Three Amazing Things You Can Do With a Smart House System

A smart house system, also known as an automated system, turns your house into a futuristic home like those seen in your favorite science fiction films. Some systems even let you push a button to vacuum the floors and remove trash left behind by your kids and pets. These systems often feature different components that you can buy separately but work together. Check out some of the new amazing things you can do with one of these automated systems before you look for a contractor.

Control Temperatures

Learning thermostats work like traditional thermostats but come with more benefits. A smart thermostat will work with your existing HVAC or heating and cooling system. You can adjust the temperature in your home while in the room. When you download the manufacturer’s app though, you can also control the temperature from outside your home and while thousands of miles away on vacation. Learning thermostats use your info and eventually learn to predict what you might like. This simple device can cool or heat your home to the perfect temp before you get home from work.

Alert Authorities

Even if you live in a safe neighborhood, you may still like the idea of having a home security system that works with your automated system. Window sensors placed on your windows detect movements that might indicate someone is trying to break in and will send an alert to your phone before contacting the authorities. You can even invest in a system that comes with cameras that you place around those homes. Using your password and registered account, you can log in and watch the live feeds coming from those cameras while at work and contact help when needed.

Turn On Electronics

One feature that some love about home automated systems is that those systems let them control electronics while away from home. You can pick up a switch that plugs into any outlet and lets you plug in multiple appliances or electronics for less than you might think. That switch works with an app that lets you turn it on or off while on the go. You can turn on your coffeemaker from bed in the morning, turn on your front door lock while on your way to work or even have the television on and turned to your favorite channel when you get home at night. Find a contractor today who can help you install one of these great systems in your home.

5 Must-Ask Questions About Code Violations in Your Home

Whether or not anything in your home is in fact “to code” is a mystery to most homeowners. And in terms of small work that’s been done over the years – whether it’s replacing an air conditioning unit, installing a bathroom vanity or doing electrical maintenance – there’s a good chance it’s not.

Most municipalities in the U.S. have adopted a set of building codes that establish standards for properties, aimed at ensuring the health, safety and general well-being of their occupants. The specificity of building codes range from requirements for ensuring a floor can bear an adequate load to the distance a toilet must be away from the wall.

The strictest attention is paid to new construction homes, where code inspectors will visit the property multiple times before it is completed, explains George Hank, director of the City of Madison Building Inspection division in Wisconsin. Inspectors will check the site repeatedly to ensure the foundation is poured correctly, walls are secured properly and even radon mitigation hardware is installed sufficiently.

“It seems to be an ever-increasing number of things that we look for, which is a good thing because they’re things that make the building even better,” Hank says.

Building codes can vary from city to city, depending on differences in geography and climate, but they often follow similar standards and are accessible through your local government. However, despite being a part of every building process in incorporated municipalities throughout the country, they’re often not well understood by property owners. Here are answers to common questions about residential building codes.

Is your house to code? Probably not .

A newly built home will be built to code, beginning with the plans and permits and checked each step of the way until a final inspection by the city and certificate of occupancy is issued.

But once a resident moves into the home, that’s often where code compliance goes off track.

“Having someone perform a code inspection on an old house just gets you a laundry list of codes it doesn’t meet,” says Jim Davis, owner of About the House Inspection Services in Houston. General inspectors like Davis do not check for code compliance, but rather they look for general issues with the home, such as poor workmanship in a finished basement or leaky plumbing that could be causing water damage.

When general inspectors do come upon some work that’s been done, like a newly installed water heater, that fails to follow local standards, Davis says the rule in Texas is to note it “doesn’t meet current standards.”

But a building code violation doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be fixed, as long as you’remaintaining your home properly. And if a code violation isn’t posing a health threat or creating a nuisance to others, you’re often in the clear, even with city officials. It’s when the magnitude of the project reaches a certain point, like a complete overhaul of a room, that you need to follow the code’s guidelines more closely.

“If somebody’s replacing a toilet in a 1910 house, we’re not going to make them move walls around,” Hank says. “If they’re going to remodel the bathroom, and they’re doing a substantial amount of work to it, or a total gut of a single-family home, we are going to make them make those type of corrections.”

