A Circuit Breaker For Circuit Breakers

GUIDE TO CIRCUIT BREAKERS

Circuit breakers are not only great insurance for protecting your new motor, but they are also required by the Coast Guard for ungrounded current-carrying condutors. If a prop is caught on an underwater object (rock, log, thick weeds, etc) and prevented from rotating, the motor will respond by using more and more power from the battery in an attempt to turn the shaft. If this goes on for too long, the high level of current will permanently damage the motor, usually resulting in a completely totaled motor.

A trolling motor circuit breaker is designed to “trip” at a certain amperage, which breaks the circuit and prevents the motor from overloading and damaging itself. At between $20 and $40, they are significantly cheaper than purchasing a brand new motor! Circuit breakers come in varying amperages, and you want one that has an amperage rating (or amperage trip point) that is just above the amperage draw of your motor at max speed.

While small and medium trolling motors use a single 12v marine battery, larger trolling motors use larger 24v and 36v systems, and require 2 or 3 marine batteries, accordingly. These larger motors and multiple batteries are wired in a series pattern, and optimally, the circuit breaker should be wired within 4″ of your battery. Both the 24v and 36v trolling motor wiring diagrams are listed below along with the recommended circuit breaker. It is important to note you should never feed more voltage into a motor than what it is rated for (ie. never feed 24 volts into a 12v motor!).

Connecting Your Battery Charger

Onboard chargers are equipped with positive and negative leads for each battery. Simply wire each bank of the charger to each battery accordingly.

Safety

To avoid shorts, it’s always a good idea to keep the positive terminals covered with protective shields or proper electrical tape to prevent them from coming in contact with stray wiring, metal objects or other battery connections.

Guide to Low Voltage Circuit Breakers Standards

Low Voltage Circuit Breakers

This guide is intended as a practical guide for designers, specifiers and installers to enable them to specify low voltage circuit breakers in accordance with:

BS EN 60898-1,

BS EN 60898-2 and

BS EN 60947-2.

Miniature Circuit Breakers (MCB)

MCBs to BS EN 60898 are suitable for operation by ordinary persons and have fixed protection settings, generally a two position on/off operating handle and a performance relative to the final circuits in an electrical installation. They would normally be the final overcurrent protection measure in the electrical system, for example before sockets or lighting circuits.

Typical current ratings are from 0.5 A to 125 A. Short circuit ratings may be up to 25 kA. Performance and testing is in accordance with BS EN 60898 for domestic and similar applications categorised by the trip characteristic types B, C and D.

Moulded Case Circuit Breakers (MCCB)

MCCBs may have fixed or adjustable protection settings, normally a three position toggle operating handle giving on-off-tripped indication plus reset function, and a performance level relative to the incoming supply such that they can be installed at a point close to the supply transformer.

Air Circuit Breakers (ACB)

ACBs are normally used as the main incoming protection and have a spring-operated mechanism to open and close the device often charged by an internal motor.

Circuit breaker settings

Elasticsearch contains multiple circuit breakers used to prevent operations from causing an OutOfMemoryError. Each breaker specifies a limit for how much memory it can use. Additionally, there is a parent-level breaker that specifies the total amount of memory that can be used across all breakers.

Field data circuit breaker

The field data circuit breaker estimates the heap memory required to load a field into the field data cache. If loading the field would cause the cache to exceed a predefined memory limit, the circuit breaker stops the operation and returns an error.

Request circuit breaker

The request circuit breaker allows Elasticsearch to prevent per-request data structures (for example, memory used for calculating aggregations during a request) from exceeding a certain amount of memory.

In flight requests circuit breaker

The in flight requests circuit breaker allows Elasticsearch to limit the memory usage of all currently active incoming requests on transport or HTTP level from exceeding a certain amount of memory on a node. The memory usage is based on the content length of the request itself. This circuit breaker also considers that memory is not only needed for representing the raw request but also as a structured object which is reflected by default overhead.

Accounting requests circuit breaker

The accounting circuit breaker allows Elasticsearch to limit the memory usage of things held in memory that are not released when a request is completed. This includes things like the Lucene segment memory.

Circuit Breakers Information

Circuit breakers are automatic electrical switches designed to interrupt current flow in the event of an overload or short circuit.

Electrical circuits can experience several conditions which pose danger to associated equipment or the circuit itself, namely current overload and short circuits. An overload occurs when a larger than anticipated electric current flows through a circuit, generating excess heat and the possibility of a fire. Short circuits (which are a main cause of current overload) occur when current is allowed to travel along an unintended, low impedance path in the circuit, resulting in rapid heat buildup, explosions, and fire.

Fuses — which melt and “blow” in the presence of excess heat from overcurrent — offer effective circuit protection, but must be replaced after each circuit interruption occurs. Circuit breakers perform a similar circuit protection function but can be reset after each interruption and reused indefinitely.

Construction and Operation

Circuit breakers are typically electromechanical switches in which the circuit’s hot wire connects to both ends of the switch. When the switch is “on” electricity flows from the input terminal through the switch components and through the output terminal, completing the circuit. In the event of overcurrent the switch linkage breaks, interrupting the circuit.

When a circuit breaks, an operator must determine the source of the overcurrent and correct the problem. Overcurrent may be caused by introducing new devices into a circuit, causing an increase in the cumulative current and overloading the circuit; in this case simply removing the extra device would eliminate overcurrent. Circuit breakers are equipped with a manual actuator, so that an operator may easily reconnect the circuit and restart current flow after it has been interrupted.

Circuit Breaker

What You Will Build

You will build a microservice application that uses the circuit breaker pattern to gracefully degrade functionality when a method call fails. Use of the Circuit Breaker pattern can let a microservice continue operating when a related service fails, preventing the failure from cascading and giving the failing service time to recover.

What You Need

About 15 minutes

A favorite text editor or IDE

JDK 1.8 or later

Gradle 4+ or Maven 3.2+

You can also import the code straight into your IDE:

Spring Tool Suite (STS)

IntelliJ IDEA

How to complete this guide

Like most Spring Getting Started guides, you can start from scratch and complete each step or you can bypass basic setup steps that are already familiar to you. Either way, you end up with working code.

Starting with Spring Initializr

For all Spring applications, you should start with the Spring Initializr. The Initializr offers a fast way to pull in all the dependencies you need for an application and does a lot of the set up for you. This guide needs two applications. The first application (a simple bookstore site) needs only the Web dependency.

The second application (the reading application, which will use a Hystrix circuit breaker) needs the Web and Hystrix dependencies.

How Home Inspection Certification Can Help You

First-time buyer’s guide to a typical home inspection

First-time buyer’s guide to a typical home inspection

If you are a first time home buyer, you may be wondering what to expect from a home inspection. Home inspections are basically a part of the standard contingency for buyers so that they can be assured that their future home is structurally sound before moving in. However, many buyers underestimate the importance of carrying out a home inspection and making sure it is done correctly before finally signing the final contract. Though home inspections are supposed to protect buyers from buying a structurally faulty home, it is important to have a realistic expectation of what happens during a home inspection and what can be a possible outcome.

Choosing the right inspector

Choosing the right person to inspect your home is important. Make sure to check references before you finalize someone. One critical aspect of this is finding a neutral inspector, someone who doesn’t patronize any of the parties and gives an authentic opinion. Sometimes if the inspector is not experienced enough, they may not be able to assess the magnitude of issues that a property may have in the long term. In some provinces inspectors are regulated, which makes a seller’s job easy

Prognosis

A home inspector can give you a report card on what are the problems of a home and their seriousness. Mild warnings such as mildew may be indicated in their report. Generally, they would also do a detailed inspection of every nook and corner of your home, walls floors, etc. However, they are not permitted to break down any structures like a wall or beam to check pipes or leaks.

Why appoint a home inspector

While your real estate agent will try to close a deal as soon as possible, it is important to invest time and efforts in appointing a home inspector and getting a detailed review of your home. Only a home inspector can give an authentic report on the structural integrity of a home. Moreover, they can also give a futuristic perspective based on the present condition of a home. A home that has not been maintained correctly or is poorly constructed will have insignificant issues, which will eventually develop into bigger problems. A home inspector is likely to indicate serious problems, way before they become serious, safeguarding a potential buyer.

Generally, home inspections take around three to four hours depending on the size of a home. Inspectors examine both the interiors and exteriors of the home right from circuit panels to drainage to pipes and make a detailed report. Some of the parameters may be confusing for potential buyers and inspectors can easily address them to help a buyer understand what they are signing up for. If an inspector reports a critical observation, buyers can either back out of a sale, request resolving the issue from the seller or take the responsibility of solving an issue by themselves.

