Is Your Carpet Going to Last?

The average carpet lasts 12 years, and someday you’re going to have to replace yours. But maybe you’re hoping that today isn’t the day. You’re hoping that a thorough professional cleaning might restore your carpet’s youthful brightness and spring. Could it happen? The answer may depend on the type of carpeting you have. When it comes to a carpet’s durability and resilience, the material can make all the difference.

The most common carpet fiber is nylon, which is also the strongest and longest-lasting; it should rebound after a cleaning. Other common carpeting materials are more likely to show their age; examples include polyester, acrylic, rayon, and Olefin. But chances are, if your carpet’s old enough to show its wear, you probably don’t remember what material it’s made of.

Fortunately, my friends at the local Chem-Dry gave me some insight. As it turns out, it’s pretty easy to determine what kind of carpeting you’ve got – even if you’re not one of the best carpet cleaners here in Tacoma. All you’ll need are some scissors, a lighter, tweezers, and a sensitive nose. Here’s what you do:

Cut free a small strand of carpet from a place where it won’t be missed. Bring the strand outside, somewhere burning material may safely drop. Also bring along a lighter and some tweezers. Capture the strand in your tweezers, light it on fire, and then bring it close enough to detect its odor – the key to identifying the material. Don’t breathe too deeply, as some fumes are hazardous.

When burned, more than likely, your strand will melt – that’s means you’ve got a synthetic carpet. The burning strand will probably also have a unique smell. Here are basic descriptions of the odors you’re likely to notice, along with their corresponding materials:

• Plastic or celery – nylon
• Chemical, slightly sweet – polyester
• Chemical, like asphalt or candle wax – Olefin
• Strong, acrid, chemical, fishy – acrylic
• Burning paper, wood, or leaves – rayon
• Chemical, slightly sweet – polyester
• Burning hair, charred meat – wool
• Chemical, slightly sweet – polyester
• Chemical, slightly sweet – Sorona

What if your carpet strand doesn’t melt? If instead of melting, it just breaks apart, your carpets are made from natural fibers like seagrass, coir, jute, sisal, or wool – most likely the latter. If you do have a wool carpet, you’re lucky: Wool is a premium material that offers superior texture retention and resilience; it’s likely to recover well after a cleaning.

No matter what kind of carpet you have, regular vacuuming and occasional deep cleanings will help to extend its lifespan. Vacuuming will help to remove abrasive grit that can damage carpet fibers. Deep cleanings – preferably from your local Chem-Dry – are needed to remove dirt, grit, and grime that are too deeply embedded for a vacuum to reach.

Are Replacement Windows a Sound Investment?

Some consider window replacements to be vanity projects – something that will make a home more beautiful, but provide little in the way of practical benefit. But this isn’t true at all – windows provide a great deal of value. A more sensible to look at window replacement is to evaluate it as an investment. Let’s look at some of the returns on investment that new windows can provide:

Energy Savings

Today’s replacement windows do more than provide a view: They help to manage the temperature inside your home. Special coatings on window glass are very effective at reflecting away heat – or trapping it – when needed; these can coatings vary depending on factors such as your climate, your home’s orientation to the sun, your heating and air system, and more. After evaluating your home, your window professional will help you select the right window and coating for each place on your home.

The goal is to minimize the amount of work heating and air systems have to do to maintain a comfortable temperature. If your home is more likely to overheat in the summer than freeze in the winter, the window coating will reflect away more heat; you’ll require less air conditioning. In colder climates, windows will allow in more heat, so your heater will have less work to do. The money you save on each month’s energy bill will offset your initial investment in the replacement windows.

Curb Appeal

Replacement windows can provide a cleaner, more modern look for both your home’s interior and exterior. This is truer today more than ever, as window manufacturers offer a dizzying array of styles, colors, and finishes. (Thankfully window manufacturers also offer tools that help potential buyers visualize how windows would look on a particular home; Renewal by Andersen of Central NC is one example.)

