Tips To Effective Mold Testing And Removal

If you’re the sort who doesn’t notice easily, mold can creep in and take over your home without you noticing its presence in the first place. When it finally dawns on you that you have an outbreak of mold in your home, trying to clean up the situation won’t be that simple. Getting mold removal or mold remediation companies to do the job is usually the suggested situation, but if you aren’t financially buoyant or if you want to save a few bucks you can effectively go about testing the different areas of your house and doing the mold removal by yourself.

If you’re testing for mold it isn’t really difficult. You ought to this as often as you can in order to ensure that the home is safe for your family. One way that you can find out if mold is present in your home is if anyone in your home has developed any allergies that you find unexplainable. This is one surefire indicator that you have someone in your home that suffers from such allergies. If you’ve detected the presence of black mold in your house the very next step is mold removal. You should start out by looking out for this mold in your home.

Looking for the locations where mold in your house, you should usually start from areas that will potentially have a large presence of damp due to exposure to water or lack of exposure to strong light such as bathrooms in the first case and basements in the second scenario. Mold can easily form over any surface and you should take a careful look for any possible places that mold may occur. These surfaces may be cement surfaces and even tiled surfaces. As long as you don’t dedicate special care to the place in question and make sure that it’s kept dry then mold will easily occur. In certain cases mold formation will start inside a surface that may be made of material such as wood and may not be detectable until much later on. For cases such as mold that are not easily detectable, you can easily purchase homemade mold testing kits in order to see if you have any mold growth in your home. You can visit http://www.mold-testing-guide.com for more information on mold testing and removal.

After mold testing and inspection is completed the next step that logically follows is the removal of the mold. Before you start the process of mold removal you should ensure that the area being worked on is properly ventilated. Not only should it be properly ventilated but it should be quite airy as well. If the mold detected is in the open you can simply use a combination of percentages of bleach and water in order to get rid of the mold. Bleach works well and cheaply because it isn’t expensive and can do the same thing that commercial solutions provide for home owners. Bleach may not remove mold as easily as you think and in this case the best thing that you can do is find a well tested and reviewed commercial solution capable of resolving the problems associated with mold.

For information on mold testing Tampa click here.

Termite Control – Steps for Colony Control

When it comes to termites, exterminating these pests from your house is only part of the solution. It’s vitally important to eradicate the colony and if you do not, your house may come under attack from termites all over again. There are a number of strategies for dealing with the termite colonies, such as termite baits, chemical barriers and dusts.

Baits

Baits are set up near areas of activity to attract termites. The termites ingest the bait product and then return to the nest, and the toxin is then spread throughout the colony due to social and feeding habits. This method may be effective but it tends to be slow and is not the best option where there needs to be immediate control. According to the CSIRO, the active ingredients of baits may include trioxide, hexaflumuron, noviflumuron or chlorfluazuron.

Chemical Barriers

These are usually set up around the building foundations or under the house, and may be the in-soil type — where the termiticide is placed in the soil; or in-plastic i.e. a plastic sheet containing the chemical. The chemical is undetectable to termites and is carried back to the colony, where it is spread to other termites, thus having a devastating effect on the colony. The active ingredients of the termite control chemicals may include bifenthrin, chlropyrifos, deltamethrin, fipronil or imidacloprid.

Dusts

Termite control dusts work a bit like chemical barriers, in that the product is applied to the termite infested area, and then carried back to the colony. Dusts usually contain arsenic trioxide, fipronil or triflumuron as their active ingredient.

Direct Colony Elimination

If the termite controlling professional can locate a nest — in a tree or a tree-stump for instance — it is possible to destroy the colony directly, either by removing the tree or stump, or by applying a termiticide or arsenic trioxide to the area through a small hole.

Whichever method of termite control is used, it is essential to apply enough of the chemical product to eradicate the whole colony. If a dusting method is used for instance, and there is insufficient termite control product transferred back to the nest, the colony may continue to thrive.