Will it kill your ability to sell a house? No.

Davis says existing homes often have a number of things that technically violate local code, though they don’t necessarily pose an immediate danger. “You wouldn’t force somebody to bring a house up to code because if you did, none would ever sell,” Davis says.

A real estate transaction typically includes a general inspector, like Davis, who checks for deficiencies in the home or perhaps poor workmanship that could affect a person’s desire to purchase it or a lender’s willingness to issue a loan.

City inspectors, who check for code compliance, are rarely – if ever – involved in a real estate transaction. Hank notes the state of Wisconsin passed a law last year that prohibits municipalities from requiring a home to pass a building code inspection prior to sale.

Does it mean you’re in danger? Maybe.

While there are any number of things in your home that can stray from the adopted building code without posing an immediate threat to anyone, the codes are an effective way for the local government to require compliance to avoid harm to individuals.

“The codes are all about minimizing risk,” explains Dominic Sims, CEO of the International Code Council, which has established building codes for various property types that have been adopted throughout the U.S. and other countries.

Under the ICC’s “International Residential Code for One- and Two-Family Dwellings,” any lighting or electrical outlet near swimming pools, for example, must adhere to strict distances from the pool and not be positioned directly above the water, reducing the possibility for accidental electrocution.

On the other side of the danger spectrum, the ICC’s residential code also requires any hinged shower doors to swing outward, away from the shower. While mandating that a shower door swing a certain direction intends to keep all who use it safe, a person comfortable with the space would likely not be in immediate danger by pulling it inward.

How do you know it’s to code? Ask for permits.

Particularly if you’re planning to purchase a home, there’s good reason to want to ensure any major work was done to the local code requirements. Davis recommends contacting the municipality for permits obtained for the home you’re interested in – and also having a general inspector check the quality of work completed.

“Usually the workmanship is just bad, it has nothing to do with codes. It’s just poor work because somebody’s brother-in-law had a six-pack, and he watched HGTV a couple times and says, ‘Hey Martha, it can’t be that bad. I think I can do it – give me a sledgehammer.’”

It’s when major work hasn’t been permitted that a problem could arise, as most state or local laws dictate that the current homeowner is responsible for resolving any code violations. So if you buy a home and neglect to check for the permit on the kitchen addition the seller did a few years ago, you’ll likely find yourself shouldering the cost of redoing it properly.

Can you fix a code violation? Yes.

When a municipality receives a code violation complaint, a city inspector will visit the property to verify if the complaint is valid. If it is, they’ll notify the property owner, telling them what corrections need to be made and how long they have to make them.

In the event of a code violation being found on a construction site, the inspector puts a hold on all work until the correction is made.

In either case – with a new or existing building – if the property owner doesn’t take the proper steps to reach code compliance, Hank says the next step is prosecution by the city attorney, though he says that is rare.

Once a code violation is identified, Davis says it will typically be corrected as quickly as possible because there aren’t exceptions to the code adopted by the municipality: “When [city inspectors] find a violation, there are no personal agendas … It’s what the code says, and it’s what the code requires.”

5 Reasons to Convert your Kitchen to Modern Modular

The kitchen is the focal point of any home, it means nourishment and comfort – whether you enjoy cooking up delicious treats or devouring them. As everything else does, homes and kitchens also change to cater to your current lifestyles. While older kitchen designs suited the needs of the older generations perfectly, these do little to accommodate the modern appliances that make our lives so much easier.  Upgrading to modular kitchen designs gives you the freedom of easy maintenance and handling. They look sleek and also have the advantage of saving you from yearly maintenance rituals as the materials used are pest-resistant and treated to be protected from termites. If you are looking for a great modular kitchen, Bangalore has several options available.

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Easy to set up

Modular designs are easy to set up. The kitchen cabinets are fixed with rails which are easy to move and not cumbersome to handle. With companies like Orange Gubbi, you have nothing to worry about, professionals come to your home and customise your modular kitchens to suit your space.

