Category Archives: Home Improvment

10 Things You Should Know Before Donating

Many people around the world donate either their time or money…sometimes even both if the charity organization is lucky. So why do you think this is? Maybe people have too much time on their hands or just want to do something different. Maybe people are filthy rich and just give their money for the heck of it (I don’t fall under that one!). Maybe it’s the “feel good” effect that people are after. Rest assure that no matter the reason to give, they are all good! Nothing should stop us from giving our time or/and money to important charities and causes! Donating to charity helps those in need, it also has important tax benefits for you.

However, did you know that one of the fastest growing trends in “organized con artists” is charity donations and non-profit. Their activity is being able to register a non-profit charity organization (which is very easy to get by the way) and start promoting. They will throw a few fundraisers, increase PR, start word-of-month, etc… and then at the end of the year, donate a penny to the dollar. This means that for every dollar donated to the charity organization, only 1 penny ($0.01) goes to an actual cause. The remainder 99 cents is kept for their pockets! Think of it, the non-profit organization have access to the $250%2B billion (yes BILLIONS!) raised for charities every year (USA stats only). With over 1 million registered charity and non-profit organizations in North America, it is extremely important to do our home work before choosing the right one.

Here are my 10 things you should know before donation:

1. The most important one: Research your charity! Find out who the owner, president, CEO, etc… are. Find out how much they are making. Find out how much of your dollar goes towards their cause. One way to do this is to search on the web. The one site I found to be very useful is charitynavigator.org. They have all this info and more at your fingertips.

2. Ask for physical information. Get to know your chosen charity before giving money. Email them and request their goals, vision, long term plan, etc…in a brochure type of document. Remember, it is your money that you are giving and if they don’t provide you with this information, then they are hiding something.

3. Call the charity directly. Giving them a call gives you a sense of the type of service they provide. It will also give you a good indication on how versed they are in their own cause. Prepare some good questions ahead of the call and put them on the spot.

4. Call the causes. Calling the supported cause(s) (i.e. children hospital, homeless shelters, etc…) to get confirmation about your charity will assure you that this is legitimate.

5. Feel the name. Everything is in a name. If you are looking to donate to Uniteway…think again! You probably wanted Unitedway! Making sure that you have the right organization is crucial. Cons are good at imitating!

6. Feel the pressure. Never feel pressured into a donation! If you get a call asking for funds, ask for all the details. Make sure they explain everything. Ask for a call back number. Ask how the funds will be used. Ask for their website and say that you will donate online. If they can’t provide you with any of those details or are forceful about donating right now over the phone, the chances are it’s a con. Hang up and if you feel you still want to donate, complete steps above.

7. Watch for prizes. If it’s too good to be true it usually is! If anyone tries to sell you on outrages prizes and giveaway for your donated money, before buying, complete steps above (especially if it’s time limited like “you need to donate in the next 5 minutes to get this giveaway”).

8. Door-to-Door. Again, watch the pressure tactics. Many “cons” which has arose with door to door are chocolates for example. Anyone can go buy bulk chocolate at $0.50 each and sell them door-to-door at $5.00 each for charity. If you sell 100 chocolate bars a day…that’s good revenue! But no charity will benefit! So again, are they Unitedway or Uniteway?

9. Your taxes. Watch out for what the charity provide as tax benefits for you…especially if you give a large amount. Tax exempt means the organization doesn’t have to pay taxes. Tax deductible means you can deduct your contribution on your federal tax return. So an organization that has “tax exempt” doesn’t mean you will be able to declare this deduction on your taxes. Be sure to ask for a receipt that clearly indicates “Tax Deductible”.

10. Repeat the cycle! If you have numerous charities that you currently or would like to start contributing to, make sure you follow these 10 things for each one of them. Do not skip one…it might cost you!

Please keep in mind that donating your time is just as important! So in order to validate the organization you want to volunteer to, follow those same steps. A waste of time is a waste of money!

There is also many other form of research you can look into such as the Better Business Bureau (BBB), local “watch dog’ organization, and let’s not forget the web! Just make sure that when you perform your search to include your location (city, town) in the search…this narrows it down.

Thank you for reading my article, it was a pleasure writing it for you!

Carl R.

VIG Member

If you would like to know more about IG (important giver) and VIG (very important giver)membership, please visit my web site or blog below:

[http://www.goodwillmall.com]

Buy More, Get More, Give More!

[http://blog.goodwillmall.com]

Learn More, Say More, Do More!

Thank you!

The CNJMB Goodwill Group team…where it’s all about GOODWILL!

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Choosing the Best Wedding Venues

Where to start when searching for a hens night venues Melbourne?

Well start with ricepaperscissors.com.au as they will give you plenty of options.

So if you are planning a wedding without the aid of a wedding planner, your first concern should be to find the wedding venue.

Naturally, the style of venue directly impacts on the style of wedding for it will shape the entire style, theme and décor of the whole day’s proceedings. So after having set a date and a budget (actual or approximate), you need to decide what style of wedding you are after. No doubt some brides (and grooms!) will have been dreaming about their wedding for months or years before they are engaged and will have an idea about the style of wedding they want.

However, for most newly engaged couples the task ahead can sometimes seem daunting. For many, the first port of call will be the internet where you can practically lose yourself in a maze of wedding resources. We suggest you spend an hour or two online together and immerse yourselves in this strange new world of weddings. Confetti and Hitched are useful UK resources, among many others, whilst Martha Stewart and The Knot are excellent sites that focus on the American wedding market where lots of our trends first originate.

