Monthly archive - February 2012

A little paint could change a whole lot

A little paint could change a whole lot

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Have you been in a rut lately? Are you lacking in energy, inspiration, or enthusiasm? Believe it or not, your living space may have a lot to do with your mood – and the condition of your walls could have more than a little to do with it!

Color has been repeatedly shown to have a significant effect on mood. Blue, for instance, has been known to produce feelings of calm, whereas orange represents warmth and liveliness. The color of your walls can have a major effect on your frame of mind and your energy levels. Color is also one of the most immediate and rewarding ways of expressing your creativity and aesthetic sensibility in your home. If you don’t feel completely comfortable or at ease in some (or all) of your rooms, a dissonant color scheme, or one that just “isn’t you”, could be the reason. Finding the right combination of colors to express your personal taste and lift up your mood can do wonders for how you feel about your home.

Even if you like the basic color scheme, paint that is chipped, stained, weathered or drab looking can suck the life right out of your space. Is there anything more depressing in a room than a dreary paint job? A fresh coat of paint can work wonders for your rooms and give them new life, making them pleasant and inviting, instead of places you’d rather avoid.

Something as simple as adding an accent wall can completely change the feel of a room. Even if you don’t want to change the whole color scheme or commit to an entirely new paint job, painting one wall in a complementary shade can provide visual interest and liven up your space.

Although it can be tempting to see interior painting as an easy do-it-yourself project, remember that choosing a professional painter will almost always yield superior results! Interior painting is time consuming, messy, and requires expertise to be done well. Do yourself a favor and hire a professional painter to spruce up your home!


Best of both worlds: Style and security

Best of both worlds: Style and security

When you are building or renovating a home, you want everything to be perfect, down to the last detail. It may come as a pleasant surprise to many homeowners that, when customizing a home, their locks can be just as attractive and unique, and make just as much of a statement, as the doors that they’re on. The first priority in choosing a lock should of course be security; a beautiful but flimsy lock won’t do you much good if someone is serious about breaking into your house! However, it’s not necessary to compromise: if you live in Westchester, locksmiths are available to help you select and install a lock that will not only keep your house and the valuable inside secure, but compliment your home’s unique style.

Gone are the days when locks were boring and basic. Now, it’s possible to have locks that both turn the heads of visitors, and turn away crooks! Whether your house is sleek and contemporary, or elegant and traditional, there are many options to fit your personal aesthetic and budget and provide the perfect complement to your doors. There are a wide variety of finishes, materials and styles to choose from – your imagination is the only limit! It’s a great idea to visit home improvement stores, look through catalogues or browse the web for inspiration.

Remember, the most important part of choosing a great lock is choosing a great locksmith. Reputable locksmiths that take pride in their work should be happy to provide testimonials and references from satisfied customers. Fortunately for homeowners in Westchester, locksmiths are easy to find. If you’re tempted to install your own locks, keep in mind that a poorly installed lock can be as bad as having no lock at all – it’s essential to always have your locks professionally installed.


Here’s a bright idea… Save some energy

Here’s a bright idea… Save some energy

If you live in Westchester, electric bills probably represent a major portion of your utility expenses. Fortunately, there are many ways that homeowners can save money and conserve energy. Making sure your home is weatherproofed and well insulated, choosing energy efficient appliances and using a programmable thermostat all go a long way towards making you home more energy efficient. However, one of the best ways to save on your Westchester electric bill is also the easiest: change your light bulbs from incandescent to compact fluorescent or LED bulbs.

Incandescent bulbs are still the most common choice for home lighting. They have the archetypal “light bulb” shape that everyone is familiar with, and come in a variety of wattages. While incandescent light bulbs are initially cheap, the low cost of purchase is deceptive. Incandescent bulbs use much more energy over their lifetime than compact fluorescents or LEDs. Additionally, incandescent bulbs produce much more waste heat than other types of light bulbs, increasing the demand on air conditioning systems in warm climates.

In terms of energy efficiency and cost savings, compact fluorescents are a much better choice for home lighting. A compact fluorescent bulb will use much less electricity over its lifetime than an incandescent bulb of comparable brightness. Compact fluorescent light bulbs also produce less heat for a given amount of light, and last much longer. Although they cost slightly more to purchase than incandescent bulbs, they can represent significant savings in the long run.

LED light bulbs are by far the most efficient choice of all; although expensive initially (a single LED bulb can cost up to $30) they last many times longer than either incandescent or fluorescent bulbs, and operate at a fraction of the cost.

