Sandbags – How To Fill Them and What Types to Use

When filling a sandbag at least two people, ideally three should take part in the process. All people should wear gloves to protect their hands as some sandbags are treated with chemicals to make them last longer. One member of the team should place the empty bag between or slightly in front of their extensive feet with a flat back and arms extended. The opening of the bag is folded to form a collar, and steadily held for the other person to shovel in the sand. Sandbags are commonly filled completely with sand, this is incorrect. The sand bags should be filled no more than two-thirds full to allow effective shaping and wall building.

The person holding the bag should be standing with bent legs and keeping their back straight to prevent future back pains and keep their head as far away as possible from the hovel to avoid the shovel missing the sandbag and cutting the face of the bag holder.

If the bags of sand are filled with too much sand then they could be too heavy to lift and can cause injuries after a prolonged exposure to sandbag work. Leaving room in the bags means that the sandbags can be maneuvered to form a tighter seal from the flood water.

Ideally, to speed up the operation more people should be involved. Two people will be able to fill more sandbags if they have a third helper handing the bag holder the empty sandbags from the bale of sandbags and then taking the filled sandbags when they are done. If the filling of the bags is being done near to where the flood is happening then a line of people can be formed and people can take the filled sandbags from one person and pass the filled sandbag to the next person and so on, forming a constant stream of sandbags on the wait to their destination.

Sandbag Placement

Before making a wall of sandbags, it is essential that any debris from the area if removed. Fold the open end of the unfilled portion of the sandbag to form triangle. If tied sandbags are used, flatten or flare the tied end.

Place succeeding bags on top, offsetting by one-half filled length of the previous bag, and stamp into place to eliminate voids and to form a tight seal. Stagger the joint connections when stacking lots of sandbags on top of each other. Stacking three high is the maximum recommended for single file walls of sandbags, if you require a wall of sandbags higher than three sandbags, the pyramid method is essential to build a foundation large enough to support whole sandbag structure.

What Type of Sandbags to Use

Hessian sandbags are the oldest and most common sandbags, constructed from woven jute material in a bag measuring approximately 13 '' x 30 ''. Hessian has been used and is still being used for its biodegradable qualities. Hessian sandbags will disappear naturally into the ground over a short time period which is why they are used by many for their disappearing qualities. Because hessian breaks down it is not advisable to use this type of sandbag for continuous flood defense surrounding a river as they will probably break down before the flood comes.

Polypropylene sandbags are more useful for a permanent flood barrier as they do not degrade from the ground and weathering, however sunlight will break down the plastic material. It has been known for a polypropylene sandbag to completely disappear after two weeks of extreme sunlight exposure. For this reason is it advisable to build the wall using the polypropylene sandbags and then cover the wall with black sheeting to protect the sandbags from the sunlight.

Also, a heavy duty polypropylene sandbag does exist which has a UV stabilizer added to the material to reflect the sunlight. This makes the bags last longer, but does not make them invincible, it would still be recommended to cover the heavy duty polypropylene sandbags with black sheeting to protect the life and functionality of the sandbags and save you from having to replace them all.

Do You Need an Elevator Speech?

The term “Elevator Speech” has come in for some criticism over the years, especially as it relates to the small business owner. Before examining the case for the elevator speech, it is worth considering why there is a debate about whether it is a “good thing”.

Much of the criticism to be found in the blogging world seems to relate to the term itself. When this happens there it is generally a good idea to examine the mindset behind the critique. In many cases the term “Elevator Speech” conjures up an image of a slick, well rehearsed, marketing spiel aimed solely at telling the listener all about the speaker, often using clever terminology and plays on words. This position is perhaps understandable. After all, who really wants to listen to many such speeches in a networking session?

Another misunderstanding relates to the many settings where an elevator speech or 30 second introduction might be used. The two most common (outside a small business introduction) are the pitch to a venture capitalist about a business idea (where the term elevator speech was most likely coined) and the job search scenario. Now, these are all places where it pays to have a good introduction and many of the tenets of an effective introduction apply to all these situations. However there are differences and it is a mistake to consider them all under the same heading.

So let us turn to the Small Business Elevator Speech and examine why the criticism, while sometimes justified, should be tempered by reality.

1. You will be asked what you do – a lot. In social settings as well as at networking meetings. It is probably the most commonly asked question after “how are you?” What are you going to say?

2. Most people aren’t that interested in you – sorry, but that is the reality of many social and business situations. “What do you do?” is a conversational question. That doesn’t mean they won’t be interested in the answer, but you have to grab their attention quickly, or else it is just noise and general conversational chit-chat.

3. You may only have 10 seconds – this is the route of the elevator speech definition. It would be nice to think you have half an hour to really get to know someone, but often times you don’t. You need to get their attention right away, so you have a better chance of a longer conversation later.

4. Telling is selling – and see point number 2 above. It is all very well to say: “I don’t need an elevator speech, I will just tell people what I do” but you that is tough to do succinctly in 30 seconds unless you have given it considerable thought and planning.

