Should You Get A Home Inspection

Home Inspection Study Guide

The home inspection exam consists of 190 multiple-choice questions. Approximately 90 percent of the exam is based on the components of a home inspection covered in the prelicense education.

These two administrative rules pertain to license renewal, and it is very important you are aware of renewal procedures.

When reading the statutes and administrative rules (excluding ARSD chapter 20:74:03), you may want to highlight the following areas:


Who needs a home inspector license

Requirements to become licensed

Requirements to maintain the license (i.e. renewal procedures, ARSD 20:74:04:07 and ARSD 20:74:04:08)

Grounds for disciplinary action

The standards of practice

Once you have completed your highlighting, you need only study these particular areas for the exam. Be sure to review your course materials from your principles of home inspection course for the remaining 90 percent of the exam.

Home inspection report writing style guide

I participate in a lot of online discussions amongst home inspectors over how home inspection reports should be written. I’m pretty opinionated about this stuff, and so is everyone else Don’t I have awesome people on my team? When I tell other home inspectors about our style guide, the most common question I get is “can I see yours?”

I don’t have a whole lot of secrets. I share all of my inspection methods, tips, and tricks, but our internal report writing style guide has always felt like personal property. I’ve never wanted to share this document before, but the more I get to know my own company

Report Writing Style Guide

Always use complete sentences.

Avoid the use of “I recommend”; everything in the report is a recommendation, so beginning every other sentence with this phrase makes for a very repetitive-sounding report.  The same advice can be given with fewer words and less repetition.

Use past tense to describe conditions. This helps to create a more consistent report and implies that conditions may change.

Avoid the word “you”.  

Avoid the word “I”. The report isn’t about you.

Avoid the word “appeared”.  This is weak language that gives the appearance of uncertainty.

Avoid the word “evaluate.” We’re inspectors. Use the word “inspect”.

When describing the condition of components, make the component the subject of the sentence.

Should the Seller Be Present for a Home Inspection?

Almost all home purchase contracts include a home inspection clause. Buyers want to know everything about the property: and we mean everything. Homeowners shouldn’t be around for showings. It interferes with the buying process, and can curb interest.

Buyers Will Feel Like Guests If You’re There

A home inspection is where buyers learn about any major issues your home has, as well as another chance for buyers to picture themselves living there. But it’s hard to focus on the house when the current owner is hanging around. They’ll feel like a guest in a place they want to call home. This makes them less likely to engage with the home and the inspection.

They Need to Be Able to Ask Blunt Questions

Home buyers need to be able to ask blunt questions about the condition of your home. What’s the state of the foundation? How’s the roof?

Is this place worth the price?

When the seller is present, it can make the entire process a little awkward. After all, who wants to be critical of something if the owner is right there? There are a lot of emotions on both sides of this transaction: the last thing you want to do is create a situation where someone feels uncomfortable or upset.

How Often Do Home Sales Fall Through After Inspection?

Sometimes home sales fall through after an inspection. If you’re properly prepared, this is unlikely to happen to you. But some buyers get the final report and start to panic. In some cases, buyers may ask for a lower sale price to make up for problems. They could also request that pre-existing problems be fixed beforehand.

Get Your Own Home Inspection, and Use Home Inspection Guide

Home inspections can be especially hard on the sellers who aren’t aware of the problems before they list. You could be in for an unwelcome surprise. It’s important that you know exactly what home inspectors are going to be looking at when they evaluate your home.

Have a Place to Go During the Inspection

A home inspection takes about 3 hours to complete. If you don’t have a coffee shop on the corner of your block, you should have a plan. We recommend making this plan well in advance, especially for days when you’re with your whole family.

A Guide to The Home Inspection Process

The buyer’s home inspection typically needs to be completed within ten days of the Final Acceptance Date of the purchase agreement (refer to your Purchase Agreement). See our list of inspectors that we have worked with. These inspectors have repeatedly demonstrated to us that they provide quality, reputable services; however, you are free to use any inspector that you would like.

Types of Inspections

There are several types of inspections that may apply to the home/property that you are considering for purchase. The most common inspections include a home inspection and radon testing and also a well water test and septic inspection when applicable. There are other types of inspections/tests available; however, most are not very common in Minnesota such as a pest, mold, or lead

Is a Home Inspection Necessary?

Buying a house is serious business and will likely be the largest investment that you will ever make. It is important that you know as much as possible about the condition of a home and property before you purchase it. Having a home inspection performed will identify the condition of the home and property, minimize unexpected problems, and help you determine whether or not major repairs are necessary.

What Does a Home Inspection Include?

Although a “Home Inspection” is very thorough and includes a general inspection of all mechanicals, it does not include specialized inspections. You should ask your inspector if they are qualified/licensed/certified to perform the specialized inspections/services that you desire; and if so, what the costs/fees are.

How do I Choose a Home Inspector?

We have a list of inspectors that we have worked with and who have proven themselves; however, you are free to choose any home inspector that you would like. Here are some questions that you may want to ask potential inspectors before choosing one.

Are you licensed?

How many inspections have you performed?

Is this your full-time business or do you do this part time/on the side?

Can I attend the inspection?

Are you a member of a home inspector’s trade association?

Are you certified?

How much will the inspection cost?

What is included in the inspection?

Do you provide radon testing?

What type of inspection report can I expect?

Do you have a sample report for me to view?

When and how will I receive the inspection report?

A Complete Guide About Home Inspection

The home inspection determines living conditions in a house. It helps you know if there is an issue with the property or not? As a rule of thumb, there shall be an inspection before striking a deal. During the inspection, let licensed and trained officials examine the property and figure out if there is any structural or functional flaw in the house.

When exactly home inspection is required?

Here are some of the scenarios where home inspection is considered:

an inspection is conducted by the officials to determine if the house is worth living for and all the building protocols were followed during the construction or not? Officials pay in a personal visit to the house and perform a visual inspection. The process generally includes taking pictures and notes of the site. Based on that inspection, they prepare a final report which states the legality of the house.

Another purpose it serves is when home buyers plan to purchase a certain property. They ask trained officials to inspect the property on their behalf and let them know if there is any fundamental flaw in structure or if there is any maintenance work required at the property.

When listing agents bring a property in the market, they inspect a unit to determine the conditions of the house.

Usually, homeowners also schedule an inspection at regular intervals to get to know the current status of their house.

Potential tenants may also take advantage of these services and may get to know about the apartment in advance.

Cost to get a house inspected:

A home inspection provides you with valuable information. When you aim to strike a deal, it works in your best interests to have exact information about the building. However, it does not come free of cost. Though the cost of an inspection may vary from company to company, $300 is considered an average amount for a home inspection

How to find professionals for a home inspection?

Generally, people get to know about the best house inspector from their real estate agents or brokers. If you do not feel content with the name provided to you by your agent, you may ask your friends or family to recommend someone to you.

Another good source is to read reviews or feedback in online journals or websites.

Besides, you may also approach companies who give training to the house inspectors such as the National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI) and the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI).

You should ask the following question before hiring a home inspector:



Working experience

Any previous house inspection report prepared by him.

How long does it take for inspection?

You shall expect it to take at least a couple of hours. It may take more time if the house is bigger than average or if you have asked for any additional service during the inspection. The process includes taking pictures, jotting down irregularities, and examining every area.

Tax Preparation Office

Tips for Choosing a Tax Preparer

Following these tips will help you weed out the fly-by-night preparers and zero in on the best tax professionals in your area.

You’re really organized and on top of things this tax season. Good for you! You received all your W-2s and 1099s, you collected all your financial statements and receipts, and now it’s time to find someone to prepare your tax return. But there’s one problem…you’re not quite sure how to go about choosing a tax preparer.

It goes without saying that you want someone who’s qualified. But how do you know? You want someone who’s honest and reliable, too. But, again, how do you know? The last thing you want to do is search online for “tax preparers near me” and randomly pick a preparer from the list, but sometimes it feels like there’s no better way.

Relax. There is a better way. Follow these tips for picking a tax preparer to help you weed out the fly-by-night preparers and zero in on the best tax professionals in your area. With a little bit of time and a few targeted questions, you can find a competent and dependable preparer to complete and file your return.

Verify the Preparer’s Credentials

There are a lot of people out there claiming to be a “tax professional.” However, just because someone hangs out a shingle and advertises tax prep services, it doesn’t mean they actually have the skill, education, and expertise to handle your return.

To increase the odds of finding a qualified tax preparer, look for someone who is credentialed. You’re much more likely to get a competent preparer if they’ve been vetted by the IRS or a state regulatory board. The most common types of credentialed preparers are certified public accountants (CPAs), enrolled agents, attorneys, and annual filing season program participants.

CPAs are licensed by state boards of accountancy, studied accounting at a college or university, and have passed a rigorous exam. They must also satisfy ethical requirements and take continuing education classes to keep their license.

Enrolled agents are licensed by the IRS. They must pass a comprehensive exam, which requires them to demonstrate proficiency in federal tax return preparation, and complete 72 hours of continuing education classes every three years.

Attorneys are licensed and regulated by state courts and/or state bar associations. They graduated from law school and passed a bar exam. In addition, attorneys must also take continuing education classes and satisfy professional ethics requirements.

The IRS also runs a voluntary program that recognizes the efforts of return preparers who are not CPAs, enrolled agents, or attorneys. It will issue an Annual Filing Season Program Record of Completion to tax return preparers who obtain a certain number of continuing education hours for a specific tax year.

Ask about their service fees.

