Thursday, June 30, 2011

About Limestone Fire Pits

After a long day at work, nothing feels better than going home and kicking back with a cold drink and maybe some nice music to help you relax. When the weather is cool and the sky free of clouds, the idea of sitting outside for some pleasant conversation just may be the ticket to topping off the day. If you aren't enamored by your present landscaping situation, though, you may wish to renovate with a cozy limestone fire pit for your back patio area.

Why upgrade your yard with a fire shoppe? If you're the outdoorsy type who loves spending more time in the yard than in the house, adding a fire pit seems like second nature. If you want to get some fresher air and take advantage of temperate evenings, the fire pit is one way to make your nights enjoyable.
  • It's Affordable! Having a fire pit installed isn't as expensive as you think. Depending on whether you build one yourself or have a professional landscape company take charge, you'll find the money is well spent for the long run.
  • It Looks Great! Limestone lends a rugged beauty to any outdoor environment. You can build an attractive round or square-shaped pit that looks gorgeous no matter how your patio or deck is styled.
  • Kids Love Them! Up for some marshmallow roasting on a Saturday night? With a wood-burning fire shoppe at home, you don't have to wait until your next camping trip to have some fun.
  • Fantastic for Parties! Host a home barbecue or have the next door neighbors over for a glass of wine and a chat. The low flames from the fire pit keep your parties alive and lit.
  • Maintain a meditative environment! No matter the season, when you sit by your fire shoppe and let the warmth envelop you, you'll feel much calmer and can even have a better night. You'll feel more relaxed the next day and ready to take on the world.
If you are interested in making your back yard more functional, but don't have a lot of money to spend, budget for a nice patio area with a limestone fire pit. Set up a number of chairs, and you instantly create a cozy conversation area where you and family or friends can relax for hours. You'll enjoy your time outside chatting and watching the gentle flames that you may just forget to go back into the house.

Kathryn Lively is a freelance writer specializing in articles on Norfolk fire shoppes and Chesapeake fire shoppes.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Things That May Be Found During a Plumbing Inspection

Reasons for having a plumbing mechanic come to your home for an inspection may vary. Whether you plan to sell your home and wish to have everything appraised, or you have noticed your water bills are higher than usual and you've done nothing different to warrant the spike, scheduling a full inspection of your home plumbing can help you pinpoint problems that must be fixed. The sooner you discover what is wrong, you can put a stop to any water leaks, and money bleeding from your wallet.

What can you expect to find during a routine inspection of your home plumbing? Ideally, you want the plumber to tell you that everything is working at optimal levels and that there's nothing to worry about. Of course, homeowners don't normally call in a home improvement specialist unless something is wrong, so there are a number of things you should be on the look and listen for. These may include:

1) Leaky pipes. These aren't always simple to find, for pipes not easily visible may leak gradually, making it progressively difficult for sinks and showers to function properly.

2) Faults with your water heater. Water heaters typically last no more than a decade. If you can't remember how long you've had yours, it may be time for a replacement.

3) Stubborn clogging. If you are experiencing slow drainage in sinks and tubs, there may be buildup in your pipes that haven't cleared after home solutions. A plumber may need to use a pipe snake to get the debris dislodged.

4) Faulty garbage disposal. Even if you don't aggressive use your disposal while cooking, the mechanics will age over time. Something like this could prevent future drainage problems.

5) Outdoor plumbing damage. If you endured a storm recently, you should have a plumber check any outdoor plumbing fixtures like your sprinkler system or pool for damage before you use them again.

6) Improperly installed fixtures. If you had another plumber put in a new toilet or shower - or maybe you tried it yourself - and it's not working as it should, a good plumber will detect this and advise you of what needs to be done so that you don't waste water or money in repairs.

While a plumbing inspection may yield distressing news about your pipes and fixtures at first, the good news is that once you correct any faulty plumbing you can work toward more energy efficient water usage that saves you money. If you suspect your plumbing is off, get it checked!

Kathryn Lively is a freelance writer specializing in articles on Chicago plumbing services and Palatine plumbing services.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

4 Solid Reasons to Make Sure You Are Protected By Flood Insurance

Imagine having to evacuate your home following a hurricane or flood warning. With little time to pack, you grabs what is most precious to you, get the family into the car, and head for higher ground. Coming home afterward, you find your home and surrounding area has sustained damage - maybe some of it can be repaired, but there's a good chance you might lose some valuable possessions to storm damage. With flood insurance coverage, however, you may receive due compensation for your losses.