Choosing the right replacement windows can boost any home’s curb appeal. And curb appeal doesn’t just matter to you: It matters to potential home buyers. Boost your home’s curb appeal, and you’re likely to attract more potential buyers. Attract more potential buyers, and you’re likely to receive competitive offers – you can see where this is headed…

Impact on Home Value

It should be no surprise that a more comfortable, more energy-efficient, and more attractive home is worth more money. The question is, how much more? Per cnbc.com, a $10,000 expenditure on new windows can yield an $8,500 increase in asking price. Looking at it another way, this expenditure on new windows would be equivalent to increasing your home equity by $8,500; you make 85% of your investment back right away.

Now let’s revisit your energy savings return on investment. Per energystar.gov, replacing single pane windows with ENERGY STAR windows can save between $126 and $465 a year. Splitting the difference yields a figure of about $300 per year; at this rate of savings, you’ll make up the remainder of your original investment back in five years – just a fraction of the projected lifespan of replacement windows.

When you add it up, replacement windows are a sound investment – not to mention one you get to enjoy each and every day.

Get your AC Checked Before it’s Too Late!

Spring is quickly starting to shift into summer here in Richmond, VA. As daily temperatures rise, it’s important to make sure your home’s air conditioning is in peak condition. As anyone who lives in Virginia can tell you, summer can be absolutely brutal, and you don’t want your air conditioning to cut out during the hottest part of the year.

The sad truth about air conditioning maintenance is that most people don’t think about getting their system checked until it has already broken down. Wouldn’t you rather make sure your HVAC system is working with a routine maintenance check and skip the part where you’re lying on your couch in the middle of August, bathed in sweat, waiting for someone to come perform emergency repairs on your air conditioning unit? I certainly would. If that’s not enough to convince you, here are some other reasons to get your AC checked before summer hits.

Avoid Small Problems Becoming Big Issues

Most experts recommend getting your HVAC system checked in the fall and spring to ensure that your system doesn’t encounter any problems during the hottest and coldest parts of the year. The hotter it gets, the harder your air conditioning has to work. When pushed to the extreme, small problems that would have been easily fixable can turn into larger issues that can cause damage to other parts of your unit.

When homeowners neglect to have routine maintenance performed for their HVAC systems, it can lead to a number of problems:

  • Needing Surprise Repairs – It’s much easier to plan financially for a routine maintenance check. Most HVAC technicians have a flat rate for an AC check-up, but if your system breaks down, it could end up costing far more than a maintenance visit.
  • Having to Replace Your HVAC System – This is one of the worst-case scenarios when it comes to AC repairs. Frequently, the problems that technicians catch on a maintenance visit can be fixed quickly, but if left unchecked, could cause a premature system failure. In some cases, this can only be fixed by replacing your current system, which usually comes with a hefty price tag.
  • Mold – When central air systems break down in areas with high humidity (like Virginia, for instance) it can allow the moisture from the air to seep into drywall, carpets, and other areas of the home. This moisture mixed with the heat of the air can create perfect conditions for mold to grow, especially in bathrooms and basements where there is excess moisture. Central air helps to keep the interior of homes and businesses dry during humid weather.
  • General Discomfort – We’ve all been in places without AC during the hottest parts of summer. While this excess heat isn’t usually dangerous, it is supremely uncomfortable and can make you miserable in your own home. If you run a business and the AC cuts out you will most likely lose potential customers due to your unpleasant temperatures.

Increase Overall Efficiency

In addition to avoiding a system failure, routine maintenance can increase your HVAC system’s overall efficiency. That means that your system won’t have to work as hard, and you’ll save money on your energy bills as a result.

When I get HVAC maintenance here in Richmond, I usually call Bradley Mechanical, they installed my system a couple years back, and they know it pretty well at this point. Their technicians always do a thorough cleaning of the system when they come to perform a maintenance check-up. This cleaning and tune-up makes sure that everything is functioning properly, free of damage, and that any dirt and grime is removed.

HVAC systems filter a lot of gross stuff out of your air, and many times that stuff can end up in the components of your system. Make sure that your HVAC technician does a thorough job of checking that there aren’t excessive amounts of dirt and grime building up inside your machine. Built up dirt can cause your system to work much harder than it needs to, and can lead to premature system failure if left too long.

