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Tips For Easter Dinner At Your House

Easter, Christmas, or any other large dinner party ordeal can be stressful for one cook to handle. Here are some suggestions to make the holiday a breeze for you, so you can also enjoy the holiday and be in the moment.

Damage Control

Prior to recruiting buddies and making cooking arrangements, there are a few things you can do to prevent accidents from further stressing you. First, you may want to walk around your home and put away any breakables and valuables. Bring out games for children to stay occupied and create an inviting environment for people to “hang out”. You might decorate the table and display drinking glasses. Buy ice. Chill a bottle of wine or be sure a variety of beverages are ready and available. Because dinner parties and extravagant holidays are a major contributor to plumbing issues, follow some of these guidelines to keep your pluming in proper working order. Purchase garbage cans with lids for the kitchen and all bathrooms. Most people flush or put items in the garbage disposal to send them away before their smell permeates the atmosphere. Sanitary napkins and even “flushable” wipes should not be sent down the plumbing, but may be out of embarrassment. Garbage cans with lids offer a safe place to put unwanted discards. Also equip each bathroom with a great scented product, a toilet brush, plunger, and an adequate, visible supply of extra toilet paper. If you do use your garbage disposal while cooking, be sure to turn it on frequently to keep it from clogging.

Recruit

Recruit the help of little ones. One or two children, 7-16 can be really helpful in carrying out little tasks that keep you in the kitchen monitoring your food. Children can set the table, entertain guests and give house tours, and serve appetizers.

Store-made Items

Pre-made desserts, appetizers, sides, anything you can get that won’t sacrifice quality but will save you time is extremely helpful. Your main priorities should be preparing and checking on the protein of the meal (which is traditionally ham or lamb), a casserole or two, and any other oven baked items.

Take Care of Yourself

The best holiday hosts are those who seem relaxed and are enjoying themselves as they do it. Make sure you have everything you could want and need for the day, including your favorite beverage, an outfit that you feel good in, and an apron. Sometimes aromatherapy can be helpful, if only used in times of stress. There are several essential oils you can choose from, often at the grocery store, that claim to relieve anxiety and stress. You can purchase one at the same time as all your other dinner items, and put some on a cotton ball or handkerchief to keep in your pocket on Easter Sunday!

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Upgrade Your Shower Head

There are two kinds of people in this world: bath enthusiasts, and now, shower enthusiasts. Taking a bath or shower after a long day of work is often the perfect start to a relaxing evening. It can signal the brain that work has ended and play has begun. Here are 4 cool shower head products you should consider enhancing your shower experience with.

Light Therapy

Ramon Soler brand offers a shower head that offers much more than light therapy. It also uses music to provide the ultimate relaxation experience. The line is called Hidrocrom and the therapy is called hydrochromotherapy. What makes this product superior from the others is the extent of research and thought that was put into the modern chrome design and its functions. There are three programs to choose from; Wellness, anti-aging, and play bath. Wellness is designed to increase mental and physical well being. Anti-aging is designed to promote energy and balance. And Play Bath is a playful program with rainbow colors. You can also play all three programs one after the other for maximum benefit. The best part for music lovers is that the radio transmitter can pick up signal from a nearby radio or mp3 player.

Low Flow Fixture

A water conservative, low flow shower head can reduce your water usage by up to 5 gallons per minute. Those who are trying to time their showers can conserve as much as 20 gallons when shaving 5 minutes from their shower time using an older shower head model, but an inexpensive water-saving model can afford you more time in the shower with its efficiency. If you like timing your showers, especially in large families where water needs to be conserved and shower time is hogged by particular members, there is the Shower Manager, a timed shower head. Full flowing shower time settings include 5, 8, and 11 minute showers. A 60 second alert goes off, and the water is reduced to 1/3 its stream to allow you to finish rinsing before the flow is completely stopped!

Temperature Gauging

Delta has come out with a new model of shower technology called the Temp20. A digital display on the shower head tells you exactly the temperature of the flow, accompanied by the visual led color display that can tell you whether or not the temperature is safe for you and your family members. This is especially great for children, the elderly, people who are sensitive to hot and cold water, and those who really enjoy hot showers or use hydrotherapy in different ways. The LED shows blue when the temperature is below 80 degrees Fahrenheit and red when the temperature is above 110. A shade of light to dark magenta will show how hot the water is between, but the red indicates an unsafe temperature. The great thing is that the technology is employed on several designs to choose from and is not only one shower head for purchase. The technology can also be applied to tub spouts. This is one way to upgrade the home on its journey to becoming a smart house!