Wedding blogs are another useful online resource and nowadays, more and more couples are turning to blogs such as Style Me Pretty, 100 Layer Cake, OnceWed and Rock n Roll Bride for their wedding inspiration. They are well worth investigating.

After only a short time online you should have a pretty clear idea about your preferred style as well as the avenues you want to explore. Some of the most popular ideas that start to evolve might for instance include classic, vintage, rustic, contemporary, chic, retro, funky or seasonal.

Then, from this position you can start to focus your search on wedding venues that befit the general style or styles(s) you have in mind. For instance classic or vintage would tend to lead you toward old historic venues, such as castles or stately homes. Whereas contemporary might lead you toward venues that are more of a blank canvas, such as art galleries. And if you are considering funky or maybe chic, you might focus your search on appropriately styled boutique hotels.

There are several websites dedicated solely to the promotion of wedding venues. Whilst most feature dozens of venues in a wide range of styles of varying quality, one or two go a step further by assessing the quality of the venues featured.

When it comes to selecting the style of venue, your personal and individual personalities, likes and dislikes will dictate to a large extent. For instance, a flamboyant couple will be drawn to venues that have an immediate ‘Wow Factor’ such as a large and elaborate stately home in the country, whereas a more conservative couple might want to consider guest practicalities and opt for a country house hotel close to a city.

There are a wide range of different styles to choose from, from restaurants to rustic barns or boutique hotels to former palaces. Be warned that unfortunately, as is so often the case, you tend to get what you pay for. Furthermore, peak season Saturdays will usually be booked up 9 months or more in advance, so in order to secure the best venues it is important to either be flexible with the wedding date or start your venue search a year or so in advance. Be warned!

However, if you use an online resource that assesses the quality of the venues featured and offers a wide range of criteria in which to focus your search, your venue search should be reasonably straight forward!

Primary Considerations for a Wedding Venue Search

Wedding date

The more flexible you are, the greater your choice of venues. Remember that Saturdays in peak season get booked up quickly so consider Sundays or even Fridays. You will benefit from lower prices too. Note that Bank holiday Sundays also tend to book up quickly.

Type of ceremony

Typically your options will as follows:

Civil – 25 minute legal ceremony that will take place in a registry office or in approved premise, such as a country house hotel.

Religious – 50 minute religious ceremony in a House of God.

Civil with blessing – civil ceremony followed by a separate religious blessing

Civil with humanist – civil ceremony followed by a separate humanist blessing

Note, if you want a religious ceremony, you should already have good links with your local church. Alternatively, if you want to get married outside your own parish you might be able to register with an alternative church if you are prepared to attend mass regularly before your wedding.

Also note, if opting for a religious ceremony, for convenience your reception venue should be reasonably close by, ideally 5-10 minutes away, up to a maximum of 20-25 minutes.

Number of guests

Naturally, if you expect 100 guests you need to identify venues that can accommodate 100 guests and ideally more in order to avoid the possibility of squeezing tables together.

Total wedding budget

As indicated, allocate 50% of your total budget to your venue and catering costs. However this could be from 40%, or up to 60%.

Preferred geographical location(s)

Clearly the wider the geographical area you consider, the greater your choice of venues.

Venue style

There are a wide range of styles to consider, from boutique hotels to country clubs, or stately homes to livery halls.

Exclusive use of the venue

Decide early on if this is essential to you. Many venues only offer exclusive use as standard but others, such as large stately homes and hotels will have the space to accommodate 2 or more weddings at the same time. Usually they will be kept separate but sometimes it is not always the case. In such venues, exclusive use might be an option, for an additional fee.

Do you require guest accommodation onsite?

If so, how many guests and for how many nights? Note sometimes you might be expected to take a minimum number of rooms on the wedding night.

Would you consider a marquee?

Again, keep your options open in order to maximise your shortlist of venues especially if you expect more than 100 guests. Unfortunately there are many, many excellent venues across the UK that can only accommodate up to 100 guests internally, within the walls of the property and therefore a marquee is the only option for larger weddings. That being said, the design and style of marquees has come on enormously over the past 5 years and there are some super-modern styles available for hire.

Would you consider separate rooms for your ceremony, drinks reception, dinner and dancing? Or mind having the ceremony and dinner in the same room?

The venue’s room format is an often forgotten consideration when venue searching and can lead to huge disappointment, especially if you have travelled to view the property unaware of such considerations. It is sometimes the case a venue requires you to have both the ceremony and the meal in the same room. In such instances the room will be ‘turned around’ whilst the drinks reception takes place in another room, outside or in an annex, so you won’t be able to see the tables laid after the ceremony.

Alternatively, it might be that dancing cannot take place in the same room that the meal is served in and this can lead to segregated guests.

Or if you have filled the room to its dining capacity, it is often the case that in order to make space for a dance floor, 2 or 3 tables have to be removed.

Some Additional Considerations

Fireworks, confetti, candelabras/naked flames/tea lights, garden/outside area, late licence.

Again, all these elements can limit your choice of venues so do try to keep your options open! For instance, do you really want to lose out on what might be the perfect venue that happens to calls last orders at 11pm, just because you like the idea of celebrating until midnight or 1am?

Or will you really reject what could be your ideal property simply because they don’t permit fireworks?

Conclusion

We have seen that when searching for a wedding venue it is vital that you try to be as flexible as you can with regard to your preconceived requirements. And clearly choosing a venue can be a difficult and time consuming task. However, if you bear the considerations in this article in mind your chances of finding your perfect wedding venue will be greatly enhanced, as will the time it takes to do so!