Homeowners who don't live along the shore or in beach areas susceptible to hurricanes may think of flood insurance as an unnecessary expense. What's the point of extra coverage if you live in a land-locked area, right. Well, when you consider that floods are apt to happen anywhere in the world - not just where it's sea level - you may think differently. Homeowners in Tennessee learned the hard way when flooding damaged homes and businesses. If it can happen there, it can happen where you live on a day of heavy rain that encourages water systems and rivers to overflow.

Still not convinced that you should strongly consider a flood insurance policy. Think about this:

1) Getting a policy now is more cost effective than paying to repair damage later. A flood insurance policy could cost you as little as a few hundred dollars a year. Stack this up against loans paid out to those rendered homeless by floods. Pennies a day versus years of paying back money is definitely a no-brainer.

2) Policy holders can experience a quicker relief turnaround. If you have a policy in hand, you might find it easier to get compensation than if you didn't have this kind of insurance. It's not uncommon for people to wait weeks or even months for their insurance companies to deliver checks. Flood insurance makes it easier on you.

3) Your traditional home policies may not cover all damage sustained from flooding. Check with the provider and consider a flood policy where necessary.

4) These policies will not take effect until thirty days after you get one. So if you are sitting at home watching the weather reports and worrying that flood waters are headed your way, getting a last-minute policy will not help you. You need to be prepared well in advance.

Flood insurance can provide peace of mind during a season of bad weather. You may not be able to replace everything lost in a bad storm, but a solid policy can at least help you rebuild in a timely manner.

Kathryn Lively is a freelance writer specializing in articles on Norfolk flood insurance and Virginia flood insurance.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Should You Hire a Professional Pool Cleaner?

We know you can't wait for the weather to warm up. Sunny spring and summer days are meant for relaxing by and splashing in your backyard, and the sooner you can suit up the earlier the fun begins. With owning a pool, however, comes the responsibility of keeping it clean. The water must always be treated so nobody encounters discomfort, or worse, illness. When you shop for pool supplies you'll no doubt find friendly experts ready to assist you, but you might wonder also if cleaning the pool is a responsibility best left entirely to an expert.

There is definitely more to cleaning a swimming pool than occasionally skimming leaves from the surface. One must check regularly that the pH balance of the water is correct, and that enough chemicals are used to maintain water purity. Filters and pumps should be checked often to make sure they work properly, and it's always a good idea to make sure your vinyl liner is not torn or worn anywhere. If something is askew, you risk a leak in your pool, and if left alone these damage could cost a fortune in repairs.

You may think you save money by cleaning your own pool, but it is necessary to consider a few things before you take on the job. Do you work full-time, or travel often? Do you have a physical impairment that would prevent you from doing certain tasks? While there are advantages to doing it yourself, hiring an expert cleaner allows you the freedom to enjoy your pool without worry, provided you have a reputable service.

Where can you find a quality cleaner for the job? Word of mouth is typically the best method - ask neighbors and friends who own swimming pools if they hire out, and learn which companies offer good service. Try online home improvement directories like Angie's List where pool maintenance services are rated. Before you call anybody to come out and get to work, meet up with potential hires to learn about their schedules, pricing structure and other issues. If you work often during the day, chances are you may need to leave a back gate open for the cleaner to access, so you want to be sure your home is safe.

Take your lifestyle and knowledge of pool safety and cleaning into consideration before you decide to hire somebody to clean your swimming area. With the right person doing the job, you can enjoy many days in clean water.

Kathryn Lively is a freelance writer specializing in articles on Norfolk pool supplies and Virginia Beach pools.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Air Conditioning Systems For New Construction

For companies planning new construction projects to house their businesses, the necessity of planning everything down to the exact detail will determine how well or how poorly productivity progresses. Whether you are building offices for clerical or storage use, or are building a place for a restaurant or other food service work, the contractor you hire should take into consideration the proper ventilation of the workspace.

You may be advised, too, to bring on a contractor that deals exclusively with commercial HVAC services, if your builders do not have such a person on hand, or else do not sub-contract that work. Commercial HVAC - or heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, is important if you wish to maintain a clean, healthy environment for your employees. As you plan your new construction project, here are a few things you will want to consider:

1) Size. How large is your building? One floor, or several? Will your work area be spread out or situated on so many square feet? The size of your work space will determine the size and power of the HVAC units that will heat and cool the buildings.

2) Usable Work Space. Depending on the scope of your business, not every square inch will be occupied by manpower. Offices where your employees will work, of course, should be temperature controlled, as should areas that will house sensitive equipment (foodstuffs, computers, etc.). Therefore, your HVAC system will be installed accordingly so that the most important areas are affected.