Make your own style statement

With a modular kitchen, you have the freedom of choosing how you would like your kitchen to be. This gives it a sense of individuality that sets it apart from the rest.Couple style with function and choose the design which best suits your cooking style. Distribute space usage to the optimum, with overhead cabinets and drawers, an easy-to-reach place to keep your spices, your ladles and so on.

Budget your kitchen

Setting up a modular kitchen need not mean burning through your savings, choose your options based on your budget and tailor it to suit your needs. There are numerous options available to take your pick from.

Choose your colour

Modular kitchens are available in a variety of colour schemes. Choose from serene greens to peppy reds, or bright oranges to sunny yellows, the colours and the different tones choices are many.Opt for something which will keep you energized as this is a workspace that you will spend a lot of time in. Starting your day with that hot cuppa of tea or coffee, making your meal, and ending your day with your much-awaited dinner or maybe a midnight snack. Not to forget entertaining a guest or two.

Keep clutter away

Clutter could be a thing of the past with the modular kitchen. Here, you have the freedom of space and the advantage of organising utensils in specific locations of their own, leaving the work area neat and tidy. A modular kitchen is designed with ample cabinets and individualised spaces for small items like spoons, forks to large cabinet space for the bigger vessels. You have the right areas where you can stack and keep the crockery neat. There is space for keeping your gas cylinder safe and secure. With the correct electrical connections, all your kitchen equipment can be neatly operated.

With the right design of a modular kitchen, you can transform your space and re-energise this heart of the home.  You have the multiple kitchen design options available online, where you can choose a straight kitchen or a spacious U Shaped kitchen according to the space available for you.

Solar storage tiles and paint: how to make old homes more energy efficient

Did you know more people die from the cold in Australia than they do in Sweden? According to a study published in The Lancet medical journal in 2015, around 6% of deaths in Australia are attributable to exposure to moderate cold (under 18C in Australia) compared to 4% in Sweden.

Part of the problem is the state of our homes, says Dr Adrian Barnett from Queensland University of Technology. According to Barnett: “Temperatures inside a flimsy wooden Queenslander in winter are often below 18C whereas Swedish homes will be a comfortable 23C, whatever the weather. Many Australian homes are just glorified tents and we expose ourselves to far colder temperatures than the Scandinavians do.”

Heating – or indeed air conditioning in the warmer weather – these “glorified tents” is costly not just to householders, but also to the environment. Approximately a fifth of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions comes from buildings, largely due to high, fossil-fuel reliant energy consumption.

Much of the discussion around energy efficiency measures in the home centres on new buildings. Yet given the majority of Australians live in older homes (for example, 86% of homes in Victoria were built before 2005 when minimum energy efficiency requirements were introduced), making existing housing stock more energy efficient would have a positive environmental and financial impact – as well as potentially save lives.

Fortunately there are a range of new solutions on offer in the Australian market that can improve the efficiencies of existing homes.

Last year Australian solar roof tile manufacturer Tractile produced the “world’s first integrated solar roof tile solution generating both electricity and hot water from a single unit”.

According to Bertio Terpstra, director at Tractile, there are two tiles that could be retrofitted: the Eclipse solar roof tile, which can be used in complete roof replacements; and the Horizon roof tile, which can be integrated into flat concrete tiled roofs.

Both tiles can produce around five kilowatts of energy (enough to cover around 80% of an average household’s daily needs) in an area covering 32square metres (about 14% of the average household rooftop in Australia). At the same time, hot water channels at the back of the tiles transport heat from the sun to hot water systems. That means for every square metre of Horizon tiles, around four litres of pre-heated 40C water are produced. Tractile estimates this could save customers between 40to 80% on hot water bills.

And if used in conjunction with a storage battery, Terpstra says the roofing system can reduce energy emissions by 100%.

There is, however, a fairly big price tag. Terpstra estimates a roof tiled entirely in Eclipse solar roof tiles would be around $10,000 more expensive than a conventional roof with a non-integrated solar system.

Another more affordable innovation that could soon come to the market is solar paint. Developed by Prof Paul Dastoor and his team at the University of Newcastle in New South Wales, the paint holds soluble organic electronic materials that can be printed, painted or sprayed onto different surfaces while conducting electrical charges.