Water Use Basics During a Drought

A drought is a period of time that is drier than normal. There are three kinds of drought; meteorological drought which is lack of rain, agricultural drought which is lack of moisture in the soil, and hydrologic drought which is reduce water from bodies of water, either below ground water sources or streams. Places like California are under drought regulations regularly. Here are some tips to ensure you know what to do during a drought or an emergency situation that requires you conserve the most water.

Water Saving Plumbing Fixtures

Consult your trusted plumber to give you the best recommendations for replacements and upgrades to your plumbing that will not only conserve water on your water bill today, but well into the future. These innovations will effect the following generations to come and help you feel your best about the efforts you made to save valuable resources in your lifetime. Also be sure to fix leaks as quickly as possible. Leaks are responsible for a lot of unwanted water spending. You can also flush your toilet less or place a brick in the tank because filling completely up between flushes is not necessary. The internet is full of countless other tips for saving water in your bathroom.

Water Lawns at Opportune Times

If you are going to water your lawn, do it less often and cut your grass less often so it will retain the water you do give it. Be sure to water your lawn in the early morning or late evening to insure it soaks up the most moisture before it gets evaporated with the help of the sun.

Rain Water Collection

Collecting rain water in specifically designed rain barrels is one of the most effective ways to save water in the event of drought or emergency. This water is safe to use on virtually anything but drinking, including to water your plants and lawn or wash your car. You can also devise your own collection from the run off of your home’s gutter system. Water can also be collected from your water supply in your home, below kitchen sinks. A bucket can collect your water waste and be used on your outdoor plants.

In the coming years, common knowledge on defining a drought and regular water regulations will need to be employed. In other countries, drought is considered the normal condition or clean drinking water is not at all available. We are fortunate we have the water we do today and should do all we can to protect it. Employ these three things in times of drought, or just on a regular basis, to be a responsible citizen of earth.

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Credentials and Education Needed To Become a Plumber

Although from state to state the requirements for becoming a plumber can vary, there are usually two ways to obtain your plumbing license. One way is to go to college for 2-3 years to obtain the knowledge and experience necessary to work in the field and the other is to do a much longer apprenticeship beneath a “master plumber”. Both ways are respected in the trade and matter only to the aspiring plumber, to choose the option that best fits his lifestyle and resources.

Formal Education

To best prepare for the field, an aspiring plumber should first get their high school diploma or GED. If they know they want to be a plumber they will need a solid background in science, math, and computers. If they are able, in high school or college, taking courses in drafting and blue print reading is very helpful in the trade. Trade school, vocational school, or technical schools all offer plumbing programs that will give you the foundation in more advanced plumbing studies such as water supply and drainage systems and piping equipment. Schooling can take 2-3 years. After you’ve received your diplomas you will want hands-on experience with an employer willing to mentor you your first few years of work.

Apprenticeship

Doing an extensive apprenticeship program that may last as long as 5 years under an experienced plumber in place of going to school for a formal education is another option available to aspiring plumbers. The steps following are the same, 2-3 years experience after your apprenticeship has ended will qualify you for what they call your journeyman’s license. Journeyman plumbers can go onto become master plumbers after they’ve received 1-5 years more experience in the field (depending on the state) by taking another exam.

Licensing

After you’ve completed one of the two routes listed above to gather all the knowledge and experience necessary for licensing, you will probably take an exam. The exam will include a lot of the information you learned in school, on the job, and will likely include local codes as well. As previously mentioned, journeyman can continue onto becoming master plumbers by continuing to work in the field and then taking the master plumber’s exam.

Job Outlook

Plumbers average 20.00 per hour and have been staying around 5% unemployment rate which is good. The trade is expected to remain the same into the future. Newcomers will likely have job openings when they are ready to fill them, as plumbers retire. Most plumbers find their work in construction, but there are a number of job applications for plumbing.

