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Electrician Courses

Electrician

An electricians role is to quote, plan for, install and maintain electrical wiring systems. Electricians as tradesmen are able to specialise into different areas such as working indoors in homes and buildings, commercially, industrially and even on machinery, home appliances, and utilities. They may also alternatively work in outdoor settings, such as with power lines and street lights.

Electricians can work in a variety of settings depending on the organisation they are employed with. Regardless of whether an electrician works inside or outdoors, the role is always very physically demanding and labour intensive. They work on their feet all day, and often have to carry heavy equipment, and squeeze into small spaces, therefore ensuring that employees are physically able to complete the work is important.

Day-to-day tasks of this role:

Install and maintain electrical wires.

Read blueprints to understand where the cables need to go.

Locating and replacing faulty wires.

Reviewing work to ensure it meets the safety regulations and guidelines.

Maintaining and replacing circuit breakers.

Review the skills profile

To find the best person for the role, you need to understand what the role involves. You can complete this with the hiring manager to define the role, what it contributes to the organization, and the skills needed

Write a job description based on skills

Once you understand the requirements for the role, you’ll need to understand the skills for success. You can then write an effective job description to promote your role.

Guide to Electrical and Mechanical

The installation of electrical and mechanical services at sports grounds has always played an important part when considering the safety of spectators at sporting events. All sports grounds have in place a number of permanent or temporary mechanical and electrical installations. Many of these are safety-related or have their own safety implications

This includes:

turnstile monitoring systems

fire warning and other fire safety systems

catering installations

public address, CCTV and emergency telephone systems

Media installations.

Transparent Pricing

The number of electricians that we send out depends on the complexity of the job but rest assured that we will always strive for the maximum efficiency and therefore lowest cost to you. For example, if two electricians could complete a job in less than half the time that one could, we will send two as the overall cost would be less.

which includes the first hour’s labour. Normally we can diagnose and secure the fault within the first hour. If follow-up work is required once safety has been restored we can continue at the rate

Generally it will take longer to rewire an occupied house than an empty one. Rewiring often takes at least two people – if more staff are used, it may be done more quickly but costs (total man hours) are likely to be the same.

Requirements for Electrical Installations

This qualification ensures that you are up-to-date with the latest industry regulation on wiring and the safe use and operation of electrical equipment and systems

If you’re a practising electrician, you must comply with the regulations for electrical work, this qualification is designed to provide  those seeking progression in their career with the opportunity to develop the skills necessary to carry out job roles and responsibilities associated with the Electrotechnical industry.

We are issuing digital credential to learners who have completed this qualification.  Please add your learners’ email address during registration. A digital credential cannot be issued without the learner’s email address.

This level will suit you if you are a practising electrician with specific qualifications, who needs to update your certification to meet the latest edition of the IET Wiring Regulations. Alternatively, you’re a newly qualified electrician who needs to gain this certificate.

This course is available as a one-day refresher course or a full qualification.

For the refresher course, you complete one core unit:

Requirements for electrical installations update to BS 7671: 2008.

For the full qualification you also complete one core unit:

Requirements for electrical installations to BS 7671: 2008.

Step-by-step guide on how to become an electrician

Electricians are in constant demand. If you’re looking to take the leap into self-employment, becoming an electrician can be a great way to work for yourself and boost your earning power. So what do self-employed electricians

What do self-employed electricians do?

Electricians have a range of responsibilities, and the exact type of work you do will depend on your specialist area. The day-to-day work for a self-employed electrician is likely to include:

Installing electrical systems such as power systems and lighting

Maintaining and checking electrical systems for efficiency and safety

Repairing and rewiring

Supervising other members of an electrical team

What is a self-employed electrician salary?

According to the National Careers Service, the average salary for a starter electrician is up to around $23,000. Experienced electricians can earn up to $35,000, and highly experienced individuals up to $42,000.

However, you should bear in mind that these figures are for employed electricians. As a self-employed person you’ll be able to set your own rates. It’s important to understand that most self-employed electricians work on a day rate. These can vary quite significantly depending on your specialism or experience

How to become a self-employed electrician – step-by-step

Make sure you have the right qualifications

In order to work as a self-employed electrician, you’ll need some qualifications. Electricians are required to have at least a level three electrical or electro-technical qualification. As the Electrotechnical Skills Partnership points out, this must be awarded by either EAL or City and Guilds.

The Verification Home Inspection To Prove Repairs

What to Expect in a Home Inspection: Checklist and Tips

Every wise homebuyer knows that a home inspection is a must-have before closing a deal on a home. If you choose to do an inspection yourself or hire a professional home inspector, be certain to be educated to get the most out of the inspection. A thorough home inspection will provide quality information and will answer the question of whether the price reflects the house’s condition. A good home inspection is also unbiased and fact-based and it should not be an opinion of the home’s value.

Home inspection checklist

A home inspection encompasses the major components of a home. Typically, these can be broken into 5 categories that fit any home:

Exterior Envelope: Roof, siding, windows, doors, grade, and drainage.

Foundation: Materials used (i.e. block, brick, poured) and condition. Framing practices (i.e. truss or rafter), and framing materials used such as engineered, dimensional lumber, steel or other.

HVAC: Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning. Distribution or radiator condition, and controls of the system.

Electrical: Main panel, incoming service, branch wiring, and fixtures.

Plumbing: Main service, materials used, and condition.

Common issues that may affect the home’s price

Reasonable buyers need to be realistic and expect no house to be perfect, not even a new build, but the home should be in decent shape. Some common issues that can plummet the price of a house are:

Structural problems

Termites and other pests

Drainage and water issues

Mold problems

Radon issues

Wiring and electrical issues

Plumbing issues

Well water issues

Asbestos issues

Lead paint

A roof that needs replacement

Some minor issues that can be fixed are plumbing issues, such as leaking fixtures. The longer a home has been vacant, the more likely that the rubber washers will dry and crack, leading to dripping faucets. Another routine item is electrical switches, fixtures or outlets. These often get damaged from wear, abuse or just age. Whether it be replacing washers or updating outlets, minor fixes always come with a cost and should be accounted for at the time of offer.

What to expect during a home inspection

A home inspection generally takes two to four hours to complete but maybe longer depending upon the size of the house and the number of defects. Homebuyers or sellers are encouraged to attend the inspection to ask questions as you go, as this process can give you more insight than the report alone. To keep the process going smoothly, make sure to remove any obstacles that may block the inspector’s access.

Your Complete Guide To Home Inspections: How To Spot Issues & Address Them Before Purchasing A Home

You think you’ve found the perfect home, maybe you’ve even done a second showing with your agent. In your eyes, this home is perfect! But with homes, many things that you may not notice at first glance (or even second & third) may be lurking underneath the surface. These problems could be minor or they could be major issues that cost you thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars after moving into the home.

Home inspections allow buyers to get into a home for an extended period of time, usually 3 – 4 hours and bring with them an “expert” to help them identify any current or future issues that may cost them money or keep them from fully enjoying the home. We know that the whole idea of home inspections can be confusing though. Many buyers have a lot of questions when it comes to home inspections, like what should you look for, who should you hire, how long does an inspection take, how much do home inspections cost and many more.

What Exactly Is A Home Inspection

A home inspection during the home buying process is an opportunity for a buyer to go through a home and inspect it, looking for any issues with the home that could have major implications down the road while taking note of any minor maintenance or potential maintenance issues.

If any major maintenance issues are found in the home that the buyer was previously unaware of, the inspection time period allows the buyer’s realtor to renegotiate with the seller based on the new information. It could mean a reduction in sale price or the buyer could request that the maintenance issues get resolved prior to the purchase have of the home.

What A Home Inspection Is Not

A home inspection is not meant to allow buyers to negotiate normal home maintenance issues. An inspector may point out normal maintenance, but this is just meant to be helpful to the buyer and put it on their radar when they own the home. Many buyers see this as a chance to bail on a purchase where they have cold feet or an opportunity to try to negotiate a better price with the seller. This, it is not.

The Home Inspection Guide

Q. WHAT IS A “HOME INSPECTION”?

A home inspection is an objective visual examination of the physical structure and systems of a home, from the roof to the foundation. The standard home inspector’s report will include an evaluation of the condition of the home’s heating system, central air conditioning system (temperature permitting), interior plumbing and electrical systems; the roof, attic, and visible insulation; walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors; the foundation, basement, and visible structure.

Having a home inspected is like giving it a physical check-up. If problems or symptoms are found, the inspector and your real estate agent will refer you to the appropriate specialist or tradesperson for further evaluation.

Q. Why do I need a home inspection?

The purchase of a home is probably the largest single investment you will ever make. You should learn as much as you can about the condition of the property and the need for any major repairs before you buy, so that you can minimize unpleasant surprises and difficulties afterwards.

Of course, a home inspection will also point out the positive aspects of a home, as well as the maintenance that will be necessary to keep it in good shape. After the inspection, you will have a much clearer understanding of the property you are about to purchase, and will be able to make a confident buying decision.

