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3 Quick Fixes for a Frozen Car Lock

Posted by on Jul 20, 2016 in Uncategorized |

The idea that Australia is always warm and sunny is somewhat of a stereotypical view. While this might be largely true in the northern states, the south of the country certainly gets its fair share of winter. The cold can affect car locks, and if you’ve had issues unlocking your car when the weather is cold, then your lock might be freezing up. This can feel like a real catastrophe if it happens late at night and you need to urgently use your car. Before you call a 24 hour locksmith, there are a few things you might want to try yourself. 1. A Cup of Hot Water Boil your electric jug and fill a mug with hot water. Hold the mug directly under the lock so that the steam rises up towards it. Do not hold the mug directly against the door of your car. While it’s unlikely that the heat from the mug will damage your car’s paint, it’s better to not risk it. Try your key again to see if the lock opens without issue. 2. A Hot Key You will need a pair of pliers and a cigarette lighter. Securely grasp the bow of the key with the pliers. The bow is the circular end of the key that you hold onto. Do not try to use tweezers or an oven glove, as your grip will not be secure enough. Using the pliers will protect your hand against the heat. Activate the cigarette lighter and hold it so that the flame touches the shoulder and tip of the key (the long portion with notches). It will only be necessary to do this for a few seconds, and you should stop immediately if you notice that the key is turning red from the heat. You don’t want to damage the key. Try to insert the key into the lock. The heat should evaporate any ice that might be inside. Do not try this if the bow of the key has a plastic coating, as you can easily melt it. 3. A Specialist Product If a frozen car door lock is a common occurrence in the winter months, then it’s best to keep something handy in order to deal with it. Buy a specialist de-icing spray, which can be found at any hardware shop. You simply spray it on your key and insert it into the lock. You might need to jiggle your key in order to disperse the liquid into the lock’s mechanism. You can even make your own de-icing spray with isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) and water. If none of these methods work, then you should not persist, as you might damage your lock. There might be an internal fault with your lock as opposed to an ice-based obstruction, and so you should have the lock examined as soon as...

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Places in Your Home Where Asbestos May Be Found

Posted by on May 25, 2016 in Uncategorized |

Homeowners whose houses were built before the 1980s are most likely to have asbestos-containing materials (ACM) as part of their homes’ structure because asbestos in Australia was phased out in the 1980s. Before conducting any structural renovation, it’s important to ensure that you have no ACM in your house to avoid the health risks associated with asbestos exposure.  Below are some areas in your older home that may contain asbestos. Bear in mind that asbestos becomes unsafe when disturbed, hence all testing and inspection should be done carefully, preferably by a qualified professional. Ceilings and walls “Cottage cheese” or sprayed-acoustical ceilings may contain low amounts of asbestos. Avoid sweeping these ceiling which could disturb resting fibres. Removal is not necessary unless it is damaged, but it may be rather expensive. In addition, drywall joint compounds and patching plaster sold and used before the 1980s could have asbestos. Do not disturb them by scraping or sanding. You can also leave them intact unless you’re remodelling the house, in which case asbestos removal should be done professionally before any work begins. Plumbing Piping, especially if connected to steam heat or radiators, could be jacketed using ACM like asbestos piping wrap. This is usually covered by canvas and has a crumbly off-white surface. Unless it has started deteriorating, your removalist can caulk it (if there are holes) and wrap with rewettable glass cloth. Duct tape isn’t recommended, as it will come off in time. Fireplaces Artificial logs from before the 1980s may contain asbestos. Burning these logs is not necessarily risky, provided the ashes are collected and disposed of immediately. New logs won’t release any fibres unless they’ve become friable (easy to disintegrate). Also look out for fireplaces with protective panels and/or wood-stove gaskets resembling greyish-white stone. If you notice any damage, call in an expert to remove them and replace with safer materials. Heating ducts Even if you have metal ducts, they may have been wrapped in cellulose-asbestos insulation materials which were popularly used before the ban. This material looks like corrugated cardboard and is off-white in colour. Asbestos taping could also have been used in the taping. Asbestos in ductwork is a particular risk because deterioration of the substance is faster, and the fibres can be easily carried with the air into the house. This kind should be removed and replaced. Wiring Look out for knob-and-tube wiring which has a white coat surrounded by black fabric. If you’re carrying out any re-wiring, try to leave these wires intact instead of removing. If unavoidable, have a licensed removalist take care of the removal. Basements and crawlspaces Asbestos fibres from the ducts, piping or even flooring pay have collected in your basement or inside crawlspaces over time. You can wet-mop these areas yourself, but it is better to have professional cleaning to avoid exposure. DO NOT attempt to vacuum these places if you suspect ACM; asbestos fibres are so small that they can pass from the vacuum back into the...

