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Home Improvement

Practicing Safety In Home Improvement

With the high prices of contractors these days, lots of people are doing their own home improvement projects. This is a great way to save money, but one area the average homeowner may be lacking in is knowledge about basic safety rules that should be observed for any home improvement project.

Common safety practices include wearing protective clothing like gloves, masks and eye wear, reading labels and adhering to manufacturers instructions and discarding any waste products in the proper manner.

It makes sense to use gloves, earphones, glasses and masks if you are repairing or improving the home including the use of chemicals such as paint. Thus, purchase a work kit including work gloves, goggles, hearing guards and particle masks before starting any project that could cause you harm.

Safety is critical in any home improvement or repair project that you are attempting yourself. Therefore, if you are starting a project which has risks, like using chemicals, be sure you read allthe instructions carefully before you begin. Once you finish the project remember to wash your hands thoroughly for removal of any residue which can linger on your skin. If you are using paint then try using regular salad oil to remove paint, or stains from your skin.

Electrical work can be tricky and you may want to call a professional. At the very least, check the components of any electrical parts you are trying to repair for labels or markings and read them completely before starting your project.

If you are repairing, electrical outlets be sure to mark the wires before putting in the new component. Usually, the wires are already marked, however sometimes the markings wear off. Therefore, when you figure out which wire goes where you should mark it before putting the plate cover back on. Also, make sure you shut down the breakers to that outlet and that your skin is dry before starting to work on anything electrical.

In addition to safety measures, you also need the right tool for the job or you will find yourself getting very frustrated and maybe even doing damage to the project or yourself. Some common tools include paint brushes, rollers and edgers, painters tape, screwdrivers, hammers, drills, joint putty, pipe wrenches and so on.

For the best results when painting it is a good ideas to buy the ‘natural” bristled brushes. These work better with paint and go on in a nice smooth coat. When the brushes are not in use put them in a safe area and remember to clean them as recommended for the type of paint you are using so that they will last a long time. Other tools that you are not using should also be kept in a safe area. If you are using sponge paintbrushes for decorative painting or touch-ups throw the brushes away once you are done so that they do not get mixed up with your household sponges!

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Home Improvement

How To Get More Leads From Your Home Improvement Website

How to get more leads from your home improvement website

Everyone wants leads – but you know it is an amazing thing – lots of companies build websites, even spend some money on Pay Per Click Advertising (such as Google Adwords) and perhaps even pay to be listed is some directories and then wonder why they don’t get leads, or don’t get as many leads as they would hope to.

To add to their disappointment – they will often have spent significant sums on the website and employed some “talented” web site designers. The challenge is that while a lot of these web designers can build you nice looking websites (with all the bells and all the whistles) – many don’t know how to build a web site that converts visitors to leads.

Sometimes home improvement companies even write of the Internet as “not working” – failing to realise that they actually control their websites destiny and the fact the site is not producing leads is that Nine times out of Ten – they don’t make it easy for their website visitor to give them a lead.

As an Internet Marketing Consultant I am often asked to review websites – and come up with some ideas for improving the conversion ratios (usually – visitor to leads ratio). I don’t really think the following could be considered a “trade secret” – but perhaps it is, as so many website designers are still building home improvement websites with this “built in fault”

To increase your leads – Make It Easy For Your Visitors To Contact You.

Often a website will have a “contact us” button tucked away in some far corner that is not easy to find.

Please, put your contact details on each page – and also ideally – strategically within the website copy.

Better still – change “Contact Us” web form to a “Free Brochure” or “Free Info” or “Free Information Pack” and you will see a significant increase in sales leads (as much as 50 – 100% increase sometimes)

You should also have clearly – and in large type have your phone number at the top of each page.

You should have both a form to fill in and your contact phone number showing.

