How To Choose The Best Water Heaters

Factors That Can Cause Premature Water Heater Failure

Water heaters represent one of the most important and highly used of all home appliances. Not only do they supply you with hot water for bathing and cleaning, but they also enable other key appliances to do their job, such as washing machines and dishwashers. A water heater must be constructed to withstand the rigors of hard daily use.

The general reliability of water heaters leads many people to take them for granted, putting off regular maintenance and servicing until it is too late. Unfortunately, this can lead to premature failure and other expensive problems. If you would like to improve your knowledge of water heater maintenance, read on. This article will discuss two quiet killers of neglected water heaters.

1. Mineral Sediment

With very few exceptions, all water contains a certain proportion of mineral content. This content is generally comprised of minerals like calcium and magnesium. When present in concentrations equal to or greater than 60 parts per million, such minerals will earn the hard-water designation.

Hard water is characterized by its tendency to leave behind whitish deposits on sinks, tubs, and plumbing fixtures. These deposits can become problematic as they build up over time. This is doubly true where water heaters are concerned. Even for those with relatively soft water, mineral build up can present difficulties if it’s not dealt with on a regular basis.

The high temperature inside a water heater acts to accelerate the process of mineral build up. Over time, a layer of solid mineral sediment will accumulate on the bottom of the tank. This sediment absorbs heat that ought to be warming the water inside of the tank. As a result, your water heater will have to run for a much longer time in order to achieve the desired water temperature.

This increases the overall wear and tear being placed on the heater — often leading to premature failure of the heating element. The good news is that you can avoid sediment-related problems by having a professional flush your water heater once a year or so. Not only will this prolong the life of your heater, but it will allow it to do its job more efficiently — cutting down on your energy consumption.

2. Internal Corrosion

Corrosion represents a serious threat to water heaters for the simple reason that they spend their entire lives being exposed to the most common cause of corrosion — water. Moreover, the corrosive properties of water are amplified by the high temperatures inside of a water heater tank. Without adequate protection, corrosion would soon chew right through the sidewall of a heater.

This protection comes in the form of the component known as an anode rod. This vital component literally sacrifices itself to protect your tank from corrosion. It consists of a steel wire coated in a combination of magnesium and aluminum metals. These soft metals provide a much more appealing target for corrosion than steel. As long as your anode rod remains good, your tank will be protected.

The key thing to realize is that an anode rod will gradually be reduced in size as corrosion continues to eat away at it. Eventually, only the inner steel wire will remain. At that point, corrosion begins attacking your tank once more. Left unchecked, that corrosion will lead to weak spots in the tank walls, which opens the door to leaks and ruptures.

How do I check/replace the anode rod?

First, turn off the power to the water heater and the cold-water inlet valve at the top of the water heater.

Second, look on top of your water heater, and you’ll see a hex bolt holding the anode in place. Unscrew it and pull the rod up and out of the water heater.

If the rod has rusted through (or the space above the water heater is limited), you’ll have a hard time removing the rod and will need help from a professional plumber

Increased Water Heater Temperature Trouble

If you are concerned that your water heater temperature might be too high, follow the steps below to lower it. The recommended temperature on your tap is between 115 to 120 degrees F, according to the US Department of Energy. However, the actual tank minimum should be no less than 130 degrees, otherwise bacterial growth can corrupt your tank causing health issues. Lowering the temperature will also help you save on bills anywhere from 3% to 5% for every 10 degrees. Be sure not to lower the temperature too much, unless you and your family don’t mind a cold shower!

  • Check the temperature setting on your water heater.
  • On a gas heater there will be a knob on the gas valve near the bottom of the tank. Some gas tanks have an exposed thermostat, which can be set to the desired temperature by rotating it. Others may have the control hidden under a plate that can be moved aside to make the adjustment.
  • On an electric water heater look for the thermostat behind a panel. The thermostat has a visible scale and can be adjusted by turning the control to the desired temperature. Typically you can use a screwdriver to adjust the temperature.
  • By lowering the temperature setting you will protect the tank from overheating, protect your family from any scalding injuries and reduce the energy used to heat the water.

Water Heater Replacement

If you determine that you need to replace your water heater, you should consider the following:

  • Will you replace your system with the same type? If you’ve been considering switching to a tankless water heater, this might be a good time. 
  • Did the tank size of your old water heater meet your current household needs? If not, you may want to purchase a larger tank.
  • Will you hire a plumber or install the water heater yourself? If you do it yourself you’ll need to dispose of your water heater.

How Do Sacrificial Anode Rods Work?

The most important part of a water heater is the sacrificial anode rod. It takes on all the damage so your tank and pipes don’t have to. Additionally, a healthy anode rod reduces the amount of sediment at the bottom of your tank which can raise energy bills.

Sacrificial anode rods come in one of three materials:

  • Magnesium
  • Aluminum
  • Zinc

Since water wants to attack the steel-lined water tank and any metal pipes in your home, a more reactive (least noble) metal is chosen for the sacrificial rod.

The sacrificial anode rod will corrode away completely before the water begins to attack the steel water tank. As long as anode rods are regularly checked and replaced, your water heater tank will be protected from corrosion.

Facts And Truths About How To Prevent Cockroaches

Using Traps to Get Rid of Roaches

Homemade traps are a great way to attract the roaches to a source and trap them. Although this won’t get rid of a huge amount it will at at least keep some pesky roaches away from food and living areas.

Glass Jar Trap

A simple glass jar can be used as an effective trap. You can put any number of attractive things in it including peanut butter, food scraps or coffee. Creating a trap out of a glass jar, water and an attractive meal or smell can get some of those roaches out of your way.

  • Get an empty, clean glass jar and fill it half way with water.
  • Smear some vaseline around the inside top of the jar to make it slippery and hard for them to escape.
  • Add some stuff to attract them e.g. coffee granules.
  • Mix it up and place in different areas of the house. Once a few roaches have entered the trap and died get rid of them and re-make the trap.

Borax and Sugar Trap

Cockroaches are attracted to the sweet stuff but borax will inevitably kill them so this is a perfect and cheap trap to construct. Don’t feel too deterred if you don’t find many dead cockroaches with this one as any roach that steps on it will then take it back to the nest and will act as a poison to the rest of them killing them at the source. It is NOT advised to use this method if you have small children or pets as Borax is very toxic if ingested. Keep it out of reach or use a different kind of trap.

  • Mix equal parts of Borax and sugar.
  • Put this into a container or tray and place anywhere in the house where you get a high number of roaches. You should see dead roaches within a matter of hours.

Cucumber with an Aluminium Can

Some say this is effective while others don’t but have a go and see if it works for you. Apparently the roaches will be attracted to the cucumber but then putting cucumber into an aluminium can causes a chemical reaction that gives off a putrid smell that cockroaches can die from. Not overly sure if this is the case but worth a try!

  • Get some fresh cucumber peels and an aluminium can.
  • Rub vaseline on the inside of the can to stop the cockroaches from being able to escape.
  • Place the cucumber into the can and place in a convenient place.
  • Check after several hours to see if any have been caught.

What Attracts Cockroaches to a Clean House?

 So what attracts cockroaches to a clean house? Cockroaches are extremely versatile pests. They have a very wide-ranging diet and will eat just about anything you can imagine. They have highly tuned water-finding senses and are experts at hiding. All of these adaptations allow them to survive in just about any environment. Roaches also pose health concerns to humans. They are known to carry diseases and can trigger allergies and asthma. They are also extremely hard to get rid of once you have cockroaches in the house. But how do cockroaches get in your clean house?

Location

Some areas are more prone to cockroaches than others. The southeastern United States, especially Georgia, Florida, and Alabama, are home to a large population of American cockroaches (also known as palmetto bugs). If you live in these areas you can expect to see these pests in your home despite cleaning on a regular basis. Unlike German cockroaches, American cockroaches aren’t associated with unsanitary conditions. They may enter your home through a gap in a window seal or through a door that is left open for a prolonged period of time.

Accessibility

Roaches come into your home in search of three things: food, shelter, and water. They have also developed the ability to use even the smallest of openings as an entryway into your house. They can come in through cracks in the exterior walls, dryer vents, or even the gaps between walls and floors. Perform a thorough evaluation of the exterior of your home and seal any entry points you find.

