Are You 100% Sure Your Household Water Would Pass A Drinking Water Testing

Laboratories and Testing

To provide laboratory services to support the programs within the Department of Health and Welfare, Idaho’s seven public health districts, other state agencies, and citizens. These services can be organized into four functional domains.

TESTING

Electronic test requests and results:

-Request access to electronic test requests and results

-Access electronic test requests: LabOnline

-Access online test results: Web Portal

Communicable disease agents in clinical specimens: Clinical test request forms

Contaminants or adulterants in water, food, and soil: Environmental test request forms

Biological and chemical threat test request forms

INSPECTION

Clinical and environmental laboratories

X-ray and mammography units

Air quality monitoring stations

TRAINING

Consultation and workforce development

Continuing educations seminars and telelectures

Scientific presentations at local, regional, and national meetings

OUTREACH

Development and evaluation of new analytical methods

Maintenance of the Idaho Sentinel Laboratory Network

Publication of applied public health research

 

Sample Collection and Testing for Sprouts and Spent Irrigation Water

It is to be used by stakeholders, sprout producers, private laboratories and government personnel when doing an analysis for the detection of Salmonella species (spp.) and Escherichia coli (E. coli) O157:H7 in sprouts or spent irrigation water.

Testing of Spent Irrigation Water

Procedures are provided for testing spent irrigation water and sprouts. Health recommends that processors should regularly test, as a minimum, spent irrigation water. Spent irrigation water that has flowed over and through sprouts is a good indicator of the types of microorganisms in the sprouts themselves. Microorganisms found in spent irrigation water is expected to be fairly uniform. Thus, sampling procedures for the spent irrigation water are relatively simple. Furthermore, water can be used directly in the test procedures described here. The only potential disadvantage of testing spent irrigation water is that the level of microorganisms recovered in spent irrigation water is about one log (10 times) less than the level in sprouts. If pathogens are present in sprouts at very low levels, it is possible that they may not be detected in the spent irrigation water, but could be recovered in sprouts if sprouts were tested.

However, testing the sprouts themselves has several significant disadvantages. First, a number of sprout samples must be taken from different locations in the drum or trays to ensure that the sample collected is representative of the batch. Furthermore, additional preparation (e.g., selecting representative sample units for analyses, blending or stomaching, and allowing sprout particles to settle out) is required when testing sprouts. Finally, the need to wait for analytical results on the sprouts will delay the delivery of the final product to the market. Each additional step in any procedure (sampling or testing) could introduce contamination.

Sample collection

Sample collection should be done on site by personnel that have been trained to collect representative samples aseptically. Aseptic sampling procedures are described below.

Testing Facility

Health recommends that all microbial testing for pathogens be conducted in an external, certified, independent laboratory that should meet several key criteria. First, the laboratory should be physically separated from the food production facility to prevent cross-contamination from test materials. This is especially important since the materials used in the enrichment step required before testing and the positive controls can contain pathogens and, if not properly handled, may contaminate sprouts.

Second, the laboratory should be staffed by personnel with training and experience in analytical microbiology techniques to ensure that tests are performed correctly and that all appropriate safety precautions, including appropriate waste disposal, are followed. Third, the laboratory should have appropriate resources and be able to demonstrate that they follow a quality management system. If the microbial analysis is done by the sprout producer, the laboratory facilities, personnel, and management system should also meet all these criteria to ensure that testing is reliable and does not create food safety hazards.

 

Reef Aquarium Chemistry

Every healthy ecosystem requires a balanced environment. Weekly water tests are invaluable to making sure your aquarium’s levels are in check. Understanding water chemistry and maintaining optimum levels of key nutrients, minerals and other indicators will protect marine life and allow the organisms in your care to thrive and radiate. Below are the key parameters to monitor in saltwater reef aquaria.

AMMONIA

Target Value: 0

Ammonia is a toxic nitrogenous compound released when anything organic breaks down. A large amount of decomposition (e.g. from a carcass or uneaten food) can cause ammonia to spike. Specialized bacteria convert ammonia to nitrite.

TOO MUCH

Ammonia levels above 0.25 ppm can suffocate fish, coral and invertebrates in a matter of hours. It is typically present in new tanks and should be cycled out completely before animals are slowly introduced. Ways to decrease:

Dilution via water change

Ammonia neutralizers such as Seachem Prime

Biological filtration (add heterotrophic bacteria like Prodibio to speed up biofilter development)

Aquatic plants absorb and benefit from ammonia

TOO LITTLE

No issues arise from too little ammonia, except when cycling a new tank. Ammonia is necessary at first to fuel the development of bacteria that convert ammonia to nitrite. Ways to increase:

Add a carbon source (e.g. food, animal waste, or other organic matter) and allow to decompose

NITRITE

Target Value: 0

Nitrite is a toxic nitrogenous compound produced by bacteria as part of the nitrogen cycle. Specialized bacteria convert nitrite to nitrate.

TOO MUCH

Nitrite will reduce the amount of oxygen in fish’s blood, and levels above 1 ppm can be lethal in a matter of hours. It is typically present in new tanks and should be cycled out completely before animals are introduced incrementally. Ways to decrease:

Dilution via water change

Nitrite neutralizers such as Seachem Prime

Biological filtration (add heterotrophic bacteria like Prodibio to speed up biofilter development)

Add aquarium salt to reduce nitrite toxicity

 

Integrity Testing For Roofing And Waterproofing Membranes

Integrity testing is the ‘holy grail’ of building envelope work. To have an assurance that the portions of a building that are expected to get wet due to weather are in a condition to prevent water transmission to the interior is the goal of every contractor, as well as every owner. As a result an entire industry, that of testing laboratories, has been created. Finding test methods to give that assurance has evolved over the decades, with each new advancement in testing providing either more accurate results, results in less time, or both. This document will provide information about the historical as well as state of the art testing methods available.

Historically there have been five widely used testing methods for testing of horizontal membranes: spray testing, flood testing, capacitance (impedance) testing, nuclear metering, and infrared (IR) thermal imaging. Within the last two decades, two new methods of testing have revolutionized the leak detection and integrity testing industry. These methods utilize electricity and a simple electric circuit to detect and identify problem conditions in roofing and waterproofing systems

These are generically referred to as ‘Low Voltage Electrical Conductance Testing’ and ‘High Voltage Spark Testing’. To explain or address all the principles and subtleties of how each testing method should be done to provide accurate results would require more time and space than allowed. This document will focus on highlighting the testing methodologies, scientific principles, and their advantages and limitations. Special attention will be given to limitations

This is due in large part to the fact that it has come to the attention of the author that the abilities of the high and low voltage techniques are frequently overstated resulting in un-met expectations on the part of owners and contractors which lead to skepticism and possibly a bad reputation of an emerging technology.

As with most investigative tools, the test method selected is only as good as the experience of the person used to perform the test. Knowledge of all the test method options is only the first step. Knowing the benefits and more importantly the limitations of each system will assist a knowledgeable individual to quickly and cost effectively locate and repair all breaches within the membrane

 

What is a Water Meter?

A water meter is a device that measures the volume of water delivered to a property. Some water meters measure water in gallons while others measure in cubic feet.

Most residential water meters are located near the curb or sidewalk at the front of the property in a concrete “box.” The water meter box will have a metal or plastic lid and may be marked, “Water Meter.”

Use a long screwdriver to remove the lid. However, be cautious as insects, reptiles or other small animals occasionally take residence inside the boxes. Some water meters will have a small, hinged cover while others may not. Lift the cover and use a damp rag to wipe the face clean.

Understanding the Water Meter

Look at your water meter to determine if you have an analog (dial) or a digital display. Instructions for reading both types of water meters are included in this section.

The large sweep hand on the dial measures water use in gallons or cubic feet. One gallon or one cubic foot of water passes through the water meter as the sweep hand moves from one number to the next (e.g., 0 to 1). A complete rotation equals 10 gallons or 10 cubic feet depending on the unit measured. Most analog dials have a low-flow indicator that turns as water moves through the water meter. This typically looks like a small triangle (shown), star or gear.

Important Facts To Know About Personal Tax Planning

The Importance of Tax Planning

Many people use the term “tax planning,” but it is often misunderstood. It is the art of learning how to manage your affairs in ways that postpone or avoid taxes. Skilled tax planning means more money to save and invest, and it can make the tax season more of a financial boost instead of a financial burden. As explained well by Wealth Plan: “tax planning means either deferring or avoiding taxes by taking full advantage of the beneficial tax-law provisions, increasing tax deductions and tax credits, and by making good use of all applicable breaks that are available under the Internal Revenue Code.”