Last year the paint reached efficiencies of 3% and Dastoor estimates that if painted across a roof, the cells in the paint could produce enough electricity to power a household – at around a tenth of the cost of installing a silicon solar panel system. It is expected the first prototypes of the paint will be available within a year.

Retrofitting doesn’t have to be expensive or overcomplicated. Your Home, the government’s guide to sustainable houses, lists practical immediate options. These could include easy fixes – such as installing shades on west-facing walls and windows, painting roofs in light colours to reflect the sun and planting green walls and roofs – to more complex jobs, such as wall insulation, ceiling insulation, draught proofing, secondary glazing and double glazing.

Lyn Beinat, CEO of retrofitting specialist ecoMaster, says a professional eye can help. “Some people might decide just to replace all their [single-glazed] windows with double glazing, but their home is still cold in winter because they haven’t got the adequate insulation, or they haven’t draught proofed. It’s not uncommon to see people spend $60,000 on new windows, only to find that the biggest difference could have been dealt with by draught proofing, which might only be $6,000.” After retrofitting her own house, Beinat reduced energy consumption by 84% and created a zero-emission home.

Additionally retrofitting can improve the capital value of housing stock, Beinat says, citing a study from the Australian Bureau of Statistics that shows every half star improvement in the Nationwide House Energy Rating scheme adds about 2% value to a home (based on median house prices in Canberra in 2006).

Although financial support is not yet widely available from the federal government (following the green loans scheme fiasco), there are ways to access capital for retrofits. These include Bendigo Bank’s Generation Green loan, Adelaide city council’s Sustainable City Incentives Scheme, and energy efficiency discount schemes from many state governments, including Victoria, New South Wales, and South Australia.

Also, the Clean Energy Finance corporation launched a $250m community housing program in February, which will enable community housing providers to access finance to retrofit existing buildings as well as support the construction of new green community housing.

15 Effective Home Improvement Ideas to Make It Energy Efficient (INFOGRAPHIC)

October 27th is celebrated as the Energy Star Day.

We talk about saving money around every financial turn, from buying discounted packaged dry goods in bulk to keeping up with the maintenance on our brand new vehicles. Yet, one area of homeowner costs literally and figuratively flies out the window. Most of us do a poor job of reigning in our energy bills.

Take a look at some startling statistics:

  • Americans spend $130 billion per year on energy that does absolutely nothing but go to waste
  • The amount of energy wasted by 75,000 average American homes in one yearequals the waste that spewed out of the 2010 BP oil rig disaster
  • In 2012, the amount of energy wasted by businesses and homeowners in the United States would have generated enough power in the United Kingdom for seven years

Yet, we are discussing macro effects of energy waste. The dramatic effect on family budgets throughout the United States has wakened up many people. However, not many Americans understand how to reduce energy waste. The answer lies in 15 simple steps that turn your home into an energy efficient machine.

15 Effective Ways to Reduce Your Utility Bills

1. Change out Incandescent Light Bulbs for LED Indoor Lamps

The United States government has mandated this change, but far too many homeowners cling to the use of energy sucking incandescent light bulbs. A recent study states that the average American household burns 47 light bulbs. By assuming the use of 60-watt incandescent light bulbs, the amount of energy saved by going LED is staggering.

Type of Light Bulb One Light Bulb Wattage Wattage Consumed for Household
Incandescent 60 Watts 2,289 Watts
LED 9.5 Watts 446.5 Watts

The average American household that uses 47 light bulbs saves more than 80% in energy consumption. Forget the government. Do the right thing and replace incandescent light bulbs with LED indoor lamps. Your accountant will also thank you.

2. Dual Flush Toilets are Better than One

We tend to flush the toilet about as often as we leave the kitchen sink faucet on.Dual flush toilets decreases water usage by using water whenever it’s needed. A dual flush toilet has two handles or buttons that flush different water levels to ensure that you only use the water you need. The energy savings translates into more than $100 a year for sewer and water bills.