ENSURE YOUR HOME INSPECTION GOES SMOOTHLY WITH OUR HOME INSPECTION CHECKLIST.

ELECTRICAL

Check smoke alarm batteries

Replace burnt out light bulbs

Ensure electrical outlets and switches, including those in utility rooms and garages, are equipped with cover plates

Test GFCI outlets

HVAC

Have a qualified HVAC company inspect your furnace to ensure it’s operating correctly and efficiently

Replace furnace and exchanger air filters if needed

ACCESSIBILITY

Ensure free and open access to all house and garage hatches. This will avoid re-inspection at the seller’s expense

Clear spaces around electrical panel, furnace, sump pump, water heater and water softeners

Ensure closets and cabinets are unobstructed

GENERAL

Remove all pets from the property

Tighten loose doorknobs

What to Expect

The inspector will begin on the exterior of the home then move into the interior where he or she will test all components and appliances. The inspection typically lasts as long as 2 hours. Always let your inspector know beforehand if something is not working properly to ensure the inspector’s safety and minimize the risk of damage to your home.

Don’t be present during the buyer’s inspection

Attending a buyer’s inspection of your home could be perceived negatively by the buyer so it’s always a good idea to leave the property.

When You Return

Check your thermostat, windows and blinds after the inspection. These components often can be difficult to operate, preventing us from setting them to their original positions.

WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT HOME INSPECTIONS

Moving on from renting an apartment to buying a home is a big step for anyone. After the first stage of looking around and finding a home that you actually want to purchase, see how you stand out among the crowd, you will then be required to put in an offer.

Before you do, however, you will want to make sure that the home is not going to require infinite amounts of money to fix up after you have already purchased it and moved in. This will require a home inspection; one that makes sure to complete your home inspection checklist. Here to ensure you know what is involved in this process is our comprehensive guide on home inspections.

MAKE SURE THAT YOUR HIRE A PROFESSIONAL

Having a home inspection costs money, money that you can’t afford to lose because you didn’t get the right person to do the job in the first place. Don’t cheap out on a home inspector, their expertise is what you are paying for. You will want an inspector who has the proper credentials as well as some experience in the field.

Ask the inspector what associations they belong to, this is a better way that actually trying to dig into their qualifications. Once you know what associations they belong to you will get a better sense of their qualifications. (Hint, not all associations are equal, some require a minimum of training, experience, as well as educational requirements.)

And don’t go for a home inspector that doesn’t have insurance. Some will have limited liability clauses, what this means is if there any damages that occur during the inspection they will be off the hook. Here is an excellent guide for picking a home inspector. Keep in mind that choosing the right inspector is a critical aspect of a home purchase. You want someone who is thorough but also a good communicator.

Home Inspection Checklist

Real Estate Services knows that one of the most important tasks when buying or selling a home is to have complete inspections. It is always wise to make your offer contingent on professional inspections. Professional inspections can uncover areas of the house that need attention and can be taken care of before you sell or purchase a property. If something comes up that is serious, you can then have an out with your contingency.

This checklist will not replace a professional inspection, but will help you understand and uncover areas that may be of concern. This checklist will guide you through the basic inspections and help spot areas of concern before you make an offer or place your home on the market. Following the guidelines of this checklist can help you save money later.

Exterior

Grade

Grade slopes away from the house.

No standing water.

Homes at the bottom of a hill.

Water is directed away for the house.     

Driveway

Driveway slopes away from the garage.

No large cracks.

No excessive weed growth.

No heaving or uneven spots.

No potholes or missing paver stones.

Drain at entrance of garage for driveways that slope down.           

Foundation

Appears in good shape.

Foundation is above the grade.

Foundation appears straight.

No large cracks.

No crumbling.

No water stains or signs of dampness.

No moss or mildew growth.

Structure

Appears in good shape.

No rotting of the sill plate.

No missing siding or bricks.

Walls appear straight.

Roofline appears straight with no sagging.

Porch or doorsill appear straight.

Roof

Check from the ground using binoculars.

Appears to be in good shape.

No missing shingles or tiles.

Edges are not lifted.

No moss growth.

Shingles are not worn or torn.

Flat roofs should only be inspected by a professional.

Chimney

Check from the ground using binoculars.

Appears to be straight.

No large cracks.

No missing mortar between the bricks.

No missing bricks or stones.

Not separating from the house.

No black tar leaching on outside.

You may want the chimney cleaned by a professional before the sale of a home.   

Eaves troughs & Downspouts

Securely attached to the roof.

No cracks or joint gaps.

No excess chalking.

Directs water away from the house.

Have not eroded away the landscaping.

Windows & Doors

Fit well in openings.

Open smoothly with no binding.

Hardware in working order.

No rotting or missing trim.

All weather stripping intact.

No missing or broken glass.

No torn screens.

Exterior doors are solid core.

In colder climates

Insulated glass in windows and doors.

Storm doors and windows.

Garage

Concrete slab with no major cracks.

At least 6 inch concrete wall.

Door opens and closes smoothly.

Garage door opener works.

Attached Garage

Door to house closes tightly.

Door to house is fire rate steel door.

Door to house closes automatically.

5/8 wallboard on ceiling and common walls.

Top Books and Resources for Home Inspectors

Many professionals improve their knowledge and skills by reading literature relevant to their field. As a home inspector — or a home inspector to be — you can find lots of helpful and valuable information in the books and resources listed below

It’s exciting to embark on a new career, and it’s rewarding to learn the material, take the exam, pass it and get your home inspector’s certificate. But the learning doesn’t stop there. You can find excellent tips, tricks, and advice in these books that delve into everything you need to know about a home’s structure and systems.

Several are aimed more at the home buyer, in terms of how to select a home inspector and what to look for in a home, but this information is also highly valuable to the home inspector. You want to fulfill the expectations of as many clients as possible.

For our rating system, we considered the value of the information to home inspectors, comprehensiveness, and readability.

What Are The Different Kinds Of Tax Preparation

How Much Does It Cost to Get Your Taxes Done?

You can’t run from them. You can’t hide from them. But you can get someone else to do them.

Yep, we’re talking about taxes.

For those of us who would like to spend our weekends at the park with the kids or, honestly, anywhere else but at a desk with tax forms and schedules, finding a tax advisor may be our only hope this tax season.

How much does it cost to have a professional do your taxes? Let’s take a closer look and find out.

How Much Does It Cost to Get Your Taxes Done?

The average cost for a basic tax form preparation is about $176.1 That fee covers a standard 1040 and state return with no itemized deductions.

But don’t run off with that number just yet. While the national average is a good starting place, a lot of things determine the actual cost.

Here are four questions you should ask yourself as you decide how much to spend on your tax filing:

1. How qualified do you want your professional to be?

The average Joe tax preparer will charge less than a high-quality advisor with loads of experience. But when it comes to the IRS and your money, the stakes can be high, depending on your specific situation.

Now, don’t get us wrong. We want you to save money just as much as you do. But when hiring experts—like tax pros, doctors and mechanics—we’re all for spending more cash to get the job done right. Paying an extra $100-300 on the front end may be worth it in the long run if the expert is thorough, accurate and ends up saving you a ton. Remember, we’re talking about estimates here, so adjust your professional expectations accordingly.

2. How organized are your taxes?

Show up at a pro’s office with crumpled receipts spilling from your pockets and manila folders packed with unorganized records and you’ll definitely pay a high fee. Here’s our rule of thumb: The more organized you are, the less work a tax pro has to do. And that means a lower cost in the end.

3. Where do you live?

The fees for hiring a tax professional differ across the country. For instance, you can expect to pay more than average on the Pacific Coast and less in the good ol’ South.2  Here are the average tax preparation fees for an itemized 1040 with a Schedule A and state return in each region:

  • New England (CT, ME, MA, NH, RI, VT): $333
  • Middle Atlantic (NJ, NY, PA): $290
  • South Atlantic (DE, DC, FL, GA, MD, NC, SC, VA, WV): $268
  • East South Central (AL, KY, MS, TN): $210
  • West South Central (AR, LA, OK, TX): $271
  • East North Central (IL, IN, MI, OH, WI): $249
  • West North Central (IA, KS, MN, MO, NE, ND, SD): $214
  • Mountain (AZ, CO, ID, MT, NV, NM, UT, WY): $263
  • Pacific (AK, CA, HI, OR, WA): $329

You’ll notice all these averages are higher than the $176 mentioned above, but that’s because many people who use a tax pro have more complicated situations than the standard 1040 can cover. Either way, expect a slight fluctuation in cost based on the quality of the pro, the region and your specific needs.

