mold, mildew, and rot that erode material stability.

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

HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER

Picking your Wedding Photographer is an important decision, once the wedding is over these photos will hold all those memories and key moments. There are thousands of photographers in the UK, so how do you go about choosing a professional wedding photographer for your special day.

STYLE

First off is decide your style, you can browse our site and see hundreds of different wedding photos by different photographers, however it is important you find a photography style that matches what you want, a style that you want your photos to follow. Shortlist photographers that match your style, be it reportage, traditional or contemporary, quirky and creative.

EXPERIENCE

They may have been taking photos for years, but have only recently started capturing weddings. Make sure they have a good few solid years of photographing weddings. Weddings are very different to fashion shoots or staged shots as they are dynamic, it is a live event, an experienced wedding photographer will know the flow of the day and know where to be at the right time to get those stunning shots.

TESTIMONIALS

If they have the experience then they should certainly have a lot of testimonials and great references. Ask to speak to previous clients, make sure they were happy with how it all went and are thrilled with the end result when they got their photos.

CONSISTENCY

You may have found a photography with the perfect style you are looking for, they have some great shots on their website, now you want to see some albums, whole weddings that are complete.

How to Choose a Wedding Photographer

The photographs from your wedding day will be a timeless memento of a truly special day. Wedding photographers can be very expensive, specialise in a number of different styles, and offer a variety of levels of service. Choosing a wedding photographer takes careful thought and consideration about what sort of pictures you want to document your wedding day. Do plenty of research and interview a number of candidate before making your choice

Decide what style of wedding photography you prefer. There are a number of different styles of wedding photography, and different photographers will specialise in different styles. Take some time to read up on and learn about the different styles and think about which one suits you best.

Start looking early. Booking your wedding photographer should be one of the first things you do after you have booked your venue. Wedding photographers are in high demand, especially in the busiest times of year for weddings, and many of the best ones will be booked up a year in advance

Ask for personal recommendations. The best wedding photographers will tend to develop a reputation, and may be known locally to your friends are family. Start your search by asking people you know and trust if they have any recommendations, either through personal experience, or word of mouth. Talk to people you know who have got married in the last few years and ask about their experience

Avoid hiring family or friends. It may be tempting to hire somebody you know to be your wedding photographer. You may be drawn towards hiring someone you trust, who knows you and your partner well, and you think will understand what kind of pictures you want. While this might turn out perfectly well, it is highly likely that this person will not have the technical skills and experience to give you the best photos

Tips for Choosing the Perfect Wedding Photographer

It’s that time of year. The time of year you may well be getting ready to pick a wedding photographer. We do a lot of work with wedding photographers on APW (they make up the majority of our amazing sponsors). And if there is one goal I have for matching photographers with clients, it’s that the RIGHT matches are made. You want a wedding photographer whose work you love, and who’s personally a match for you. Any photographer worth their salt wants the right client for them, not just any client. APW has two in-depth articles on choosing a wedding photographer: one on storytelling/lighting/composition, and another on wedding photography styles. But today, we thought we’d boil it down to our most practical tips and tricks to help you find exactly the right match (or hell, to decide you’re going DIY on your photography).

PHILOSOPHY

For some wedding vendors, you really don’t need to care about their philosophy. Wedding photography is not one of those places. Chances are, you’re going to spend more time with your wedding photographer than with your maid of honor on your wedding day, so you want to make sure they’re someone you jive with. The simplest way to start is to sort through the vendor listings of a wedding website where you feel like you fit in. (Oh, hi, APW Vendor Directory.) Once you’ve found photographers you’re interested in, look at their About pages. Those pages are carefully constructed to give you a sense of who the photographer is and how they work. Back when our CRO Maddie shot weddings, she had an About page that really laid out who she was very clearly. It said, “As a wedding photographer, I believe that getting married is one of the bravest things a person can do. It’s messy and it’s hard work, and rarely the result of a perfect love story.” That sets out a very specific philosophy that might be really right (or really wrong) for you. Look for written philosophies that feel like they just click, and then see if that feeling continues when you meet with the photographer in person or talk to them on the phone.

DO YOU LIKE THE PHOTOGRAPHER?

Once you’ve narrowed down photographers whose work you like, and whose philosophy you seem to gel with, set up an in-person meeting (or a Skype session, if that’s what works). Then, figure out if you LIKE them. If you don’t, please don’t hire them. You spend enough time with your photographer on your wedding day that you should find them generally pleasant at minimum, possible-BFF-forever at maximum. (Only you know how much you care about love-loving them, but make sure you like them.)

LIGHTING SITUATION FOR YOUR WEDDING

Before we get too far into this idea of, “Just hire someone whose work makes you feel happy inside,” let’s have a quick reality check. The easiest wedding to shoot is a wedding in the daytime, with a ceremony under shade and great natural light. If that applies to you, ignore the rest of this paragraph. If, however, you’re getting married in a dark church or you’re having an outdoor evening wedding reception, it’s really important that you specifically look for a photographer that’s skilled with those lighting environments. Don’t assume that experience equals skill in low lighting. Look for weddings shot in similar lighting environments in your photographer’s portfolio, and ask them specifically how they would handle your particular situation. (Some photographers use external lights for dark receptions, while others may rely on their camera’s ability to see well in the dark.) If you notice that after it gets dark, all wedding photos in the portfolio are processed in black and white, that’s a hint that the photographer may not be super comfortable in darker situations. (Please note: Your wedding in a Gothic cathedral is not going to look like a wedding in a sunlit field, no matter who you hire, so don’t expect magic tricks.)