Q. What will it cost?

The inspection fee for a typical one-family house varies geographically, as does the cost of housing. Similarly, within a given area, the inspection fee may vary depending upon the size of the house, particular features of the house, its age, and possible additional services, such as septic, well, or radon testing. It is a good idea to check local prices on your own. However, do not let cost be a factor in deciding whether or not to have a home inspection, or in the selection of your home inspector. The knowledge gained from an inspection is well worth the cost, and the lowest-priced inspector is not necessarily a bargain. The inspector’s qualifications, including his experience, training, and professional affiliations, should be the most important consideration.

Home Inspection Checklist: A Complete Guide

A home inspection is a critical tool for you to help protect what may be the single largest investment you will ever make. There’s nothing worse than buying a home, and then later finding a number of issues that may be have been easily detected by a trained and highly qualified inspector. If you’re in the final stages of purchasing a home, here’s what you should know about a home inspection.

Why is a home inspection important?

You can expect several small expenses when you’re buying a home. These include application fees, homeowner’s insurance, legal fees, and more. Because you’re already spending so much money upfront, many buyers are tempted to skip a home inspection. Averaging between $350 and $600, a home inspection is a relatively insignificant expense that may help you in the long-run and at the very least give you peace of mind if there are no material issues uncovered during the inspection.

It may help you avoid significant expenses later.

Ideally, a home inspection should reveal any major issues with the home. These aren’t things you would normally notice with a routine walk-through, such as a failing HVAC system, improper wiring, structural issues, and more.

It may help you create a maintenance plan.

Even if there are no significant issues with the home, you can expect to pay maintenance expenses as long as you live there. Over time, these expenses can add up. A home inspection could help you outline a maintenance schedule, so you can prepare for these costs in advance.

It may help identify any safety issues.

A home inspection can uncover safety issues, which may be very costly problems in addition to potential problems associated with the roof. Mold, carbon monoxide leaks, and lead are all significant safety issues that can threaten the health of your household members.

Property inspection guide and checklist

When you’re searching for a new home and traipsing from inspection to inspection, it’s all too easy to lose track of the properties you see, and which ones you want to seriously consider. 

Before you commit to a contract and the costs of a building and pest inspection, there are plenty of areas you can assess beforehand. Here are the ultimate property inspection guide and checklist to help you make an offer with confidence when you find the right one.

Structural issues

To avoid being stuck with a money draining ‘property lemon’ there are key structural and internal features to be wary of while inspecting a home. Are there any signs of rising damp, water damage, or mould? Water stains on ceilings, blistering of plasterboard and warped floorboards are all red flags indicating a water issue that can be potentially expensive to rectify.

Be on the lookout for large cracks in walls, the ceilings and brickwork, uneven or squishy feeling flooring and doors that don’t close properly, as these can all be signs of foundation issues that can also be costly to fix.

Projects

Are there any areas that’ll require renovation? Or is the house move in ready? Are you willing to take on some projects or a major reno? As you tour the home, make notes of and take pictures of things that aren’t in good condition.

What To Look For When Hiring An Accounting Broker To Sell Your Accountant Practice

Why is accountability so important in the workplace?

A workplace in which employees are engaged without being accountable is unsustainable. Accountability is critical to any human operation in which work must get done efficiently, effectively, and within budget. More importantly, it also has a major impact on top performers and overall employee engagement.

Consider a workplace environment where some employees are highly engaged (“A” players), while others are unaccountable for meeting deadlines and consistently perform at a substandard level. This is a workplace designed to frustrate those committed to exemplary workplace behaviors. A and B players need to work with equally committed co-workers. When high performers work alongside disengaged employees, their incentive to work at full capacity diminishes.

Over time, when leaders fail to address the disparity in accountability, the result is a contagion of frustration, under-performance, and malaise that drags down the entire enterprise. In this environment, companies also see a drop in productivity, product and service quality, worker retention, and employee wellness.

In other words, leaders will always come up short on producing a highly engaged workforce if they don’t first achieve a culture of accountability.

Some of the most common obstacles to accountability for individuals are learned helplessness (“I’m not smart enough to get this right.”), a victim mentality (“This never would have happened if the team hadn’t abandoned me on this project.”), and grudge collecting (“This is just another example of senior leaders showing they don’t care about us.”).

In these cases, managers must develop non-punitive strategies to challenge the problematic behavior, such as offering guidance for more positive and effective performance, redirecting employees toward problem-solving, and listening and affirming employee concerns immediately followed by the mutual development of an action plan going forward.

Organizational barriers to accountability

Lack of accountability can manifest itself with individuals, but it can also be fostered by an organization that tolerates the conditions that lead to it. Institutional habits, left uncorrected, can encourage a lack of accountability by undermining clarity about who is responsible for what. An organization (and its leaders) with unclear priorities, a silo mentality, or habitual conflict avoidance inevitably corrodes accountability.

To prevent the deterioration of accountability in their organizations, senior leaders can focus on more inclusive decision making, agreeing on outcomes and priorities as a group, and ensuring clear and open communication organization-wide. This helps clarify the organization’s goals and responsibilities for achieving them. For example, employees typically perform better when they understand why what they are doing specifically contributes to organizational success. In short, managers and senior leaders bear responsibility for establishing the conditions that encourage employees to be accountable.

Creating a culture of accountability

How do they do that? First, leaders must hold themselves to high standards in developing relationships that promote trust with employees, and help others do the same. By demonstrating integrity, follow-through, competence, and openness to feedback, they help create a culture of accountability.

Recent discoveries in neuroscience describe a human brain that yearns for emotional safety and security. People perform best when they feel safe, both physically and emotionally. Inconsistent accountability in a workplace erodes the trust that people feel in the leadership, flooding the brain with feelings of insecurity. This is not conducive to engagement or high performance, or ultimately to improved business outcomes.

HOW TO FOSTER ACCOUNTABILITY IN WORKPLACE?

There are various ways that you can take to encourage and foster accountability at your workplace.

MAKE IT A VALUE

It is important that accountability is made a part of your organization’s culture and everyday operations. Talk about it in meetings, implement corporate training, encourage employees to share their ideas and what it means to them. Corporate Training It should not just remain as a definition. Your aim should be to blend accountability in the organization’s basic thread. It should become an overall goal and should have consequences when it is not met.

The morale of all the employees goes down when a few non-performing employees don’t face action and repercussions.

DEFINE GOALS

One of the easiest ways in which accountability can rise exponentially in your company is to have clear goals for each department and each member of the team. Tangible goals with set deadlines and process work best. Have clear outline about what is expected from the employees. Also make sure that you set personalized goals. These are an important part of teamwork as they highlight how important an individual is as a team member.

It is the responsibility of the entire team to be accountable and answerable. If one team member slacks, the other’s work will automatically be affected in a negative way. Also it is essential that while setting goals you emphasize on what’s not important and what’s not a priority. Employees handling too many roles and with many responsibilities may reduce the overall productivity and accountability. Therefore, always make sure that the goals set are achievable and realistic.

HIGHLIGHT KEY METRICS

Show your employees the metrics of their performance. This way you can enhance the overall accountability in the workplace. Highlighting these metrics means that each employee will have to engage with the outcome of their work. Sharing the outcome of each goal is an effective way to validate commitment and dedication in employees. This way you are communicating clearly what is expected from them.

Also another advantage of highlighting metrics is that it encourages healthy competition. When an employee accomplishes a goal and gets appreciation and recognition for it, it is a boost to their morale and motivation. And acknowledging that they didn’t reach their goal this time will inspire them to work a lot harder the next time.

INCLUDE EVERYONE IN ACCOUNTABILITY

Including everyone in accountability goes hand-in-hand with setting individual goals. Many times employees assume that accomplishing team goals is the responsibility of only the team leader or manager. But this is not true. It is important that each employee knows about their individual contribution to the project and that they are an integral part of the team. This way the employee will feel values and worthy. Also make sure you encourage employees to speak up if they notice some other employee is slacking in their goals.

CREATE A SUPPORTING ENVIRONMENT

In many workplaces employees focus on finding who is at fault when a problem arises. This is particularly seen in workplaces where trust amongst employees is low. In low trust environment, employees dread accountability because they worry about the consequences of their mistakes. On the other hand, in high trust environment employees go the extra distance, stay accountable and responsible, and are confident that they can rectify their mistakes. A high trust environment can be created and will flourish when managers praise their employees and build their teams’ confidence.

Listen and Affirm Employee Concerns

Leaders sometimes tend to share the opinion that their perspective is the only one that counts which can lead them to the wrong path. Listen to and affirm the concerns of your team members and stand accountable for previously taken actions. The same applies to concerns about other employees’ work. Any misdirection should be followed by the mutual collaboration and development of an action plan going forward.

This will help your team members to understand the importance of accountability but at the same time, it will provide them with a realization that noticing the previously made mistakes and standing responsible for them will lead to a mutual solution. That is how you’ll achieve a more engagement in the work environment.