Ensure Your Comfort

After a proper maintenance visit, your AC unit should be running in perfect condition, and you’ll have peace of mind knowing that your system is ready for the extreme summer temperatures. Don’t get stuck living in a sweat lodge this summer as a result of an HVAC break down, take the time now to call your local HVAC technicians and have them make sure your AC is functioning properly. It will save you money and make sure you and your family have comfortable indoor temperatures all summer long.

Using The Right-Now Mindset To Boost Efficiency

How to Use a Timer to Improve Small Business Productivity

Small business owners have many products to choose from for improving personal productivity. There are expensive time management systems, time management software packages, and a wide assortment of project management techniques. Rather than purchasing expensive products or investing hours into learning a new time management system, a small business owner can improve their productivity by using a simple timer to maintain focus when working on projects. Here’s how to use a timer to increase small business productivity:

RightNowBlogPost

Select the Timer

It doesn’t matter what type of timer will be used. Just choose whatever is most appropriate for the small business environment. For many small business owners, the timer of choice is one of the many free online timers. Others prefer to use a cell phone timer, a timer on a watch, or a portable digital timer.

Choose a Task or Project to Focus on for 25 Minutes

The ideal task will be one that is of high priority to the small business. It is not necessary to choose a task that can be completed during the 25-minute focus period, but it should be a task that does not involve waiting for answers or involve any other type of down time.

Gather the Project Management Materials

Round up all items and information necessary to work on the project during the focus period. For the most effective project time management session, all items should be placed within arm’s reach to avoid the need to move from the work space.

Eliminate All Distractions and Set the Timer

Close all computer windows and tabs that are not directly related to the project management session. Turn the ringer off on the phone, and notify all other people who are present that there are to be no interruptions for the timed period. Set the timer for 25 minutes.

Focus on the Project for 25 Minutes

Focus solely on the task or project for the duration of the 25-minute period. If for any reason the work is interrupted during this time, deal with the interruption or distraction and restart the timer for the full 25 minutes. Project time management in 25-minute periods is a challenge at first, but it becomes easier with continued practice.

Stop Working Immediately and Take a Five Minute Break

When the 25-minute focus period is up, stop working immediately, regardless of the project status. Get away from the work area for five minutes. Try doing something refreshing and invigorating to both mind and body such as stretching, drinking water, or stepping out for some fresh air.

Repeat the Cycle

Repeat this project time management cycle as desired. If doing several back-to-back timed periods, take a 15-30 break at the end of four timed periods or every two hours. Just as with the five-minute breaks, be sure to get away from the work area and do something completely different during the break period.

Continue using timed focus periods as part of an overall time management system for the small business and adjust the length of the timed periods and the type of project management tasks as desired. With continued practice, using a simple timer to improve focus yields impressive results for boosting small business productivity.

In some cases, you may want to look into productivity extensions for your internet browser. Both Firefox and Google Chrome have a wide selection of extensions and add-ons that fulfill a variety of purposes. A personal favorite is an extension that blocks all non-essential websites for 25 minutes, then allows you full access for 5 minutes. It is a very effective way of boosting your work productivity with just a simple browser add-on.

Infertility Hospital Care Services

Common Infertility Problems Women Face

happy mother and child

Mysterious infertility issues frequently prevent a couple from conceiving. In fact, about 10% of women either cannot conceive or are unable to sustain pregnancy according to recent statistics. Many problems can be traced to a condition or a lifestyle issue originating with the mother or father; others require medical treatment. Here are some of the problems infertility doctors like IVF Phoenix have discovered and are able to treat.

 

Fallopian Tubes

fallopian tube stitch

 

Following a sexual assault or infection caused by sexually transmitted diseases, some women’s fallopian tubes become damaged or blocked. Eggs are also blocked as the ovaries try to release them, resulting in the inability to conceive.

 

Low-Quality Eggs

womans egg

Usually a woman’s eggs are fertile enough for conception up to her mid-thirties. After that time they generally become too mature to accept fertilization. That is why many of the couples who approach an infertility clinic for help are in their late 30s or early 40s. They cannot successfully conceive without the help of infertility doctors.