Strategies are typically designed and employed to achieve goals–a series of steps undertaken to accomplish an intended end. Of course, strategies within the realm of tax planning are undertaken to achieve financial goals primarily, but they are also employed to achieve business goals. If your tax planning strategies are effective, they should successfully accomplish, or at least address, the following goals:

  1. Lower your amount of taxable income
  2. Reduce the rate at which you are taxed
  3. Empower you to control when taxes get paid
  4. Ensure you get all credits available to you
  5. Put you in charge of the Alternate Minimum Tax

Note the following sample of strategies intended to reduce one’s tax liability, as noted by Cash Cow:

  • Maximize Retirement Contributions: Deferral of taxation is one of the most common and useful tax strategies for individuals who are currently in a high tax bracket, but if you follow this path anticipate being in a lower tax bracket at some point in the future when withdrawals (distributions) are taken.
  • Harvest Investment Losses: You can offset unlimited investment gains, and up to $3,000 of ordinary income each year by selling your investments that have lost value. If your losses exceed your gains and the $3,000 of ordinary income, you can carry them over to be used in future tax years.
  • Consider Charitable Gifts: This strategy is only useful if you can itemize your tax deductions (most often due to mortgage interest deductions), and plan on making donations. Appreciated assets are some of the most tax-efficient charitable donations. Donating these assets will allow you to avoid paying capital gains on the appreciation.
  • Invest In Municipal Bonds: Some high income earners are now subject to the 3.8% Medicare surtax on all investment income. Municipal bonds avoid this additional tax, and typically avoid all Federal and State income taxes. That means the tax equivalent yield (the yield an investor would require from a taxable bond) has increased for those taxpayers, making muni-bonds more attractive.

 

Types of Tax Planning and Management

Now that you’ve seen what is tax planning, and the difference between tax planning and management, let’s understand the types. There are essentially four methods here’s a summary of each.

Short Range Tax Planning:

This type of tax planning has a limited objective or aim. Investors will often rush to invest toward the end of the financial year. This usually happens when there is a change in the taxpayer’s financial situation. For example, you get a promotion and a raise during a financial year. Your salary structure will obviously not be the same as the previous year. You realise, your taxable income is now higher. So, 3 to 6 months before your taxes are due, you look for investment options. These can be found mostly under section 80C. You’ll be requested to submit income tax proofs, if you have chosen any compliant financial product, to save tax, under this section.

Long Range Tax Planning:

In this method, you’re essentially taking calculated tax saving decisions, at the beginning of a financial year. The aim is to reduce tax liability for the long-term. For example, taking a home loan, or, an education loan. Another way to reduce your tax liability is, by transferring shares, or assets with family. If their taxable income is lower than yours, they can be eligible for tax benefits.

Permissive Tax Planning:

Through this method, you’re optimising each and every section of the Income Tax Act of India—1961. You need to be within the legal framework of compliance. Utilising all the sections legally, doesn’t mean you’re avoiding taxes. It simply means, you’re being smart about reducing your tax liability.

Purposive Tax Planning:

Here, you’re planning you have a specific purpose to save taxes. This method needs a detailed evaluation of investment options, assets, etc. At times, it may even require a complete restructuring of your personal finances, to reduce your tax liability.

 

How to get started?

Anyone can start planning their taxes in a few simple steps:

  1. Start by taking your total income into account. This is the starting point of the process and requires you to accurately assess your annual and monthly income.
  2. Evaluate the taxable aspects of your income. Housing and rent allowances included in the salary on top of base pay are not taxable. However, profits made from investments could add to taxable income. Therefore, understanding one’s taxable income is a requisite to be able to plan taxes.
  3. Make use of deductions to reduce the total taxable income. This can be done by structuring salary and proper planning of investments. For example, interest from a fixed deposit is taxed at the same rate as income tax, while a debt fund held over e years is taxed at 20%. So if you fall in the 30% tax bracket against the taxable income of 10 lakhs and above, debt funds are a more tax-friendly option.
  4. Invest in tax-saving instruments. There exists a wide range of deductions available to eligible taxpayers in Sections 80C through 80U of the Income Tax Act, 1961. Other options such as deductions and tax credits are listed under the Income Tax Act, 1961. Investment options include Provident Public Fund (PPF), Equity Linked Saving Schemes (ELSS) in mutual funds, National Saving Certificates (NSC) or 5-year bank deposits. Life insurance, health insurance premium and home loan payments can let you avail tax savings.

 

You Need to Consider the Importance of Tax Planning

If you’re reading this and fall into the crowd that hasn’t been considering their taxes in retirement because you were unaware, you’re now aware! If you aren’t confident about what you need to do next, keep reading. The first thing you need to do if you haven’t looked into the importance of tax planning in retirement is to find a trusted professional to help you. Many of you may already have a financial advisor and a CPA. That’s great! However, are they working together to make sure your accounts get utilized in the most tax-efficient manner? If not, maybe they need to be in contact.

You see, most CPAs don’t have the luxury of working directly with the individual planning someone’s retirement and investment plans. Though allowing the two to work together to build a plan that best manages your account over time considering the tax impact year over year is extremely advantageous.

Many Factors Involved in Tax Planning for Retirement

Tax planning in retirement carries more importance when you consider just how many factors impact your taxes.

  • Social Security – “But wait, that’s tax-free, right?” Not always.
  • Required Minimum Distributions – “We don’t have them in 2020, who cares.” You should be looking much further down the road than just 2020.
  • Charitable Giving like Qualified Charitable Distributions – “Why can’t I just give money straight to a charity? Why complicate it?” You could be saving yourself in taxes, that’s why!
  • Roth Conversions– They aren’t for everyone, but they may be right for you!

 

Investment Avenues for Tax Saving

Under Section 80 C one can invest in PPF, NSC, Bank FDs, Life Insurance & ELSS are various investment instruments eligible for tax saving. Amongst them ELSS enjoys the shortest lock – in period of 3 Years. Also Equity Linked Saving Schemes (ELSS) allows one to benefit from the long term growth potential of equities and offers the facility to invest the amount systematically: Systematic Investment Plan (SIP)

Systematic Investment Plan (SIP): A Smart Way to Save Taxes too!

  • SIP is a strategy whereby an investor commits to invest a fixed amount at specified intervals.
  • SIP allows one to achieve tax saving in a systematic & hassle free manner: As a fixed amount gets invested automatically each month, the investor does not have to worry about making hasty last-minute lumpsum investments for saving tax.
  • Law of Averaging at work – Rupee Cost Averaging at its best: investing the same amount on a regular basis will lead to one getting more units when price is low and one getting less units in case price is high.
  • Small Ticket Sizes do not impact the wallet too!
  • Focus on consistent & continuous investments – Fixed Money for Fixed Period of time to benefit from market volatility.
  • Imparts Discipline in investing – The most needed quality for a long term investor.
  • Each SIP would attract a 3 year lock-in period.

How To Run Your Own Residential Cleaning Business With Options

Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Cleaning Business

Cleaning the home is an arduous chore in most households. Cleaning is a tiring and time-consuming task right from making the bed to cleaning up the carpet, especially for people who are always working. Most people now would happily hand over the cleaning chore to a professional cleaner as the lives of people are becoming increasingly hectic, and they don’t have time to invest in cleaning their spaces.

Lately, due to this increasing demand for professional cleaning services,  there is an influx in the number of cleaning business start-ups launching in the industry. Additionally, the cleaning business is booming these days and has become one of the highly profitable businesses.

When in doubt of what business to start, starting a small cleaning business might be a great option as it doesn’t require any degree, prior experience or any specific prerequisite knowledge. If people, starting their cleaning company, are prepared to put in a lot of time and effort and work themselves, then it is possible to start a house cleaning business with a low initial investment.

Thinking of starting a cleaning business?

There is some crucial information to know in general for a cleaning business such as the resources needed to start the business, the latest technologies that can help a cleaning business to grow faster, the house cleaning prices within the market, marketing strategies to promote the business, etc.

One of the most important things that you need to do is start creating a cleaning business checklist. This checklist is essential to keep track of what are the necessary steps to be taken and track the required aspects to get a successful business plan. For example, registering a business, scheduling appointments for the cleaning requirements, paying taxes, expanding the company, etc.

 

Service updates during coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

National Restrictions (from 5th November)

From the 5th November, will enter a national lockdown across the country, similar to the March lockdown where businesses will be forced to close. The lockdown will begin on 5th November and end on 2nd December. However the government have made it clear that cleaners will still be permitted to work inside peoples’ homes as long as the government guidelines on social distancing and staying safe are followed.

Can cleaners still work in clients’ homes?

The government has not made any changes in regards to work being carried out within homes. Domestic cleaners are still permitted in homes, no matter which Tier your area is in – as long as the government guidelines on social distancing and staying safe are followed.

Symptoms

The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of any of the following:

a new continuous cough

a high temperature

a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia)

For most people, coronavirus (COVID-19) will be a mild illness. However, if you have any of the symptoms above you must stay at home and arrange to have a test to see if you have COVID-19.

What are we doing?

We want to inform you of the actions we are taking as a business to protect our cleaners and our clients as far as possible during the COVID-19 outbreak. You will, of course, know the government have ordered people to stay at home wherever possible but with a few exceptions. On the other hand, we don’t need to point out that a clean house is even more essential during these times.

We are in constant contact with all our cleaners and are asking them and yourselves to take all the precautions you can.

If you or anyone in your household have any symptoms, please let us and your cleaner know as soon as possible.

We have also informed our cleaners to do the same if they or anyone in their household displays any symptoms.

We have always ensured that the same cleaner attends the same clients each clean and that our cleaners only use the clients’ cleaning materials, to prevent cross-contamination.