How Do Tax Advisors Set Their Prices?

When you sit down with a tax advisor for the first time, be sure to ask how they’re going to charge you. It shouldn’t be a secret and you don’t want surprises! A tax advisor will usually follow one of these five methods:

1. They charge a set fee for each tax form or schedule.

No ifs, ands or buts about it! They have one flat fee per form or schedule. If you’re wondering what the average costs for filing common forms are, here’s the breakdown:

  • $273 for a Form 1040 with a Schedule A and state return
  • $176 for a Form 1040 (non-itemized) and state return
  • $184 for a Form 1040 Schedule C (business)
  • $124 for Schedule D (gains and losses)
  • $135 for Schedule E (rental)
  • $180 for Schedule F (farm)
  •  

2. They charge a fee that matches what you paid the year before.

If you work with the same tax advisor each year, you’ll often get a matching rate. That means your advisor will charge you what they charged the year before and maybe more if your tax situation has become more complex.

3. They charge a minimum fee plus more if your taxes are complicated.

Some advisors charge a flat fee, but if you make them think too hard, they’ll have to charge you more to compensate for their time. Definitely ask up front if your advisor has extra fees beyond the flat rate.

4. They charge a value-based fee—a price based on feeling.

Some tax advisors will say, Your taxes feel like they’ll cost $350. You can see how value-based fees can easily lead to disputes. Then again, advisors do this day in and day out and they’re used to quoting rates that match the elbow grease they’ll need to put into the job.

5. They charge an hourly rate.

If your tax advisor charges by the hour, make sure you find out how much they charge and how much time they expect to spend on your taxes. An advisor’s hourly wage can be steep—sometimes $400 an hour. But if they can get your taxes done in less time, you won’t get stuck with a high bill at the end.

Pricing Methods Used by Tax Preparers

You can ask up front how the firm determines its prices if you’re comparing tax professionals or accountants. Ask for an estimate of what their services might cost you, although you probably won’t get an answer—at least not a firm, definitive one—until you’ve met with the professional and they have a firm grasp of your tax issues.

Some accountants offer free consultations, so you might get an answer at the end of this initial meeting.

Otherwise, the firm would have to base its number on your personal summary of your situation, and this might or might not provide an accurate picture of your tax situation. After all, you probably wouldn’t be seeking a professional’s services if you were exceptionally savvy about tax matters.

Some of the methods used by tax professionals to set prices include:

  • A set fee for each tax form or schedule
  • A fee based on last year’s fee plus an additional fee for any changes in a client’s tax situation
  • A minimum tax return fee, plus an additional fee based on the complexity of the client’s situation
  • A value-based fee based on the subjective value of the tax preparation service
  • An hourly rate for time spent preparing the tax return and accompanying forms and schedules
  • A set fee for each item of data entry

Steps to Take Before You Prepare Your Taxes

Choose a Preparer

If you don’t have a tax preparer yet, a good way to find one is to ask friends and advisors (such as an attorney you know) for referrals. Be sure that the person you choose has a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) showing that they are authorized to prepare federal income tax returns.2

You should also inquire about fees, which are likely to depend on the complexity of your return. Avoid using a firm that intends to take a percentage of your refund. The IRS website has tips for choosing a preparer and a link to the IRS directory of preparers, which you can search according to their credentials and location.

Schedule an Appointment

The sooner you meet with your preparer, the sooner you should be able to complete your return (even if you decide to file for an extension, as discussed later). If you anticipate a refund, you’ll get that sooner, too. If you wait too long to schedule an appointment with a tax preparer, it might not happen before April 15, and you could miss out on opportunities to lower your tax bill, such as making deductible contributions to an IRA or a health savings account.3 4 Note: for 2020, the deadlines for making these contributions and for filing taxes is July 15.5

Gather Your Documents

By the end of January, you should have received all the various tax documents that you need from your employer or employers, as well as from banks, brokerage firms, and others with whom you do business. For each form, check that the information matches your own records.

What Happens If A Tax Preparer Makes A Mistake?

When the mistake doesn’t impact tax returns and/or refunds, you may still report the tax preparer under the following circumstances.

  • Improper use of the Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) on a tax return
  • Not providing clients with a copy of their tax return when asked to do so
  • Failing to sign tax returns they prepare and file
  • Holding the client’s records until the preparation fee is paid
  • Using off-the-shelf free tax software for preparing client returns
  • Claiming to be a certified accountant, an attorney, an enrolled agent, enrolled retirement plan agent or enrolled actuary

Useful Eye Care Tips For Women Of Any Age

Warning signs of a serious eye problem

Eyes aren’t exempt from the wear and tear of aging. Some of the age-related changes in the eyes are annoying but not serious — for example, it can become difficult to focus on near objects, and eyelashes may thin out a bit. But other changes can be serious eye problems that threaten vision.

With age, the eyes’ ability to stay lubricated starts to wane. This can leave eyes feeling irritated, sticky, dry, or gritty. The lens of the eye can become less elastic. Night vision may also start to suffer, which can pose problems when driving at night. In contrast, cataracts, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy can rob you of your sight.

How do you know if an eye problem is a nuisance or the start of something serious? The following signs and symptoms warrant a call to your doctor. Catching serious eye problems early can help preserve your vision. Even non-vision-threatening eye problems can be treated to keep your eyes comfortable and your eyesight as sharp as possible.

Call your doctor if you experience any of the following:

  • Change in iris color
  • Crossed eyes
  • Dark spot in the center of your field of vision
  • Difficulty focusing on near or distant objects
  • Double vision
  • Dry eyes with itching or burning
  • Episodes of cloudy vision
  • Excess discharge or tearing
  • Eye pain

Signs you might need glasses

Do you have a vision problem that could be corrected?

About 11 million people over age 12 need vision correction.1 How do you know if you need it?

Many people have lived with poor vision for such a long time, they simply don’t realize they could benefit from or see better with vision correction. Others might be aware they have a vision problem but put off going to the eye doctor until it’s a struggle to perform everyday functions. The fact is you should see your eye doctor as soon as you notice your changes in your eyesight.

As soon as you notice your eyesight is changing, it’s time to see your eye doctor

Following 10 signs you might need an eye exam.

  • Blurred close-up vision, may indicate farsightedness (hyperopia) or presbyopia, depending on your age
  • Poor distance vision, or nearsightedness (myopia)
  • Difficulty seeing objects both close up and at a distance (astigmatism)
  • Difficulty seeing at night
  • Increased difficulty adjusting from dark to light surroundings
  • Difficulty in reading or working at a computer
  • Eye strain or eye fatigue
  • Frequent headaches
  • Double vision
  • Seeing halos around light

Preventive Eye Care and Eye Examinations Are Important

Just as with annual physical examinations, it’s equally important to have regular eye examinations. An annual eye examination is appropriate for most people.

If you have glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, or a family history of eye diseases or disorders, regular monitoring and more frequent visits may be required.

It’s important to discuss your health care situation with your primary care doctor and your eye doctor and make sure you follow his or her advice about ongoing appointments, medications, and/or treatments. Prevention is an important component of eye care.

Some eye conditions and diseases are hereditary and family members may need to be monitored regularly by a general physician and an ophthalmologist or optometrist.

Other Indicators of Possible Vision Problems

Other indications of possible vision problems may include problems with the following daily living activities:

Moving Around

  • Having difficulty walking on irregular or bumpy surfaces
  • Walking or stepping hesitantly
  • Going up and down stairs slowly and cautiously
  • Shuffling the feet
  • Brushing against walls while walking
  • Missing objects by under-reaching or over-reaching

Everyday Activities

  • Discontinuing or doing certain activities differently such as reading, watching television, driving, walking, or engaging in hobbies
  • Squinting or tilting the head to the side to focus on an object
  • Having difficulty identifying faces or objects
  • Having trouble locating personal objects, even in a familiar environment
  • Reaching out for objects in an uncertain manner
  • Having trouble identifying colors
  • Selecting clothing in unusual combinations of colors or patterns

Eating and Drinking

  • Having problems getting food onto a fork
  • Having difficulty cutting food or serving from a serving dish
  • Spilling food off the plate while eating
  • Pouring liquids over the top of a cup or drinking glass
  • Knocking over glasses while reaching across the table for another item

Reading and Writing

  • No longer reading mail, newspapers, or books
  • Holding reading material very close to the face or at an angle
  • Writing less clearly and having trouble writing on a line
  • Finding that lighting that was previously sufficient is now inadequate for reading and other activities

Snake Care

SNAKES

What species of snakes are native or indigenous to PA?