Far too often salespeople and sales managers worry about the tyre kickers and the brochure hunters – and try to qualify their leads too much. The point of most contractor based, supply and install home improvement websites is not to sell a product but to sell visitors on the company and encourage them to request more information. (produce a lead)

I spoke to a sales manager the other day who complained how bad business was and the economy was all wrong blah, blah…..

A little later we are talking about web leads and he declares he only wants leads of his websites from people who want to have one of his sales people out for a quotation. (hence why his website only had a request a quote link)

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Home Improvement

The Top Five Do It Yourself Home-improvement Tips

Tackling home-improvement projects that need to be done can be both exciting and rewarding. But going at it the wrong way can be a big disappointment and a source of a lot of stress. The best success is had when you plan ahead well and you pick the right time for doing the project. Here are some very important do it yourself home improvement tips to help every project be a success.

1. Almost any interior home-improvement project is going to make a mess, and that means that your home will be in disarray while the project is going on. For many, this is the most frustrating part of the entire project. So if you know that a particular room or area of the house is going to need some repairs, why not plan in advance and try to accomplish as much as you can in that area at one time?

If you don’t want dirt and debris flying all over your furniture in that area you will need to prepare your home in advance, usually by covering them with bedsheets or plastic sheeting. So it’s much easier to do this in one entire section of the house at a time, instead of having to recover everything over and over again.

2. Even if you plan on doing all the work yourself, it’s always a good idea to have the phone numbers of local professionals available in case you run into a major problem. When remodeling, there is just no telling what kind of problems you may encounter. Some of it you may be able to handle on your own, and some you may not. Butt having the phone numbers of experts in that field handy can keep the project moving forward even when difficult situations are encountered.

3. If you have a family, keep in mind that small children and power tools just don’t mix. Of course, they will probably want to be with you and maybe even join in and help you. But for safety’s sake, be sure to keep them completely away from any power tools or equipment that could cause harm.

4. It doesn’t matter what project you get involved in, or how organized you are in planning it, you are always going to find something that you need right away in order to finish. It’s just Murphy’s Law. So try not to start any major remodeling projects at a time when supply stores and tool rental shops are not open. When you need something for the project, and you definitely will, it’s a real relief to be able to just run down and get it right away without causing much work delay.

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Home Improvement

Which Home Improvements Pay Off (and Which Ones Don’t)

There are two main reasons people take on home improvement projects: for their own pleasure and in hopes of increasing the resale value of their homes. As long as you spend time and money for the first reason, you’ll be okay. It’s when you start thinking more about the second reason that you may be in for a disappointment. Even if improvements add value to your home, few recoup the money they cost. For example, a swimming pool, which costs tens of thousands of dollars to install, adds little to no resale value to a home. People are turned off by the maintenance aspect, and parents with small children will worry about safety issues.

So, what improvements do add enough value that you’ll come close to making back what you spend? It’s the highly visible improvements that will help most. Unfortunately, the less visible ones don’t impress. Replacing the roof or furnace, while they may need doing, won’t convince a home buyer to pay more. Likewise, new energy-efficient doors and windows are not likely to recoup the cost of installation (However, if you are going to continue living in your home for the next few years, $1,000 spent on insulation and caulking existing windows and doors can help you save on your energy bills).

The biggest home improvement you can do to impress homebuyers (and make them want to pay more) is one of the cheapest. Paint. As long as you pick colors that will appeal to a wide audience–and you do it right before you list (before it has time to get mucked up)–you’ll increase appeal. Likewise crown molding is relatively inexpensive to install but adds the wow factor to otherwise regular rooms.

So, what else is worth doing? You may have heard that kitchens and bathrooms are what sell a house, and this is true, but don’t think you have to spend tens of thousands on a whole-room remodel. Getting rid of outdated wallpaper or paint will help tremendously. Also sand and paint/stain old cabinet doors to make them look new. Switch out the dated cabinet hardware for something stylish and modern.