 

Here’s How Often You Should Clean Everything In Your House

While it can sometimes be hard to gauge how often to tackle certain household chores, keeping your living space tidy just got a whole lot simpler. Housekeeping recently created a handy infographic showing how often you should clean everything in your house.

To keep everything neat, Housekeeping recommends that you perform certain cleaning tasks every day, including sweeping the kitchen floor, wiping down the kitchen counters, and sanitizing the sinks. Then, once a week, you should change your bedding and clean the inside of your microwave. (Note, though, that you shouldn’t actually try to sanitize your sponge—researchers suggest throwing it away and replacing it with a new one instead.)

The timing of other chores is more flexible. You can tackle scrubbing the insides of your fridge and oven every three to six months. As for big projects like deep-cleaning carpets and windows, you only need to do those once a year.

Just because you should clean regularly, though, doesn’t mean you have to spend ages doing it. There are a variety of cleaning hacks that can help you speed up the process, like using a lemon to wipe away hard water stains or putting dusty artificial plants in the dishwasher. There are also plenty of products guaranteed to make cleaning easier, like this steam cleaner designed specifically for your microwave.

Or, just let a smart mop do the cleaning for you. That’s probably healthier, anyway. Check out Housekeeping’s infographic below. The magazine also made a companion chart for laundry

 

Pre-cleaning Guide

Conduct: We will always be respectful in your home/office. There is no smoking, eating or drinking (other than water) in your home/office, nor do they watch TV or play the radio. They do not answer the phone or door

Supplies: We provide our own cleaning products including cleaning agents and microfiber towels. We pride ourselves in our state of the art, earth friendly cleaning practices. We use color coded microfiber technology ensuring the avoidance of cross contamination. All tools and supplies are disinfected after each home/office is cleaned, to provide an additional layer of preventing cross-contamination.

Picking Up: You do not need to clean for the cleaner! Especially if you asked for an ‘As is Cleaning’. However, if you would like to minimize cost and not pay for us picking up, organizing and cleaning, we suggest the better your space is picked up, the better job we can do for you. If there are papers, dishes, laundry, projects, etc. and you do not want us to pick up, no problem, we will skip these areas until the next visit. Getting things up off the floor by putting them on beds, couches, dining room table is what we suggest it helps to have more clear surfaces to clean for you. If you just can’t get things organized before we come, no problem, just know we will clean what we can get to. Also, please leave bedsheets for changing beds if you require us to.

Pets: We love pets! However due to potential health risks, we do not clean litter boxes, urine or feces unless you let us know ahead of time we will come prepared with the right chemicals and charge accordingly. If you have a pet that is the least bit aggressive, it will need to be absent from the areas we are cleaning.

Valuables: If there is an item or items in your home that are invaluable to you, it is your responsibility to: A.) Let us know what and where the item(s) are, so we will know not to touch them, or B.) Put the item(s) away before your scheduled cleaning service. As mentioned in the paragraph above, we do not open doors (this includes cabinet doors, bookcases, curios, etc.). If your valuable or breakable items are behind a closed door, we will not touch them.

 

Guidelines for Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection of Areas Exposed to Confirmed Case(s) of COVID-19 in Non-Healthcare Premises

General Good Practices

  1. As the virus can survive on surfaces of different materials for at least 2 to 3 days, surfaces potentially contaminated with the COVID-19 virus (e.g. commonly touched surfaces, surfaces which may have been exposed to respiratory droplets such as sneezes or coughs, and floors) should be sanitised.
  2. Thoroughly clean toilets, using different set of cleaning equipment (disposable cloths, mop, etc). Pay attention to the disinfectant of frequently touched area such as sinks, taps, toilet bowls and seat covers.
  3. Seek medical attention if you are feeling unwell.

Cleaning of Premises

  1. Items to Prepare for Cleaning of Premises

Prepare these items before you start to clean the premises:

  1. Personal protective equipment (PPE) (where applicable)
  2. An appropriate disinfectant with indication of effectiveness against coronaviruses, or bleach solution. Disinfectants should be prepared and applied in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendation. Please refer to the “Interim List of Household Products and Active Ingredients for Disinfection of COVID-19 Virus” for a list of disinfectants and active ingredients that are suitable for coronavirus disinfection. Note that different active ingredients require different periods of contact time between the disinfectant and the surfaces to be effective.
  3. Plastic/Trash bags
  4. Water
  5. Disposable cloths or rags
  6. Pail
  7. Mop

Cleaning Instructions

  1. Where possible, seal off areas where the confirmed case has visited, before carrying out cleaning and disinfection of the contaminated environmental surfaces. This is to prevent unsuspecting persons from being exposed to those surfaces. For enclosed spaces, leave the room undisturbed for at least 3 hours after the confirmed case has left the area so as to allow the aerosols to settle. If there is a need to enter the room before it is cleaned or disinfected, put on appropriate PPE (Section B.I.1) before entering.
  2. Before you start cleaning, put on a pair of gloves, N95 mask, eye goggles and a disposable gown. If the confirmed case(s) has been present at the premises only for a short period of time (e.g. if the confirmed case passed by an area in his/her office (not the work desk), or ate at a canteen, etc), please refer to para 2 for a stepped-down PPE protocol.
  3. Avoid touching your face, mouth, nose and eyes during clean-up. Gloves should be removed and discarded if they become soiled or damaged, and a new pair worn. Prepare the disinfectant according to manufacturer’s recommendations or bleach solution (For bleach, dilute 1000ppm or 0.1% sodium hypochlorite; bleach solutions with 5.25-6.00% sodium hypochlorite can be diluted with 1 part bleach in 49 parts water). Alcohol can be used for surfaces where the use of bleach is not suitable.
  4. Keep windows open for ventilation.
  5. Keep cleaning equipment to a minimum.
  6. Mop floor with prepared disinfectant or bleach solution, starting from one end of the premises to another.
  7. Soak cloths with prepared disinfectant or bleach solution and use them to wipe all frequently touched areas (e.g. lift buttons, hand rails, doorknobs, arm rests, seat backs, tables, air/ light controls, keyboards, switches, etc.) and allow to air dry. A steady wiping motion should be used when cleaning either floors or horizontal surfaces, to prevent the creation of aerosols or splashing. Identify frequently touched areas based premises types and likelihood of use and risk of contamination.
  8. Avoid using a spray pack to apply disinfectant on potentially highly contaminated areas (such as toilet bowl or surrounding surfaces) as it may create splashes which can further spread the virus. Also, alcohol-based disinfectant is flammable, do not spray it into the air.
  9. Clean toilets with a separate set of equipment (disposable cleaning cloths, mops, etc) using disinfectant or bleach solution. Use an appropriate disinfectant and note that different active ingredients require different periods of contact time to be effective.
  10. Clean all accessible surfaces (sinks, taps, soap dispensers, toilet roll dispensers, walls, cubicle doors, cubicle locks, handles, flush buttons, etc).
  11. Urinals and toilet bowls can be disinfected by pouring disinfectant into the urinal/toilet bowl. Allow for an appropriate contact time. Clean urinals and toilets bowls with a brush and use a separate cloth for seat covers. Brush and cloths used for these should not be used for other surfaces.
  12. After disinfection, clean the floor with disinfectant from the exit inwards.
  13. Remove curtains/ fabrics/ quilts for washing, preferably using the hot water cycle. Avoid tossing and throwing the laundry. For hot-water laundry cycles, wash with detergent or disinfectant in water at 70ºC for at least 25 minutes. If low-temperature (i.e. less than 70ºC) laundry cycles are used, choose a chemical that is suitable for low-temperature washing when used at the proper concentration.

11 Arrange for a cleaning contractor to properly disinfect the mattresses, pillows, cushions or carpets that have been used by the person who has been confirmed to have the COVID-19.

12 Repeat cleaning the floor with the prepared disinfectant or bleach solution starting from one end of the premises to another. Avoid going from an area that has not been cleaned to an area that has been cleaned, to avoid dirtying the cleaned area.

  1. Throw away disposable cleaning equipment made of cloths/ absorbent materials (e.g. mop head and wiping cloths) after cleaning each area, to prevent cross contamination. Discard cleaning equipment into doubled-lined biohazard waste bags arrange for proper disposal of this waste as biohazardous waste1.
  2. Disinfect non-porous cleaning equipment used in one room, before using for other rooms. If possible, keep the disinfecting equipment separated from other routine equipment.
  3. Disinfect buckets by soaking in disinfectant or bleach solution.
  4. After cleaning and disinfection is completed, remove disposable gown (if worn) and gloves, wash your hands with soap and water.
  5. All other disposable PPE such as N95 masks and eye goggles, should be removed and discarded after cleaning activities are completed. Hands should be washed with soap and water immediately after each piece of PPE is removed, following completion of cleaning. Eye goggles, if used, should be disinfected after each use, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  6. Throw PPE into doubled-lined biohazard waste bags.
  7. All waste generated from the clean-up (disposable cloths, used PPE etc, in paras 13 and 18) should e segregated from other waste (e.g.. food waste), and disposed of as biohazardous waste as soon as possible.
  8. Air and ventilate the premises. Where possible, avoid using the area the next day.
  9. If the confirmed case(s) has been present at the premises only for a short period of time (e.g. if the confirmed case passed by an area in his/her office (not the work desk), or ate at a canteen, etc), please refer to para 22 for a stepped-down PPE protocol.
  10. The protocol can be stepped-down as follows:
  11. Prepare a change of clothes instead of a disposable gown.
  12. Waste generated from the clean-up in paras 13, 18 and 19 can be disposed of as regular waste.
  13. Instead of wearing a disposable gown, shower or wash up and change clothes immediately after the clean-up.