Communicate Constantly with Your Employees about Their Performance

Some of the most common obstacles to accountability for individuals are learned helplessness. Phrases such as “I’m not smart enough to get this right”, “This never would have happened if the team hadn’t abandoned me”, “This is just another example of senior leaders showing they don’t care about us” can become a regular excuse of employees who avoid being accountable. Deal with this obstacle by constantly discussing their performance and providing them with solutions on how to improve it. Don’t leave them space to find justification, create an environment where you only want to hear about suggestions and solutions.

Make employee’s accountable for their behavior by communicating on how to improve their current actions. It is of high importance that every feedback you give includes a praise as well, thus giving them the motivation to keep the current work-flow. Showing your team members that you pay attention to every individual’s work and that you care about their progress will evoke the feeling of accountability and increase the engagement.

Strategies for embedding a culture of accountability in the workplace

Lead by example – Senior Leaders need to demonstrate accountability each and every day – not just when things go well. If staff see the senior team playing a blame game or ‘duck the blame’ game, then they will too.

Set clear boundaries – It’s much easier to hold people to account if the boundaries are clear so that employees understand what is expected of them and are aware of what are acceptable standards and behaviours. Make sure they know what they are doing and what is required of them in accordance with their job description.

Develop managers skills – It is the way the manager handles making someone accountable and the way that is delivered that is the key. The focus should be on positive behaviours and not ‘telling off’, with the objective of improving accountability and performance. Make sure your managers have the capabilities to make people accountable in a positive manner by considering accountability training or 1-1 coaching sessions with managers.

Deal with those who reject personal accountability – Explain what personal accountability is about – don’t assume they know. Explore their views/fears on taking responsibility and find out what is stopping them from being personally accountable. Ask them for their ideas to help turn this around and identify what support you can give them. Document what they commit to doing and agree a timescale for them to change their behaviour. If things don’t improve then you can look to take steps towards formal action.

Challenge

Let’s split up challenge into two parts. First, there is the importance of collapsing time. A vital quality that great leaders demonstrate is that they will challenge employees to not only be productive today but also set achievable goals—and then help them reach those goals—for the coming years. One way to do that is to emphasize the importance of collapsing time.

Take, for example, Thomas Keller, chef and founder of two Michelin three-star restaurants, The French Laundry and Per Se. He says that early in his career, where he started as a dishwasher, he did as much as he could to finish the dishes efficiently so he could spend more time watching the chef de cuisine’s techniques. Put another way, Keller was collapsing time and then spending it on efforts that would help his later career.

The parallel to business shouldn’t go unnoticed. By helping employees focus on collapsing time (getting the work done that they need to do today but knowing what they want to achieve tomorrow), managers can help them prioritize the importance of developing future ideas—something critical because businesses are in a constant state of change and need to continuously innovate.

The other aspect of how leaders can challenge employees comes from a concept called achievable challenge, which is the idea that a manager stretches but doesn’t overwhelm employees. Think about it from the perspective of a video game. All players start at level 1. Those who demonstrate more dexterity move quickly to the next level and the one after that, with each getting successively harder until players reach their ultimate level. Video games are addictive because they challenge players with something new at each level that is just a little harder than the last but still within reach. Similarly, in organizations, it’s important for leaders to set challenges appropriately—ones that stretch employees but don’t encourage them to give up because it’s too far beyond their own capabilities.

Common Eye Care Tips An Eye Specialist

What You Need to Know About Eye Pain

Eye pain is common, but it’s rarely a symptom of a serious condition. Most often, the pain resolves without medicine or treatment. Eye pain is also known as ophthalmalgia.

Depending on where you experience the discomfort, eye pain can fall into one of two categories: Ocular pain occurs on the eye’s surface, and orbital pain occurs within the eye.

Eye pain that occurs on the surface may be a scratching, burning, or itching sensation. Surface pain is usually caused by irritation from a foreign object, infection, or trauma. Often, this type of eye pain is easily treated with eye drops or rest.

Eye pain that occurs deeper within the eye may feel aching, gritty, stabbing, or throbbing. This kind of eye pain may require more in-depth treatment.

Eye pain accompanied by vision loss may be a symptom of an emergency medical issue. Call your ophthalmologist immediately if you begin to lose your vision while experiencing eye pain.

What causes ocular pain?

The following may cause eye pain that originates on the surface of the eye:

Foreign object

The most common cause of eye pain is simply having something in your eye. Whether it’s an eyelash, a piece of dirt, or makeup, having a foreign object in the eye can cause irritation, redness, watery eyes, and pain.

Conjunctivitis

The conjunctiva is the tissue that lines the front of the eye and the underside of the eyelid. It can become infected and inflamed. Often, this is caused by an allergy or infection.

Though the pain is usually mild, the inflammation causes itchiness, redness, and discharge in the eye. Conjunctivitis is also called pink eye.

Contact lens irritation

People who wear contact lenses overnight or don’t disinfect their lenses properly are more susceptible to eye pain caused by irritation or infection.

Corneal abrasion

The cornea, the clear surface that covers the eye, is susceptible to injuries. When you have a corneal abrasion, you will feel as if you have something in your eye.

However, treatments that typically remove irritants from an eye, such as flushing with water, won’t ease the pain and discomfort if you have a corneal abrasion.

Injury

Chemical burns and flash burns to the eye can cause significant pain. These burns are often the result of exposure to irritants such as bleach or to intense light sources, such as the sun, tanning booths, or the materials used in arc welding.

Blepharitis

Blepharitis occurs when oil glands on the eyelid’s edge become infected or inflamed. This can cause pain.

Sty

A blepharitis infection can create a nodule or raised bump on the eyelid. This is called a sty or a chalazion. A sty can be very painful, and the area around the sty is usually very tender and sensitive to touch. A chalazion isn’t usually painful.

Cataracts

Cataracts happen to be another of the most widely existing eye problems. The formation of cloudy areas in the eye lens is referred as the cataracts. Light passes through a clear eye lens to your retina (just like a camera), where images are processed. With cataracts affecting your eye lens, light cannot pass through to the retina smoothly enough.

As a result, you are unable to see as clearly as people without cataracts and may also notice a halo or glare around lights at night.

Signs and Symptoms of Cataracts

Most of the times, the formation of cataracts is a slow process, lacking typical symptoms like pain, tearing or redness of eyes. Some other symptoms include:

  • Blurred, clouded or dim vision
  • Problem seeing at night
  • Problem seeing through light and glare
  • Seeing ‘halos’ around lights
  • Frequently changing contact lens prescription or eyeglasses
  • Faded view of colors

Treatment Options

Through early stages of cataracts, new eyeglasses, antiglare sunglasses, magnifying lenses and brighter lighting can help. If not, surgery turns out to be the only effective treatment, which involves removal and replacement of cloudy lens with an artificial one.

Dry eyes

Diagnosis

Tests and procedures that may be used to determine the cause of your dry eyes include:

A comprehensive eye exam. An eye exam that includes a complete history of your overall health and your eye health can help your doctor diagnose the cause of your dry eyes.

A test to measure the volume of your tears. Your doctor may measure your tear production using the Schirmer test. In this test, blotting strips of paper are placed under your lower eyelids. After five minutes your doctor measures the amount of strip soaked by your tears.

Another option for measuring tear volume is the phenol red thread test. In this test, a thread filled with pH-sensitive dye (tears change the dye color) is placed over the lower eyelid, wetted with tears for 15 seconds and then measured for tear volume.

A test to determine the quality of your tears. Other tests use special dyes in eyedrops to determine the surface condition of your eyes. Your doctor looks for staining patterns on the corneas and measures how long it takes before your tears evaporate.

A tear osmolarity test. This type of test measures the composition of particles and water in your tears. With dry eye disease, there will be less water in your eyes.

Tear samples to look for markers of dry eye disease, including elevated matrix metalloproteinase-9 or decreased lactoferrin.

Medications

Prescription medications used to treat dry eyes include:

  • Drugs to reduce eyelid inflammation. Inflammation along the edge of your eyelids can keep oil glands from secreting oil into your tears. Your doctor may recommend antibiotics to reduce inflammation. Antibiotics for dry eyes are usually taken by mouth, though some are used as eyedrops or ointments.
  • Eyedrops to control cornea inflammation. Inflammation on the surface of your eyes (cornea) may be controlled with prescription eyedrops that contain the immune-suppressing medication cyclosporine (Restasis) or corticosteroids. Corticosteroids are not ideal for long-term use due to possible side effects.
  • Eye inserts that work like artificial tears. If you have moderate to severe dry eye symptoms and artificial tears don’t help, another option may be a tiny eye insert that looks like a clear grain of rice. Once a day, you place the hydroxypropyl cellulose (Lacrisert) insert between your lower eyelid and your eyeball. The insert dissolves slowly, releasing a substance that’s used in eyedrops to lubricate your eye.
  • Tear-stimulating drugs. Drugs called cholinergics (pilocarpine, cevimeline) help increase tear production. These drugs are available as pills, gel or eyedrops. Possible side effects include sweating.
  • Eyedrops made from your own blood. These are called autologous blood serum drops. They may be an option if you have severe dry eye symptoms that don’t respond to any other treatment. To make these eyedrops, a sample of your blood is processed to remove the red blood cells and then mixed with a salt solution.