REVIEWS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Every photographer is going to have their strengths and weaknesses. It’s pretty easy to get a sense of what someone’s strengths are (let’s assume taking stunning photos is one of them). The trick is to get an accurate sense of what a given photographer’s weaknesses are, and then decide what you can live with. You can do this by a robust conversation with a photographer. (Just ask them flat out what their weaknesses are. A professional will tell you. Run away if they say they have none.) Or you can ask to chat with a past client. Here are a variety of weaknesses I’ve observed in various photographers (most of whom are kick-ass people and artists): not super good time managers on the wedding day, slightly socially awkward, slow delivery of photos, slow or poor client communication, not cheerful and outgoing with the couple, don’t take direction well.

Ways to Choose the Right Wedding Photographer

After so many months and weeks of wedding planning, you will be surprised how fast your day will go by. Before you know it, you’ll be having coffee with your husband reminiscing about your wedding day. That’s why having the right wedding photographer to capture and preserve your wedding day is very important. Good thing, soon-to-wed couples have a lot of options when it comes to choosing the right wedding photographer.

With so many factors to consider in choosing the right wedding photographer, it always boils down to how important memories are to you. For some, wedding photography is merely a way to remind them of the day. But for others, photography is an art form, a delicate way to tell a love story, your love story.

Start looking as early as possible

When you want to have the cream of New Zealand top wedding photographer to capture your big day, you have to book them as early as possible. This also applies when your wedding date is a weekend or scheduled for a holiday season. The truth is, top photographers are always booked all year-round. So start doing your homework and research early. Many brides book their photographer 1-2 years out. It is never too early to start looking and booking your wedding photographer. It will be a big relief once that is done.

Research for wedding images, and more research

There are just so many different styles of wedding photography, not to mention different wedding packages and photography costs. It is important to do your research, visit as many wedding photography website as possible. Many New Zealand wedding photographers do travel outside their regions, some are free, and some do charge a small amount to cover the basic costs. It is important to know what wedding photography styles you want, from natural lighting to flash, super glamour or natural and editorial. This also applies to the editing of the wedding images. Some photographers like the film look, while others are more dark and moody. As you look through the websites, you will develop a taste of what you want, and what wedding images attract you. It is important to remember that every wedding photographers have their own style. Do not choose a photographer and ask them to copy other’s people styles. It will make for a very uncomfortable atmosphere, and likely to end in disaster.

Interviews your wedding photographers

As soon as you’ve narrowed down your list of potential wedding photographers, you must conduct interviews. This is an important part of your selection process because it will determine who among the shortlisted wedding vendors fit the bill.

How to Choose Your Wedding Photographer

Wedding photography is one of the biggest (and in our book, best!) investments you’ll make in your wedding day. So it’s important to choose a wedding photographer whose work you love now, will still adore in years to come, and who you feel is the right fit for you, your partner, and your wedding.

Along with a wedding video – and all the memories of course! – your wedding photos are among the few things you’ll have as a keepsake of your day, long after the confetti’s been swept away and the last of the wedding cake has been eaten. So having your day documented by the right person is so, so important

Unless you’re a photography buff yourself, it can be hard to compare photographers, work out what makes a photographer great, or know if they’re the right person to photograph you and your other half on the big day. To help, we’ve rounded up some essential tips for how to choose a wedding photographer.

Do Your Research

The first job on your to-do list is to seek out wedding photographers who work in your area and view their photographs. We’ve compiled a handy list of recommended photographers to use as your starting point – these guys come with the One Fab Day seal of approval, so you can trust them to give your day the love and attention it deserves!

At this point, you’ll start to notice how many different styles of wedding photography there are – fine art (dreamy, reminiscent of fashion magazine editorials), documentary (candid, off-the-cuff), traditional, modern, etc. When you’re looking at a photographer’s photos, it doesn’t matter if you don’t know what style you’re looking for, all you need to ask yourself is, do you like their work?

Key Benefits Of Residential Broken Pipes Inspection

Tips for Choosing the Best Contractor to Repair Broken Pipes

When upgrading a home, one of the things that you will be looking at is the drains. You want to ensure that after renovations, you have a properly functioning plumbing system

It all starts by choosing a plumber to work on your drainage pipes. Regardless of where you live, you are likely to find many contractors for this job. However, it is unlikely that they all will be suitable. You need to find out what they are capable of. For example, you may ask for some of the projects that they worked on and see if they reflect what you want. You also should talk to them about your unique needs so that they understand your project.

Latest Plumbing Technology

If you look at some of the leading plumbing companies in your area, you will notice that they have invested in the latest technology for broken pipes repair. Some of them use video inspection to find faults in pipes and fix them accordingly. This is the reason they are always fast and accurate in what they do. If you choose a company that still relies on ancient techniques, you will only end up a disappointed customer.