Sciatic Pain Management

What do Pain Management Nurses do?

Pain management nurses specialize in caring for patients with chronic or acute pain. In addition to providing pain medication, they may also educate patients on how to manage their pain effectively. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) has called for the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) to be the standard for advanced practice nursing. Therefore, forward-thinking nurses may want to continue their education with a DNP now to ensure that they are fully eligible for pain management nursing jobs in the future.

Nurses Are In High Demand

Nursing is one of the fastest-growing fields in the nation. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nurse practitioner positions are projected to experience a 31 percent growth rate from 2016 to 2026, which is much faster than the average rate for other occupations. Nurses who want to continue their education and take advantage of the demand for nurse practitioners might consider learning about how to become a pain management nurse.

 

Education Requirements

After earning their MSN, nursing professionals are eligible to seek a DNP.  In most cases, applicants must have a moderate amount of nursing experience and at least a 3.0 grade point average in their previous MSN coursework. Essays, letters of recommendation, and interviews with the admissions team may also be application requirements for a DNP program.

A typical DNP program features advanced nursing courses, such as Cultural Perspectives in Health Care, Epidemiology/Biostatistics, Advanced Research Methods, and Informatics for Health Care. The curriculum also might include practicum courses to allow students to practice their skills in a clinical setting.

Students who pursue a DNP are required to complete a set number of semester hours , and both online and in-person options are available. Online programs are generally designed to be flexible , so practicing nurses can work full-time while learning how to become a pain management nurse. In-person programs focus more on face-to-face interaction with faculty and classmates, but this comes at the cost of the time spent attending mandatory class sessions. Generally, students can complete either program in three to five years.

Skills

Many pain management nurses have years of experience before they pursue an MSN. Pain management is a specialty that requires precision and knowledge combined with interpersonal skills. Nurses must be able to relate to patients and assist them in determining the severity and type of pain they are feeling so it can be properly controlled. Patients in pain can be difficult to manage, so it is imperative that pain management nurses have patience. This type of nurse often works with seriously ill patients, so compassion and empathy are helpful attributes.

Duties and Responsibilities

Pain management nurses are responsible for the care of patients with chronic or acute pain. Once they have assessed a patient’s pain, they work closely with doctors and other nurses to create a treatment plan.

Pain management nurses administer medications and provide pain relief through other therapeutic methods. In addition, they teach patients and their families how to alleviate pain and make patients more comfortable. These nurses may work in large hospitals, university medical centers, clinics, rehabilitative care facilities, and nursing homes. They are a necessary part of a patient’s medical team. A pain management nurse may serve as a liaison between the patient and the doctor to determine a medication’s effect and to make changes to improve the patient’s comfort level.

 

Salary and Benefits

The salary of a pain management nurse may range widely, as it depends on many factors, such as education and experience. The median salary for a registered nurse is $70,000 per year. Pain management nurses with advanced degrees, such as those with an MSN or DNP, may expect to earn more. Salaries generally increase with experience. The median salary for a nurse practitioner is $92,000 per year, according to PayScale , which can make it an attractive profession for those wanting to learn how to become a pain management nurse.

Nurse practitioners can make a difference in the lives of patients who have unmanaged or poorly managed pain. Pain can be a barrier to patients’ productivity, wellness, and mobility, but with interventions from pain management nurses, they can experience real quality-of-life improvements and freedom from their chronic pain issues. Nurses who opt to continue their education and enroll in an MSN or MSN-DNP program are projected to find a favorable job market for the next decade and enter a field where good pain management practice can improve patients’ quality of life.

 

What Do Pain Management Nurses Do?

Pain management nurses assess patients to determine the severity and causes of their pain. In order to do this, they will often physically examine patients and discuss their symptoms. Pain management nurses will also usually examine their patients’ medical histories and perform diagnostic tests, such as x-rays.

Helping patients ease and manage their pain, however, is a pain management nurse’s biggest task. Today, patients in severe pain have the luxury of taking strong and effective pain-relieving medications. Pain management nurses are typically responsible for administering these medications and teaching patients how to take these medications safely.

Because many narcotic pain medications are habit-forming and can cause additional health problems, pain management nurses also try to help patients by introducing them to alternative pain management techniques. Some of these techniques may include biofeedback, acupuncture, massage, and therapeutic exercises.

 

Pain Management Nurse Jobs

Where Do Pain Management Nurses Work?

As a pain management nurse, you can find employment in several different healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics, and physician centers.

Some of the daily responsibilities held by a pain management nurse include:

  • Assessing individual medical and psychosocial patient care needs
  • Working with physician to develop a plan of care
  • Educating patients on treatments and recovery
  • Documenting patient response to treatment

Eliminating Your Ants Problems

How to Get Rid of Ants When You’re in a Hurry

Block Up the Entrances

One of the first things that you should try if ants are marching in is blocking up all of the potential entrances with tape, window stripping, paint, or anything else that will cover it up. Sometimes you can figure this out by just watching where the pests go after they get food from your house

Create a Homemade Trap for Killing Ants

Another potential quick way for getting rid of a small ant infestation is by using a trap with household ingredients. Ants have very simple digestive systems, so there are some things that are no problem for humans but highly toxic to ants. One of these things is sodium bicarbonate, also known as baking soda.

Clean Up Scent Trails

If you see a line of ants going to and from your kitchen, they are most likely following a scent trail. Chemical trails are how ants alert other ants from their colony about a source of food. When a scout ant finds some source of food within your house, it produces a scent as it moves the food back and forth from its home. The scent remains on the ground, creating a path for other ants to follow.

Try Peppermint

If you’ve tried to block up every possible entrance to your house, tried traps and don’t see any scent trails, another option is to spray peppermint in any areas that you think are a problem. Peppermint is actually a neurotoxin to ants, and it is highly deadly to them. You can buy essence of peppermint at a store quickly, and then you can either use an eyedropper to drop a small amount for spot treatments, or you can dilute it in a water spray bottle in order to spray on ants to kill and deter them from going where you don’t want them to go.

Get a Professional to Help

While do-it-yourself treatments can be helpful in a pinch – the best way to deal with an ant infestation is by working with a professional team who can ensure that your pest problem is completely under control and keep them away.

 

How to Get Rid of Ants

You know the drill: stop those first few ants from marching into your home or apartment and you might just keep them all out for good. Let the first couple ants go, though, and they’re likely to report back to their friends and show them the way inside. So, how do you get rid of ants before they take over? Just like getting rid of mice, getting rid of ants isn’t fun, but it’s completely doable. Here are a few natural remedies to cure your apartment of ants.

Keep Things Clean

The best way to get ahead of those pesky ants is to keep everything clean and tidy. Consider getting air-tight, sealable storage containers for gains, cereals, and other dry foods. This way, when you aren’t using them, they’re sealed up and out of sight (and reach) from ants. Clean up spills quickly so nothing will attract ants to your floors or countertops. Sticky things like honey, syrup, jam, and sugar-based foods are especially attractive to ants, so make sure you’re cleaning up your mess after every spill or cooking session.

Diatomaceous Earth

This naturally-occurring sedimentary rock is best used outdoors. Place a line of Diatomaceous Earth (DE) on a horizontal surface, like a cement sidewalk or patio flooring. As an ant tries to cross the DE line, the powder will attach to them and kill them (we’ll spare you the details on how it’s done, though). Just rest assured that the DE line will stop the ants in their tracks and inhibit them from marching into your home.

Talcum Powder

In a similar way, talcum, or baby powder, can also be used to get rid of ants. Find the entry points the ants have been using to get into your house, sprinkle a line of talcum powder down to create a firewall, and watch it do its work. Since ants breathe through something called spiracles on the sides of their bodies, the attached baby powder will clog their airways, killing them quickly.

Water and White Vinegar

If you’re a little more patient or don’t mind trying a few times to get rid of the ants, try filling a spray bottle with 50% water and 50% white vinegar. Spray the ants as you see them, and try to find the ant hill, too. The combination generally takes a few times to kill the ants, but it works. Just be patient; you might have to do a few rounds of spraying before seeing results

 

A Guide to House-Invading Ants and Their Control

Description

The ants that we see day to day are adult ants. Immature ants or “brood” are usually a whitish color and somewhat resemble fly maggots. They are found inside the nest where they are tended by adult workers. Adult ants do not grow. Some ant species have may have individuals of different sizes. So, if you see “small” ants, they do not “grow up” into larger-sized ones.

Ants, as do all insects, have three body divisions: head, thorax, and abdomen. The thorax (middle section) is the part where the legs and wings (if present) are attached. An ant’s thorax and abdomen are joined by one or two segments called nodes, which form the petiole or pedicel. This petiole is one of the important features used to identify different ant species. Seeing winged ants inside your home often means that you have an indoor nest and it may cause alarm because winged ants are often mistaken for winged termites.