If you find your energy bills going up in spite of cost-saving steps on your part, it may be time to call in a professional. Remember to always have any electrical work done by a licensed electrician.


Power Flush or Tank Toilets

Power Flush or Tank Toilets

An uneducated person may falsely assume that all toilets are the same. After all, it’s just a toilet right?

Wrong. There are two different mechanisms of flushing that a toilet can have; there are power flush toilets and tank toilets.

A Westchester tank toilet is categorized by a tank in back of the toilet which holds the water, so that when you flush all the water goes out from the tank. Once the water empties from the tank, it refills itself, letting the water go into the tank to get ready for the next time you flush.

In contrast, a Westchester power flush toilet has stronger flushing strength than a tank toilet. They require less maintenance because they clog less often, creating an ideal match for larger families in which the toilet will be used more often. Also, because water is not held directly against the toilet’s ceramic tank inner walls, the tank will sweat very little, if at all.

Another kind of toilet problem is the inability of a toilet to completely flush your waste each time. Power flush toilets can deliver an additional 30% of the flushing power of standard toilets. This means you should never have to flush more than once and whatever you’re flushing should go down the first time. This flushing system reduces the chances of leaks, toilet repairs and will save you time, money, and headaches.

Westchester power flush systems are generally more expensive, but depending on the system you choose, not much more expensive. The major con to a power flush toilet is the noisy flush that accompanies the power flush system. It is also important to remember that just because you have a power flush toilet does not warrant you flushing any thing down it; Contrary to popular belief, a power flush toilet is not Superman.


Home Fires From Electrical Distribution

Home Fires From Electrical Distribution

Children are taught from a young age to be cautious around electricity, and for a good reason, as electrical fires are unfortunately very common and very dangerous.

Westchester electrical fires are highest in the winter months because of the increase in indoor activities and of lighting, heating, and appliance use.

Although the bedroom appears to be the leading area of fire origin for residential building electrical fires, Westchester electrical fires that begin in the living room, family room, and den areas result in the most deaths.

A Westchester electrical fire can be avoided by routinely checking your electrical appliances and wiring, being aware of anything that looks out of the ordinary, as frayed wires can cause fires. Additionally, check your electric tools regularly for signs of wear. If the cords are frayed or cracked, or if it causes small electrical shocks, overheats, shorts out or gives off smoke or sparks, you should replace it immediately. If you’re suspicious about something, never hesitate to call your licensed electrician; never deal with electricity on your own if you are not a licensed professional.

Most electrical fires result from problems with “fixed wiring” such as faulty electrical outlets and old wiring. This is why it is important to have your licensed electrician examine your wiring so that he will be better able to pinpoint the problem.

Many avoidable Westchester electrical fires can be traced to a misuse of electric cords, such as overloading circuits, poor maintenance, and running the cords under rugs or in high traffic areas. This misuse is easily avoidable. When plugging in appliances, be sure to be cognizant of the arrangement of the wires and that no outlets are overloaded with too many plugs.

Electrical fires are uniquely dangerous in that by the time you see smoke coming out of your outlet, a fire has most likely already begun and is spreading out of sight within your walls and up to your attic. Once started, Westchester electrical fires can be particularly tricky to put out, as using the obvious extinguisher of water to put out the fire can cause electrocution, so be sure to promptly call 911.

If you do not take the proper precautions to avoid a Westchester electrical fire by having an electrician fix the faulty wiring, you are putting you and your family in serious danger.


Westchester Bed Bug Insurance

Westchester Bed Bug Insurance

After a long day at work all you want to do is get into your bed.

Now imagine getting into your bed and discovering that there are more than two occupants in the bed; imagine discovering that you have Westchester bed bugs.

A Westchester bed bug infestation can be costly, due to the expense of temporarily moving out of the residence, bed bug pest control treatments, steam cleaning fabrics, and perhaps replacing some damaged items. Upon making this unwelcome discovery, the first question that many Westchester homeowners have is whether their homeowner’s insurance will cover all the damage done by the bedbugs and the cost of removing them.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, homeowner’s insurance typically does not cover any of the costs associated with bed bugs in your Westchester home. The institute stated that the expense associated with eliminating bed bugs is like the expense of maintaining your plumbing system, one which is considered to be part of the maintenance connected to owning a home and is thus not covered by a homeowner’s insurance policy.

However, many Westchester homeowners tend to overlook the fact that there are two sections to an insurance contract, and end up spending thousands of dollars hiring exterminators, steam cleaning fabrics and replacing mattresses to get rid of the bed bugs. Knowing that there is a second section to your Westchester homeowner’s insurance could save you millions of dollars.

