Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Hiring An Home Improvement Trade Online

Have you ever tried to hire any type of construction trade over the last 5 years? If so you know that it's next to impossible unless you are some billionaire developer with his own T.V. show. The simple fact is that trades are just like any other business and follow the money. There is nothing wrong with the trades trying to please their biggest customer or taking care of customers that they expect will continue to build once the housing boom is over. In fact if you want a major non-essential renovation on your home, you may want to consider waiting until the housing boom slows down.

Very simply all reputable housing trades want to earn the most amount of money they can while the housing boom lasts. Again nothing wrong with this. Ask yourself what you would do in their shoes? or their boots.

What if you need housework done now?

Here are some quick money saving tips

1. Consider hiring a general contractor vs. doing it yourself. The idea is that a general contractor will have a full time loyal crew working for him. Often he is able to pay his crew less in return for steady work. So by hiring a contractor its often cheaper that trying to hire the trades yourself individually.

2. Pair your needs up with a friend and offer the trade both jobs. DO NOT, I repeat do not insult the trade with an offer like "if you do a good job on my house I will recommend you to many others". When I first started in business I believed this empty promise and never end getting one lead from anyone who said this. Now as a seasoned business person I would just answer that for every new paying customer they bring me I will deduct X amount off their bill.

3. Due Diligence—there are lots of way to find new contractors and trades. Try looking online or searching a home improvement directory

About The Author
Kris Koonar is President of Crack Marketing leading a team of Internet Marketing Consultants with over 5 years of experience and 100's of projects. He is also writer of an Internet Marketing Course called "The Website MBA"
Kris can be contacted at 1.877.270.7170 or kris@crackmarketing.com

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Sunday, May 25, 2008

Do Your Home Improvement Right With A Good Attic Ladder

This weekend you need to head up into your attic to get some work done. You need to pull some wire for the final touches on your sound system. You know you need to get it done. It's the last part of your dream home theater system that needs work. Most of your speaker setup is on the money, but the weak point of your system is the center channel speaker and your two rear channel speakers. Well, my friend, this is the weekend to get those issues sorted out. Home theater bliss is on its way.

You know how to pull wire – how to get the measurements and all that. And the setup of the system is not a problem. That's what 15-year-olds are for. But the actually pulling the wire in from your receiver to the actual speakers could pose a problem. Not that you don't have the skills to do it. You're completely confident with that – you're a man's man. But you need to have the right tools to do the job. But up until now, you haven't found the tool that will let you do your work in such a small space. You need a multi-use attic ladder that will prevent you from stepping through your ceiling into your dining room. You don't need a Clark Griswold situation to tarnish your near flawless home improvement track record. And it is near flawless. Near. Who could have known that that chandelier you installed was way too heavy for your ceiling? And furthermore, who could have predicted that the ceiling would choose not to support the chandelier right in the middle of Thanksgiving dinner? That is neither here nor there.

All these troubles are certainly worth it. You just got the collector's edition of "Dawn of the Dead" last Tuesday. You know, the edition with 20 hours of director's commentary, deleted scenes, making and storyboards. The sooner the speakers are done, the sooner you can watch a zombie movie the way it was intended to be seen, sorry, experienced.

Then you're watching the toob, sipping a frosty beverage and you see an infomercial talking about a ladder. Not just some crummy normal ladder, but a man's ladder. The Little Giant ladder is the means to an end. A classic zombie movie. So you go and pick one up from your local hardware giant. You're instantly able to get into the attic and get that speaker wire pulled. The ladder helped get you into the attic, and it helped you get your stuff done in a minimal time. See you'd love to spend your Saturday crab crawling around in your spiderhole of an attic, but you've got some extra-butter popcorn waiting for you. That and a La-Z-Boy. That said, you got your home theater dialed in. Speakers and all. If you weren't such a man's man, you'd probably shed a tear or two at the sheer beauty of the whole thing. But you're a MAN, and you've got some zombie films to watch. And you've got nothing to thank than your sheer genius and a Little Giant Ladder to thank. Happy DVD-extra watching.