Termite control should be always be handled by a pest extermination professional, who not only has the licence to use termiticides and other termite control chemicals, but who’s qualified and experienced enough to know which method should work the most efficiently on your particular property.

For information on termite control Scottsdale click here.

The Search For SEO Services

Nowadays, many so-called SEO services are being offered on the Internet. Unfortunately, most of these “companies” deliver dubious results. Excellent SEO services are rare today since everybody seems to be to getting into online business marketing. More and more websites are clamoring to get into Australia’s top 10 in terms of search engine ranking. With this scenario in mind, companies and small businesses should be careful in their search for SEO companies with competent SEO services.

Before you dole out your hard-earned dollars to get social media marketing packages, read below for some essential tips when scouting around for an SEO company:

1) Always ask for a case study. An SEO expert should definitely present you with a case study containing a thorough evaluation of your business’ strengths and weaknesses, as well as an overview of your competitors’ marketing strategies. This gives you a jump start on what your company lacks in comparison to others. This could be very helpful before you hire SEO services.

2) Review an SEO company’s web design and development and content management system. Ask for copies of their client’s web pages or check out how their client’s websites look like in the Internet. This will give you an idea of the kind of output that you are most likely to be getting from a prospective SEO firm.

3) Collect and collect, then select. It may be a bit time-consuming, but any wise spender knows that canvassing and comparing notes rather than hiring the SEO services of the first SEO company that comes your way eventually leads to money well spent.

4) Don’t forget to inquire about SEO strategy and planning services. Find out as much as you can how an SEO consultant creates a marketing plan, more importantly for businesses that are similar to yours. Some SEO services firms are adept at formulating SEO keywords while others are more inclined to churning out award-winning web designs. Others have a knack for link-building strategies and there are SEO companies that offer social media marketing packages.

5) Ask several companies that offer SEO services to present you with a variety of search engine optimisation services. Most SEO firms can offer different rates and SEO strategies can work depending on the client’s budget and preferences. Also, ask for a detailed rate card that includes separate pricing for say, SEO audit, web design, web copywriting services, content management system, and web design and development. This way, you will get an idea of how much you should be paying for each kind of SEO services you are getting.

6) Ask for referrals. With a bit of effort and time, you can check out Australia’s top 10 SEO companies and see if you can afford them. If not, the next best thing to do is ask SEO firms to provide you with a list of their existing clients so you can inquire about the quality of work from the people that have enlisted their SEO services.

After all is said and done and you have made a good with an SEO firm, don’t forget to read the fine print well before signing the contract for the SEO services. This is just plain and simple good business practice.

For information on Top-rated SEO Agency click here.

What to Look For in Lawn Care Programs to Get the Best One for You

Everyone wants to have a beautiful landscaping accentuating their house and helping to make it as attractive as possible. They also want their lawn to be easy to maintain and free of pests and weeds. With busy schedules, many people like you don’t have the time or energy to put into your lawn maintenance program. That is why hiring one of the many lawn care companies in Hamilton, Ontario might be the answer to your problem. What you do need to do however, is to compare lawn services to find the one that suits you best-and the one that offers you the most for your money.

Here are a few things you should look for before you commit to a professional lawn care service:

First of all, you need to decide whether you need a lawn care service to provide spring, summer, fall and/or winter lawn maintenance. If you do, try to choose a company that will fertilize your lawn in all seasons so that you end up with the greenest and healthiest grass possible.

You also need to decide if you want organic lawn services that use only as much control products as is necessary to keep weeds and pests under control. Organic lawn maintenance products, geared to different seasons, are your best option for the best lawn and for environmentally friendly purposes. Of course, you may want to delve into the blend and type of fertilizer that is used on your lawn, but sometimes it is best decided by the professional lawn care company you hire.

The professional lawn care service you decide on should guard against various pests as well. They should offer protection against chinch bugs and white grubs, while still remaining within the restraints of using as many environmentally friendly products as possible. A good option for dealing with grubs is the use of Nematode (biological) grub control. This method uses microscopic worms to kill grubs in your lawn. Ask if this type of treatment is available in the lawn maintenance program you choose.