 

Ovulation Problems

Eggs might be in great shape and the fallopian tubes could be healthy, but a woman still suffers from ovulation issues. Her periods are extremely light or she bleeds heavily. She might not have regular periods. Often there is no medical condition associated with irregular or extreme periods: just lifestyle choices and body weight. Women who are overweight or underweight could have trouble conceiving. Being overweight can also cause follicles that release eggs to perform inadequately.

Endometriosis

girl confused

Tissue from the uterus should only grow in that organ, but it sometimes grows on the outside. Pregnancy cannot be sustained if an egg attaches to the outer part of one’s uterus. The result would be an ectopic pregnancy ending in heavy bleeding, even hemorrhage. Sometimes tissue blocks the fallopian tubes so an egg will not be released at all. Surgery could be required and in vitro fertilization will assist many women unable to conceive due to endometriosis.

 

More Conditions

These are just a sample of common problems couples face and which motivate a visit to their nearest infertility clinic. Infertility doctors have zeroed in on several other possible answers, though many of these conditions are rare. Often no specific issue can be discovered but in vitro fertilization could still provide an answer to infertility in these cases.

Solving the Infertility Puzzle

puzzle pieces

Before taking this expensive road to conception, one with no guarantees, couples should consider looking at a few other possibilities. A visit to one’s GP will rule out cancer or some other disease which is interfering with conception or a woman’s ability to sustain pregnancy. The man should also go for a checkup in case something is preventing him from contributing healthy sperm to the process.

 

Keeping a careful record of monthly symptoms (intensity of bleeding, location and severity of pain, times of pain throughout the month) will help a doctor narrow down possible reasons for infertility.

 

Many physicians recommend that their patients make lifestyle adjustments such as losing or gaining weight, taking up exercise, smoking cessation, or quitting drinking. Alternative health specialists such as naturopaths and dietitians will have some suggestions as well.

 

Even after all of the advice has been weighed and applied to one’s life, becoming pregnant appears impossible. Now is the time to visit an infertility clinic and talk about options such as drug therapy or in vitro fertilization. Success varies from 10% to around two-thirds depending on the condition and treatment.

Benefits Of Using Senior Care Services

grandma-grandaughterWhen your loved ones get older, it can be difficult for them to do things on their own. Simple tasks that they used to be able to take care of may start to get more and more difficult. When things at home become too difficult, you have a few options. You can have your loved one move to a nursing home, move in with you, or hire a professional senior home care assistant. While all of the options will help your loved one with their day to day activities, hiring a professional in senior assistance, such as Seniors Helping Seniors (http://seniorshelpingseniors.com/NeedHelp/Home.html) to come to their home is the best option. There are many benefits in doing so.

 

Help With Small Things

If your loved one is having trouble doing certain day to day chores, but does not need full time care, an in home senior care assistant can help. They can help with things such as light housekeeping, bathing, dressing, cooking, and running errands.

 

Safety

As you loved one gets older, their balance may begin to get worse. This can make activities such as reaching up on a high shelf and getting out of the shower difficult and dangerous. If they were to fall, it could take hours and even days for someone to find them. When you hire a professional in senior home care to help them with potentially dangerous activities, you can guarantee their safety.

 

Your Loved One Can Retain their Independence

Just because people get older, it does not mean that they are willing to give up their independence. If your loved one moves into a nursing home or even with you, they will lose a great deal of their independence. When you hire someone in senior care services who can go to your loved ones home to help out, they will still feel independent.

 

Staying in the Family Home

Most seniors have been living in their homes for decades. When they begin to have trouble taking care of themselves, and go to a nursing home, they would be forced to leave the home that they have lived in for years, the home that holds all of their memories of their children growing up. When you hire an in home care giver for your loved one, they will be able to stay in their own home and still get the care that they need.

 

Someone to Talk To

Most people have busy lives. Chances are you have your career, family, and social obligations to worry about. Because you are so busy, you may not have time to visit your loved one on a daily basis. When you have an in home senior care giver come in to take care of your loved one, they will have someone to keep them company so they do not get lonely.

 

Your Peace of Mind

When you know that there is someone coming in to take care of your loved one, it will give you peace of mind that your loved one is alright. Knowing that there is someone checking in and helping out will help you to worry about them less. You can check in with their senior care assistant to find out how they are doing. Often times, a loved one will minimize their problems so that you won’t worry. Being able to talk to someone about how your loved one is doing and feeling, will make you feel much more at ease.

