Thinking About Installing A Water Softener? Here’s What You Need To Know!

If you live in an area that has a hard water supply, then you might be thinking about having a water softener installed in your home. With a water softener, you can have your home’s hard water supply filtered through salt as a means of removing unwanted contaminants, such as minerals. Before you decide to invest in a water softener, however, there are a few things you should be aware of in order to make a well-informed decision.

Water Softeners Can Protect Your Plumbing

First and foremost, a water softener does require a bit of an upfront investment (especially if you’ll be paying a professional to install it for you), but in many cases, that cost is more than worth it in the long run. That’s because soft water is a lot easier on your home’s plumbing appliances; since there is less scale buildup and fewer mineral deposits, your home’s pipes and plumbing appliances (such as dishwashers and clothes washers) tend to last a lot longer.

Water Softeners Require Very Little Maintenance

Another nice thing about water softeners is that they are almost maintenance-free; really, all you need to do is keep the salt levels stable by adding salt to the tank every so often. There’s no need to clean out your water softener tank or follow any other maintenance regimens. In most cases, there is also no need to have your water tested before you have one installed.

Be Careful Not to Overfill Your Softener

When it comes time to fill your water softener tank, the one thing you will want to be careful of is making sure not to overfill it. A lot of times, homeowners think that if they fill the tank past its capacity, it just means that they can go longer without having to fill it again. However, in reality, overfilling a water softener tank can lead to what’s called “bridging,” where the tank is so full that the water supply isn’t able to properly filter through. The end result is water that doesn’t get adequately softened.

Soft Water Might Take Getting Used To

Finally, understand that soft water feels different on the skin, so if you’re taking a shower or bathing in a soft water supply, it’s going to take some getting used to initially. However, once you do get used to it, you’ll likely find that your skin feels smoother and healthier!

For further assistance, contact professionals, such as those from Dupage Water Conditioning.

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3 Cheap And Portable Ways To Add Light And Ambiance To Your Next Backyard Party

If you like to entertain at night in your home’s backyard, then you will be happy to know there are some inexpensive items you can use to improve the ambiance, light, and look of your backyard. Since backyard space is always at a premium, each of the suggested items is portable and easy to store away in your garage or shed when not being used for a party.

Here are three inexpensive items you can purchase to make your backyard look amazing and inviting this summer:

Item #1 – Lanterns

You can purchase some cheap lanterns online and hang them around your backyard. Paper lanterns come in a wide variety of colors, sizes, and styles to fit any home style. For a birthday party, you can purchase lanterns that look like colorful balloons. For a more subtle look, you can purchase simple black or white lanterns.

Paper lanterns use a small tea candle to create their glowing light and they can be safely hung from tree branches and your patio’s cover.

Item #2 – Tiki Torches

Inexpensive tiki-style citronella torches add a variety of things to your backyard party, including:

  • insect repellent
  • extra light
  • a glowing fire element

You can easily stick the spike of the torches into your garden and lawn areas without causing any permanent damage to your landscaping. Your guests will like the look of the burning torches and will also appreciate the lack of flying insects to bother and bite them as well.

Item #3 – A Chiminea

A chiminea is a Latin American-style portable fire pit. Chimineas are sold at all home improvement stores and fit nicely along with any decorative style. Since chimineas are self-contained and made of lightweight terracotta clay, you can easily store it in your garage or shed when you are not entertaining.

When you add a chiminea to your yard, your guests will be able to warm themselves around the fire and they will even be able to roast marshmallows to make s’mores. Any party that includes s’mores is a party that will be remembered!

By adding cheap paper lanterns, tiki torches, and/or a chiminea to your backyard space, you can add a nice layer of ambiance and light for your party guests. If you have any additional questions about how to improve your home’s backyard space, you should talk with a sales representative at your local home and garden center. 

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The Advice You Really Need When Buying A Home

If you are a first time home buyer and are receiving advice from many different sources, there are a few things to think about that someone may not have already told you. Home ownership can be great, but it can also be costly and stressful.

Buying is expensive and many unexpected things can happen. Prepare for the following things before you close on the property, so you can prevent future issues while you own the home.

Never Skip an Inspection

People skip home inspections because a house is newer, they don’t see a lot of problems, or they don’t want to spend the money. This is a big mistake, because you could miss a huge problem. You may miss the fact that there is roof damage, plumbing concerns, or even a radon problem in the basement. Get a professional inspection, and be sure to ask about common problems that may exist in other homes in the area.

Ask About a Warranty

Is the lender or seller of the property willing to offer a home warranty? If so, you wouldn’t have to pay for a broken furnace, a damaged water heater, or other issues that may occur within the first year or so of owning the home.