Professional lawn service companies should also provide treatments for fungus problems, do professional soil tests, and use soil supplements and additives to give you the best lawn possible. They should provide core aeration, in which plugs of soil are removed to increase oxygenation to improve your soil structure and allow grass to grow better. They should also offer weed control protection and management for broadleaf weeds (such as dandelions, plantain, clover and others), creeping charlie (that thrives in moist, shady areas) and crabgrass.

Some lawn maintenance companies go beyond only looking after your lawn. Some companies will also help with vegetation control for driveways, patios and walkways. Some will also help control insects in your trees, or provide deep root feeding of your trees and shrubs. Lawn service companies like these go above and beyond in their lawn care programs, and if you require these services it is good to ask at the onset if the professional lawn maintenance company you decide on provides these options.

While comparing all of the products and lawn maintenance programs offered, you still need to look at costs. Compare the products and services of one professional lawn care program with another and find out which is most cost effective. Remember to compare ‘apples with apples’ so that you know you are getting the best price for your lawn maintenance service.

Garden Lighting – 10 Great Ways to Illuminate Your Garden

For many people, enjoying a cup of hot chocolate amidst the beauty of plants and landscape of their garden is the ultimate bliss. But, without attractive garden lighting, you cannot capture that bliss. Lights arranged creatively and at the right spots make your garden a heavenly place to be after dusk.

Your garden gets grace through illumination. However, the trick is to use the right kind of lighting to transform your landscape into a dramatic place with dancing silhouettes and beautiful scenery. Things like glass oil lanterns add a dash of glitter to your garden during the day and make it shine radiantly during the night. The benefit of landscape lights is that it gives the pool, fountains, plants, and pathways a subtle glow, along with a shadowy charm.

Benefits

Garden lighting is one of the most important elements of your garden. And it not only enhances the beauty of your favorite place, but also makes it safer. A properly lit garden is easier to walk by, as you can clearly make out the pathways, steps, patios, and other elements of the garden during night. It also adds to the security of your home; thieves would not usually dare to enter a home that has a glowing garden. To make garden lighting absolute safe, you must use lights that are certified for outdoors use. This means that they are weather proof.

Ways To Light Up Your Garden

* Floodlighting involves a broad and bright light beam that illuminates a larger area. Although it is bright, it creates striking silhouettes that make your garden look inviting.
* Spotlighting is not used that commonly. Whenever used, it is used to light big plants, trees, large sculptures, and other architecture in the garden.
* Uplighting is a popular way to light up the garden trees, walls, and various statues.
* Downlighting is an imitation of natural light. The lightings are fixed overhead with the light falling directly from above.
* Moonlighting is used to render a dramatic effect to the garden. It is done by fixing lighting high above so that when the light falls, it produces a moonlit effect.
* Shadowing is a type of garden lighting that creates the most magical effect on a garden. It needs surfaces like lawns or walls or strong plants to place the fixtures.
* Accent lighting is done through small fixtures. They are fixed near the ground. They illuminate the garden in a subtle manner and are mostly used to decorate various garden spots.
* Spread lighting involves the use of wide beam angles. They illuminate big features of the garden such as the lawn, fountain area, flowerbeds, borders, patios, and others. Such lighting makes evening or night walks in the garden a pleasure.
* Cross lighting technique is used to highlight particular elements of a garden such as urn, statue, bonsai, archway, and others.
* Silhouette garden lighting outlines the trees, archways, and other elements creating a spectacular view.

So, gear up to light your garden. And yes, remember to use solar lights. They are the latest trend.

For information on outdoor festoon lights click here.

Types of Folding Bicycles

There is a popular trend today towards keeping fit and at the same time looking after the environment. Folding Bicycles are an ideal way of achieving both these ideals especially if you are commuting to work on a daily basis. This means that you can conveniently fold your bicycle and put it in the boot of your car, drive for part of the way to work and then park up and finish the journey on your bicycle.