About The Author
Adam Hook is a client account specialist for Innuity – Small is the New Big. For more information about attic ladder solutions, visit LittleGiantSales.com.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Why Infrared Saunas Detoxify Your Body Better Than Exercise Or Traditional Saunas

For the ultimate in home health therapy the new Infrared Sauna is sweeping the market for people who are looking for solutions for stress relief, weight loss, skin purification, and even pain management. The Infrared sauna offers cutting edge low heat technology to help you comfortably sweat your toxins away while at the same time allowing deep penetration of joints, muscles, tissues, and increased oxygen and blood circulation. The infrared sauna works by detoxifying the body and actually ridding it of pollutants like aluminum, cadmium, lead and even formaldehyde and other dangerous chemicals.

The secret to infrared saunas lies in their lower temperature infrared heat waves emitted, which due to their longer wavelength have the ability to penetrate deeper into the body's tissue. Japanese studies on Infrared saunas have concluded that the sweat generated inside infrared saunas contains up to 300% more toxins than sweat expelled during exercise or traditional steam sauna use.

As your body stores waste and harmful toxins the regular use of Infrared saunas can help rid you of these toxin build ups, and burn up to 600 calories in a single infrared sauna session. Infrared saunas help to purify your body cells and detoxification is made safe and easy through the process of deep tissue infrared heat and elimination sweating. Your whole family can enjoy the safe benefits of using an Infrared sauna. Infrared saunas are now used in health and healing facilities for a range of health problems such as menopause, cancer pain, ulcers, fibromyalgia, and insomnia. In addition, other alternative healing practitioners have suggested Infrared sauna use for hemorrhoids, cystitis, and cirrhosis of the liver, gastritis, hepatitis, asthma, bronchitis, and it's known to help with allergies.

Infrared saunas come today in custom sizes that are bound to fit in most any room in your home. If you don't think you have the space it may be a pleasant surprise to know that you can even purchase Infrared saunas in portable and blanket models. If you feel your lifestyle could benefit from regular detoxification and elimination of pollutants, including burning significant calories in the process you owe it to your body's health to explore the many benefits of Infrared Saunas.

About The Author
S.A. Smith is a freelance contributor and editor of the Infrared Sauna Spas information portal which reports on the latest Sauna, Spa and Relaxation Therapies promoting natural detoxification and healing benefits.

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

How to Get Free Garbage Bags

The scenario:

A newlywed couple moves into their new home. After a couple of months, they realize that they have many more garbage bags than they need. However, they have not bought any garbage bags since they got married. Where did all of the garbage bags come from?

Your mission:

See how fast you can arrive at the correct solution by using the following clues: 1) The garbage bags were not a wedding gift

2) The couple did not bring any garbage bags with them when they moved

3) The bags were not in the couple's new home when they arrived

4) The fact that the two people are newlyweds is irrelevant

5) The type of home that the couple moved into is irrelevant

6) The bags were made of plastic

7) People gave the bags to the couple, but

8) The bags were not any type of gift

9) The bags are not "traditional" garbage bags

10) The bags came in many colors.

The solution:

Have you figured out the solution yet? The garbage bags are actually plastic bags from grocery and other types of stores! The couple only has small garbage cans in their home, and the plastic bags fit perfectly inside of them. Plus, the handles make them very extremely easy to tie shut when they become full. The trash cans need to be emptied more often than larger cans would, but that small inconvenience is worth the savings. Yearly garbage bag expenses: $0.00!

In addition to the monetary reasons, reusing grocery bags is a simple way to recycle and eliminate the waste created by throwing away the plastic bags inside of another garbage bag. Once you have a good supply of plastic bags, consider taking an empty canvas bag or backpack with you to the grocery store. Check the bag with a store employee when you enter so that no one thinks that you are shoplifting. Then, when you are done shopping, skip getting a new bag and load your purchases into your own reusable bag instead.

A few other super-easy ways to save money and recycle:

Save scrap paper. Save any papers that have nothing on the back or large blank spaces. Advertising flyers, old work papers and school papers all work well. You can cut the pages into smaller pieces if they would be more convenient for you. Put the paper in a stack or a box with a pen nearby, and you'll never have to scramble when you need to jot down something. Spots near the base of your house phone or beside the computer are both great locations.