Avoid preparers who base their fee on a percentage of your refund or those who claim they can obtain larger refunds than other preparers. Also, always make sure any refund due is sent to you or deposited into an account in your name. Under no circumstances should all or part of your refund be directly deposited into a preparer’s bank account.

Ask if they offer electronic filing.

Any paid preparer who prepares and files more than 10 returns for clients must file the returns electronically, unless the client opts to file a paper return. More than 1 billion individual tax returns have been safely and securely processed since the debut of electronic filing in 1990. Make sure your preparer offers IRS e-file.

Make sure the tax preparer is accessible.

Make sure you will be able to contact the tax preparer after the return has been filed, even after the April due date, in case questions arise.

Interview tax preparers

Make sure a tax preparer has an active preparer tax identification number (PTIN) through the IRS and check whether the person meets state requirements.  Then interview the tax preparer thoroughly. Ask about fees, availability and what kinds of records the tax preparer will need.

Most tax preparers are legitimate and competent, but keep in mind that without a national license requirement, they may be working off of their own personal research and experience. Because of this, it is important you conduct a thorough interview with the tax preparer before you hire them.

Get trusted referrals

One of the best ways to find a tax preparer you trust is by asking friends and family for recommendations. That doesn’t mean you should hire your tax preparer sister-in-law just because she’s family, though. Before hiring any tax preparer, perform a BBB search for details on consumer reviews or complaints.

Review the entire return before signing. 

Before you sign your tax return, review it and ask questions. Make sure you understand everything and are comfortable with the accuracy of the return before you sign it.

Make sure the preparer signs and includes their PTIN. 

A paid preparer must sign the return and include their PTIN as required by law. The preparer must also give you a copy of the return.

Never sign a blank return.

Avoid a tax preparer that asks you to sign a blank tax form. Although this may seem convenient to help you file your return quicker, this is improper. A blank signed return sometimes also is a method which unscrupulous preparers use to cheat taxpayers by entering bogus expenses that create fraudulent refunds, refunds which the unscrupulous preparers then later misappropriate to themselves. Although such tax return-related scams by fraudulent preparers are relatively uncommon, they do occur, and taxpayers have a duty to guard themselves from falling victim to such schemes.

As one additional tip, be careful of offers from tax preparer firms to advance you money against an expected refund so that you can get your money faster. The fees associated with these loans or advances often are very high (even compared to regular credit card interest rates), and thus are not worth the small burden of waiting several additional weeks to receive the full refund. If you are concerned about getting a refund sooner, avoid the late rush and file as early as possible in the tax filing season, and consider using a tax preparer that uses E-file to expedite the filing of the return and the processing of your refund.

About Eye Care Routine

Types of vision tests: what do they measure?

Whether you have healthy or poor vision, it is important to see an eye doctor regularly for proper testing. The overall health of your vision will help your doctor determine when further intervention is necessary.

There are certain types of tests that are performed for everyone during a comprehensive eye examination, such as visual acuity testing. For some people with specific vision issues, additional testing may be performed, such as testing for color blindness. The doctor will begin by evaluating the state of your vision and eye health. From here, they can determine which tests are appropriate for your comprehensive eye examination.

The following types of tests highlight the wide variety of vision tests that are available.

Visual Acuity Testing

This type of test is done to determine how sharp your vision is. The doctor will usually have you look at an eye chart for this examination. They will ask you to read the numbers or letters that are present on a specific line.

In some cases, doctors give you a handheld chart. This one is used to determine how sharp your vision is close up.

Color Blindness Testing

The Ishihara Color Vision Test is the color blindness test that is the most widely used.

For this test, you are asked to look at a booklet. There will be dots of varying brightness, colors, and sizes. If you have normal color vision, you will be able to pick out the number that is present among the dots.

Ocular Motility Testing

This test is done to see if your eyes are moving as they should. It tests your ability to accurately focus on two separate objects and follow a moving object.

This test is important because if you have abnormal eye movements, you are at a higher risk for affected reading ability and eye strain.

Cover Test

This test allows doctors to determine your eye alignment. You will cover one eye and look across the room to see an object. This is also done on an object that is close to you.

During the test, the doctor is looking to see if you are showing symptoms of certain conditions, such as amblyopia or strabismus.


If you need a prescription for corrective lenses, a retinoscopy may be performed. The doctor is looking at the light reflection from your eye.

You will go into a dimmed room with the doctor. You will be asked to look at a specific letter on the eye chart. As you continue to stare at this letter, the doctor flips lenses and shines a light in front of your eyes. The purpose of this test is to get a lens power estimate for corrective lens prescriptions.

This test is ideal for people who are not able to sit up properly. It may also be helpful for babies and others who cannot raise their heads.

What are the most common types of eye defects


Myopia occurs when the eyeball is too long, relative to the focusing power of the cornea and lens of the eye. This causes light rays to focus at a point in front of the retina, rather than directly on its surface If you’re nearsighted, the first number (“sphere”) on your eyeglasses prescription will be preceded by a minus sign (–). The higher the number, the more nearsighted you are


This vision problem occurs when light rays entering the eye focus behind the retina, rather than directly on it. The eyeball of a farsighted person is shorter than normal

Farsightedness can be corrected with glasses to change the way light rays bend into the eyes. If your glasses begins with plus numbers, like +1.50, you are farsighted


Instead of the cornea having a symmetrically round shape (like a tennis ball), it is shaped more like a rugby ball, with one meridian being significantly more curved than the meridian perpendicular to it

Astigmatism usually causes vision to be blurred or distorted to some degree at all distances. Symptoms of uncorrected astigmatism are eye strain and headaches, especially after reading or other prolonged visual tasks

Astigmatism is usually combined with Myopia or Hyperopia


Presbyopia generally is believed to stem from a gradual thickening and loss of flexibility of the natural lens inside your eye

Presbyopia usually occurs beginning at around age 40, when people experience blurred near vision when reading, sewing or working at the computer. Everyone becomes presbyopic

Refractive Eye Surgery

Do you dream of seeing clearly without glasses? Surgery to reshape your cornea can correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism with a success rate of better than 90%. Surgery may not be right for you if you have severe dry eye, thin or oddly shaped corneas, or severe vision problems. Side effects include glare or sensitivity to light.

Glaucoma: View

You can’t feel it, but this disease damages your optic nerve. You may not have any symptoms until you lose your central vision. Your side vision will go first. That’s why you need regular eye exams every 1 to 2 years, especially after you turn 40. Doctors can treat glaucoma with medications or surgery.

Types of Color Blindness

Color blindness (also spelled colour blindness) or color vision deficiency (CVD) includes a wide range of causes and conditions and is actually quite complex. Usually when people talk about color blindness, they are referring to the most common forms of red-green color blindness, which are genetic conditions caused by a recessive gene on the X-chromosome, but there are other types as well.

Red-green color blindness can be broken down into two main types: Protan-type  (“pro-tan”), which is a disorder of the first “prot-” type of retinal cones also called the L-cones, and Deutan-type (“do-tan”) which is a disorder of the second type of retinal cone also called the M-cones.

Protan Color Blindness

Protan Color Blindness (“pro-tan”) is an anomaly of the “L” cones. The “L” stands for Long Wavelength Light, which is generally seen as red light, mainly responsible for seeing red colors. In Protan-type CVD, the spectral sensitivity of the L-cone is shifted toward shorter wavelengths, so that it does not receive enough red light, and receives too much green light compared to a normal L-cone. Protan-type CVD includes protanomaly, which is a partial shift of the L-cone, and protanopia, which is a complete shift of the L-cone. It is estimated that about 25% of cases of red-green color blindness are of the protan type.

A person with protan type color blindness tends to see greens, yellows, oranges, reds, and browns as being more similar shades of color than normal, especially in low light. A very common problem is that purple colors look more like blue. Another common issue is that pink colors appear to be gray, especially if the pink is a more reddish pink or salmon color. Another symptom specific to protan color vision deficiency is that red colors look darker than normal. For example, if red text is printed on a black background, it can be very hard to read because the red appears to be very dark.

Deutan Color Blindness

Deutan Color Blindness (“do-tan”) is an anomaly of the “M” cone. The “M” stands for Medium Wavelength Light, which is generally seen as green light. In Deutan-type CVD, the spectral sensitivity of the M-cone is shifted toward longer wavelengths so that it effectively receives too much red light and not enough green light.

A person with deutan color vision deficiency  may experience confusions between colors such as green and yellow, or blue and purple. Another common symptom is that green traffic signals appear to be a very pale green or sometimes white. Common color confusion also occurs between pink and gray or white, especially if the pink is similar to a light purple.

Tritan Color Blindness / Tritanomaly

Tritan Color Blindness (“try-tan”) includes tritanomaly and tritanopia. It is also sometimes called blue-yellow color blindness. Tritan color blindness most commonly acquired later in life due to aging of the eye or a medical condition such as glaucoma and is only very rarely inherited from birth. Tritan color vision is generally characterized by a reduced sensitivity in the blue-sensitive “S” cone cells. “S” stands for Short Wavelength Light. The retinal S-cone cells make up only about 1% of the approximately 6 million retinal cone cells, so when they are damaged or not functioning properly, it can easily cause a degradation to color vision. Typically a person with a tritan-type color vision deficiency does not see blue colors well, and may have difficulty seeing the difference between blue and green. Cataracts, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration can cause symptoms of tritan color blindness. Another factor that causes reduced sensitivity to blue is the yellowing of the crystalline lens within the eye: these cells do not regenerate and over a lifetime of exposure to light, especially UV light, the lens tends to become yellow in appearance and block the transmission of blue light, interfering with color vision. Eventually this yellowing also leads to cataracts that must be treated surgically.