Article written by Sam Ketterer, Administrator at Best Wedding Venues – http://www.bestweddingvenues.info

Sam is also a Wedding Planner at Absolute Perfection Wedding Consultancy in London

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Sam_Ketterer/24854

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8 Signs You May Have a Problem with Your Electrical Wiring

Electrical malfunctions cause more than 50,000 house fires each year, according to Electrical Safety Foundation International. The majority can be prevented. Electrician Brisbane Southside is capable of fixing your electrical outlets at home for your own safety.

To protect your own home, start by checking your fuse box or breaker panel for the date of your last inspection. Most municipalities require an inspection only when a system is modified during a renovation or an addition. However, the Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends having a pro look things over every 10 years. Beyond that, be aware of these potential sources and causes of electrical fires.

Related: Quiz: Are You Prepared For a House Fire?

1. Too many extension cords. Aesthetics aside, there’s a reason electric wires are buried within walls. “An undisturbed wiring system will more or less work forever,” says William Burke, division manager of electrical engineering for the National Fire Protection Association. “But when it’s disturbed or altered, there’s potential for trouble.” Running an extension cord creates additional points where cords can kink, short out or get pinched, leading to tripped breakers, damaged outlets or even a fire. Use extension cords sparingly and for short periods of time — during the holidays, for example. If you consistently need more outlets, have an electrician install them.

2. Dimming or flickering lights. Because light fixtures typically draw only a small amount of power, dimming or flickering is rarely caused by a problem with the fixture itself. More likely the issue is with energy hogs like major appliances or space heaters that are wired to the same circuit. “Appliances that heat or cool tend to draw a lot of power,” says Burke. So dimming could be caused by a washing machine drawing current to heat water. Consult an electrician about moving lights to different circuits or installing dedicated lines for major appliances.

3. Funny odors. A new appliance may produce an off-odor the first few times it’s powered up. But if you detect an odd smell coming from an outlet, turn off and unplug anything connected to it. Don’t use it again until you’ve had a qualified electrician check it out. If your fuse box or breaker panel has a weird odor, call an electrician right away.

4. Sparking. This is never a good sign. How you deal with it depends on where it’s coming from. If a breaker panel, fuse box or outlet is sparking, get an electrician in ASAP. But a sparking appliance may mean that the fixture itself is damaged, in which case you should call an appliance repairperson. He can test the appliance and usually the outlet that powers it as well. A service call from a repairperson is likely to be cheaper than one from a licensed electrician. Plus, if the appliance is new, it may even be repaired under the warranty.

5. Hot outlets or switch plates. “Even when an appliance is meant to produce heat (like a toaster or space heater), the outlet that powers it should never become hot,” says Burke. Electric current may make a switch plate slightly warm to the touch, but if the outlet is uncomfortably hot, turn off whatever is plugged in and try it in another outlet. If the outlet grows hot even without anything plugged in, it may be wired incorrectly. Consult an electrician, who may advise you to flip the breaker or remove the fuse for that outlet until your system can be serviced.

6. Frequently blown fuses or tripped breakers. Circuit breakers and fuses are designed to fail as a way to prevent overloading. If a vacuum cleaner or hair dryer routinely trips a breaker regardless of where you plug it in, the appliance is the likely culprit. But if using a single outlet causes you to blow the same fuse repeatedly, the circuit is probably overloaded. Call in a pro to discuss upgrading the circuit or adding a new line.

7. Buzzing. What does electricity sound like? When things are working properly, nothing. Generally electricity flows smoothly and quietly between connections. But loose prongs, outlets or fraying wire can all cause the current to jump, producing a buzzing sound in the process. If you’re sure a sound is originating at an outlet, stop using it and call an electrician.

8. The wrong outlets in the kitchen or bathroom. Because water is an excellent conductor of electricity, kitchens and bathrooms both require special shock-resistant outlets called ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). GFCIs typically have two small buttons at the center. Take note if outlets in your kitchen or bathroom outlets look no different from those in your family room or bedroom, swap them out with GFCIs to add an extra layer of shock protection around water.

Hidden Electrical Hazards – Check Your Grounded Outlets

Shock hazards and warranty issues. If you live in an older house, you may be shocked, literally, to discover that your “grounded” (three-pronged) electrical outlets are not really grounded, after all. This article describes why that’s a dangerous situation, how to tell if your outlets are really grounded, and what to do if they’re not. Our qualified emergency electrician Brisbane have the training, experience, and equipment to meet every electrical service need of our customer.

The electrical term, open ground, describes a situation where someone has installed a three-pronged outlet, but the cable serving that outlet still contains only two wires, a hot and a neutral, and no ground wire. The three-pronged outlet gives the appearance of an upgrade, but the outlet is not really grounded. This is bad news for two reasons.

Shock hazard

This should be your first concern, and it’s a real one: a receptacle that is not properly grounded is a safety hazard to you and your family. A shock from an improperly grounded 120-volt outlet can cause injury, even death. And take note: those receptacle “cheaters,” those little, grey three-hole plugs with the tab on them that you screw into the plate? They don’t work, and they can present a hazard to you and the equipment you plug into them.

Warranty issues

The following appliances require a grounded receptacle, for both safety and warranty reasons:

  • Refrigerator
  • Dishwasher
  • Washing Machine
  • Computer
  • Television
  • Any piece of equipment with a 3-pronged plug

Plugging any of this equipment into a receptacle that is not grounded can present a shock hazard, can damage the product, and can void the product warranty. Computers have especially sensitive voltage requirements. Note that surge protectors will not work properly unless a ground is present. These appliances and pieces of equipment are not small investments; protect them by using only properly grounded outlets. Where necessary, call in a qualified electrician to run you a new wire.