All companies are going to offer different types of warranties, and there may be exclusions, but they are a great option to have. You may even want to pay to extend your warranty beyond the initial coverage period.

Arrange a Locksmith

It’s really impossible to know the details about every person that had a key to the property before you became the owner. A locksmith from companies like Top Security Locksmiths can change out all of the locks on the entrance doors, and add deadbolts if the doors don’t have them.

If there is a garage door opening system with a keypad and a security system, the locksmith can help with changing the codes and resetting everything. You want to feel safe in your new home, and you can have a new security system added if one isn’t in place.  

There are going to be unpredictable issues that arise, but with these different things you can help prevent a lot of the problems that you suffer when you are a homeowner. Make sure you consider the safety and structure of the home before you buy it so you can easily enjoy your new living space.

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3 Tips For Small Yard Landscaping

Landscaping a small yard is a complicated bit of business. If you put in too little, the yard looks empty but too much and the yard looks overcrowded. There are ways, however, to create a wonderful sanctuary in the back yard, no matter how small it is. The first step is to evaluate your needs and look outside the box a little bit:

Add Levels

Smaller yards don’t often feel as though they have anything interesting to share. You don’t have to go very far to see the entire yard, and there’s usually not room for something like a water feature and a play area. One way around this is to add small terraces to the yard. This creates different levels of interest that you can either leave grassy or plant with a variety of different shrubs and flowers.

Another way to get the look of different levels is to use raised beds in a variety of heights. Your yard will look much larger, and there will always be something interesting to see.

Plant a Garden

One of the biggest complaints about small yards is that there isn’t room for planting a large garden. This is true to a certain extent, but you don’t have to plant a huge garden to reap the rewards of one. Even a small patch of ground, 6 feet by 4 feet, can house a variety of different plants and vegetables.

Plant the taller crops in the back, and look into companion gardening to pair plants that do well together side-by-side. You’ll be amazed at the produce you can grow on your own in a smaller space. Also, don’t forget to use seasonal planning to your advantage. You can plant different crops all year round.

Deck it Out

If you’re really not into dragging out the heavy equipment to maintain a tiny patch of grass, lose the grass altogether. Cut out the sod and install a multi-level decking system with planters in strategic locations. That way you can keep the overall feel of a green space outside, but there’s no heavy duty maintenance. Decking is fantastic for entertaining, and you’ll have the option to try out a variety of plants and small trees in your planters.

If you’re ready to overhaul your small yard, call a landscaping expert today who can help you to get the yard of your dreams. He can create just the right garden hideaway for you, no matter what you hope to achieve.

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Starting Your Career? Here Are 3 Daily Tasks To Outsource

Starting a career is a thrilling and stressful time. Your long hours at the work are often matched by even more hours finishing the job from home. And on top of all that professional work you’re still expected to keep up with your daily tasks. But now is a good time to learn about the beauty of outsourcing.

What makes a daily task worth outsourcing? If the task takes up valuable time better spent at work or resting, or is something you generally despise doing, it’s worth outsourcing the task. Doing so will likely cost less than you would think.

Here are three ways to start off your professional career with some helpful outsourcing.

House Cleaning Services

The most obvious place to start is with house cleaning services. Look for an insured, well-reviewed cleaning service that offers several customization options. This customization should include both cleaning schedule frequency and the type of cleaning done.

You can start out with a deep clean if you’ve been at the office more than home. Then you can move down to a light spot clean every other week or even once a month.

Cleaners will typically dust, clean the floors, wipe down walls, clean ovens and refrigerators, and perform other standard cleaning services. Doing dishes and other more personal services are typically not included. It’s important to discuss what will be cleaned during each visit so you know what you’re getting with your payment.

Laundry

Outsourcing laundry immediately evokes a businessperson dropping off name-brand suits to a dry cleaner. But the reality can be as high or low end as you would like it to be. Certainly stick with a dry cleaner for any items that specify that method in the care instructions or for any higher priced wardrobe items.

But for your general laundry, head to the regular local laundromat. Most offer general wash and folding services for either a flat or per pound fee. If you’re never home long enough to do laundry, or you don’t have access to private laundry machines, this service can relieve a huge burden. Ask about additional services such as stain removal or even laundry delivery.

Grocery Delivery

Larger cities frequently have companies devoted to delivering groceries. You can go online, fill out your order, pay with a credit card and simply need to have someone home when the food will be delivered.

But you’re not necessarily out of luck if you live in a smaller town. Most grocery stores will collect, bag, and pay for groceries for you if you have a discussion with the manager and put a credit card on file. The services might not extend to delivery. In that case, you can potentially hire a trusted taxi driver to go get the food for you. Or you can simply pick up the groceries after work. It will still save you a lot of time in the store.