When looking for a contractor to repair broken pipes, you should insist on experience. During their work, plumbers acquire unique skills and therefore, they become better with time. At the end of the day, what you need is a home with the perfect drainage system

Entrust the repair of your broken pipes to the professional plumbers of this company. They are available 24/7, including holidays and weekends. They also offer water damage restoration services.

Burst pipes and water leaks

Water damage to your property is usually covered as a standard feature in your buildings insurance policy.  Often referred to as ‘escape of water’ by insurers, it can be caused by several issues, from burst pipes due to freezing temperatures, to a leaking dishwasher or an overflowing blocked toilet.

Stopcocks – know where these are and make sure that you test them regularly as they often seize up. If there is an escape of water / water leak in your home, turning off the stop cock asap can help to limit the level of damage caused.

Consider fitting a leak detection device which will monitor your usual water use and turn off the water if it suspects a leak. Use a plumber or a professional to install these types of devices. Some insurers may offer help with the installation of a leak detection device and may also take this into account when pricing your cover

Where possible, regularly check the pipes where your appliances are plumbed in for any looseness, leaks or drips. In areas where pipes are covered but that you still have access to (e.g. behind removable bath panels, toilet cistern panels and underneath kitchen units, where accessible,) it’s a good idea to take a look every now to make sure there aren’t any small leaks which could become major

Consider what you are putting down your drain, and make sure that you clean drains regularly if you suspect a blockage. Substances such as fats and oils from cooking, produce stickers, baby wipes, sanitary products and even hair can all cause clogs in drains and toilets

Guide to Sewer Pipes: Clay, Iron, Plastic, and Orangeburg

Few, if any, homeowners ever elect to dig up their yard to take a look at their sewer pipe. Pipe assessment is never an elective activity; it’s usually forced upon you when the toilets refuse to flush and wastewater comes up instead of going down.

Digging up and replacing your sewer pipe is that dreaded activity that destroys landscaping, costs a bundle, and accomplishes nothing other than letting you return to life as usual. Understanding what kind of sewer pipe you have helps to minimize the pain a bit since you will know whether you can continue with the same pipe or switch to a different pipe. Often, the type of sewer pipe running through your yard corresponds with the age of your house.

Older Homes

In older properties built before the 1950s, you might find clay pipe, cast-iron pipe, or a fiber conduit pipe called Orangeburg. Clay and cast-iron are older types of sewer piping and can remain in the ground as long as they are still moving waste with no leaks. Orangeburg sewer pipe is worth replacing if you have the ground opened up, even if the Orangeburg appears to be in good shape.

Newer Homes

Homes built from the 1970s onwards tend to have plastic sewer pipe. In some rare instances, you may find older cast-iron or clay sewer lines at a new house. The new house (and even some remodeled houses) will often have new pipe installed within the house envelope itself and extending a few feet into the yard. The yard area is where the old sewer pipe will start up again and continue all the way to the city sewer main.

Plastic: PVC and ABS

Plastic sewer pipe for underground installations is available in both ABS and PVC. Both types of pipe have smooth interiors for excellent carrying capacity of solid waste matter. The smooth exteriors also help resist root anchorage

How Much Does It Cost to Fix a Broken Water Pipe?

Average Costs of Typical Pipe Bursts

One of the main costs to consider when dealing with a broken pipe is water damage. Due to flooding and leaks in your walls, ceiling, floor, or basement, you can expect to pay anywhere from $5,000-$50,000. The average insurance claim for a broken pipe and water damage is about $15,000 and up if you have a broken water pipe in wall or floors. While the cost to repair leaking pipe in ceilings is comparable. Your homeowners insurance should cover a majority of the water damage costs, but may not pay to repair the broken pipe. Factors such as location, severity of the break, and level of internal damage can affect how much you will pay.

If the broken pipe is on a small fixture and is easily accessible, you may be able to fix it yourself. On average you can expect to pay anywhere from $10-$50 for a do-it-yourself kit to repair a simple leak. If there is not an excessive amount of water damage, and you choose to hire a plumber to repair your broken pipe, you can expect to pay anywhere from $50-$250. In the case of an emergency, the cost may go up to $300-$600. Again, there are other factors that can affect these prices, such as how much work is needed and the materials required for proper busted water pipe repair.

Estimated Price of Additional Costs

If the reason your pipe burst is due to frozen water, the area may need to be thawed in order to properly locate and repair the pipe. The process for doing this can cost you anywhere from $20-$500.

In the case that there is damage to a water line that has also compromised the electrical wiring in your home, you may need to hire an electrician to come make sure your circuits and wires are working properly so that there are no potential safety hazards. This can cost anywhere from $100-$1,000, depending on the severity of the issue.

If you choose to contract a plumbing company to help you repair your busted pipe, you’ll need to factor in installation fees and any additional costs of materials needed to get the job done

Common causes of leaky, cracked & broken pipes

Corrosion of the pipe

Corrosion weakens your pipes outer surface until it develops leaks. These leaks are difficult to detect and gone undetected can cause serious damage to your insulation, drywall and foundation

High water pressure

Increased pressure inside your pipes can cause leaking around the connections and valves. The rise in pressure can be related to problems with a hot water heater. Or the culprit may be hardness of your water. Hard water causes a mineral build-up along the inside of your pipes. This may be corrected by the installation of water softener.