3. Dimwits Don’t Use Light Dimmers

How bright do you really need the lights inside of your home? You don’t need a floodlight to read a favorite book or to watch the latest episode of The Blacklist. Light dimmers save more than 90 percent of light energy, which translates into a 10 percent reduction of your total energy bill. You simply set the dimmer to a level that meets your needs and watch the light automatically dim, after a certain period has elapsed. The less light that you use, the longer you enjoy the energy saving benefits of LED bulbs.

4. Automatically Shut Down Desktops and Laptops

How many times do you stop working on a laptop or desktop computer to do something else? Your smartphone rings a text or Federal Express comes knocking at the door. Whatever the case, you waste precious energy by leaving unattended computing devices running at full power. Laptop and desktop computers that include the “auto shut off” feature prevent you from wasting energy, while you tend to other matters. The feature automatically shuts off computer power, whenever the system detects a preset period of inactivity. So use these features by activating them by going to settings (or control panel) in your devices.

5. Strip Down Electronic Device Power

Conventional power strips offer homeowners a convenient way to increase the number of electrical outlets. However, the convenience leads to careless energy usage, as the electronic devices remain plugged in most of time. Many electronic devices, such as plasma televisions and DVD players continue to use power after you turn off the machines. Smart power strips eliminates energy wasting conventional power strips by implementing the same automatic shut off feature found within computers. Once you turn a plasma television off, a smart power strip automatically cuts the power drawn from an electrical outlet. Energy efficiency experts estimate that smart power strips save homeowners more then $100 per year in energy costs.

6. Ceiling Fans Require Less Power

Air conditioners spoil us by producing a steady stream of cooler, drier air. However, far too many homeowners blast the AC from the first hint of spring to the last gasp of autumn. Air conditioners guzzle energy, especially in homes that leak in hot, humid air. Window units might be the most inefficient home appliance of all. The answer to air conditioner energy waste whirls fastidiously above you hear in every room of your home. Ceiling fans push warm air down from the ceiling, which provides a heating benefit during cooler months of the year. Strategically located ceiling fans can reduce HVAC energy waste by more than 10%.

7. When Shower Drips are a Good Thing

We know that a dripping shower wastes water and hence, energy. A shower head that includes a drip features allows you reduce the flow of water, while you lather up with soap. The water reduction feature appears to save little in energy, but every bit counts in the effort to implement home improvement ideas to make it energy efficient.

8. Add a Layer of Heat Loss Protection

Sealing home windows airtight goes a long way toward saving energy. Advanced technology has taken airtight windows one step further by introducing smart blinds. Cellular and honeycomb blinds work in tandem with windows to reduce heat loss by up to 86%. Smart blinds operate on a timer switch that you set at night and an automatic daylight detector for daytime energy savings.

9. Second that Motion

We know about the security benefits of installing outdoor motion sensor based lighting. An added benefit helps you save energy and thus, lower your monthly utility bill. Motion sensor based lights automatically turn on, whenever the sensors detect movement. Many systems don’t turn on for smaller animals, which saves you even more energy. Ensto puts the savings on lighting costs around 60%. Motion sensor lighting systems also make it convenient for you to move about the deck, with your hands full.

10. From Dusk to Dawn Energy Savings

After hosting an outdoor bash, we sometimes forget to turn off the outdoor lighting. This act of forgetfulness adds up in higher energy consumption. Dusk to dawn LED light bulbs automatically turn off at a certain time to prevent energy waste. Of course, we have already discovered the energy saving benefits of LED bulbs.

11. Here Comes the Sun

Far too many homeowners avoid solar powered energy systems due to the false belief the systems put a large dent in the family bank account. Although the initial investment runs higher than other types of outdoor lights, the savings accrue after several months in the form of much lower electrical bills. Solar powered outdoor lights can save the typical family more than $30 per year.

12. Change the Air Filters Regularly to Enhance Energy Efficiency

Changing your air filters on a regular basis is another great way to reduce your energy expenses. This is especially true if you spend over $100 on cooling and heating your home. By getting into the habit of doing this, it is possible for you to save almost $50 a year. This amount of savings is enough to pay for the extra filters you will use.

