Accommodation to Match Your Tastes

When you travel to Puerto Rico the kind of  accommodation  you look for varies according to the kind of traveler you are. And the best part about this touristic destination is that there is a hotel to suit every kind of requirement. Of course in each range you will find a number of hotels, however here is a list to help you get started. If you like a sense of history then you will really appreciate the El Convento Hotel in Old San Juan. This is a 17th century convent and located in the heart of the old walled city. The way the hotel has been maintained is what makes it a desirable place to stay at. It has a massive arched colonnade all around the courtyard and tiled floors as well.

If you want to make new friends and be at a hotel that has a lot of people then the Conde Nast is the one for you. It has the Water & beach club that caters to an elite client list but which is equally accommodating of the average person as well. The rooms are quite modern and the service fabulous. There are also numerous other services on offer making the place quite desirable. The rooftop restaurant and easy access to the beach, make this a must visit hotel.

If gambling is something you would like to indulge in when in Puerto Rico, then the El San Juan Hotel and Casino is where you should be headed. It is quite the posh hotel for gambling and popular on the circuit. It has a massive lobby, which is actually a fun place to hang out every night. There are several pubs within its confines and you can easily spend a night pub hopping as well. The live band will also get you going. For those who love their architecture, the Hix Island House is perhaps one of the best places to stay in Viegues. It is a unique hotel experience with its geometric stone structures and its innovativeness.

Art lovers will love being at the Galley Inn which is a boutique hotel filled with art works that can keep you busy for hours on end. Every room has sculptures and statues that have been used to tastefully decorate the place.

Overall, Puerto Rico has a lot to offer for those who want something unique with their  accommodation  as well. Take your pick from the range available.

Beijing Shi Du (Ten Ferry)

The Shi Du (Ten Ferry) scenic spot is the most typical canyon full of karst, ridges and peaks and is the closest to the capital city, unique in the northern part, and the biggest in Huabei region. The canyon features 12 marvelous geological sites such as natural “Stone Buddha”, “Flied over Stone”, “One Line Sky”, “Buddha” character of the dragon mountain, “Water Flowing Up”, “Stone in the Stone” and so forth. It has enjoyed the fine reputation of being the “green mountain and wild ferry, decorated corridors of hundred miles” for years. The Juma river is just like a piece of jade ribbon winding circuitously, passing through the mountains, complementing each other with the peaks and forests. The scenery has North China’s imposing character, it also carries the elegance of South of Yangtzi River. In 1986, Shi Du was evaluated as one of the new 16 sceneries of Beijing, and it was included in Beijing’s first batch of scenic spots in 1999.

Service facility:

10 scenic spots: Orphaned Mountain Village, Immortal Peak Valley, Ten-Thousand Scenery Immortal Ditch, Big Canyon of South, Pu Du Mountain Village, Martyrs’ Cemetery of PingXi Resistance Against Japan, Immortal Dwelled Cave, Mountain of Pond in the Sky, West Lake Ferry, and Five-Star Gorge.

Entertainment spots: JuMa Paradise, Nine-Ferry Drifting, Eight-Ferry Boat Paddling, Six-Ferry Boat Paddling, and Qingjiang Nine-Dragon Deep Pond and so on. They provide extreme jumps, cliff parachuting, ropeway, crag climbing, sky gliding, drifting, boat pedaling, canoeing, vehicle surfing, motorboating, sand beach bathing, swimming, horse riding and many other programs.

Hotels: Including Shanguang Guesthouse, Buddha Gazing Mountain Villa, YanAn Training Center, Pen Holder Mountain Villa, the Bureau of Finance Training Center, and other middle scale or upscale guesthouses. There are also 11 travel focused villages such as Xizhuang Folk Custom village, Western River Fish Culture & Angling village and others that offer 5600 berths, provide coordinated services like travel, accommodations, food, shopping, and entertainment.

Riding route:

1. Go directly to Shi Du via bus 917 at Tian Qiao;

2. touring bus 10 is available during the official holidays and weekends at Qianmen, Fuchengmen, Xuanwumen;

3. Take train 7 from Beijing’s South Station and get off at Shi Du;

4. There are mini buses and carriages inside the scenic area.

Contact phone: 61349871

Touring guides:

Spring:

  • Time: April 15th – May 30th
  • Activities: Sightseeing, living in the peasant families, eat local specialty foods, enjoy the natural beauty.

Shi Du Scenery Festival:

  • Time: June 1st – October 10th
  • Activities: Juma river bathing tour that features water diving bathing, sun bathing, boat drifting, angling, sand beach volleyball; summer cultural square activities that features singing, bonfire party, national dances, folk performances, as well as barbecue event that features savoring delicacies of every kind.

Home Remodeling Is Still Big Business in a Shaky Economy

Driven by a continuous slide in home prices, consumers are reevaluating and redesigning their living spaces for the long haul, and with more than 20% of mortgages still underwater and foreclosures still plaguing many   housing  markets across America, the “long haul” could be a while.

So what does this mean for general contractors and remodeling professionals? According to a recent survey conducted by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), home renovation projects are up from a similar survey conducted in 2010, with nearly 50% of the contractors surveyed seeing an increase in the number of home owners who undertake remodels to avoid moving. Bath and kitchen remodeling projects jumped 17% from two years ago, with bathroom taking the lead as the most common job reported by remodelers, followed by kitchen remodels. In addition, other popular remodeling categories included window and door replacements (44%), whole house remodels (35%), room additions (33%) and handyman services (31%).