Monochromacy and Achromatopsia

Monochromacy and Achromatopsia describes a range of conditions that include rod-Monochromacy, S-cone Monochromacy and Achromatopsia. Sometimes these are collectively referred to as types of achromatopsia, as the word “achromat” meaning “no color.” However, not all cases of achromatopsia have “no color” vision. Similar to other forms of color blindness, achromatopsia can be graded as incomplete (partial) achromatopsia or complete achromatopsia (total color blindness). Achromatopsia is often associated with light sensitivity, photophobia, and glare sensitivity. In some cases, low vision disorders such as progressive cone dystrophy or retinitis pigmentosa can cause a gradual deterioration of color vision that eventually turns into complete achromatopsia.

Trichromats, Dichromats, Monochromats are terms used in the vision science community to refer to different possible configurations of the human visual system having three (tri-), di (two) or one (mono) channel of color information. However, these terms are simplified to a great extent, because the true capability of a color vision system also depends on the degree of overlap between the channels, “perceptual noise” within the channels, and the cognitive processing capability for deciphering these signals in the visual cortex of the brain. Most cases of color blindness are considered anomalous trichromacy which means they are effectively operating at somewhere between trichromat (normal color vision with 3 channels) and dichromat (2 channels).

What are refractive errors?

Refractive errors are a type of vision problem that makes it hard to see clearly. They happen when the shape of your eye keeps light from focusing correctly on your retina (a light-sensitive layer of tissue in the back of your eye).

Refractive errors are the most common type of vision problem. More than 150 million Americans have a refractive error — but many don’t know that they could be seeing better. That’s why eye exams are so important.

If you have a refractive error, your eye doctor can prescribe eyeglasses or contact lenses to help you see clearly.

What are the symptoms of refractive errors?

The most common symptom is blurry vision. Other symptoms include:

  • Double vision
  • Hazy vision
  • Seeing a glare or halo around bright lights
  • Squinting
  • Headaches
  • Eye strain (when your eyes feel tired or sore)
  • Trouble focusing when reading or looking at a computer

What To Do If You Find A Bat On Your Property

How to Get Rid of Bats Naturally

So, you’re dealing with bats. And you need to get rid of bats. Fast. As scary as they may be, this is often due to the negative stereotype they have as portrayed by every horror movie, ever! Bats are actually pretty gentle creatures and are a necessary part of the ecosystem. They’re often endangered in many states and are protected, so killing them is not advised.

Typically, bats will give birth between May and July during the warmer months. In warmer climates, bats can give birth up to twice a year. When a female bat gets ready to give birth, she’ll find a place to hide and roost, which is typically where they become a pest.

Gestation for a bat takes up to 6 months, but for most species, this occurs much earlier. Bat pups are born as singular bats, though bat twins have been sighted. They reach maturity in just two months. Newborn bats can’t really fly nor do they have good control yet, so they’re often left in the roosting area while the mom gets food.

They’ll nurse up to five months in the roost, even though the bat pups can fly around a month after being born. Bats will then start to fly and forage their own food after a few months and return to the same nest afterward. The cycle repeats for next season. They’ve been getting a bad rep lately, but most bats will hide and fly away from danger rather than provoke it. We should respect them rather than exterminate them when possible.

Bat anatomy

Bats have fascinating anatomies nad have been the study for researchers for years now. Because of their lightweight, aerodynamic bodies, they’re able to detect, traverse, and fly around terrain at high speeds super efficiently and utilize echolocation for traveling in the dark.

Tips on How to Get Rid of Bats Fast

Bats play a vital role in the ecosystem as pest controllers and pollinators. But because bats pose a health risk through the potential transmission of zoonotic diseases, it is necessary to keep them away from humans. Learn how to get rid of bats effectively and humanely–sans the garlic.

Fill up holes and seal cracks

In the wild, bats like to hang out in caves during the day. In the absence of these caverns, they will take any dark space that gives them shelter and protection from predators. Given this, it’s easy to see why it is common to have bats in chimneys, bats in attics, bats in wall cracks, and bats in roof eaves.

If you get rid of possible entry points, that’s one less reason for bats to choose your home. This is the best way to prevent a bat infestation. However, if you already have bats in house, make sure none of them are trapped inside before you start filling up the holes.

Professionals typically fill up the hole with a metal mesh that is hard for animals to chew through, yet malleable enough to fit in crevices of different shapes and sizes. Stuf-fit Copper Mesh is a great option for this because it’s stain-proof, rust-proof, and chew-proof. After stuffing in the whole, use a foam sealant that expands to fill in the tiny holes in the mesh. Pur Black Foam is a popular option among pest and wildlife control companies.

Use a natural bat repeller

If you want to know how to deter bats in a simple, easy way, bat repellent sprays are a good option. These are made of synthetic chemical or natural ingredients that are unpleasant to bats. Bat spray can deter bats from nesting and deter bats from roosting when applied in strategic entry points, resting spots, and hollow spaces.

What It Takes to Get Rid of Bats

Bat infestation puts you in danger of more than mere odors. If you have these uninvited guests living on your roof, it is only a matter of time before their urine and droppings start posing serious health concerns. Besides health issues, but droppings and urine can destroy wood and other building materials; thus compromising the structural integrity of your home. If you have some bats living under your roof, you have every reason to act fast. Here is a guide on how to go about bat removal.

Bats are a protected species in most states. Thus, bat removal is often a controlled process that is governed by some law. You are advised against bat extermination of risk serious fines. This implies that you are legally mandated to use only humane ways to evict these unwanted guests. One human approach is to build a bat house and force them to relocate there.

Know the Species

After familiarizing yourself with local laws, you need to understand the type of bat species you are dealing with. This helps come up with a removal strategy that works for that specific species. Understanding the bat species will help you get a good idea of things like their maternity season. You do not have to wait until the mother gives birth.

Identify possible entry points

If you are sure that there are no babies inside, the next thing should be to identify all entry and exit points. This might require you to monitor your home during dusk or dawn closely. This can be quite challenging for an ordinary homeowner considering that bat colonies have multiple entry points and these entry points can be as small as half an inch.

Cover Each Opening and Clear the Mess

After identifying the entry points, the next move should be to cover them preferably with one-way exit valves. These valves allow bats to get out and deter them from regaining access. Once there are no bats inside, the next step should be to clean the droppings and urine in their wake.

How to get rid of Bats – A detailed guide

Nowadays, bats aren’t confined anymore to caves and forests. Instead, these creatures have now adapted to the slow spreading of urbanization amongst rural areas. They are nocturnal creatures, meaning that they only move around when the sun is down. Otherwise, they are to be seen sound asleep while upside down in dark places.

Because of their reluctance to sunlight, they are mostly found inside cold and hidden places. However, this is not only limited to the wilds. They can also convert any dark place that is not frequented by humans into their own homes. This is when they start to become pests.

The difficult part in having bats as pests in your house is the fact that they come across as scary for many due to the large amount of folklore that is negatively associated with them. After all, some thrive on blood for food, a fact which easily scares most people.


All over the world, there are about 980 species of bats. Out of all of these, about 40 species are found around the United States. They are mammals, which means that they are of the same class which dogs, cats, and humans belong in. They are mostly active during the night. They are not necessarily blind when the sun is out, however, during the night, they have to see using echolocation. Basically, whenever they make noises, they will determine how fast the sound vibrations return to their side which tells them how far something is in front of them.

What do they eat?

What propagates fear with bats is the fact that some of them feed on blood. There are only 3 species which does this, though. Most of them eat small insects, fruits, or fish. This is why they mostly frequent around forest areas. If one happens to be near your property, it means that there is a steady source of pests around your area

Step by Step Guide to Bat Removal

Though there are many different types of bat species noted in the United States, it is normally the bat types that live in colonies which are problems to homeowners. Though bats aren’t aggressive, they are considered a challenge when large colonies of them begin to live in buildings and the roofs in peoples’ homes. Their feces, better known as guano, accumulates very quickly and is a perfect place for Histoplasmosis to grow. Histoplasmosis is a fungus which humans can pick up by simply breathing that causes fungal diseases. The other potential problem with colonizing bats in the possibility of rabies that has been known to cause death in humans and pets.

Bats: Importance and Behavior

The more you know about bats before you attempt to remove them from your home, the better. Bat removal should be taken on by those who know what they are dealing with or professionals. Knowing their importance and behavior will help when it is time for them to be removed.

Bats are vital to our ecosystem, especially the colonies. These flying mammals eat incredible amounts of insects and can control large insect populations quite well. There are some bats that not only eat substantial amounts of bugs but also help with pollination and the dispersion of seed, which increases the number of plants that are essential food sources for humans and plant-eating animals.

Steps to Bat Removal

Investigation: We have already talked a little about the research above. But there are other things you should know about your bats as well. What type of bats do you have? How big are they? When do they give birth? This last question is crucial to know because the birthing season is the worse time to plan your exclusion process. It would be a disaster to have baby bats trapped in your home and the mothers caught outside. The chance of ending up with a significant amount of dead baby bats in your home creates a bigger job for you – not to mention the possibility of it being illegal as well as inhumane. Exclusions, therefore, should be done when the babies can fly.