How to tell if your outlet is really grounded

  • You can buy a small, inexpensive, plug-in tester at your local home center or electrical supply store. They are generally fairly reliable.
  • You could try cutting the electricity at the breaker, pulling off your outlet cover and having a look, but you may or may not be able to see the cable feeding the outlet. The older the house, the more likely it is to be dark and dirty and hard to see behind the outlet cover. It might be necessary to unscrew and pull out the outlet. Note: this is not recommend as a beginner’s DIY project because of the safety hazards involved.
  • Why take chances? Hire a pro. If you have any question whether your outlets are properly grounded – or for that matter, if you have any questions about your wiring or your breaker or fuse box – have a qualified electrician come in and take a look.

What to do if your outlet is not properly grounded

If the tester gives you a negative reading, there may be other outlets in the house that aren’t grounded. We strongly recommend that you bring in a qualified electrician to assess the situation and recommend next steps.

Next steps could involve running new wire, but possibly not. In some circumstances, electrical code allows for ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protection (meaning the installation of a GFCI outlet) where there is no ground; however, the code has very specific requirements about how this must be done, including language that must be displayed prominently on the outlet cover. Take note we do not recommend this as a beginner’s DIY project because of the potential safety hazards to you and your family, and the warranty issues with your electrical and electronic equipment, discussed above.

More about wiring in older houses

  • A good rule of thumb: If you see wire and it’s fabric covered, by all means, have a qualified electrician look at it.
  • The Consumer Product Safety Commission and utility companies recommend panel maintenance every three years. Generally, maintenance involves pulling the panel cover, inspecting all breakers and wiring, re-torquing connections, replacing breakers where necessary, and making recommendations about any further service that may be necessary or desirable. Routine maintenance can avoid a lot of problems.
  • For homeowners with older wiring for whom rewiring is not an option, your electrician might recommend replacing certain breakers with an arc fault circuit interrupter (AFCI). This is a “breaker with a brain,” fire protection technology that works just like a regular circuit breaker but also electronically detects arcing. For new construction and significant remodeling, the AFCI is now required for all circuits leading to bedrooms.

Liz Pauley is a staff writer for ranchrevival.com a website devoted to owners of ranch style houses, old and new.
For additional information on electrical and other issues pertinent to older houses, visit ranchrevival.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Liz_Pauley/98441

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Complete Guide to Cleaning All Types of Pool Furniture

The most efficient method for cleaning commercial grade outdoor furniture is with a pressure washer, using plain water and a mild disinfectant or detergent under low pressure. DO NOT use chlorine or harsh cleaning solutions. Not to self: If the pressure is strong enough to blow your items around the deck, it’s probably strong enough to peel off the finish as well! Don’t have a pressure washer? Simply clean your outdoor furnishings with a soft brush, mild soap and very warm water. After a few years, when plain soap and water do not clean the worn finish, begin to add small amounts of household bleach. When a half and half solution no longer cleans, it’s time to think about getting new furniture. Pool removal Sydney specializes in removing your swimming pool that can reduce hazards and liability, make your home more appealing potential home buyers, and eliminate costly up-keep by giving give you more yard space for lawn activities.

Using these care and maintenance tips WILL reduce repair AND replacement costs (alphabetized by material):

Acrylic has a durable, yet lightweight composition that can last for many years if taken care of properly. Cleaning acrylic is one of the best ways to extend its lifespan. If you don’t clean your acrylic surfaces, they can become marred with stains, dust, dirt, mold and mildew – however, cleaning them the wrong way can harm the surfaces.

Instructions:

Sweep off any dust or debris that can be dislodged easily – this prevents the dust from acting as an abrasive when you begin to wash.
Dip a soft cleaning sponge into a bucket of warm, soapy water, and use it to wipe the piece.
Rinse with clean water.
Allow the acrylic surface to air-dry in a warm, well-ventilated area.

Your outdoor furniture is exposed to a lot, and aluminum is built to take the heat and the elements. Prolong the life of your Aluminum by keeping it clean and properly treating it as needed. To extend the beauty and life of your aluminum simply follow these instructions.

Instructions:

General cleaning: Use a cleaning rag with mild dish soap and water to wipe down aluminum on a regular basis.
Removing scuffed areas: Try a gel or liquid non-abrasive cleaner (such as SoftScrub). This will allow the scuffed area to be removed without damaging the finish.
Rinse: Use a garden hose to rinse off after cleaning and removing scuffed areas.

While concrete, for the most part, is virtually maintenance free, dust, dirt and debris can still build up on its surface quickly if it’s not cleaned off regularly. You can easily clean your Concrete, but making sure it’s done routinely.

Instructions:

Wipe down with a damp rag to remove dirt accumulation and dust.
Mix warm water and mild detergent in a bucket.
Dip rag into bucket and wash down thoroughly.
Dry with a soft towel.

Fiberglass is one of the most popular types of outdoor furniture on the market today. It’s highly durable, affordable, comes in an assortment of styles and, most importantly, is easy to maintain! There are certain steps that should be taken to effectively clean fiberglass furnishings.

Instructions:

Spray down with a standard water hose to loosen up any dirt and grime.
Mix hot water, a good portion of dish washing detergent, and cup of vinegar into a bucket.
Soak a sponge in the mixture and begin to wipe down.
Grab a water hose, rinse and allow to dry.