And in February, the NAHB stated that the residential remodeling market will continue to experience measured growth in 2012 after the Remodeling Market Index (RMI) rose to a five year-high at the end of 2011. These numbers probably give a good indication that Americans may be inclined to spend some money on sprucing up their current homes while they ride out the sluggish  housing  market. And while average folks are hunkering down, well funded investors are out in full force, securing low priced deals on foreclosed properties to answer the demand of a rising renter’s market.

From kitchen cabinets to bathroom vanities to flooring to appliances, it seems that this remodeling trend is breathing new life into old homes. In 2010, the remodeling industry saw Americans spend $116 billion on improvements to owner-occupied units, and if the recent NAHB survey is any indication, the home remodeling industry should see another banner year as consumers invest in renovations and remodeling again. Finally, beyond an improvement in the U.S.  housing  market, other key factors that should drive remodeling expenditures over the next few years will be a rapidly aging  housing  stock, particularly due to a lack of new construction starts throughout the  housing  crisis, as well as an increasing interest in improving home efficiency and green remodeling.

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) is a Washington-based trade association representing more than 140,000 members, and is affiliated with 800 state and local home builders associations around the country. NAHB’s builder members will construct about 80 percent of the new  housing  units projected for this year.

Building of a Shed

To build a shed of “light version” you will need the following materials: timber 100×100, boards 25 mm of thickness, eaves board with cross-section of 150×150 mm; ruberoid; roofing slate, nails of 70, 100 and 200 mm long, staples, bricks. To build a more solid shed you will also need reinforcement rods or bar mat reinforcement, concrete, cement (for slab base), crushed stone, gravel and boards of far higher quality /in this topic we will not consider “solid” building of a shed/.

A base for a not solid shed is usually of post footing type, on not big stilts. For a light shed along the perimeter of the construction not high stubs are laid. They should protect the sole timber frame from damp. It is not good to put wooden parts directly on the ground. A layout of hydro isolation is laid on the stubs, and after that timber is put – the sole frame. A post foot base can be done.

More often a shed structure is just a frame of parallel bars, bind with wood. Uncommonly – walls totally bricked. To make it steady when building a shed of brick a few rows might be laid out first and then a wooden frame might be set on it.

Two – three rows of brick are laid on the concrete plate – a low-rise soc le is made. For wooden planks of the future shed it is important to create special conditions so that after rains they would get dry quickly and would not come in contact with wet water absorbing materials (e.g. brick). Therefore in between the last row of the soc le and the sole timber of the frame a lay of hydro isolation is put. In order that the timber held steadily, as early as building the soc le of brick, every 1.5 – 2 meters T-shaped anchor pins are inserted into the soc le. They would squeese by the bricks to the plate, and the sole timber therefore would tightly bind with the basement.

In the timber which would be a part of the lowest frame holes are drilled for anchor pins. To the side that would contact to the bricks, a lay of hydro isolation is put. The timber is put on the socle and pins are inserted. Accuracy when setting the frame is checked with the help of builder’s level and a lath.

Depending on the dimensions of the construction to the lowest frame appropriate quantity of posts should be set with 1.5 meters interval.

When all posts would be settled by shores in strictly vertical position you can start constructing the upper frame. It is made of broads and nailed edgeways inserting into the posts. Parallel bars shouldn’t be inserted into the posts, but fasten by a steady building fixing fittings. Non-porosity of the wood will not be broken, and the conjunction will be quite hard and strong. On the front and back sides of the shed the ends of the upper frame can be released to 200-300 mm.

Any kind of wood is solidly changing in its dimensions depending on the air moisture. It widens (when swelling of dampness) or shrinks (when drying). All these changes directly influence the appearance of the shed.

If horizontal lining chosen then the water would run out worse and the boards would stay wet longer time. One more factor is not in favor of horizontal lining – it is not resistant, i.e. it should be itself hold firmly with the help of solid posts, and you will need very many posts for such lining.

Vertical dispositions of broads in the walls lining is more reasonable and convenient. Moisture from them runs of itself. For widening and shrinkage a small space should be left between the boards. Each board of the lining nailed to the upper and lower frames is itself resistant post. The wall of the shed, thus, is itself entire resistant post.

If in the shed windows or ventilation holes are needed, a space is left for them. In between of two posts space a door frame is inserted in which a door is hung later.

Interior decoration of the walls depends on the purpose of the shed. If cold proof is needed then the frame infill with the insulant, and additionally also upholster inside. If the shed is used just for household purposes, the walls are left just single-thickness.

The roof of a simple little shed, as a rule, slightly sloping or lean-to with small angle of slope. The roof is better to strengthen beforehand so that the roofing material would not sag. It is possible to secure the roof timbers by inserting into the frame additional cross-beams on which the roof timbers would bear against. The distance between the roof timbers, better to leave not more than 50-75 sm. If roofing materials are soft, the lath under such roof is made blind. The shed is possible to cover with forge iron or with modern materials (fiberglass, polycarbonate). Building of a shed is a complex process, but challenging. Good luck!

Drain Systems

Introduction

Sewage and  drain  systems are part of modern history and essential part to understand the process of development of construction of water systems in human history process.

In ancient world, most of the sophisticated Sewage and  Drain  and water systems, where built in and for the kings and the rich people. It was until, everyone in the society understood that it was a common problem.

One of the most ancient sewage system and drainage are traced back to the Ancient Indus. These systems have amazing similarities to our modern sewage systems. Almost all houses in cities such Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro in India and Pakistan had an access to fresh water and  drain  systems facilities. Waste waters systems were designed to direct to a covered  Drain  systems which ended in major streets.

Fast growth of cities in the middle and in the last 200 years, created the need to design and implement the same basic Sewer and  drain  principals, but this time, it was for much bigger population, for millions of people in each city!