Moisture

Roaches need moisture to survive and this search for water will bring them into even the cleanest of homes. Leaky pipes and faucets are one of the most common attractants for cockroaches and is one of the main reasons you often see them in bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms. They will also hide out under refrigerators and air conditioning units to indulge in their condensation, and even drink from pets’ water bowls when left out overnight. Roaches love places that are dark and undisturbed so you can often find them in basements, in the dark corners of cabinets, and underneath large appliances, especially those that use water.

Food Sources

Roaches will seek out food sources wherever they can find them. Despite your best efforts to keep your kitchen spotless, these resilient pests will make do with just about anything to eat. In fact, they have been known to feast on cardboard, wallpaper paste, book bindings, grease, leather, soap, and even human hair. They can often be found hiding out in stacks of cardboard in your attic and garage, books that you’ve stored away for extended periods of time, and even behind pictures that have been hanging on the walls.

Types of roaches

Roaches have flat, oval bodies with a small head and six legs. Young roaches are pale, but they become darker in color as they mature. There are several different types of roaches in our region, including Oriental (also called water bugs), wood, German, and American roaches.

Oriental roaches, common in Ohio, are black and 1- to 1.5-inches long. Male Oriental roaches have short wings, though they can’t fly.

Wood roaches are brown and 1- to 1.75-inches long. Like Oriental roaches, male wood roaches have wings; however, this type of roach can fly.

German cockroaches are brown with dark stripes behind the head, and about half an inch long.

American cockroaches are reddish-brown with wings, and up to 1.5-inches long.

Insecticide Treatment

Although good housekeeping is helpful, insecticides are usually necessary to eliminate infestations, especially of German cockroaches, which are highly prolific. Cockroaches spend little time out in the open; places that are hard to see and reach is where they tend to be. Dark, secluded areas near food, warmth, and moisture are preferred so a bright flashlight helps when performing inspections. Emphasis should be on finding and treating preferred harborage locations, rather than randomly spraying baseboards, countertops and other exposed surfaces. If key harborage areas are missed problems are likely to continue.              

Many types of insecticides are available for controlling cockroaches. Most are sold as liquid or aerosol sprays, while some are formulated as edible baits or dusts. Always read and follow product instructions.  This will help you to achieve optimal results while using the product safely. Many insecticides require the removal of food and utensils from treated areas. Removing such items often makes areas more accessible for treatment and prevents possible contamination by the insecticide.

Sprays – When using sprays, target the areas where cockroaches prefer to hide. As mentioned previously, this will vary depending upon the species. Be sure to spray any aggregations or areas with fecal spotting. Avoid spraying walls, floors, baseboards and countertops since cockroaches spend very little time in these areas. (Any roaches that do happen to traverse these areas are unlikely to remain on treated surfaces long enough to absorb a lethal dose.)

Dusts – A few insecticides used for cockroach control are applied as dusts or powders. Most familiar to householders are boric acid and diatomaceous earth. For controlling cockroaches, boric acid tends to be more effective. Roaches succumb to boric acid after crawling over treated surfaces. The tiny particles of powder adhere to the insect’s body, and are ingested as the cockroach preens them from its legs and antennae. Boric acid retains its potency almost indefinitely as long as the dust deposit remains dry.

Insecticide forms of boric acid are sold in bulk cans or a plastic squeeze bottle with a narrow applicator tip. For best results, the dust should be applied as a fine deposit barely visible to the naked eye. Cockroaches tend to avoid heavy accumulations of the powder, much as we would avoid walking through a snowdrift. The easiest way to apply such a small amount is with a ‘bulb’ or ‘bellows’ hand duster sold in hardware stores or online. Key areas to apply boric acid for German cockroaches include crevices along the edges and corners of cabinets; the wall/floor junction behind refrigerator, stove, and dishwasher; and puffed into openings where plumbing from sinks, etc. enter walls. Another potential hiding place for German cockroaches is the void (hollow space) under kitchen and bathroom cabinets. This area can be treated by puffing powder through preexisting cracks at the top of the kick panel. Accessing areas behind dishwashers, stoves, etc., may require removal of the front panel.

Prevention and monitoring

Prevention and monitoring are critical to avoiding a serious cockroach infestation. Fortunately, there are steps you can take at home to limit cockroach activity and prevent future infestations. Store food in sealed containers and keep pet dishes covered.

Keep stove tops, counters and floors clean of grease and food.

Repair plumbing leaks.

Seal cracks and holes near doors, windows and other areas of the home.

Monitor your home for signs of cockroaches: eggs, droppings, shed skins.

How To Create Led Electrical Lighting On Your Own

Start Using LED Flood Lights For Extra Illumination At Lower Costs

LED lights have evolved over the years and are becoming more and more prominent in terms of use both in the residential and industrial sectors for lighting purposes. The various benefits of LEDs have benefitted the lighting industry substantively over the last few years, and the versatility of these lights have made them exceptionally useful for various lighting purposes. LED flood lights are now increasingly being used not only in homes, but also in commercial and industrial locations where there is a requirement for a bright, steady stream of light for long durations. The various advantages of the LEDs make it possible for utilization in outdoor LED flood lights, as discussed below:

With LEDs, you receive extra lighting minus the extra consumption cost, a fact which is made possible by the extremely high efficiency LEDs. Super-efficient, these lights are approximately 80% efficient in converting electricity into light energy. Traditional bulbs and lights pale in comparison, as their efficiency levels are around the 20% mark. These lights also require less energy to light them up, as there are no metal filaments to heat us as opposed to traditional bulbs that use the filament-heating concept to create light

Less heat is generated when we use LEDs, making them much more comfortable to have around you. Due to their high efficiency levels in transforming electricity to light energy, only a small amount is converted to heat energy, which means that you do not feel hot when you are close to these lights. And it also means that you contribute less towards global warming, so LEDs can be considered environmentally-friendly lights

LED lighting bulbs

And stand to save substantially in terms of electricity bills. You could probably recoup up to 70 to 80 percent of your lighting bills simply by switching to these type of lights.Well, the initial investment may be considerably higher, however, when you consider that you are using them for your floodlights, your return-on-investment (ROI) would be barely a few months. And you could then save on electricity for the rest of your lights’ lifespan! And when you consider that the cost of electricity rises almost every year, you are all set for even more savings in the future

You also save in terms of maintenance costs, as LED flood light is highly durable items that can last for really long durations. The average lifespan for an LED is approximately eleven years, and most conventional bulbs last half that duration!

Save on replacement costs when you opt for these LED lights, and you can probably even forget about the maintenance factor once you switch to LEDs!

Energy Savings

LED is a highly energy efficient lighting technology, and has the potential to fundamentally change the future of lighting in the United States.  Residential LEDs — especially ENERGY STAR rated products — use at least 75% less energy, and last 25 times longer, than incandescent lighting.

Widespread use of LED lighting has the greatest potential impact on energy savings in the United States. By 2027, widespread use of LEDs could save about 348 TWh (compared to no LED use) of electricity: This is the equivalent annual electrical output of 44 large electric power plants (1000 megawatts each), and a total savings of more than $30 billion at today’s electricity prices.

Learn more about how energy-efficient lightbulbs compare with traditional incandescents.

How LEDs are Different

LED lighting is very different from other lighting sources such as incandescent bulbs and CFLs. Key differences include the following:

  • Light Source: LEDs are the size of a fleck of pepper, and a mix of red, green, and blue LEDs is typically used to make white light.
  • Direction: LEDs emit light in a specific direction, reducing the need for reflectors and diffusers that can trap light. This feature makes LEDs more efficient for many uses such as recessed downlights and task lighting. With other types of lighting, the light must be reflected to the desired direction and more than half of the light may never leave the fixture.
  • Heat: LEDs emit very little heat. In comparison, incandescent bulbs release 90% of their energy as heat and CFLs release about 80% of their energy as heat.

Do I need a special dimmer switch for LED light bulbs?

While most LED bulbs are now dimmable, not all of them are and not all of them dim in the same manner Since LEDs consume such a low wattage, many types of dimmers do not function with LED in the same way that they do with high wattage load incandescents. When dimming an LED you may notice the following:

  • Smaller amount of dimming rage (Typically 70-90% range vs. 100% with incandescent)
  • LED Bulbs may not shut off at lowest dim setting: this is caused by the dimmer thinking the bulb is completely off due to the low amount of wattage an LED consumes.
  • On dimming systems based on X10 or Power Line Carrier (PLC) control technology, LEDs may flicker when modules are communicating due to the small fluctuations in power on the line. 