Poor plumbing installation or repairs

If your pipes were not installed or repaired by professional plumbers, there is a chance that poor connections will eventually lead to leaks, cracks and breaks in your pipes.

Aging Pipes

As pipes age, they experience regular wear and tear. Over time, pipes rust, corrode, become weak and start to erode. Signs of aging water pipes include a poor water pressure, rusty discolored water, bad tasting water, small dark flakes in your water, problems running more than faucet at a time, complete loss of water flow, leaks or signs of corrosion. Replacement of effected pipe or complete re-piping is your solution.

Pipe leaks can be both the easiest and most difficult plumbing repairs to identify. If the pipe under your kitchen sink begins to leak or spray, you will notice it in your cabinet and on your floor. However, if a pipe inside your wall begins to leak, you may not notice it until it begins to cause serious damage. We believe that knowing why your pipes leak, crack or break may not only help prevent major damage to your home, but also help you understand why enlisting the help of a professional plumber is so important.

Project Managing Your Residential Electrical Remodel

IMPORTANT ELECTRICAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR A HOME RENOVATION PROJECT

You may be planning to add a room to your house. It may be a home office or an outdoor kitchen. These can be big renovations and you have to be careful with the planning, ensuring that the electrical factors are also taken into account. You should work with a licensed electrician who has experience with a project like yours. Proper planning can save you money and ensure that the project runs seamlessly.

Electrical Capacity

When renovating your home, it is important to determine the current electrical capacity of the building. Many old homes do not have the wiring to handle the latest appliances and technologies. You should get the help of an electrician to calculate the existing capacity. They can help in

All home renovations are going to involve some kind of additions or changes to the wiring. The different wiring concerns are as follows:

Wiring Size: If the wiring size doesn’t match the new electrical requirements in the building, it increases the risk of fires. An increase in the number of outlets for a circuit can mean excess current for the circuit. If adding more amps, it is important that you install new circuits into the panel.

Securing Wiring: Make sure that the wiring is properly secured. If the staples are not properly attached, the wires can get damaged. It is recommended to run the wiring through cable trays.

Improper Wire Connections & Lengths: The length of wiring that can be stripped is regulated by electrical codes. The wires shouldn’t be stripped too much or too short. It can increase the risk of fires or voltage drops.

Unprotected Wires: It is recommended to have a safety inspection to ensure that there is no unprotected wiring. All electrical wires should be covered to prevent exposure to the elements, humans or pets.

Electrical Power Upgrade

When you add more space to your home, this means the power demand will increase. The existing panel may not be able to handle the increased power demand due to more appliances and circuits. It may require an electric service upgrade.

GFCIs

It is also recommended to install Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs). These devices will make your home a safer place. They instantly cut off power if a plugged-in appliance comes in contact with moisture. It is recommended to add these units to kitchens, bathrooms, or any other areas where there is a risk of water contact.

Things to Know About Electrics When Building a New Home

Building a new home can be incredibly exciting. But many people find that they get so consumed by the design and project management aspects of their new home that crucial elements, such as its electrical requirements, can be overlooked. If you get these wrong, the consequences facing your home can range from mere inconvenience, right through to major health and safety risks.

PLAN THE LOCATION OF OUTLETS

While you may be thinking of how rooms will be coordinated and where features will be situated, it’s necessary to first determine the position of electrical outlets and wiring for your communication devices. This is so you can then place electrical equipment in the appropriate places with connection to electricity. Consultation with a qualified and experienced master electrician can help you to achieve this end.

UNDERSTAND THE WIRING SYSTEM YOU’LL NEED

In making decisions about the electrics you’ll need in your new home, it’s important to realise that your total electrical system is comprised of the electrical service, as well as lighting outlets and a range of appliances that are hardwired. It’s worthwhile noting that your electrical service needs to be of a sufficient size to match the needs of the people living in your house. Typically, one hundred to two hundred amps are adequate for a standard-sized house and household.

KNOW IF YOU NEED EXTRA POWER

In this day and age, where technology is incredibly advanced, a number of people choose to have large systems for audio, visual, and entertainment purposes, as well as home-based offices. If you’re such a person, it’s wise to find out more about the options available for your home’s electrical system. It may be necessary for you to have an advanced wiring system in your home.

CONSIDER ENERGY EFFICIENCY

When it comes to electricity, many of us are concerned about the rising costs and negative environmental effects. Many people building new homes therefore appreciate knowing that a control system can be used to moderate the costs of energy. Such systems can be remotely controlled from your home, and while this capability may seem futuristic, they can ultimately save you money and ensure that your home is safe when you’re not there

electrical and lighting things to consider when building

I can safely say that every day of this home build journey I am learning something new. From small things like discovering new products (who knew door handles could be so exciting?!) to the bigger picture of understanding the building process

The decisions we make now will have an impact on how we live in and enjoy our home so I’m taking them pretty seriously… That’s why it took three hours of careful deliberation before finalising our electrical and lighting plan! Thankfully our electrician and lighting expert were incredibly patient and helpful!