Type of  Drains 

Main Line

Define as the  drain  system that will carry out the waste water from the building (Residential or Commercial) to the city sewage system. The law in USA, in the vast majority of the counties and cities, requires the Home Owner or the Property Owner (Commercial) to maintain the Mainline and repair it!!

(Note: the home owner is responsible for the sewer line all the way even the connection to the city, which is called the “Saddle” or “The City Tie In”. Sewer mains can be from 6 feet deep to 10 feet deep due to freeze line specifications for the area)

Secondary line

 Drain  systems that are located inside buildings walls (Housed, condo complexes, and commercial buildings) and will carry waste water into the Street main line.

Residential  Drains 

All of your  drains  in your house is considered secondary lines for example: kitchen, laundry, tub/shower and hand sink  drains  are all considered secondary  drains . They all consist from 1 inch pipe that will end up in a 3 inch or 4 inch main line. The toilet secondary line, is the only one in the house that its size on goes from 3 to 4 inches.

We can find only the mainline will exit the house and go to the street. If you have an alley almost all the time the main  Drain  will exit there to the city  drain .

Residential  drain  problems can be categorized into Kitchen, Bath Tub, Shower, Laundry and Toilet. All these lines are considered secondary and will connect to the main line.

Bathtubs and Shower  drain  Problems-

No surprise here, hair is the main cause for slow or complete stoppage. Soap, other dirt, shampoo, and hair products create the problem. In most cases if the problem persists and is not treated properly, the pipes will eventually collapse and will cause a major problem.

To unclog the  drain , Plumbers will use a 3/8 inch cable to clear the  drain . And depending how dirty the  drain  is, and how hard and solid the build-up in the pipe is, we might need to run a Hydro-Jetter to clear the  Drain  completely. A snake will push and “Drill” a hole in the clogged  drain , while a Hydro-Jetter will break and clear the crystallized solids accumulated on the pipe! Recommendation will be, using Hydro-Jett every 5 years in showers and tub.

Kitchen  Drain 

Kitchen  Drain  clogs are caused by food debris, grease and years of buildup, rice and pasta leftover should not be used in a garbage disposal. A secondary snake machine with �inch cable will clear the  drain .

Hydro-Jetting is almost always recommended to actually clean the  drain  and will have the  drain  running up to 10 years depending what goes down the  drain . Most Plumbers will warrantee if Hydro-Jetting is used.

Laundry  Drains 

A typical Clog is due also for hair, line, dirt soap parts that will slow the flow and eventually stops up the  drain . A Secondary snake machine with �inch cable is used to clear the  drain , but plumber will give warranty only for a month or two. A Hydro-Jetter is almost recommended to actually clean the  drain  and open its original size. In most cases, it is recommended that this secondary lines every 10-15 years to prevent a major  drain  problem that can end in broken pipes.

Hand Sink-

These clogs are due to the fact, that when many products that are washed down like toothpaste, mouth wash and soap, hand washed dirt etc. When combining all those chemicals over the time the  drain  just built up and stops the  drain . A snake 3/8 inch cable clears the  drain . Depending how dirty the  drain  is, a Hydro-Jetter to actually cleaning the  drain .

Floor  drain 

These  drains  get all kind of dirt, dust, leafs and debris (all kinds), and will clog these  drains . A secondary snake �inch cable is used to unclog the  drain .

Toilet / Maintenance –

A toilet clogged sometimes is just inside the toilet and can be cleared with a hand Auger Cable. After clearing the toilet, it is important to check the water flow in the basement (if there is one) in order to make sure that the main line is clear too!

Main line-

The main line  drain  is the heart of the property (Residential, Commercial) sewage system. A stoppage in the main sewer main line can cause immediately a flood in the basement (If existed) or flooding other parts of the house, causing damaged to carpets and other valuable items in the house. Main line should be snaked immediately with �inch cable. A Skilled plumber can make that determination on where the clog is at. Sewer main stoppage is usually due to roots, baby wipes, partially collapsed pipes, or complete off-set.

A sewer camera should always be run to inspect these  drains . In most cases snaking and hydro-jetting the main line will solve the problem unless pipe structure problem is detected. In case of of-set or broken pipe or root problem, the sewer line must be replaced completely.

Drills Drivers, Bits and Drill Driver Safety

One of the first thing you may look at when selecting a cordless drill driver may be the battery pack as the more volts your cordless drill driver has the more torque you will get. This essentially means that the motor will spin faster creating more power. The only drawback with this is that the more volts your drill has the heavier it will be.

An adjustable clutch is what separates electric from cordless drill drivers. Located just behind the chuck, the clutch disengages the drive shaft of the drill, making a clicking sound, when a preset level of resistance is reached. The result is that the motor is still turning, but the screwdriver bit isn’t. A clutch offers you control so you don’t strip a screw or overdrive it once it’s snug. It also helps protect the motor when a lot of resistance is met in driving a screw or tightening a bolt. The number of separate clutch settings varies on the drill; better cordless drill drivers have at least 24 settings. With that a lot of clutch settings, you can really fine-tune the power a drill driver delivers. Settings with the lowest numbers are for small screws, higher numbers are for larger screws. Many clutches also have a drill setting, which allows the motor to drive the bit at full power.

Cordless drill drivers are measured in volts. Drills are available in everything from around 2 volts (for a cordless screwdriver) to the newest 24-volt tools. Higher voltage means heavier weight so think about buying a tool that will meet 80-90% of your needs. Twelve to 14.4 volt models are the most popular, and they will usually meet most homeowner’s work needs. Corded drills are measured in amps. Generally, a higher amperage motor means more power.