You Can Treat Some Eye Problems at Home

Many eye problems need an ophthalmologist’s medical knowledge. They have years of clinical and surgical training. But there are eye problems that you can treat safely at home, as long as they are simple. Here are a few problems that can respond to home treatment, with tried and true remedies.

Black eye

You can usually treat a black eye  at home. But if there are more serious symptoms of black eye, see an ophthalmologist. These signs include:

  • blurred vision;
  • blood in the eye; or
  • an inability to move the eye.

To reduce swelling and ease pain the first day, apply an ice pack to the eye for 15 to 20 minutes at a time, once every hour. If you don’t have an ice pack, use a bag of frozen vegetables or ice cubes wrapped in cloth. The cloth protects your skin from freezing. Don’t put a raw steak or other raw meat on your eye. Despite what you’ve seen on television and in the movies, there’s no scientific basis for this. In fact, the bacteria in raw meat poses a high risk of infection.

Pink eye (also known as conjunctivitis)

A virus causes most cases of pink eye. These cases don’t respond to antibiotics. Viral conjunctivitis will disappear on its own. Have your ophthalmologist diagnose your particular case. Reduce the discomfort of conjunctivitis by applying cool compresses to the eye.

If your conjunctivitis is bacterial, follow your treatment plan. This usually involves antibiotic eye drops. In either case, you should take steps to reduce the chance of passing the problem on to someone else. Conjunctivitis is highly contagious. Follow these tips to prevent the spread:

  • Don’t share towels, handkerchiefs or cosmetics.
  • Change pillowcases frequently.
  • Wash your hands often.

Eye allergy and seasonal allergy

Just as you can get nasal allergies, you can get eye allergies that leave your eye red, itchy and teary. Limiting your exposure to the source of your allergy — whether it’s pollen, pets or mold — can help relieve symptoms. If you can’t remove the source entirely, there are ways to reduce its effect with eye allergy treatments.

If pollen bothers you:

  • Don’t use a window fan, which can draw pollen into your house.
  • Wear sunglasses when you go outside.

If dust is the problem:

  • Use allergen-reducing covers for your bed.
  • Use artificial tears, which temporarily wash allergens from your eyes.
  • Use over-the-counter anti-allergy eye drops to lessen the symptoms.

Eye Injury Treatment

An object such as a piece of glass or metal is sticking out of the eye.

1. For Chemical Exposure

  • Don’t rub eyes.
  • Immediately wash out the eye with lots of water. Use whatever is closest — water fountain, shower, garden hose.
  • Get medical help while you are doing this, or after 15 to 20 minutes of continuous flushing
  • Don’t bandage the eye.

2. For a Blow to the Eye

  • Apply a cold compress, but don’t put pressure on the eye.
  • Take over-the-counter acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) for pain.
  • If there is bruising, bleeding, change in vision, or it hurts when your eye moves, see a doctor right away.

3. For a Foreign Particle in Eye

  • Don’t rub the eye.
  • Pull the upper lid down and blink repeatedly.
  • If particle is still there, rinse with eyewash.
  • If rinsing doesn’t help, close eye, bandage it lightly, and see a doctor.

Scorpion Control Exterminator

The Most Common Types of Scorpions

home to dozens of species of scorpions. While all scorpions have venom that they might use to capture their prey, not all scorpions have venom that is harmful to humans and animals

doesn’t have the largest scorpions in the world nor the deadliest scorpions in the world, but it does have a scorpion with a rather potent venom: the bark scorpion. At best, a sting from that scorpion can be rather annoying, or, at worst, the scorpion sting can be extremely painful with longer lasting effects

Deaths from scorpion stings are very rare. People who are prone to have allergic reactions to stings, and those with undeveloped or compromised immune systems (the very young and very old), may have strong or severe reactions. Small pets may also have adverse reactions.

Centruroides sculpturatus is the well-known bark scorpion. It is readily distinguished from all other scorpions in the area by having long, slender hands and fingers, along with a long, slender tail or metasoma. In the desert, it is typically uniform tan-yellow to orange; at higher elevations, it may be striped. When at rest, the metasoma is held at the side and coiled to where the sting is directed to the base of the fourth segment

Hadrurus arizonensis is the popular giant hairy scorpion, the largest scorpion in the United States. Hairy scorpions are just that: hairy. The metasoma and pedipalps are densely covered in setae (hairs). No other American scorpions have such a dense covering of setae on the appendages. The pedipalps and metasoma are also relative in size; not robust, not slender. Dorsal surface dark; appendages yellowish, appearing greenish due to slight fluorescence. Interocular area of carapace unpigmented in ​the crescent from median to lateral eyes.

Scorpion Control in Surprise

Pest Control, we’ve been providing scorpion control in Surprise and the surrounding areas since 2003! As a locally owned company and a proud part of our community, we know exactly how to handle whatever pests the desert throws our way!

scorpion control services go beyond just eliminating existing scorpions from your home and property. When you partner with Pest Control for your scorpion control needs, our team will:

Work to eliminate pests around your home that scorpions feed on, including insects, spiders, and mice.

Identify entry points that scorpions may be using to enter your home, offering custom recommendations to seal scorpions out and prevent future infestations.

Use only EPA-approved formulas to control populations of scorpions around your home, eliminating breeding sites and making your home less hospitable to scorpions.

We know that choosing a pest control company is a personal choice, and that’s why we set ourselves apart from our competitors by focusing on exceptional customer service. Every member of our team is trained to deliver service that exceeds your expectations so that you can feel comfortable knowing that we’re caring for your family and your home.

Same-Day Services

As part of our commitment to exceptional customer service, when you call before noon we will send one of our scorpion exterminators to your home the same day.

Free Inspections

When it comes to scorpions, out of sight isn’t necessarily out of mind. Our scorpion experts offer free inspections, using UV lights to seek out scorpions wherever they may be hiding on your property. Don’t let scorpions hide in your home with a free inspection

Protect Against the Bark Scorpion

The West Valley is home to many species of scorpions, like the Giant Hairy Scorpion, Stripetail Scorpion, and Yellow Ground Scorpion. But only one species in the western United States has venom that’s dangerous to humans

Scorpions

Identification

long, thin segmented bodies

long tails equipped with stingers

eight legs and pincer-like mouthparts

glow a fluorescent green/blue color under black light

Nesting Habits

spend the day resting underneath objects on the ground and come out at night to search for prey

seek dark protected areas to hide indoors

Diet

small arthropods

Significance

venom may cause swelling, inflammation, discoloration and pain

most scorpion stings are similar to bee or wasp stings

IPM Recommendations

Anyone stung by a scorpion should collect the scorpion and immediately contact a physician or the poison control center for medical instructions.

If scorpions are suspected in or around a structure, conduct a systematic inspection at night using a black light.

Find and seal any openings or crevices in exterior walls.

Repair leaky air conditioners or other outside water sources.

Prune trees and shrubs up and away from the ground.

Remove leaf litter, large mulch, debris and other harborage around buildings.

Install tight-fitting screens and weather stripping around windows and doors.

Scorpions

SCORPION IDENTIFICATION

Most scorpions found in the United States live in the warm, dry southwest and western regions of the country. More closely related to spiders and ticks than insects, these stinging pests look a lot like crabs. Depending on the species, scorpions vary in color from pale yellow-brown to nearly black. Most common types grow 2 to 3 inches long, but some species measure 8 inches or more.

Scorpions have eight legs and two large front pinchers that they use to hold their prey as they sting it. Their long, segmented tails end with a venom-filled stinger. Some scorpions curve their tails high over their backs, but others curve theirs to the side. While most scorpion stings aren’t life-threatening for humans, reactions can be painful and severe.

SIGNS OF SCORPIONS

Scorpions hide under rocks during the day and come out at night to eat creatures from insects to lizards, and even mice. Scorpions don’t damage plants, but they do unsettle people when they sneak into homes and surprise them.

To check your property for signs of scorpions, look for the pests — carefully — at night. Patrol your home’s perimeter with an ultra-violet “blacklight” flashlight. Because of a substance in their bodies, scorpions appear to glow under UV light. Be sure to look up as you patrol; some scorpions are very good climbers.

HOW TO CONTROL SCORPIONS

When you live in scorpion country, effective control means keeping these creatures away from your home and the people and pets inside. For best results, treat for scorpions late in the day, right before they come out to hunt at night.

How to Get Rid of Scorpions

Scorpion Quick Facts:

1. A full-size scorpion can squeeze into a crack the width of a credit card.

2. Adult scorpions can live six to eight months without food. A scorpion’s diet consists of live insects and their favorite food is crickets.