Venomous

Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake

Northern Copperhead

Timber Rattlesnake

Non Venomous

Black Racer

Black Rat Snake

Eastern Garter

Eastern Hognose Snake

Eastern King Snake

Eastern Milk Snake

Eastern Ribbon Snake

Eastern Worm Snake

Kirtland’s Snake

Northern Brown Snake

Northern Ring-Neck Snake

Northern Water Snake

Queen Snake

Red-bellied Snake

Rough Green Snake

Short-head Garter

Smooth Earth Snake

Smooth Green Snake

Do you need a permit to possess a timber rattlesnake or to keep one as a pet?

The person in possession of the snake would have to obtain a Venomous Snake Permit from the Fish and Boat Commission prior to obtaining the snake. The snake would then have to be legally collected from the wild in during the open season and in compliance with size and possession limits

A timber rattlesnake obtained from the wild in without a permit would be illegal to possess. Timber rattlesnakes may not be imported into from other states or countries. It is illegal to breed timber rattlesnakes (or most other native reptiles and amphibians) in captivity

I heard that black rat snakes and copperheads are breeding and their offspring resemble the black rat snake but are as venomous as the copperhead. Is that true?

No, that’s false. It is impossible for the black rat snake and copperhead to successfully breed. These two species of snakes have two different reproductive strategies. The copperhead give birth to live young encased in a sac while the black rat snake lays eggs which then incubate for two to three months. These two distinctively contrasting methods of reproduction make it impossible for these to species to breed.

IDENTIFY AND GET RID OF VENOMOUS SNAKES

You’ve come across a snake in your garden, woodpile, or anywhere else around your home, so the first question you need to get answered is whether it’s venomous. The second question—regardless of the answer to the first—is how to get it to go away. Good news: You don’t have to be an expert to answer either of those questions. Here’s all you need to know.

FOUR TO BEWARE OF

Let’s start with a brief clarification. Scientists and other reptile experts refer to snakes as venomous rather than poisonous. A creature (or plant) that is poisonous contains toxins that cause you harm when you bite into it. A venomous snake injects you with a toxin when it bites you.

you’ll encounter only four types of snakes that are venomous. Three of them—cottonmouths, copperheads, and rattlesnakes—are different kinds of pit vipers. The fourth is the coral snake, a colorful species that looks very similar to other nonvenomous species.

Cottonmouths are dark in color, from green to black, with vertical dark lines by each nostril. They are most frequently found around water, which is why they are sometimes known as water moccasins. They get the name cottonmouth from the bright white lining inside of their mouths, quite visible when they open it as a warning to predators. Cottonmouths are most abundant in the southeastern and southwestern United States and are known to hang around irrigation ditches, swamps, and other soggy areas. Intense pain occurs immediately with a cottonmouth bite and is accompanied by bleeding, swelling, and muscle weakness. Loss of muscle function and even paralysis can follow. Fortunately, the effects abate after treatment with an antidote

Copperheads’ bodies range from brown to bright orange and even peachy, but their heads are almost always the color of copper. Young ones typically have yellow tails. Most years, copperheads account for more bites of people than the other venomous species, but they also have the mildest venom, so those bites are almost never lethal. Pain and swelling start quickly around a copperhead bite and spread out to the limbs. Numbness, nausea, and a rapid pulse may follow. These snakes live in rocky areas near swamps, ponds, and streams, and they can be found

Snake Country Survival Guide

Worried about snakes at home? Killing or moving snakes is a quick fix, not a solution. Moving a snake far from her home may be a death sentence for her and is a temporary fix for you — where there’s one, there’s likely to be more. Learn to live safely with snakes and appreciate your encounters.

More snakes = less disease! Snakes eat vectors and carriers of many diseases, including The Plague and Lyme disease.

Snakes are effective, all-natural pest control. Snakes won’t raid your garden or chew up your wires, but they will eat the critters that do. And due to their non-competitive nature and ability to fast for long periods, vipers (rattlesnakes, copperheads, cottonmouths) are more effective at controlling prey populations than bird or mammal predators.

Still don’t want vipers for neighbors? Make friends with other snakes! Kingsnakes, racers, and other non-venomous snakes eat venomous snakes. Others, like gophersnakes and bullsnakes, compete with venomous snakes for food.

Killing or handling snakes is a good way to get bit

Most bites happen to people who try to handle or kill snakes; the rest are due to people not watching where they put their hands or feet. Once you spot a snake, the risk of a bite is virtually zero since you can keep a safe distance. Snakes presumed dead can and do bite.

Who can remove a snake from my garden or house?

A licensed local herpetologist will catch and relocate a snake for a fee. All snakes are protected and killing one is an offence. Only licensed people are allowed to catch or keep snakes.

Wildlife organisations

Wildlife organisations do not catch snakes unless they are injured or there is a serious threat. However, they can suggest ways to encourage the snake to move away.

How to deter snakes

You can make your garden less attractive to snakes by keeping shrubs trimmed, lawns mowed and the garden generally tidy. Remove any piles of rubble, wood, roof sheeting or leaf clippings where snakes can shelter.

Snakes may lay eggs in compost heaps and garbage piles. Food sources such as rodents, frogs or birds encourage them to stay, so snake-proof any refuse bins, ponds and aviaries with fine mesh. If snakes are residing under your home, consider blocking their access after they have been removed.

Are all snakes dangerous? Snakes are not naturally aggressive and prefer to retreat. They will only attack humans if hurt or provoked – most bites occur when people try to kill or capture snakes. As snakes are a sign of a healthy ecosystem it can be wiser to overcome your fears instead.

Dealing With Snakes – Safely Handling Encounters

The vast majority of encounters between people and snakes are with non-venomous, harmless snakes. It is critical that you understand that snakes aren’t “aggressive” and don’t hunt or chase people, but they can strike without coiling first. Belief in myths such as these can cause people to behave rashly during an encounter, creating an unsafe situation for themselves and for the snake. Above all else, if you encounter a snake, try your best to remain calm! Snakes would rather not encounter humans, and it is probably as scary for them as it is for you.

Outdoor Encounters

Keep children and pets away while you try to identify the snake as venomous or non-venomous – from a safe distance. Keep in mind that snakes will usually try to escape to the nearest cover, so try not to stand between them and bushes or other cover. When they’re startled, some snakes will flatten their heads and puff up to make themselves look more intimidating. A snake may also act defensive or try to strike when cornered, so give it space! Remember – releasing a smelly musk and striking are a snake’s only defenses, since it has no claws. Some non-venomous snakes will rattle their tails when they feel threatened — this can sound like a rattlesnake if they are in dry leaves.

After you identify the snake, or at least determine that it is non-venomous, the best course of action is to simply “let it be.” It will probably soon be on its way. If you feel that you must remove the snake from your yard, spray it gently with a water hose to send it on its way while keeping your distance. If you find a snake in your pool, you can use a long handled leaf skimmer to gently remove the snake, as it may not be able to get out on its own if it is small or exhausted from swimming. If the snake is venomous or you’re not sure of its identity, take a digital photograph and contact a professional! Don’t try to handle the snake yourself!

Indoor Encounters

Try to identify the snake as venomous or non-venomous from a safe distance while keeping children and pets away. Most snakes found inside Florida residences are non-venomous, and can be easily and safely removed using a large wastebasket or outdoor trashcan with a lid and a broom. Tip the trashcan onto its side, and use the broom to gently “chase” the snake into the trashcan. Then, tip the trashcan upright and, taking care to keep your hands away from the open top, replace the lid. You can then easily transport and release the snake in a nearby natural area. A full description of this technique, with accompanying photographs

You MUST check these traps every day so that trapped snakes don’t die from lack of moisture and begin to smell. Captured non-venomous snakes can easily be set free at a nearby natural area by pouring vegetable oil onto the snake to release it from the glue. If you find a snake in the garage and can’t capture it with a trashcan or glue board, simply close the door to your house and crack open the external doors to allow the snake to escape

Optimal Engine Rebuilding

How Long Should an Engine Last?

How long should an engine last? This question put up in thousands of people’s minds when they decide to purchase a motor from the market. And it must be because it is a costly product and you are investing your valuable money to earn and get its benefit for a long time as much as possible.