Nickel-metal-hydride (NiMH) batteries represent the latest breakthrough in batteries. They’re smaller and run longer than standard nickel-cadmium (Nicad) batteries. NiMH batteries also pose less of a hazard when it comes to disposal than Nicads because they don’t contain any cadmium, which is highly toxic. Makita, Bosch, Hitachi and DeWalt offer NiMH batteries, and other manufacturers produce these power cells too.

Unlike Ni-Cd batteries, lithium-ion batteries may be charged early and often. However, if they are not used for a long time, they may be brought to a charge level of around 40% – 60%. Li-ion batteries may be kept cool. Ideally they are stored in a refrigerator. Aging will take its toll much faster at high temperatures. The high temperatures found in cars cause lithium-ion batteries to degrade rapidly. Storing a Li-ion battery at the correct temperature and charge makes all the difference in maintaining its storage capacity. It is significantly beneficial to avoid storing a lithium-ion battery at full charge. A Li-ion battery stored at 40% charge will last a lot of times longer than one stored at 100% charge, particularly at higher temperatures.

When drilling deep or large holes with a cordless drill driver, it is best to drill a small pilot hole first. This is very helpful when drilling deep holes because it’s sometimes easier to keep the hole straight with a smaller bit. A larger bit will then normally follow the pilot hole. When drilling larger holes, especially in metal, the pilot hole opens an area in the metal to accommodate the tip of the larger bit so the cutting surfaces can more easily reach the uncut metal. Once you’ve drilled your hole, you’ll probably find a burr on the back surface of your material. This can be removed by lightly drilling the back side of the hole with a larger bit. If the material is thin, such as sheet metal, instead of a burr you may find the material is actually distorted leaving a ragged hole. This be stopped by sandwiching the material between two pieces of wood before you drill the hole. As with all tools, exercise caution, wear safety equipment and learn to use the tools properly.

To drill a satisfactory hole in any material, the correct type of drill bit must be used; it must be used correctly and be sharpened as appropriate. Many jobs around the house require a hole of some kind to be drilled – whether it is putting up a shelf, building a cabinet or hanging a light fitting. For basic requirements, a set of high-speed steel twist bits and some masonry bits will probably be sufficient for the average handyman. But for more sophisticated jobs/material, others bits will be required – perhaps larger, or designed for a specific material/purpose. Good quality cordless drill driver bits can be expensive, so take care of them, keep them in a case or box if possible, rather than allowing them to roll around loose in a toolbox where the cutting edges may be damaged.

Recycled Plastic Lumber – Does it Help the Environment?

What Is Plastic  Lumber 

Plastic  lumber  is a wonderful raw material, it is made entirely of recycled or virgin plastic. For Instance, Unwanted plastic bottles, furniture, plant pots, you name it. If its made of plastic, it can be recycled and used again. Not only that, it is said to be more environmentally friendly than its counterparts, this is because there is less work involved in producing it. If it is processed correctly then it will uphold the same stability in its molecular structure as virgin plastic does, making it robust, flexible and resistant. This makes recycled plastic timber ideal for the manufacturing of outdoor and garden products. Therefore recycled plastic upholds and maintains the ideal of what recycling is all about.

The History Of Recycled Plastic  Lumber 

Well, for manufacturing purposes it is still a relatively new raw material, the potential widespread use of it is limitless. Not only is it immune to degradation but it can be repeatedly reused, which is a major advantage in the building industry.

The Composition Of Recycled Plastic  Lumber 

The  lumber  is made up of a mixture of unwanted and/or virgin plastic. Once made into a powder or pellets, they are heated to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. The mixture them becomes very squidgy. Numerous other agents can be added such as stabilizers, colourings and lubricants to create the final composition to further increase the standard that is produced.

So Does The  Lumber  help the environment?

Yes of course it does:

  • It keeps virgin and unwanted plastic out of landfill where it does not rot.
  • The process of manufacturing it does not use as much energy as it would to make the virgin plastic.
  • Recycled plastic can be made to imitate a large number of other materials such as wood and it does the job perfectly.
  • The  lumber  can be molded to form tables, chairs, benches, birdboxes, compost tumblers, fences, raised beds for the garden and a whole number of other products can be made from it time and time again.
  • The colourisation of recycled plastic  lumber  otherwise know as recycled plastic wood is determined in the manufacturing process, skipping out the need to paint it. It is available in a huge variety of colours.

Are Digital Notice Boards Good?

We live in a world where time really does matter and people want to make sure that they get the right information at the right time. People today carry their cell phones and tablets because they always want to get the right information at the right time. This certainly helps them to stay ahead of the competition because there is so much competition in the market that any delay can take you out of the competition. Hence, people always make sure that they have the right gadgets and tools to ensure that they have their information on time.

When it comes to pass on the information nothing works better than notification  boards . The concept of notice  boards  is not new but it certainly still works in the modern world. Hence, you can see that many hospitals and offices still have their own notification  boards  where they post the information for everybody to read and stay informed. Hence, notification  boards  have always remained a part of our lives from the very childhood. You might have never realized it but notification  boards  have been a part of our life from the early school days where we used to check our school activities and team camping notices on the notice  boards . The same thing happens when we go through our college days where we can check out our scores posted on notification  boards . When we are in the corporate world we still see the company updates on the notification  boards  and therefore notice  boards  always play minor but important role in our life.

However, things have changed rapidly in the 21st century and therefore notice  boards  have changed too. Today, notification  boards  are not as simple as they used to be two decades ago. Well, with the advent of technology there are many places now where you can find digital notice  boards  replacing conventional  boards  because people don’t have enough time to go ahead and remove the earlier notices and paste the new ones. Hence, digital  boards  are more preferable these days as it can save a lot of time and money for your organization.

