Start Composting Today

Composting is becoming a more and more popular way to save money and be more eco-friendly. There are many reasons to compost but some of the most enticing are it costs next to nothing, and if you’re a gardener or have any landscaping at all, your compost pile will save you money. Compost can be used instead of expensive fertilizer and because you are reusing your yard waste you might be able to save on municipal trash removal costs.

Here are some easy tips on how to get started composting:

Storage

You may decide to go with either an open or closed storage system. Containers keep the compost materials neat and tidy and can be built inexpensively from discarded shipping pallets, fencing or chicken wire or leftover treated lumber from another building project. You can also purchase many different types of composting bins.

The least expensive way is to start a compost heap. Make the pile at least 6′ x 6′ and about 5′ to 6′ high in the middle. Anything smaller will maintain low temperatures and will take longer to decompose.

Where should I store it?

Try and store your compost pile in partial shade. This will keep it from drying out too fast. The location should also have good drainage.

What should I compost?

Compost any of the yard waste like fresh grass clippings, dry leaves, dry grass, and wood shavings.

Add food waste like vegetable and fruit scraps, breads, pastas, coffee grounds, egg shells, and tea bags. Do not put meats or fats in your compost pile. These food wastes will attract animals and rodents to your bin.

Paper towels, toilet paper tubes and other shredded paper products can also be added to your compost bin.

Manures from cows, horses, chickens and any non-meat eating animals are excellent nitrogen sources for starting the decomposition process.

Compost has so many benefits; it loosens clay soils and helps sandy soils retain water. It works as a natural fertilizers and can suppress plant diseases and pests. Gardens that are composted produce higher yields of healthier fruits, vegetables and flowers.

Common Causes For Plumbing Problems

If you are like most homeowners, you rarely thinking of the plumbing in your home unless there is a problem: you turn on a faucet, or flush a toilet and expect it to work properly without giving your “pipes” a second thought. However, homeowners, family members or guests may be using your plumbing system incorrectly, even if you are not aware. Misuse of the systems can result in an expenditure of time and money and a messy situation to repair.

Locate The Water Shut-Off

Make sure that you and all household members know where to locate the water shut off valve. In the event of a broken pipe, overflowing toilet or in the case of an emergency, it is vital to be able to shut off the flow of water immediately.

Using The Plumbing System As A Trash Can

Are you guilty of rinsing plates off in the sink without first scraping the scraps in the garbage can? If you do not have a garbage disposal unit, food should not enter the drain where it can accumulate and clog pipes. To avoid problems, remove food residue before rinsing and add a sink drainer to the drain cover to catch food items that make their way into the sink.

Misuse Of Drain Cleaner

When water backs up in the sink or tub, do you immediate reach for a bottle of drain cleaner? Wrong – while the most common solution for sluggish drains is a dose of drain cleaner, it often takes multiple uses to clean the line. Repeated use of caustic drain cleaners can damage pipes and are harmful to the environment. Before you attempt to clean a clogged drain with toxic chemicals, try a plunger or auger. If you resort to using drain cleaner: read the instructions and never use the same type of drain cleaner in a kitchen sink as you would use in a clogged toilet situation.

Putting Grease Down The Drain

Even if you use a garbage disposal, you should be aware that grease damages drains. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that up to 50 percent of all clogged drains are due to oil, grease and fat build-up in drain pipes. If you pour hot grease down the drain, it will coat the walls of the pipe as it cools. To avoid the problem of grease accumulation, always put hot grease in a container to cool and then dispose of properly.

Avoid Toilet Clogs
Avoid clogging up your toilets by remembering that once flushed, all materials must pass through a three-inch drainpipe that connects to your septic system or main city sewer system. Avoid dumping food, cat litter or paper towels in the commode. Talk to your kids and other family members about what is and what is not appropriate to dispose of in the toilet. Sanitary napkins, tampons, and disposable diapers should never be flushed. Provide an airtight waste can in each bathroom for disposal of items that should not go down the drain.

Damage To Pipes In The Wall

Stop and think before you start a home remodeling project: there are a lot of pipes hidden behind your home’s walls. Drilling into a wall to hang a photo or install a bookshelf might cause serious damage to the pipe that was hidden inside the wall. A simple little hole can cause a major leak. Always hang artwork, shelves or towel racks by placing the hanger into the studs of your wall. Use a stud finder before you tackle small home repair or remodeling projects to avoid a major plumbing disaster. If you are contemplating a major remodeling project near or around pipes or plumbing, it is prudent to enlist the services of a professional plumber.

Too Much Weight On Plumbing Fixtures

Avoid hanging a shower caddy on your showerhead to hold shampoos, soaps, and lotions. Too many heavy items places undo stress on the showerhead and plumbing fixtures that are not designed to be weight-bearing.

Your home’s plumbing system is an important part of how your household functions. While it is easy to take our plumbing for granted, when it’s working properly, the savvy homeowner knows that with proper care and maintenance you can keep your pipes and sewer system in excellent condition for years to come.

The Risks of Trying To Sell Your Own House

You can’t help but admire people who have an independent spirit and are determined to do things on their own. It’s reminiscent of early pioneers who lived by the belief that “God helps those who help themselves.” While it may be true that qualities like self sufficiency and initiative can help you get ahead in life, there are instances in which it makes sense to team up with an expert. You can’t always go it alone, and when the stakes are high — like in real estate sales — the last thing you want to do is try to reinvent the wheel!

Advantages of Working With a Professional

Realtors and real estate agents know the ropes, when it comes to the intricacies of marketing a home, finding qualified buyers, and negotiating the best possible deal. If you attempt to sell your own house without the benefit of an agent, you’ll be facing a steep learning curve and a lot of potential pitfalls.

Perhaps one of the most compelling reasons for hiring a real estate agent is that time is of the essence. From the minute you put your house on the market, the clock is ticking. If your property is still on the market after a few months, then its perceived value will start to drop. Many people will assume there’s something wrong with it — whether it’s a diamond in the rough or a polished gem!

Real estate professionals are not only attuned to the pulse of the local marketplace, but they can guide you through the often complicated process of selling a home. Here are a few of the many ways that agents can simplify your life, help you avoid costly mistakes, and increase the probability that you’ll receive top value for your home and sell it in the shortest possible time.

  • Home staging: By taking advantage of their knowledge and expertise, you can make sure your home is presented in its best light. Your agent should advise you of cost-effective ways to improve your home’s curb appeal and correct any potential issues on the inside that may detract from its marketability.
  • Salesmanship: A good real estate agent is skilled in the art of persuasion, establishing rapport with people, and helping them focus on both the positive aspects of your home and its future potential. Many homeowners, on the other hand, tend to either undersell or oversell the desirability of their property. Their lack of objectivity can also cause them to overprice their house, resulting in lost opportunities.
  • Negotiating skills: One of the skill sets that real estate agents have is negotiating the terms and final price of a home. Since they do this for a living, a seasoned real estate agent has the practical experience, knowledge, and insights to help you get the most value for your home. They generally know how to push the envelope, without pushing too hard. Homeowners who attempt to negotiate a real estate sale on their own may make one or more “fatal errors,” which can derail a potential sale.

If you’re unsure whether you want the help of a real estate agent or Realtor in finding a buyer, handling the paperwork, and jumping through all the legal and regulatory hoops that real estate transactions involve, then test the waters, first. Set up a meeting with a couple different real estate agents and pick their brains. That way, you’ll be sure to make an informed decision when you decide which path to take in selling your home.