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How to Choose the Best Pool Fencing Option for Your Home

Posted by on Mar 2, 2016 in Uncategorized |

A pool fence is often legally required in most areas, but even if not a legal requirement, it can still keep children safe from accidentally drowning and also keep out trespassers who may want to use your pool when you’re away. You have many options for the pool fencing you choose so it’s good to take time to make your decision. This will ensure you opt for fencing that stays secure and lasts for years to come. Note a few tips on choosing a home pool fence. 1. With children When you have children in the home, it’s often good to get a pool fence that is too high for them to easily climb. Many vinyl fences that you see around public pools are very low so they don’t get in the way of visibility for visitors. However, for home use, you want a pool that is too high for toddlers and young children to climb over. Mesh with very small holes can be hard to climb, or you might choose a wrought iron fence with bars spread far apart and that don’t offer much support for fence climbers. It’s also good to get a pool fence that you can easily see through when you have children, so you can always keep an eye on the pool. Wood pool fences can block your view. A mesh fence with a very dark wire can seem solid from a distance, and block your view of the pool. Opt for glass or a wrought iron fence, or ensure that a mesh fence is a lighter color so it doesn’t block your line of sight. 2. Noise reduction If you host pool parties in your yard fairly often, opt for a fence that will cut down on the noise. A tall glass fence can be the best choice as it can contain noise more readily than a shorter vinyl fence. A mesh fence covered in plastic coating may also block more noise than a wrought iron fence with bars spaced far apart. 3. Locking If you’re concerned about keeping your pool locked up, something to remember if you travel often, install an effective locking feature on the gate to your fence. With a shorter vinyl fence, someone can easily reach around and unlock the gate, pick the lock, and so on. However, a glass fence with a metal frame may offer a keyed lock that fits into the metal frame and which is similar to the locks on your patio door at home. A wood fence may allow you to add a deadbolt that you secure with a padlock. These can be more secure than fences that are shorter and easier to access.  To find the right pool fencing for your family’s needs, contact a pool fencing provider like Standrite Australia Pty...

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What Are Some Natural Remedies for Bathtub Drain Clogs?

Posted by on Feb 23, 2016 in Uncategorized |

If your bathtub drain is clogged, it might be your first instinct to grab the gel drain cleaner you purchased at the store. However, this is not always the best option. Not only can it be too harsh for your drains, but it not be effective. Here are some better options for clearing bathtub drain clogs. Use Baking Soda and Vinegar A good way to start removing the clog in your bathtub is to use natural items like baking soda and vinegar. This is beneficial since you probably already have these items in your cupboards. If there is any standing water in the bathtub, you need to remove it first with a bucket or plastic cup. When you have it all removed, first pour some baking soda into the drain, then pour a small amount of vinegar. These two items will combine and start to bubble. Let them sit in the drain for several minutes as they work together at cleaning the drain. It won’t help with hair down the drain, but helps with any soap residue or build-up in the drain. Rinse it clean with hot water after it has worked its magic. Rinse the Drain Clear With Hot Water You can also use nothing but hot or boiling water to rinse the drain clear. This is often a good option if there is simple a minor blockage in the drain or some hair that is stuck somewhere in the drain. Many blockages occur where the pipes become curved, which is where hot water can come in handy. To try hot water, boil a large pot of water. Once it is boiling, carefully bring the pot to the bathtub and pour it directly into the drain. Make sure the bathtub doesn’t have any sitting water as you attempt this. It can also help to pour boiling water into the drain after using baking soda and vinegar to clear it. Pour Cola Down the Drain Believe it or not, your bottle of cola might also help to clear the drain. You want the bottle of cola to be room temperature or slightly warm, not cold. A larger bottle, such as a 2-liter bottle, is often better due to the larger quantity. All you need to do is make sure there isn’t standing water in the tub or drain, then start pouring it down the drain. It can start becoming corrosive due to the ingredients, along with fizzing inside the drain. Let it sit for an hour or so, then rinse with hot water to see if the drain runs clear. For more tips or assistance, contact local plumbing companies like South East Plumbing...