One of the most important things about digital  boards  is that you don’t have to keep changing the information regularly manually. Of course,  boards  are meant for keeping people informed about the latest updates, but for that you need to keep posting the latest documents and papers on the  board  which can be a lot of inconvenience. Hence, with digital  boards  there is no need for anybody to go to the notice  board  and change the information because the information can be changed instantly through the computer and it would only take couple of seconds to type in the latest information and update it. Hence, it really saves a lot of time for the people because the updates usually take just few seconds.

On the other side, you can quickly spread the information to multiple  boards  at the same time. Imagine if your medical center has multiple notice  boards  on various floors then it would take a lot of time for the person to go from one floor to another to keep changing the information. However, with the help of digital notice  boards  things will go really faster because all of the digital notice  boards  will be connected to one central computer and the information feed into that computer will instantly change the information on all notice  boards  instantly. This means that all the notice  boards  now have the updated information in just few seconds rather than spending minutes on it.

Getting the information on time is really important and you can achieve that with the help of digital  boards  that are getting more popular these days. This means that you can actually benefit since you will post the information on the notice  board  quickly than you did earlier. We all know that time is money and that we really value the time that we have in hand. With the help of digital  boards  you don’t need to worry about the time because the moment the information is updated people will keep check of it. For instance, if you have some announcement about bad weather in few minutes you don’t need to go calling everybody because if you have multiple digital notice  boards  you can quickly type in the information and everybody knows it in a matter of seconds. Hence, you can always stay ahead of the competition when you have the right information on your hand and you provide it to your team. The same thing can be said for those who work in corporate offices because you can definitely update the latest information on the notice  board  and inform your staff about how they are working and what their next plan of action should be.

Did you ever notice why you never really pay attention to all notice  boards ? Normally notice  boards  are made up of wood with glass and the only thing that attracts you is the color of papers pinned inside. Now with the help of digital  boards  you can not only make your content look important but make it look good too. You can provide the most critical information in red font color as well as others in blue, green or whichever color you prefer. Hence, you make the notice  board  look more colorful than before which actually attracts the attention of the readers. Since the notice  boards  have extra space you can definitely decide on how your content should look on the  board . Hence, there are many ways to customize the content and make it look interesting rather than reading the new content in same old fashioned way. You can even make it more interesting by adding a clock and some extra information like weather updates and stock market information. You can add some tip of the day or quote for the day at the below for your readers. Hence, digital notice  boards  are definitely a step ahead of the old conventional  boards .

Porch Canopies – A Property Developer’s Secret

Have you ever noticed  porch  canopies or door  porches  fitted to properties? If the answer is yes, then the chances are you may not have noticed the properties either side, and this is why property developers very often have  porch  canopies fitted.

It is a fact that door  porches  draw the eye to a property in a way that is hard to achieve in any other way – at least not for the same low cost and convenience. If you’re looking to sell your property and need a way to help your home stand out within a market that’s currently growing at a rapid rate, then fitting cheap door  porches  could well make all the difference.

Many people assume that the process is both expensive and time-consuming, but in fact if you choose  porch  canopies made from a material known as glass reinforced polyester. Or GRP, then the process is extremely affordable and can be carried out in the same time it takes you to have your breakfast.

Nothing could be simpler, and as GRP  porch  canopies are cold fitted, meaning there’s no naked flame or need for heat to seal the material, it can be safely carried out with people around at the same time.

Perhaps though you’re wondering whether something so lightweight and quick to install could ever look convincing, strong, durable and stylish? Is convenience purchased at the cost of anything else?

In fact there are very few materials as durable as GRP, and it is certainly a far preferable material to use for door  porches  in the UK simply because it is completely waterproof, resistant to mould and mildew, and can be left for many years without maintenance, unlike timber based door  porches  or felt lined  porch  roofs.

Today’s GRP  porch  canopies can be ordered in an astonishing range of styles, from contemporary to Roman, from classic to Greek, and from modern to traditional, and each is available in a variety of finishes.

In fact it is perfectly possible to purchase door  porches  with a lead finish effect which even close up looks exactly like the real thing. Very few people look at a lead lined roof and climb up to have a feel to check to see if it’s genuine or not.

A lead lined effect  porch  canopy may only take a matter of minutes to install, but it will provide many years of dependable shelter and visual style, and can be largely forgotten since unlike timber, felt roofing or lead, you need not worry about carrying out routine maintenance or repairs to keep it looking good.

But of course although GRP  porch  canopies provide an ideal solution for those people looking to move house and needing a little extra help to get noticed in an ever more crowded market, door  porches  have many other benefits too.

For those not looking to move there is every good reason to have  porch  canopies fitted, not least of which is the fact that it provides a significant amount of shelter.

Here in the UK we’re fairly used to rain. We can become so used to it that we see it as our lot to accept the fact that we will become soaked whilst standing on our own doorstep fumbling for our keys and wondering whether our newspaper will be any good for anything other than a quick papier mache session.

But by having  porch  canopies fitted you can enjoy arriving home and being sheltered from the very moment you arrive, able to sort yourself out before bursting in to your home a sodden mess.

The same is true for any guests who come to visit you. If you know it’s raining and someone’s at the door you can often feel such a desperate urge to leap to their rescue that you end up getting dressed on the way out of the bathroom, flinging the dinner into the cat bowl by mistake and hurling your youngest child into the litter tray.

Instead, by having GRP  porch  canopies fitted you can relax, knowing that your guests are being offered a friendly welcome and shelter even before you’ve lit the flowers and watered the candles.

GRP  porch  canopies can even be fitted with lights so that at night your door is well lit, providing a valuable method of increasing your home’s security, as well as making it even easier to find the keys that seem magically drawn to the furthest, deepest reaches of any bag into which they are dropped.