Do not over-light your interiors

The other week we published ‘How to design a lighting plan for your home‘ and in that post, lighting expert James talks about understanding the function of each room before deciding how much and what type of light to fill it with. As we went room by room through our house, James would constantly ask me ‘What will you do in this room?’ and ‘How will you configure your furniture?’ before suggesting any lighting options. Start with function and adapt your lighting depending on the needs in the space to avoid over lighting your home — and put a dimmer on every interior light!

Consider mixing lighting solutions

James is a big believer in using as little ceiling light as possible so he suggested all sorts of other lighting solutions — wall washes, low hallway wall lights, floor lamps, pendants, step lights — and when we did talk about ceiling lights he suggested some new products, like ‘extrusion’ lighting which is a more sleek and commercial looking product. If you won’t have an expert to help you plan your lighting, I suggest taking the time to research all the lighting options out there before meeting with your electrician so you can develop a plan that works and will add interest to your home.

Be careful not to date your house with lighting that’s so 2015!

As you all know, I’m a massive Block fan. So when I asked whether or not strip lighting along the kick of the kitchen was a good idea, or if we should put some under the island bench and I got a strained look from James… it was pretty clear the answer was no, he he. He said we could do whatever we wanted — it’s our house after all — but that he wouldn’t recommend putting lighting in these places where it serves no real purpose as he thinks this lighting trend will date quickly. In a few years time you don’t want people to say ‘That’s so 2015!’.

Things for Your Electrical and Lighting Plan

After giving a general overview last week of what’s needed for the specifications for the plumbing, mechanical and electrical subs, I thought it would be helpful to go into more detail about the lighting and electrical plan that you will have to give to the electrician.  There is so much to consider.  I’ll give you a list of suggestions that you can use as a checklist to help you develop a pretty complete electrical and lighting plan before you even meet your builder or electrician for the lighting walkthrough.

The lighting walkthrough typically happens in the rough-in stage, after framing is complete and before the drywall goes up.  Usually the homeowner will walk through the framed house with the electrician and/or builder and discuss where fixtures, outlets and light switches will go.

But thinking through the electrical and lighting plan well before you do the electrical walkthrough will allow you more time to consider exactly what features and outlets we want, and where. This decreases the chances of you forgetting an outlet or light switch somewhere.  It will also give you an opportunity to develop more detailed specifications so you can get more accurate electrical bids before construction even begins.    You may want to do a walkthrough by yourself a time or two when developing your lighting plan, just so you can get your thoughts together and not feel rushed when you do the official walk through with the electrician and/or builder.

It’s probably best to make a written, room by room list of fixtures and features plus mark your house plan where the electrical fixtures, outlets and light switches will go.  You can use different colored dots or symbols for light switches, outlets, recessed can lights, under cabinet lighting, and lighting fixtures, such as wall scones, table lamps, floor lamps and chandeliers.  For example, you might symbolize all recessed can lights with black dots and light switches with red dots. Outlets could be blue and lighting fixtures could be green.  If you really want to be helpful (and a little Type A), after you figure out what exact lighting fixtures you want to go in each room, you paste a photo of the fixture to a paper copy of your house plan.  Paste each lighting fixture photo on the diagram of the room where it will go. That will serve as a master guide for your electrician when he installs your fixtures toward the end of the build

Now about these electrical and lighting plan suggestions… most likely, not all of the suggestions will work for your family, house and lifestyle.  Use what works for you and leave the rest.  And keep in mind, these tips should go to into your preliminary lighting/electrical plan. You’ll want to go over the preliminary electrical plan and marked up house plan with your electrician and/or builder to see if they have any additional suggestions that would make your lighting plan more functional or more economical. 

Lighting and Electrical Considerations for Vancouver Home Renovation

There are many things to learn whenever you renovate your house. Our decisions are incredibly crucial to making sure we can enjoy living in our homes. Electricity is an essential element in everyone’s home these days. Making bad electrical choices is something one cannot afford.

Having an experienced electrician by your side when planning for your home renovation would be a great idea for saving time and money. You will easily be able to avoid future regrets by making these important changes.

ever Over light

Overlighting the interiors is one of the most commonly made mistakes you will find in most home renovations.

Mix it Up

Using conventional lighting options and techniques time after time is one of the biggest reasons why most people are never satisfied with their lighting. This reason is why we suggest you mix it up and give your house a new look simply by changing the way you light it

Do Not Use Outdated Lighting

Using outdated lighting inside your residence is a surefire way to make it look bad. Although illumination is a primary purpose of every light, there is much more to it than that.

Understanding Your Home Inspection Report

How to Choose a Home Inspector

Shopping for a home? Don’t wait until you have an accepted offer to shop for a home inspector. You want to allow time to interview several candidates so that you can be sure to hire an experienced professional.

After all, a home inspection is your one opportunity to get a clear-eyed assessment about the true condition of something that, for many, is the most expensive purchase of a lifetime. Follow our advice for how to find good candidates and what to look for in an inspector.