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Cure Your Basement Odor

Having odor in the home isn’t just displeasing to your nose. The two main causes for the odor is mold and mildew accumulation that can be harmful to your health (allergy and asthma are two main conditions caused by undetected mold). This is not a problem that should be ignored, especially if you are trying to maintain the integrity of the home for years to come or are trying to sell it in the future. No matter how lovely the home is staged on higher levels, once your guests open the basement door and catch a whiff, they will know what the smell represents; Water! Mold and mildew smells coming from your basement are likely caused by condensation, leaking, and poor ventilation. Luckily, this problem can be remedied fairly easily. Check out these tips.

Air It Out

The musty basement smell is strongest in spring and fall when utilities aren’t running and in the winter when windows are closed. Poor ventilation of the basement is how the smell permeates each square inch. The first thing you can do is buy a humidifier to remove moisture and dry the place out. Open all windows and doors in the vicinity of the basement in hopes it will tame the smell.

Inspect

Put on your home inspector hat because you are going to examine both the inside of the basement and outside the home around the perimeter of the foundation. Inside look for water spots that indicate leakage, cracks in the foundation, or actual mold. Look at exposed pipes to see if they are dripping or wet with condensation. These should be wrapped in a wrap product specifically made for the purpose. Note what you see and call a professional to make repairs immediately before severe damage is done to the foundation. The problems are likely from the outside where you will examine next. The land around the home should slope away so that rain water is drained away from the home instead of down the foundation walls. Even water soaking into the dirt and penetrating the home’s concrete can cause cracks and damage. See if you have an adequate and clean gutter system doing its job. Gutter down spouts should extend at least 6 feet from the home’s foundation.

Get Rid Of The Smells Long Term

To get rid of the smells long term you will need to apply several of these tips. Wear a mask as you use a water and bleach solution to spray and clean every surface of the basement to kill any harmful mold that has grown. Mold may not be visible, but is still there so I would not skip this important step. If you have any closets or tight enclosed places in your basement, kitty litter makes a great odor eliminator in these areas. White vinegar scattered around in bowls will eliminate odor over a period of a few days. The smell of vinegar will also go away. For long term odor eliminating, leave open containers of baking soda in the basement just as you would for the fridge. The baking soda boxes can assist in odor elimination up to 3 months.

Understand The Plumbing In Your Home

The plumbing in your home is a complex system, or rather three, when you look at it more closely. Installing and keeping a plumbing “network” efficient, leak free, and quiet is very important to the integrity of the home for resale value and living in. One leak in the home can cause thousands of dollars in damage. Plumbing can be one of the costliest systems in the home, so having a decent understanding of how it works can help you optimize your plumbing. Materials used have changed over the years and can be made of galvanized iron, plastic, or older plumbing made of copper. Appliances will quit, valves and hoses will need replacements, but the integrity of your plumbing no matter its material will likely last as long as the house itself if properly maintained. Let’s look at the 3 main systems that make up your home’s plumbing network.

Water Supply

The water supply is the system that is bringing clean water to your home from the street or well and then your system branches off and distributes it to different rooms. The water enters the home at 50-60 psi (pounds per square inch), a measurement used to determine water pressure.

Drain-Waste-Vent System

The clean water is brought into the home through the aforementioned network, and the dirty water leaves using gravity and drainage pipes (such as from your bathtubs and sink drains). Air is also sent through the pipes to insure that water is flowing efficiently through the pipes. The dirty water is sent to a septic tank or city sewer for treatment. This system is one of the most crucial of the home and your plumbing. Drain pipes make sense, but one complicated feature of this system is the much necessary vent pipes. These pipes are strategically placed to vent sewer gases caused by the dirty water and prevent them from stinking up your home. They also allow the draining water to maintain the most optimal pressure for drainage and smell. It’s extremely important to follow code when installing this system. You can imagine the consequences. Clogged drains, anywhere within the system, are the main cause of issue in the DWV system. Looking for clogs will be your first step of action if you catch wind of an unwanted smell.

Gas Supply

If you have a gas range stove, your plumbing will also include a gas supply line that’s considered part of the plumbing. Otherwise, bathrooms and kitchens systems are simple. Both have hot and cold water lines coming in, and waste lines going out. Appliances such as dishwashers and garbage disposals are just tied in easily with existing plumbing under your sink.