5. It can be spontaneous (or at least appear so) – just because something is planned and practiced doesn’t mean it has to be trite, forced or learned by rote. There are numerous ways to say the same thing, vary the delivery or use different words. Doing so will keep your message fresh even to someone who has heard it before.

6. You don’t need to be a clever wordsmith. Indeed sometimes this can be detrimental. A simple message that outlines who you serve (your ideal client) and the challenges you help them overcome is all you need.

In summary, however you chose to phrase an introduction, accept that you will be asked for it, probably countless times! You need to be prepared to answer that most common on questions about you and your business and being able to do so in a way that grabs attention and interest AND stands out from the crowd is one of the most important small business tools in your marketing toolkit. Avoid the temptation to dismiss it – call it something else if you will but you do need an elevator speech!

How to Manage a Vacation Home

Do you need it

Absolutely. I have a friend with a second home in Idaho. They have a beautiful home on a small ranch that is for Christmas and summers. Its a short hop from northern California and its a beautiful state with inexpensive land values. They got a lot of land, great views and space for a very affordable price …. at least to us Californians!

After being away from the ranch for most of the winter, the family arrived only to find that there had been a leak in the kitchen which had dripped for many months. Well, you can imagine the damage. The leak had wended its way from the P trap below the kitchen sink to flood the lino floors. It then slowly worked its way into the hallway and the floor boards of the first bathroom. The damage was intensive.

The Damage

First the lino had begun to lift up and the floor boards below were wet and molding. The lino had to be removed and the floor boards had to dry. Then a mold cleaner was professionally applied by a local company to be sure the family was not exposed.

Then the floor boards in the hallway had to be replaced because they were thoroughly wet and moldy. They would no longer lay flat and simply had to be pushed up and new boards laid down.

The entire house had a wet damp smell that would not go away. A wonderful family experience was ruined because they did not have anyone watching the home during their long periods of absence

The Cure

Get a property manager. There are companies that offer management for vacation homes. They do manage a little differently, because they are vacant for long periods and therefore they must be visited. Property management firms in rural or vacation areas have services designed to deal with the vacation homes special needs. In addition to all the general property management needs all properties require

1. Find one that will visit the property bi weekly

2. Be sure they will visit before and after all major storms to be sure the house is shuttered and that any damage can be assessed and taken care of immediately.

3. Repairs: Be sure to have a cap on all repairs. Any major expenses should be approved and you should have sent receipts for any work done above the allowed amount. Try to keep the amount that does not need your approval below $ 750.00

3.Vacation Home Rentals: Vacation home property managers will manage holiday or off season rentals by the week or weekend. Some are set up to book rentals for you. You can expect some kind of revenue share or flat fee service, but it may be worth it.

4.Be sure they will provide cleaning services and schedule maintenance

And Buy These Tools

CO Monitor

A CO monitor will help you protect your family from the damaging effects of carbon monoxide and give you the peace of mind in knowing that you are doing your part to protect your family. Low prices on individual carbon monoxide monitors.They are actually run about $ 50 and can save a life. Having one of thesse in your second home is wise since the system may only be used for a few months a year and can become faulty without your knowledge.

Water Shut Off Valve

Sophisticated water-sensor systems automatically shut off the water supply to a specific appliance or to the entire house when a leak is detected. Basically, they sense when the flow of water is high and will shut off the water to prevent a prolonged leak when no one is living there. Some can be installed by a home owner; for others, a plumber must install the special valves and an electrician must wire the sensors.

Web Based Video Cams

With an internet based video cam installed in your vacation home, you can monitor for break ins and have piece of mind.

Howard Bell for

How to Meet UK Staircase Building Regulations

Whether you are planning a whole new staircase or just a refurbishment of your existing stair balustrade, you need to make sure that your stairs comply with current UK building regulations. Many older staircases may not meet today’s standards, so installing new handrails, spindles and newel posts will give you a chance to bring your staircase up to date in terms of safety as well as looks. Here is a short run-down of the main points relating to private domestic stairs that you should be aware of:

Stair pitch

The stair pitch, or steepness, is very important for safety. Every step must be level and have the same rise (height) and the same going (depth). For instance, you can’t have 190mm for the first four risers followed by 200mm for the rest, as this would be confusing for the user.

An exception to this rule is if there is a landing halfway up the stairs, in which case each section of the staircase can be treated differently. However, this is not recommended.

These are the permitted measurements:

· The maximum rise, or height, for any step should be 220mm, with the minimum being 150mm.

· Every step has to have a minimum going, or depth, of 220mm, and a maximum going of 300mm.

· The maximum pitch, or steepness, must not exceed 42°.

Stair width

Believe it or not, there is no recommendation for the minimum width of a domestic staircase. However, to ensure that your stairs are pleasing to the eye and comfortable to use it is best to make the staircase at least 800mm wide, with the optimum recommended width being between 850mm and 950mm.