3) Location. Where is your office located? Businesses in the deep South will have different construction concerns than those in New England or the Pacific Northwest. Where your office is located will determine whether or not your HVAC system should be geared to heat or cool more.

4) Budget. How much money do you have to use toward constructing your office or warehouse? Though it's important to have a good HVAC system that will work for a long time, you want to operate within your budget and choose units that won't require too much maintenance. Consult with your contractor for the best solution.

Air quality is one of the most essential components in a healthy office and commercial environment. Keep your offices and work spaces at comfortable temperatures with clean air, and you will find your business functions at optimal levels. For a new construction, this is especially crucial as you plan to start work as soon as possible. Research the best commercial HVAC company to do the job.

Kathryn Lively is a freelance writer specializing in articles on Norfolk commercial HVAC services and Virginia commercial HVAC services.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Most Economic Way to Heat Your Home

As a homeowner, you're watching every penny that leaves your wallet. Between cable and insurance, gas and groceries, the cost of living seems to offer few breaks. When it comes to heating your home in the winter, you might consider piling up on blankets and thick socks rather than adjust the thermostat! Truthfully, there is no need to resort to drastic measures if you know how to economically heat your home. Here are a few suggestions to consider.

1) Shop around for the most affordable resource.

Depending on where you live, one way to heat your home may be cheaper than another. Oil heat, for example, may come at a premium, so you will want to research options for gas heat, electric, and even wood. The addition of a wood-burning stove in an oft-used part of the house may have merit if you are able to find the materials you need. Otherwise, you can consult with an HVAC professional on the best options for heating your home.

2) Invest in the right windows.

Thermal windows are helpful in the winter time, for they properly seal your home and prevent heat and air from leaking. If you find you are constantly having to turn up the heat, there could be a problem with your current windows. Installing thermal windows helps to insulate your house from the cold, and you won't need to fiddle with the thermostat as much.

3) Check your doors and roof as well.

Roofs are designed to ventilate and keep in the air you circulate in your home. If you suspect heat is leaking from your roof, it's best to have an inspection done to determine if repairs are necessary. As with your windows, you will want to invest in a strong door that works to trap in the warmth without letting it escape and in turn drive up your bills.

4) Close off unused rooms.

It isn't necessary to heat rooms you don't use. Keep the warmth relegated to the most populated parts of the house - the living room and the bedrooms in particular.

5) Insulate your floors.

If heat has a chance to escape, it certainly will. If you do not have insulated floors in unheated spaces, you risk losing heat. Research your insulation options so your bills don't skyrocket.

Properly heating your house involves more than making sure you have an HVAC unit or gas system set up. With the most economical heating option comes the responsibility of making sure the rest of your home keeps the heat where it needs to be, inside!

Kathryn Lively is a freelance writer specializing in articles on Newport News HVAC services and Williamsburg HVAC services.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Green Your Bedroom for a Better Night's Rest

Sometimes, we just can't avoid breathing in things that could make us sick. We walk outside to meet a toxic swirling combination of car exhaust and other chemically-based fumes that may emit from lighter fluids, factories and even the everyday objects around us. It's true that the clothes we wear, the food we eat, and utensils we use at lunch and dinner may contain some kind of treatment that isn't necessarily good for us, but unless you want to live in a bubble or move off the grid into the woods and forage, how else can you survive naturally?

If one should start anywhere to enjoy a more natural, eco-friendly experience, it's the bedroom. This is your sanctum, a place where you come to wind down and recharge at the end of every busy day. It is important, since your body requires deep sleep to rejuvenate energy, to make sure you have few to no interruptions at night, and certainly nothing in your personal space that could cause you to get sick. When you prepare to green-up your bedroom for a peaceful existence, bear in mind that every element of living space - not just the bed - comes into play.


As with most textiles, heavy drapes will come treated with chemicals designed to preserve the durability of the fabric. When these hang over your windows to block incoming lamplight, you may think you are helping set a sleeping mood, but the chemicals that remain stay with you. For a healthier, greener window treatment, look for curtains made of natural, untreated fibers like organic cotton, hemp or bamboo, or consider unpainted wooden blinds or shutters.


A good way to keep healthy circulation in your room is to add a plant or two to your sleeping space. Live plants help with filtering your home air naturally, and even absorb some chemicals and reduce risks. Ask your local nursery about good options for keeping in your bedroom.


A natural wood frame, a latex mattress topped with organic fiber sheets, and a natural pillow of components designed to help your head support (buckwheat, latex, etc) are essential in the pursuit of a natural night's sleep. Bear in mind if you have considered a fancier sleep system like memory foam, the mattresses may still have chemical treatments. It's best to consult with a green home furnishings company so you know what you're getting is the real deal.