If you too are one in those thousand persons who are confused about this topic. So don’t worry about that as always AutoTechio is here to solve this problem. In this article, we will tell how long can it last either it is the rebuilt, new (crate), used or remanufactured engine.

Engine Lifespan

Long-time ago if we talk about 1916, at this time the engine ability was only 100 miles and after hundred years 10,000. For today’s generation cars Scholars say that nowadays the engine lifespan in a car has an average life of 100,000 miles. If you calculate it into kilometres its value will change to 160,000 km. But it is not the actual value of individual this is average and you better know that mean.

This can run up to more than this given numerical value. But it is not good to say, it will give you service for the lifetime. Because you know that very well nothing is permanent on this earth, and about other planets, sorry, we don’t know.

Yes, you can run an engine of your car more than this value. But how? Do you know anything about that? If you answered yes, congratulations, very good. And if you answered No, then ok no problem we will tell you.

As you know its average lifespan is one lakh miles but most of the engines stop working at only forty to fifty thousand and some continuously work up to 150000 miles and above. That all depends on you, its all depend on the maintenance of the engine.

How Long Do Rebuilt Engines Last?

When a car engine fails, it may be due to a single part becoming dysfunctional or broken. Engines are such delicate machines, after all, that every single part is crucial to its operation. When one part fails, the whole machine might fail.

When engines are rebuilt, a mechanic will deconstruct the engine for the sake of replacing any worn, broken, or old parts and replacing them with newer, superior ones.  While some car experts do not recommend that this be done unless the engine is almost new and only needs a few simple parts replaced, it is actually possible for an engine to be properly rebuilt. In fact, many experienced mechanics do this quite often.

A few factors determine if a rebuilt engine will be safe for driving:

  • The person who rebuilds the engine must have hands-on experience with fixing and building car engines.
  • The new or replaced engine parts must be compatible with the existing engine.
  • The engine as it is must be in poor condition or be missing several vital parts.
  • The engine must be completely compatible with the vehicle itself. In other words, you cannot install an engine built for a sports car into a car that is not built to be driven like a sports car.

How can you extend your car’s lifespan?

Want to improve your car’s lifespan and enjoy more functionality for your vehicle?

Here are a few tips to do just that:

  • Develop and adhere to a service schedule. When it comes to your car’s lifespan, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. While nobody likes spending time at an auto repair shop, arranging to be there on a scheduled and pre-set basis is the best way to avoid surprise visits. In addition to keeping you away from major repairs, regular maintenance also boosts your car’s resale value and extends its engine life.
  • Fix small problems quickly. Instead of driving around for a few thousand miles with your “check engine” light on, fix small engine issues promptly. Even tiny engine problems can become major ones if you don’t address them in a timely fashion. With this in mind, contact your mechanic as soon as you notice a funny noise, strange light, or odd symptom during your driving experience.
  • Clean your engine annually. You should clean your car’s engine at least once a year. Because dirt and grime can cause your engine to run hot, this layer of yuck puts extra strain on your car’s system and can contribute to things like overheating and a shorter-than-average engine lifespan. Adding a fuel injector cleaner is a great way to beat dirt and grime buildup.
  • Let your engine warm up. If you live in a cold climate, allow plenty of time for your engine to warm up before you drive off. Cold weather is hard on your car’s engine and can contribute to a lower-than-normal battery charge. Because of this, your car needs more energy to start the engine. Additionally, cold weather makes your car’s engine oil thick and dense, and the car needs to warm up to move it throughout pieces effectively.

How Long Do Important Car Parts Last?

Hiring a mechanic who will choose the right parts is very important. When the best parts are used, they will last longer and save you a lot of money on replacement parts and on other car problems. First, you need to know how long important car parts are supposed to last so you have a frame of reference.

Here’s what you need to know about the average life span of some of the most important parts in your car:

Engine

There is no other part in your car that is more important than the engine. Many factors influence its life span, so it’s hard to put a concrete number of miles or years on how long it will last. Typically, engines last around 150,000 miles on the low end and up to 350,000 on the high end.

How long your engine lasts depends in large part on how well it is maintained. Your engine needs fresh fluids, good exhaust and clean filters to work well. If any of these things are neglected, your engine will have to work harder, and its life span will be shortened.

The life span of your engine will also depend on how much abuse it takes. If you two heavy loads, regularly drive at top speeds, brake too quickly, rev the engine too much, or accelerate too quickly too often, you will shorten the life span of your engine.

Finally, how well the engine is made will influence how long it lasts. Generally speaking, engines made of iron are more durable than those made of aluminum. However, iron and steel are also heavier materials than aluminum, which will reduce the fuel efficiency. You should look for a balance of materials that will make the engine durable while also protecting your fuel efficiency.

Timing Belt

The timing belt is an important part of the engine. It ensures that the camshaft and crankshaft rotate in the right timing to move the pistons and valves in sync. If the timing belt fails, these parts could fire into each other, causing the engine to seize and requiring that you replace the whole engine.

The timing belt breaks down over time as the rubber decomposes. You can’t do anything to prevent this from happening. However, you can save yourself some money by replacing the timing belt on the recommended schedule. If you wait until the timing belt breaks, you will have to pay more. The engine may also become damaged, and that will cost you even more.

Starter

The starter is responsible for helping the engine start up when you turn over the ignition. How long a starter lasts varies wildly. However, a starter should last as long as the car itself if you maintain it well.

To prolong the life of the starter, you should keep your car tuned up. If the spark plugs fail, you will have to crank your car more before it will start. This will wear down the starter faster. However, if the spark plugs are healthy and the engine is healthy, your car should start right up and your starter should last a long time.

Alternator

The alternator recharges the battery using power from your car’s engine. When it fails, you’ll hear a clicking when you turn the ignition rather than the roar of the engine. At first, you may think that your battery has died. However, charging your battery won’t let you start up the car.

An alternator can last between 40,000 miles and 100,000 miles, but the life span depends upon how many electrical components are in your car and how hard you run the car. It’s best to have the health of your alternator measured when you bring your car in for maintenance. You can then replace it before it breaks down, leaving you stranded on the side of the road.

Brake Pads

Brake pads are an important car component. Healthy brake pads ensure that you can stop quickly in an emergency. Without healthy brake pads, you increase your risk of getting into an accident. Thinning brake pads also put your brake rotors and other wheel components in jeopardy. It’s better to replace your brake pads on time than to have to replace these other parts, which will cost you much more money.

Typically, brake pads last between 30,000 miles and 70,000 miles. There is great variability in the life span based on a number of factors.

If you brake hard and quickly too often, you will wear your brake pads down more quickly. If you drive in extreme climates such as in very hot temperatures or on muddy or rocky terrain, your will wear your brake pads down more quickly.

The quality of the brake pads also has a big influence on their life span. Of course, higher-quality brake pads will last much longer than inexpensive, low-quality brake pads.

Going Green In Home Remodeling

Before and After: Striking Exterior Makeovers

So you love the schools, the neighborhood and the yard, but when you pull up to your house, you don’t like the way it looks. But there are aspects of it that you do like, and you can’t bear the thought of tearing it down. Often a better solution is a major makeover. It’s hard to believe that some of these houses are remodels; in one case, even the tax assessor had to be convinced.

Contemporary Redo Solves Design Problems

BEFORE: Not much about this facade made sense. An awkward pediment seems randomly placed. To the right, a garage had been finished into a room that threw off the proportions. And there’s an odd, unbalanced half-hexagon portion off to the left.

AFTER: At first, the clients thought they wanted a more traditional house, but once they saw the opportunities a more contemporary style offered, they were on board.

Working within tight setback restrictions, height restrictions and square footage maximums, Doise came up with a scheme for much more pleasing architecture. She designed a new roofline that incorporated a shed roof and a pop-up roof that allowed for higher ceilings and let more light inside. She squared off the awkward half-hexagon and brought back the garage, with an attractive frosted-glass-paneled garage-style door that’s a design asset. She replaced the vinyl siding with fiber cement panels The roof is corrugated metal. And new aluminum-clad windows let in loads of natural light.

She also gave the home inviting curb appeal thanks to a new concrete staircase with integrated planters and lights, a new glass-paneled front door with a generous sidelight and transom, and a new lighting scheme.

Suitable Style for a Former Foursquare

BEFORE: Originally an American Foursquare built in the 1800s, this home’s style had become a hodgepodge of confusing historical elements due to additions and renovations over the years.

AFTER: The remodel included new siding that’s narrower on the second floor than on the first floor, a new patio that leads to the front door and a new front porch with a balustrade atop it. A new garage with a mudroom entry and game room over it was also part of the renovations.