This means of commuting into large cities is great because not only do you become fitter but you also reduce your carbon foot print not to mention the frustration of being stuck in slow moving traffic. You then get out your folding bicycle from the boot of the car, unfurl it and you are ready to go. Very often you will find that you are moving faster than the motor vehicles since they will be trapped in a traffic jam or just creeping along in a queue of slow moving traffic.

Here is a brief look at 10 makes of folding bicycles:

1. Karbon Kinetics Gocycle: it looks good and is a fun ride. Quite an attention seeker, if you don’t mind others constantly looking at you then this is the bike for you.
 
2. Brompton S2L is light and highly practical. It can be folded very quickly and is strong and durable.
 
3. Fisher Outdoor Leisure Kansi 3 twenty: The 3twenty is easy to maintain and is a great buy. If offers a great buy because it is easy to handle and to keep on the road, because of the strong quality components.
 
4. Dahon Cadenza Solo. This is a simple bicycle which is easy to ride and to maintain. It easily negotiates the city streets and is a nimble yet reliable bicycle.
 
5. The Brompton S6L-X is not necessarily suited for all-day cross country riding. However, it will effortlessly do your everyday commuting for you without complaint. It is easy and quick to fold.
 
6. Bike Friday Tikit. You can’t get it simpler than the Tikit. It is responsive yet simple to fold and unfold.
 
7. Dahon Vitesse P18: The Dahon Vitesse P18 is fitted with 18 gears, most unusual when you think of folding bikes. It is tough and versatile and handles well.
 
8. Dawes Cycles Ace is a practical, good all-rounder. The ride is steady and assured and it has a rack and a kick stand, both useful additions to this versatile bike.
 
9. The Brompton M6RX is a pleasure to ride. It is one of the latest of Brompton’s line of folding bikes.
 
10. Airnimal Chameleon Ultra folds well. In fact, it folds in 30 second and is small enough to fit in the boot of your car. A practical everyday folding bicycle.
 
Cycling is not only good for our health; it can help to reduce the use of motor vehicles, thus reducing adverse effects on our environment. It’s a great way to get around today in our crowded cities.

For information on a folding bike click here.

Need a Painting Contractor? Should You Find One Yourself Or Use a Referral Service?

I would advise that you call a friend or relative who has recently had the interior or the exterior of their home painted by a professional painter. You can ask them how they felt about their experience. If they liked their painting contractor, they will let you know. They’ll also let you know if they didn’t. You should ask them how they felt about the painting company’s quality, price and service. Was the contractor attentive to their needs or not? Just keep in mind that you’re needs and wants will not be identical to your friend’s or relative’s. For example; was the painting contractor fully insured? Maybe your friend or relative didn’t care if they were or not. When I say fully insured, I don’t just mean a “liability insurance policy” that anyone can get for sometimes just a few hundred bucks a year. But, do they carry “workers compensation insurance” as well? Well, if they have even one employee, they are required to by law.

Another way to find a painter is to do an online search, open up your local yellow page directory or respond to a flyer that was hung on your door. Call the painters for a free estimate. I usually suggest getting three estimates. If you get too many more than that, then you’ll just drive yourself crazy.

If you decide to try to find a Kelowa area painting contractor by using a painting contractor referral service, just remember one thing. Most of the “qualified, fully insured” painting contractors and many customers that I know, who have enrolled in these referral services have been disappointed and disillusioned with the results and have stopped using the contractor referral service altogether. So, what do you end up getting with a lead referral service? You may just get some of the “least qualified” contractors! Yes, you heard that right. And you thought that they were going to be the best, being screened for you and all! Caveat Emptor! Let the buyer beware!