When it comes to loft conversions, the widely accepted minimum width is 600mm, although between 700mm and 750mm is advised.

On staircases that change direction, you are allowed to make each flight a different width if necessary.

Stair length

A flight of stairs can include up to 36 risers, or steps, in a straight line. After that, they should change direction by at least 30°. This is to interrupt falls and prevent anyone tumbling a long way down to the bottom of the stairs.


A landing can either be a flat platform where the stairs change direction, or part of the floor at the top or bottom of the staircase. For safety, the landing must be at least as wide and deep as the narrowest part of the stairs. All landings need to be completely level except for the ground floor, where a slight gradient (up to 1:60) is permitted. In addition, no door should be able to swing nearer than 400mm to the front of any step.

Head room

There is a minimum head room requirement of 2m at all points both on and off the stairs. In the case of loft conversions the available headroom will meet building regulations as long as the height at the centre of the staircase is at least 1.9m, and does not reduce to less than 1.8m at the side of the stairs.

Some building control officers may be lenient if you are having real trouble with your loft stairs, but you should always check with them before going ahead.


Your stairs must have a handrail on at least one side if the staircase is less than 1m wide, and rail on both sides if the stairs are wider than this. You don’t have to fit a handrail on the first two steps up from the bottom, but after this point you must make sure there is a handrail on any open parts of the staircase to protect people going up and down.

The handrail height needs to be between 900mm and 1000mm as measured from the pitch line to the top of the handrail. (The pitch line is an imaginary line drawn across the tip of the treads showing the slope of the staircase from top to bottom.)

Mind the gap

One of the most important rules, aimed at protecting small children and preventing falls, is that a 100mm sphere must not be able to pass through any opening on a staircase. This means you need to ensure that the spindles, or balusters, are not too far apart, and that any wide gaps between open risers are fitted with riser bars to reduce the size of the openings.

Stair balustrades should also be designed so that children are not encouraged to climb up them. For this reason old-fashioned ‘ranch style’ banisters with horizontal stair rails should be replaced with vertical spindles.

Please note that these rules only apply to homes in England and, for the most part, Wales and Northern Ireland. Scotland has its own set of building regulations.

Building Stairs

Ideally a stairway should be enough to allow two persons to pass each other, a minimum of 36 "wide, 34" high.

The newel is the main post where the stairs begin and end also where the landing junctions occur.

The balusters, also called spindles, connect the tread to the handrail. Make sure that the distance between each baluster is no more than 4 "maximum. More than 4" is against code and could allow a child's head to get caught.

The handrail is the rail that is parallel to the slope of the stringer from newel post to newel post.

The landing is the platform between straight runs of steps in an L-shaped or U-shaped stairway.

Some information about building stairs.

The riser is the distance from the top of the step to the next step, usually anywhere from 6 "to 8" high. (8 1/4 "maximum).

The tread is the step itself that you step on, usually 9 "to 12" wide.

When you add the riser and the tread together it should be between 17 "to 21" with 18 "to 19" being your average.

The stringer is the carriage that supports the treads and the risers, usually a 2 "x 12" or 2 "x 10" cut to fit the steps.

How to figure the steps: Measure the distance from the floor or ground to the top of your landing, top of deck or the next floor.

Example: If the distance from the ground to the top of the deck is 45 "high, you divide by 7" or 8 "to find how high each step will be.

In this case we find that 71/2 "will be the height of each step, which means that you will have 6 risers and 5 treads.

To cut your stringer, take your square and place it on the edge of your stringer to read 71/2 "on one side and 11" on the other side of the square; (11 "for using a 2" x 12 "or 2- 5/4 x 6" deck boards). Draw 5 steps with 6 risers. Cut off the thickness off your bottom riser 1 "or 1 1/2" to allow a 7 1/2 "total. You are now ready to assemble your stairs. Also allow 1 "- 1 1/4" of tread to extend beyond risers as nosing for treads. You may want to practice on an old board if you are not sure. Or you can buy the pre-made stringers at the lumber yard, but you do not have the option to choose the height of your risers.

A deck that is 32 "or less does not needarily need railings by code. (check with your local authority)

Painters Scaffolding

This is a piece of equipment that painters use while painting places that normally are out of reach, like tall objects or high walls. The painter uses this as support to stand on while they work. There are also different types of scaffolding that the painters can use. What type they use depends on what the job requires. For example, is the work inside or outside and the height of the area they are painting. If the scaffolding is only needed for occasional projects, they can rent it. They can also be constructed from raw materials or purchased.

The basic structure of general scaffolding consists of a floor surface. A cage-type framework made of pieces of lumber or vertical and horizontal metal tubes supports the floor surface. There are wheels or base plates on the ground upon which the vertical struts may rest. This creates an elevated platform. An alternative method is the entire structure may be suspended by bracing the scaffolding from the side of the building. There will be little to no direct support with the ground. It can also hang suspended by cables. These cables are hooked to a crane or a higher part of the building.