 

The last thing that most senior citizens want to do is lose their independence. They also do not want to worry their family. When you hire a professional in senior home care, your loved one will get the care that they need to keep them healthy and safe.

In 20 Years, Almost Every Home Will Have Tinted Windows

Virginia home tint comparisonHome window tinting is definitely on the rise, and there are many reasons why this type of window treatment is becoming so popular. Many homeowners are beginning to discover that there are numerous benefits they can get from simply having their windows tinted. Not only is tinting an excellent way to reduce glare from the sun, but residential window tinting is the perfect way to help protect your home from everything from excess heat to the damage that UV rays can cause. A little sunshine can certainly make a home look bright and inviting, but sunshine also brings with it damaging UV rays that can wreak havoc with home furnishings. Everything from family portraits, carpet, upholstered furniture and even furniture and other home decorative items can begin to fade over time, especially when they are exposed to direct sunlight. The long term exposure to UV rays can make a room start to look dingy and unattractive and can damage art work, pictures and other treasured items. Thankfully there are experienced tinting companies like Solar Film in Richmond throughout the country that can help protect your home from the sun.

 

Top Window Tinting Benefits

Of course, the tinting of residential windows can be an excellent way to provide excellent UV ray protection; however, it also provides a number of other benefits for homeowners. For example, many homeowners are happy to learn that simply tinting their windows will allow them to save money on summer cooling bills. By being able to block out the harsh UV rays and the heat of the sun, a home will naturally stay cooler. When the heat of direct sunlight is not heating up the home, homeowners will be able to save money because their air conditioning system will not have to work as hard to provide a cool and comfortable environment.

Window Film is Environmentally Friendly

Every year, more and more people are turning to greener and more environmentally friendly methods for maintaining their home. Whether it’s finding the most energy efficient windows or air conditioning systems or tinting for their windows, homeowners want to make their home as environmentally friendly as possible. As people look for better options to help the environment, window tinting will certainly become an important factor in reducing energy in residential as well as commercial properties.

While reducing excess heat is definitely helpful in reducing energy waste, it is also an important factor in maintaining a comfortable indoor environment. Even the very best HVAC system will struggle to keep a home cool, especially in rooms that have direct sunlight without anything to help filter the heat and glare. With tinting, windows are able to keep a home more comfortable, even in areas that typically remain too warm.

More Comfort with Tinted Windows

When homeowners choose to tint their widows, they often discover that they don’t lose the view and open feeling that their windows provide, but they gain an increased level of comfort and usability. It’s not unusual for homeowners to close their drapes or blinds in order to help reduce the harsh glare of sun filtering into their home, but this blocks the view and creates a closed in and drab feeling.

It’s important that homeowners are able to fully enjoy their home and this means opening their drapes, letting in some light and enjoying a comfortable and energy efficient home while still getting the benefit of glare reduction. A professional company that offers tinting for residential and commercial properties can help provide this kind of atmosphere. With people being concerned about making the most of what they have while also protecting the environment, it’s not surprising that the use of window tinting continues to gain popularity.

Shiny New Countertops

Well, 2015 has begun – which leaves many of us asking the question: what home improvement project will tackle this year? If you are in the same boat as me, then don’t worry – I’ve got the perfect suggestion for both of us.

Shiny New Countertops

The one aspect of our home, that continuously bothers me is the state of our current countertops in our kitchen and bathroom. They are very dated, worn, and it’s simply just time to replace them. Now, this may be something we’ve said multiple times in the past – and that’s okay, because this project can definitely get a little pricey. When it comes to making this investment, I will strongly suggest that you find replacements that are made of a material that you won’t regret purchasing in the first place. Obviously this can mean only one thing..