Beware the Real Estate Agent’s Referral

Your real estate agent might offer to give you some home inspectors’ names. He may be perfectly well-meaning—or not—but the references present a conflict of interest.

A real estate agent wants to close the deal, and that incentive may be at odds with that of the inspector, who gets paid for his report. If the report raises too many issues, or serious ones, it can be used to negotiate a lower price or even scuttle the deal. An inspector who has been referred by your agent may feel obligated to go easy on the inspection.

Identify Qualified and Trusted Candidates

To find a reputable inspector, first ask friends who have recently purchased a home whether they recommend the person they used. You can also find referrals through local online communities such as NextDoor or Patch, where members sometimes post their experiences. A crowdsourced directory such as Yelp, and home services sites such as Angie’s List and HomeAdvisor, may also be helpful.

How to Select a Home Inspector

Choosing a home inspector is part of the home buying process, a decision that can have a significant impact on your satisfaction with your future home. The home inspector is responsible for telling you the things you need to know about the home you are interested in. His or her ability to spot potential issues is vital for you to make an informed purchase, one you will be happy with over the long-term. Knowing how to select a home inspector becomes paramount, especially for first-time buyers

You only need to do a quick search for home inspectors in your area to find numerous options, but as with so many professions, some inspectors are better than others. The following tips will help you find a home inspector that you can be happy with, someone you can trust to provide you with all the relevant facts about the home you want to buy.

Get a reference from your real estate agent.

One of the best resources for picking a home inspector should be your Realtor. Do you know your real estate agent well and trust them? Do you feel they have your best interests at heart and are not more concerned about their pocket book? If you can confidently answer these two questions in the affirmative, then there is no reason not to trust your Realtors advice on who to select as a home inspector.

Look for a company that is bonded and insured

Whether you go with a big company or a single inspector working on his or her own, you want to make sure that whoever examines the home is bonded and insured. Finding out about insurance is one of the most important questions to ask when interviewing a home inspection

Verify that the inspection company only does inspections – not home repairs and renovations.

Hiring someone that just does inspections is an important tip for finding the right home inspector! Home inspection companies that sell other services – such as roofing, plumbing, kitchen and bathroom renovations, etc. – have a conflict of interest. The fact that they sell repair and renovation services means they are more likely to see problems where there aren’t any.

Tips to Find the Best Home Inspector

Before you buy a home, it’s always a good idea to get a professional home inspection. In most cases, you can make your purchase contract contingent on a satisfactory inspection. That means if you don’t like the inspection results, you can cancel the contract, get your deposit back and walk away from the deal. Or you can negotiate with the seller to cut the price or make repairs to problem areas uncovered during the inspection.

Even if the results of the inspection mean you agree to accept the house as-is at the contract price, a good home inspection can give you valuable insights into the property you’re buying and help you plan for future maintenance and repairs.

Choose an inspector who wants you around during the entire inspection. “We recommend bringing the clients there during the inspection every single time from start to finish,” Saltzman says, rather than just showing up for the report at the end. “I don’t think the clients get as much out of the inspection if they do it that way.”

Ask for a sample report. “Any great home inspector should have their home inspection reports displayed on a website,” Saltzman says. See if the reports are clearly written and how they are formatted. Saltzman says a good report should identify the defect, explain why it matters and suggest what should be done to fix it. All good reports also include photos.

Read reviews on Angie’s List, Yelp and Google. You can ask inspectors for references and call past clients. But you should also read online reviews that the inspector doesn’t control to ensure accuracy.

How to Choose a Home Inspection Company

When a house is bought or sold, a home inspection is a necessary procedure that alerts both homeowners and buyers to the condition of the property in question. If you are selling a home, it is important to have an inspection conducted so that you will be aware of any potential issues with the home you are selling. If you are buying a home, you should have a separate inspection conducted to be sure there are no hidden issues, and to negotiate the contract with potential repairs or problems in mind.

Be prepared for the cost. The average fee for a home inspection is between $350-$500, but the information received from an inspector is priceless. It could be the turning point between a sale and a buyer going back to searching for the perfect home

Understand the actual inspection. Home inspectors enter a home and analyze all of the major components that make up a house purchase. Home inspection companies document the safety and overall condition of a home at the time of the inspection. Home inspections usually take about 3 hours for a minimal inspection, and 5 or 6 hours in order to arrive at a thorough, proper assessment. Depending on how old or large a house is, it may take longer or less time to complete.

Know what will be inspected. A home inspector must thoroughly conduct a review of the inner and outer areas of a house

Be prepared for bad news. It is a home inspector’s job to find any existing or potential problems with a house. They can lose their license if they fail to report issues, so although it might feel like they’re purposely giving bad news, be thankful for the information.

Finding the Right Home Inspector

If you are buying a home, an inspection could reveal problems you never would’ve noticed. An inspection can require the seller to fix what needs fixing before you buy the home. You could also find issues that make you decide not to buy. If you’re a seller, an inspection can help you find problems before you put the house on the market, letting you make the repairs without wrangling over the cost with a potential buyer. Learn why you should get an inspection before selling your home.