Most Recycled Plastic has been purified and UV protected. It’s generally cared for and cleaned with soap and warm water. For certain stains and additional cleaning power, a 1/3 bleacher and 2/3 water solution can be used on recycled plastic without affecting the color. The surface characteristics of the furniture may require the use of a soft bristle brush to get into the creases. Although the quality of the hardware has a high level of corrosive resistance, the hardware can still show signs of corrosion in salt air environments. A practical solution to these signs of corrosion is to wash the hardware and furnishings with soap and water, and using a soft bristle brush to scrub the corroded areas is also helpful.

Resin is an ideal alternative to metal or wood, which can rust, splinter, continually need painting or are just plain heavy. Keeping new tables and chairs clean and looking good for years to come is easy – it’s the older pieces that take a little more effort to restore to a cleaner, newer looking state. Resin is porous, allowing stains to sink in. If stained, try scrubbing with a mild detergent or dishwashing soap. Non-abrasive household cleaners may also help.

Instructions:

Brush loose dust and debris from resin with a stiff-bristled brush.
Spray with water from a garden hose. Use some pressure to remove as much dirt and debris as possible.
Add dish detergent to a bucket of hot water and use a nylon scrubber to scrub down the resin.
Finish the cleaning process with a final rinse and allow to dry before use.

Get your Slings looking clean and fresh with a little elbow grease, and cleaning supplies you probably already have on hand. If mildew is a problem, a bit of extra effort on your part can help control it.

Instructions:

Prepare a solution of 1/2 cup mild detergent mixed with 1/2 cup bleach in 1 gallon of warm water (yes, it’s okay to use a mild bleacher solution on marine grade acrylic outdoor fabrics).
Use a soft scrub brush to work the cleaning solution in to the mesh.
Rinse with clean water and allow to dry in the sun.

Many people don’t care for the upkeep of wood, so steel is an ideal substitute, especially if you’re looking for a clean, modern or contemporary look! Steel requires much less upkeep than wood; however after a few years it may rust or tarnish. You can easily keep this from happening by using a sealant to protect your steel pieces from rusting, which only needs to be applied and re-applied every few years. Regular attention is required to prevent rust, which if left unchecked will eat through your steel. Remember to check your steel pieces regularly, especially at any welded joints.

Vinyl Straps are ideal when you’re looking for the perfect addition to your pool area. However, body lotions and oils can cause damage to vinyl straps. In fact, if possible, require your guests to use a towel when sunbathing or drying off from the pool so that your vinyl strap furniture will have a longer life span. Vinyl is porous, so it is important to protect it from moisture and chemicals.

Instructions:

Mix a cleaning solution of mild dishwashing detergent and hot water.
Scrub the vinyl straps by dipping the scrub brush in the bucket and scouring your vinyl in a circular motion.
Rinse off the soap with a cloth or a hose.
Dry the vinyl with a clean towel.

Wood definitely has it’s appeal. Your outdoor space is exactly that: outdoors; so wood items will blend in beautifully with your natural decor. It looks great, and can add definite flair to your outdoor space. Before you replace your dirty looking wood, try cleaning it first!

Instructions:

Use a dry brush and scrub.
Use the garden hose and rinse off.
Fill a bucket with warm water and dish soap then saturate a clean cloth in the mixture.
Clean a small area at a time (don’t forget the bottom of your pieces as well).
Rinse thoroughly, removing all traces of soap.
Dry using a clean, dry cloth.
Finally, protect your wood during the season by using an oil specially formulated for wood.

The top surfaces of your outdoor pieces are the most critical, and should be cleaned weekly or bi-weekly. Simply wipe down the top surfaces and rinse with filtered water. Once every four to six weeks, wipe down the bottom and back surfaces to control mildew. Take Note: Never throw your furniture in the swimming pool unless a hurricane is imminent and there is nowhere else to put it. This is NEVER a good way to clean off your pool furniture.

Following these simple rules and instructions will result in extended life for your outdoor seating. Annual costs will decrease substantially, the pieces will look great, and your guests are sure to be happy!

ParknPool Corp is a leading online distributor of commercial grade furniture and site amenities such as pool furniture, picnic tables, park benches, trash receptacles, and bleachers. For more information on keeping your outdoor furniture clean and maintenance free contact ParknPool at 877.777.3700. http://www.parknpool.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Meagan_Deacon/2102528

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Signs & Symptoms of Bad Spark Plug Wires

Spark plug wires are a critical link in a vehicle’s electrical system. Responsible for transporting electrical power from a vehicle’s ignition system to its engine spark plugs, spark plug wires need to function properly to ensure normal engine operation. When spark plugs wires fail, a host of engine problems can result. Emergency electrician Melbourne handle all types of emergency electrical services, from fixing faulty lighting to repairing your electrical appliances.

Rough Engine Idle

The most common symptom of bad spark plug wires is a rough engine idle. Spark plug wires are responsible for transmitting the electrical current from a vehicle’s electrical system to the engine spark plugs, where the electrical current is used to ignite the engine air/fuel mixture. Bad spark plugs wires can inhibit the normal flow of electrical current that reaches a vehicle’s spark plugs, which can cause a rough, erratic engine idle.

Engine Miss

An engine miss, which normally occurs as the result of erratic or incomplete engine combustion, is another common symptom of bad spark plug wires. Many times, bad spark plug wires cause the flow of electrical current to the engine spark plugs to become erratic, alternating between brief periods of normal flow and brief periods of abnormal, erratic flow. The result of this is periods of erratic and incomplete engine combustion, which can manifest itself as an engine miss.

Engine Hesitation

Engine hesitation, which is normally most apparent during acceleration, is a condition that often results from either abnormal fuel flow to an engine or abnormal electrical conduction to a vehicle’s spark plugs. Bad spark plug wires, whether they degrade internally or develop cracks and breaks in their outer coverings that cause electrical interference, can cause an engine to hesitate if they disrupt the normal flow of electrical current traveling from a car’s battery to the engine spark plugs.