Inspection:  Research the common entry points for bats into your home, and inspect them first. Vents and ridge caps are big on this list. Damaged areas, like missing boards or bricks and any small openings, are potential entries as well. Look for signs of bat excrement and check those areas. Roofs are excellent places to find entryways because they are well-situated for them to see when they are flying. If you are going to do this on your own, take the time to inspect your roof and chimney then fix what openings you can, making sure you leave their main entry open.

Set up your exclusion device: Buy the exclusion device that is best for your home, whether netting, funnels or cones. We don’t believe in killing the bats; we want them to live and do their job for the environment. Make sure you place them so that the bats can fly out of your home but not back in. Remember, this is best done at night when most of them are already out and eating. Whatever exclusion device you decide to use, do your research and make sure you set it up correctly as it is not as easy as it sounds.

Observe: Once you have set up your devices, take the time to watch and make sure they are working correctly. Setting up a one-way device means you need to make sure it is one way. If it seems like it is working well, leave it up for a few days to ensure all of the bats get out.

Check that the bats are gone: After a few days, check and make sure all of the bats have left. If this is the case, remove your exclusion devices and repair these openings and be sure sure that they are fixed correctly, as you don’t want the bats to return by finding a way back in nor to have to start the process all over again.

Clean up time: The bats were a problem but so is their guano. Once the bats are gone and can’t get back in, remove the guano and decontaminate the area. You need to remove the guano and thoroughly decontaminate the former nesting area. Bat guano can ruin your home structures as well as be a breeding ground for disease.

Bucket Truck Tires A Guide For Maintenance Safety

Lifted trucks problems and solutions: The good, the bad, & the lifted

Lifted trucks are cool. Sky-high trucks are even cooler. Driving a lifted truck makes you feel like king of the road. You can see above all those road logs hauling soccer families, and you are able to see that sport compact that wrecked with the big rig, far up ahead, way before you even get into the mix. Lifted trucks draw attention from everyone on the road and act as giant billboards at local shows, putting that paintjob high up in the sky for everyone to see. Tall trucks command respect on the open highway, and most people will get out of your way once they feel the heat of your headlights on the backs of their necks. Lifted trucks are also functional. They allow people to traverse rough terrain safely and take the occupants to places far from the city to enjoy places of calm. These purpose-built rigs are freedom machines.

But with that freedom comes some drawbacks that need to be addressed in order for a lifted truck to work reliably and effectively as a daily driver. How high should a daily driver be? Is it practical to drive a 16-inch lifted truck on the street? And if you are going to lift to the extreme, what can you do to make your driving experience a more livable one? We’ll show you some of the common problems associated with lifted trucks and throw a few solutions your way so you can determine if living with a towering four-wheeled high-rise is for you.



Brakes are often one of the most overlooked upgrades when installing larger tires. The big meats that inevitably find their way onto a truck after a lift will compromise your stock braking system. The increased leverage of the bigger tires, along with the heavier rotating mass, will quickly overwhelm the stock system, leading to overheating, premature pad and rotor wear, increased stopping distance, and minimal, if any, reserve braking power when loaded down or towing.


Fortunately, for those of us who love big trucks, there are many companies out there offering big-brake upgrade kits. These kits are meant for use with larger-diameter wheels, and include larger and thicker drilled or slotted rotors, high-performance brake pads, and multi-piston calipers. Big-brake kits have excellent pedal feel, offer improved reserve braking, and are resistant to fade-causing heat buildup. Companies such as Baer, Brembo, Stainless Steel Brakes, and Stillen have the most popular truck applications covered. Many kits will include longer stainless steel-braided brake lines that will account for the extra height and suspension travel of the lift kit. Stainless steel lines also improve braking performance by deforming less under heavy braking, and they will be more resistant to rupture.



Once the truck is up in the air and outfitted with those aggressive off-road lugs, you will notice deterioration of on-street handling. But, the pavement-shunning donuts are not the only cause of sloppy steering. The vehicle may exhibit bumpsteer, wandering, and slowly react to the driver’s inputs. All of the symptoms can be traced back to two types of issues: steering system overburdened by the wheels, and tires or improper steering geometry.


Sometimes custom steering, including equal length setups, is required to cure a lifted truck’s steering ills. But, even on the most basic live-axle truck, it is important for the tie rod to be parallel to the axle and the trac bar and Panhard bar to be parallel to each other. Sometimes, an extended heavy-duty pitman arm can be used to keep good steering geometry. With really big tires, the stock steering system may be woefully inadequate, and steering assist, such as a hydraulic ram, may be necessary to help turn the meats. We also recommend religious maintenance of wheel bearings, and the addition of steering stabilizers to keep the frontend working properly. It is important to remember that your 3-1/2-ton rolling barge is no longer as capable in emergency avoidance maneuvers as it was when it was stock, and is by no means a sportscar. Your driving style should be tailored accordingly.



Many first-time lifted truck owners don’t realize the ride penalty in going high. Not all kits are created equal, and a rough-riding rig can add to fatigue on long trips, make controlling the vehicle exhausting, and put wear on the truck itself. Generic suspension tuning and low-quality shocks can lead to driveability issues, such as vibrations, axle hop, and loss of suspension damping, which would lead to a more serious problem. While on the subject of suspension lifts, torsion bar twisting is an inexpensive method many people use to lift their truck, which may be OK for leveling, but it is not a true lift because it merely adjusts the level at which the truck sits in its suspension travel. Therefore, tires that rub at stock height will still rub with a torsion twist somewhere in the suspension travel. Also, the higher you go with a twist, the less down travel you will have, causing quirky handling, such as skipping across the road imperfections, rather that soaking them up. On 4×4 vehicles, this also causes an issue because you could over-extend a CV axle joint on a truck that has excessive compression, but limited droop.


Spring and shock technology has come a long way in recent years. Reservoir shocks and coilover shocks once reserved for high-end race trucks are now within reach of many truck builders. These damping units are easily tuned, adjustable for ride height (coilovers), and are readily available from many high-end shock suppliers, such as Bilstein, Fox, King, and Sway-A-Way. Custom leaf springs, tuned to your vehicle and your needs, can easily be purchased from Atlas, Deaver, or National, just to name a few quality companies. Traction bars that locate the axle to the frame to reduce unwanted movement and axle hop are another way to tame the wildness in your suspension.

What to Look For When Buying Lifted Trucks Used

Lifted trucks can be a great purchase for anyone in East Texas looking to do a little off-roading, interested in a higher clearance for rough roads, or in love with the look of a truck that literally overshadows the competition. When buying a lifted truck used, though, it’s important to look for a few critical details that can have a huge impact on the performance and longevity of the vehicle.

Check the DriveShaft

First off, whether it’s a spacer or a suspension lift, it’s incredibly important to check the driveshaft and rear transmission shaft to make sure that the new angle created by the lift kit hasn’t already put too much wear and tear on the steel. In some cases, it can cause failure in the driveshaft by way of bending or breaking the boot, making it leak grease and put serious pressure on the ball bearings within. If the truck you find seems to have a driveshaft and transmission in good shape, then it’s a sign that the lift kit hasn’t put too much wear on the important internals and it will probably be a good buy.

Properly Fitted Tires

The second, and one that should be easy to check with a glance, is checking that the tires are the right size and that they aren’t too worn down. Normally, you would want to fit bigger tires on a lifted truck so that it’s better at handling rough roads and the new center of gravity of the vehicle. Lifting a truck can cause wear on the tires more quickly and large wheels are going to be more expensive, so it’s a good idea to make sure that the tires are going to last a while once you drive your new ride off the lot.

Vehicle History Report

On top of that, if you can, get the repair history! Dealers will keep records of the work they’ve done to a vehicle to make sure it’s ready for test drives and new buyers, and seeing the maintenance record can give you a good idea about what’s already been done to the truck as well as what you might need to look into or keep an eye out for in the future. Getting this should be a quick and simple part of buying any used car, and getting it for a lifted truck will be even more important.

Other Modifications or Upgrades

The last step should lead you into a few things you can learn about a lifted truck that should excite you! New or upgraded suspension is a fantastic thing to see in a lifted truck since a big part of having one is being able to go places and do things that a car (or even a standard truck) wouldn’t be able to handle. Along with that, things like steps, new tires, or engine upgrades can be really exciting to see on a vehicle that you intend to use for tough roads and rough terrain.

Used lifted trucks in Longview, TX can be great buys for off-roaders, dirt road drivers, and anyone looking to drive home in something no one can ignore. With a few quick checks, you can be sure that what you buy is the absolute best deal you can find.

Can I use Passenger Tires on my truck or do I have to use Light Truck tires?

Many people are interested in using Passenger Tires because they’re less expensive than Light Truck tires and generally offer a smoother ride.

But again, it’s very important to remember the intended purpose of your vehicle. If you have a ¾-ton or 1-ton pickup truck, you need Light Truck tires, because they offer the proper load carrying capacity for your heavy vehicle and its cargo. Passenger tires simply aren’t built to handle the weight of large vehicles, and using them for this application could potentially be dangerous.

Some people ask us the opposite question – if they can put LT tires on their small SUV or pickup. This can also cause some issues. LT tires are built for heavy vehicles, so their stiffness can give your vehicle a harsh ride, and since they require higher tire pressure, they can throw off your vehicle’s TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System, a safety feature that alerts you to improper pressure in your tires). For these reasons, we don’t recommend using LT tires if your vehicle doesn’t require them.

Pre-Winter Truck Tire Inspection

Fleet managers should take care to perform a tire inspection on a regularly scheduled basis. However, extra measures should be taken ahead of the winter months to ensure your tires last through the season. In particular, ensure the tread depth of each tire is at least 4/32” for steer tires and 2/32” for other tires. The deeper your tires’ tread, the safer your drivers will be when on icy, snowy roads.