3. Female scorpions give birth to their babies alive; they do not lay eggs like other pests do. There are typically 20 – 30 babies born at one time. Immediately following birth, baby scorpions crawl onto their mother’s back where they will stay for about two weeks until they are ready to survive on their own.

Scorpion Control Best Practices:

Keeping a thorough and consistent barrier in place will help tremendously in your fight against scorpions. Come in and see us for all of the products and instructions you’ll need to stop scorpions dead in their tracks.

Outside

Apply micro-encapsulated spray to foundation of home.

Apply granules to perimeter of landscaped areas.

Dust hiding places with long lasting insecticide dust.

Inside

Apply low odor, nonstaining, fast knockdown spray to key target sites as needed.

Dust hiding places with long lasting insecticide dust.

Install insect monitoring devices to catch scorpions at critical entry points.

Keep a can of our plant-based, fast killing aerosol on hand for unexpected sightings

Additional Tips

Eliminate scorpion entry points and hiding places by:

Sealing cracks and crevices that are the width of a credit card or larger – scorpions can enter these areas and hide for months.

Adjust or replace weather stripping around exterior doors.

Install screens inside exhaust vent covers in laundry rooms and bathrooms.

Stack lumber and firewood piles away from the home and up off of the ground.

Remove leaf litter and bark chips next to the home.

Do not put large stones such as river rock or rip-rap next to the home – keep it at least six feet away.

Keep tree limbs, shrubs and bushes trimmed so they do not contact the home.

Eliminate moisture directly next to the home – leaking hose bibs and air conditioner condensation lines are sources to look for.

Quality Engine Rebuilding

How Do I Know If My Cambelt Needs Changing?

Does my cambelt need changing?

The cambelt is a rubber belt that controls the timing of your vehicle’s internal combustion engines. It performs a vital function by ensuring that the crankshaft and the camshaft rotate in synchronisation.

Unfortunately, like other vehicle components, your car’s cambelt will almost certainly need changing at some point. You can often tell when it needs a change, as you will notice your car performing unusually. In this article, we cover the main tell-tale signs that it’s time to get your cambelt replaced.

Noise

Sometimes, a cambelt will produce a loud noise when the car is running, this happens most often when the vehicle is first started and the engine is cold. The noise could be a squealing, hissing, grinding, rattling, chirping or rumbling kind of sound. Squealing is common for a loose belt, which can indicate wear and the need for replacement. If the belt is fairly new, yet is still making a noise, the driver should have the tension adjusted, but still have the belt visually checked for unusual wear.

Starting Issues

If there is an issue with the cambelt, your vehicle may not start at all. This is because without the belt, the camshaft will not rotate when the crankshaft turns. This can be diagnosed by watching the camshaft while turning the crankshaft. If the camshaft does not turn, the belt is broken.

Visual Check

Another way to check whether your cambelt needs replacing, is to take a look at the belt itself. If it is becoming worn, the belt will appear to look glazed or glossy on the underside. This means the rubber is getting hard and will not provide the flexibility the belt needs. Some signs are much more obvious, such as cracking or fraying. Belts with that kind of damage should be replaced immediately. A further way to check is to press a fingernail or the tip of a screwdriver gently onto the belt. If the pressure does not leave a mark, it means the rubber is becoming too stiff.

As the cambelt can be difficult to get to, a visual and physical check is best done by a professional.

Prevention

For obvious reasons, it’s recommended to carry out regular maintenance on your vehicle. Your mechanic will often notice wear to the cambelt when taking the car in for servicing. If the mechanic does mention replacing the timing belt, it’s best to follow his advice. Timing belt replacement is a whole lot better than timing belt repair. It is probably not a good idea to try to repair a timing belt unless it is a simple short-term belt to get you home. Replacing the cambelt will save you a lot of trouble and money in the future.

Checks To Keep Your Engine Fit and Functional

An engine is like the heart of a car. It needs to run smooth in order to keep your car moving. I can’t emphasize more on how important it is to keep the engine fit and functioning efficiently. Here are 10 engine maintenance tips that’ll help your engine run forever:

#1. Change engine oil at regular intervals

New engine oil being put in the vehicle

This is the least you can do. The engine oil keeps all moving parts well lubricated so that wear and tear is minimal. Also, it traps all the dust, dirt, and sediments, keeping them out of places they shouldn’t be. Check oil levels every month and top up if the level is low. Oil grade and change intervals are subject to the manufacturer’s recommendations. The oil filter is equally important as it filters all the junk from the oil and stops regulation back into the engine. This will ensure that you engine runs smooth and cool.

 #2. Keep check on the cooling system

Coolant being poured in the vehicle

Even though we have come a long way in terms of efficiency of a car engine, a lot of energy is lost during combustion in the form of heat. Metals and alloys, which your car engine is made out of, are not very good friends with heat. Always ensure there is ample coolant in the tank as it is very important for heat dissipation. A 1:1 ratio of coolant and distilled water is ideal. Also, it’s a good thing to look at the engine temp gauge on a hot sunny day and shut your car down in case it’s close to overheating.

#3. Let it breathe

 A used air filter taken out of the vehicle

Short of breath? Feeling tired? Your car’s engine needs oxygen as much as you do. A constricted air flow can cause the fuel to not burn completely, in turn increasing emissions and reducing mileage. Check the air filter and get it cleaned/ changed whenever you feel there is too much dirt and debris stuck to it. Your engine needs to breathe properly to function well and keep going.

#4. Look for leaks

Oil leaking out of a car

When you pull out of the driveway, stop and look at the parking spot for any fluids on the ground. If the fuel is leaking, you should visit the nearest mechanic and get it checked. You can also check under the hood to see or smell something leaking. Engine oil and antifreeze are fluids you should look out for when checking for leaks.

#5. Don’t keep going on reserve fuel

Fuel meter showing reserve fuel level

Petrol contains sediments which settle at the bottom of your tank. Years of running and there will be definitely a layer of crap which shouldn’t reach the engine. Running on low fuel pulls this junk into the fuel pump which could cause a lot of wear. Instead of just praying it doesn’t reach the engine, top up your tank and save yourself repair/ replacement cost of the fuel filter and pump.

How to Tell If You Have a Faulty ECU

The ECU, or engine control unit, is a major component of your car’s onboard computer. It’s used to regulate many systems and subsystems in your car’s engine, drive train and other major components. There are many symptoms that can be associated with a faulty ECU. Here are some ways to tell if yours is damaged or faulty.

The Check Engine Light Is On

If you vehicle’s check engine light remains on constantly, and never goes off, there’s a good chance that your vehicle has a faulty engine control unit. There are numerous reasons why a car’s check engine light will remain on. The most common reason is a problem with the ECU. If you notice that your check engine light is always on, take your in vehicle in for service and request that they check the engine control unit.

The Car Won’t Start

If your vehicle fails to start for no apparent reason, this is also a good indicator that there may be a problem with the ECU. If you check the car battery, starter and other common electrical components, and the vehicle still does not start, a faulty engine control unit should be the next logical thing to consider.

Other Common Symptoms

Many other symptoms can be associated with a faulty ECU. For example, poor performance or unexplained drops in fuel economy or efficiency are often related to onboard car computer problems, or faulty ECU issues.

A damaged ECU can cause problems when shifting gears in an automatic transmission, or cause sudden jerking or stopping that’s similar to transmission problems. If you experience jerking or stopping, you regularly maintain your transmission properly, and the vehicle has adequate levels of transmission fluid, then a faulty ECU should be suspect.

Signs Your Oil Needs Changing

Oil changes are a simple service appointment, but when performed regularly, they can help to extend your engine’s longevity and enhance its overall performance. So why do drivers delay or choose not to change their oil?Unfortunately, most people rely on mileage rather than oil change warning signs to let them know when it’s time to schedule a service appointment. As a result, their vehicles end up suffering from an overdue oil change longer than they should.Oil Change | Philadelphia, PAAt Montgomeryville Nissan near Philadelphia, PA, we want to help your car run like new for as long as possible. So we’ve created your guide to the top five signs that you need an oil change to make sure that you get your vehicle the care it deserves when it needs it most.

1. Dark and Dirty Oil

Clean oil is an amber color. After a while, the fluid darkens and gets dirty from all of the particles it collects from the engine.You won’t know exactly when its color starts to turn, so we recommend checking the condition of your oil every month. To do this, remove the dipstick from your engine, wipe it off, and put it back in. When you remove it again, if you can see the stick through the oil, the fluid is fine.

2. Louder Engine Noise and Knocking

Clean oil provides a thin barrier between engine parts that protects against metal-on-metal contact and keeps your engine quiet on your travels. However, when the fluid starts to break down, it doesn’t lubricate the parts as well so you’ll hear louder engine noise.If you ignore the increased engine sounds, you’ll start to hear knocking, rumbling, and even roaring to let you know that your vehicle is in dire need of an oil change.