13. Lazy Doesn’t Cut It for Saving Energy

Advanced technology has made us, let’s say, complacent, when it comes to consuming energy. For example automatically operated lawn irrigation systems turn on from the programming of a preset schedule. However, automatic irrigation systems inefficiently use energy. Save anywhere between $10 to $35 per month on your water bill and save energy at the same time by manually operating your lawn irrigation system.

14. Charging Electronics Wastes Energy

We all use smart phones, tablets and laptops in our homes. And with devices getting smarter more apps are being run resulting into more use of battery. So we usually charge these devices at night. For these devices it’s better to use smart charging stations that are either timed or automatically turn off after the device is fully charged. Charging devices are responsible for using almost ten percent of a home’s power, and that’s quite a drain on both energy and finances. That’s why it is important to make sure that you are using the correct kind of energy efficient charging stations, so you can reap the benefits of not consuming quite so much power.

15. Use Smart, Programmable Wifi Thermostats

Smart home automation allows homeowners to have virtual control over everything that consumes energy. Programmable smart thermostats sit at the forefront of the home energy efficiency movement. Smart thermostats automatically adjust to account for the time of day. You program smart home thermostats from your smartphone. Save nearly $200 per year by switching to smart thermostats.

Owning a home requires a lifelong financial commitment that includes finding ways to save money on energy consumption. You don’t have to be Stephen Hawking to reap the rewards of implementing home energy saving practices. In fact, most of the measures for saving energy involve little or no financial investment.

5 Home Tools You Never Knew You Needed

When it comes to home improvement, we know the drill (see what we did there?): Get a good hammer, invest in a screwdriver, make sure you have pliers, and so forth. But even with a stocked toolbox, an easy weekend revamp can quickly turn into a sawdust-covered mess.

Unless, you make sure you’re prepared for anything by adding a few extra tools into the mix. You probably never knew you needed the five tools we rounded up here (and that’s probably because you never even heard of them), but they can MAJORLY rev up your DIY game. These tools are useful for all sorts of projects, from painting the front door to building your own table — and once you start using them, you’ll wonder how you ever worked without them.

Roll up your sleeves…

1. A non-contact voltage tester
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This little gadget is ideal for newbies to home improvement, as it checks to see if your outlets are safe to work with. After you’ve turned off the power to an electrical outlet, plug this pen-like device into the outlet to make sure an electric current isn’t running — that way you’ll know it’s safe to unscrew the outer plate or re-jigger wires. The tester works for appliance cords and light fixtures, too.

2. A laser level

Unlike your typical bubble or “spirit” level, this thing emits a laser beam to keep things perfectly horizontal when you’re cutting beams or nailing in shelves, frames and mirrors. It also emits a vertical beam, which helps for installing plumbing.

3. A pull saw

If the word “saw” sounds too heavy duty, here’s an alternative. Pull saws have tiny teeth and a sharp, easy slice, as they cut on the “pull stroke,” aka when you pull the tool toward you. Use them on wood blocks, lumber, or hard-to-reach places that need a clean cut.

4. A paint sprayer

Why use a big roller when you could spray an entire gallon of paint in nine minuteswith this little guy? It’s ideal for getting a smooth coat on your door, wall or furniture — and it sprays sealers and stains, too.

5. A stud finder

You know when you’re hammering a nail into the wall and suddenly hit a studburied waaay in there? Yeah, that won’t happen anymore with this brilliant invention– it can tell if there’s metal behind the wall, under a floorboard or in a ceiling beforeyou start hammering.

5 Home Renovations You Shouldn’t Do Yourself (And Ones You Can Tackle Instead)

With the new year comes resolutions for both yourself and your home. But before you tackle that big interior overhaul… don’t.

Last month, real estate site Zillow Digs polled homeowners who had completed a DIY home renovation within the last three years to find out how they feel about their projects in the aftermath. The results were not so promising: More than 40 percent of homeowners said they regretted undertaking large DIY renovations such as refinishing cabinetry or expanding a room, as projects like these went over budget at least 20 percent of the time. Survey responders had the most regret over the following projects:

  • 5 Refinishing or reinstalling hardwood floors

So if an update is in order, what’s a homeowner to do? It’s tempting to go big onDIY improvement, said Zillow’s Alexa Fiander. But homeowners often forget that large-scale DIY projects require special carpentry or electrical expertise, as well as LOTS of time.