Advantages of painters scaffolding

The main advantage over a regular ladder is that it will allow a painter to reach a larger area of the building by being able to walk across the floor surface of the scaffolding. When using a ladder it will only allow no movement and only a narrow range of reach. Areas that are too high to reach from a ladder can be reached from scaffolding.

Scaffolding uses

There are many types of scaffolding for a variety of uses.

• Large construction projects-this type of job will require scaffolding that can provide painters access to high areas and be able to support more than one painter. This type incorporates more elaborate rigging systems for support and bracing along with heftier struts.

• Small-scale projects-these projects normally do not require a lot of height, like painting the interior of a home. In these cases a portable structure on wheels are often used. Some companies do rent scaffolding that can hang from the structure for outdoor house painting.

Many times scaffolding is rented because it is not as expensive as buying one. Many times they are only needed for one or two jobs so they can be rented on an as-needed basis. The one drawback to renting painters scaffolding is that the scaffolding may not be modified for the job you need it for. This is why some companies choose to build their own custom scaffolding to fit the needs of the job they are working on. They use lumber of other material to make the scaffolding.

Carpeting Vs Hardwood or Laminate Flooring

When it comes to flooring or carpet, most people go with the flow and install what is in style at the time they purchase their floor or carpet. This is the most common mistake that people do. What is good for one home or family is not necessary good for another home or family. When making a decision on the floor covering product to have installed in your home, here are few things you have to consider other than your budget.

Saftey – If you have little children you might want to consider carpet. Carpet is usually installed on underpadding which will act as a coshin and prevent your children from getting hurt. Especially on stairs.

Tolerance – If you have pets and do not like the accidents they do on carpet then laminate flooring is the way to go. Laminate flooring is resistant to pet claws, in fact, there are very few things that can scratch a laminate flooring. Any spill should always be removed within minutes of the time the spill happens or else you'll have and irrepairable damage to you laminate flooring.

If safety and tolerance do not apply to you, then you must consider hardwood flooring. Hardwood flooring gives your home a warm look. It increases the value of your home and if you are selling, a house sells much faster if it has hardwood flooring installed. The only disadvantage is that hardwood flooring is more expensive than most carpets and laminate flooring. But then again, it's an investment that will last you a lifetime. It can be sanded and renovated later on and have a fresh new look.

To learn more, visit for more information.

Sprinkled, Not Painted Pictures – Japanese Lacquer

Before I describe these unique and beautiful works of art, exclusively Japanese, I feel that you need to know more about lacquer, the extraordinary medium that was used. Only then will you fully appreciate these brilliant creations.

For readers who are unfamiliar with old Japanese lacquer, I suspect you will be thinking of the typical modern lacquer trays and bowls that are mass-produced. These items are very decorative, but completely fail to compare with the magnificent earlier hand made works.

From China to Japan
Lacquer is really the sap from a tree known as ‘Rhus Vernicifera’. The Chinese were the first to discover and use it, at least a century before Christ, when it was used as a paint, and more often as a preservative. It was a very effective preservative, as many pieces still exist from as far back as the Han period 206BC, when lacquer was very popular and in extensive use.

The earliest known Japanese lacquer dates back to about the 7th Century, but it was not until the 14th and 15th century that the Japanese lacquer works became so much more decorative. By then they had refined and created exceptional techniques, far finer and more beautiful than the Chinese lacquer that they had simply originally copied.

The Chinese had used shades of black, brown, yellow, green, and mostly red or cinnabar Lacquer. They mainly favoured deep carving of the Lacquer, to form the decoration, and produced some outstanding work.

They often applied the colours in layers, so that once carved, these colours would be revealed. One particular technique is known as ‘Guri’ lacquer: the colours mostly red and black were built up in layers, and then a geometric or symmetrical pattern would be carved with a deep `V’ shaped cut, so that all these alternating layers would be revealed within the cuts. The Chinese also painted, incised and inlaid lacquer with iridescent pieces of shell, but these works were treasured by the Japanese often more so, than by the Chinese.

To begin with all these methods were copied, but by about the 15th century the Japanese had become, justifiably, the unrivalled masters of the art!

Lacquer was, quite rightly, highly valued for its lasting qualities and strength. A very high gloss could be achieved, proving impervious to alcohol, acids and hot liquids. It would also have appealed to the Zen Buddhism ideals of ‘Yin and Yang’, as Lacquer appears to be so delicately beautiful and light in weight. Yet, it is hard, impermeable and enduring.

The Preparation
It is a very difficult medium to work with, uncompromising, sticky, and time consuming. It had to be strained to remove any impurities, and gently heated to thicken, and evaporate any moisture content. All the time it had to be kept in a dust free environment, and added to these difficulties, in its liquid form it gives off a poisonous gas! Strangely, it requires a damp humid atmosphere for it to harden.