Here are some features that can be used to distinguish between the two.

Ants have a constricted or “pinched” waist; termites lack this constriction

The forewing of ants is larger than the hindwing; termites have four wings of equal size

Ants have bent or “elbowed” antennae; termites have straight, beadlike antennae

Life History and Habits

Ants are social insects – they live in colonies that contain three castes or groups: workers, queens, and males. Most of the ants you find in a colony are the workers, which are sterile females. They are responsible for gathering food, feeding the brood and queen, and maintaining and defending the nest. Most ant species produce winged males and females during certain times of the year. These winged individuals, called “swarmers”, leave the nest to mate and start new colonies. After mating, the males die and the females (queens) search for suitable locations to start new colonies. The queen sheds her wings and starts laying eggs that will hatch into the legless, grub-like larvae. The queen takes care of these larvae as they develop until finally they become pupae. Within a few weeks, adult worker ants emerge from these pupae and take over the job of tending the young. At this point, the queen’s primary job becomes lay more eggs, although she may help feed and groom the larvae.

Some ant species, such as the Argentine ant, do not leave the nest to mate. With these species, new colonies form by “budding” – where one or more queens, along with some workers and young, break away from the main colony and move to a new location. Ant species that reproduce by budding usually do not have permanent nests. If conditions become unfavorable or if the nest is disturbed, the ants will simply move to a new location. This behavior may make it more difficult for you to find and eliminate a nest. Other ants that reproduce by budding include the odorous house ant and the pharaoh ant. In addition, some ant species have colonies that contain a single queen while other ant colonies may contain several queens. These ants may be more difficult to control because eliminating a single queen (or even a few queens) may not eliminate the colony and it may be easier for them to split up and form several colonies near each other.

 

How to get rid of ants

Ant control can be a nuisance as once one ventures inside your home in search of food, and scores something yummy, he’ll send a message home to call in all the troops.

With a straw or teaspoon, take a few drops of water and drip into each container. You want to create a paste, so slowly add more liquid as needed. Stir together until it’s like the consistency of maple syrup.

Seal the lids tightly, then pierce small holes in the lid and upper side, which are big enough for the ants to crawl into the container. Now that your traps are ready, place these in areas most affected by ant intrusion, such as behind the fridge or at the back of a draw. Leave for a few days to attract the ants but don’t kill them, as you want to track the ant back to his colony. If you don’t see where the ant goes, spray a little vinegar on the next ant seen and watch it reverse back to the colony.

It’s the colony you really want to treat to remove the underlying issue. A chemical-free approach is to run a hose up to the colony and let it saturate the area so the ants get packing and move on.

Ant infestation prevention tips

Now that you’ve gotten rid of the ants, it’s best to create a barrier to prevent an ant infestation from occuring again.

 

How to Get Rid of Ants in Your Home: The Complete Guide

There are over 10,000 species of ants on Earth, making them one of the most abundant creatures on the planet. Most of them prefer to live in forests and jungles, while others think your home is the best place for them.

While a few of these tiny creatures may not cause much harm, they reproduce rapidly and can make themselves at home quickly when conditions are ideal. Often, modern houses provide every luxury an ant could desire, including abundant food and shelter from the elements. Once they’ve settled in, their nesting habits can cause untold structural damage to your home.

Physical Barriers to Prevent Ants Invading Your Home

According to pest professionals, Pest Control, no structure is safe from pest invasions, so it’s important to take steps against ants regardless of how secure you think your home is. Due to their tiny size and extraordinary climbing capabilities, ants can enter your home through tiny cracks and crevices.

Here’s how to keep them out:

Seal any openings you notice with a silicone-based caulk.

Replace worn weather-stripping and repair loose mortar around your windows and basement foundation.

Trim back trees and shrubbery from your walls and windows.

Stack your firewood at least 20 feet away from your house.

These are some of the tried-and-tested remedies for getting rid of ants:

Spray powdered chalk near entry points

Wash your floors with a solution containing lemon juice

Squeeze a few drops of lemon juice near access points

Spritz a solution of water mixed with pepper around ant entryways

A solution of salt dissolved in water also helps get rid of ants

Wipe window sills and doorways with a 50/50 solution of water and vinegar

Peppermint essential oil mixed with water repels most household pests

Keep a small bowl of cinnamon and cloves in your kitchen

Manual Transmission Repair Problems And Repairs

How To Identify If Your Auto Transmission Requires Repair

If you’ve ever driven a manual transmission vehicle, you’ll know that problems tend to be obvious and can be reduced by changing your own driving habits. With an automatic transmission system, it may be harder to detect problems before they become major – and expensive – issues.

We’ve put together some warning signs that could indicate problems, because prevention costs less than the cure.

  • Does your engine rev when you step on the gas?
  • Is there a delay before the car starts moving forward from drive position?
  • Does the gearshift feel less smooth?
  • Do you hear any thudding or clunking sounds when the car shifts gear?
  • Does your car feel as if it has too much power or too little power at odd times?
  • Does the engine make a whining noise or is there a change in its normal pitch?

These signs that your transmission may be slipping need immediate attention. If you experience any of these – with or without a warning light on your dashboard – have it seen to by a professional mechanic as soon as possible.

There are many reasons why your transmission could slip or fail, often related to the fluid that is the lifeblood of your transmission system. You don’t have to be an auto expert to run through this checklist:

  • Check your car’s transmission fluid at least once a month.
  • New fluid is pinkish in colour, burnt or dirty fluid is brown or black.
  • Burnt fluid is a red flag – check the smell as well as the colour.
  • Ensure the fluid levels aren’t low by using the transmission dipstick.
  • There should be no leaks. Any leak suggests a gap somewhere.
  • Insufficient fluid leads to overheating.

 

Does Your Vehicle Need Transmission Repair?

Transmission repair can be expensive, but without a properly working transmission, your vehicle cannot run. Both manual and automatic transmissions ensure that power moves from the vehicle’s engine to the wheels. Your vehicle’s engine works at speeds called RPMs or Revolutions per Minute. The transmission’s job is to transmit power to the wheels while keeping the engine’s RPMs in the optimal range. It does this through a complicated combination of gears and parts that recognize changes in speed and RPMs and move accordingly to optimize the vehicle’s energy.

If the transmission isn’t shifting the gears properly, you’ll notice a bumpy ride because the energy isn’t transmitting smoothly from the engine to the wheels. The vehicle may buck or stall, or you’ll hear grinding noises from underneath the vehicle. If the transmission is really in trouble, you may even see smoke issuing from it. All of these signs are indicators of problems and should be checked by a mechanic immediately.

Fix Minor Transmission Problems Before They Get Worse

As with most repairs, transmission repair costs can be contained if you fix minor problems before they get worse. Some minor transmission problems to be bring to your mechanic’s attention include:

Leaks and stains under the car

Transmission fluid is typically dyed red to make it easier to identify it from other vehicle fluids, and in both rear and front wheel drive vehicles the transmission is located underneath the vehicle and towards the rear. Puddles of red fluid under the rear end of the vehicle indicate a leak somewhere in the system.

Noises

If you typically drive with the radio blasting, turn it off occasionally and listen to your vehicle. Many problems begin as unusual noises, but if you’re not sure what your vehicle normally sounds like you may not be able to tell the unusual from the usual. Transmission noises that indicate trouble brewing include whining noises, especially a whining sound under the floorboards while your vehicle moves from gear to gear.

 

Changes in shifting behavior

Your vehicle should move smoothly between gears whether you have a manual or an automatic transmission. If you feel a jolting sensation or the vehicle bucks during a shift, it’s time to have the transmission checked. A heavy sensation in the vehicle during shifting may also indicate a problem.

Money Saving Transmission Repair

Even if you’re worried about the bill, it’s important to have your vehicle’s transmission checked if you notice these or other changes. Talk to your mechanic. He may have some simple suggestions to extend the life of your vehicle’s transmission. Transmission fluid and filters should be changed around every 25,000 miles or so, but check your vehicle’s maintenance schedule for the exact number as it can vary considerably. Transmissions do have a filter that cleans the fluids inside, and as with your vehicle’s engine, keeping the fluids clean and the filter clear prevents build up and debris from harming the transmission. Routine maintenance alone may prevent or delay costly transmission repairs.

 

Here are some frequently asked questions about transmissions:

Q: When should I check the transmission fluid?

A: You should check the transmission fluid regularly. Try to check it at least once a month or at the sign of any trouble, for instance if there is any hesitation when you shift gears in an automatic.

Q: How do I check the transmission fluid?

A: It’s not hard to check your transmission fluid if the vehicle is an automatic. This link to the Dummies guide to checking your transmission fluid has step-by-step instructions and illustrations that show you where to locate the dipstick. What you want is clear, pink transmission fluid. If it is low, top it up. If it is dark, smells burnt or has bits in it then you need to get it changed by at a reliable auto repair shop.

Q: Is it really that important to check the transmission fluid?

A: Yes, it can be. Often times the symptoms you’ll experience from low or dirty transmission fluid will be the same as transmission problems. If you check the fluid levels regularly and refill as necessary then you’ll know if there are any symptoms of trouble that it’s not because the fluid levels are low and you need to see a mechanic.