How to Find a Contractor

Everyone has heard horror stories of contactor projects gone wrong. There are many contractors dedicated to the highest standards and committed to the success of individual projects. Finding a qualified professional contractor for a home improvement project doesn’t have to be a difficult task. By following the guidelines stated below, you will help ensure that the selection process is easier and that you are prepared to make an informed decision.

Where to Find a Contractor:

– Get referrals from friends and family. They are the best place to start because they will give honest feedback about the contractor’s performance. Before rushing into a job, make sure the referred company has experience with the project. For example, some contractors may be experts in kitchens and baths but lack experience in building new additions.

– Use online resources that provide certifications and references from previous jobs. Also, contractors listed with online sites show that they take pride in their business

– Ask for referrals from engineers and architects. They work with contractors everyday and know the industry very well.

– Source multiple bids. It is always a good idea to speak to as many contractors as possible. This will not only help you find the best person for the job, but will also ensure that you are being charged appropriately.

– Avoid using the yellow pages and bulletin board ads.

What to Ask For:

– When you think you have found a good contractor, ask for their credentials. They should be bonded and insured (general liability and worker’s compensation). Ask for the name of their insurance agency, look up the number yourself, call the insurer and ask for a copy of the Certificate of Insurance.

– Ask for the contractor’s portfolio and references. Keep in mind that a contractor will probably only show you their favorable work and comments.

– Call the local Better Business Bureau and make sure no complaints have been filed against the contractor.

– Find out how long the contractor has been in business and how long they have worked with their crew.

– Find out if the contractor will be working on simultaneous projects. If working on multiple jobs, will they be able to devote enough time to your project.

When Starting Negotiations:

– Begin by making a list of projects that need to be completed. Then do research online to find out the average cost of that job. Make sure the jobs done fit into your budget and make allowances for unforeseen situations.

– Create and sign a contract. Make sure to include the following:

– Completion date. Some contractors do not like completion dates because weather can be unpredictable. Take into consideration their concerns and come up with a reasonable completion date.

– Budget: be sure to take into consideration overages that might occur due to unforeseen situations.

– Negotiate terms, for example: 30 percent up front, 40 percent due at mid point, 20 percent due upon completion, and 10 percent due upon inspection.

– Federal law requires a contractor to give you written notice of your right to, without penalty, cancel a contract within three business days of signing it.

– You may also want to consider a binding arbitrations clause, which may enable you to resolve disputes without litigation.

– Also consider a warranty, which may cover materials and workmanship. The warranty must be identified as either “full” or “limited.” You must include the name or the party that will insure the warranty, as well as, the period of time the warranty is guaranteed.

Remodeling your home should be an enjoyable experience. Make sure you follow the steps above, leverage online resources that certify online contactors, and ensure that they are experts in their field.

Solar Energy House – Warnings Regarding DIY Solar Panels

It you are keen to create your own Solar Energy House you may well have considered DIY solar panels. Well, while I applaud your desire to have a solar energy house, let me warn you that you will not save money by making your own solar panels. Lets look at why.

Cost of a DIY Solar Panel

Lets ignore the cost of your time. Here is a list of the materials required:

– Clear plexiglass or low iron solar glass 2ft x 4ft x 1/4in $34 or more

– 3/4in 2ft x 4ft plywood panel $23

– Solar cell kit (eBay) $119, comprising:

– 50 Solar cells each 3in x 6in, 1.75w, pre-tabbed

– 10ft tabbing wire and 10ft bus wire,

– Flux pen and   solder 

– Peg board 2 panels 2ft x 2ft $5

– Clear silicone caulk/sealant $3

– Junction box $5

– Paint, stainless screws, wood for frame $10

– Diodes $3

Total cost $202. Take off $20 for the 10 extra solar cells that are not required, gives a total of $182 for the materials to make a 60 watt solar panel. This works out at $3 per watt.

Cost of Factory Made Panels

If you do a casual search on the Internet, most solar panels work out at $5 – $7.50 per watt. But we ferreted around and found a 120watt panel for $358 retail, equivalent to $2.98 per watt. There are also a number of wholesalers willing to sell direct to the public, and minimum order quantities can be as low as two panels. We found a 225watt solar panel wholesale for $549 (min order 2 panels), equivalent to $2.44 per watt.

Warnings & Dangers of DIY Solar Panels

Also, if you are thinking about making your own solar panels to cut the cost of your solar energy house, please be aware of the following:

– In the US, you will NOT be allowed to connect your home made solar panels to the grid. If you want your solar energy house to be connected to the grid, you must use solar panels with UL certification. Many countries have similar regulations.

– Commercially manufactured solar panels come with 25 year performance guarantees. DIY solar panels have no guarantees and will probably last just a few years at best.

– With any home made solar panel there is a risk of fire from poor quality  soldering . If your DIY solar panel ignited and resulted in fire damage to your house, your insurance company might be a little reluctant to pay out for a fire caused by a solar panel that did not have UL certification.

– And the final nail in the coffin of a home made solar energy house: in the US, home made solar panels will NOT qualify for the significant rebates and tax credits that are available.

If you want solar panels for your solar energy house and want a system that is safe, reliable, qualifies for rebates and will really cut your electricity bills, forget DIY. DIY can be a great introduction to understanding what it means to have a solar energy house, but it is not a viable alternative to factory made solar panels.

Make a Solar Panel as a Science or DIY Project

However, if you want to make your own solar panel as a science project, this can be fun, satisfying and very rewarding. On completion you will also have a solar panel you can show off to your friends and something you could use to provide light for a yard, shed or outbuilding.

If you want to make a solar panel as a science project, consider buying one of the “how too make solar panels” guides. Some of these are very good and do an excellent job of showing you (they have some very good videos) what to do, how to do it and when to do. Yes, a guide will add $40 – $50 to the cost, but that could be money very well spent, just don’t fall for all the marketing hype!