The above stated costs fall under the first section of homeowner’s insurance, the Property Coverages section. Keep in mind that in every homeowner’s insurance contract there is two sections, so that means that there is still another section, one that deals with liability issues.

Under this second section, you will be covered if the Westchester bed bug infestation in your home causes bodily injury or property damage to someone else. An example of this could be if you have a guest sleeping at your house while, unbeknownst to you, your house is infested with Westchester bed bugs. It is very possible that while spending the night, this guest gets bitten so badly that his or neck swells, or requires any other kind of medical attention due to the bug bites. Your guest will then understandably demand that you cover his or her medical expenses. Under your insurance, you will automatically be covered by the “Medical Payments to Others” coverage. Your guest may also find it necessary to stay home from work due to the discomfort or pain. In that case, he or she will probably sue you for lost wages, which would be covered under the “Personal/Family Liability” coverage.

As in any situation, when dealing with eliminating Westchester bed bugs, always be sure to carefully review all the nuisances in your homeowner’s insurance contract, as there may be some helpful nuisances that can ease some of your financial pain.


Termites On Their Way?

Termites On Their Way?

There is no use denying it—termites are serious pests, whose control is best left to professionals.

March is almost upon us, and thus so is the termite season. Spring is typically the season when large numbers of winged termites emerge inside homes. Triggered by warmer temperatures and rainfall, the winged termites emerge from the colony and fly into the air.

Termites cause billions of dollars in damage each year. They primarily feed on wood, but also damage paper, books, insulation, and even swimming pool liners and filtration systems. Besides the monetary impact, the discovery of thousands of winged termites inside one’s Westchester home is, needless to say, an emotionally trying experience. I don’t know about you, but the thought of having thousands of uninvited visitors in my house would surely cause me endless stress.

Discovering winged termites indoors always indicates an infestation warranting treatment.

Westchester termites are attracted to light and are often seen around windows and doors. An important distinction to remember is that termites emerging from tree stumps, woodpiles, and other locations out in the yard are not necessarily cause for concern, and do not necessarily mean that the house is infested. However, if winged termites are seen emerging from the base of a foundation wall or adjoining porches and patios, there’s a good chance the house is infested as well and treatment will therefore be necessary.

Oftentimes there will be no visible indication that the home is infested with Westchester termites. Termites are cryptic creatures and infestations can go undetected for years, hidden behind walls, floor coverings, insulation, and other obstructions. Termite feeding and damage can even progress undetected in wood that is exposed because the outer surface is usually left intact. Confirmation of infestation often requires the trained eye of an experienced termite inspector.

Ridding your home of Westchester termites requires special skills. Firstly, knowledge of building construction is needed to identify the critical areas where termites are likely to enter. Many of these potential points of entry are hidden and difficult to access. Termite control also utilizes specialized equipment such as masonry drills, pumps, large-capacity tanks, and soil treatment rods. A typical treatment may involve hundreds of gallons of a liquid pesticide, known as a termiticide, injected into the ground alongside the foundation, beneath concrete slabs, and within foundation walls. In short, Westchester termite treatment is a job for professionals and should not be attempted by a layperson.


Electrical System a Priority One Repair

Electrical System a Priority One Repair

Attention all Westchester homeowners: are the words safety and electricity synonymous in your vocabulary?
They should be. It is imperative that the repairing of your electrical system remain as a number one priority. A homeowner is always vigilant of the safety of his family and of himself, and since an improperly functioning electrical system can cause a myriad of injuries, the maintenance of one’s electrical system should be promoted to a number one priority as well.

When a homeowner begins to work with wiring, outlets, and breakers it can lead to a dangerous, and even deadly, situation. Therefore, an electrical job should be performed by a licensed Westchester electrician only.

One of the major culprits of electrical accidents is an unfamiliarity with the electrical circuits, which can only be caused by a homeowner naively overestimating his knowledge on the matter. It is a common practice among homeowners to simply switch off breakers until they see the lights turn off in the desired area, and thus proceed to assume that it is now safe to begin working. This is an incredibly dangerous practice! A licensed Westchester electrician will know the correct and safe method by which to test the specific circuit they will be working on.