It had to be applied in very thin layers, otherwise it runs, and if too thick, will not harden at all but will just form a skin. After each layer had hardened, all the time in a dust free area, it was carefully rubbed down before another layer would be added.

An average piece consisted of a minimum of 30 layers, in order that there would not be a trace of the wood base, or on larger pieces the hemp cloth applied in the early layers, to help strengthen the wood. The lacquer artist would have taken over, only at this stage, to create the decoration by the addition of yet even more layers.

The number of colours possible, due to chemical reactions with pigments and the composition of lacquer were limited. So lacquer artists were still restricted and blue was a very rare colour.

It was the Japanese that developed the idea and the techniques of adding gold and silver to liven up the decoration. Real gold and silver metals were used in the form of foil, flakes, metal particles of various grades, as well as powders. All of these precious metals were brilliantly used to great advantage, particularly in the late 18th and early 19th century.

The sprinkling of gold or silver metal particles had been used before and over a very long period, to brighten up the interiors. Even very early Lacquer works have ‘Nashiji’ inside. This is where fine particles of gold have simply been sprinkled in to the lacquer. Some were scattered unevenly, producing cloud effects, whilst others varied in the density. However no pictures were formed.

Sprinkled, Not Painted!
In the 18th century they invented and refined the idea of sprinkled pictures, and these were used to great effect in what are known as ‘Togadashi’ pieces. They are easily identified, as the surface of the lacquer is always perfectly smooth in togadashi work.

These designs and amazing pictures were created purely, by very skilfully pouring various grades of fine metal and pigment powders on to the wet lacquer, so that they would sink in. There was no way of correcting any errors! Extra layers of the background colour, normally black, would be added over the picture. Then by carefully polishing down until the picture reappears, the top edges of the metal particles would be made to glisten from the polish, providing brilliance impossible to achieve any other way. The last very thin coats would be of the purest clear lacquer, providing the mirror like high gloss finish.

Various shades of black were created, by charcoal mixed with different quantities of silver powder, so that they could even simulate painted brush strokes. These powders were mainly used for black pictures on a gold background, that one would never imagine were created by sprinkling techniques. What is also quite remarkable, is the very fine degree of control in shading that they were able to achieve. This meant that far more sophisticated pictures could be created, than had ever been seen before.

There are three types of sprinkled picture techniques in all and Togadashi, already described, is my favourite! Another is ‘Hiramakie’, which is where quite a thickly sprinkled gold powder is used, and the lacquer is raised just a little above the background. As usual the surface is polished and burnished, before the final clear layers, and has a very rich appearance. Lastly, there is ‘Takamakie’, which is again similar to Hiramakie, only it is in much higher relief. This thickness was achieved by building up and modelling the areas required in relief, with a combination of Lacquer and charcoal, before applying the gold powder layers.

Highlights of Pure Gold
Many Lacquer artists made use of a combination of these techniques in a piece of work. Just to further enrich these pictures, finely shaped tiny pieces of pure gold, so small that it is hard to imagine how they were handled, are individually applied near the final surface to create highlights. Frequently these are exactly matched shapes, tiny squares or diamond pieces that are all so amazingly very accurately placed.

Togadashi Boxes
One of our favourite examples of this type of work in this collection is a fine Box that appears as two overlapping boxes. One shows the figure of the swordsmith forging the sword ‘Little Fox’, assisted by the Fox Spirit in the guise of a woman; the other has an overall design of a mass of gold and coloured flowers.

Looking closely at the gold centres of the flowers one can see how these consist of a number of very tiny shaped flakes of gold; each flake has been carefully placed by hand.

It also has a marvellous fitted tray just in gold togadashi of three foxes running in a landscape with a really dream like quality. The border of the tray is decorated in ‘Gyobu’, which is where each individual flake of gold has also been positioned by hand, rather than sprinkled.

Another wonderful Box that is purely, fine togadashi, depicts a busy street market scene, and what more can I say, other than it is an outstanding piece of work!

Neither of these boxes is signed, but they are nevertheless, of the finest quality. To see the photographs please use the link at the end of this article. These wonderful lacquer works feature on Japanese inro too (the subject of another article).

Modern Boxes
A word of warning when buying lacquer, it is important that the condition is both good and original. As there are now some cleverly repaired pieces on the market, expert advice should always be obtained.

Fine lacquer is made even today, and there are certain living traditional lacquer artists who are held in very high esteem in Japan. So much so, that some have been designated as ‘Living National Treasures’, and their contemporary hand made Lacquer work is in high demand and extremely expensive.

I have seen an example, at a Lacquer study weekend held at the V & A museum. A remarkable modern box that combined thick clear Perspex with black Lacquer in a geometric design that really was very dramatic. Personally I still prefer the earlier works and for the cost of this modern box a very good collection could be formed!