Put everything together your bedroom for a relaxing, renewing experience. When you green your bedroom, a good night's sleep comes naturally.

Kathryn Lively is a freelance writer specializing in articles on finding the right latex mattress for your bed, and articles on green living.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

How to Head Off Plumbing Problems

With summertime on the way, the last thing you want to think about is your plumbing. This is especially true if you plan to spend more than a few nights a week lounging in the Jacuzzi tub, or swimming in your pool. Summer typically means the showers run more than a few times a day, especially as you come in hot and sweaty from exercise or outdoor play. Good plumbing means a happy home, and in order to keep it that way you will want to head off plumbing problems before they require some expensive work.

You don't need to get a certificate in plumbing mechanics to know how to keep good pipes and fixtures. Just take care not do overdo a few things and not to abuse your plumbing during crucial months. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

1) Watch how you use the garbage disposal. Summer may mean you'll cook at home more, and make use of your sinks and disposal. Take care, though, not to get carried away by chucking vegetable peels and other compost down the drain. It's a disposal, not a garbage can. Limit the waste to small shards and liquids when possible.

2) Keep an eye on the common bathrooms. Do you have kids? If so, chances are you'll have frequent visitors this summer. You'll want to make sure the toilets flush properly and little ones are not running off while leaving the faucets running.

3) Keep home plumbing tools handy. In case of accidents, have a good plunger and brand of plumbing liquid around to solve minor clogging issues. Some emergencies are not as harrowing as you may first think; your best defense is a clear head, calm hands, and a bit of research to get your plumbing operational again.

4) Watch usage of water for outdoor purposes. You might spend more time watering the lawn, or your kids may wish to fill up a pool. If you have not used outdoor spigots in several months, start gently with the water flow and make sure your hoses and sprinklers are working correctly. If you had a previous cold snap and did nothing for your outdoor plumbing, you may encounter problems. Always err on the side of caution.

With summertime comes more time to play, relax, and garden. As you are more likely to use your fixtures and water at home, you'll want to head off plumbing issues before they get out of hand. Be vigilant and you should be fine.

Kathryn Lively is a freelance writer specializing in articles on Palatine plumbing services and Norfolk plumbing services.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Where to Find Wholesale Kitchen Gadgets

It seems as though every day there is a new infomercial produced touting the amazing features of a must-have kitchen gadget. Celebrity chefs and personal trainers demonstrate everything from power juicers to indestructible kitchen knives, while trips to the local housewares stores display hundreds of "As Seen on TV" gems. As a business owner dealing in kitchen supplies, you want to provide gadgets that make cooking simpler and more fun, and if you know where to go to find wholesale products, you can enjoy a strong business.

Specialized cookware remains a strong investment, as people search for ways to prepare healthy meals in a minimal amount of time. Few people are able to create their favorite dishes by scratch, so there is always a demand for vegetable peelers, pressure cookers, custom bakeware, and anything that takes the guesswork out of cooking and brings dinner to the table faster. If you are looking for items to complement the portable grills and gourmet foods you carry, consider these top vendors of unique kitchen supplies:

Jiangsu Sainty Group: 3F, Building C, 21 Ningnan Avenue, Nanjing, 210012, China - Jiangsu specializes in the manufacture and distribution of wine accessories. Wine shops and gourmet grocers interested in carrying electronic wine openers, industrial corscrews, and vacuum wine stoppers will do good to contact this company.

MegaReap International (Hong Kong) Limited: 9/F, CLI Building, 313 Hennessy Road, Hong Kong, PRC - One of MegaReap's signature products is a four-in-one hot dog maker, which simultaneously cooks the hot dogs and buns. The device may also be used for steaming vegetables, boiling eggs, and popping popcorn.

Shunde Golden Light Electric Appliance Co,Ltd.: No.31 Junye Rd. Suixiang Industria, Ronggui, Shunde, Foshan, Guangdong, 528305, China - Shunde exports portable, easily storable cooking gadgets like potato cutters and peelers, hand juicers, and vegetable choppers.

Hinason Technology (Shenzhen) Co.,Ltd: 2&3F,4BLD, Sanhe Industrial Center, Bulong RD, Longhua, Shenzhen, Guangdong, 518109, China - Hinason manufactures and exports silicone bake ware, which is becoming increasingly popular due to its quality, affordability, and ease of storage.

When you connect with exporters through a global trade portal, you gain access to popular and up-and-coming products for the home to sell. You could be the first in your area to offer something unique to customers, and in turn create retention and increase profits.

Kathryn Lively is a freelance writer specializing in articles on global trade forums and supply chain management.