Granite Countertops! That’s right, who doesn’t want fancy, beautiful, easy to maintain, bacteria free countertops made from granite? Well, chances are you (and I) have quite a bit of homework to do, but the good news is that there are plenty of granite fabricators, suppliers, and warehouses out there that are happy to help with the process. Take for example, if you are looking for granite countertops in Richmond VA, Granite Source of Richmond tends to be the choice that many consumers go with. The best suggestion I have for you is to start doing your homework on those companies around you that offer custom granite countertops and get a good idea of their reputation. After all, the true value in granite countertops comes from professional, high quality fabricators and installers – so finding who really is the dominant force near you is the most important objective that you should meet.

How Replacement Windows Can Save You Money

outdated and cracked home windowAn old window with cracks and discoloration may make your home look old and depreciate its price as it makes your house look old and dilapidated. This is a big concern particularly in areas of the country known for having historic homes such as the Northeastern United States. There’s a huge chance that older windows may  easily break and the glass might get shattered by a little pressure. It also takes a lot of time and effort to maintain them, so it’s better to replace your old windows rather than spend a fortune on your windows’ maintenance. We can also tell you how replacement windows can save you money over the life of their use.

What to Consider Before Replacing Home Windows

There are a lot of factors to be considered and guidelines to be followed. You should consider not only the price of new window replacements but also overall value, efficiency for your home and what sort of warranty you get when you purchase them. All these guidelines will help you understand how replacement windows can save you money, time and effort in making your home a better place. Replacement windows are also good investments for a more comfortable home.

Choose High Quality Glass and Window Frame Materials

The first guideline in choosing a replacement window is to select windows with frames and sashes made from premium grade materials. This  ensures a longer lifetime for your windows and vinyl is the best choice because it is cost efficient, durable and very easy to maintain. My recommendation is that you look into Fibrex, a composite material developed by the Andersen window brand. The Andersen replacement window division also uses this window frame material for all of their products. They also use double pane glass with argon glass that increases efficiency as well.

Efficiency is Key

energy star logoChoose replacement windows that could insulate heat efficiently. Select windows that are in the ENERGY STAR program. These windows are designed to efficiently keep the heat out during hot summer days and make your home comfortable warm during cold winter days. Windows in cooler climates must meet more strict requirements to be certified because its based on how much energy is needed to heat and cool your home. Obviously you will not need as much energy to make your home comfortable if you are in a temperate climate.
updated-window

Consider your Home

Choose the window style that suits your home, windows are supposed to compliment and emphasize the beauty of your home so it is a must that the windows are in sync with the design of your house. You can look at styles online, ask your window dealer or simply check out what types of windows your neighbors have to decide what types you want to have installed in your home.

Choose your Contractor

Lastly, in choosing replacement windows, buy from trusted dealers. The quality of your windows also depends on how trustworthy the seller is. Now you know how replacement windows can save you money and improve your home.

Money Saving Tips for Your Car

save on vehicle costsWith the economy still not what it used to be, people are still trying to save money wherever they can. One often overlooked expense is transportation. If you are like most Americans, you simply see your car as a necessity and not a place where there is any money to save. But even if you don’t have a hybrid or vehicle you are not making payments on, there are still ways to keep your car while saving money on fuel and other costs. Here is my top 5 list.

  1. Properly Inflate your Tires. Did you know that over 25% of cars on the road are driving around with improperly inflated tires? This is not optimal for fuel economy and can lower gas mileage by 3% or more which adds up over time.
  2. Slower, More Constant Driving. When you accelerate quickly in your car you are using far more gas, up to an amazing 33%. Quick stops also reduces fuel economy and will wear out your breaks quicker.
  3. Turn Down the AC. Something most drivers don’t consider, the use of air conditioning while you are driving can lower your mpg by up to 25% when its on full blast depending on your vehicle.
  4. Carpooling and Combining Trips. This is a no-brainer, carpooling to work or other places saves big on travel expenses. And when you go to run errands, its much more efficient to do them either on your way home from work or all at the same time.
  5. Perform regular maintenance. Use a service like Aarrow Transmissions Auto Repair to take care of your car by having the recommended maintenance done in a timely manner you will help save money by avoiding the bigger, much more expensive problems down the road.

Just because you need a vehicle doesn’t mean you should be spending too much on fuel and repairs. Using these tips may not make you rich but they will certainly help you save money each month. You might also be interested in my recent post about increasing your cars value and performance if you are thinking about selling your vehicle.