In addition to the tread depth, ensure your tires aren’t suffering from uneven wear and tear or have excessive punctures, tears, or other visible damage. Check the sidewalls and be sure that each tire is properly inflated. During colder weather, tire pressure will drop and increase the risk for a blowout. Every 10-degree drop in temperature will lower the pressure in your tires by 1 psi. Decrease your risk of a blowout by ensuring your tire pressure is at the optimal level before, during, and after each winter driving trip.

Commercial Truck Tire Rotation

To avoid uneven wear and tear and provide your tires with better long-term traction, be sure to have your commercial truck tires rotated ahead of the winter season. Doing this can also help reduce fuel costs for your fleet, especially when performed at regularly scheduled intervals. One way fleet managers can continue to reap the benefits of regularly scheduled tire rotations all year long is by partnering with a preventative tire maintenance provider.

Home Renovation Tips To Plan It Right

What is included with home renovation costs?

Home renovation costs vary a great deal depending on the size of the project, number of rooms being renovated, the type of home, materials, and so forth. For some homeowners, buying a new home might be a better option than having their current one renovated. On the other hand, having at least one room remodeled can increase the overall value of a current home considerably.


Roof materials and services such as asphalt (felt base), new roof sheeting (plywood or waferboard), roof rolling, painted membrane, and sprayed polyurethane foam tend to be the least expensive. Slate, aluminum, vinyl coated steel shingles, built up tar and gravel, and clay or concrete tiles are more costly but will last much longer. In addition to the materials, tools and labour costs must be factored in. Additional expenses may include flashing and chimney reconstruction.


The cost of exterior renovation may range from $10,000 to $20,000+, depending on the size of the home. Brick homes cost more to renovate than stone, wood, and aluminum homes. Renovation may include anything from painting to damp proofing. Your garage, porch, pool deck, landscape, and/or basement may also require some type of remodeling. Don’t forget windows, either. The cost to replace windows depends on the type of glazing, material, size, etc.


Factors affecting the cost of interior home renovation include:

Room size

Paint and trims






Number of rooms requiring remodeling



Obviously, larger rooms will require more materials, time, and labour. In bedrooms, flooring installations may range from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand. The type of flooring also contributes to the price – especially if old floors need to be removed and replaced.

The Kitchen

Since the kitchen is considered the “heart” of the home, it’s not surprising that it’s the most expensive room to renovate. It can cost several thousand dollars. Cabinets make up one-third to one-half of the total cost, followed by labour and appliances, countertops, flooring, and then plumbing fixtures, lighting, tiling, etc.

What Home Renovations Should I Make Before Selling?

If you are selling your house, you might be wondering why you should renovate a property that is no longer going to be yours. The answer is simple. There are minor renovations that can have a huge impact on the purchase price of your home and your ability to close a sale in a shorter amount of time. Of course, not all renovations provide great returns on investment.

How Failure to Renovate Can Cost You

Renovating before selling is not just about increasing the resale value of your home, but also about not losing out on money that you should receive. If potential buyers notice chipped paint, for example, they might negotiate the asking price down to accommodate the cost of painting. The price reduction they request is likely going to be larger than what it would actually cost you to paint the walls before going to market. If there are numerous issues like this, you unnecessarily give your buyers more negotiation power.

Let’s take a look at some of the most cost effective home renovation projects you can easily tackle.

Painting Walls – As mentioned, it is certainly worthwhile to add a new coat of paint to the walls. When selling, choose a light, neutral colour that will give the home a clean, fresh, and open feel. Give potential buyers a clean and spacious backdrop that they can imagine decorating.

Refinishing Floors – Unless your current floors are in need of serious repair, it is generally not cost effective to completely remove and replace flooring systems. What you can do is improve the floors that are already there. This can mean steam-cleaning the carpets, staining and/or refinishing hardwood floors, or cleaning and resealing the grout between tile floors.

Updating Hardware and Light Fixtures – Completely changing appliances, cabinets, and countertops can become costly very quickly. You can make your kitchen and bathrooms look more modern by simply updating the hardware and other fixtures. If you think these spaces look extremely out-dated, you might consider replacing the countertops.

Increasing Curb Appeal – The first thing potential buyers will see is the exterior of the house and the entryway. It is crucial to make a great first impression. This includes manicuring the lawn, replacing any old and worn siding, making sure walkways are well maintained, and possibly painting or replacing your front door, if this is needed. If you will be showing your home in the evening, you might install accent lighting along walkways.

Hiring a Contractor for Home Renovations

The most valuable renovation projects will differ from home to home. For professional advice regarding the best projects to complete before selling your house

What Are the Home Renovation Fundamentals and What Do They Entail?

When beginning to renovate your home, it is easy to become hyper focused on the more exciting elements: turning your bathroom into a spa, making your kitchen more modern, or creating a state-of-the-art home theater. However, for your renovation to be successful and to reduce the risk of needing repairs in the future, you must remember all of the fundamental elements of a home renovation.


Before you put in a new wall or flooring system, you have an opportunity to upgrade the insulation in your home. The insulation that you choose will have a major impact on the energy efficiency of your home and will also affect the overall cost of your project. Be careful to weigh all of your insulation options before moving forward. Higher quality insulation may be a large upfront investment, but will reduce your monthly energy costs in the future.

Wiring and Electrical

Before you finish your walls, you need to design and install wiring. This is the best time to install new electrical systems, such as security equipment, intercoms, home entertainment systems, new outlets, and other design elements that require electricity. Having all of this planned and installed during the renovation will be much easier to complete before the drywall is finished.


This of course, brings us to drywall. Before the drywall is installed, you can decide if you want to incorporate any special design elements, such as recessed lighting. In addition to paint and other finishing materials, be sure to consider the costs associated with installing drywall as you plan your remodel.

Heating & Air Conditioning

A house renovation is an excellent time to upgrade your heating and air conditioning equipment. You must remember to accommodate HVAC equipment and ductwork within your renovation plans. Your renovation contractor can help you to make plans that will help to make choices that will allow your system to run efficiently and effectively.

What Are the Benefits of a Home Renovation?

If you are not experiencing any major problems with your home, you might be thinking, why fix what isn’t broken? Even if you are not in need of major repairs, you can still benefit from a major home renovation

Improving the Comfort and Functionality of Your House

House renovation projects allow you to customize your home to your unique tastes and needs. This is your opportunity to create your dream home or at least make the space you have more enjoyable and useful.

Lower Your Energy Costs

With energy costs on the rise, a greater number of Toronto homeowners are renovating their homes to reduce utility bills and save money over the long term. When the temperatures plummet during the winter, you cannot afford to have heat seep out of the home due to poor insulation and old doors and windows.

Boost Your Property Value

If you are considering selling your property any time soon, a renovation can make the property much more attractive and valuable to potential buyers. If your home looks and feels out-dated, buyers will be less motivated to meet your asking price.

Hiring a Professional During a Home Renovation

Even homeowners who really want to renovate often avoid doing so because they do not want to deal with the headache of such a large project and they are afraid of the cost. Many of the hassles and risks associated with renovated can be reduced or eliminated with the help of a contractor.

What are some small house remodeling ideas and solutions?

Just because you live in a small home doesn’t mean you can’t have any of the luxuries of a mansion. A smaller home offers the benefits of low maintenance and cost. Styles such as cottages, cabins, bungalows, capes, etc… will always withstand the tests of time. With small house remodelling ideas, you can make the best of your small space. There are many things you can do to make each room appear and feel bigger.

Whether you want to make a few improvements here and there or go all-out with a renovation, here are some house remodelling ideas:

Aim for uniform flooring. Try to use as much of one material as you can in open areas. Avoid transition if you can help it. It’s okay to switch materials in areas where there are cased openings. Using different flooring materials in open areas makes the house look choppy. The confined space is more apparent.

Maximize functional storage. In the bedroom, one of the best places for storage is under the bed. Use under-bed storage boxes or bags to store out of season bedding, clothing, and other items that are seldom used. As for closets, don’t feel limited by the standard shelf and hanging bar. Get some stackable shelves and/or additional rods. Organize the storage – don’t just try to stuff everything inside.

In the kitchen, get creative with the countertops. Combine classic white cabinetry with granite laminate countertops to give the illusion of space. Also, don’t be afraid to use mirrors. Mirrors add instant size and height to smaller kitchens. One ideal place to install a mirror is behind the stove. If you don’t have a window over the kitchen sink, add a mirror instead.

You can save space in the kitchen by installing cabinets that open with a lifting mechanism rather than a door that swings open. Whenever you need to get anything out of the cabinets, the door lifts upwards rather than out. Also, opt for smaller appliances. Today, there are many space-efficient appliances that are just as powerful as larger models.

Install shelves and storage units in the corner of small bathrooms. You might also want to downgrade your toilet size. Brands such as Kohler now offer compact elongated models of toilets. They are about the same size as the typical round-front toilet but take up less space. In addition to the toilet, you can also switch to a single-hole model of a sink faucet if you don’t already have one.

It’s a good idea to stick with solid colours in a small bathroom. While patterns are nice, they can make the small space seem cluttered. You might be able to play around with textures, however, as long as you stick with light prints in natural tones.

If you are not using all of the bedrooms in the house, consider sacrificing one in order to make the neighbouring room bigger. Have the wall removed to create a nice, spacious master bedroom.