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Dividing a bedroom using plywood

Posted by on Feb 9, 2016 in Uncategorized |

If you have a small house with limited bedrooms you may be interested in constructing a temporary wall within a large bedroom to create two smaller bedrooms. This can be useful in a number of situations and the light weight of the plywood can make this an easy job to complete without needing additional reinforcements to the house foundations. Here are 3 situations where you can benefit from the extra barrier in place.  Warring siblings If you have young siblings who need to share a room, it’s easy to find them keeping each other up at night. A plywood barrier can give them some additional privacy, particularly at night when they need to sleep, making this a sanity saver for both parents and children. When contemplating on which axis to erect the barrier wall, make sure to check you have power point on each side of the wall so that you have the ability to put in nightlight or reading lights as required.  Adult roommates  The rising price of rent in Australia has led to more and more adults sharing a bedroom in order to save money. While renters have less space they may be willing to make this compromise for a lower rent and/or a better rental location. When contemplating this arrangement it can be worthwhile looking at the best way to construct the wall to maximise privacy, both visually and aurally, for both renters. The arrangement will work out much better for both parties if you aren’t kept awake by snoring. This can often be assisted by having separate entrance doors, and insulating the dividing wall to prevent noise travelling.  If you only have one entrance door to the room you can look at a partial wall, with an angled curtain from the edge of the new wall to the existing wall on each side of the door jam. This maximises privacy for both parties.  Creating a study or work nook If you also need to use your bedroom as a work station or study space it can be hard to switch off when you head to bed. Setting up a separated corner with a plywood wall can help you compartmentalise both parts of your life in the same room. Consider setting up the nook at the most remote end of the room so that you are not easily interrupted at work and focus fully while in there.  As you can see setting up a dividing wall with plywood can be a real sanity saver in a small house. While it doesn’t create any extra space, it can give you much needed privacy and help you use your space more effectively. A contractor can easily erect a quick and affordable dividing wall in your...

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If You’re Eco-Conscious, Why Not Consider Concrete Recycling?

Posted by on Jan 29, 2016 in Uncategorized |

People who are very eco-conscious are often curious as to how they can recycle more items or use more recycled items, to help reduce the energy used to harvest virgin materials and reduce their consumption of natural resources. Recycling items also keeps them out of landfills, opening up room for items that cannot be recycled. If you’re very eco-conscious, you might consider concrete recycling for construction or renovation projects at home, either recycling old concrete you need removed or using recycled concrete for a new project. Note a few questions you might have about concrete recycling so you can discuss this option with a contractor when you have a home project on the horizon. 1. Can only certain types of concrete be recycled or reused? Concrete is a mixture of cement along with an aggregate, usually sand or gravel. The aggregate is adjusted according to the type of concrete needed for a particular surface. Because of how concrete is made with these simple materials, there is really no limit as to the type of concrete that can be recycled; the recycling process simply involves breaking it down and crushing the concrete so it can be added to a new mixture of the same materials. If you’re considering tearing up some concrete on your property and want to know if it can be recycled, there should be no reason why material from a patio, walkway, or driveway should not be recycled. Your only challenge may be getting it to a recycling center because it’s so heavy. A good solution is to check if a skip bin agency in your area has bins available for recycling heavy construction materials, including concrete. They would then pick up the bin once it’s full of any concrete pieces you want to see recycled and take it to a recycling center themselves. 2. What types of home projects can use recycled concrete? If you want to use recycled concrete for home projects, remember that driveways and patios are not the only areas where you might use this material. Concrete can be used for interior floors and countertops; it can be stamped, painted or stained to look like any number of natural stones or even like buffed, polished glass. Also, if you’re considering having a new garage installed on your property, consider concrete walls for the structure. Talk to a contractor (such as one from South Coast Concrete Crushing & Recycling) about the use of recycled concrete for surfaces and structures on your property and you may be surprised at how versatile it...

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Why Work With an Architect When Considering a Newly Built Home?