Save sturdy boxes from food, electronics, mailers, etc. Cover them with the Sunday comics or some previously-used wrapping paper. Label each box with a marker and use as stackable storage for recipes, comic books or just about anything else.

Save large, empty plastic soda and juice bottles. Fill them with water, and store in your freezer. Having less open space in your freezer will help it run more efficiently. And when you need more room in the freezer, simply take out one of the bottles of ice!

Save torn and worn out clothing. Tear or cut them into pieces and use as rags for cleaning and dusting.

About The Author
Steve Hall is a writer for the GrandMatrix website. Visit and grab hundreds of free game downloads, including classics, puzzles and strategy to the latest action, driving and RPG games at http://www.grandmatrix.com.

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Start Planning for Your Backyard Garden

Water gardens are great focal points for any backyard.

With spring in the air, now is the time to start planning for your backyard garden. For many homeowners, a backyard pond is a perfect supplement to your existing layout. The trickling of water in the background is the ideal way to supplement the natural, serene and relaxing atmosphere that the outdoors should offer.

A pond or water garden will likely become the focal point for your entire backyard. Backyard ponds and water gardens will attract birds, butterflies, wildlife, and family members. Ponds are usually small and no larger than 3 to 4 feet in diameter, and often can be used to raise fish. At night-time, a garden pond can be lit up with both surrounding and submersible lighting. An extravagant light show can be produced by projecting underwater lighting directly onto trickling or falling water.

In the past, the installation of a water garden was a convoluted process that either involved the expense of a landscaper, or trial and error to perfect the art of pond installation. However, preformed pond kits are now available that can make pond installation relatively straightforward. Preformed pond kits are affordable, lessen the risk of mistakes, and come complete with all the accessories that you will need to complete a garden pond installation.

Before purchasing a preformed pond kit, make sure that it fulfils all of your requirements. How large of a pond are you looking for? Do you want to raise fish? Would you like water to trickle down a waterfall? How long is the warranty on the pond kit?

One preformed pond kit that comes highly recommended is the Algreen 180 gallon folding preformed pond kit. New to the Algreen line of products, this kit includes easy-to-follow instructions. The instructions minimize the effort required to install the pond, after a hole is dug. The pieces in the kit fit easily together and leave you ample flexibility to creatively position and landscape the area around the pond, according to your heart's desire.

The 180 gallon kit comes complete with both a preformed pond shell and a preformed watercourse that is manufactured from a revolutionary rubber/plastic composite (this composite material is guaranteed to be more durable and resist wear more than any other existing preformed pond kits). The kit includes a powerful 792 gallon-per-hour SuperFlo pump with flow control; this pump is used to feed varying flows of water to both the watercourse and the built-in fountain. The pump is purposely oversized to allow it to channel water to your watercourse and fountain, and to accommodate fish in your pond.

Up to 4 fountain heads are included with the kit, to allow you to vary your fountain according to your mood. An underwater light is also included free with the kit. This underwater light utilizes colored filters to shine luminous light from the bottom of your pond to accentuate the falling water from your fountain and/or your waterfall.

Small backyard garden ponds are usually low maintenance. The occasional debris from your pond can usually be trapped with a mechanical pre-filter, which is included with the SuperFlo pump. However, if you decide to raise fish in your pond, it is recommended that you increase your filtration capacity. Because the pump is purposely oversized, this can be easily accomplished by upgrading your pre-filter to a larger filtration device. Optional filtration devices include the mechanical and biological SuperFlo submersible filter, or the Algreen pressurized filter.

You will need to start planning for your water garden now in order to have it completed by spring. Before commencing any project, it is always recommended that you conduct research to learn as much as possible about the topic. Therefore, it is recommended that you use the early part of the season to read more about pond construction.

This article was provided courtesy of GardenSM.com.

About The Author
Gerry Fung is the Vice President of of GardenSM.comGardenSM.com.