What to expect on inspection day

On the day of the inspection, the inspector performs an initial site evaluation. Then the inspector takes you on a tour to point out the assets as well as any potential problems. Pay attention, watch, ask questions and learn. A thorough inspection can find problems related to water entry, roof leaks, insect infestation, unsafe wiring, failed septic systems, poor plumbing, wet basements, mold and mildew, and safety hazards.

At the end of the inspection, you receive a written report detailing all the findings. The report should contain photographs and descriptions of any damage or defects found during the inspection as well as details on the location of damage. Pictures help you understand the scope and location of the damage, and visual proof makes it easier to get repair estimates.

Look for an inspector before you shop for a home. If you choose a home first, time is critical and you may feel pressured to pick the first inspector you meet

Do your research and ask lots of questions of prospective inspectors, including their backgrounds, the length of time they’ve been in the business, the number of inspections they’ve performed and what sort of report they’ll provide

A Brief History Of Ants Farms

How to Get Rid of Ants

While there are wide range of do-it-yourself products available in the market to get rid of ants, an effective control requires a professional pest control service to manage the infestation and minimise recurrence. Our service technicians understand the habits of different types of ant and can offer discreet and targeted ant control

Identify Your Pest

Have you put down food on the dining table and moments later only to find the food being attacked by a swarm of ants? If you have experienced this before, it is highly possible that your home or work place is infested with ants!

While the warning signs of an ant infestation are usually quite obvious such as with the presence of ants itself, ant trials and having ants found in food supplies, they are all easy-to-spot signs for home owners. With the presence of ants or ant nests, they are abe to grow in number over time, becoming a colony. The number of ant trials along different areas in the same kitchen could be seen increasingly more as they travel to and from their food source in an organised manner

Ants are social insects living in colonies. Foraging ants come out in the early morning and early evening when the temperature outside is not very high. Food and water is key to the colony survival. Knowing the common ants species is important as you understand the biology and behaviour of certain species to carry out an effective ant control.

Choose Your Method

DIY or Professional?

When it comes to getting rid of ants, you have two basic options: DIY or hire a professional.

The DIY option requires the purchase of ant spray from your local home store. Insecticide spray is the most common ant control item for a household. The usage of an insecticide spray should work together with good sanitation. DIY spraying of insecticide may kill some foraging ants which happen to be out of the nest and disrupt the ant trials temporarily.

How to Choose an Ant Control Provider

Ants are incredibly annoying to deal with. You see one crawling in your kitchen, then you see another scurrying across your dining room table. At this point, you’re probably wondering how to keep ants away!

We’ll be the first to tell you that there are many ant control tips and tricks on the internet. Now, do they work? That’s up for debate, but the pest experts are committed to making sure your ant control issues are handled swiftly and safely.

Integrated Pest Management or IPM is an effective yet environmentally sensitive approach to pest control that uses a combination of common sense practices to remove pests, like ants, and prevent them from returning in the future.

Proven Ant Repellents & Deterrents

Certain species of ants require specific ant repellents and deterrents in order for the ant colony to be exterminated. Your pest specialist should be trained to identify ants and locate their colony so the source of your ant infestation will be targeted during our treatment process.

Proactive Ant Control

The most effective way to keep ants away from your home or business is with the help of the pro. Our preventative treatments are strategically applied throughout your property so you will get the most out of our professional pest control treatment.

Choosing the Proper Ant Bait

You arrive at a home to do a routine service and the customer lets you know they’ve been seeing ants inside. Depending on where you are located, the offending ants could be one of several to many different species. You’ll need to identify the ant because the type or species of ant will determine your approach to inspection and treatment.

Is the ant a soil- or wood-nesting ant or is it opportunistic in nest site selection? Is it a type that is polydomous (many nest sites) or polygynous (many queens)? Is it a species that will respond to baits well enough to affect control? Soil nesting ants will be found near ground level while wood-nesters typically associate with moist wood. Opportunistic species that are polydomous and polygynous are the most difficult ants to control due to the widespread nature of their infestations around structures

The fastest way to control ants is finding and treating the ant colony or colonies directly which with polydomous species is easier said than done. In most all cases, most of the infestation originates from outside with possible satellite colonies indoors. Even with Pharaoh ants which are primarily nesting indoors, a great deal of foraging is done on the outside of a building.

You’ve identified the ant involved and done your inspection. If you’re dealing with Pharaoh ants and maybe rover ants, you should head straight for the ant baits. For other types of ants, you should first attempt to find and treat the colonies involved and use ant baits as a supplement to treatment. If the colony has been difficult to locate or with a hard-to-solve case, then ant baits become the key tool to select.

Many times, ants may start feeding on a bait then, after a short time, begin ignoring the bait. Ant colonies also have different nutritional needs at different times of the year or by preference. For these reasons, it is a good practice to offer ants two or more different baits, including types of formulations to find out which the target ants prefer. For example,  you might offer a drop of 2 different gel baits and 1 or 2 different granular baits. Whichever the ants prefer, give them more of that bait.