 

Are there different types of transmission fluid?

A: How do I know what to buy? Yes, there are many different types of transmission fluid, each designed for a certain transmission. Different vehicles require different transmission fluids and the age of the car can also be a factor because newer transmissions take different types of transmission fluids than older vehicles. Don’t guess! Find out which type of transmission fluid is required for your vehicle by checking your owner’s manual.

Q: What is a transmission flush and should I get one?

A: A transmission flush is used by some auto repair shops with the goal of flushing out debris.  Auto Tech does not do any sort of transmission flush.  Flushing an older transmission can cause harmful sediment to get stuck in the solenoids of the transmission. We heavily favor regular maintenance to lengthen the life of your transmission.  We service the transmission by changing fluid and the filter and do not recommend having your transmission flushed.

Q: How do I know I have a fluid leak from the transmission?

A: Transmission fluid is slightly pink in color – it will appear pink or red, or possibly more brownish if the transmission fluid is dirty and needs to be replaced. When you feel transmission fluid it will be slick and oily on your fingers. It smells much like oil unless it is dirty, in which case it will smell burnt. Usually transmission fluid leaks around the front or middle of your vehicle, so if you find puddles of reddish liquid there it is probably transmission fluid. Another clue is if in addition to the leak your transmission is not working well and you notice changes in the way it sounds when you shift gears, or if shifting gears is not working as well. In this case you likely have a leak of transmission fluid that is impacting how your transmission operates.

Obtain A Loan To Home Builder Your Own Home

The Process

Choose your Home Design

Browse through our product range on our website to find a home that suits your lifestyle and budget. Use the home finder on our website to filter our range with your requirements. Another way you can explore our home designs is to take a virtual tour of our many display homes online.

Explore our Display Homes

to find inspiration for your home and to discuss your requirements with one of our New Home Consultants. We maintain a great range of single storey and two storey homes on display to suit a range of lot sizes, all of which are conveniently located in leading land estates and prime locations

TIP: If you’re considering buying a block of land, why not ask one of our new home consultants for a free assessment of your block before you purchase it?

Looking for Land?

Take the stress out of finding a block of land and a home to match with a fixed price home and land package. We have made finding your new home easy by partnering with some of the leading developments

Do you own a block of land?

If you already own a block of land, we’ll provide advice on all aspects of choosing a floor plan that fits your block size and suits your requirements, facade options available to give your new home additional street appeal, and what inclusions you would like for your new home. We can also provide you with a fixed price for your new home with zero to pay up front

 

CRUCIAL TIPS FOR YOUR FIRST-TIME HOME BUILD

Building a home will likely be one of the largest projects you ever take on. It can be emotionally and physically DRAINING. I know this from first-hand experience, and I’m making it easier for you by sharing my CRUCIAL tips for your first-time home build below.

HAVE AS MANY FINISHES PICKED OUT AS POSSIBLE BEFORE YOU BREAK GROUND

Choosing finishes (e.g. home exterior materials or flooring) early will keep your build process on time and running smoothly. You will find that some finishes are on backorder or have a long ship time. Other finishes may no longer be available, so this allows you time to go back to the drawing board and make a different selection.

Picking out items early allows for the products to be in your builder’s possession as soon as the subcontractors are ready to install. Believe me … you want things ready to go when your subs are ready to work on your home. Otherwise, you might wait a long time while they complete another project.

BE PREPARED TO GO OVER BUDGET (BUT IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE A LOT)

Everyone says ‘YOU’LL GO OVER BUDGET’ … and I agree to some extent. HOWEVER, I was able to stay VERY close to budget because I was extremely clear with my builder about the caliber of finishes I wanted BEFORE he priced our custom home.

IF YOUR BUDGET IS TIGHT, LET YOUR TOP PRIORITY BE YOUR GUIDE

If you have a tight budget, focus on elements of your future home that are most important to you. If you are more interested in fancy custom details in your home (e.g. window seats, crown molding, high-end appliances, custom cabinets, etc.), then focus your budget on the finishes rather than square footage.

 

TIPS FOR BUILDING A CUSTOM HOME

If you have been dreaming about building your dream home, it is time to make them into reality. Building a custom home can be a daunting yet exciting experience. Realizing a dream comes with many challenges. However, all of these can be addressed by one simple thing — careful planning. So, if you’re ready to make your dream home a reality,

Choose the Right Builder For You

Choosing the best is not enough. Sometimes, it is about choosing the right one for your needs. A builder may be the best in building regular custom homes, or they can be better for building a green and sustainable home. In some cases, you can find a local builder that’s both. That’s why you should look for the right contractor who will help you achieve a sustainable home. Looking for builders specializing in green homes is not hard, you just have to look at the right places. Still, you have to make sure that your builder is trustworthy and reliable before signing on the dotted line.

If you have several home builders bidding for your home project, don’t always go for the lowest bidder. You have to take into consideration that sometimes, builders will lower their costs just to win the bid. This means you wind up getting what you pay for, and your dream home will suffer from lower quality materials and workmanship. Some builders will give you a lower bid but charge you later on with add-ons.

Work with a Lawyer

When you build a custom home, you are going to invest good money in it. You have to make sure that all your hard work will produce results. Aside from working with the right contractor, you also have to hire a trustworthy lawyer to take a look-see at your construction contract. Make sure all your bases are covered. Sometimes paying a small attorney fee is enough to save you thousands of dollars if anything goes south during the construction

Check the Lot

Before deciding to buy land, don’t forget to investigate the community. Knowing the crime rate and local amenities is an excellent way to start your investment before you purchase land. It also helps to know the history of the area in case there is a red flag you would want to know about. Choose an area that has easy accessibility to schools, commercial districts, and restaurants.

 

Guide To Buying A New Construction Home

What You Should Know About Buying A New Construction Home

Most of the tips for buying a home are directed to people who are purchasing an existing home. However, some buyers do not want to live in a pre-owned home, and they would much rather have a brand new property. This type of purchase comes with its own set of challenges, and the rules that apply to pre-lived homes are not necessarily the same for new construction. If the thought of buying a new construction home intrigues you, read on for more details.

If you are planning to purchase a house that is just built or are building a custom home, there are some steps you need to take to ensure the property you buy works for you and your family. Follow these tips for buying a new construction home to not only make the process as easy as possible but also to ensure you find a quality builder to create your dream home.

How to Identify a Good New Construction Home Builder

Finding a good builder can be a long and drawn-out process, with plenty of scars to bear if not done correctly. Your home is your everything, so you need to be sure that only qualified and professional builders come into contact with it. There are phone books, cork boards and an internet full of builder names, but how do you know if any of them are the right ones for your build?

Get Recommendations

There is nothing quite as effective as recommendations from trusted colleagues, friends, or family when you are looking at buying a new construction home. Ask around and the put word out that you are actively looking for local builders. Within a short amount of time you should have some reliable referrals from your sphere of influence.

Builder Websites

When you are looking for your next builder, unification sites can be very helpful. There are two market-leading websites that offer a database of builders alongside recommendations. One of them, MyBuilder, relies on clients to provide searchable feedback about their builder and the workmanship once the project has been completed. Each builder’s rating is determined by how positive their feedback is.

 

First-Time Building Mistakes to Avoid

Building a new home is a dream for many people. Getting exactly what you want in your house is the end result — you hope. But challenges will face you through many of the steps. Mistakes, delays and Mother Nature happen, and sometimes your patience or checking account runs low.

To avoid some pitfalls of building a new home so you come out on the other end with all smiles,  two home building experts talk about what to avoid and what to watch for during the entire process.

Production builder

This is someone building from a pretty predetermined plan and options. You don’t get to change anything. The good thing with production home is that you get to walk through a model home, and you get a quick delivery. You can visualize what you will get. It’s usually cheaper, and they are usually national builders and building a mass quantity of homes.

Semi-custom builder

This is typically a local or regional builder. You start from a plan. You can make edits and customizations. You can walk through a model getting the benefit of seeing what it could look like. It’s a little more expensive than a production builder house and it might take a little more time.

Custom builder

The biggest difference from the other two is the builder designs around your lifestyle. The other is you designing your life around the home, says. Custom homes start from a blank slate. The disadvantage is you can’t see the house. You can look at plans and see a 3-D plan to get an idea, but you can’t walk through the house. This doesn’t necessarily make it more expensive, though. If you have a good building partner and you have a budget, the builder will help you craft the home and not go over your budget.

There Are Many Benefits To Plastic Residential Roofing Sheets

RESIDENTIAL ROOFING

WHAT WE DO

INSTALLATIONS, REPAIRS, REMODELS, & CUSTOM DESIGN OPTIONS AVAILABLE. ARE PROUD MANUFACTURERS OF MOST OF PRODUCT OFFERINGS.

Roofing & Construction has extensive experience in residential settings, luxury projects, commercial and industrial applications, and specialty work. No matter what the project, Roofing is dedicated to providing quality roofing to their customers. Their experienced team provides a superior roof product no matter what the setting or application.