How to Maintain Your RV Air Conditioner Unit

An air conditioner unit plays a crucial part in a home, office and even vehicles, particularly during summer months. Maintaining its first-class condition should be one of your top concerns. This is especially true if your unit is an RV air conditioner. This type of air conditioner unit should be maintained regularly and consistently since it has several complicated parts including a compressor, motor, and evaporator coil. As an owner, it is your responsibility to provide maintenance to your appliances. Improper management will only result in costly repairs and possibly even breakouts while on your summer vacation.

Split-system AC units can be installed as an RV air conditioner. Both have condensers as well as compressor units. They can be installed on the outside roof while the air-cooling unit can be installed on the interior ceiling. If your RV is longer than 35 feet, you need to use two units if you want to cool the RV.

Tips to Maintain Your RV air conditioners

• Make sure that you change your air filter every month.

• If you are using reusable filters, make sure that you wash it using warm water and let it dry before you reinstall it.

• Make sure that your filters are not clogged. A clogged filter will be inefficient, and it will cost you dearly in higher operation cost. If your filter is clogged, it will also affect other parts and components of your unit.

• Use a damp cloth to clean the outside of the unit.

• Make sure that you clean your evaporator coil on your rooftop. You can put a shield to protect your coil.

• Check the basket seal of your RV air conditioner on a regular basis. This is located at the bottom of your unit on the ceiling. In addition, make sure that you clean your drain holes, and you remove all the debris to prevent an outflow of the condensate.

• Check out your unit before going on a summer break. Make sure that the fan and temperature controls are working properly. Aside from that, make sure that your unit has a sufficient power source.

• Install a proper and adequate circuit breaker. Remember that an insufficient power supply can result in serious damage and risk to the unit. If you want to enjoy your summer vacation, make sure that your RV air conditioner is working at its best. To do this, make sure that you do regular and consistent maintenance.

Hints For Putting in Integral Pad Carpeting

Integral pad carpet is a kind of carpeting that has its own cushioned backing attached and attached to the backside of the carpeting, thereby eliminating the need for installing separate carpet padding. Integral pad carpet is also referred to as cushion-backed carpet and is the idyllic flooring solution for concrete flooring because you do not need to use nails or tacks to hold it to the floor. And because there is no requirement to hold integral pad carpeting with carpeting tape, it is also a terrific selection for smaller spaces like closets and baths. To prevent the edges from curling, however, larger sections can be easily grounded with double-sided tape. You can find integral pad carpeting in a diversity of styles, including cut pile and Berber, and in a rainbow of extraordinary colors.


Just like installing any other style of carpet, you have to make sure that the floor is totally clean and dry, is structurally strong, and has a comparatively smooth or symmetrical surface. Make sure that there is no dust, dirt, sticky residue or debris on the floor. If the floor is not properly prepared, the double-sided tape will not stick properly. Alongside the integral pad carpet, you will need a double-sided carpet tape that is two inches wide, a carpet cutter, a measuring tape or ruler, and a chalk for marking the carpeting. If the installation necessitates seams, purchase a seam adhesive that is recommended for your type of carpet material, as well as five-inch carpet tape to use under the seam.

Accurate measurements and accurate cuts

Take correct measurements of the perimeter of the space where the carpet will be installed, including the length and width of the space; add an inch to every side of the dimensions that you write down. For illustration, if the width is 80 inches, you should cut the carpeting so that it is 82 inches wide accounting for the extra inch on both sides of the width. Follow the same process for the length. Cut the carpeting accordingly using a chalk line to attain a correct cut. Place the carpet on the flooring so that it covers the total space.

Finishing the edges

Once the carpeting is smoothly in place, start with a corner segment and be careful not to slide the carpeting out of place. Raise up one segment of carpeting and apply a border of rug tape benefit it, applying it to the floor below. Place the tape smoothly without any air or bubbles and remove the paper backing. Allow the carpet to fall onto the tape below, applying pressure that will cause it to stick steadfastly, and then smooth it out using your hands. You can also get a rolling pin to help you in smoothing out the carpet. This process should be replicated around the perimeter for all remaining carpeting sides. Once you have attached all sides to the floor, you will need to trim any excess carpet from around the edges. And finally, press the edges of the carpeting benefit the mopboard. You may also look at placing a shoe molding on the carpet edges and then securely nail it to the mopboard.

If the carpet requires seaming, put in five-inch carpet tape underneath the seam, press the pieces of carpet into position and apply seam adhesive as directed on the product label.

The best benefit of installing carpet over a hard, concrete floor is that a once useful space can be transformed into a snug, welcoming place suitable for living. After your carpet has been put in and the area looks more cozy, you may look at displaying informal accents like palm tree wall art and metal or ceramic sun wall art. No matter what you select, be certain to bestow your own individual style to the room.

Looking for Great Cleaning Companies to Keep Your Business Clean?

Are you looking for a good cleaning service to help you keep your business clean? If so, then you need to hire the help of professional and experienced cleaning companies. There are a lot of cleaning businesses out there that are available to help you meet all of your cleaning needs. With all of the selection that is out there you need to make sure that you follow the right steps to getting the best deal possible. Here are a few steps that you can follow in order to make sure that you get quality service at an affordable price.