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Friday, May 09, 2008

Home Improving with Solar – The Important Concept of Gain

You've decided to pursue a solar home improvement, but aren't so keen on the idea of putting panels on your roof. No worries, you just need to understand the concept of gain.

I Gotta Gain Some Heat

I'll cut to the chase – gain refers to how you generate heat for your home without solar panels. You can think of it as gaining heat by manipulating the power of the sun. There are three categories of gain: direct gain, indirect gain and isolated gain. So much for the mumbo jumbo, what are we really talking about here?

Direct gain refers to improving your house in a manner that allows the sun to...[drum roll]...directly provide power in the form of heat to your home. For instance, if you install large windows in the south facing side of your home and put down heat storing flooring such as masonry, you are pursuing direct gain. The sun will directly heat the home through the windows during the day and will also heat up the flooring. As the sun goes down, the flooring will continue to radiate heat. The advantage of direct gain is it is fairly easy to implement. The disadvantage is it only works during the day and for a few hours afterwards if you've put in a heat storing flooring material.

Indirect gain is a bit more complicated. It refers to the idea of using a structure between the exterior and interior of the house to store heat produced by exposure to sunlight. The basic idea is to get more heat production for a longer period of time. Indirect gain is typically accomplished by building a thermal wall out of masonry, known as a Trombe Wall, as the south facing wall of your home or a part of it. The wall is built out of a material that absorbs heat such as concrete or brick and then has glass placed over it. Put another way, the south wall is a window with a brick wall behind it. The wall materials suck up the power of the sun and store heat. This heat is then radiated when you need it by opening vents in the wall. The advantage of indirect gain is you get longer, more controlled heating. The disadvantage is you have the world's weirdest looking window on the south side of your home.

Isolated gain is a simple concept. Have you ever used a greenhouse to grow flowers or tomatoes or...well, something? Isolated gain works just like a greenhouse, except you are providing heat to yourself instead of plants. Essentially, you build a self-contained glass structure on the south side of your home which is also well insulated. The structure heats up in the sun during the day to very high temperatures. When you need heat, you just turn on a fan, which moves it into the house through venting you've installed.

The beauty of any of these systems is they are fairly simple concepts to understand. If solar panels don't appeal to you, just go for some gain.

About The Author
Rick Chapo is with http://www.solarcompanies.com – a directory of solar energy companies. Visit http://www.solarcompanies.com/articles to read more solar power articles.

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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

For Whom Is Your Home Inspector Working?

The first thought in your mind may be that your home inspector is working for you. I hope that is the case. I have attended marketing training sessions where a well noted speaker talks about the definitions of a customer and a client. In their training the customer is, you may have guessed it, the real estate agent. The client is the person buying the home. What does this mean? I think there is a subtle conflict of interest in that the home inspector may be working for their next job and may not have your best interests in mind.

Another conflict of interest for home inspectors is payment at the close. I often have customers (in our case that is the person buying the home, not the agent) that ask if my inspection fee can be paid at the closing. I have to decline these arrangements and I offer other forms of payment like credit cards for example. In some cases the information that is revealed during a home inspection is enough for a transaction to not go through. If the home inspector is counting on the transaction to close in order to be paid, it puts into question the quality of information you receive. Information you depend on to make a qualified decision to go through with your home purchase.

Here is the best one yet. I was recently handed a brochure from a home inspection firm and the business card attached to it was the home inspector with the title of real estate agent. I don't think there is any question that there is a conflict of interest here.

I believe as a professional home inspector that loyalty is due to the person paying the bill, you the prospective home owner. In order to conduct an objective inspection and present the information in a non-biased manner the inspector needs to stay clear of subtle or outright conflicts of interest. The home inspector should subscribe to a professional code of ethics. My firm, Safe Family Home Inspection Services, adheres to the American Society of Home Inspectors Code of Ethics and we hand out a copy to the customer with every home inspection report. I also offer them to the customer before each inspection along with the Standards of Practice.

Number one in the ASHI Code of Ethics is:

"Inspectors shall avoid conflicts of interest or activities that compromise, or appear to compromise, professional independence, objectivity, or inspection integrity."