Any time you can take dead space (i.e. an attic or basement) and turn it into functional space (i.e. bedroom, office, media room), you stand a good chance of recouping much of the money you invest in the project (85% of the cost returned at resale is the national average).

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Automotive

Proper Ways to Avoid Automotive Accidents

Everyone thinks that they are a good driver. No one wants to admit that they do not always obey the road rules of safety but there are some that brag that they get away with speeding down the freeway at over 100 miles per hour in their new fast car trying to push the vehicle to its limit that speedometer says the car is capable of going. Speeding is definitely not the way to avoid an accident. Nor is it the safest way to drive in order to protect you and your new vehicle.

The top offender of driving unsafely is the driver that has been drinking some kind of alcohol, no matter how little. Drunken drivers do cause many accident, injuries to themselves and others, damage to autos and property, and sometimes even death. It is never okay under any circumstances to drive if you have been drinking, no matter how good of a driver you think you are.

Another way to avoid having an auto accident is to always keep your mind on what you’re doing. Don’t let anything distract you from your purpose of being as safe a driver as you possibly can. It is also important to be a courteous driver. If you cut in front of someone who has a bad temper you could have a road rage situation on your hands and that could cause an accident including not only yourself and the road rage driver but also other drivers in the area. A simple act of being discourteous could cause injuries and damage to property. Being an aggressive driver does nothing but cause bad situations to happen on the road where someone is surely to get hurt. It is a good idea to know how to drive defensively but not aggressively, there is a difference.

Recent laws passed in some states have made it illegal to talk on your cell phone or text messages while you’re driving. This distraction has caused many auto accidents leading to legislation regarding their use. If you get caught talking on your cell phone you will receive a citation that carries a high fee, and the more tickets you get doing so will increase the cost of the ticket. What could possibly be more important than your life? The responsible thing to do would be to pull over at the next convenient stop and return the call. If it’s a text message and you can’t wait to read it, again just pull over and stop. Never take your eyes off the road to read a message, it could cause an accident where you or your passengers are injured and your vehicle damaged.

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Automotive

Automotive Garages Versus Mobile Automotive Franchises

Running an automobile repair shop is not an easy thing to do, there are all kinds of laws that have to do with environmental issues, OSHA standards, and what government bureaucrats consider unsightliness that must be complied with.

Starting such a business right now is probably not a good idea because it could cost as much as a half a million dollars to buy all the lifts, secure a location, hire all the people, and do all the initial marketing. That after one has filed all the permits, gone through all the bureaucracy, and jumped through all the hoops.

This is not to say that owning it on a motor repair shop right now isn’t a good thing, it probably is considering the General Motors and Chrysler has cut so much of their auto dealerships, that it has taken out a lot of capacity out of the industry, and there is so much fewer places to get your car repaired.

Supply and demand dictates that this would be a good business to be in right now, even though the economy is down and people are trying to spend less. Still when people don’t buy new cars, they have to fix up their old cars.

Is there a solution to this problem?

What if you are one of those laid-off mechanics and you want to get into your own automobile maintenance business, but you don’t have the half a million it takes to start your own business and open a repair shop?

One idea is to set up a mobile automobile maintenance business and go to your customers. You know, there are many mobile automobile franchises available, and many of them have financing, and they don’t cost a lot of money to get into. This might just solve all the problems for you. Please consider all this.

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Automotive

Indianapolis Speedway – 100 Years of Automotive Innovations

For the past 100 years, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has been the home for some of auto racing’s most thrilling moments. Although the news has centered on the oval action, the behind-the-scenes activity has generated its own kind of excitement. In their efforts to gain the best speed possible, the mechanics and engineers working on the race cars have created innovations that have transitioned from Pit Row onto the highway.