WHAT CAUSES LED FLICKER?

Mains electricity for residential and commercial properties operates on the principle of alternating current (AC); the process by which an electrical current and voltage is periodically reversed in an oscillating motion known as a sine wave. The sine wave constantly moves from negative to positive values in association with the magnetic polarity of the alternator generating the electricity. This fluctuating process enables high power propagation over long distances, but it also causes lights to rapidly switch on and off – or flicker. It depends on the type of light source whether this switching is noticeable or not. For example, incandescent lamps are too slow to actually respond to sine waves of the mains.

Flicker of LED lights is primarily determined by the power frequency of the mains supply, for example the UK’s mains frequency is 50 Hz, which describes an alternating cycle of 50 oscillations between negative and positive poles per second. The potential flicker frequency in a broad range of simple LED light bulbs is subsequently double the power frequency, 100 Hz and caused by rectifying AC power.

While these fluctuations are inherent in the methodology of AC power supplies, flicker can also be caused by driver or software-related issues.

Must Learn To Keep Racoon Away From Your HOme

How to Prevent Raccoons in Homes and Businesses

Instead of removing raccoons after they become a problem, you can also take some precautionary measures to prevent raccoons from taking over your home or business. Here are a few tips on how to keep these masked bandits out so you can continue living in harmony with one another:

1. Regularly Inspect Your Home or Business and Make Necessary Repairs

Since raccoons can gain entry to your home or business through holes, uncapped chimneys, busted vents or any other roof openings, it’s vital to keep an eye on things so you notice if something is out of the ordinary. If you find any visible signs of raccoons or even loose siding or shingles, make the repairs necessary to keep everything in great condition to keep raccoons out.

2. Keep Trash Somewhere Safe

If raccoons are a big problem in your area, consider keeping your trash sealed and locked in somewhere such as a shed. You may even want to secure the garbage can lid with cinder blocks or bungee cords as an extra preventative measure since raccoons are very smart.

3. Clean Your Yard

Any branches, leaves or other debris could act as an ideal hiding spot or living area for raccoons, so make sure you mow your grass and clean up your yard regularly to avoid anything piling up. Keep firewood at least 20 feet or so from the building in winter as raccoons may use it to build a shelter. You should also remove things like bird feeders and fruit or produce from gardens.

4. Protect Your Pets

Make sure your pets are up to date with their rabies vaccinations and seal any pet entry doors in the evening to prevent raccoon entry.

What Kind of Damage Can Raccoons Do?

Raccoons can be pretty messy. Just ask anyone who has had the misfortune seeing their garbage can toppled over, the contents of which have been strewn all over the lawn. Now imagine what they can do if left for any time inside your home.

When raccoons take up residence inside an attic they are capable of causing tremendous amounts of property damage. We often find that the damage raccoons do to gain entry to your attic is the tip of the iceberg compared to what they do once inside. In very little time, a family of raccoons is capable of destroying your insulation and filling your attic with harmful and odorous urine and feces.

Insulation

With the average raccoon weighing in at 25-30 lb (11-14 kg) they can quickly trample and compress attic insulation simply by walking around. Pregnant female raccoons will compact and clear large areas of the attic to comfortably rest and nurse their young. All of this activity serves to damage your insulation and reduce its effectiveness. A properly insulated attic is critical to keeping your home warm in winter and cool in the summer. Raccoon damage can cost you thousands of dollars in inflated heating and cooling bills.

Urine and Feces

An even scarier thought for many is the fact that raccoons will use your attic as a giant litter box. The amount of urine and feces produced by a single raccoon is enough to create some serious health concerns. These problems are multiplied when as many as eight babies are born and raised just inches above your ceiling.

One of the most significant dangers associated with raccoons can be found in their feces. Baylisascaris is an infection caused by a roundworm contained in raccoon excrement. The roundworm eggs are often found inside raccoon droppings and if ingested by humans can cause severe damage to the nervous system or death.

Do Raccoons Attack People?

Whether or not raccoons will attack people depends on the situation. Raccoons will attack if they feel threatened and particularly if they are sick. Raccoons will attack people only if they feel threatened, and they can inflict serious injuries. Not only that raccoons can hurt a person with scratching and biting, but they can also transmit serious diseases, like rabies. Even though raccoons will not purposefully attack humans to prey on them or kill, they will attack in self-defense or to defend their litter. For these reasons, people are not recommended to try and trap raccoons on their own and try to transport and relocate them outside of cage traps.

Raccoons will definitely attack in self-defense. The examples of these situations are numerous, like if a homeowner surprises and scares a raccoon in a small space, where the animal can’t escape safely, or when a homeowner attempts to grab a raccoon using their hands. Another example of a risky situation is when a homeowner attempts to move the animal out of the trap on their own, touching the animal and not giving it the space to escape and find shelter. Trying to handle a raccoon on your own can be particularly dangerous if a person is not absolutely sure that the animal is not protecting their litter, which can be near. In this situation, a raccoon will act aggressively to protect its young, and this is a situation where a raccoon will try to chase a person away with biting and scratching. Normally, the animal’s reaction would be to try to get away and attack only in cornered, but protecting a litter is the strongest instinct in animals, and this is the situation where a raccoon will decide to purposefully attack a person.

RACCOONS IN THE ATTIC

  • Scare them out. Use caution! Just making your presence known will usually do it. Go into the attic a few times a day with a flashlight. Shine the light on them and talk to them. But if touched or threatened, by being cornered or feeling boxed in, they will defend themselves and they are quite adept at doing so.
  • If there are babies, give the mother 1 or 2 nights to relocate the family.
  • Roll some rags into a tight ball and tie with twine to keep them tight. Soak the rag balls in ammonia. Toss them into the area of the attic where the raccoon is located.
  • If you can, sprinkle Cayenne pepper or Repel® granules, a commercial dog and cat repellant, around the entry hole, both inside and out, if this is possible.
  • During the day, place a radio in the attic tuned to an all talk station.
  • Use floodlights to keep the area where they are living well lit.
  • Once the raccoon has moved out, secure their entry point. Use hardware cloth or welded wire.
  • They usually won’t come back. If you want to use a repellant, then you can either Sprinkle Repel® granules or Cayenne pepper around the entrance area, if that is possible; or use a repellant, such as Ropel®, sprayed around the entrance area.

Is That Raccoon Rabid?

If you see a raccoon in your yard during the day, don’t panic—she is not necessarily sick or dangerous. It’s perfectly normal for raccoons to be active throughout the day. She may merely be foraging longer hours to support her young, visiting a garden while the dogs are indoors, or moving to a new location.

Key in on the behavior of the raccoon before calling for assistance. Look for:

  • Staggering gait
  • An animal seemingly oblivious to noise or nearby movement
  • Erratic wandering
  • Discharge from eyes or mouth
  • Wet and matted hair on face
  • Repeated high-pitch vocalization
  • Self-mutilation

If you see a raccoon showing these signs, call your local animal control or police department.

Best Ways To Squirrel Proof Our Bird Feeders

What Should You Not Feed Squirrels?

If you like feeding squirrels, you want to make sure that the food you give them isn’t dangerous. The two main issues with feeding squirrels are filling them up on foods that have little or no nutritional value or foods that are outright dangerous.

Junk Food

This includes salted and sugared snacks. Just like in humans, these are fillers and have little nutritional value. The salt is also very bad of squirrels while the sugar has much the same effect as in children. Squirrels are hyper naturally and sugar gets them even more excited which is bad for their overall health. Other junk food such as pizza, hot dogs and so on are very bad for squirrels and aren’t part of their natural diet.

Corn

You can feed squirrels a little corn cut up in pieces but never a whole since squirrels have a tendency to overeat, sometimes even to death. Corn also turns sour quickly and grows mould so make sure that the corn is good to eat before feeding. Mouldy or sour corn can be toxic and even fatal to squirrels.

Breakfast Cereals

Breakfast cereals have no nutritional value for squirrels. They are happy to gorge themselves but this is basically filler that does nothing for them. This can easily lead to severe malnutrition. Cereal is definitely not part of a squirrel’s natural diet.