Nice-to-Have Upgrades for Your New Home

When designing a new build with optional builder’s upgrades, it’s easy to go way over budget. There’s so much available, and many of those tempting upgrades may also be expensive. The first order of business, of course, is deciding what you can afford and what you cannot.

If your builder offers a designer, that person can take you through the process of designing your house to your specifications, with the associated costs for your choices. But if your builder doesn’t have a designer on your project, you may be left navigating the process on your own — and potentially facing decision fatigue.

Keep in mind that these items are nice to have — not essential. If you’re looking for a list of bare-bones upgrades that will save you money or headaches when done as part of the new build rather than later

Extra-height kitchen cabinets. We’re all looking for extra space in the kitchen, and sometimes it’s best to look up. Your builder’s standard upper-cabinet height may be 30 inches, but if you can increase that to 36 inches or even 42, it’s worth the upgrade. The height will provide an extra shelf of storage, and the closer you can get to the ceiling the better, for both storage and aesthetic reasons

Pots and pans drawers. Pots and pans drawers are deeper than standard drawers and are perfect for — you guessed it— pots and pans. They’re also useful for storing small appliances such as toasters, blenders and coffee grinders. These drawers help you to clear your counters and still have important kitchen items easily accessible. It’s typically a modestly priced upgrade and definitely one you’ll be grateful for.

How to Get Your Catio On

It’s the dilemma of every cat owner: how to let Kitty enjoy the outdoors without risk of the Great Escape. The outside world can be a dangerous place for a roaming cat, with the threat of predators, cars, poison and diseases. Not to mention the danger to wild birds, which outdoor cats kill in monumental numbers. Catios — or cat patios — are safely enclosed playhouses for felines that provide fresh air, mental stimulation and exercise.

Catios can be as elaborate as a custom-designed feline jungle gym or as simple as enclosing a patio with screening

It’s important to make sure catios are escape-proof and include basic feline comforts:

Entry door or window, or walkway or tunnel from the house

Perches, ramps, steps, bridges, catwalks

Post or tree for scratching and climbing

Hiding places

Beds, pillows or hammocks for resting

Fresh drinking water

Shady areas and fans for cooling; heating pad for cold weather

Predator-proof screening, especially if the home is near wildlands with coyotes, cougars or bobcats

Roof or covering to protect from elements

Custom-Built Catios

You can get as creative as you want with a custom-made catio. Some homeowners include ponds, cat-friendly foliage, chandeliers and even lounging areas for the humans. Unless you choose to design and build it yourself, the best pros to include are architects to design the space (unless you use a predesigned kit) and carpenters to build it.

The tree is for scratching and climbing. The screening is two-by-two kennel fencing from Lowe’s. Reid used eight four-by-four cedar posts set into concrete-filled holes for the structure, with two-by-two fir beams and rafters. The roof is corrugated steel panels left over from the house construction.

Home Gets a Neighbor-Friendly Addition

row house is a two-rooms-upstairs, two-rooms-downstairs construction that, at some point, had a kitchen added on the back. This house in east London was no exception. “The kitchen was small and very cut off from the rear dining room. Everything felt very closed in on itself,”

This addition’s slanting roof design is a clever solution to a handful of issues. “People want plenty of light and space in their extension,”

solution is the best of both worlds. “By having lower eaves on the boundary wall and a pitched roof, you have that feeling of space inside, but to your neighbors, the extension is only about [7 feet] high,”

In addition, the pitched roof looks a lot less harsh than a flat-roofed addition. “The original idea was to be neighborly while also achieving more space, but it looks quite gentle, too, so there are other bonuses,”

A complicating factor of this project was the site’s awkward shape, which gets narrower as it heads toward the garden. “With a pitched roof and a tapered site, it was quite tricky,”

Smart Upgrades for a New House

Building a new home is a pleasure not everyone gets to experience. You get to construct your home exactly to your taste, with the components and finishes you want and can afford. Often you’ll be deciding what is worth the money to do now and what you’d prefer to save as a renovation project to do later. There are a number of factors to consider, including how long you plan to live in the home, whether you’ll be able to put upgrades directly onto your mortgage or pay out of pocket, and what upgrades are valuable for resale.

Upgrading later by doing it yourself can sometimes be a good plan allowing you to avoid paying the builder’s premium. But sometimes waiting will not only not save you money, it will cost you more in the end or create a headache when the upgrade is finally addressed.

The Stairs

Before construction can begin, the builder has to finalize plans and submit them to your city, town or county for approval and permits. Depending on your builder and where you live, this may mean you’ll have an opportunity to make some changes to your plan prior to submission. One big element to address now is the staircase. If you’re building your home with a production builder — that is, a builder constructing a home development, usually in a suburban neighborhood — the typical builder’s-grade staircase is carpet over plywood. Unless you’re prepared to rip out the entire staircase later, which is no small feat, now is the time to request solid wood.

Wood staircases come in different varieties, so be sure to ask what your builder offers and at what additional charge. Wood upgrades are usually either oak or maple, which have very different looks. Oak has a heavier grain, while maple is smoother and more subtle in texture. These woods also differ on price, with maple being the more expensive.

Do you want a stair runner? If you’re on the fence, then wait. That way, you won’t have marks from installing the carpet left in your wood if you change your mind.

How Much A Bathroom Remodeling Job Costs

Why should I remodel my bathroom?

There may be several reasons why you may need to remodel your bathroom. Some may be because you are not happy with how it is, or it is just time that it gets remodeled. If it is time, it is because it has been many years since it was renovated and has become outdated. For some, it is because the design you found in your Austin home when you moved in, was meant for someone else. Circumstances may also force you to do some remodeling of your bathroom. After all, it is for your benefit. Below are some of the top ten reasons why you should consider bathroom remodeling.

To increase the home’s sale value

Homes experience wear and tear over time. One such place that the impact is profoundly felt is the bathroom. The bathroom will look older than the rest of the house because of the hot water that causes moisture. Estate agents know this. One of the important factors that they check when they are valuing a home is the condition of the bathroom. A bathroom in good condition will raise the value of the house. Therefore, if you are contemplating selling your house and moving, it is a good idea that you remodel your bathroom to increase its sale value.

For safety reasons

Some things indicate that your bathroom is not safe. Some of the common ones have something to do with tiles. You probably have ignored them for a long time, but if you know your bathroom tiles are slippery or are broken, your bathroom is not safe. There may also be water leakages, which make the floor slippery and walls damp. It may also come in contact with electrical cables. If your bathroom has any of these signs, then you should consider remodeling it.

The plumbing needs to be fixed.

The plumbing in the bathroom deteriorates with time. If you are experiencing constant problems in your bathroom that are plumbing related, then it is a sign that it needs to be redone to avoid them recurring. Mostly, you will be calling a plumber to fix something small, and then after a few days calling them to fix something else. This is annoying, inefficient and costly. You just need the bathroom to be fixed, and the best solution is for the bathroom to be remodeled.

To add a bathroom

One of the top reasons people do a bathroom remodeling project in their San Mateo home is to add a bathroom. Among the most common reasons to add a bathroom are to create a master suite, turn a closet into a half bath or add a bathroom to a floor that doesn’t have one, such as a basement.

Adding a bathroom is an expensive project, especially if it is in an area of the house that is far away from pipes and plumbing connections, so you should ensure you thoroughly weigh the pros and cons of such a project.

To expand a bathroom

Not everyone has the space or the money to completely add a new bathroom, but a good alternative can be to enlarge and expand an existing bathroom. One common bathroom project is to enlarge a half bath by adding a shower and/or tub. You also might add a tub to a shower. Such projects can be done without too much expense and can greatly add value to your home.

Suit Yourself

Is your bathroom lined with once-fashionable, now-ugly tile? Does the builder-grade cabinetry look all the worse for years of wear and tear? If you hate everything about your bathroom, perhaps only a full-scale gut renovation could bring it up to your standards. There are, however, many situations where a few discreet, modest upgrades can achieve high-impact results.

Store More

People bemoan the fact that, as the saying goes, “They don’t build ’em like they used to.” But some features—storage capacity, for instance—have improved with time. To the great joy of many homeowners, the average bathroom has gotten bigger over the years. For those who are making do with older bathrooms plagued by too-small footprints or inconvenient layouts, the tight quarters often provide enough incentive to start knocking down walls. But it’s not always necessary to go that far in order to gain storage and get your sanity back.