Advantages Of Having A Single Bowl Kitchen Sink

A double or single sink does not determine the number of sinks you have, but rather the number of “bowls” per kitchen sink. In many places a double sink will come standard, but this does not make it a better choice. In fact, homeowners and renters can prefer a double or single sink, depending on their cooking and cleaning habits. This article highlights all the advantages of having a single sink bowl in your kitchen.

Aesthetics and Simplicity

Single bowl kitchen sinks can look and feel very streamline. It simplifies a kitchen when its clean. For a person who prefers using a dishwasher and keeping the countertops free of clutter, a single bowl sink will provide a peaceful, simple looking kitchen design. For people who dishwash by hand, the sink may or may not fit their cleaning lifestyle. One advantage is that the single sink is much larger than any side of a standard double sink and can clean larger pots, pans, and cookie sheets. Depending on the type of cook you are, the sink may be perfect for you. For hand dishwashers, the user must consider that drying has to take place by hand or on a rack that takes up counter space, which you likely will have more of anyway using a single bowl sink!

Encourage You To Finish What You Start

If you are notorious for procrastinating dishes and kitchen clean up, this sink may or may not be for you. Having a single bowl kitchen sink forces you to finish what you start before beginning a new projects. There is no multi-tasking in the sinks with this option. This could be a good thing, if you are the type to finish what you begin and like the kitchen to be methodically cleaned.

More Counter Space

Having a single bowl kitchen sink usually frees up more counterspace. If you have a lot of appliances in use or have a small kitchen space to begin with, this single bowl design is for you. A single bowl for a single person who can rinse each dish after use and put it in the dishwasher, keeping the space clean can be an ideal choice. If you are building a casita, guest house, or mother-in-law suite, you won’t regret considering installing a single bowl.

Who would have thought people might be particular about the number of sink bowls they have in a kitchen. If you are living with a sink that doesn’t match your design style and cooking and cleaning habits, consider making this inexpensive change! Like showers, bathtubs, and beds, having your preferences met, in even such seemingly small ways, can make your life so much easier.

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Advantages Of Having A Double Bowl Kitchen Sink

A double or single sink does not determine the number of sinks you have, but rather the number of “bowls” per kitchen sink. In many places a double sink will come standard, but this does not make it a better choice. In fact, homeowners and renters can prefer a double or single sink, depending on their cooking and cleaning habits. This article highlights all the advantages of having a double sink in your kitchen.

To Keep Clean Dishes Aside

Generally you’ll find all these reasons will include using one of the sink’s bowls for a second purpose. The second bowl is most often used to keep a dish drying rack in so it doesn’t take up valuable prep counter space. For those who prefer washing dishes by hand (yes, those people still exist), filling one sink with soapy water for soaking, washing, and rinsing and the other with dishes to dry is the ideal system. For those hellbent on using the dishwasher but are avid pre-washers, the double sink fits their style as well.

One Side Specifically For Garbage Disposal

For those who cook or prepare food with a lot of fresh produce, having the one sink bowl connected to the garbage disposal is ideal. They use this one side for peeling potatoes and cucumber, or for discarding undesired vegetable parts from their cutting boards. The other side can be a pre-wash or soaking bowl for these produce.

Separate Soaking/Cleaning

After large dinner parties or a particularly messy or time consuming meal, scraping plates into the garbage or garbage disposal and then letting the dish load soak for an evening before tackling the task is ideal. For people who deep clean their houses and kitchens, having an additional bowl just for filling with water and adding product (cleansers, bleach, etc) is a home cleaner’s best friend. A neat trick to cleanse a sink, and refresh a home’s fragrance is to stop a sink, fill it up with water, add essential oil or a good smelling all purpose liquid, and let it sit at least an hour. This liquid can then be used to dust the home or clean countertops, ceiling fans, and stovetops.

Filling Pots

Having a double kitchen sink gives you a ridge in the middle to set a pot on for filling if the two bowls are full with their own jobs.

Generally More Space

More sink space means more multi-tasking and getting things done. It can allow you to procrastinate one task because you have a sink open for another. It gives a homeowner or renter more freedom to choose how they spend their time. One side can be passively cleaning the sink and refreshing the home’s fragrance, while the other is free for guests to wash their hands. For several residents and a busy home, the double sink will make the best choice.