Preparing for Pest Ant Control Service

You’re seeing ants trailing across your kitchen floor or found them in droves in the bathroom. What can you do? There are a number of DIY options to get rid of ants, or you can choose to use a pest control service. If you opt for the latter, you’ll get the best results if you know what to expect from the service and you take some simple steps to get ready for the extermination. This will not only make it easier for the pest control pros to do their job, but it also will improve the chances of eliminating the ants entirely.

Professional Ant Control Services

Today’s professional pest control operators (PCOs) often use gel bait insecticides to control and eliminate small ants from homes. This requires the placement of small beads of gel bait, primarily in areas where ants have been seen feeding or trailing. The bait may be placed on small pieces of cardboard or another type of holder, or it may be contained inside an ant bait station.

Preparing for Ant Control Service

Prior to arriving at your home, PCOs typically provide you with a specific list of preparation steps for you to complete. The following steps are some of the most common requests or recommendations made by PCOs (you can take the same steps prior to using any over-the-counter pest control products yourself). Failing to prepare your home could make a treatment unsafe or lead to reinfestation of the entire home or building. For these reasons, many PCOs will not treat areas that are not prepared to their specifications.

After the Pest Control Service

Some common steps to be followed after an ant service has been performed (or if you are placing ant bait yourself):

Be patient. Because baits do not immediately kill the ants, it can take time for the results to be obvious. Rest assured that baiting is the best way to eliminate the entire nest of ants.

While the baits are taking effect, do not spray any insecticides or kill ants that you see, as they need to continue to feed to take the poison back to the colony.

Avoid using strong cleaners near the ant bait. This would eliminate the ant pheromone trail that the ants are using to find the bait.

Do not disturb ants that are heading to or away from the bait, or eating it. If ants are seen in areas where no bait has been placed, you can move a bait placement that the ants are not consuming over to this area.

Tips on Selecting Pest Control Services

Why Select Pest Control Services?

People vary in their tolerance for pests that periodically invade our homes and cause us some level of discomfort. The need for monthly, quarterly or yearly pest control services is a matter of your personal preference and your perception of what is (and is not) a problem. Ultimately, the decision on whether you need a routine pest control service is a matter of what you feel is needed to make your home a comfortable and relatively “pest-free” environment.

Although you may prefer a “do-it-yourself” approach to pest control, there are situations where the job is best left in the hands of a pest management professional (PMP). This is particularly true with wood-destroying insects such as termites, carpenter ants, and wood-boring beetles. Treatments for these pests can be complex and expensive, depending upon the size of the home, the type of construction, and the extent of the problem. We cannot endorse specific pest control companies, but we can offer some tips to help you reach an informed decision on the type of service you need or want. The emphasis here is on solving specific problems, particularly for wood-destroying pests, but the same general principles apply to regular service contracts for other common household pests, such as cockroaches and ants. Becoming an informed educated consumer is the best way to protect yourself and to make sure you get the kind of service you need and want. Here are some issues to consider when deciding what type of service you need or want.

There are three phases or types of licenses based on the type of work or pest involved:

P-phase – covers household pest control (cockroaches, ants, spiders, etc.) both indoors and outside. P-phase also includes vertebrates such as mice and rats.

W-phase – covers wood-destroying pests (such as termites, powderpost beetles, etc.) Individuals with W-phase licenses also perform WDIRs (the so-called “termite inspections” for residences being sold).

F-phase – covers pests in both the P and W phases, but it specifically involves the use of a fumigant. Please note that a fumigant is not the same thing as a fogger (“bug bomb”) that you can buy in many retail stores. Fumigation involves the use of special (and highly toxic) gasses that are released into structures that have been completely sealed or enclosed under a tarpaulin.

The removal/exclusion of vertebrate animals, such as snakes, raccoons and bats from houses is usually done by wildlife damage control agents (WDCAs). However, WDCA’s cannot apply pesticides (e.g, to get rid of fleas that may be the result of a raccoon or oppossum in the house). Many WDCAs work for pest control companies or they are licensed in structural pest control so they can perform any necessary insecticide treatments

all pest control companies must have at least one licensed individual (licensee) on their staff. The other employees work under that licensee’s supervision. Details about these categories can be found at the NCDA&CS website. License numbers have 3-4 digits followed by letters that designate which phases or types of pest control the company employees are allowed to perform. For example, a company (licensee) with a license number “9999PWF” is able to provide all phases pest control services. On the other hand, a company with the license number “9999P” can perform pest control for household pests (such as those mentioned above), but they cannot perform any treatments for termites or other wood-destroying pests, even if the treatments are applied indoors, rather than to the soil. Make sure that the company with whom you deal has a valid license issued by the NCDA&CS to provide the service you need. All employees of the company who sell pest control contracts or perform pest control services must have an identification cards issued by the NCDA&CS. This card will have their employer’s SPC license number on it. Under NCDA&CS rules, the company’s name or its SPC license number must be displayed on both sides of every service vehicle. Vehicles used strictly by company sales representatives are not required to carry these markings, although most companies do as a form of advertising). Whether or not the vehicle is marked, ask to see the person’s identification card as proof of his/her employment with an authorized pest control company. If he/she cannot produce a valid identification card, you should contact the NCDA&CS.