If your bathroom is outdated

Newer bathroom products keep on emerging on the market, and there are more attractive bathroom interior designs that make the bathrooms look modern. If you compare them and your bathroom and feel that yours looks old, then it is outdated, and something needs to be done about it. An outdated bathroom makes one feel unhappy and has an impact on your day because it is the first place you go when you get out of bed. You may even feel uncomfortable letting people into your bathroom. Remodel your bathroom because it will make you happy.

Mold and mildew are increasing.

As the bathroom stays for long without being remodeled, mold and mildew keep on increasing. As a result, you will spend a lot of time cleaning the bathroom, and it becomes even more hectic. If you are experiencing this, then your bathroom needs some attention. Mildew and mold make it hard to clean your bathroom. Remodeling is something that will make your time cleaning easier and even make you happier.

To install water-saving devices

Just about any bathroom could be improved in ways that will save water, and remodeling to install water-saving devices is a good reason to do work on your bathroom. Some common water-saving devices are low-flow shower heads and low-flow toilets.

To improve overall energy efficiency

While saving water is a good goal in your bathroom, why stop there? There are some things you can do to improve your overall energy efficiency in your bathroom. Installing LED or CFL lights will save you on your electricity costs. Putting in a more efficient ventilation fan can also save money on your energy costs. You can make energy-efficient changes on their own or as part of a larger bathroom remodel.

Knowing Which Drywall Repairs Projects Should Be Done By A Pro

Does water damaged drywall need to be replaced?

Water damage is a common reason for drywall replacement in homes. While low cost and versatility make it a very practical interior construction material, resistance to water exposure is not one of drywall’s strong points.

Under certain limited circumstances, drywall can be retained after water damage. In many cases, however, replacement is indicated. The good news is, drywall is not a load-bearing material and can be quickly removed and replaced by qualified professionals without any consequence to the structure of the house. Here are some examples of different possible scenarios:

Minor incidents. Small amounts of water exposure for a brief time—such as splashes from an overflowing appliance or some other temporary incident—are often superficial and are not absorbed into the drywall if dealt with promptly. Wipe the wet portion immediately with absorbent towels, then point a fan at the affected area and run it for an extended period to ensure thorough dryness.

Heavy soaking. If water exposure is substantial due to flooding or other severe incidents that continue for an extended time, the gypsum in drywall inevitably becomes saturated. Typically, the material will deform—sagging, bulging or collapsing. Even if intensive drying techniques are applied, drywall usually does not return to its original shape: After drying, the gypsum core loses its solidity and crumbles easily. In these cases, drywall removal and replacement is a necessary part of professional water damage remediation.

Mold contamination. Drywall affected by water exposure may initially appear intact. However, a delayed consequence may still make replacement necessary. Moisture exposure from any source—acute or chronic—may trigger mold growth on drywall. This typically appears as dark spotting or blotches on the exterior of the wall. Surface decontamination of moldy drywall with effective biocides may eliminate mold growth while it is still superficial. However, once mold has penetrated below the surface into the porous gypsum material, replacement of part or all of the affected panel is usually the most practical recourse.

Why Drywall May Need to Be Replaced After Water Damage

As previously mentioned in the opening segment, interior drywall that has since taken on water damage (which is commonly called “flood damage” and will be used interchangeably throughout this article) needs to be replaced in the majority of cases. Due to the loss of structural integrity of the interior drywall and the potential health risk of developing mold spores.

Few health concerns in your home are as damaging as having mold spores developing inside of your walls. The excess water that had built up inside of your interior wall in most cases do not only damage the drywall. The water soaks into the 2×4 studs, wets any internal wiring, soaks into the insulation which acts like a sponge and seeps into the drywall.

Between all of those interior wall components, you will more often than not develop mold spores of some kind. When that happens the mold will grow, spreading throughout the interior wall, working its way closer to ventilation points in the home. At that point the mold spores become airborne spraying through your home, causing serious issues for anyone who has allergies.

The effects of mold are well known and even healthy individuals who do not have allergies or asthma will be negatively affected as well. It is better to avoid this issue entirely with some simple water cleanup and drywall replacement than to risk airborne mold spores forming inside of the interior walls, only to spread through your home soon after.

Signs Of Water Damage

When drywall gets slightly wet, it can become discolored and stained. This is mostly a cosmetic issue, but if it comes from behind the wall, it should still be remedied as soon as possible. Both the gypsum material and the insulation behind it can hold moisture for a long time, meaning even a small amount of water can turn into mold. You should have both the drywall and the insulation removed before the problem gets worse.

Even small leaks can turn into wider damage. When there’s a leak in the foundation material and moisture remains up against your walls, the walls will start to soak the water up and it will leech through the gypsum. This soaking action is called “wicking”, and the longer the water is left to wick into the drywall, the greater the damage will be.

If the wicking continues to happen, paint or wallpaper on the wall can start bubbling and peeling off. If left to continue, either when a homeowner is unaware or just ignores it, the drywall can begin to crack and crumble, and mold can grow and spread behind the wall. The sagging and buckling can turn the problem into more than just an aesthetic one.

Is Drywall Ruined Once It Is Wet?

Drywall is a common component in modern homes used to create a flat facade between rooms. As its name implies, drywall needs to stay dry as moisture results in warping and rot. If drywall gets wet, replacement is often necessary. Since it is not load-bearing, removing and installing new drywall will not threaten the integrity of your home.

Light Dampening

A splash of water from a glass won’t typically destroy drywall. The same can be true of a small leak if it’s caught soon enough. When this happens, immediately stop the flow of water, and proceed to dry the drywall with towels. Place a fan nearby, and direct the airflow across the affected region. If you’re prompt, you can dry it out before it gets permanently damaged. In the process, it might become discolored, though you can remedy this with white paint. If it begins to sag or warp, you’re better off cutting the affected region from your wall and installing a new sheet of drywall.

Heavy Dampening

If the drywall is exposed to a large amount of water over an extended period, it will become irreparably ruined. A steady leak or flood damage are common examples. Even after it dries, the drywall will not return to its original shape. Instead it will be clearly warped and discolored. Applying firm pressure will cause it to crumble into a dense, chalky powder. Remove the drywall promptly, dry the surroundings and then install a new sheet. Moisture-damaged drywall is not simply an eyesore, but it’s also a health hazard.

Mold

With a little bit of water, drywall can become an ideal environment for mold. Even after drying it out, if mold has taken root, it will persist. In mild cases, the mold will cause discoloration and an unpleasant smell. In extreme cases, such as with black mold, it can negatively affect the health of those nearby. Symptoms include red and irritated eyes, sneezing, headaches and a host of respiratory problems. If drywall shows signs of mold infestation, remove it immediately.

Can Wet Carpet and Drywall Be Rescued?

By taking the right action as soon as possible soaked carpet and drywall (wallboard, sheet rock, plasterboard, or gypsum board) can be saved in many cases.  But that’s provided the extraction of excess water and further drying is completed promptly.  The amount of water isn’t the key factor in determining if irreparable carpet and drywall damage can be prevented.  It’s actually how contaminated the water is and how soon the materials can be completely dried.

Every flooding situation is different, so bringing in expert water damage restorers is the only way to be completely sure of proper damage restoration that keeps everyone safe and minimizes losses.  That said, here is some general information that should be helpful.

Deal Killers

Anything that’s come in contact with sewage  (Category 3, formerly called black water, such as a sewer or toilet backup) must be replaced, or sterilized by an anti-microbial specialist.  The same goes for any type of flooding from a water source that’s been in contact with the ground (also Category 3).

A washing machine or dishwasher overflow, basement seepage, and yard runoff are iffy.  You’re dealing with unsanitary water (Category 2) that’s a lower health risk, so careful cleaning and disinfection may be adequate.

If the source was a drinking-water supply pipe, roof, or window leak (Category 1) then you just might be able to keep your carpet and avoid drywall repairs.  But that’s only if drying undertaken almost immediately and there’s no mold growth.

Carpet and Rugs

With nearly all wall-to-wall carpets and rugs today made of synthetic fibers the primary problems are mold and bacteria growth.  So wet carpet can often be saved if it’s thoroughly dried out before that gets going.  The bad news is that you may have as little as 24-48 hours.

For spills and small leaks, blotting by laying down a few towels and walking over them may be enough.  You might want to follow that up with a sprinkling of baking soda then vacuuming a bit later.

Dealing with a thorough soaking involves a lot more, as drying from the top surface simply won’t be fast enough.  After the extraction of excess water by a wet-vacuum, the carpet should be lifted so it can be dried from both sides using fans to improve air circulation.  Carpet padding is cheap and can’t really be cleaned, so you might as well replace it.