Not convinced yet? Another tremendous benefit to using a licensed Westchester electrician for your home electrical work is that they will be well versed in all of the building and safety codes required to make sure the job is done right. It is legally required to adhere to all building and safety codes, and if you ever intend on selling your home, or merely having it inspected, a DIY electrical repair will cause your home to fail inspection if building and safety codes were not strictly adhered to. Even more importantly, building and safety codes are put in place for a reason. If you are not familiar with these codes or simply do not follow them, you are putting yourself and your family at risk of electrical shock, electrical fires, and injury or death due to a faulty repair.

It is as simple as this: Safety should always be a Westchester homeowner’s main concern, so make sure that your electrical system is always tended to in a timely manner by a professional Westchester electrician.


Cleaner Homes Leads to More Productive Minds

Cleaner Homes Leads to More Productive Minds

Westchester Professional Housekeepers will vacuum up your dust bunnies; make your sinks sparkle and your bathroom shine. Your floors will be mopped and all the sticky stuff on your floor will disappear. They will wash your dirty laundry and give you clean, folded jeans, nicely. pressed jackets and t-shirts that are fresh smelling and brand new.

Are you tired of having one black sock, one green sock and none that match? Westchester Professional Housekeepers will pick up the socks off your floor, sort through them and put them away neatly in your drawer.

The dirty paw prints on your rugs will disappear. No more nasty smells coming from unknown, old food in your refrigerator. Your refrigerator and freezer wil be washed clean and your condiments will be organized. Sodas will be easy to find, cold cuts, eggs and chicken will be freshly wrapped and your refrigerator will be a pleasant place to roam when you are hungry.

Westchester Professional Housekeepers will fluff your pillows and make your bed. Your desk will be clutter-free and all the papers filed away neatly.

This is what is possible when you pay a cleaning company to come to your home once or twice a week.

Did you know a healthy house leads to a healthy mind? You can think more clearly without clutter everywhere. A lot of people work at home these days. They forget about the daily household chores and stare at their computer trying to defog their head and come up with strategic ways to plan their business goals.

Some people have clients come for meetings in their home office. How easy it is when you are proud to invite others into your comfortable, clean home. You will make more sales, come to more innovative solutions and keep your customers happy and coming back.

Your business and your mind will run like well-oiled machines. You will find your suits in your closet easily and not waste time looking for the tie that will match.

Organization is key to reach your financial goals. You know that deleting ancient emails and uncluttering your desktop helps you stay more focused. A clutter-free home definitely will lead you to have a successful business, a happy family and a stress-free life.


Westchester HVAC Contractor

Westchester HVAC Contractor

Heating and cooling your Westchester home is an important detail that too many couples take lightly. Choosing, installing and servicing heating or cooling systems is not a task for do-it-yourselfers — it is a job for a qualified contractor only. The performance of your heating and cooling system directly correlates to the adequacy of the HVAC contractor.

When choosing the right heating and cooling contractor for you and your family, you should depend on, and take seriously, the following list:

1. Although this may seem like an obvious consideration, it is still a very weighty one —Does your contractor have a license? Ask for his license number to make sure that he actually has one. This way, you are also able to check up on any past work that he’s done.

2. Does the heating or cooling contractor have proof of liability and worker’s compensation insurance? If he does not, you could be liable for any mishaps on your property, including injury to the technician himself. The contractor should be able to fax you a one-page Certificate of Insurance that you can then proceed to verify.

3. Ask the contractor how long they’ve been in business. The knowledge that you are hiring an experienced contractor, and not a mere neophyte to the job, should allay any fears you have about the work not being completed to utmost perfection.

4. Ask for a list of customer references. You should then follow up on this list by calling these homeowners and questioning them regarding their experience with the contractor in question. A satisfied customer always indicates a job well done.

5. Research the contractor’s company online. Make sure to scope out their reviews and be aware that if they don’t have a sufficient amount of reviews, it might not be a good sign.

6. Check with your local Better Business Bureau to make sure there are no complaints against the contractor you are looking to hire.

7. Is the contractor in question a member of PHCC? PHCC members devote more of their time to staying up to date with technical education so that they can serve you more efficiently. You can do this by simply looking for the PHCC logo.

8. Be sure to double check with the contractor that he complies with all safety and health laws. Again, this may seem like a tedious question but it is worth it, as you don’t want to get any unwelcome surprises while your heating and cooling system is being installed.

9. A trustworthy HVAC contractor makes thorough calculations of your home upfront, before even recommending your system solution, so make sure that the contractor you select does this as well.

10. Lastly, and although this is probably something you don’t want to hear, avoid being overly frugal when selecting the contractor. The wrong HVAC contractor is usually the cheapest—and costs you more over time with higher energy bills and lower air quality.