Outsourcing these three daily tasks can help give you more time and energy to focus on your new career. 

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How To Make Your Draperies Last

Draperies are a critical part of your home decor. A good drapery material will last for many years, given the appropriate care and maintenance. These tips will help you maintain your draperies, keeping them looking beautiful for years or even decades. 

Follow Manufacturer’s Care Instructions

Some materials are very delicate when wet and cannot be laundered in a washing machine, while other materials shrink horribly when they dry. Others still respond well to cleaning with simple water and laundry detergent. These variations mean that some draperies can be laundered by conventional means (in a washer and dryer), while other draperies must be dry cleaned. The care instructions for your draperies will be located on the manufacturer’s tag. Follow all care instructions for laundering your draperies. Deviating from the manufacturer’s care instructions may result in the destruction of the material. 

Launder Only When Necessary

Drapery laundering with a washer and dryer tends to change the shape, color and size of the draperies–even if the draperies are designated as washer and dryer safe. Dry cleaning is a much gentler process; however, the act of simply taking up and putting down the draperies involves a lot of additional handling that can speed the deterioration of the drapery material. To prevent this type of deterioration, launder your draperies only when absolutely necessary. For many people, laundering draperies annually is often enough. 

Vacuum Regularly

Vacuum your draperies on a weekly basis. You may need to vacuum the draperies more often if the windows are left open, or if the draperies are hanging in a room with a frequently used fireplace. 

To vacuum your draperies, close the draperies and leave them hanging on the curtain rod. Use an upholstery attachment to vacuum the draperies, starting at the top and working downward in a straight row. Repeat this process over and over until the draperies have been fully vacuumed. Pay close attention to the areas near the top of the draperies where the drapery hooks attach, and around the seams where dust gathers. 

Use a Lint Brush 

Use a lint brush as necessary to remove balls of thread, hairs and other large objects that may cling to the material. This type of cleaning can supplement your vacuuming and may even be used in place of vacuuming from time to time, if you do not feel that vacuuming is necessary. 

Clean the Window Sills

Window sills gather a lot of dust over time, especially when the windows are left open. This dust can easily be transferred to the draperies, especially if the draperies are frequently opened and closed. Clean your window sills on a weekly basis, before vacuuming the drapes. 

Following these tips will help you keep your draperies clean and beautiful, and may extend the life of your draperies by years. For more information, contact a drapery dealer like Budget Blinds Of Coachella Valley.

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Top Gifts For Gardening Enthusiasts

Are you searching for the perfect gift for an upcoming birthday or anniversary? Does the recipient enjoy gardening or flowers? Here are some gift suggestions to help make the day special:

Exotic seeds: Many gardeners know about plants that they would love to grow, but they either can’t find the seeds or can’t justify the expense of purchasing them. Try to find out if the intended recipient has been searching for a particular type of plant or seed. Research whether the seeds will need specialized equipment for them to sprout or grow. If they do, consider gifting those as well.

Tealight oil warmer: If the person that you’re buying the gift for likes the smell of flowers but has no garden, consider purchasing a tealight oil warmer set for them. A tealight oil warmer’s beautiful fragrances will help to evoke a mental image of freshly cut flowers. In addition, if the recipient is allergic to flower pollen, gifting them a tealight oil warmer and realistic silk flowers can be a wonderful alternative to freshly cut flowers. If you don’t know what their favorite scent is, include several different ones for them to choose from.

Potpourri lamp: A potpourri lamp may be a type of tealight oil warmer, but it can also be a type of regular lamp. Where a tealight oil warmer uses a candle to warm the oil so that the scent fills the room, a potpourri lamp uses an ordinary light bulb. The lack of an open flame may make these lamps a better option for people who have pets or small children. Because they are so similar, you may be able to find a potpourri lamp being sold near or with the tealight oil warmers.

Bonsai: Not every gardener has room in their yard for their favorite tree. A beautiful bonsai is the perfect choice for a gardening enthusiast with little to no space. If they don’t already have them, be sure to include bonsai tools and bonsai how-to books so that they know how to properly care for their new plant. Depending on where they live, you should also consider including a small grow light as well. This way, they won’t have to worry about putting their bonsai outside in freezing temperatures simply so that it can get some sunlight.

Before buying anything, try to determine whether there are any scents or plants that they hate. For example, some people might dislike the smell of roses while other people detest lavender. If they happen to mention that they despise pruning, giving them a bonsai might not be the best option. But finding the perfect gift doesn’t have to be difficult, as long as you keep your eyes and ears open.

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