It is important to make sure that your residential building has the best roof as it is among the vital parts of any home. A new roof means a lot for every homeowner. Installation of a new residential roof is done either during the construction of the residential building or even during the replacement of an old roof with a new one. It is, however, important to understand that residential roofing does not only benefit the homeowners but also the home sellers. Some of the top reasons why residential roofing is very important to both the homeowners and the home sellers are discussed below

One of the significant benefits that make many people go for good residential roofing services is because of the high level of attractiveness the services bring to the whole place. Good residential roofing services therefore greatly help to promote first impressions to the various friends that come to visit you. To the home sellers, residential roofing is very important as through a good curb appeal it promotes the fast sale of the property. By installing a new roof to your residential building you also increase its value.

WHAT WILL A NEW ROOF SYSTEM COST?

The price of a new roof system varies widely, depending on such things as the materials selected, contractor doing the work, home or building, location of the home or building, local labor rates and time of year. To get a good idea of price for your roof system, get three or four proposals from reputable contractors in your area. Keep in mind that price is only one factor, and it must be balanced with the quality of the materials and workmanship.

 

Roof Types & Styles: The Best Roofing Materials

If you’re planning a new roofing project for your home, you may be wondering which roof types and styles are best. In this article, going to take a deep-dive into your options, eliminating confusion and helping you to choose the roof that’s right for you.

WHICH ROOF TYPES AND STYLES ARE BEST?

No single roof type is best in all conditions. The roof you choose depends very much on your circumstances

A couple of things to consider before selecting a roof product:

What type of product is currently on your roof?

If you have an asphalt shingle roof or a wood shake roof, you will need to install a product that is less than 6 lbs per sq. ft.  If you have a standard weight tile, you can install almost any product because the structure was designed to handle the load of 10 lbs per sq ft.

What type of product is in your neighborhood?

Your neighborhood will tell you a lot about the type of roof you can install.  For example, if you live in a homeowners association and you have a tile roof, you will most likely have to stick with tile.  If you live in a predominately asphalt shingle neighborhood, asphalt shingle would make the most sense.  If you notice a good mix, then it really is your call.

Another question to consider is how much of your roof do you see?

The look of your roof can have a tremendous impact on the curb appeal and thus, the value of your home.  If much of the roof is seen from the ground, it makes sense to lean towards a higher-end product.  If, however, you have a gable roof and can hardly see your roof, there is no real need to spend extra money on a luxury product you can’t see.

Asphalt shingles

Figures indicate that more than 70% of US homes use asphalt shingles. It is a common roofing material, and for good reasons. Asphalt is not only highly affordable, but it does a great job protecting your home from the elements.

What’s more, it looks good too, and with modern additives, you can customize the color to match the rest of the exterior of your home.

 

Metal Roofing

Benefits of Metal Roofing

Residential metal roofing is one of the fastest growing segments of home improvement – more than quadrupling its market share over the past decade. The benefits offered by today’s metal roofs allow homeowners to upgrade their homes with products of lasting value

Metal Roofing Pros and Cons

Identifying the pros and cons of metal roofing for your specific application will, of course, include special challenges and considerations, unique to your home or building project. As a place to start

Environmentally Friendly Roof: The Classic Solution

Let’s take a look at a few reasons why a Classic Metal Roof the most environmentally friendly roof you can buy.

Energy Savings from a Cool Metal Roof

Review a study presented by a homeowner in Indiana after his new energy-efficient cool metal roof was installed in early 2011

A Metal Roof is a Fire Resistant Roof

Metal is a safe and environmentally responsible choice for a fire resistant roof. Classic Metal Roofing Systems is the leader in producing fire safe roofing for residential applications.

 

Roofing Company

Roofing & Repairs

roofing contractor specializing in residential roof replacement & repair. In addition to replacing your entire roof, also repair leaking roofs and broken shingles offer complete roof packages including new fascia, and soffits

Roofing commitment is based on integrity, communication and professionalism. are fully licensed and carry up-to-date WCB, liability insurance. are certified to work with both GAF and architectural-laminate shingles.

Roofing & Repairs believes in providing and area roofing clients with an industry leading quality experience from start to finish. Unlike many roofing contractors, don’t load material onto your roof several weeks before commencing a job; process is much different

Usually, within a few days of deciding on the colour of your shingles, load your roof with the appropriate roofing material, set up dump trailer, then team shows up the next day (sometimes even same day) to install the shingles.

Once your shingles are completely removed from the roof, we install galvanized drip edge all around the roof perimeter. This not only protects the deck edge from rot, but also helps water come off your roof into the eavestrough drain system.

 

THINGS TO EXPECT WHEN YOU CALL ROOFING

Roofing is one of the leading companies in central specializing in commercial and residential roofing services. Providing top-quality roofing services while meeting the needs of each customer is a top priority at Roofing.

PROFESSIONAL & COURTEOUS CARE

Building a brand on honesty, integrity, and outstanding roofing services is always the primary goal at Roofing. Offering professional and courteous care from your first phone call to the completion of the project is a core trait of working with each employee at Roofing

EXTENSIVE EXPERIENCE & HISTORY

Roofing is a family-owned and operated company with over twenty-five years of experience in helping homeowners across central. believe in the importance of honesty, integrity, and quality service.

QUALITY WORKMANSHIP

Always providing top-quality workmanship is one of the highest concerns at Roofing. Besides residential and commercial roofing, also specialize in siding, gutters, and insulation for customers in central.

Take Advantage Of Your Home Builder Experience And Expertise When Designing Your Dream Home

How do I start my own home builder business?

Construction is one of the top industries for startups; however, it also has one of the highest rates of failure. 63.6% of construction companies close within the first five years, whether due to a lack of business knowledge and experience, lack of finances or lack of planning.1 You don’t have to be one of them.

Researching your market, drafting a concrete plan for how you’ll run your business and getting help can ensure that you have a strong foundation to grow your business on. It can also help you avoid the pitfalls that so many new construction companies run into. So where do you start?

Research your local market

Your first question should be whether a construction company is even a viable option in your area. After all, if the construction market is already oversaturated and customers are happy with the current local companies, it might be hard to get a foothold in the industry, let alone create a successful business.

So start with market research. You’ll want to know how many local construction companies are already operating in your area, what they specialize in, how much they charge, and what their reputation is. Coupled with this, you should also have a similar understanding of your potential customer base — how many of them are there, their median age and status, their interests, etc. Knowing these things can help you develop a better business plan and give you a competitive edge for when you finally step out onto the playing field.

Write your business plan

After you feel you have a good understanding of your local market, you can begin drafting a business plan. This is one of the most important documents you’ll create when first starting out as it can help you keep your business on track and increase your likelihood of success. This plan is also what you’ll give to lenders to help source funding, which means it’s incredibly important to be detailed and put all that market research to good use.

Putting Together a Construction Business Plan

Standard business plans will include the following:

  • How you’ll structure and manage the business
  • What kind of services you’ll provide
  • What types of jobs you’ll bid on
  • Who your target market is
  • The number of employees you’ll have starting out

Register your business

Once you have your business plan together, it’s important to register your business to make it a legal entity, which can provide personal liability protection, legal benefits, and tax benefits. Registering your business is usually as simple as registering the name of your company with state and local governments. However, as not every state may provide them automatically, you should also take the extra step to register your business on the federal level to get your federal tax ID or Employer Identification Number (EIN). This will also allow you to trademark your business name and logo with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

 

Find the right licenses & permits

After you’ve registered your business, it’s time to get your licenses and permits in order. Depending on your state, the location of your business, the size of your company, and even the type of construction you plan to do, you’re likely going to need some type of license or permit to operate legally — on both the federal and state level.

Federal law requires permits for certain business practices, from transportation to drilling and mining. For example, there are special permits required for oversize/overweight vehicles. That means that if you’ll be transporting building materials, prefabricated walls, or equipment you could need a permit. For federal permits and licenses you can simply select your business activity on the federal licenses and permits page on the SBA website.

Secure insurance & liabilities

While you’re considering licenses and permits, you should also start thinking about insurance for you and your employees. Given the dangerous nature of many construction jobs, making sure you’re covered in case of an injury is vital. Accidents happen, and it’s important for any construction business owner to make sure they fully understand all the possible liabilities involved. Even if you aren’t ready to commit to a complete contingency plan at the start, you should at least have a realistic idea of what it would look like for your company if something were to happen.

At the very least, most states and construction contracts will require you to carry valid workers’ compensation insurance. But you may find you need general liability insurance, professional liability insurance, auto insurance, and builder’s risk insurance as well. So the sooner you start planning, the better it will be for you.

 

Promote Your Home-Building Services

Once your company is registered and licensed, you can build a team and start marketing your services. Partner with real estate agents, interior designers, architects and other business professionals. For example, you can join forces with a real estate agent who sells land and engage in cross-promotion. Don’t hesitate to take on smaller projects in the beginning because this will make it easier to build a strong portfolio and establish your reputation.

Another thing you can do is to use your compliance as a selling point. Many home-building companies are not fully licensed. If yours complies with the law, you have a competitive advantage. Mention this fact in marketing materials and when bidding on projects.

If you’re targeting local homebuyers, advertise your service on the radio, on TV and in newspapers. Set up advertising campaigns on Facebook and Google to reach local prospects. As your custom house-building company grows, add customer case studies and photo galleries to your portfolio and share it on your website and social media pages. Put your logo on the company’s cars, create architectural 3D renderings and virtual tours and use your website as a communication tool to inform and attract potential clients.