With the padding gone you can check the dampness of the concrete or wood sub-floor.  If it’s wet you probably need a professional water damage restorer to get everything returned to pre-flood condition.  It’s also a good idea to remove baseboards so that they and the drywall behind them can dry faster as well.

It’s generally recommended that to be safe after major incidents you should run fans 24 hours a day for about a week.  Depending on conditions, that may also involve sealing the area with plastic and running dehumidifiers.  After everything is dry, the padding replaced, and the carpet re-laid the final step is professional carpet cleaning.  Steam cleaning is preferred for sanitation, but some carpet fibers may only be shampooed.

How To Do Transmission Repair Yourself

Mechanic Connection: Keeping Up with Technology

The common view that the modern technician keeps up with automotive technology by attending the latest training classes and absorbing through rote memorization its latest intricacies is far from the truth. In the real world, the only available instructor is usually the technician himself. As such, learning about complex electronic operating systems is a daily, on-going process.

The Information Curve Ball

For today’s ASE CertifiedTechnician, keeping up with information technology is like living in a world where the normal rules of life are changed to suit the moment. Ten years ago, for example, a technician was taught that observing oxygen sensor waveforms on a lab scope would provide the information needed to detect fuel control and ignition failure problems.

That rule suddenly turned into an information “curve ball” when the Onboard Diagnostics II (OBDII) engine management systems came into being in 1996. All of the previous methods of oxygen sensor analysis were replaced by a mathematical model in the Powertrain Control Module (PCM)’s electronic operating strategy. Overnight, scan tools became a necessity for analyzing oxygen sensors. Again, the technician experienced a “curve ball” because the PCM became the final authority on oxygen sensor analysis.

However, technicians are discovering that a flaw in the PCM’s math program can cause a false oxygen sensor trouble code. For me, this new learning curve took place recently when a 2000 Subaru 2.5-liter engine returned to my shop one year after replacing the air/fuel sensor with the same trouble code as before. The only way I could find a rationale for the trouble code was to contact my technical hotline and speak with an experienced Subaru technician who confirmed that this failure was indeed a programming issue. In one stroke, many years of learning had just been rendered obsolete by a mathematical mistake in the auto manufacturer’s engineering department!

Technical Literacy

Printed word is an important part of keeping veteran techs up to date, and training new techs in the basics of auto repair. An auto mechanics program contains more than 1,000 clock hours of classroom instruction and requires thousands of pages of reading just to learn the basics of auto repair. Once at the journeyman level, the new technician will usually become an ASE Certified Master Automobile Technician with the advanced engine performance certification in engine management electronics. From this point on, the technician will attend advanced-level classes taught by recognized industry experts. He will also begin to network with other advanced-level technicians through Internet groups like the International Automotive Technician’s Network (iATN). In addition, he may subscribe to various technical hot lines and expert-level Web sites, which serve as de facto training sessions that are available when the technician encounters an unfamiliar operating system.

The Modern Technician

I recently had a 2004 Dodge Dakota equipped with a 3.7-liter engine come into my shop with the “Check Engine” light on, but with no noticeable driveability complaints. Using my scan tool, I retrieved a P0116 diagnostic trouble code, which indicates an “engine coolant temperature circuit or rationality problem.” Going back to basic operating strategy, the PCM is looking for a specific temperature rise in coolant temperature during a specific length of time. Several diagnostic possibilities existed, including a bad thermostat, coolant temperature sensor, faulty wiring or PCM.

As with any diagnostic trouble code, the proper procedure is to avoid re-inventing the diagnostic wheel by researching technical service bulletins that pertain to a driveability trouble code. By researching the TSBs on this vehicle, I found that the P0116 DTC was, in all likelihood, a false trouble code that might be better addressed through reprogramming the PCM rather than replacing hard parts.

Futuristic Auto Repair Technologies

The days of traditional car repair aren’t totally behind us quite yet, but they’re on their way. And while there might always be a place for a small, old-school mechanic’s shop to work on older cars, it’s unlikely that service stations and low-volume car dealerships can keep up. Automotive repair is getting a bit less greasy and a bit more geeky, as tablet computers become the most valuable tools on a technician’s workbench. Techniques might be getting more advanced, but it’s absolutely necessary to keep up with the way cars are designed and built. New technology might make diagnosis and repair faster; however, that doesn’t mean it’ll necessarily be any cheaper for consumers. Repair shops have to invest a lot of money to stay certified (and therefore competitive) and those costs have to get passed along somehow — but what does all this mean for the average car owner? Let’s take a look at some up-and-coming car repair tools and techniques.

New Auto Body Techniques

New technology, particularly the way cars’ construction is evolving, means that auto repair shops need to update their techniques and equipment. A specific area of concern is the increased use of aluminum in car design. Aluminum body panels were once a privilege reserved mainly for high-end performance cars; but that’s expected to change, and more manufacturers, such as Ford, are rumored to be designing all-new aluminum-bodied vehicles. That’s mostly because the material is lightweight and strong, which helps cars meet federal fuel economy and safety regulations. But experienced technicians are accustomed to working on steel cars, and aluminum requires a totally new strategy. Banged-up aluminum body panels usually can’t be reshaped like their steel counterparts can; the panel typically needs to be replaced, which requires aluminum-specific riveting tools and welding equipment. These changes might increase the cost of auto body repair, but there are some upsides. As cars get stronger and smarter, experts expect that they’ll last longer, too. Also, new safety technology, like backup cameras and collision warning systems, means that crashes should become less frequent and less serious.

Wireless Data Transmission

As cars become rolling WiFi hotspots, manufacturers have found some practical ways to use this technology. Wireless software updates correct running problems, improve fuel mileage and address other performance or safety issues. Sometimes, dealerships update software during regular vehicle service. In more important situations, such as an early 2014 problem with the anti-lock brakes in a couple million Toyotas, a recall ensures updates are completed in a timely manner. Tesla Motors made waves with its Model S electric car, which can be updated wirelessly from home, similar to a smartphone or a computer, and so far, it seems to be working pretty well. Of course, Tesla is also known for bucking the traditional dealership model, so the company doesn’t need to worry about angry dealer franchisees — if cars don’t need to come in for recalls, there’s less opportunity to upsell and get revenue, some dealers say. Security is also a concern, because anything that’s wireless has the potential to be hacked or tampered with. It’s no secret that the big, mainstream automakers aren’t willing to take as many risks as Tesla, but if the wireless data transmission strategy proves to be reliable, it may soon become a lot more common.

Augmented Reality

New cars feature complicated and sometimes dangerous (to service technicians) electronic or hybrid drivetrains, increasingly detailed computerized components, upgraded safety systems to meet new federal regulations, and a labyrinth of sensors everywhere that control practically everything. These expensive components are already changing how cars are repaired. But even more changes are on the horizon. Soon, augmented reality might mean that auto technicians might sport Google Glass headsets that feed visual information about the car to a computer that guides the mechanic through the process, and an app program that can help the technician visualize areas that are out of view or out of reach. Volkswagen was among the first manufacturers to float the idea of such technology, and introduced an interface called MARTA for the upcoming VW XL1, which features an intricate diesel-hybrid drivetrain. MARTA (Mobile Augmented Reality Technical Assistance) can save technicians valuable time learning the ins and outs of an unusual vehicle, and, Volkswagen hopes, may even improve safety on the job. Researchers say that someday, augmented reality apps might be written for consumers to use for repairs on-the-go, paired with smartphone cameras. Future versions of augmented reality technology might even replace the traditional paper owner’s manual booklet.

3-D Printing

True, 3-D printing already exists, but a lot of its potential is still untapped. In short, 3-D printing uses computers and other computerized components to recreate an existing object, or create an all-new custom object of the user’s design. This could be especially useful to repair older cars with hard-to-find or nonexistent parts supply — just take out the thing that broke, scan it and spit out a new one. Though classic car enthusiast Jay Leno talked about using such techniques back in 2009, it’s still out of reach for most people. Most high-quality 3-D systems are still very expensive, large and tricky to use. In other words, industrial-strength 3-D printing has come a long way, with car manufacturers using the technology to create prototype parts, and insurance companies considering ways to recreate entire classic cars; however, average consumers and hobbyists still have a while to wait until reliable systems are affordable, and affordable systems are reliable. Making toys and trinkets with an at-home 3-D printer is one thing, but the stakes are a bit higher if you’re printing a set of brake calipers.