Pet Food

Doesn’t matter if it cat or dog food, again, meats aren’t part of a squirrels natural diet. Squirrels are vegetarian and can actually die from pet food for its high meat content.

Feed squirrels nuts, fruits and vegetables that are found in your local area.

Why you shouldn’t feed the squirrels

We actually don’t encourage feeding squirrels. I know some people find enjoyment in this but there are some considerations to keep in mind:

  • If squirrels are dependent on handouts, it can prevent them from foraging on natural food sources. This can lead to health issues if they’re not getting the proper nutrients.
  • Squirrels can lose their natural fear of people when they begin to associate people with food. While you love squirrels, others in your neighborhood may not and could react differently to a bold or approaching squirrel.
  • Feeding can also cause an unnatural number of squirrels to congregate in an area, larger than what the surrounding natural resources can support. This can lead to an increase in the spread of diseases.
  • It can also spell problems with your neighbours if squirrels start digging up their flowerbeds, chewing on their windowsills or nesting in their attic.

However, just because you shouldn’t feed squirrels doesn’t mean there isn’t anything you can do for your backyard visitors.

How to Attract Squirrels to Your Backyard

Squirrels are found all across North America in both rural and urban settings. While many people try to repel squirrels from their backyard, others appreciate the flurry of activity these fluffy rodents add to a landscape. Attracting wildlife, such as squirrels, to your backyard requires a variety of strategies to make your home’s landscape friendly and inviting.

  • Provide natural cover in the forms of hedges, shrubs, tall stands of ornamental grass, and stacks of wood or logs. Squirrels are naturally skittish and don’t like wide open spaces, and thick vegetation throughout your landscape provides them the cover that makes them feel safe and comfortable.
  • Plant a few squirrel-friendly trees. Such trees have various qualities that specifically attract squirrels, such as edible nuts or flowers, branching structure that creates the hollows and crooks that squirrels like to build their nests in, and easily scalable bark. Examples of trees popular with several types of squirrels include conifers such as spruces and pines, and deciduous trees such as willows and aspens.
  • Offer squirrels food to quickly attract the hungry rodents. Scatter corn on the ground at the base of trees, hang corn cobs from tree branches, and fill bird feeders with nuts that are popular with squirrels, such as walnuts, hickory nuts and acorns. Replace the food as it gets depleted.
  • Provide a source of fresh, clean water in a shallow tray or bowl. Place several of these dishes throughout your landscape near shelter, such as a shrub or the base of a tree. This is especially attractive to squirrels and other wildlife in the summer. If you live in an area where natural sources of water are frozen during the winter, a water heater, such as the type commonly used in bird baths, can keep the water warm and accessible to squirrels.

What Is Poisonous to Squirrels?

Many people wish to poison squirrels because they view them as “vermin” that harm crops or spread disease. Other people may be curious as to how squirrels can eat so many foods that are poisonous to human beings, such as acorns and poisonous mushrooms.

Types

Squirrels have a short digestive tract that allows them to handle many foods that humans cannot. Because the foods are not in the system long enough to make a difference, trace amounts of poison found in acorns, mushrooms and other problematic natural foods do not bother squirrels.

Most preferred forms of legal poison for squirrels are anti-coagulation poisons. These interfere with blood-clotting abilities of squirrels, leading to their death.

Prevention/Solution

If you feed “the birds,” stray cats or any other animals outside, you are inviting a squirrel problem into your yard. Stop feeding any animals outside, and squirrels will have to forage elsewhere.

Diseases Squirrels Carry

Squirrels are known to carry numerous diseases, though only a few are dangerous to humans. Some of the more common include tularemia, typhus, plague, and ringworm. Such diseases are transmitted through bites or other forms of direct contact with infected squirrels. Tularemia, typhus, and plague have symptoms that mimic the flu and can be deadly when left untreated. While all mammals are capable of getting rabies, squirrels are very rarely rabid.

Parasites and Disease

Other diseases squirrels transmit to humans come from the various parasites they carry. Rife with parasites such as fleas, ticks, and mites, squirrels living in proximity to homes frequently pass these tiny pests on to both humans and pets. Some of the diseases humans can get from the parasites include Lyme disease, Encephalitis, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

Avoiding Squirrel Diseases

Keeping squirrels off your property and out of houses is the best way to ensure the health and safety of both homeowners and their pets. While screening and capping vents and chimneys is effective, entry points like windows, doors, and holes in the roof should also be properly sealed.

Auto Repair Help Troubleshooting

Tips for Selecting Auto Repair Shops

If and when you’re dealing with auto repair problems, it can be a time-consuming process finding the right shop, but asking the right questions is key. Learn important tips that will help you select the right shop

If and when you experience troubles with your car, time can be of the essence. For many drivers, dealing with a work schedule and other responsibilities like family make having a working car an absolute necessity

Ask around

Often the best referrals come from your friends and family who have had experience using the mechanics in your area. Getting a word-of-mouth referral from a friend or family member can also mean you’ll get an honest insight about their experience with those repair shops, which can help save you money or avoid a scam.

Shop around before an emergency

If your radiator is smoking or your car won’t run at all, chances are you are in a hurry to fix the problem. If you are in a rush to get your car to the shop, your judgment might be clouded; this may influence you to make a hasty decision based on needing your car back immediately, rather than saving money and receiving top-notch service.

Don’t choose based solely on price

While price may affect your choice, since you want an affordable rate, do not just opt for the cheapest choice. Do your research and compare. The cheapest rate may not always have the worst services; likewise, the most expensive might not offer the highest level of service.

Tips for Choosing a Car Repair Shop

Most people will always have a hard time deciding on which car shop to choose because a wrong choice can be costly. Some car repair shops are in business to take car parts that are new from their clients while they give the old and less efficient car parts. Those are the type of auto repair shops that you need to avoid by all means. This article provides you with essential tips that will enable you to find the right auto repair shop.

Do your Homework

Before choosing an auto repair shop, it is essential to make sure that you are well informed. Ask the people around what they think about the auto repair shop whose services you seek. They will always advise you accordingly. Apart from asking around for more information, you can always do your research on the internet.

Consider Online Reviews

Also, before choosing an auto repair shop, it is important to read online reviews. It is here where you will get all the hidden things that you might want to know about the shop. For instance, if there are people who used the services from the shop and they were dissatisfied for one reason or the other, you will get to know.

The Reputation

Great auto shop repair companies will always have a good reputation. This is because they are dedicated to offering quality services to their clients. They know that if they fail to serve their clients right, they are not going to get many customers as they would have wished. Checking the online reviews will always tell you more about the reputation of the company

Experience

When looking for car repair shops, it is a good idea that you choose the one that has a good experience. This is important because, through the experience of handling different cars, it means that they have skills that they can use to solve any problem. You would not want to give your precious car to people who might end up interfering with it one or the other.

Tips for Choosing the Right Auto Repair Shop

Ask friends and family for their recommendations. After all, it’s often their opinions that you value most, and unless asked directly, most people won’t offer their advice on their favorite shop or mechanic, it’s just not the most interesting topic!

Choose an auto repair shop before major repairs are needed. It’s a lot easier to choose a shop without the pressure of needing immediate repairs. It also gives you time to better weigh your options.

Pick a shop that employs ASE Certified Technicians. ASE Certified Technicians are mechanics who have gone through rigorous training and testing to be experts in their automotive fields. You can trust they will take good care of your automobile

Make sure the auto shop your choose works on your make and model of vehicle. Some repair shops are specialized, so be sure that the shop you choose has mechanics that are certified to work on your type of vehicle

See if the shop has transportation options available. In the case that a major repair arises, can the shop give you a lift back home or to the office? Many auto repair shops will accommodate your transportation needs (within reason), so be sure to call and ask if a free local shuttle service or loaner cars are available

Tips for Choosing the Best Auto Repair Company to Fix Your Car

A car can protect you and your family from external elements and road hazards. But sometimes, the danger comes from within and it is no one but the car owner’s fault. A vehicle that has been neglected and gone a long time without service is sure to have some malfunctioning components that can endanger the life of your family.

License and Certification

Besides shady auto repair services, a lot of people like cars and will offer you a bargain price to fix your vehicle. Don’t do it. You should only get your car fixed by a licensed and certified mechanic. When someone other than a qualified auto repair mechanic tinkers with your vehicle, it can void your warranty and can even lead to more problems in the future.