In fact, the first Indianapolis 500 Mile Race in 1911 witnessed the initiation of the rear view mirror. At the time, a driver had an accompanying mechanic in the car, who would check on other drivers trailing the car. Driver Ray Harroun had a different idea. Instead of this extra passenger, he decided he could see the drivers himself if a mirror was bolted onto the front of his car. The weight of an extra passenger would be eliminated and then decrease wind resistance and increase the possibilities of greater speed. The idea helped Harroun become the first Indy 500 winner. Eventually the rear view mirror also sparked auto manufacturers’ interest. Today, it is standard equipment on every car.

Generally these early races were both testing grounds for new products and promotional tools. Manufacturers, such as Firestone Rubber Tire Company , could show the public how well its products performed. In the early to mid 1900’s, Firestone manufactured the same tires for both the track and the highway. The idea was to impress racing fans, who would then buy Firestone tires for their own vehicles. “Race on Sunday, Sell on Monday,” became Firestone’s business practice.

The Firestone tradition became entrenched with the 1925 Speedway win by Peter DePaolo. On the new Firestone balloon tires, DePaolo averaged 101.13 miles per hour without tire trouble. In fact, every one of the top ten racers had the balloon tires. Firestone’s triumph convinced the public that the new rubber balloon tires lasted longer. Plus, the tires proved to provide a more comfortable ride.

The balloon tires were only the start of manufacturers’ innovative efforts at the Indy Speedway. Through the years, they continued to improve tires, engines, and car bodies. Many of these innovations were then transferred to the public’s vehicles.

Today the racing industry is highly specialized with car mechanics and parts devoted strictly to the race car. However, the practice of promoting the best that a manufacturer can offer is still an important element of the Indianapolis 500 tradition.

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Automotive

Automotive Cleaning Tips – Car Talk

It doesn’t have to be difficult to keep your car clean and tidy. Keep these tips in mind, and you’ll be proud to drive your squeaky-clean car around town.

1. Wash at home.

Car washing is the only way for your car to get nice and shiny, so why not try washing it yourself, at home? With automated car washing, you can have the car cleaned while getting your nails done, but that will cost you.

Park the car in a shaded area and then wash it down using a hose. Start with the roof, work your way down the sides, and then to the tires. Afterwards, scrub the car with a sponge dipped in water and mild liquid soap. Rinse and repeat if necessary.

2. Take advantage of car washes.

You can drive to an automated car wash service to get your car cleaned up if you can’t be bothered to do it at home. It’s going to cost you, that’s for sure, so make sure to compare pros and cons before you go.

The good thing about automated or drive-through car wash services is they make the experience of owning a car hassle-free. You no longer have to worry about bird droppings or liquid stains or anything of the sort – simply drive over to the nearest car wash, pay for the cleaning, and drive through.

3. Tidy inside out.

The purpose of car cleaning is to prevent the car from wearing out, but there’s more to it than that. It is also about feeling good when you’re inside the car, not itchy and grimy because somebody didn’t clean the interior.

First rule of thumb is to check the seats. Bits of food and other small particles tend to get stuck between the cushions, so check those areas often. Then, sweep the floor of small stones and dirt that found their way into the car. Just remember to clean out the seats first before doing the floor and not the other way around – otherwise, you’ll need to do the floor again.

4. Use car seat covers.

One of the toughest things about owning a car is taking out the seats to have them washed. It’s a tedious job and it gets worse every time. In addition, it’s impossible not to dirty the seats, especially with children. You really need to start thinking about investing in seat covers.

With seat covers, you simply remove the covers if you have to get them washed and cleaned up. The seats remain intact. These covers protect the seats from stains and dust and all sorts of fabric damage. It doesn’t get any better than this. Seat covers will change the way you see your car.

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Technology

Information Technology Professionals in the Decision Making Process

Information technology is a vital part of any business. Although some companies are not able to have an IT staff, computers and or server are still used in day-to-day business processes. There was a time when a companies it department consisted of desktop support staff and a manager. Decisions were made by upper management and no one from the IT department was ever-present. After all who needs anyone from the IT department when it comes to making business decisions? Your company does.