However large or small your business is, a cleaning company will know how important it is to have a clean and tidy working environment. Cleanliness can be a very important factor for good employee performance in any working place. Clients may be turned off when they visit your working place and you may lose a lot of clients this way. It is also important to keep the office sanitary in order to keep employees from becoming sick and having to take a couple of days or more off.

The first thing that you will want to do is to make sure that you find cleaning companies that will suit your cleaning needs. Keep in mind that there are a few different levels of service that are offered by most cleaning companies. The first, and most basic, includes things such as dusting off cabinets and desks, and vacuuming the floor. These basic services will usually always include taking out the trash and even cleaning the bathrooms and making sure that they are stocked up on soap and toilet paper.

Most cleaning companies will perform these types of services once a week and will probably charge you a certain amount per month, depending on how big your office actually is. You can get additional services that include deep cleans of carpet and upholstery and professional window washing as well but they are going to cost extra.

The next thing that you should look at is how the cleaning companies are going to charge you for the services that they perform. Do they base their rates off of an hourly charge or do they quote you a price depending on how many square feet your office is? Some will even charge a flat fee but these services are few and far between. Make sure that you know how they are calculating the costs so that you can do all that you can to save some money.

Last of all, make sure you personally meet with someone from the cleaning companies and walk them through your office. You want to make sure that they understand what you expect of them and also you want to be able to ask them questions about how they run their business. You can find out if they run background checks on their employees and if they are trustworthy to have coming into your office to clean up after hours.

Copyright @ FastKlean

Formal Updo Hairstyles

Special occasions such as weddings, business parties and certain social functions require that you sow up with a formal hairstyle. Updo hairstyles are always acceptable in formal settings. Brushing your hair to the back or piling it neatly on top of your head, gives your neck an elongated look, and focuses attention to your shoulders. Updo hairstyles also make it possible for you to bring attention to your earrings and necklace. To sum it all up, the updo hairstyle lets you show off your beauty. Variations of the classic formal updo hairstyle are:


Bangs help when you want to hide blemishes, scars or slight imperfections such as a high forehead. Adding bangs to your updo hairstyle requires just one easy step. You can simply have part of your hair slant across the forehead or create a bang by pulling a section of your hair over your forehead and clipping it to make an even bang across your forehead.

Curly Updos

Formal curly updo hairstyles can sometimes be a little tricky, but well well worth the extra time and effort. The perfect formal curly formal updo requires you to curl all of your hair before pinning it up. The look is excellent for women with naturally curly or wavy hair. Setting off your curly updo with appropriate barrettes, combs or other forms of jewelry adds drama to your look. Be careful, however, not to over do the hair accessories. Make sure that whatever you put in your hair does not detract from your overall look or clash with your necklace and earrings.

Half Updos

The hairstyles that have become known as half updos are an acceptable compromise for hair worn that is worn down and up at the same time. Rather than completely revealing the face with a traditional updo, the half updo is for some a more appropriate hairstyle. The half updo has beenported by many famous people as they walk the red carpet on the way to receiving an award for their work in television, music or film; attend a movie premier; or take in a play on Broadway. These celebrities include people like actress Nicole Kidman and fashion designer Donna Karan. Half updos can easily be adapted to conform to every type of face. They are most appropriate for the woman who is convinced that wearing an updo would make her look too harsh or overly formal. Half updos have a way of lightening mood, which is why some people like to call it a semi-formal hairstyle. Half updo options are plentiful. Some ideas for half updo hairstyles include:

• Tie your hair just below the crown of your head. You may also use a plastic hair band that closes to form a circle or an elastic hair band. Doing this will allow your curled shoulder length hair to cascade down around your face and down the nape of your neck.
• Swept your bangs to the side and let your hair fall to frame your face naturally. Pin your hair down below the crown just enough to allow a few tendrils of hair to fall loosely down your back.
• Tie or band your at the top of the crown of your head and allow your hair to fall loosely down your back

Soft and Seductive Formal Updo Hairstyles

Angelina Jolie is a perfect example for women with faces that are oblong, heart-shaped, square, diamond or oval shaped. Soft and seductive formal updo hairstyles add height and volume to any woman. To add drama to the soft and seductive formal updo, allow a few tendrils of hair to remain loose, complimenting the wearer's face and showing off her jewelry. Follow these easy steps to achieve the perfect soft and seductive formal hairstyle for yourself:

• Wash and condition your hair;
• Use you fingers to spread mousse through your hair;
• Add volume by teasing your hair at the crown of your head with a small round brush;
• Once your hair is dry create waves all around your head with a large barreled curling iron;
• Pin your hair up starting on the sides and ending at the back of the crown;
• Allow a few tendrils of hair to hang loose and frame the face;
• Apply a generous amount of your favorite holding hair spray.