Visit the Staff

One of the best ways to reassure yourself that your car will be in good hands is to simply book a visitation appointment over the phone or through an email. During the visit, judge how the staff is treating you. If they are cordial and cooperative, it means your car will experience the same treatment. If they are impatient and rude, don’t trust them with your vehicle.

Check the Reviews

Word-of-mouth and referrals still remain the best form of organic advertising to this day. Now with the internet, it is getting easier and easier to see what others are saying about an organization. At PA Auto Inspection, we encourage our prospective customers to check out what our past customers are saying about us. Our review page is filled with honest testimonials of several happy customers who have had their cars fixed from us with very satisfactory results. You can also check out social media and Yelp reviews to see what people are saying about our service.

Pricing

Although there is an industry standard for many types of auto repairs, they can vary a bit from mechanic to mechanic. When you are looking for a good automotive repair and service company, don’t be afraid to look around for the ones that give you the best price rather than settle for the first one you see.

How to Find a Good Mechanic

Find Out Who Services the Big Business Fleets in Your Area

Delivery vans, taxis, company cars, government vehicles – they all have to stay on the road, so you better believe they’re taken to a good mechanic when they need maintenance work or repairs.​

Search for a Good Mechanic Online

The Mechanics Files over on CarTalk is a great place to look for a mechanic recommendation or to check up on a mechanic that you’re considering. It features reviews of over 30,000 mechanics!

Choose Someone From the AAA-Approved Auto Repair Network

Even if you don’t have AAA, choosing a shop from their Approved Auto Repair Network can be a great way to vet a mechanic. All participating shops must offer 12 month/12,000 mile warranties on all repairs, use ASE or manufacturer-certified technicians and pass an annual AAA inspection

Look Up ASE and Manufacturer-Certified Shops

When a mechanic is certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), the manufacturer of the particular make of car that they work on or both, that’s a pretty good indication that they know their stuff.

heck With the Better Business Bureau

Once you’ve narrowed it down to a few mechanics, do a quick search on the Better Business Bureau website to check up on their ratings and reviews.

Where To Deduct Tax Preparation Fees

Tips to Find a Good Tax Preparer

This tax season is the first time many Americans will see how the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act affects them. Some may be pleasantly surprised by big refunds, and others may have to reach deeper into their pockets to pay Uncle Sam.

If you decide to turn to a professional to help you with your returns, your first step is to identify the type of tax preparer you need. Regardless of whether you choose a tax expert in private practice or a storefront tax-prep company, you’ll want someone who has the right experience for your particular needs and can work at a price you can afford.

Check the Tax Preparer’s Credentials

Anyone with a preparer tax identification number can handle and file your taxes, but it’s best to find someone who also can handle audits, IRS collections, and appeals, says Ann-Marie Long, a CPA and tax manager at SKC & Co., a CPA firm based in Boonton Township, N.J. Only a certified public accountant or an enrolled agent—another type of tax professional—can represent you before the IRS in those situations, she notes.

The IRS’ Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers is a good place to find tax pros with credentials and select qualifications. If you live in California, Maryland, or Oregon, ask the preparer to see a current license, which is required by law in those states.

It’s also a good idea to look for a preparer who’s a member of a professional organization and who attends continuing education classes. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants helps consumers find a CPA; it also links to state sites, some of which have search engines to find local CPAs

How to Find the Best Tax Preparer for You

Types of Tax Return Pros

You can have anyone—your uncle, your neighbor, or your best friend—prepare your tax return. But if you’re paying for this service, the person must be registered with the IRS and have a current preparer tax identification number (PTIN), which is an IRS number issued annually to eligible preparers

Eligible paid preparers fall into different categories, depending on their education, certification by professional organizations, and continuing education requirements.

Attorneys: These professionals are licensed by states or state bar associations to practice law and are subject to continuing education requirements and a code of ethics.

CPAs: Certified public accountants are professionals who have passed the Uniform CPA Examination and been licensed by state boards of accountancy; they also have continuing education requirements.

Enrolled agents: These are individuals who have passed a three-part Special Enrollment Examination demonstrating competency in federal taxation and been licensed by the IRS. They, too, have continuing education requirements.

Annual filing season program participants: These individuals are not attorneys, CPAs, or enrolled agents but have completed an IRS program and obtained continuing education.

Any other preparer with a PTIN: These are individuals who believe they have sufficient knowledge to prepare returns and have paid the fee to obtain a PTIN. They are not subject to any oversight by a state, a professional board, or the IRS

The IRS has an online directory of preparers with PTINs. It includes attorneys, CPAs, enrolled agents, and annual filing season program participants, but not preparers who merely have a PTIN but no other credentials. You can search for a preparer by credentials, zip code, and distance from you

(There are also enrolled retirement plan agents and enrolled actuaries who are preparers with PTINs. These experts typically don’t do consumer tax returns, although they are included in the IRS directory.)

Tips for Choosing a Tax Preparer

You’re really organized and on top of things this tax season. Good for you! You received all your W-2s and 1099s, you collected all your financial statements and receipts, and now it’s time to find someone to prepare your tax return. But there’s one problem…you’re not quite sure how to go about choosing a tax preparer.

It goes without saying that you want someone who’s qualified. But how do you know? You want someone who’s honest and reliable, too. But, again, how do you know? The last thing you want to do is search online for “tax preparers near me” and randomly pick a preparer from the list, but sometimes it feels like there’s no better way.

Relax. There is a better way. Follow these 5 tips for picking a tax preparer to help you weed out the fly-by-night preparers and zero in on the best tax professionals in your area. With a little bit of time and a few targeted questions, you can find a competent and dependable preparer to complete and file your return.

Verify the Preparer’s Credentials

There are a lot of people out there claiming to be a “tax professional.” However, just because someone hangs out a shingle and advertises tax prep services, it doesn’t mean they actually have the skill, education, and expertise to handle your return.

To increase the odds of finding a qualified tax preparer, look for someone who is credentialed. You’re much more likely to get a competent preparer if they’ve been vetted by the IRS or a state regulatory board. The most common types of credentialed preparers are certified public accountants (CPAs), enrolled agents, attorneys, and annual filing season program participants.

Tips for Choosing a Tax Preparer

If you’re expecting a tax refund, you may be eager to file your taxes as soon as possible so you can pay off debt, build an emergency or other savings account or shop for any number of previously unaffordable consumer goods

However, rushing into a relationship with the first tax preparer you find could be a big mistake. The IRS recommends choosing a tax return preparer carefully, since no matter who prepares your taxes, you’re still ultimately responsible for all the information on your tax return

Understand tax preparer qualifications

According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), there are around 700,000 non-credentialed tax preparers in the U.S. Many states don’t require tax preparers to pass an exam or obtain a license. While non-credentialed tax preparers may be top-notch preparers, they have limited representation rights and can’t represent you in court or regarding appeals or collection matters.

Search by qualifications

If you need a tax preparer with specific qualifications such as enrolled agent, attorney, Certified Public Accountant or enrolled retirement plan agent, search the IRS Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications

Interview tax preparers

Make sure a tax preparer has an active preparer tax identification number (PTIN) through the IRS and check whether the person meets state requirements. Then interview the tax preparer thoroughly. Ask about fees, availability and what kinds of records the tax preparer will need.

How to Choose the Right Tax Preparer

It is that magical time of the year again and if you are looking for someone to prepare your taxes, there are many factors to consider including expertise and pricing. We are all unique and there is no one size fits all. Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions!

Find out what their tax background and experience is. What is their training? What are their qualifications and credentials? How long have they been preparing tax returns? Also, some tax preparers are not a certified public accountants (CPA) and don’t have a formal credential but yet may be competent. Ask questions to find out what makes them qualified to prepare tax returns

Find out if the tax preparer has experience with the type of return that you must file. Tax returns are not all the same and range from 1040-EZ to various involved schedules. Tax preparers may focus on a certain type of return but may also have sufficient knowledge in many areas.  However, if your return is specialized, you will want to find a tax preparer who has a lot of experience with that type of return. . Ask about their experience with individual returns vs. corporate returns. In my experience, tax preparers who specialize in corporate tax returns, which tend to be more expensive, charge a higher minimum fee. This is something to keep in mind if you are only looking for personal tax return preparation.