Posted by on Jan 25, 2016 in Uncategorized |

When you’re thinking of buying a newly built home, you may have the choice of purchasing from a small selection of homes offered by a builder or contractor. These may seem at the outset to suit your needs, but hiring an architect to design your home can be a much better option. Note a few reasons why you might choose to work with an architect when you’re considering a newly built home. 1. Lay of the Land Enjoying a new home often means more than just enjoying the house itself; chances are you want the best view from the living room windows, to get the most sunlight possible during the day, and to otherwise incorporate the outside of the home into its overall design. An architect can note the plot of land you’ve chosen for your home and offer you some options for how to make the most of its features. This might mean installing a picture window in the back room that faces a pond or putting the outside deck on the side of the home that offers the best view of the sunset, and so on. A builder may not offer these types of personalized features that incorporate the lay of the land with your new home. 2. Use of Different Rooms When meeting with an architect, you may note that he or she will ask you many questions about how you use and enjoy your home. This is so that they can personalize the design according to your preferences. For example, if you’re the type who enjoys soaking in the bathtub, they may suggest skylights in the bathroom for more sunlight and a nice view of the sky. Families who entertain may appreciate an oversized kitchen that flows into the family room, whereas a retired couple who doesn’t cook very often may not need to take up so much of the floor plan with their kitchen. A cookie-cutter design offered by a builder may not work so well for your own personal needs. 3. Personal Touches Along with the use of different rooms, there are personal touches an architect can offer that make your home more functional and enjoyable for you. This might include a closet off the kitchen for recycling bins, or wiring throughout the home for built-in stereo speakers. An architect may also consider areas for hidden storage, such as the space under an exposed staircase. These types of personal touches may not be offered by a builder, but they can be worked into architectural plans so that your home is uniquely your...

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What to Ask an Agency About an Excavator Hire

Posted by on Jan 17, 2016 in Uncategorized |

When digging up your own backyard for a new pool or when needing to excavate a lot for a new construction project, you will want to choose a good excavator. The right heavy-duty equipment can make quick work of any digging you need to have done and can mean less disturbance to the ground around a pit or trench. When you’re ready for an excavator hire, note a few questions you might ask an agency so you ensure you know what’s involved. 1. Always ask if there is a certified operator required for the machinery Very often the size and type of machinery will determine if there is a certified operator required to manage it. A small bobcat might be used by anyone, but a larger crane, even one mounted to the back of a truck, may need a certified operator. If you don’t have such an operator on staff or don’t want to hire one for your job, ask the agency if you can downsize the equipment you’re thinking of hiring so you can manage it yourself. 2. Ask about the rollover or falling object protection Typically an excavator of any type will have a reinforced cab that protects the operator, but you want to ask about safety measures and protection that might be needed for your job in particular. If you’re using a bobcat for the first time at home, rollover protection can keep you safe if the piece should tip. If you’ll be using the excavator on a construction site, you want added falling object protection so the operator is not injured if tools or materials should fall from an upper story. Choose an excavator that works well for the job at hand but which will also keep your operator safe. 3. Note who is responsible for insuring the equipment The agency that rents out the equipment may have a policy to protect the piece, but they may also require you to have additional insurance in case of theft or damage. Note too that the agency is not usually responsible for damage you might cause while using the equipment; your homeowner’s insurance may not cover this damage either if you use something like a bobcat at home. No matter your intended use, ask about insurance and what is involved and covered. Always consider getting added coverage as necessary in order to protect the equipment while you’re using it and to cover any damage you might cause as...

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Recycled Products You Can Use When Building a New Home

Posted by on Jan 6, 2016 in Uncategorized |

Building a new home but not interested in using all new materials? You are in luck. Recycled products are becoming more common in the building industry, and there are a range of popular and offbeat options available. Take a look at these inspiring ideas: Recycled Steel Skip the wood beams, and opt for recycled steel in your home. From an aesthetic perspective, it looks urban and industrial, and it’s functional as well. Steel resists water and wind more effectively than wood, and best of all, by choosing recycled steel for your new home, you keep old steel from going to the landfill. Recycled Shipping Containers Rather than using steel or other recycled metals, you can go to the source and use old metal objects. In particular, rather than adding a home office or a granny flat to the design of your new home, invest in an old shipping container, and turn that into an extra room on your property. Your shipping container can be connected to your new home or in a separate area of your property. Creative home builders have also used parts of old cars and other metal objects in their craft, making almost anything possible. Recycled Concrete Keep in mind that recycled materials can be part of your landscaping as well as your home. When planning paths or even your driveway, consider using recycled concrete. Instead of throwing old concrete in a landfill, many companies are now starting to sell it, and this recycled product creates a bumpy, artistic look, similar in style to concrete with coarse aggregate in it. Recycled Aluminium Aluminium is one of the most popular types of recycled metal, especially as soda cans are made of metal. However, it doesn’t have to turn into more soda cans. Now, you can use recycled aluminium in your new home’s roof. You can find sheets or shingles depending on the style you prefer, and as an added bonus, this type of recycled roofing tends to last longer than traditional asphalt shingle roofs. Recycled Beer Bottles Finally, it’s not just recycled cans that can be involved in your new home. If you really want to get creative, you can build a home out of recycled beer bottles, old hubcaps and other found items. For more ideas on recycled products that you can use in the construction of your new home, contact new home builders to talk about possibilities....