The information technology professionals can help management in the decision-making processes when it comes to enhancing business processes. To compete in today’s economy you need an edge and technology implementations will give your company the needed edge to compete. IT manager who are present can help stake holders in the company’s success by recommending the right technologies to reach goals. When IT is excluded or becomes a second thought when it comes to technology implementations, it could prove costly in the near future.

It’s always bad business when companies never take the time to do it right the first time and they always have the time to do it over, because they simply must to survive.

Employee Training

Companies who don’t see the value in training their employees to use new systems implemented will greatly increase their cost of ownership of the implementation. How is this? Employees, who are not familiar with the proper use of a newly implemented system, will report wrong problems. These are not system problems, but a misunderstanding of how a process works. When the company is spending money to have support technicians troubleshoot a user’s inefficiency in using the system and not a real technical problem, you waste unnecessary dollars. Training your employees will make sure your business processes run efficiently and real system problems can be reported and fixed.

Training your IT staff will also aid your company in stabilizing or lowering your cost of ownership. When your IT staff is knowledgeable on hoe your system work, they can effectively troubleshoot and separate user problems from system problems. The worst thing a company can do is leave their new implementation in the hands of all employees to figure it out. Information technology encompasses a range of technologies or systems, this makes training essential.

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Technology

Biosphere Technology – The Green Solution of the Future

Biosphere technology is the solution of tomorrow made available today. It involves cutting edge gasification processes to convert solid wastes into electric power. It is futuristic in the sense that it can exceed the efficiency of current brown energy sources while at the same time also surpassing the ecological friendliness of today’s green energy sources. It is like next generation energy source that has combined the desirable traits of both brown and green technologies while leaving behind the unwanted ones.

Biosphere technology makes use of technologically advanced biosphere machines to eliminate solid wastes and produce clean electricity as a by-product. It will forever revolutionize waste-to-energy technologies and empower the sustainability industry to the extent that consumers will actually start to switch from conventional sources such as coal and oil to cleaner ones. Biosphere machines have been tested under strict international standards and have broken the records for the highest energy-to-mass conversion ratio, lowest waste-to-feedstock ratio, and highest recyclables-to-waste ratio. With these statistics alone, it is at a wholly different league when compared to any other energy technology.

The secret behind biosphere technology’s remarkable energy-to-mass conversion ratio of a maximum of 97% is its sophisticated five-stage biosphere gasification process. The process subjects the feedstock to very high but controlled temperatures that automatically adjust to the optimal temperature to break down the wastes. The resulting particles are then further processed and are manipulated to transform into extremely hot steam of pure energy. The steam is then further manipulated to turn into fuel for generators that produce electricity. The resulting electricity is so efficient it can be sold commercially. It is by far the only green electricity that surpasses brown electricity in terms of efficiency.

The reason why biosphere has such a low waste-to-feedstock ratio is because of the structure of biosphere machines. These machines are integrated with an air tight chamber that houses the gasification process. The chambers do not allow even air particles such as oxygen and carbon gases to pass through. Hence during the conversion of trash into energy, no greenhouse gas emissions or gaseous wastes are released into the atmosphere. Coupled with the high energy-to-mass conversion rate, this is definitely the least polluting energy generation process man has ever seen.

Biosphere technology also boasts the highest recyclables-to-waste ratio because of the efficient way it decomposes waste. Of the little solid by-products produced, up to 90% can be recycled and resold into the market to offset part of the costs incurred in the operation of the biosphere machines. This is the highest portion of recyclable wastes an energy technology has ever possessed. This is another feature that proves that this green technology is indeed the greenest of all green solutions.

Biosphere technology is just what the world and we need in order to get back something that we have lost for centuries, a green planet. The planet has taken care of our kind for so long and the least could do is take care of it. And the first step is preventing the pollution that is like a tumor constantly and relentlessly devastating Mother Nature.