Ensure that the tax preparer is familiar with the requirements of the states and localities that you must file in. For example, if you live in one state but work in another, there may be filing requirements to consider. Also, you may have a business that has sales in different states, own property in another state or have relocated to a different state during the year

Know in advance what records, documents and other information that the tax preparer will require of you. This could save you time and money. A competent tax preparer will ask for many different documents and be able to explain what you will need to provide for special circumstances you may have. Personally, I like it when a tax preparer offers a thorough checklist to review, which would enable a thorough tax preparer to make sure nothing has been missed, such as long-term care insurance premium deductions, investment fees or student loan payments.

Information About The Hydro Jetting Service Profession

How Should I Know if Hydro Jetting or Snaking is the Best Choice for Drain Cleaning?

What many homeowners don’t know, however, is that chemical drain cleaners damage your pipes and create weak spots that are prone to burst. This is why professional drain cleaning methods are always preferred. Hydro jetting and snaking procedures are fast, efficient and safe for your drains. They will quickly remove clogs and get your drains clean in no time

How does Hydro Jetting work?

Hydro jetting is a popular choice because it’s fast, effective and completely safe for your drains. Using a high-pressure water jet, technicians can quickly clear out years of hardened debris from your drains. The water jet is also powerful enough to smooth the inner texture of the pipe, which gets rid of any porous patches that form clogs. This prevents future clogs before they start.

When should I use a Plumbing Snake?

Snaking is best reserved for simple or one-off clogs. Emergency clogs are often cleared with snaking because it’s quick and efficient. Snaking is not ideal in situations where the drains are overly dirty or if there is an abundance of hardened clogs in the pipe. These circumstances are best suited for hydro jetting. Hydro jetting is also preferred when there is a recurring clog because the water jet works better at permanently repairing the situation.

DIY Hydro Jetting

Many home plumbing repairs are safe to DIY with little to no experience. Unfortunately, hydro jetting is not one of those services. The high-pressure water jets are dangerous to use if you do not have the right experience or training.

Hydro jetting is also dangerous on pipes that are already weakened or damaged, which is why technicians will always inspect the pipes before recommending this service.

What Is Hydro-jet Cleaning?

It’s important that your home’s water pipes work well at all times. These pipes are responsible for moving waste and dirty water away from your home. Unfortunately, when pipes get blocked, they can’t do their jobs. This has serious consequences for a residential plumbing system. If your home is experiencing problems with clogged pipes, you have two options: hydro-jet cleaning or snaking.

Hydro-jetting, also referred to as water-jetting, is a specialized cleaning solution for drain and sewer pipes. It uses a high-pressure hose that has a special nozzle affixed on the end. The hose itself connects to a machine that directs pressurized water through the nozzle to clean and clear out congested sewer pipes.

Is Hydro-jetting Recommended for All Drain Clogs?

Some pipes aren’t strong enough to handle the force of hydro-jetting. In these cases, using a drain snake is better. Drain snake service uses a cable machine to clear clogs and is an affordable option. Hydro-jetting is best for serious clogs such as when there are tree roots in the sewer line or there is a massive clog that won’t respond to other methods.

Benefits of Hydro-jetting Service

Blocked sewer lines put the drains inside your home at risk of backing up and overflowing. Like it or not, the sewer pipes on your property are your responsibility to maintain. The easiest and most effective way to do this is to use hydro-jetting to clear serious clogs. The reason this method is popular and so effective is that it’s able to cut through virtually anything including wood, dried concrete, grease clinging to pipes, and those pesky tree roots. The pressurized water is powerful enough to pulverize nearly any material and wash it away and out of the pipe. Another benefit of hydro-jetting is that it cleans pipes thoroughly, leaving the pipes crystal clear and ready to stave off future clogs.

Benefits of the Drain Snake

The drain snake is a great option for small clogs that haven’t made it past the trap and deep into the line. It’s also a good option for homeowners who want to try to clear a clog before calling for professional drain cleaning services. Drain snakes, or hand augers, are available at home improvement stores and are a cost-effective, easy-to-use option for the average person.

What is Hydro Jetting?

Hydro jetting is an effective method of cleaning drains and main sewer lines. A hydro jetting machine has a water storage tank and hose attachments that will blast water into the drain lines from approximately 1500 PSI for kitchen jetters and 4000 PSI for main sewer line jetters.

When Do You Perform Hydro Jetting?

Typically, hydro jetting of the main sewer line or kitchen line is not the first step to clear a clogged drain line. Heavy clogs that will not clear by routine snaking, area drains overflowing in the rain, in preparation of epoxy relining, or commercial preventative maintenance are ideal problem scenarios to consider hydro jetting

What is Hydro Jetting Used For?

Hydro jetting is used to completely eliminate scale buildup and heavy root intrusion in main sewer lines, and heavy grease and scale buildup in kitchen lines. It is especially useful in commercial applications for restaurant lines due to excessive grease. When kitchen drain pipes get frequent use and have even minimal amounts of grease poured into them on a regular basis, they can quickly become full and close off the flow of water.

Kitchen Hydro Jetting Process

Hydro jetting for kitchen lines is an effective method of removing heavy grease buildup in kitchen drain pipes that snakes cannot clear. Plumbing contractors or drain specialists will attempt snaking the line with a kitchen snaking machine first to determine the cause of the clog. If the kitchen snake comes back with heavy buildup or hits a hard blockage further down the line, they may recommend a hydro jetter service to remove the buildup.

Main Sewer Lines

Common causes of main sewer line clogs include tree roots, heavy scale buildup, low spots and deteriorating or broken plumbing pipes. Hydro jetting is a great way to expel scale buildup from mineral deposits and root intrusion, but is not effective on broken drain and sewer lines.

Why Choose Hydro-Jetting for Your Commercial Drain Cleaning?

Whether you run a business or own a commercial property and manage tenants, you have a lot to manage. Likely, your Bellaire, TX commercial plumbing is the last thing on your mind. Properly maintaining that plumbing system is not easy, and not something that the average person can handle. However, your commercial building’s drain and sewer system is vital to the operation of the property, and since it’s mostly hidden from view problems can develop without you even realizing it—that is, until these problems begin to impact the plumbing system’s operation.

What Is Hydro-Jetting?

This is a fairly recent, and very effective, addition to the standard methods for commercial drain cleaning. It involves the use of a hose with an omnidirectional sprayer head to blast a high-pressure stream of water down the drain pipe. The hydro-jet pressure is sufficient enough that it can clear out practically any clog that might form in the drain, in addition to any other waste buildup that may form clogs in the future.

What Are the Advantages?

There are a number of benefits to scheduling hydro-jetting for your commercial space. Prior to this service, the most common option to deal with drain clogs was drain snaking—which involves using a long cord with an auger on the end of it. The snake was inserted into the drain until it meets the clog, and which point the auger is used to drill through it.

How Often Should You Schedule This Service?

We recommend that you schedule hydro-jetting services for your drains at least once a year. You don’t need to worry about what season is best for this—so long as you choose a time where you can conveniently have the service done again within a year. There might also be times throughout the year that you will want to call for this service to address specific issues, such as a sudden clog.

Slow drainage is a leading sign that your commercial drains are in need of cleaning. As waste builds up within the drains and pipes, it begins to restrict the flow of water—so if you, your employees, or tenants begin to notice this, it’s important to give a professional plumber a call!

All About Hydro-Jetting and Why You Need It

Most people know that when their drain is clogged, it’s time to call a Richmond Hill plumber. Did you know your plumber may suggest hydro jetting? There are some great reasons to consider it, too.

What is Hydro Jetting?

If you’ve lived in your home for a while and noticed clogs keep recurring, it’s a sign. Hydro jetting can help. If you’re not sure what that is, hydro jetting is the method of using a high-pressure stream of water to clean the inside surfaces of plumbing pipes.

Why Should You Hydrojet?

Whether you’ve built a new home, are buying an existing home, or have lived in your house for years, your sewer drain needs to be cleaned from time to time. Otherwise, you could be in for a costly wake-up call in the form of a broken line. A compromised line caused by toilet paper and waste solids creating a dam and backing up into the house is also a possibility.