Toilet Installation Considerations For Wall Bathroom Suites

Problem-Solving Toilet Hacks Are Weird, But They Work

We all have our least favorite chores, which we often go to outrageous lengths to avoid. (Did anyone else barter their unwanted chores with their siblings when they were younger? My siblings were shrewd traders, but they were usually willing to swap for a price.) In my case, the one chore that I will always opt out of if given the chance is cleaning the toilet. While I appreciate our toilets very much, I just prefer to keep my interactions with them to a minimum.

With all that being said, I have still managed to collect quite a few toilet-related tips and tricks over the years. Because as much as I try to avoid dealing with the toilet, I’ll do it if it means being able to share a helpful tip with you guys. (That’s how much you all mean to me!) During my experiments and research, I’ve ended up putting a lot of weird stuff in, on, and around my toilets—all in the name of finding the best toilet hacks! Today I’ll be sharing some of those strange-but-true toilet tips that I’ve come across over the years. I think you’ll be surprised at how many totally weird ways there are to clean, fix, and maintain your toilet! 🙂


While it isn’t great for your teeth, a can of cola can be great for cleaning your toilet! The carbonation and acids in the soda can dissolve rings, buildup, and stains in your toilet bowl. Just pour a can of coal around the rim of your toilet so that it soaks the whole bowl. Let it sit for a few hours to work its magic, then scrub with a toilet brush to scrub away the stains!

Pumice Stone

If you’ve never used a pumice stone in your toilet, give it a try! The abrasive stone makes a great tool for scrubbing away rings and stains. Make sure to dampen both the pumice stone and toilet bowl itself before scrubbing to help prevent scratches. Scrub stains gently with the wet pumice stone, then flush to rinse.

White Vinegar

Many people reach for bleach to clean their toilets and eliminate germs. But you can use plain old white vinegar in the same way, and you won’t have to worry about harsh fumes! To eliminate stains, soak a paper towel with vinegar and place it on the stained area. Allow the vinegar-soaked towel to remain there overnight. In the morning, remove the towel and give the area a quick scrub to remove the mess. (This also works great when used on the gunk that builds up under the rim of your toilet bowl!)

Wax Free Toilet Seal


A strong and flexible to sustain a positive seal

Ideal for wall carriers and floor mounts

Accommodates floors raised above the toilet flange by up to 3/4″

Maintains a gas tight seal even when minor movement occurs

Fast, easy installation for a long-term solution


Conforms to ASTM A 1045

No need for flange risers or stacked wax rings

Ideal for in-floor radiant heat installations

Impervious to mold and mildew

Centers itself and the toilet to the drain

Toilet can be removed and re-installed with the same seal attached

Made of flexible PVC


PSF-100 – Spanner Flage eliminates the need to replace broken closet flanges, saving time and money. Simply place the flange under the broken area of the ring and tighten the nut.

When to Repair vs. Replace Your Toilet

When to Repair

Toilets are meant to last you a long time, and with proper care and maintenance they will. If you notice a problem, investigate what the cause is. Then call a professional who can handle all your plumbing repair needs.

When Your Toilet Is Running

A running toilet is when water from the tank is continuously running into the bowl. This can become extremely annoying both because it is inconvenient and because it makes noise.

The Toilet Won’t Flush

This is the last thing you want to happen, and when it does happen, you immediately begin to panic wondering what the cause is. It could be:

A clog

Not enough water in the tank

A faulty flapper

A broken lift chain

The Water Level Is Low

Whether in the tank or in the bowl, your water levels should remain consistent. If you notice lower than normal levels, check the tank shut off valve to make sure it was not accidentally closed.

Toilet Issues Happen

Eventually you’ll experience one of these toilet issues, or a different one altogether. We have some advice on how to troubleshoot problems so that you can fix the problem or call a professional.

Buying a Toilet Bowl: Things You Really Need to Know

Yes, we know that the WC isn’t exactly the most glamourous bathroom fitting, but it’s hard to deny its importance. Just imagine not having access to one when nature calls and… ahem, you get the idea.

Putting that (nasty) thought aside, getting the right toilet for your home can be a daunting task, so here’s a nifty guide that summarises the four most important details you should think about before making a trip to the sanitaryware store

Installation/trap type

When it comes to modern-day toilets, there are two main types that you can take your pick from: floor-mounted and wall-hung.

And while choosing between the two may seem like a matter of preference, which model you end up with mostly depends on the trap – a specialised drainage outlet/piping system which handles waste and prevents smelly gases from escaping – that your bathroom has.

Now then, how do you tell which type of trap your bathroom has? Typically, if the drainage outlet is connected to the floor, it’s an S-trap, which works in conjunction with floor-mounted toilets. Otherwise, if it’s located on a wall, it’s a P-trap that’ll allow you to install a wall-hung toilet.

Heroic Tips for Using Southeast Asia’s ‘Bum Guns’

If you’ve been travelling for any length of time, you’ll know that there are some things that are done differently on foreign shores. Take bathrooms for examples – most of us are adept at using the humble sit-down toilet back home, but leave us in a room with a squat toilet and no paper and we’ll be scratching our heads and crossing our legs. That said, it doesn’t mean our way is necessarily the right way – and when it comes to Southeast Asia’s ‘bum guns’, we could learn a thing or two.

Know the facts – it’s clean and hygienic

So picture this – you’re walking your dog, and it does its business on the side of the road. “Not a problem,” you think – “I’ll just pick it up with –WHOOPS, it’s on my hand!”. Would you be content to just wipe your poop-covered hand with a tissue? Though not. When you compare the bum gun’s spray of water against Westerners’ use of toilet paper, it’s actually much more hygienic and does a better job of cleaning you. See, it’s nothing to be scared of.

Understand what it’s used for

Whilst they are handy when it comes to cleaning the bowl or even the bathroom itself, those aren’t the primary function of the bum gun – cleaning your bum is. By all means, clean the bathroom with it if you’re bored – but don’t shy away from its primary use – embrace it.

Prepare yourself

Before using it for the first time, you may need to mentally and physically prepare yourself. It can be daunting at first, but understand millions of people around the world use it, and plenty of travellers return home only to install them in their homes, so they really can’t be that bad. Make sure you’ve got a few pieces of toilet paper with you and some hand sanitiser too for good measure, and you’re ready to try the bum gun.

Test the spray

Before you go ahead and start to use it on a rather delicate part of the body, you’ll want to give it a test spray first, both to ascertain whether it’s in working order and to check the power of the gun itself (the power can vary place to place, in some it’s a weak trickle and in others it’s a mighty jet of water). Test it by holding it and pulling the trigger, and once you’ve got a good feel for it and how it works, you’ll be ready for the next step.

What Is Commercial Roofing

What does a commercial roofer do?

A roofer repairs, replaces, and installs roofs on residential homes or commercial buildings. They use a variety of materials such a metal, aluminum, wood, shingles, tiles, slate, and steel. Roofers scale the tops of a property to repair leaky roofs, replace broken tiles, or seal areas to make them watertight. Roofing is physically demanding and requires the stamina to stand, climb, and carefully walk in hot, cold, windy, snowy, or rainy weather. The work that roofers do ensures that buildings are structurally sound and safe for those who enter. Roofers can work on a full- or part-time basis, and many receive weekly salary payments.

What does a commercial roofer do?

Here are the duties and responsibilities that a Commercial Roofer is likely to perform in their role.

  • Construct and assemble layers of roofing from insulation to TPO membrane or EPDM roofing.
  • Train in TPO heat welding.
  • Install full TPO type roofing from start to finish.
  • Maintain proper safety codes and procedures to keep up with OSHA regulations.
  • Perform installation and repair of PVC and vinyl type flat roofs of commercial buildings ..
  • Tear off and installation of commercial roofing systems (EPDM or rubber roofing mostly )
  • Work as part of a team in order to make sure that all work are done according to OSHA standards.
  • Assist with fabrication of HVAC duct ways.

Benefits of Using Commercial Roofing Contractors

If you want to learn more about the benefits of hiring a commercial roofing contractor, keep reading.

1. Following Your City’s Building Code

Are you familiar with the building code in your city?

The building code is a set of laws and regulations that govern how construction projects get handled. If you are not familiar with the system and proceed to construct your new roof by yourself, you may make a few mistakes.

If an inspection of the structure indicates that the building code got violated, you may have to demolish the roof. This means you incur a loss for the first roof and also the additional cost to do it again.

Commercial roofers make it a point to stay updated on the building code. Thus, they are your best bet to get a large commercial roofing project done correctly.

2. Your Safety

Roofing is a dangerous endeavor for a novice, and there have been numerous cases where DIYers have fallen off roofs trying to conduct installation or repairs.

Now, you might be asking, “Aren’t there pieces of safety equipment I can buy to prevent that?”

The short answer: yes. But, unless you’re a full-time roofer, then you’re going to make these costly purchases for a one-time job. Isn’t it better to have a professional roofing contractor handle the roofing work for you?

Hiring a professional will save you not only time but also money and potential accidents in the process.

3. The Quality of Work

Quality work comes with hands-on experience. You could watch every roofing DIY video on YouTube, but your quality of work will not match a professional’s unless you’ve been putting in the real world experience.

Roofing involves more than just attaching roofing materials to roofing beams. You have to consider numerous factors, including the installation of ventilation outlets wherever necessary. Without adequate experience, you are bound to make either a minor or major mistake.

A minor mistake (like a leaky roof) could lead to more severe consequences when mold develops, leading you to spend even more time and money on a project that could have been fully completed if a commercial roofing contractor was hired.