Putter Clubs – Double Dot Cocobolo Mallet Putter

There are plenty of putter clubs in golf, but the Double Dot Cocobolo Mallet putter is the most beautiful putter I have ever seen. This Putter is not only beautiful and stylish due to the Cocobolo wood but it has a great feel and balance to it as well. This putter is a work of art and as a person who loves golf and golf clubs, this is a top notch bad boy.

Mallet style putters have become very popular these days because of the stability the golfer can get when he is at the putting green. This mallet putter is equipped with perfect target lines and great feel to give you that touch on the putting green. The putter is extremely balanced and is an absolute piece of art. This putter looks and feels great due to the fact that its made with the finest Cocobolo wood.

Cocobolo wood is the most gorgeous woods in the family of the rosewood. The wood is a red to orange with black striping, which gives the putter a beautiful color and natural design. This is where the beauty of the wood comes in. High Polish is used to give it that mirror-like finish which makes the putter glimmer like a diamond. The finish is an automobile polyurethane so that the putter is protected with only the good expensive stuff. The putter meets the requirements of the USGA so you know its a quality golf putter as well as a beautiful work of art.

Weaknesses and Strengths of Masonry

It is important to note that masonry is not just the pouring of concrete to make a foundation of an edging mortar around the cracks of bricks. Materials commonly used by masons include brick, travertine, granite, limestone, glass, tile, concrete, and stucco. Masonry is highly regarded as a backbone of construction and its two commonly types used include brick and concrete.

One of the main benefits of masonry is the good use of materials that increase thermal mass of a given building. Mortar and brick, usually do not need painting or any form of secondary covering. It is a great protection since it has high resistant features. The walls are designed to hold against many elements and therefore can withstand forces from tornadoes and hurricanes. A mason notes that most of the buildings that were constructed by use brick and limestone have lasted more than 500 years.

It is important to note that there are some limitations in the use of masonry work. For instance, areas with extreme weathering are not ideal for masonry structures. This is so because they are likely to deteriorate with time. It is advisable to use other means of construction in such areas. Also mortar and brick are unlikely to survive intact for a long period of time in areas with frost and ice. This is so because the cold weather will chip away at the building structure. Also these areas have been reported to be difficult for masons and other building professionals to deal with. Reinforced concrete, brick and other materials may be heavy and therefore difficult to use since they need strong structural foundations.

One of the greatest weaknesses of masonry is weak tensile strength though they are used in bolstering an impressive and great strength of handling heavy vertical loads. Any building that is constructed though this process is likely have problems arising from stretching and twisting unless it is reinforced by use of stable materials such as iron. This explains why solid masonry is probably becoming obsolete nowadays.

Nowadays, solid and reinforced masonry is used or reserved for structures used in landscaping. The different types of masonry include dry set masonry, concrete block, veneer, solid masonry, brick and even serpentine. Masonry must have modern architecture and it’s likely to be so for many decades to come because it is a link of the past and our future. Therefore hiring a great company is always a better option.

Steps for Cleaning Eaves Trough and Gutters

Water, leaves and dirt trapped in wood and metal gutters and eaves troughs can cause major damage to your roof and exterior siding. Maintaining clean gutters helps keep your home top condition for resale, or to maintain the lifespan of your investment.

Steps for Cleaning Gutters and Eaves Troughs

1. Before cleaning your gutters, make sure you have a secured means to access the roof – preferably with a ladder. Do not lean your ladder against the downspout or gutter, as they can easily bend or break.

2. Before cleaning your gutters, check to see that the roof is not slippery with water and debris before climbing on top.

3. To clean gutters, remove leaves and twigs from gutters by hand or with a satisfactory tool such as a small garden trowel, or an actual gutter scoop found at your local hardware store.

4. Wet or moistened solidified dirt in the gutter, which tends to be difficult to remove otherwise loosened by soaking. Once loose, clean out with gutter scoop or trowel.

5. With garden hose, rinse remaining dirt down the downspouts. This will indicate if they are clogged (if water drains freely or not).

6. If downspouts are clogged, run water to clean and unclog by placing a garden hose in then supply with large amounts of water until free. If plugged downspout can not be cleaned with a hose, use a small plumber's snake or an unbent clothes hanger. Be careful not to damage downspouts.

7. Alternately, a leaf blower can be used for cleaning gutters. The drawbacks are; the dirt may be solidified and will not blow away, you'll be high up – often in awkward postures, carrying an awkward machine, dust may get in your eyes.

8. Use garden hose for final flush and cleaning of gutters and downspouts. (This will also reveal if there are any leaks in the system.)

9. Repair any leaks with appropriate out caulking or specific gutter repair caulking.

10. If possible, cover gutters with wire or plastic mesh. This will dramatically cut down on debris in future.

Tips and Warnings

Never hold on to the gutter or downspout for support. They are not meant to support your weight.

Make sure ladder is sturdy and well-secured.