Conclusion

If you want a solar energy home and to reduce your electricity bills, forget the DIY route. But, although you won’t save money or reduce your electricity bill, making a solar panel as part of a science project should be very satisfying and educational. If you do not want to spend the $40 – $50 for one of the DIY solar panel guides, there is a lot of information on the Internet. I wish every success with your Solar Energy House.

iPhone Battery Replacement – How to DIY

How to take battery out of iPhone and replace it with new iPhone battery is pretty complicated, and can be one of the scariest things you can do with a primo expensive gadget that you depend on pretty much all the way. If you really want to try it, you should at least know your way around a   soldering   iron  as you will need it to mess around with some sensitive electronics with that hot tip. The most difficult part is how to take battery out of iPhone first, replacing the dead one merely the coup de grace. Follow the instructions below carefully and if you doubt your ability to do it properly, stop.

The following steps are specific to the First and Second generation of the iPhone You will need a replacement battery for your iPhone, a small flat screwdriver and a Phillips screwdriver, a spudger (a disassembly tool used for manipulating small components, usually made of nylon with a metal hook), a  soldering   iron , and a lot of care and patience.

Phase One: How to take battery out of iPhone

  1. Remove the SIM tray by finding the small black hole near the jack for the headphones using a paperclip. This is to avoid damaging it when you open the outer cover.
  2. Find the two screws located on either side of the charging dock using the small Phillips screwdriver. Once you’ve removed them, you can start taking off the back cover.
  3. Don’t panic, but be careful nevertheless. The back cover may require some force and bending to remove it. Use the flat screwdriver to create a wedge between the black plastic cover and the front of the IPhone. Unless you have a plastic wedge, you’ll probably do some damage to the cover. Lift up from the back and slide the case forward to release it.
  4. Carefully detach the ribbon cable that connects the case to the motherboard and set it aside to be reattached after you have replaced your battery.
  5. Use the spudger to detach the LCD from the back panel by inserting it between the chrome ring and the front panel. Lift the display panel, and using the spudger release the black ribbon marked with a “1”. Remember to release this black cable first to avoid shorting out the board. Proceed with disconnecting the other ribbon cables. The spudger can be used to disengage the white tab holding the cable. Remove the display panel and set aside.
  6. To remove the motherboard, you need to locate and remove eight screws with the Phillips screwdriver. One screw should be located under a warranty sticker. Lastly, detach a ribbon cable marked “4” and lift the motherboard out. There will be a ribbon connecting the board to the camera. Remove the camera from its housing in the back panel, but it will remain attached to the board.
  7. Carefully disengage the board from the dock connector using the spudger. It should lift easily if all screws have been removed. Slide it out. The battery should be right in front of you.
  8. Using the flat head screwdriver, gently pry up the old battery from the slot, avoiding contact with any of the connecting wires that lead to the system board. Usually, the wires are held in place with sticky glue, which you will have to remove using the flat head screwdriver.
  9. With the wires unglued, use the  soldering   iron  to detach the wires, starting from the right, from the connectors on the board. Take note of where the new battery’s wires should be placed. Be careful here. You can ruin your board with the wrong kind of pressure. Remove the old battery.

Phase Two: The easy part Replacing with the new iPhone Battery

Your new iPhone battery should have three wires, one of which is encased in plastic to prevent touching the other wires and shorting it out. Connect the two exposed wires first with a  soldering   iron , and then the protected one last. Place the new battery on its slot.Reconnect all the cables and screws of the motherboard, replace the camera, and attach the ribbons for the display panel. Your iPhone should power up automatically. If it fails to do so, restart the iPhone using the home button.Once the iPhone powers up successfully, you’re done and may replace the outer cover. Don’t forget to reinsert the SIM tray.

Hopefully, everything works out with this DIY how to replace iPhone battery. Again, the above instructions only apply to first and second generation iPhones, and there are no guarantees that your iPhone will work after you’ve replaced the battery. Unless you have some experience with electronic repair or don’t mind buying a new iPhone to replace your ruined one, then you should proceed with this operation with extreme prejudice.

The Use of Socket Sets to the New User

In this article I’m going to explain  socket  sets to the new user. There are many fasteners you’re familiar with; staples, flat head and Phillips head screws, and nuts and bolts to name a few. You use specific tools to use these fasteners, staple guns, screwdrivers, hammers, and  sockets  set.  Socket  sets are not hard to understand, they screw nuts on and off. They are easy to use and you will soon understand how helpful they are to have. With a  socket  set on hand you won’t need a huge number of single wrenches for various size nuts cluttering up your tool box.

The most common nuts your run into are hex shaped. These are referred to as hex, six sided and 6 point nuts. They are used for many goods sold as “to be assembled” by the buyer. Some of these items are shelving, bookcase, file cabinets, strollers, cribs, bed frames, and quite a few more. To take the headache out of these assembly project have a  socket  set handy.

The  socket  goes over a nut and screws them on or off. The most common  sockets  you’ll need are found in the standard 40 piece set. They come with a ratcheting handles that you snap the  sockets  onto. The handle has a gear assembly that makes the  sockets  go clockwise or counterclockwise. There is button or a knob on the handle to change the direction from the clockwise for putting things on and counterclockwise for taking things off. They come with 40  sockets : 20 developed by Society of Automotive Engineers called SAE and measured in inches; and 20 MM, measured in millimeters, and referred to as metric  sockets .