Very Effective

You can handle a minor clog with a plumbing snake, but for a severe clog, it is too much. With hydro-jetting, there isn’t a clog that can withstand the force of that powerful blast of water. It completely opens the line, clearing all the debris and buildup, and scouring the inside of the pipe clean.

Cost Savings

Of course, hydro-jetting will cost a little more than your regular drain cleaning services. Yet, in the long term, it will save you money. This method clears the entire pipe, eliminating problems for years into the future, and that saves you time and money without a doubt.

What Packing Services Are Included In Contract Packing

How to Choose the Best Contract Packaging Services

A contract packaging service, also known as a co-packer, is an organization that provides supply chain services such as warehousing pick-and-pack, equipment rental, and more. These companies can provide businesses with total turnkey solutions, or labour. Outsourcing your packaging and warehousing operations with a custom packaging company can benefit your business in many ways. But, before you settle on a co-packing company, it is important to make sure it is aware of your needs. By informing the contract packager of your goals, you’ll be able to discuss and identify if they are the right team for you to work with. Here are three important aspects to consider when choosing a contract packaging company.

Flexibility and Co-Packing of Packaging Service

Packaging and repackaging in the supply chain will always go through changes, and the co-packer should be able to guarantee their ability to respond quickly and make adequate changes to prevent any problems along the way. It is important to ask and find out how the company would meet challenges such as changes in planning, scheduling, and management. Many packaging companies will charge extra for last-minute or rushed projects, which you should expect. It is more important to focus on their ability to adapt to changes.

Capability and Location of Contract Packager

The company you desire to work with should never take for granted aspects such as maintaining machinery and the workspace required. You should ask your contractor what equipment they would use for your project, and request a walk-through of their recommended process. They should also have headquarters in close proximity to where your project will be the most effective. You should be able to reach your end customer or distribution centre as easily and quickly as possible. This will save you costs in terms of shipping and packaging. It will also help you build stronger relationships and explain your expectations clearly to your partner company.

Quality and Cost

Cost may be an important aspect to consider for your business, but it is not the most important factor that influences a successful packaging partnership. You should be budgeting 10% of the total cost for packaging, but be aware that this budget includes materials as well as paying your service vendors. Once you have considered the other factors, then you can negotiate your price with the contract marketing manufacturers as long as they are reliable, resourceful, and responsive to your needs

Hire a Contract Packager from the GTA

If your business operates in the Greater Toronto Area, you could benefit from working with a reliable company that has warehouse locations and provides operations management within that area. If you’re looking for the right company to partner with that meets your needs as a business, Lean Supply Solutions is the answer

How to Choose a Pick and Pack Fulfillment Service That Saves You Time

Are you spending hours fulfilling orders to your customers? Your process is probably slow and laborious. Even after all the time you spend, you can still make costly mistakes like using a wrong shipping address.

What is Pick and Pack Fulfillment?

Pick and pack fulfillment is part of the supply chain management process. It’s the process of picking sold product, packing it, and then affixing a shipping label and invoice to the product.

Why You Would Want to Use a Pick and Pack Fulfillment Service

A streamlined picking and packing process isn’t an easy feat. Inventory must be on-hand, organized, and tracked. This way you know you have enough inventory to ship and track what your customer received.

Products must be properly packaged to be delivered safely to your customer. This means knowing the required box size and needed packing material. Shipping labels have to be generated and placed on the right packages. A system must be in place to validate that customers received the correct order.

Provided Services

First and foremost, you need to see what all services they provide. At the minimal, they should provide basic pick, pack, and shipping capabilities. That’s why you’re using them. Depending on your business needs, however, you might need more.

Things to Consider When Choosing the Right Packaging Company

Packaging is important. Without it, your products have no way to reach your customers. And without proper quality packaging, your products won’t reach your customers intact and undamaged. So how do you go about ensuring something like that? By choosing the right packaging company for your business and its shipping packaging needs. But not all packaging providers are created equally. Here’s 6 things you should consider when you’re ready to start the hunt for a strong packaging partner.

What’s your packaging budget like?

Your products and customer orders aren’t going anywhere without packaging. But if your budget is on the more limited side, you’ve got to find ways to work around that—and choosing the right packaging company will help with that. Plenty of them only sell in large or bulk quantities, and that likely isn’t advantageous to your bottom line. So, what do you do?

What’s your storage/warehouse space like?

This can be another limiter on your operation. Whether your packaging budget is sufficient or not, you may not have the space to stack and store all that needed packaging. And with some packaging providers preferring to sell in large or bulk quantities, what do you do?

Do they offer high-quality packaging materials?

When you’re choosing the right packaging company, ensure that they source their packaging from either high-quality providers or high-quality sources. Spending all that time packing up a customer order only to discover you’ve been using sub-par corrugated boxes can provide headaches for both you and your customers. A good metric for choosing the right packaging company is to see if they take part in any green, environmentally-friendly initiatives.

Do they offer a wide variety of packaging supplies?

Sometimes you’ve got to find ways to stretch your packaging budget (maybe it’s been an unexpectedly busy month, or maybe your new product’s taken off a lot faster than you thought it would). And with the advent of dim weight shipping charges, you’ve probably got to find ways to stretch that already-stretched packaging budget even more. Your packaging provider should offer some interesting, cost-effective and just-as-protective alternatives to corrugated boxes and bubble cushion. Mailer envelopes? Corrugated mailer boxes? Courier bags? These are signs that you’re choosing the right packaging company for your needs.

How to Choose the Right Custom Product Packaging

Products make the world go round. The right custom product packaging can help make a good product great. It can also give your brand the boost it deserves. Get it wrong and the effects could be disastrous.

Make sure your custom product packaging travels well

Custom product packaging needs to be able to travel from point A to point B with ease and minimal damage. It’s important for your packaging to have a killer design that says: do not ignore, I was made for you.

But product packaging boxes also need to be practical. You’ll need to focus on materials that are specifically designed for strength if it’s bulky or fragile when packaging your product. If your product is going to be sitting on a retail shelf, proud as a peacock, then you’ll need to put more effort into the outward display. This is where a superior print finish (perhaps a UV treated high-gloss, liquid-based coating) will come in handy.

Packaging that stacks well, like a two-piece rigid box will help reduce damage. Picking up and placing a two-piece rigid box in a cargo hold can be done with ease. For something a little more heavy-duty, packaging made from sturdy corrugated cardboard is worth considering. This particular material provides excellent support.

Find the right material for your packaging design

Think of packaging design as if you were an architect. You wouldn’t want to live in a house made out of cheese. Just think about the smell in the summer, oh the humanity! So why would you want your beloved product housed in the wrong material?

Tips for Good Packing

Packing a box properly is crucial when it comes to shipping. If your item is not packed well, it probably won’t stand a chance in the carrier’s fast-paced hubs full of drops and falls from conveyor belt to conveyor belt. The carriers know this and have come up with several resources to use for all the do-it-yourself packers out there.

PICK THE RIGHT BOX: Box selection is crucial. Everyone likes saving money and some do this by recycling a used box to ship their item. Recycling is great! Just make sure the box doesn’t have any water damage, rips, tears, holes, or anything else that weakens the integrity. What most people don’t realize is that boxes lose 60% of their strength after the first shipment. Keep that in mind when choosing a box!

REMOVE OLD LABELS AND BARCODES: You want your package to go to the right place, right? Make sure you remove or cover up old shipping labels so the package doesn’t get miss-sorted and go to the wrong place. Believe it or not this happens quite a bit. One time we had someone come into our store with a box that had three shipping labels on it; no one knew which one was the correct label (including the customer)!

WRAP ITEMS INDIVIDUALLY: When shipping fragile items, it’s important to wrap them separately. This can be done with bubble wrap, foam sheets, or newsprint to prevent scratching. Wrapping items individually prevents them from hitting each other with enough force to cause damage. If you put two or more items together and wrap them as one, it may protect them from other items in the package, but it won’t protect them from each other.

USE PROPER CUSHIONING: You should never pick up a box and hear items shifting around in the box–unless your shipping something like LEGOs. Severe damage can result as nothing protects the item from the edges of the box or outside forces being applied to the package. There should be cushioning in the box to prevent items from freely moving about the package.