4. Staying Within Budget

A common issue with DIY roofing is going over budget. This happens when a homeowner commences a roofing project without adequate planning and budgeting.

Budgeting involves calculating the costs of the materials as well as accounting for miscellaneous expenses that might occur. It is for this reason that roofing contractors provide estimates and quotes before they commence working on your roof.

Hence, with a commercial roof contractor, you are fully aware of all the costs involved. You do not get any unexpected charges, allowing you to stick to your budget.

5. Advice on the Best Materials

When it comes to roofing, there are many different types of materials that you can choose from for your building. And because of this, it can be difficult to determine which products are best for your application.

Quality Roofing is a matter of selecting the materials that are favorable to the weather patterns in your city and have the longest lifespan with the least maintenance.

It’s best to work with a commercial roofing contractor who has worked with numerous materials from various manufacturers. These contractors will actually have experience and know which materials are going to be best for your roof.

Things to consider in a commercial roof

Keep the following factors in mind when selecting or specifying a low slope roof:

  • Choose the highest possible quality materials from an established manufacturer with an excellent reputation for integrity. CertainTeed has been manufacturing roofing materials for over 100 years.
  • Compare similar products. Evaluate the technical data provided by the manufacturer. Compare the weights, thicknesses and ASTM test results.
  • Remember, the money saved today on a low cost roofing system can be more than offset by the need to reroof sooner as the result of poor performance leading to leakage or premature failure.
  • Consider the commercial roofing manufacturer’s warranty. The length of the warranty term (in years) helps gauge the superiority of the system selected. Generally, the longer the warranty, the better the system. Is a guarantee which covers not only the material but also the contractor’s workmanship available for the roof system selected?
  • Property value. Is the manufacturer’s warranty transferable to a new building owner?
  • How committed is the commercial roofing material manufacturer willing to be? Does the manufacturer, as an option to the owner, have an approved contractor program in place? If an enhanced warranty that includes workmanship is selected, will the manufacturer inspect the roof project? With CertainTeed, the answer to all of these questions is yes.

Types Of Commercial Roofing

Spray Polyurethane Foam Roofing

Spray Polyurethane Foam (SPF) is an eco-friendly roofing option for commercial, industrial and manufacturing facilities.   Spray Polyurethane Foam, more commonly referred to as SPF, is a material that is sprayed as a liquid so it can expand into a foam, creating a solid layer across an existing roof.

While SPF roofing is not the most known type of roofing material, the technology has been around since the early 1960s for industrial, commercial, and residential facilities. An SPF roofing system can be used in any climate, and when correctly installed and maintained, can last over 50 years.

Single-Ply Membrane Roofing

Single-Ply Membrane is a time-tested roofing option for commercial, industrial and manufacturing facilities.   Single-Ply Membranes are sheets of rubber and other synthetics that can be ballasted, mechanically fastened or chemically adhered to insulation creating a layer of protection on your commercial facility.

While Single-Ply Membrane Roofing is one of the most well-known types of commercial roofing material, there are several types to fit your budget and facility needs.

Metal Roofing

Metal Roofing is one of the oldest commercial roofing systems on the market. Most metal roofing systems use corrugated galvanized steel, although other materials such as aluminum or tin can also be used.

Since metal roofing material is rather light in weight, it can be installed right on top of the existing roof. After a metal roofing system is installed, a coating can be added for waterproofing, rust protection, and UV protection.

Shingle Roofing

Commercial Roofing on ChurchShingle roofing is mostly known for homes and residential roofing, but shingles are very often used for steep slope commercial roofing applications.   Shingles can be made out of a few different materials, including wood, slate, metal, plastic, ceramic and composite material such as asphalt. There are two main types of shingles: Asphalt and Architectural.

Asphalt Shingles: most common, cost-effective shingle on the market used for applications. These roof systems often come with 15 – 30-year warranties on average.

Architectural Shingles: multi-layered and heavier to add durability and weatherproofing to the building. Often comes with “lifetime” warranties

Built-Up Roofing

Built-Up Roofing Systems have been in use in the U.S. for over 100 years.   These roof systems are commonly referred to as “tar and gravel” roofs. Built-up systems are installed by alternating layers of asphalt or tar and supporting fabrics directly onto the roof.   You can choose the number of layers (or plies) that are installed. The final layer of a built-up roofing system consists of stone or gravel.

What Is The Ideal Weather For Residential Painting

How Much Does it Cost to Paint a House

The average cost and quoted rate of a standard house painting job is $40/hr, generally excluding the cost of paint and materials. For simpler work, painters charge around $35/hr. Meanwhile, more complex jobs are priced at approximately $45/hr.

Where do these prices come from?

A lick of paint is one of the easiest and most cost effective ways to breathe new life into your home – whether you’re looking to sell or just want to freshen up and modernise its look.

Whatever your aim is, in this pricing guide, you’re going to find out what to pay attention to when planning your home painting project and hiring a professional painter. Also, you’ll see different approaches to calculating house painting costs.

In other words, you’ll find the following essential information in this in-depth guide:

How much do painters charge per room?

How much does a painter cost per square foot?

How much does a house painter charge per hour?

How much do painters charge per day?

What are typical painting jobs and their common costs?

Is house painting a good investment?

Which planning decisions you MUST make BEFORE hiring a professional painter?

How much does it cost to paint a house professionally?

Here comes a quick summary of different approaches to calculating the cost of painting a house and the corresponding prices.

Things Around Your Home You May Not Know You Can Paint

Renovating and updating your home can sometimes feel like an overwhelming process. It can be costly, time consuming and daunting to even know where to begin. But, it doesn’t always have to be complicated or difficult to turn your home into a haven and make it feel more personal. Quick updates, such as painting things around your home, can make a difference in its look and feel — and it’s affordable and easy to do yourself.

If you aren’t familiar with painting items around the home, you’ll want to be sure to take a few simple steps to prep. Always clean the surface you’re going to paint, and don’t forget to use a mask and protective eyewear to help keep fumes away from your eyes and mouth. Remember, always open a window or work in a well-ventilated area

Cabinet Hardware

Many people know that you can give your cabinetry a new look with a fresh coat of paint, but have you ever thought about painting the hardware? A few coats of spray paint can change the look of your drawers and cabinets and make it feel modern again. Be sure to purchase the appropriate type of spray paint for the hardware material. You can even try out different colors as a test run if you’re considering replacing the hardware soon. Adding a quick coat of black spray paint on a knob or two is an inexpensive way to see if you like black hardware in your kitchen, rather than replacing it all with new knobs or pulls.

Interior Doors

Most of us don’t pay much attention to the doors throughout our house, but they can become statement pieces with a little bit of creativity. After you do a quick sanding on the door, use latex paint or try chalkboard paint to create an interactive door. Black doors can make a stylish impression in your home, but you could also try a punch of color if you want a more playful look.


A coat of paint can provide a stylish update to various types of furniture in your home. You can paint the obvious pieces like your dining room table, a dresser or an entertainment center. But, you can also give new life to outdoor furniture, chairs or even that old metal filing cabinet where you organize your documents. The paint you’ll use for this project depends on the type of material you’re painting and the look you’re going for. For example, chalkboard paint can give a more rustic, distressed texture whereas an oil-based paint leaves a high-gloss finish. Spray paint is typically a good option for metal furniture, too. You can play around with different types of paint to see what you like.

Cost guide: painters and decorators

A fresh coat of paint is one of the best ways to give your home a new look. calculated average costs for professionals to paint or wallpaper your room, touch up woodwork or paint the exterior of your home.

If you want to get the professionals in to give your room a perfect finish, looked at how much you might need to pay. figures are only a guide to average costs, and there are several factors that can affect how much you’ll be charged, including:

where you live

the age and condition of your property

how long the job takes

the types of materials (such as the quality of paint) that you want to be used.

Ask traders to break down the quotes they provide, so you know what you’re being charged for. It’s a good idea to get more than one quote so you have a better idea of the going rate for your particular requirements.

Perfect Gift Ideas for Artists Who Paint

Looking for some meaningful and practical gift ideas that your artsy friend/significant other/family member would absolutely love to receive this Christmas? What items could help encourage an artist to keep creating and pursuing his/her creative passions?

First and foremost, I’d like to take a moment to thank you for reading this post, as it most likely means that you’re interested in celebrating your friend or loved one’s individuality and passion for art, and want to encourage him/her to keep going. As an artist myself, I can tell you that knowing people close to me support my decision to pursue art means everything, especially when one is just starting out.

I’m all about encouraging fellow artists to keep going because I 100% believe the world would be a better place with more art and artists in it.

All this said, no matter how mysterious and complex people make us artists to be, we’re honestly an easy bunch to buy presents for. Not only do we tend to wear our hearts (and minds) on our sleeves more than others, but there are things we need to constantly replace in order to keep feeding our need for creation.

We also need to constantly seek ways to stay inspired and motivated, and a huge variety of things can get our creative minds going.

Tricks To Painting Your Metal Fence

Having a metal fence around your home or property can be fantastic — they can be a lot sturdier than wooden fences, and depending on your aesthetic taste, it can look a lot better as well.

A Wire Brush And Steel Wool Will Help With Rust Deposits

Quite often, when you are working with painting a metal fence, you are going to have to remove some quantity of rust deposit, unless the fence in question is newly installed for you.

A Dirty Fence Should Not Be Painted

If you want to paint your metal fence properly, you need to make sure that it is not dirty before you get started. The reason for this is that you will find that paint that is applied to a metal fence needs to be applied to as smooth of a surface as possible – and having dirt and grime on the fence certainly is not helpful for that.