Reduced Engine Power

Proper electrical conduction to a vehicle’s spark plugs is needed to ensure proper engine combustion and engine power. Any abnormalities in a vehicle’s electrical system, including in its spark plugs and spark plug wires, can negatively affect spark plug firing, which will influence engine combustion and engine power. Know more bad spark plug wires can result in significant engine power loss if they inhibit or interfere with the normal flow of electricity that reaches a vehicle’s spark plugs.

Engine Surging

A common symptom of a vehicle electrical problem is engine surging, a condition that happens when a vehicle experiences brief spurts of adequate electrical flow to its spark plugs, interspersed with brief periods in which electrical flow is reduced or nonexistent. Engine surging is a common symptom of bad spark plug wires, especially if the wires have cracks or breaks in their outside insulation, a condition that can create significant electrical resistance and lead to abnormal or completely stopped electrical flow to a vehicle’s spark plugs.

Seven signs your home may have electrical problems

Circuit breakers trip regularly

Modern circuit breakers have replaced the old-fashioned fuse box in most newer homes. It’s not unusual for a circuit breaker to trip and turn off the circuit automatically. If this happens, you just have to flick the switch back. However, if a circuit breaker trips frequently it is a warning sign. It may be there are too many high amp appliances plugged into a single circuit and the total amps are more than the circuit is rated for. Alternatively, it could be a sign of a short somewhere in the wiring. Contact a registered electrician to examine the wiring and make any repairs as soon as possible. Anyone who has had to deal with an electrical malfunction knows how inconveniencing the whole situation can be but the good news is we have 24 hour electrician Melbourne to act right away.

Buzzing, charred or discoloured outlets and switches

Light switches and outlets should never be hot to the touch, buzzing or charred. These are all signs of a potentially dangerous problem, such as faulty wiring inside or near the outlet or a loose connection on the switch, causing a short. Only have a qualified electrician carry out even minor repairs.

Shocking switches and outlets

Slight shocks from switches and outlets are not only physically unpleasant but a sure sign something is wrong. It could be a problem with the switch or outlet itself or possibly the device plugged into the outlet. If the device is removed and replaced and the problem persists, the outlet or switch should be examined. It would be a good idea to check the wiring as well. Another sign of faulty wiring is a dead outlet.

Burning smell

A new appliance may produce a bit of a smell the first few times it is switched on but if you detect an odour coming from the outlet, turn off and unplug anything connected with it. Don’t use it again until you have had it checked out by a qualified electrician.

Call an electrician immediately if you smell something electrical burning.
Most electrical wiring has plastic insulation. An electrical fire initially has a fairly acrid smell of plastic burning. The short could be in the outlet or in the wiring inside a wall and can be hard to locate.
Experts say if you smell something electrical burning you are lucky – most warning signs of electrical fires are invisible and odourless. Electrical wiring can heat for years before reaching the flashpoint of setting other materials ablaze.

Sparking

This is always a bad sign. If a circuit breaker or fuse box is sparking, call an electrician urgently. But a sparking appliance, for example toaster, may mean the fixture itself is damaged. If the appliance is less than one-year-old you should be able to get it repaired or replaced under guarantee. Don’t use it again until you have had it checked out.

Flicking or dimming lights

Frequently flicking or dimming lights can be a sign of faulty wiring or an overloaded circuit. But it can also be the light itself that is the problem – you may be able to test the lamp on an outlet on a different circuit. If more than one light is flicking regularly, it could be a sign of a serious wiring problem. Consult a qualified electrician to see if your property needs rewiring.

Frayed, damaged and exposed wires and cables

All electrical installations deteriorate with age and use. Frayed, damaged and exposed wiring and cables can be a major fire hazard and cause of electrocution. Call a properly qualified electrician to check out the wiring in your house and if necessary get it updated.

Electrical Inspection Report

Regular inspections and testing are recommended to check the wiring and fixed electrical equipment in your house is safe. Take note to find a registered electrician able to produce an electrical report for you please click here

6 Electrical Safety Tips for Christmas

One small safety hazard can turn your holiday celebration from merry and bright to a downright disaster. Here’s how you can stay safe this Christmas. During Christmas the electrical fires are normally caused due to faulty outlets and appliances, extension cords or wiring problems but now that you have an emergency 24 hour electricians Melbourne in your area there is nothing to worry with any electrical troubles.

  • Check your lights. Lights that aren’t in tip top shape can cause electrical shock or even a fire. Before you plug in a single strand of Christmas lights, you need to make sure they aren’t damaged. Look for cracked cords, loose connections, damaged sockets and loose or bare wires. Throw away any strands that are in poor condition.
  • Count your strands. If you’re determined to have a Christmas display that rivals the Griswold’s, make sure your lights are connected properly. No more than three strands of incandescent lights should be strung together at a time. Any more may trip a circuit breaker or start a fire. However, LED lights are a different story. According to the U.S. Department of Energy you can safely connect up to 25 strands of LED lights without overloading your electrical outlet.
  • Don’t overdo it. Your electrical outlets are made to handle a certain amount of wattage. If you push the socket beyond its limits, it can cause a fire. Make sure you spread your lights across multiple outlets to ease the load and stay safe.
  • Purchase safe decorations. When you’re out shopping for holiday decorations, make sure anything that requires electricity has been tested for safety. Independent testing laboratories, such as Underwriters Laboratories, test electrical decorations to ensure they aren’t hazardous. Safe holiday decorations will have a label from one of these testing companies. View the full list of federally recognized labs here.
  • Trim the best tree. If you’re going to buy a live Christmas tree, look for one that’s fresh. (A fresh tree will have needles that won’t easily fall from the branch and bend instead of break.) You’ll also want to water it frequently. A dry tree is a fire hazard, but even the freshest tree should be kept at least three feet from your electrical outlets, fireplace and space heater. If you’ll be decking your halls with an artificial tree, make sure it’s labeled “fire resistant”.
  • Turn it off. When you’re sleeping or out of the house, turn off your Christmas lights—inside and out. Leaving them on not only adds up on your electric bill, it can also be a safety hazard.