 

How do professional builders make money?

This probably won’t come as a surprise to you… contractors are in business to make money.  They have employees, tools, vehicles, insurance, and advertising to pay for and on top of that, they must support their families.  So, how do professional builders make money and what are the typical margins?

The new car you bought probably had a 50-100% markup over the cost to make it.  In fact, most of the products you purchase have a similar markup over cost.  But for some reason, we don’t like to pay those margins for a new home.

Base House

So, let’s look at the different ways a professional home builder makes money.  First, they make money on the basic cost to build the project.  If we are talking about building a home, we call this base house cost.  This is basically the cost for building the basic home before the customer adds all of their personal touches.  A typical builder gross margin for this is 15%.  When you think about the risk, cost, and time involved in most projects, this is actually a fair deal.

Standard Options

The second way contractors make money are on the items you decide to change during the pre-planning stage that are typical in nature.  A few examples would be adding a recessed can light or an additional hose bib.  These require nothing special to price out and install as long as you choose them prior to pulling a permit.  The markup on these typically range from 30-50%.  For example, if a recessed can light costs the builder $50 for the electrician to supply and install, the cost to you will typically be somewhere between $65 and $75.

 

Custom Changes

The next type of option that builders make money on are what we call non-standard options, or special options.  These are custom options that involve drawing a plan, estimating quantities, bidding, and sometimes include hard to find, expensive products.  These changes can be very time consuming, can be difficult to estimate accurately, and they can involve products that may be hard to get and are easily damaged or stolen.  These special custom options typically come with a 75-100% markup.

Late Changes

The last type of change is the one no contractor wants to deal with.  These are the late change orders that come after construction has begun.  These involve plan changes, bidding, permit changes, tear outs, on-site management, product order changes, and delays.  The true cost of this type of change can be analyzed by breaking down the overhead costs from delays, the additional management time to implement, communicate and supervise the change, and the additional labor and material to do the actual work.  The late change should be avoided at all costs as you won’t be happy with the price you pay in both time and money.

Overall Builder’s Fee

So, what is a fair price to pay your contractor to take on the responsibility of completing your new home on time, per your budget and specifications, and in a quality fashion?  An overall gross margin for the professional home builder of 15-20% is typically a fair price.  If this seems high to you, you may want to explore options where you actually take on some of the responsibility for the success of the project.  If you build your own home, you can do some of the actual labor yourself to save even more money.

Important Tips For New Hardwood Flooring

How to keep your hardwood floors looking fantastic

New hardwood floors — or restored old ones — can be a beautiful addition to your home. But they’re also a huge investment. You can make that investment last longer with some simple care tips. Here’s how to keep your hardwood floors looking great, long after the installation or renovation

Start with a clean sweep

You need to sweep hardwood once a day, but your typical broom isn’t going to cut it. Invest in a dust mop such as the O-Cedar Dual-Action Microfiber Sweeper (which is what I use) or something similar. These mops have wide heads that trap dust without making micro scratches in the floor’s finish.

Be sure to push the mop in one direction and swivel to turn. Don’t lift the head of the mop off the floor until you’re done. If you lift the mop prematurely, dust and lint will be released into the air and you’ll need to re-mop the area you just finished.  I learned this trick when I was a school janitor cleaning gymnasium floors way back in the day.

Keep it dry

This may be counter to what you’ve learned about housekeeping, but don’t use wet mops or steam mops on your wood floors. The moisture can damage the finish and may even harm the wood after a while, according to the National Wood Flooring Association.

Instead, use a cleaner that’s made for wood floors. Many of these products are formulated to work with the type of finish you have on your floors, so make sure you read the labels before you make a purchase.

 

Hardwood Floors: The Good, the Bad, and the Conclusion

They say that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Although we are strictly optimists, here at Trinity Surfaces, we also respect facts. And, the fact of the hardwood floors matter is: there are pros, cons, and horror stories to boot.

The upside of hardwood floors

Obviously, the beauty and allure of hardwood floors are the first things that come to mind. If hardwood is your thing, isn’t it difficult to imagine your taste being swayed in another direction? Even a vast list of cons doesn’t hold water when you see results like

Whether you’re a type-a, tidy person or someone who suffers from allergies, sticking with hardwood flooring allows for a cleaner space. Carpet is proven to harbor bacteria, dust, and other unwanted flooring stowaways.

The risks of hardwood floors

If you live somewhere with rough winters, hardwood flooring can be something you love six months out of the year but loathe the other half of the time. These types of floors can get extremely cold, and oftentimes, their beauty gets covered up with furniture or an area rug to prevent frostbitten feet!

Overall, hardwood floors = worth it

We put it to a vote, and sides with hardwood! When you weigh the pros and cons, there is a lot more to benefit from [than not] by having beauties

 

HARDWOOD FLOOR COLOR TRENDS THAT TOP DESIGNERS ARE LOVING

If you’re a commitment-phobic shopper, choosing interior flooring can feel like a never-ending process. While trends like linoleum and shag carpet (eek) went out of style as quickly as they came into it, hardwood flooring has—for centuries—been a failsafe choice for any and every aesthetic.

EUROPEAN WHITE OAK

“I love warm lighter woods for the floor. I think this has been and continues to be a big trend in home design. My favorite wood species is a European White Oak; in a wide plank (above 9’’). It adds the perfect balance of organic texture and modern warmth to any space.

DARK CHARCOAL

“We love a dark charcoal wide plank wood floor to ground a space and keep it looking rich. We custom blended three Minwax stains to get our favorite shade of charcoal without any red or orange hue’s coming through. The combo was Ebony and Dark Walnut with a touch of Country White.”

COOL BROWN WALNUT & YELLOW OAK

“I’ve watched clients and showrooms shift away from the cool gray finishes that were so popular for a couple years, and move towards wood tones that seem closer to their natural state. Personally and professionally, I’m also gravitating towards white oaks with yellow undertones, walnuts in a cool brown, and distressing only if authentic. Less is more. Except for chevron and herringbone…then the more the better.”

BRIGHT PAINTED HARDWOOD

“Bright painted hardwood floors are warm, soft, and forgiving when you drop something, and you can repaint them whenever you feel like it! I personally don’t have a favorite color because I paint my hardwood floors at home every 2-3 years to experiment and keep things fresh. I prefer colored hardwood floors especially in the kitchen as they generally have large amounts of tile and stone in them already (backsplashes and counters) and metal materials (appliances, pots and pans). This is a great solution when you may be looking for a material to soften a utilitarian space that most people spend the majority of their time in.”

 

Should You Use Hardwood Floors in Kitchens and Bathrooms?

Hardwood floors offer a number of benefits. They are both incredibly beautiful, and incredibly easy to clean. They are a great option for allergy sufferers as carpets can aggravate symptoms. Even homeowners without allergies can enjoy the seamless look of hardwood flooring.However, water can easily damage or warp these types of materials. So, is it a good idea to install hardwood floors in kitchens and bathrooms? Freshome asked several experts, including designers, realtors and water damage restoration experts to weigh in on this topic.

Pros of hardwood floors

believes that hardwood floors make an excellent choice in the kitchen. “Hardwood flooring is stylish and sustainable, comes in a variety of natural colors, and doesn’t absorb dust or debris, making it easy to clean and maintain,” he says

“Wood also adds a comfortable, livable feel to a space due to its warmer color palettes and natural essence.”She admits that liquids are the enemy of wood floors.  “If left too long, the wood can swell or stain so it is important that spills are cleaned up quickly.”

She agrees with Davis that you should wipe up spills as soon as you notice them. “Small spills, noticed later, will not damage a wood floor; however larger spills, such as a leaking icemaker in a refrigerator, or leaking dishwasher, most likely will damage the floor, especially since leaks often appear under the appliance,”

Wood and water do not mix, so wood flooring cannot be 100% sealed –  it expands and contracts with heat, humidity and moisture.”As a general rule, she says, hardwood floors in the kitchen or bathroom only face problems from leaks. “If you live in a house with a wood frame, you would have a problem regardless of the damage to the floors in an situation like this,”

 

HARDWOOD FLOORS & FLOORING

Whether its hardwood flooring, composite wood flooring, tile, or linoleum, your floors are more than just somewhere to put your feet. Check out these articles to see how to protect, maintain, restore, repair, and appreciate this beautiful and valuable part of your home.

Nobody would disagree: Cleaning aged or dirty surfaces isn’t a homeowner favorite. But with these floor cleaning tips, you can take an unpleasant but necessary task and turn it into a job well done.

MAKE THE JOB EASY.

If you have hardwood floors throughout the home but tile or laminate in the bathroom and kitchen, choose a cleaner that works as a maintenance solution for all of them. A mix of warm water and detergent does a good job of removing dirt on many kinds of flooring.

USE THE RIGHT TOOLS.

Some appliances do more harm than good. A soft mop won’t damage the floor, but abrasive tools like a non-hard-surface vacuum can

DO THE JOB AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE.

Cleaning your floors regularly helps to avoid damage from the dirt and debris that accumulates from dirty shoes and other everyday activities.