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What You Need to Inspect When Buying a Home

Posted by on Dec 30, 2015 in Uncategorized |

Before you buy a home, it is important that you learn more about it than just the appearance, size, and nearby schools. You should also know the ins and outs of the home, including the overall condition and what things might eventually become an issue. Here are some areas of the home to inspect before buying the home. Basement Even if you don’t plan on turning the basement into a finished space, it is one of the most important parts of a home to inspect before purchasing it. The basement can give you a lot of information about the quality of the home, including potential water or mold damage, or water leaks from the plumbing system. Also look at the structure of the basement, checking for holes or gaps in the foundation. Look around the basement for excessive areas of moisture. Electrical System Have an electrician do a thorough inspection of the home’s electrical work. They should look into the wires, sockets, and outlets. Make sure all the switches work and check that all of the right fuses or breakers are being used. Check the electrical box or breaker panel to make sure it is still in good condition. When looking at the electrical work, also check that the heat and air work, and that the vents and ducts are clean. Plumbing You should also take some time checking the plumbing system of the home. Start by running all faucets and plumbing fixtures, including the bathtubs, showers, and sinks. Make sure the water pressure is good and taste the tap water as well. Look for signs of leaks when running the water, checking under all sinks to look for water spots. Also flush all the toilets to make sure they work properly. It is also a good idea to bring along a professional plumber for a more thorough inspection. Windows Check the windows by opening and closing them all to be sure they don’t get stuck or won’t open. It is easy to check that the glass of the windows or the window frames are in good condition, but many home buyers forget to actually use all the windows and make sure they work. Don’t just check large windows in the main rooms, but small rooms like the attic and basement as well. Roof Have a professional contractor inspect the roof as the final step of the inspection process. Check the roofing materials, looking for missing shingles or broken roofing tiles. Check for cracks, gaps, or leaks that might cause problems later on. Check the gutters to be sure they are clean and not sagging or showing signs of...

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Factors to Consider When Opting for Residential Decking

Posted by on Dec 17, 2015 in Uncategorized |

For homeowners looking to create an outdoor living space, opting for decking can be a great way to provide that transition between your residence and your yard. However, opting for deck building is not simply a matter of calling in professional contractors and leaving them to their own devices when embarking on the project. To ensure that you have a deck installed that will suit both your needs and preferences, there are a number of factors that you should consider. Here are some of the factors that you should keep in mind when considering residential decking. Determine the type of design that you want for your deck. Homeowners are familiar with the patio decking that most residences will have. However, this is not the only type of decking that you can choose for your home. When determining the type of decking that you want, you need to factor in your convenience. For instance, if you would like to host people on your deck without having to worry about noise levels breaching the home, then you should opt for a destination deck. These are erected a distance away from your home thus keeping the party away from, for example, children. If you opt for a destination deck, you also have to consider whether you would like it connected to the residence or if you would prefer it to be a stand-alone deck. The type of decking you choose will not only affect the structure, but also will determine if you need additional features installed. Determine the functionality of your deck. The next factor to consider when contemplating decking would be the functionality of the space. Your main purpose of the deck will play a significant role in the design of the deck For instance, if you want to install a deck primarily for hosting, then you would have to consider having other elements incorporated into the design, such as mini cooking area, seating space, electrical outlets for entertainment equipment and more. On the other hand, if the main aim of the deck is to have a serene haven to relax and have some alone time, then you will have to contemplate options that can enhance the privacy of the deck while it is being constructed. Determine the type of shade you want for your deck. Knowing the type of shade you want beforehand will go a long way in minimizing on your construction costs. For instance, if you want a pergola, then it would make more sense to have the contractors erect it as they are building the deck, rather than have it fitted once the decking is...

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