3. Oil Change or Check Engine Light

An illuminated oil change light on your vehicle’s dashboard indicates that there’s too little oil in the system. So once you see this light, check your oil level with the dipstick and if it’s insufficient, change your oil as soon as possible. In more serious instances, your check engine light will turn on to let you know your vehicle is at high risk of engine damage due to the lack of fluid or damaged parts.

4. Exhaust Smoke

It’s common to see a translucent vapor coming out your tailpipe when the weather gets colder. But if you notice smoke being emitted, check your oil because there could be an oil leak in your engine.Smoke can also indicate faulty parts in your engine. So if you see there’s enough oil in your vehicle, have a professional perform diagnostics to pinpoint the problem and repair it immediately.

5. Oil Smell Inside the Cabin

Getting a whiff of oil inside the cabin is a huge warning sign. Generally, the odor is strong and means there’s a leak. However, this scent can also be mixed with the smell of gas or exhaust fumes. This indicates that your vehicle is overheating and oil is burning into the exhaust area.An overheating engine can cause serious damage to your car and even ignite a fire. So once you smell oil inside your car, get an oil change right away.

How often should you check your car oil?

Checking and topping up your engine oil is one of the most important car maintenance tasks. But it’s also one of the simplest to do by yourself.

In your annual car service, the mechanic will drain the old oil, replace the oil filter and re-fill with new oil. But you can check your oil and top it up yourself in minutes.

We recommend that you don’t wait until your yearly service. Check your oil yourself every few weeks and especially before long journeys, using our essential car maintenance tips.

If you’ve bought a car and the service history’s not clear, it’ll be hard to know when the oil was last changed. In that case, it’s better to be safe than sorry, so ask your garage to do an oil and filter change.

Mistakes To Avoid When Carrying Out A Luxury Home Remodeling

Data Watch: Renovation Firms Continue Long Optimistic Streak

Renovation professionals feel strongly optimistic about the demand for their services in the third quarter of 2017, according to the latest Renovation Barometer report. The quarterly index tracks optimism among architects, designers, general contractors and remodelers, design-build firms, building and renovation specialty firms, and landscape and outdoor specialty firms.

Renovation industry firms have maintained scores above 50 since started tracking this measure of economic health three years ago. Scores higher than 50 indicate that there are more firms reporting that business activity is higher than firms reporting it is lower in a given quarter compared with the prior quarter.

As the housing supply has tightened and prices have risen in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, many people have chosen to remodel their existing homes rather than move to new ones, and that has been an ongoing boon to the renovation industry.

Architects and designers are feeling confident. Architecture firms posted a reading of 62 for the third quarter of 2017; designer firms, 65. Both scores are slightly below the levels for these groups during the second quarter of 2017, but that is to be expected given the shift of the seasons. The scores for architects and designers are close to the levels of one year earlier, indicating fairly stable demand.

General contractors and remodelers posted high scores. General contractors and remodelers posted a reading of 71, and design-build firms 67, in the third quarter of this year. Both scores dipped a bit from the second quarter, but again, that is to be expected with the shift in seasons.

Tile Trends: Styles You Need to Know

Tile is ever-changing, and today’s latest trends, driven in part by new manufacturing methods and printing technologies, are opening up a whole new world of covetable looks. We’re seeing a push toward new and innovative ways of combining different products, using tiles to create bold geometric shapes or to evoke an understated luxury with soft, organic lines and nature-inspired textures.

Thanks to the incredible diversity of products on the market today, decorating with tiles is a much freer exercise than it was 10 to 20 years ago. “There are so many different looks you can bring through with tiles, and everyone’s able to introduce a little bit of their personality to their homes, which is fun,”

It’s hip to be square … and hexagonal and rhomboid. In 2017, tiles are all about shape: Hexagon, rhomboid, rectangle, diamond, fish-scale, round and even wavy tiles are adorning kitchen backsplashes, bathroom walls and floors.

Use grout to dress tiles up or down. For a bold, graphic look, a contrasting grout will highlight the form of the tiles and really bring out the pattern,

And if you love the look of shaped tiles but you’re unsure if you want to take them across a whole wall, consider using them to pick out key architectural features, such as wall recesses or the area around a vanity.

What Lies Beneath That Old Linoleum Kitchen Floor?

Some might say that renovating an old home is like slicing through an onion. It can make you cry, and it reveals itself in layers. The latter is especially true of many kitchen floors in these homes, where layer upon layer of linoleum, vinyl or other resilient flooring material was installed throughout decades of use. Curious homeowners, or those who have remodeled or moved a wall, have likely discovered that wood often lies beneath it all.

Let’s be clear: Turning a subfloor into a finished floor is not for everyone and not suitable for every project. But under the right circumstances, when given the opportunity to expose and enjoy old-growth wood floors, you can end up with something pretty special. “There’s a gratifying experience to pulling something like this off,”

The wood planks, typically 3 to 5 inches wide and three-quarters to 1 inch thick, would be nailed onto the floor joists as tongue-and-groove boards or straight boards, often running on a diagonal to better tie into the structure. Material availability and increased labor costs mean that these plank subfloors are no longer used in home construction.

Where you’ll find a wood-plank subfloor. Your first step in determining your subfloor’s construction is knowing the age of your house. “A home built around or prior to the 1960s is more likely to have a wood-plank subfloor, rather than plywood,”

It’s easy to check for a wood-plank subfloor without tearing up your finished floor. If you have a crawl space or basement without a finished ceiling, you can look up from below the floor. If you have a floor register, you can pull that up for a cross-section of your floor. This is something a professional can help you with. The challenge is assessing your subfloor’s condition, which will determine whether it can be used as a finished floor. You won’t fully know this until you expose the entire subfloor.

Data Watch: How Much Building Permits Cost and How Long They Take

If you’re looking to start a renovation project that may require a building permit, you might be interested to know that more than half of homeowners report paying $500 or less in total fees for their permits, according to the results of a new survey. Of course, we can’t promise that your permit fees will be similar, as a small slice of homeowners report paying more than $5,000 to get their permits.

The numbers come from a survey of 294 users who were either preparing to apply for a building permit or who had applied for one in the last two years and had their application in review or already approved. Read on to find out what else they said about the permit process.

Kitchen and bath projects lead permit requests. Kitchen and bathroom remodels are the most common projects requiring permits, followed by interior remodels and additions. This may come as no surprise given that kitchens and bathrooms are the most popular remodels people undertake

How much does it cost? More than half of homeowners — both first-time applicants and experienced ones — report paying $500 or less in fees for an approved permit. A little less than one-fifth of each group reports paying between $501 and $1,000. And a small minority spends far more: 1 percent of first-time applicants and 3 percent of experienced ones say they pay more than $5,000 in total fees for an approved permit. Let’s hope you fall into the majority on this one.

How long does it take? It’s not the typical experience, but some permits are approved the same day they are submitted, according to the survey results.

How to Make Your Home Safe and Dry After Flooding

have a long road ahead of them. Hopefully that road stays dry. Cleaning, demolition, drying and rebuilding can take months, even years. Right now, two weeks after the start of the tropical storm, Houstonians and others are in the process of removing everything from their homes, demolishing the waterlogged drywall, disinfecting and letting everything dry out as quickly as possible.

Here, he offers tips to homeowners on how to proceed once the waters recede. Be sure to check out his video below for more instructions. We’ve also included advice from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Red Cross and Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Keep Calm

First, don’t get overanxious. Your house needs time to dry out. Realize that the process of demolition and rebuilding will take time — months, even years — so settle in for a long haul. It can be stressful, so try to prepare for it and seek help or counseling if needed.

Document everything with photos and video for an insurance claim. But says not to wait for an adjuster to show up before you start working on getting your house dry. “If your house is closed up for two to three weeks, mold can start growing everywhere,” he says. Within two to three days of water receding, you should return to your home to remove everything that was touched by water.

Who Can Help?

Most homeowners will tackle the initial stages of clearing out water-soaked furniture, appliances and carpet, as well as removing drywall. This is a pretty straightforward task, easy enough for the average homeowner

The Difference Between Shingle And Tile Roof

Do you need felt under roof tiles?

What Does Roofing Felt Do & What Are The Benefits

Well, the original purpose for using roofing felt was to be a temporary waterproof roof whilst homeowners would have to build their own roofs. This method has been used for over one hundred years. When homeowners would remove the shingles off their roof on a weekend, the roofing felt would serve as a waterproof cover. This would temporarily protect their home from water damage over the following week so that the next weekend they could put the new shingles up.

What does roofing felt do

While people are debating on whether roofing felt – otherwise known are tar paper – is still necessary, here are a few reasons why it is still useful. While roofers workers are up fixing the shingles to the roof, the roofing felt creates a safer layer for them to work on, helping to make it less likely that they could slip. By covering your home with roofing felt, your home is temporarily protected from the weather depending on how long it takes to build the roof, creating a waterproof barrier between you and any rain that could potentially come. Another handy advantage is that the roofing felt does temporarily dry once the roof is up and complete.