Electrical Maintenance Courses To Change Your Career

Electrical Maintenance

It is essentially important to carry out electrical maintenance on a regular basis; maintaining all the electrical material fittings, appliances and devices in and around your home. Maintenance enhances the smooth running of all the electricity powered items in your home, while creating a safe environment that will be free from all sorts of hazards.

Home safety is obviously one of the most dearly held goals by most, if not all, homeowners everywhere. A home is designed to be a safe haven for its dwellers, and therefore anything and everything that favors home safety should always be accorded first priority. Electrical maintenance for the home is without question, one of the foremost and sure steps towards fostering a safe home.

Importance of Proper and Timely Electrical Maintenance

When regular electrical maintenance checks are carried out for a home, various unwelcomed mishaps associated with electricity get avoided in an opportune manner. When such mishaps are avoided, it makes it easy to escape unplanned and often very high expenses of repairing, or even replacing badly affected electrical devices due to small problems that would have otherwise been detected and dealt with earlier.

Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) In general, having your home’s HVAC system working well is a welcomed convenience. However, there are instances where the proper working of the HVAC could mean more than just a convenience. Take for instance, a home where there are senior citizens, small children or even a sick person; for such people, extreme heat variations, whether up or down on the thermometer, can result in life threatening complications.Such extreme heat variations would only happen in a malfunctioning HVAC system, and this is something that would have been avoided altogether through properly scheduled electrical maintenance of all its components in a timely manner like say, before the onset of winter or summer.

Outdoor Lighting The outdoor lighting in your home does a lot for your home safety. For one, it ensures that your porches and walkways are well lit and thus safe for both you and your guests at night. The other thing that they do for your home’s safety is deter thieves and burglars, who always prefer to operate in the dark. The light fixtures, bulbs and lines of your outdoor lighting require regular checks and replacements because of the nature of the outdoors. Having a contracted electrician carry out such checks on a regular basis will ensure that at no point will your outdoors be dark.

Choosing the Right Electrical Contractor for Industrial Maintenance

Electrical maintenance is one of the major issues when it comes to your safety and security. For industrial sectors, electrical maintenance is the topmost priority concern from the productivity point of view. To resolve issues related to the maintenance of a colossal industrial project, you must always seek experts, who are well versed with the facts & terms of electricity.

Electrical systems need timely maintenance & constant attention, which is often a life saver & prevent occurrence of serious incidents. Neglecting timely maintenance will lead to frequent faults, downtime, and hazards, which can be very expensive in the long run.

Electrical maintenance contractor is the professional, who provides services & maintains the installation of the whole complex structure. They must have higher standards of analytical skills, so that they can easily handle the old/previously installed systems of every project. Duties & responsibilities of an Electrician may vary & depend upon the contract, which is discussed between him & his client. For complex industrial electrical services & maintenance, you must opt for the best electrical maintenance contractor, because industrial maintenance requires a very high level of professional standards & knowledge to comply with different kinds of complex circumstances that may come during work.

Selecting an electrical contractor :

The Best electrician is the one who you can handle the electrical maintenance issues properly. They are the only ones who have the proper knowledge base & experience to tackle the modern as well as the older electrical system. They help in improving productivity and eliminating downtime.

Choosing an electrician is never an easy task, so take time to find the best one. If you are looking for a reputed and fully insured electrical service provider for your industrial electrical maintenance, give a call to Aspire Electrical.

What is Electrical Maintenance?

Advances in the design and quality of electrical components have made it possible for electrical systems to run for years without noticeable problems. While wonderful feats of engineering, well-designed electrical systems can lull building owners and operators into a false sense of security—right up until the moment the system fails. It’s for this reason, among others, that electrical maintenance is such an important part of commercial building operations.

What is Electrical Maintenance?

Electrical maintenance covers all aspects of testing, monitoring, fixing, and replacing elements of an electrical system. Usually performed by a licensed professional with a complete knowledge of the National Electric Code and local regulations

Preventative Electrical Maintenance

Early identification of problems is a key aspect of electrical maintenance. For instance, should a back-up generator sit idle until needed, it may not start due to a number of factors. Old fuel clogging a fuel filter, uncharged starting batteries, or start switches left in the wrong mode can all prevent a smooth transition to backup power. These are basic problems, easily identified and addressed through preventative maintenance.

One of the major challenges to electrical maintenance is the nature of electrical wiring. It can be difficult to pinpoint the location of specific problems as the system is built into the building. Thermal imaging has become increasingly important in the industry for its ability to identify issues with both electrical connection points and equipment operation. By catching such problems early, electrical maintenance helps reduce unexpected power outages and protects equipment from damage.

What is electrical maintenance? It’s an aspect of building operations no commercial facility should be without. While large scale operations may have their own on-staff electricians, smaller facilities may find it more financially viable to contract with a licensed professional for scheduled electrical maintenance and servicing.

Steps for Proper Electrical Maintenance

With simple maintenance and prevention methods, you can feel better about the safety and efficiency of your home’s electrical system. This includes making sure your appliances are running smoothly and all of your outlets are safe to use for everyday needs, such as charging devices and plugging in lamps.

Remember the golden rule: Safety first

You should never start any home maintenance or repair work without proper preparation and safety tools. When working with electrical items, make sure to unplug the unit or turn off the power to the specific circuit. Don’t forget that water and electricity don’t get along, so make sure to unplug anything electric before cleaning. Never use a metal ladder when performing electrical tasks.

Use electronics accordingly

It’s important to be smart about how you’re using electronics. Avoid plugging in too many things into one circuit, which can overload it and cause a power outage. Be mindful of where you place small appliances and electronics, such as toaster ovens and hair dryers. Make sure they’re not under any vents that could potentially drip on them or are too close to a source of water, such as sinks and showers. Further, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends installing ground-fault circuit interrupters for all of the outlets in wet locations, such as kitchens, bathrooms and laundry rooms. They’re designed to turn off electric power immediately in the event of an incident, which can be a potentially life-saving feature.

Be mindful of plugs, outlets and wires

Treat your plugs kindly and don’t force them to fit into outlets. Don’t try to bend and adjust the prongs, as this could cause an electric shock. Alternatively, if it’s loose inside the outlet, it may be time to replace the cord for a fresh plug. Replace old outlets with new electric sockets with advanced safety features, such as built-in surge protectors. Unplug extension cords when you’re not using them to avoid an electric and fire hazard. When you’re outside, only use cords and electrical items that are specifically for the outdoors.

Schedule routine professional check ups

Electricity can be dangerous, so never hesitate to call a licensed electrician for help. In fact, one of the most important steps in good electrical maintenance is having a professional inspect your system at least once a year. An electrician can check your electric panel, replace damaged wires and test circuit breakers.

COMMERCIAL ELECTRICAL MAINTENANCE

If you run a factory, or data center, a restaurant, or any business. You know that keeping the lights and equipment running can mean the difference between staying or going out of business. Most businesses cannot afford prolonged electrical systems and equipment downtimes. The good news is that Can Do Electric services can help you reduce or eliminate un-planned costly system failures do to faulty electrical distribution and power systems. Keep your business up and running with a proactive electrical maintenance service agreement. Can Do Electric Services, Inc. offers electrical maintenance service agreements of all types. We can tailor an affordable customized service agreement to suit your specific needs.

Protect Equipment and Extend Its Operational Life

Just like getting regular oil changes on your car, staying proactive when it comes to preventive maintenance will save you money down the road.

If you have special equipment like conveyor belts, compressors or pumps. This equipment already has manuals that tell you when general maintenance services are due. You can simply tie our service agreements in with those. But you can choose to use a different maintenance schedule interval.

Control and Reduce Energy Cost

Like with your car or other equipment, regularly scheduled maintenance will extend the operating life of your equipment and related systems.

You lower your operating cost because equipment that’s maintained will last longer, thus extending the useful life of your equipment, which means make less frequent capital equipment investments.

Recoup Cost of Maintenance Service Agreement

When you avoid unplanned electrical equipment failures, you also reduce repair costs.

The cost of a maintenance service agreement will be off-set by the savings realized by longer equipment replacement cycles.

Maintenance for Overloaded Circuits

Dealing with tripping circuits in your office? This issue is caused from overloading one specific circuit. In an office environment, it is likely that too many devices are relying on your wiring. Ignoring an issue like a tripping circuit can lead to damage to your electronics, wiring, or worse, cause fires.