Let me explain something. These contractor referral services claim to “screen” painting contractors. Yet, they seem to be “negligent at best”,when it comes to screening for workers compensation insurance”, one of the most fundamental and basic areas that is of extreme importance to any professional, legitimate painting company and more importantly to you, the customer that is hoping that the contractor referral service is “looking out for you”. Read on, I’m much more cynical than that. I don’t think it is “negligence” on the part of the contractor referral services. I think it’s more like “blatant disregard” for you, the customer. I truly believe, that the contractor referral services are banking on the fact that the average homeowner does not know the law; and then they use this to pull the wool over your eyes while basically implying to you the following. “Don’t worry Mr. and Mrs. Homeowner. We are looking out for you. We “pre-screened” these contractors for you!” I know. That does sound cynical of me doesn’t it? But, why do the contractor referral services fail to screen for such a “basic” thing as workers compensation insurance?

It is law that when a painting contractor hires employees and has them working on your home, that those employees be covered by workers compensation insurance, just in case a painter gets hurt or dies while painting the interior or exterior of your home. Guess what. Painters do get hurt on jobs and more often than you might think. And serious injury for painters is actually quite common. And did you know that your homeowner’s insurance may NOT cover you if a painter gets hurt while painting your house.

In fairness to some of these contractors, if a painter is working for himself and by himself, he is not required to carry workers compensation insurance on himself, but once he has a worker on the job, it’s a new ball game. Even if the owner of the painting company excludes himself from his policy, he must still provide the workers compensation for his employee. Now, he’ll probably tell you that he’s paying him “as a subcontractor”. Well when somebody gets hurt on the job, somebody is going to still come looking for money from the workers compensation insurer. When they find out that there is no workers compensation insurance, then somebody is still going to pay. The painter that is injured will look to collect from whoever has the most money. I would bet that in most cases that means you, the homeowner.

If you don’t think that anyone could possibly get hurt on just this one little job for you, then I suggest you do a little research online. Just do a Google search for “house painting fatalities” or “house painting injuries”. It might shock you. People get hurt doing construction and home improvements all the time. You can even narrow down your search to the Chicago area. I don’t want to scare you, but you must open your eyes and see the world in which you live. Many times an unethical painter or other tradesman will even “fake” an injury, looking to milk a situation for a long time. Please don’t be naive enough to think that it won’t happen to you because you are nice person. Nice people are the “easiest” for people with no scruples to take advantage of. It happens all the time.

Maybe one contractor referral exists that screens for it, but I have personally NEVER seen a contractor referral service in the Chicago area screen painters for workers compensation insurance. I’ve only seen them screen for liability insurance, lawsuits or judgments and a few other things. They seem to be more concerned with the following: Joe Dokes in Winnetka says…..”Hank and his brother and law were such nice guys, not only did they do a nice job painting my living room, but they also walked my dog?”

I have come to the conclusion and it is just my opinion, that there is a reason why the contractor referral services do NOT screen painters for workers compensation insurance. They leave this “extremely” important screening for workers compensation insurance out of their “screening process” because if they actually did screen for this insurance, then they would lose about 90% of their revenue generating customers, which are the painting contractors that pay for your name. You are a hot lead. And the contractor referral service will sell your name, address and phone number to anywhere from 2 to 4, to maybe even more painters. They’ll collect money from these contractors whether you buy a paint job or not.

The reason the contractor referral service will NOT screen for workers compensation insurance is because over 90% of the painters that you attempt to hire from the referral service will NOT have this workers compensation insurance because it is too expensive, or they do not know that they are “required” to have their employees covered by it. I really don’t blame the painters. These are men and women who are just out there in the world trying to make a buck to support their families. They may in fact be innocent. There are a lot of laws out there. They just need to be educated and if the contractor referral service “really” had the contractor’s interest at heart, as well as you the homeowner, then they would tell the contractor that he should buy workers compensation insurance to make sure he passes the “screening” process and protects himself, his workers and his customers.

Therefore, what the lead referral services “actually” do is guarantee that you do NOT get the most qualified contractors bidding on your painting project. Instead you may even get the “least” qualified. This is not always the case. There are painting contractors in the Chicago area who are members of paint contractor referral services who do follow the law and carry the proper insurance. But, it’s up to YOU to screen them, even if you hire them from a lead referral service who “claims” to have already qualified them. The lead referral service just won’t do it because this would put them out of business because they wouldn’t be able to sell leads to enough contractors. Remember, the painters that are contacting you when you have a contractor referral service give your name out, are “paying for your name and job information”.