Know more about the safety tips in electricity at your home.

12 Days of Christmas Electrical Safety Tips

Nothing says Christmas like a beautiful holiday light display. However, with all the sparkling lights, lighted inflatables, and other temporary electrical installations that are part of the decorations, comes the inherent risk of taxing our home’s electrical system to power all of these displays. At the risk of sounding redundant, I can’t help but join the voices of reason that advocate keeping you and yours safe throughout the season. Keep the following tips in mind to ensure a very Merry Christmas, and a safe, prosperous and Happy New Year! During holiday general electrical breakdowns it’s good to have a 24 hr electricians Melbourne.

Safety Tip #1: Examine Your Electrical Decorations

Before you start stringing lights on your house or on your Christmas tree, be sure to give your electrical decorations a good “once over” to check for any damage. Watch for broken or damaged sockets, bare wires and loose connections. These are all potentially dangerous and could give you a shock or possibly start a fire.

Check your decorations for a label showing that they have been inspected and are certified by UL, CSA, or any accredited inspection agencies. Always buy your decorations from reputable retailers – this goes for both on-site store locations and online purchases.

Safety Tip #2: Start with a plan and factor in your electrical requirements

Before you start decorating take the time to “map out” your decorating plan, keeping in mind how many outlets are available and where they are located. Determine what loads are already on the circuits you plan to use.

Match the power requirements (amperage) of your electrical decorations with the amperage rating of the extension cords you may be using. Ensure that the cord is rated equal to or higher than the connected load(s).

Take a good look around and always look UP before putting up any outside lights. Watch for any overhead hazards, such as power, telephone, or cable TV lines.

Unplug or shut off decorations while handling and installing them, and unplug or shut off the breaker for electrical decorations before replacing bulbs or fuses.

Safety Tip #3: NEVER overload electrical circuits.

Overloaded electrical outlets and circuits are a common cause of fires. Add up the current requirements of the load you are connecting to the loads already on the particular circuit you are using.

Remember the 80% rule! Only load a 15 Amp circuit to 12 Amps, and a 20 Amp circuit to 16 Amps.

Safety Tip #4: Pay special attention to how many consecutive strings of lights you plug in together in a row.

Wattage loads can add up quickly. This is especially true with older incandescent Christmas lights. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on how many sets of lights can be plugged in together in a single string.

You may want to replace your incandescent bulbs with LED lamps, which use less energy and run cooler.

Safety Tip #5: Only use extension cords and electrical decorations for outdoor decorating that are approved for outdoor use.

Keep all extension cords and light strings out of snow and water. Make sure spotlights used to illuminate decorations are well ventilated, protected from the elements where necessary, and are rated for outdoor use. Ensure that they cannot come in contact with flammable items. Again, use LED flood lamps if possible.

If possible, use wood or fiberglass ladders when decorating outdoors. Metal ladders conduct electricity so if you must use them, exercise extreme caution.

Safety Tip #6: Protect extension cords from damage.

Do not support light strings in a way that might damage the cord’s insulation. Cords should never be pinched by furniture, forced into small spaces, placed under rugs, located near heat sources or attached by nails or staples.

Never run cords where they could cause a tripping hazard, like doorways or across open spaces.

Holiday Safety Tip #7: Make sure that all of your outdoor circuits are protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs).

If you are using non-GFCI circuits, then purchase cords or devices that provide portable, in-line GFI protection. These can be bought at most home improvement stores or online retailer locations.

Safety Tip #8: Inspect your entire home inside and out before going to bed, or leaving the house.

Turn off all turn off all indoor and outdoor electrical decorations before leaving home or going to sleep.

Look for tripping hazards like toys, wrapping paper, or boxes that could present a tripping hazard in a dark home. Keep combustibles such as wrapped presents and Christmas trees at least three feet from heat sources.

Holiday Safety Tip #9: Live trees require special care.

Dry trees can be a serious fire hazard. Take special care to trim a live tree with non-combustible decorations and low heat producing light strings (such as LEDs).

When purchasing a live tree, the fresher the better. Don’t purchase a tree that is already dry and losing needles. Cut off some of the tree trunk at the base to improve the ability of the tree to absorb water.

Holiday Safety Tip #10: Make certain that artificial trees are labeled fire retardant, or fire resistant.

Don’t use electrical decorations or light strings on artificial trees with metallic leaves or branch coverings. They can facilitate an electrical short circuit should they accidentally come into contact with live wires or broken bulbs.

Keep your tree away from heat sources, such as portable electric heaters or fireplaces.

Safety Tip #11: Replace all of your traditional wick candles with battery operated imitations!

Almost 50% of home decoration fires are caused by real candles according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). They make fake candles so realistic now that you almost have to touch them to confirm they are not a real flame!

If you insist on traditional, never leave a flame unattended. Keep burning candles within sight and away from combustible material such as other decorations, wrapping paper, and curtains or other window coverings. Candles burning on a wood mantle with a cedar wall behind are definitely a hazard (personal experience at a family Christmas gathering on this one!)