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Instances You Should Call Your Plumber Immediately

Some plumbing issues are minor nuisances that you might ignore for a while until it bothers you too much. A leaky faucet, a slow drain, a running toilet that you have to jiggle the handle to get it to stop, are examples of potentially minor plumbing issues. Some plumbing issues require attention immediately before they turn into a disaster. Keep your plumber’s number handy if you notice these potential problems:

Leaks

 

Any signs of leaks such as water spots on ceilings or walls or under your sinks should be taken care of immediately. Catching a leak early may result in just needing to dry out the wet surfaces.

Leaking Water Heater

 

You probably don’t look at your water heater often so if you do see water around it take action now. It could be a crack in the internal tank. A small puddle can turn into gallons of water damaging walls and floors. Water heaters have limited life spans. Frequent inspections and maintenance is good practice.

A big Increase In Your Water Bill

 

This could indicate a leak in your underground pipes. It could be from a constantly running toilet that you never use or a leak in a part of your house that you don’t frequent.

Sewer Gas Smell

 

You’ll need a plumber if you have cracks in your sewer lines. Some sewer gas problems are easy to solve such as keeping the water level up in your drain traps by pouring a cup of water down the drain.

Mold and Mildew

 

Look out for mold and mildew on any surfaces. Check in closets and back of cabinets. A leak can go undetected for a long time and grow mold in a widespread area.

A Wet Spongy Lawn

 

A wet lawn when the weather has been dry could indicate an exterior water main leak.

Frozen Pipes

 

Thawing your pipes as soon as possible can prevent a burst pipe resulting in flooding. Your plumber can thaw your pipes and help you to prevent it from happening again.
 A good thing to do right now is to make sure everyone in your household knows how to turn the water off to the whole house in case of an emergency. If you have an instance that you need to call a plumber, it might be a good time to get a complete plumbing inspection to prevent other instances.
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Hair and Hard Water

85% of the water in the U.S. Is considered hard water on some level. Hard water is determined by the purity of water. Water with more mineral content and impurities is harder. It’s opposite is water like from rain which has no impurities or minerals until it falls and seeps into the ground where it picks up it’s elements from it’s surrounding, mostly soft rock. Rain water that falls down a mountain, against large non-porous rocks and not through them like with soft rocks, remains pure and what is considered soft.

This has to do with hair because when washing hair in hard water, no matter the kind of shampoo and conditioner you are in use of, you will notice an undesirable residue or texture to it when finished. This is not only from the contents of your water, but also how the contents react to what’s in your shampoo and conditioner.

The History

Nowadays we there are lots of additives to our water sources, such as chlorine. At one time, there were no additives and water was effected very little by people unlike now. On home steads where rain water was collected and used in makeshift showers, hard water and hair residue was not a thing. It wasn’t until humans began tampering with and creating our glorious plumbing that the soap, the only thing we were using on our hair and body, was reacting to the water we were pumping into homes. To combat the hard water issue, they invented shampoo to clean the residue left on the hair. Shampoo was harsh and still is, so then was born the need for conditioner as well. Conditioner was invented to heal the damage done to the hair at each washing.

The First Thing You Can Do

If you’ve suffered from a change in water due to moving, traveling or changing to a shampoo/conditioning system reacting poorly with the water, the first thing you can do is request the quality test results for your area from the city or view a hard water map online of your area. You can also check your own water using a meter that measures TDS or Total Deposited Solids and measures the hardness or softness of the water by how positive or negatively charged the water is. Too many positive ions are bad and negative ions are good. You’ve probably heard these terms used when discussing air quality as well. If your water is not too hard, you might get by with using natural shampoo and a little conditioner at each washing, but if your water is pretty hard than you might have to look into further solutions.

Water Filtration

A filtration shower head can pass your water through a replaceable carbon or charcoal filter that removes as many impurities as it can. You may have success with this or loose the water pressure you once had. It’s worth a try and inexpensive!

Rinse Water

If you don’t mind the inconvenience you might decide to just rinse your hair after conditioning with a different kind of water. This way you will remove the residue in the rinse. Rain water or distilled water are good purchasable options, or you can create your own low acid rinse using vinegar or lemon juice.

Enhancing Your Water Softener

A water softener is a device in the home that removes impurities from the water before it hits your pipes and then your hair. If you’ve done the testing you will know if it is working properly or needs to be adjusted, repaired or replaced. Having done an initial test, you have results of which to compare your water testing in the future.