What Questions to Ask When Hiring A Painting Contractor

Painting the interior or exterior of your home is one of the most cost-effective home improvements that you can undertake. The first question you have to ask is, do you have the knowledge and skills to do the task yourself and have it look professional?

The last thing you want to do is invest weeks or months of work and not be happy with the result and possibly do more damage to the integrity of your home. If you have walked into a rental property and seen the numerous poor paint jobs done by owners or handymen, you know what I mean.

So if you decide to hire a painting contractor what is the best way to go about it?

SEEK OUT REFERRALS

The best way is to seek out referrals. Talk to relatives, friends or neighbors and find out if they have had a recent experience with a painting contractor. Find out if they were trustworthy, neat, clean and on time. I feel personal experience is the best referral.

If you can’t find personal referrals, the next option is to search the Yellow Pages, internet or check with the paint stores in your area. The paint stores deal with contractors on a daily basis and might be able to recommend a reputable one. An advantage of hiring a contractor that has a good long-term relationship with a paint store is that if there is a problem with a product or color, the store will back the contractor for labor and material not just a few gallons of paint. I would steer clear of the big box stores as they typically recommend contractors who pay them 20+% of the total bill to be a recommended contractor.

ARE THEY LICENSED?

Always hire a State licensed contractor, not a handyman. If a handyman does damage to your house, you have no recourse. One clue is that a handyman will only have five numbers on their license and a painting contractor will have six numbers. The lower the number on the license the longer they have been in business. A State licensed contractor has to carry a $12,500 bond to protect their clients.

If you hire a State licensed contractor, you also want to check to be sure that their license is active. You can check with the contractors license board online. All you have to do is enter the license number and it will show the status and the name of the workers compensation carrier. I looked at a job recently and was underbid by a contractor that does not have workers comp. He claims to do the work himself, but his website shows he has employees. If his employee injures himself on the job, you, the homeowner, will be responsible for his medical bills and rehabilitation. Most homeowners don’t know this.

YEARS OF EXPERIENCE

Be wary of claims of “years of experience”. Check on years of experience as a contractor, as opposed to as a painter, or “in the industry”. When you are at the state license board website under the license number, it tells you when the business was started. To me, painting at ten years old doesn’t count as years of experience. It is pretty easy to start a painting business, but a lot more difficult to stay in business.

PRICE

Don’t hire on price alone. If an estimate is extremely low, there is usually a reason for it. There are many ways to cut price; cut corners on the prep work, number of coats of paint, and quality of paint used; forgo liability insurance, don’t pay workers compensation (illegal if you have employees), use undocumented workers.

Sometimes what seems like the cheapest bid ends up costing more in both money and time – not to mention aggravation. The problem with a bad paint job is that it lasts the life your house unless you strip the paint or replace the surface that has been poorly painted.

Here are some things to ponder. Does the contractor pay their employees a living wage? Do they pay overtime? Do they pay or help with health care? Do they give their employees any paid vacation time? While these factors may not affect the quality of the paint job on your house, they do affect the quality of life of the people who did the work, people who also live in your community and will depend on public services if they can not make ends meet from their wages.

ARE YOU COMFORTABLE WITH THEM?

Any contractor worth hiring should be willing to consult with the owner. Don’t be afraid to ask for help with colors. I have found spending a little time figuring out what my clients are looking for works out for both of us in the long run. There is nothing more difficult than looking through a color deck and picturing what it will look like on the wall. Your contractor should be willing to do a paint out for you on a 8×11 card that you can move around the room from shade to sun. You will be amazed how it changes as the daylight changes.

Find someone you are comfortable with. The contractor and his employees will be working around and inside your house. Many of my clients feel comfortable enough with my employees to leave us in their house while they go to work. Some even plan to have us come in while they are on vacation.

For information on a painter in Kelowna click here.