Instead, Fiander recommends small fixes like replacing light fixtures, replacing cabinet hardware and giving rooms fresh coats of paint. These easy, quick projectsleft homeowners regret-free more than 80 percent of the time, Zillow’s survey found. (Bonus? A white paint job could make your home sell faster, if you’re in the market.)

The best DIY revamp, however, may be a simple cleaning session. Many experts, including HGTV’s Nicole Curtis, say decluttering before you do anything else will help you appreciate your space and renew your eye for design, thus eliminating the need for all those renovations you had planned.

Great Tricks And Tips For Keeping Your Upholstery Clean

Some of the things to fare the worst around the house are usually upholstered items like sofas and couches. When it comes to house cleaning, taking care of upholstery can be quite a challenge. The smallest things can result in a lot of damage: for instance, a tiny spill of that wine you served your guests could really cut into this month’s savings if you have to get your entire couch reupholstered or those two minutes you looked away while your toddler was eating on the living room sofa can come back to haunt you! Before you start worrying, here’s some great news: in this article we have a variety of great tricks and tips from cleaning companies on how you can keep your upholstery clean.

First and foremost, whether you are just wiping down the upholstery for some regular cleaning or you are trying to tackle a food stain, it is important to acquaint yourself with the manufacturers’ instructions that come with the product. All upholstered items will carry some form of information regarding care and cleaning and it is very important that you follow these to the T. If your upholstery calls for avoiding water and water-based cleaning products, then you must resist the urge to use a damp cloth to wipe that food stain. If your upholstery care tags direct you cleaningto have it dry cleaned, follow the instructions and spend a little extra because you won’t regret it when your cleaned items come back from the professional cleaning service in Kensigton looking brand new. Don’t try to circumvent instructions to save time and money; you’ll only be exhausting more of these resources in trying to repair any damage you might do along the way.

Learn how to tackle spills and stains efficiently. You can’t wait for the cleaning contractors to arrive every time. With food and drink spills the important thing is to contain the damage and to keep the stain from getting absorbed into the upholstery. Remember never to scrub or wipe the affected area as this will only serve to spread the mess. Instead you need to get an absorbent cloth or thick tissue or absorbent cleaning pads and gently blot the affected area.

It is also important that you learn to recognise different kinds of stains and the kind of cleaning techniques and products that work best with them. Oil-based stains such as food spills should be tackled gently with hot water and a clean wiping cloth. The hot water helps to get the grease out, but remember to be gentle and not rub the upholstered fabric too vigorously. Non-oily stains should be treated with cold water instead. Domestic cleaning professionals also recommend purchasing and storing some regular upholstery cleaning agents in the house. While you can make do with other products such as vinegar solutions, it does help to have some tested cleaning products on hand when you can’t call for cleaning services.

Most homeowners are well aware of the fact that regular maintenance and cleaning actually help keep things strong, clean and dirt-free. Hiring cleaning agencies is only necessary for deep-cleaning and large repairs that you can’t handle yourself. However, as most upholsterycleaning companies share, people usually default on taking care of the upholstery around the house until it’s too late. You can prevent a lot of damage simply by vacuuming weekly and lightly dusting all the surfaces in the house every day. A frequent dusting will mean you won’t need sofa cleaning and upholstery cleaning services quite as often.

Removals and storage, is it useful?

To say that moving house is rather hectic is probably a bit of an understatement, what makes the whole process incredibly chaotic is the amount of contents that will require sorting and packing in order to make the home move efficient and flawless and if a person has lived at an address for a specifically long time, you can bet that there will be a lot of stuff accumulated over the years.

Most people see moving as a fresh new start therefore would rather not take any clutter with them which is why it is incredibly important to have a good sort out prior to moving day. Sorting out doesn’t have to be done immediately though, if time is limited and you don’t want to rush the sorting out process you could consider storing items until a later date. Some people hold items of value which they no longer wish to keep, rushing to get rid of these items could mean that you sell for less or even give things away, this is fine however if there is opportunity to make some good money from unwanted contents then using storage until there is sufficient time to getting round to it is probably your best option.