Place candles in locations where they cannot be knocked over. Never use lighted candles on a tree. Those days are past us now!

Safety Tip #12: Stay in the kitchen when cooking. Unattended cooking equipment is the leading cause of home cooking fires according to the NFPA.

Once the holiday meal is ready, check that the stove and oven are turned off and other kitchen appliances are unplugged when leaving the kitchen area.

Christmas should be a time of joy, laughter, and quality time with family and friends. Know more to follow all applicable safety rules will ensure that your holiday will be a safe one for you and your loved ones.

10 Surprising Pool Maintenance Tricks You Should Know

Your pool removal Sydney needs to be well-taken care of, in and out of season. Without proper care, the water can become a breeding ground for illness-causing organisms. A regular maintenance schedule will ensure that the pool remains clear and in good condition all throughout the four seasons.

In addition to the usual maintenance procedures for ensuring that the water is chlorinated and refreshed, some “unusual” methods can be applied to give the pool a facelift. These techniques will not only make your pool cleaner and safer for use, but they will also save you money, time, and energy.

1. Use Some Baking Soda

It not only works magic in regards to cleaning the swimming pool, but it also helps maintain the correct pH levels in the pool. Some stores will offer you a substitute known as an “alkalinity increaser” but buying baking soda will save you money. Eventually, both products give you the same results, but baking soda does so more efficiently. The amount of the baking soda required is dependent on the size of the pool.

2. Tennis Ball

You might wonder what this has to do with pool maintenance, but you will be surprised to know the effects. Tossing a tennis ball into the pool will clear the water by sucking up all the chemicals and oils that people bring into the pool in the form of sunblock and suntan lotions. If you leave the ball floating every once in a while, the difference will be hard to ignore.

3. Use a Bucket to Track Water Usage

Environmental factors, like temperature, and humidity, dictate the rate at which the pool loses water. However, average water loss should not be more than twenty-five percent of an inch daily. To measure the rate of water loss, place a weighted bucket on the stairs and mark the water levels at different intervals throughout the day. Significant margins are an indication of a leak in the pool, which you should have repaired. If the water levels are lower than what you would like, simply use a hose pipe to fill up the pool to the required levels. Remember to check the chemical levels after each refill.

4. Use a Line and Net to Remove Dirt

Loose dirt that finds its way into the pool can be removed by skimming, using a net fixed to a line. However, dirt, residue, and contaminants may stick along the tile area and water line, necessitating proper cleaning. Dedicate yourself to cleaning this area at least once per week to reduce calcium build up. As you clean the tiles, also remember that the walkways need to be cleaned too to minimize chances of transferring grime and dirt into the pool.

5. The Filter is the Kidney of Your Pool

If you do not adequately take care of this small, yet crucial part of your pool, eventually you may end up with a dead pool. In the same way the kidneys are responsible for removing impurities, so the filter is designed to remove contaminants like leaves, dirt, and small debris from the water. Once a month, it is advisable to clean the pipes in the filter system. A simple way to do so is to backwash by removing the leaf basket and turning on the pump and letting it run till the pipe discharges clear water.

6. Ensure that You Maintain Consistent Chemical Levels

This is one of the most critical factors in proper pool maintenance. When the water lacks proper chemical balance, it looks murky, irritates skin, and can harbor bacteria. It is recommended to test the chemical levels weekly. The chemical levels to be tested are cyanuric acid, free chlorine, total alkalinity, acidity/alkalinity, and calcium hardness.

Get a professional to do the testing for you. If you want to do it yourself, buy the testing kit from the local pool store and follow the attached instructions. Chemicals that are well balanced make your water very clear and produce no smell and leave no residue on the skin.

It is also recommended to “shock” your pool. This refers to raising the chlorine levels of the pool suddenly but for a short time. The technique is useful in killing bacteria, and the way to do this is to dilute five times the usual amount of chlorine with water and then slowly pouring it into the swimming pool. A few minutes later you refill the pool with water to restore the normal chlorine levels. Shocking increases the risk of damaging the pools siding, and that is why it is recommendable to limit the process to no more than two times each season.

7. Check the Condition of the Skimmer Lid

Occasionally it is necessary to replace the skimmer cover in case it gets cracked or broken. It plays an important role by preventing people or pets from falling into the skimmer well so it is important to ensure that it is in good condition and firmly fixed in position. During replacement, ensure that the power to the pump is turned off to avoid accidents.

8. Power Wash

This is also known as pressure washing and the process helps get rid of weather stains and any rust that can occur over time. The process begins by sweeping the deck clean to make it free of loose dirt so that it does not spread all over during cleaning. Set the power washer to medium power and spray the surface to remove all debris, doing so over and over again until the place is thoroughly clean. A power washer can be rented from the local pool store.

9. Ensure You Schedule a Yearly Service Appointment with an Expert

You may not think that it is necessary, but the knowledge you have may not be sufficient for the care of your equipment like filters, pumps, and heating systems. A professional pool service provider will not only check your devices but also advise you on what you need to improve to keep your pool in good order. They can quickly detect small problems that might cause a massive crisis in future.

10. Planning for Winter

it is equally important to take care of your pool during winter just like you do during summer. You don’t want to check your pool at the beginning of the next summer only to find that the water turned color and is home to dangerous bacteria. Properly winterizing your pool will save you a lot of money and time during the next season as you do repairs. Some of the things you need to do are balancing the chemicals, blowing out excess water from the plumbing lines, and covering the pool to keep away debris.

With these simple, yet surprising tricks, your pool should maintain higher standards that are not so common with most privately owned swimming pools.

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