Wait Until It Dries

In any case where you have something that gets wet — whether this is the water that comes about from making sure that your fence is thoroughly clean or the coat of primer or coats of paint that are to come, you need to wait for the fence to dry before you move on to the next step thoroughly.

Protect The Ground Before Painting

When you’re painting a fence, you’re going to want to make sure to protect the ground before you start — you may get paint on the ground otherwise.

Learn The Basics Of Hardwood Flooring

How Often Should Hardwood Floors Be Refinished?

With proper care, a well-built hardwood floor can last a lifetime, even generations. But over time, the wood inevitably starts showing signs of wear and age. Scratches accumulate, uneven coloring may occur (especially in areas where the floors are exposed to sunlight), and floors begin to appear dull. You can refresh your floors by refinishing them—effectively by having them sanded, re-stained and sealed. But at what point should you consider having your hardwood floors refinished?

There is no set answer to this question. It depends on a number of factors, including the type of wood, foot traffic patterns, natural wear and your own personal aesthetic. Even with the best of care, most floors start showing their age after about 10 years. But for most households, simple wear-and-tear may cause the floors to need refinishing sooner than that. Here are a few signs and tips to help you decide when your hardwood floors need refinishing.

Excessive Scratches

These days, the “weathered” or “distressed” look is popular with wood floors, but that look is best achieved purposely by wire brushing evenly across the floor. For most of us, scratches don’t make the floor look “worn”—just scratched. Also, scratches can affect the integrity of whatever sealant may have been used, making the floors more vulnerable to the elements. A bit of scratching is natural, but deep or excessive scratches might need to be sanded out and refinished.


If your wood floors start to appear sun-bleached, it may not be a serious problem, but it can give your floors an uneven, unattractive look, and you may choose to refinish them just to recover an even coloring. If floorboards start getting a dull, gray hue, it’s a potential sign of damage from moisture over time, and you’ll want to refinish them to protect the wood from further damage. Let it go too long, and the floors will need to be replaced.

Areas of Dullness

A wood floor’s finish is as much a part of the aesthetic as its color, whether that finish is glossy, satin, matte or brushed. Over time, especially in high-traffic areas, you may start to notice the finish taking on a dull appearance compared to other parts of the floor. This inconsistency can make your floors look worn, uneven and even neglected. In most cases, refinishing will restore the floor to its consistent beautiful sheen.

A Note of Caution

Although refinishing your floors can make them look fresh and new, every time you do it, you’re removing a layer of wood. Solid hardwood floors can endure this process several times. Engineered wood floors can only handle it once or twice at most. But floors that get refinished too often can eventually get to the point where they lose beauty and just don’t look as nice anymore. For that reason, we recommend refinishing your floors only when it’s apparent that they need it, and not just for the sake of change.

Hardwood Floor Care and Maintenance

The most important step for basic hardwood floor care is to regularly vacuum, sweep or dust mop the floors to remove dirt and objects that can cause scratching. If there’s a risk that your vacuum might scar the floor’s surface, use the brush attachment connected to your appliance. Always wipe up any spills or mud right away, even if your floor is protected with a polyurethane finish.

Humidity levels can affect hardwood flooring, especially if they vary drastically. It’s best to keep the relative humidity between 35% and 55%, if possible, using a humidifier or dehumidifier as needed. If you notice shrinkage, cracks, cupping, or buckling, you may need to regulate the humidity in your home.

To properly clean your hardwood floor, it’s important to know what kind of finish is present: is it a polyurethane/other surface finish or a wax/penetrating stain finish? Polyurethane floors should never be waxed, and wax finished floors need to be periodically buffed to keep the shine. When buffing no longer brings back the shine, it’s time to wax. Polyurethane floors can be lightly damp mopped, provided the water is not allowed to stand. A waxed floor should never be mopped regardless of how wet the mop is.

When mopping hardwood floors with a polyurethane finish, use warm water and a small amount of dish washing liquid or wood cleaner. Make sure you are using a damp mop and not a wet one; be sure to wring out the mop well before applying it to the floor. Try to mop with the grain as much as possible, and wipe up any excess water with a soft cloth, polishing the hardwood floors as you go. Avoid using products with ammonia, vinegar, or abrasive cleaners. When in doubt, ask the manufacturer or installer of your floors what products and methods to use for cleaning.

Regular Cleaning

Through your daily traffic in the house, you may notice that your flooring surfaces may begin to dull slightly. This is most likely as a result of residual dirt tracked into the house by your family or your pets. A good procedure to clean your floors in an efficient and proper manner is to initially sweep the area with a soft bristle broom. It is important to examine the broom’s bristles before starting, as some brooms are not appropriate for some surface areas and can also scratch or mar the finish. It is best to try the broom on a small area of the floor first to insure that it’s not damaging the floor in any way.

Next, mix a solution of mild soap and water, preferably on the lighter side of the soap to insure a non-slip surface is maintained. Using a soft sponge mop, evenly mop the entire surface area until clean, and then let the area air dry. If this procedure is maintained on a regular basis, you will certainly prolong the beauty of your floors for a very long time. Beyond this, there are other steps that can be taken less frequently that can add life and beauty to your floors, such as floor treatments.

Monthly Floor Treatment

Floor treatments are widely available cleaning products specifically designed to add luster and shine, all while conditioning your hardwood floors. While these products are excessive to use on a weekly basis, it is certainly reasonable to treat your floor to this process every month or so, depending on traffic, and the simple steps needed to do so are well worth the effort. Be sure to verify the contents and application procedures for your specific product, and should any questions arise, refer to your local home products retailer for further advice. Sometimes mixtures/concentrates can vary from brand to brand, so be sure to check the label for mixture directions.

Many conditioning products available today are offered in a full strength version, which can be sprayed, either by aerosol or pump, directly onto your floor, then mopped dry with a clean dry rag or mop. It is typically in your best interest to follow your routine cleaning procedures prior to the application, to insure that no foreign objects can be collected by the rag or mop and cause scratching or marring. Once the area is cleaned and prepped, spread the product evenly over the entire area. Work backwards toward the opening of the room and gently buff the area clean. Doing this every month or so is perfectly safe for your floor’s finish and will add that desired effect of longevity and beauty to your home.

Annual Floor Sealing

Every year or so, it is a good idea to seal and condition your hardwood floors. This a simple procedure, completed with products that are also readily available, and can be done in an afternoon. When shopping for a floor sealer, be sure to check the contents and verify there are no dyes contained in the product. While dyes may be appropriate for tinting a floor’s finish, in this application, you want to retain the natural color of the floor and preserve the factory finish. Clean and prep the entire floor surface properly before getting started.

Begin sealing your floor by applying liberal amounts of bottled sealer to a localized area of the floor. With a clean mop or rag, begin brushing the sealer evenly one section at time, and allow ample time for the sealer to dry. Once the sealer is dry, it’s time to buff the area. This simple procedure consists of rubbing a clean, soft rag in a circular manner across the entire surface of the treated area. Take time during this process to step back, and try to align your sight evenly with the floor to verify that all the sealer has been properly removed and buffed out. If this is done properly, it should provide a clean, clear improvement on your floor’s original finish.

Following these steps will drastically extend the life and beauty of your hardwood floor. Because every floor is different, it’s always best to confer with your home improvement store professionals regarding product solutions that best fit your application. While general floor cleaner is appropriate in most cases, also be sure to check with the manufacturer of your floor’s finish before applying any chemical agents; failing to do so could adversely affect the condition and the life of the floor.

Refinishing Your Hardwood Floor

If you find your hardwood floors need a repair, clean your floor thoroughly first and assess the situation.

Sand the floor down where it needs to be repaired.

Wear a dust mask and buff out the area where the damage is. Dust flies around so a dust mask is vital to protect your lungs.

There will be dust all over the floor boards use that as a guideline for the surface area to cover.

Leave it to sit for a while, about a half hour should be good.

When you return to the floor, vacuum up the dust and sweep clean. You can dry tack the floor using a microfiber cloth.

Apply a finish to the floor with a paintbrush and cut in along the edges.

Working quickly – apply the finish with a roller and apply it to the rest of the floor where you are refinishing.

Allow to dry for a solid 3-5 hours time. You should put back any furniture after a day to be sure nothing gets scratched on the freshly refinished hardwood floor!

When to refinish

If floors have deep scratches or stains that have penetrated the polyurethane finish, or discoloration due to sunlight or age, refinishing is necessary to restore the wood’s beauty and protect it from drying and cracking.

Refinishing hardwood floors is a complex process that should only be undertaken by a professional or very skilled DIYers. It’s very easy to damage your floors through improper use of equipment or the application of the wrong finish. We frequently get frantic calls from well-meaning homeowners who believe they’ve ruined their floors. We can almost always fix the mistakes, but why take the chance?

Floor refinishing requires a heavy sanding to remove all finishes and to take off enough wood to remove scratches and discolorations. We use a dustless sanding process that removes nearly 100% of dust from the air.

After sanding, the floors are stained and then we apply the recommended number of coats of polyurethane, allowing each coat to dry completely and lightly sanding before adding the next (to promote adherence of the coats).

After the final coat is complete, you’ll need to wait a day before you (or your pets) can walk on your new floors. If you choose a waterbase polyurethane, you can “lightly” walk on your floors the same day. Furniture can be placed on the floors at this time, but you should wait to replace rugs for at least one week.