To prevent a possible conflict of interest I also advise that the only industries in which the inspector participates are home inspection related. Your home inspector should only inspect homes or provide environmental testing like radon, mold, or asbestos testing. The inspector should not participate in remediation or mitigation services for environmental problems. I also am not sure you can get an objective opinion about your furnace if the home inspector sells new furnaces.

Make sure your home inspector knows who the customer is; make sure it is you.

About The Author
Charles Skoning is a graduate of Northern Illinois University with a Bachelor's of Science in Engineering Technology. For the last fifteen years he has been involved in the inspection of medical imaging equipment and real estate. As an owner of multiple residences and a commercial building he specializes in identifying safety issues hoping to prevent accidental injury at home. Charles is licensed and practices in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Iowa. As a licensed radon measurement specialist he also provides radon testing for real estate transactions. Charles attended one of the nation's largest home inspection schools and is certified by the American Home Inspection Training Institute. Charles is also the founder of Safe Family Home Inspection Services, LLC and operates from three locations: Madison, WI, Dundee, IL and the Quad Cities, IL and IA. If you would like to contact Charles feel free to email him at: Charles@Skoning.com or visit his website at: http://www.safe-family-home-inspection.com

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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Discount Furniture To Make Your Home Unique

Furnishing and decorating your home can be a daunting and expensive task to undertake. It is not necessary, though, to spend thousands of dollars on high end furnishings and décor in order to make your home a unique showplace that represents who your are. All it takes is a little ingenuity, some detective skills, a good dose of creativity and thought, and a bit of money, and you can have fun finding furniture for your home. By seeking out different types of discount furniture, you will be recycling old pieces that are potential treasures, as well as keeping money in your wallet.

The first thing you need to do when you want to furnish and decorate your home is to figure out what you like. Do you like contemporary styles, pieces that are more modern with clean lines and no fussy fabrics? Or do you prefer a country or cottage style, with plush fabrics in woodsy or floral patterns? Or maybe you like the rustic look, with dark woods and leathers that will give your home a warm log cabin feel. Whatever your style is, you should scour magazines and the Internet to find just the type of pieces you are looking for, so that you have a basis to start from.

The next step is to find the discount furniture that is right for your home. You can try websites that sell reduced-priced home furnishings. Be careful, because you might find that the money you save in the cost of a sofa might be made up in the cost to ship it to you. You can also look out for sales at local furniture stores. Sometimes furniture stores are liquidating certain furniture collection to make room for newer ones. In addition, some furniture stores might have "scratch and dent" items. These items are sold as is and at a deep discount, and often the flaws are very minor. There are also furniture warehouses that specialize in scratch and dent merchandise, and the variety of discount furniture available at those types of stores is quite impressive.

Another great place to look for discount furniture is at consignments shops. If you can find a local consignment shop that sells furniture, you are likely to uncover some hidden treasures that might only require a few repairs. And the prices are sure to be reasonable, perhaps even negotiable. And if do it yourself work is your thing, there are abundant places to find old, used, and slightly damaged furniture sold at discounts. For example, searching flea markets and garage or estate sales might lead you to uncover collectibles, antiques, and rare furniture and décor items that can be restored for not a lot of money. These pieces will add a unique touch to your home. In addition, putting your own individual touch on the furnishing your restore or repair will give you a real sense of pride and accomplishment.

In addition to looking at flea markets, garage sales, and consignment shops for discount furniture, you can also find great décor pieces that can be added to your home to achieve a certain them or style. Paintings, pictures, gilded mirrors, vases, or any other type of knick-knack can be the finishing touches that you need to beautifully furnish your home.

You do not have to pay a fortune to furnish your home. By taking the time to seek out discount furniture, you can uncover some distinctive treasures, and even find new items at reduced prices. Taking the time to locate discount furniture will be easier on your wallet, and will help you make your home as individual as you are.

About The Author
Mark Woodcock is a director of 3 Internet Companies, is a published author and has written many articles on a widespread number of topics. All his articles may be reproduced provided that an active link is included to http://www.furniture-promotions.info.

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