Assessing the performance of a roof

It is important that a holistic approach is adopted for the performance of a building to be understood, as the roof and walls cannot be taken in isolation: they are an integral part of the building and have an active and continuing relationship with the rest of the building, its environment and its occupants.

The two most commonly encountered ways in which the performance of the roof of an old building has been dramatically and detrimentally altered are by the introduction of insulation and impervious roofing felt.

Typical effects of introducing insulation and impervious roofing felt

  • The introduction of insulation over a ceiling creates a ‘cold roof’ (see diagram, below).
  • Roofing felt significantly reduces the air movement in the roof space.
  • Moist air from the accommodation readily finds its way into the roof space through the ceiling and holes in ill-fitting hatches.
  • The amount of evaporation that can take place within the roof is considerably reduced by the introduction of the roofing felt.
  • Increased amounts of dampness and moist air are now present within the roof space.
  • The timbers in the roof space are therefore increasingly subjected to the conditions conducive for active fungal decay and wood boring insect infestation.
  • Any drop in the air temperature provides the atmospheric conditions for the condensation of the moist air to take place.
  • The impervious roofing felt provides a high level of resistance to the passage of water vapour and a cold contact surface upon which warm moist air can condense. In these circumstances the rafters in contact with the felt may remain damp most of the time, causing the surface of the rafter to become stained and, in the worst case, rotten.

TYPICAL INSULATION DEFECTS

  • Insulation laid so that it covers the eaves, significantly reduces ventilation to the roof.
  • Insulation is often laid in contact with the roofing felt. Where the felt is impervious any contact condensation will run down the felt and make the insulation damp.
  • Many modern insulation quilts such as fibreglass, in comparison with alternatives that are now readily available, retain moisture. Where an impervious roofing felt has been used, this type of insulation may not dry out readily. In the worst case the insulation becomes a soggy mass at the bottom, causing the feet of the rafters and the ends of the joists to decay.

This brief overview of some of the problems that can be encountered where the roof of an old building has been provided with a secondary barrier and insulation, illustrates that there is a need to evaluate the influence that any changes in the traditional ‘breathing’ performance of the roofs of old buildings is having.

Why use roofing felt paper?

Roofing experts have discovered that adding a layer of protection between your structural roof decking (the layer of wood that covers your rafters) and your roof shingles helps create a better-looking and longer-lasting roof. In fact, there are a number of important ways roofing felt not only protects your roof, but also your residence. For example:

  • It repels water

Wind-driven rain or snow can trap water under your shingles, putting your roof deck and inner residence at risk of moisture damage, leaks, rot and mold. Roofing felt helps ensure the water drains off the roof – and doesn’t leak into your home.

  • It provides backup protection in the event of ice or water damage

In northern climates, ice or snow dams are another common cause of residential water damage. When the heat from your home melts snow or ice on your roof, the water can then seep into your roof’s nooks and crannies and ultimately into your residence, causing damage to ceilings, walls, or insulation. Your best protection against an ice dam is an ice and water protection membrane which can seal around the shanks of the roof fasteners for a leak-resistant fit. However, roofing felt offers additional protection against leakage, providing an extra layer of water resistance.

  • It provides extra weather protection

Although your shingles are your roof’s first line of defense against the elements, having a backup layer of weather protection underneath helps extend the life of your roof deck. And, in the event of a major weather event that breaks your shingles loose, the roofing felt guards your wood deck against rain and water until the shingles can be replaced.

  • Roofing felt may be necessary for use with your shingles to meet a Class A fire rating

When shingles are evaluated for their fire ratings, it is done on a small test deck with the roofing felt underlayment in place – without this underlayment, the shingles alone may not meet the Class A fire requirements. Be sure to choose felt underlayments that are approved and compatible with the overlying shingles and therefore comply with building codes. Look for industry standard compliances such as ASTM International or Canadian Standards Association (CSA) references on the product label.

  • It protects your roof deck while you work on it

Roofing felt prevents the deck from being exposed to the elements before, or while, the shingles are being applied.

  • It improves look and uniformity

Because your roof deck might not lie perfectly straight or flat, a layer of roof paper gives an even, uniform surface upon which you can install your shingles. It can help prevent the “picture framing” effect, or the pattern of your wood decking telegraphing through your shingles, by providing an extra layer on top of uneven wood.

  • It prevents wood resin stains

When you use certain types of wood to construct your deck, there is sometimes a risk the wood will leach small amounts of resin over time as it ages. Having a layer of roof felt will block the resin, preventing it from staining or compromising your roof shingles.

ROOF FELT AS A MOISTURE BARRIER

A great benefit to roofing felt is that it can also act as a moisture barrier. When the hot air is rising through the house and reaches the roof, any moisture in the air that condenses on the underside of the shingles, will get caught by the roofing felt. This helps to prevent any damage being done to the wood decking in the long run. The moisture barrier in a roof is highly important nowadays since the way houses are now built with certain extras such as double glazing making air circulation more of a problem. We spend so much time in our homes and throughout cooking, bathing along with all of the occupants in the house breathing, a lot of water moisture gets built up and needs to find a way out. This brings us to the question of the types of roofing felt that we should use.

Is felt waterproof?

The answer is Yes felt is waterproof, the sarking felt which is laid over support rafters or counter battens, beneath the tile or slate battens provides waterproofing. The main purpose of sarking felt is to provide waterproofing to the felt, this stops damage internally creating a barrier and stopping cracked/broken tiles it also helps as an insulation factor for the building.

A Quick Guide In Choosing An Auto Repair Shop

What are the benefits of an auto mechanic?

According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, automotive mechanics average about $41,000 per year as of May 2016, but pay depends on the skill level of the applicant. The job market for this field is expected to grow roughly six percent per year until 2026, which puts auto mechanic job growth on par with related fields. Around 31 percent of auto mechanics were employed at automotive dealerships in 2016, while around 27 percent worked for automotive repair and maintenance shops. Dealerships are likely to offer stronger auto mechanic benefits, but private garages may offer unofficial benefits dealerships cannot or will not.

Salary and Bonuses

Experienced automotive technicians should expect a median pay rate of about $38,470 annually, which translates to between $18 and $19 per hour. The top 10 percent of mechanics made $64,070 or more annually with the bottom 10 percent earning $21,470. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, many auto mechanics also collect a commission depending on the volume of work completed for the week, so experienced workers can bring home a much larger paycheck than inexperienced workers who require more time to complete a task.

Insurance and Retirement

Dealerships are likely to offer the most comprehensive benefits, including a 401k plan for retirement and health insurance plans. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, auto mechanics suffer a higher than average injury rate, with minor cuts and bruises fairly common, so insurance benefits are designed to fit the risks. Larger dealerships are likely to offer additional auto mechanic benefits such as tool reimbursement and paid holidays. Most shops also require a mechanic to wear a uniform, and some employers cover that cost.

Education Requirement and Reimbursement

Auto mechanics should possess at least a General Education Diploma (GED) or high school diploma. Extensive on-site training is to be expected, and a certificate from the National Institute for Automotive Excellence will help applicants find work. Having certification status often leads to higher paying jobs, but some employers make certification a requirement and refuse to hire mechanics without it. If the applicant works with refrigerants, a license may be required by the Environmental Protection Agency. These education costs might be covered by a dealership or garage, but the applicant is encouraged to call ahead if unsure.

Learn Preferred Methods and the Best Techniques

Working on cars is a time-consuming process. You may find yourself lacking in knowledge of advanced techniques if you’ve learned everything on your own. This could save you time in the end. You’ll be able to move more quickly from one job to the next. In addition, learning the proper techniques to repair will make your work more reliable and trustworthy. This is important even if you’re simply working on your own vehicles.

Good wage potential

The average salary for auto mechanics in 2017 was $39,550 with the lowest 10% making less than $21,470 and the highest 10% making over $64,070 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Typically, auto mechanics earn less as they are starting out with the ability to earn more with more experience and training. Therefore, if you are unsatisfied with your wages, you can always go earn more ASE certifications to demand a higher pay. Along with that, you can always specialize in a specific manufacturer or repairs.

Doing what you love

It is utmost important to do what you love. With passion, comes great energy and the will to learn. Being an auto technician enables you to work on cars and even cars that you love. You get to be around cars every day; all kinds of cars. On a side note, you can also work on your own car! You are your own technician. That being said, you can save tons of money on repair works.

Career Stability

The auto industry is definitely one of the most stable industry around. Consumers in general do not change their cars often as it is expensive. However, repair and maintenance of a vehicle still needs to be done by a professional and they can’t possible run away from the problem. The need for professionals to repair and maintain cars remain relatively constant as cars are still the primary transportation for many out there. On a side note, many companies are always on the look-out for skilled auto technicians and the demand is still growing strong.

Helping others

By doing your job, you are also helping people. You fix problems! Your family and friends will need your assistance when it comes to their cars. Don’t look at that as a negative but rather a positive. Believe in good karma, always!