When you need to put on or take off a nut, you find the right size  socket  that fits snuggly. Put in on the handle, set the ratchet direction, then place it over the nut and do your work. It’s that simple and easy. You don’t need a lot of strength to use it which is a real advantage if you find a nut that’s really hard to get off. You will find many bolts have hex heads and the assembly can be used on them as well. You can also buy bits, which are attachments for various types of screws, and the assembly can replace your screw drivers.

I hope you find this information helpful when using and buying your first  socket  set. They’re very compact and easy to store. They come in a rack or case that has the proper size storage well for each  socket , and ratchet wrench handle. You’ll l also find adapters in the case that go on the handle to facilitate the attachment of all the various size  sockets .

Opening Odds – Why Is It So Important?

Being a soccer expert, I have done a lot of research and studies about the opening odds. I realize a lot of new punters will overlook the importance of the opening odds when placing a bet. The opening odds usually will tell a lot of information about each game.

We have always heard many people saying that they made huge fortune from soccer betting. And believe it or not, some of these are true and some of these are false claims. We have seen a lot of websites providing tips and strategies and charging their members a certain amount of money for their tips. Some of these websites are genuine and they do provide good reliable tips. Well I personally provide tips for my members at soccerbettingpro.com. My tips are based on strategy that is in my book “Make Your Bookie Your ATM Machine” plus some in-depth analysis of the game itself, taking consideration of the opening odds and its movement.

Soccer betting is like stock market investment. There are analysts that solely based their prediction or study based on only statistics and there are analysts that based their fact solely from news. Either way, an analyst that based their study from both is the most accurate one. He will take consideration by statistics and news and will analyze further before coming to a conclusion.

So when it comes to predicting the outcome of a soccer match, one should have studied the statistics of the game plus any news or info about the game – star striker injured or main defender is on international duty or change of manager and a lot more. All these facts plus your observation on the opening odds and odds movement before the game start will give you a better idea on the outcome of the game.

Among all the facts, the one that will really have a big impact on the game will be the opening odds. This is a secret, if you really study the principles of the opening odds, you can really make a big fortune from soccer betting. You can find more information and guide about odds movement in my book “Make Your Bookie Your ATM Machine” or visit http://www.soccerbettingpro.com

Ford Recall: Fire in the Hole

Ford Motor Company claims that it is unclear whether its cruise control switches are the fault for over 560 reported fires and explosions in Ford vehicles. Many of these fires broke out when the vehicles were parked in family garages, destroying homes and lives. In cases like this the numbers reported are only a fraction of what has actually occurred, but Ford claims to be doing its best to determine the cause of the fires and refuses to declare the cruise control switch at fault. Here are the facts:

More than 16 million Ford vehicles have rolled out of the lots installed with a cruise control switch that is designed not to switch off. This switch remains hot and powered, even when the car is parked. Only a thin metal sheet separates the switch from the brake fluid line, and only a little extra heat can cause the switch to combust, dripping flaming fluid over all the plastic components, resulting in a full-blown hood fire that is very difficult to extinguish. Many owners have reported explosions, both while driving Ford vehicles and after parking them.

In May of 1999, Ford issued a recall on Crown Victoria, Grand Marquis, and Town Car models from 1992-1993. A second recall issued in January of 2005 affected 800,000 vehicles including all 2001 F-Series Super Crews and all the year 2000 Expeditions, Navigators, and F-150 Pickups. Even these massive recalls have not solved the problem. As recently as this month reports have come in of vehicle fires in models not covered by the recall. A 1999 Expedition caught fire in a family garage after 3 Ford dealerships refused to replace its cruise control switch. Federal investigators are now looking at 3.7 million Ford trucks and SUV’s to determine the extent of the danger. This Federal investigation only covers a quarter of the vehicles that could be affected.

A Ford document obtained by CNN showed that the same or similar switch was installed in a total of 16 million vehicles, including:

Mark VII/VIII from 1994-1998

Taurus/Sable and Taurus SHO 2.3 L 1993-1995

Econoline 1992-2003

F-Series 1993-2003

Windstar 1994-2003

Explorer without IVD 1995-2003

Explorer Sport/Sport Trac 2002-2003

Expedition 1997-2003

Ranger 1995-2003

The NHTSA says that of over 560 complaints of spontaneous, non-collision fires, 253 involved unrecalled models. Some cruise control switches that combust malfunction beforehand, but many owners did not observe a problem until their trucks exploded in the garage and burned down their homes. Because the power flows to the switch when the vehicle is turned off, many of these fires broke out in the middle of the night, hours after anybody touched the Ford trucks.

Ford does not acknowledge any deaths that have occurred as a result of the fires , but Ford Motor Company is also denying the legitimacy of many claims. According to Ford, the explosions and fires in the engines of unrecalled vehicles could be anything, not necessarily the cruise control switch. Ford’s assertion is hardly comforting, because these fires have broken out enough times to reflect a solid trend. If all the reports of Ford fires are not related to the cruise control switch, then the numbers reflect a distressing trend of combustible Ford trucks.

This trend could very well be a reality, as this is not the only recent case of Fords spontaneously combusting. As recently as May of 2005 Ford announced a recall of 155,700 Crown Victoria sedans used as police cars and taxi cabs because of a fire risk. In these 2003-2005 models fires broke out when a sound insulator under the dash slipped and overheated. A few reports of fires have already been filed throughout the United States and Canada.

The long and short of it is that if you or somebody you love owns a Ford in any of these models or years, you should take it to a mechanic immediately. See a lawyer about covering the costs of such an appointment. Park your Ford on the street. If you have been injured or any of your property damaged by these dangerous exploding trucks, see a lawyer immediately. Defective product claims have a limited time period for filing and the more people who come together to prosecute these dangerous vehicles, the quicker Ford will be to accept responsibility for damages and pull the affected vehicles off our roads.