Sort, prepare and make some money!
When people move house they are usually faced with a situation of not knowing what to take or what to keep but most would agree that they do not removalswant to take clutter with them. The great thing about moving is that we have no choice but to have good sort out and oftentimes we do discover misplaced items which may have been lost for years.

Sorting out can be a great money making opportunity, you could find things that hold substantial value even and it’s the perfect time to try to raise some funds. I’m sure at an expensive time during moving that any extra cash that can be made would be an absolute bonus?
Having said that, moving is no easy process and most people may find that they already stressed enough let alone having to find time to do this so this is where storage comes in to play, you may find that using storage offers freedom to put aside items that have no place in the new home which can then be carefully sorted and sold at a later date.

Storage is beneficial in many other ways, not only for storing items until people find time to sort through them. Let’s discover how else storage can benefit you;
Bearing in mind that different people have different circumstances some of the following reasons for using storage may be right for you, others may not be.

• Space saving opportunity, If you have a lot of stuff and you are moving, particularly downsizing you may not be able to take it all with you, storage for temporary purposes allows you be able to move clutter free and then come back to sort out unwanted items later on.
• New or current Home refurbishments, Whether you are moving or not many people decide to do home improvements from time to time, by opting to put items into storage until the job is complete ensures that everything is safely kept out of harm’s way whilst the refurbishments take place.
• Deceased Relative or close friend, if a family member or close friend suddenly passes they may be leaving a whole house full of contents left behind. Usually house clearances take place at some point by relatives of the deceased may be faced with having to sort through the majority of the goods beforehand. At an already upsetting time this could be too much for people to have to face and storage allows time to come to terms with a death before having to face this situation.
• Evicted! If you are evicted you have hardly any time to get out the property, storage may be your best option if you want to keep hold of many of your contents.

Tips to Reduce the Cost of Moving House

It can be affirmed by the people who recently bought or are going to buy a new house that costs associated with getting a new house and the moving into it are just mounting up. The process of house surveying and house removals are becoming the most expensive ones. Apart from that, there are other charges like conveyance fees, stamp duty and estate agency fees. The process of moving house is not only stressful but it is also very expensive. Most of the times, people do remember the cost of stamp duty and surveys but they do not have any idea about the other additional costs that add up during the flawless professional removal process. These extra costs do add up quickly and then at the end it becomes a surprise that how these costs have summed up. At the end, you have to do small repairs to the old house that you are about to leave, you have to pile up the packing materials and have to buy few things for your new house. This shows that till the end there will be a lot to spend on. Following are few of the tips that can help you to cut down the costs associated with house removals.

removals• First of all, you must ensure that you may get the best available deal or package on your mortgage. This can largely help in cut down the costs. The total cost must be considered while choosing the home loan. Both the rate as well as fees matter.

• Have a detailed research for the lenders and never take decision in hurry. Do some research work to find out the best lender for you. There are few banks and building societies that do offer you to pay a lump sum amount of stamp duty on your behalf. There are many lenders who do offer some cash back so that you can pay some of the moving bills and it will be a big help for you. You must ensure what you are getting so that you might not miss anything. Different lenders do offer different attractive offers so that people do get attracted towards it.

• While moving to your new house, try to find out some reliable conveyance. Try to go for the man and a van service that is licensed. An insured or licensed will take the responsibility and will perform their job securely. Again, it is better to search for the man with a van service on the internet as there are a number of services available today. Try to get the quotes from different service providers so that you may find the one with better offer. Get the complete quote that includes land registry fees plus VAT. Otherwise, they will charge you for all these additional charges at the end. It is also advised that you must not go for the cheapest available service. They might not provide you with the best service. Keeping down the conveyance costs can largely help in reducing your moving budget.

• The same strategy should be kept for choosing the removal services. Do a detailed research and then select the company that might help you in removal and moving. You can also ask for the reliable companies from your friends and family by listening to their experiences. Get the quotes from different agencies and then checkout which company is covering your requirements. It is also advisable that if you can get some help from your friends in moving then do not go for hiring a removal company. Instead, perform this job by yourself to save the costs.