Ability to work on own projects

This is perhaps one of the best things about being a mechanic. You will have the freedom to work on your own personal vehicles which will allow you to keep your vehicles pristine for a fraction of the cost. Along with that, you can even start buying junkers and flipping them to sell for a profit, bringing you even more income. If you own your own shop, you will have no problem accessing your shop equipment to perform personal work. But, if you do not own the shop, make sure you ask the owner if you can work on personal projects after-hours.

Is Your Wedding Photographer A Real Pro

Essential Equipment for Beginner Wedding Photographers

Even though you may be new to wedding photography, it’s very important to have a good DSLR, several lenses and a flash. An entry-level DSLR will suffice when shooting your first weddings, and for use as a backup camera. However, you should consider investing in high-quality equipment for the long run, especially if you plan to shoot weddings professionally.

To begin with, you can rent much of the equipment you’ll need.  Rental prices for a DSLR body range from about $50 – $200 / day, and many lenses can be rented from about $10 – $25 / day. Some rental departments offer a multi-day or weekend discount. Renting is a great way to go when you can’t afford the initial outlay of cash that professional camera equipment requires, and it will give you the opportunity to try out equipment before purchasing it. Renting several days before the big event will give you the opportunity to familiarize yourself with the camera gear you plan to use.

DSLR Body

Many professional wedding photographers use full-frame digital cameras, which are becoming more common in today’s marketplace. Full-frame DSLRs offer excellent image quality in low-light situations, as well as great wide-angle capabilities. Some wedding and event photographers use more economical DSLRs with smaller sensors, which also have great imaging and AF features. Their smaller sensor size also offers greater magnification than those with full-frame sensors for telephoto work

Video

Because of the rising popularity of videography at weddings and other important events, most of today’s DSLRs incorporate video. It’s possible for the wedding photographer to shoot brief video clips on his/her primary camera, but it’s better to have a second person shooting video with a DSLR or camcorder. The videographer also needs a fluid head tripod, remote microphone system and/or audio recorders. Just as with still photography, it’s important to document all the important events at a wedding.

Lenses

A maximum aperture of f/2.8 or wider is important for gathering light in dimly lit situations and for shallow depth of field. You may need to shoot in low light in a church where flash would be disruptive to the ceremony. Some wedding photographers utilize several prime (single focal-length) lenses, while others use zoom lenses that cover a broad range of focal lengths. You can cover the spectrum of wedding photo opportunities with three zoom lenses—a wide-angle zoom, a wide-to-telephoto zoom, and a telephoto lens.

A Complete Guide To Choosing The Right Wedding Photographer, From A Pro In The Know

Weddings are a nightmare. Well, okay, that’s not explicitly true; a wedding has the potential to be one of the most glorious celebrations of love and friendship that you can ever experience, but achieving harmony between all the moving parts that go into wedding planning can be a monumental task.

Possibly the biggest challenge, besides saving up a lot of money, is that you’re relying on all your various relatives to come together in the same room and get on with each other for a full day. When you’re not juggling requests about who they’d rather not sit next to, you’re fielding their opinions on every single detail from the dress through to the champagne.

There are some that will caution you to budget more for your wedding photographer than for your wedding dress, as a good photographer can make a cheap dress look good and not vice versa. There are others, though, who blindly assume that because everyone, including Auntie Janet, can operate an iPhone these days, there’s no need to draft in a pro.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the right approach is probably on neither the ‘bankruptcy’, nor the ‘just wing it’ end of the scale. That being said, finding the right photographer for your event can still be quite a big project.

Undoubtedly, for one of the most important days of your life, you’ll need to turn to a professional wedding photographer to capture the moment. That’s a given. But which wedding photographer to choose? And how to go about establishing the best relationship with them?

Not-so-Obvious Things Photographers Should Bring to a Wedding

As a working photographer, your essential gear list is probably emblazoned on your heart. You know exactly what gear goes into your photographer’s tool bag and maybe even have a backup bag packed with duplicate gear, because you know it’s better to be safe than sorry. But if you really want to be prepared, especially when shooting for hours at a wedding, you’ll want to bring along some extra goodies to help you get through the day and deliver a stellar client experience.

Important Information

Phone numbers, venue names, and addresses are all essential bits of info you need to have on hand before and at the wedding. Have the couple provide the names of venues and the specific addresses, as well as addresses for any other places you’ll visit, like the couple’s home or photo locations.

Photo Shot List and Wedding Timeline

The day of the wedding is not the time to wing it. Show up prepared with a detailed list of formal shots your couple has requested and approved and a wedding day timeline to help you stay on track. On your wedding questionnaire or at the pre-wedding meeting, have your couple provide you with a list of the bride and groom’s immediate family, a list of family photos they would like, and the names of each person in the group. You can also discuss with the couple when and where to do the formal shots.

Layers/Extra Clothes

You never know what the weather will do or what a venue’s temperature will be set at, so bring a rain jacket, a sweater in case the AC is cranked up, and/or an extra set of clothes in case of an emergency. You might also consider packing a pair of comfortable shoes to slip on later in the day.

Business Cards

You never know where you’ll meet a potential customer, so it’s a good idea to have a stack of business cards in your bag

BRIDAL DETAILS CHECKLIST

You have a million things to think about, plan and prepare for your wedding day. Things are going to fall through the cracks and you will forget stuff. I am hoping this bridal details checklist makes your life a little easier! It will be one less thing you have to stress about the week of your wedding.

Photographing the bridal details is not only the very first thing I photograph on every wedding day, but it is always one of my favorite things! The more details the better! Starting my day off this way gives me plenty of time to get warmed up, sneak a few pictures of the bride and bridesmaids getting ready, and allow everyone to adjust to me being around. This part of the day is so important because it tells the story of your wedding day and allows for everyone to get warmed up without being rushed in front of the camera.

After I arrive, greet everyone with hugs, I get settled in and immediately ask for the following details :

Dress (Don’t forget a pretty hanger!)

Rings (His, Hers & of course the engagement ring)

Ring box

Veil & Hairpiece

Shoes

Earrings

Necklace

Other Jewelry

Keepsake

Perfume

Invitations (Full invitation suite & save the date)

Bouquets & boutonnieres

Gifts 

These are a few of my favorite details to photograph but really you can include anything for your wedding day! These are just the most common details that most all brides & grooms have. The best way to keep all of these details organized is to have a designated bag or box the week of your wedding. As you are packing everything, you can place all of the details in the same area and it makes it super easy to find everything on the wedding day.

For dress shots, a custom hanger isn’t necessary but a pretty wooden hanger would make a huge difference. You spent a lot of money on your wedding dress, took all of your favorite girls with you to find the perfect dress, it deserves to be photographed on something better than a plastic hanger!

THINGS YOUR WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER WISHES YOU KNEW

Hire a photographer whose photography style you like

Wedding photographers can have a variety of different shooting styles such as photojournalism/documentary, traditional, and fine art (or be a mix of a few), as well as different editing styles (light & airy, bold & vibrant, dark & moody, etc). It’s important to understand the differences between all the styles and which one you and your future spouse like the best. Be sure to do your research  and know what style calls to you before booking a photographer. That way  you don’t end up with someone whose style doesn’t work for you.

It’s important to establish a relationship with your wedding photographer

Get to know your wedding photographer! After all, they’re going to be snapping photos of you two on the most important day of your life. They’ll want to get to know you as a couple, from how you interact with each other, your cute quirks, and the way you show affection towards one another. Understanding these things about a couple prior to the wedding day helps the photographer capture the little moments that make your big day so special. I personally like to meet a few times before the wedding so that we have that opportunity (consultation, engagements, timeline meetings, etc).

Engagement sessions are important

You have a trial run for your hair and makeup and you try on your dress a number of times before wearing it on the big day, so why wouldn’t you do a practice run with your photographer? Engagement sessions allow you to get comfortable in front of the camera and allows your photographer to get used to photographing you both. When you see the images it will give you an idea of what your wedding day pictures will look like. Still not convinced? Here are a few reasons you should have an engagement session.

Your photographer doesn’t need a shot list

It might seem like a helpful idea to give your wedding photographer a list of all the moments you want captured, but it actually ends up stifling the photographer’s creativity. On the big day things are moving quickly and trying to organize everyone for photos is stressful enough without having to worry about a checklist. You can actually miss out on the candid moments when you’re too busy double-checking the shot list.; and candid photos end up being some of the best! Photographers are experienced professionals and they’ve shot enough weddings to know what kinds of images couples want. Have a general chat before the wedding day about any moments you definitely want pictures of, especially things we may not know about, but providing a detailed list isn’t necessary.

Chat about the wedding day timeline

The wedding day timeline is largely based off the photography timeline. Your wedding photographer (or planner if you have one!) is likely an expert in creating these and can be a helpful resource for this part of your planning. They know exactly how long family, wedding party and couples portraits take and can help plan out the day accordingly. The bigger your family and the bigger the wedding party, the longer pictures are going to take, so keep that in mind when you’re planning out your day.