Tracking Your Fire Alarm System’s Performance With Specialized Software

Protecting family members from danger inside the home is a priority for many homeowners. In order to ensure that a house fire doesn’t cause injury or death, access to a functional fire alarm system is a must. Many homeowners think that the installation of smoke detectors can provide sufficient protection, but these devices only work when properly maintained. Relying on specialized software to help you monitor your home’s fire alarm system can be beneficial.

Here are three things that you can do with specialized software to keep your fire alarm system running more efficiently in the future.

1. Track changes in equipment sensitivity over time.

In order to detect subtle changes in air quality that could signal the presence of a fire, your smoke detectors need to be as sensitive as possible. Testing the sensitivity of smoke detectors can be challenging for homeowners, so tying your detectors into an electronic system that can be managed via specialized software can be beneficial.

Data sent from your smoke detectors to the software program allows you to generate reports that show changes in the sensitivity of your smoke detectors over time. You can use the information from these reports to repair or replace your smoke detectors as needed, allowing your home’s fire alarm system to become more efficient.

2. Access real-time readings remotely.

Many specialized fire alarm system tracking software programs come with apps that can be downloaded to your cell phone or tablet. These apps allow you to access real-time readings from your home’s fire alarm equipment from a remote location.

Having the ability to monitor equipment readings while you are at work, away from home on vacation, or while your kids are home with the babysitter gives you the ability to identify a potential problem and contact the proper authorities quickly for help.

3. Test your equipment regularly.

Conducting routine evaluations designed to test the function of your fire alarm system can help you keep your home safer in the future. With a specialized software program that monitors your home’s fire alarm system, you can manually test each piece of equipment in your home’s fire alarm system.

Data regarding performance and response time will be sent to the software program, and you can evaluate the efficiency of your fire alarm equipment to determine if repair or replacement is needed to maintain maximum protection for your family.

Protecting your home from fire damage becomes a lot easier when you invest in a specialized software program that will allow you to closely monitor the performance of your home’s fire alarm system in the future. For information on fire alarm monitoring, contact a company like Fyr Fyter Inc.

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Go Natural: 3 Steps To Keep Your Natural Wood Countertops Looking Beautiful

If you chose wood slab countertops for your new home, you’ll need to give them lots of tender loving care. While wood countertops are a beautiful addition to any home, they do require some additional maintenance. This is because natural wood is susceptible to moisture and extreme temperature variations. However, with proper care, your wood countertops will stay beautiful for years to come. Here are some simple steps you should follow to keep your live edge slab countertops in pristine condition.

Keep Them Clean and Dry

To keep your wood countertops in good condition, you need to clean them after every use. This includes removing crumbs from the surface. First, use a soft cloth to sweep away the crumbs. Next, fill your sink with warm water and about 1 tablespoon of mild detergent. Use a soft cloth to wash the surface of your wood counters. Dry them thoroughly using a dry, soft cloth. Fill a spray bottle with water and about ¼ cup of vinegar. Spray the countertops with the solution and wipe dry with a clean cloth. The vinegar will disinfect the surface and keep it sanitary between uses. For best results, give your counters a thorough cleaning at least once a day.

Keep Them Oiled

In addition to the daily cleanings, your counters will also need to be given a fresh coat of protective oil at least twice a year. The oil will seal the wood surface and prevent moisture damage. You can oil your wood counters using a mixture of Tung oil and citrus finish, which is available at most home improvement centers.

Supplies You’ll Need

  • Tung oil/citrus finish
  • Clean sponge
  • Disposable sanding pad
  • Clean cloth

Directions

  1. Clean your countertops as usual.
  2. Use a clean sponge to apply a thin layer of the oil to the surface of your countertops.
  3. Allow the oil to sit for about an hour.
  4. Use your disposal sanding pad to sand the oiled surface.
  5. Wipe the counter dry with your clean cloth.
  6. Allow counters to dry overnight.

Keep Them Repaired

It’s normal for accidents to happen in the kitchen. If your wood countertops develop small nicks and scratches, you should repair them as soon as possible. Clean the area to be repaired and then sand the damage using a fine sanding pad. Apply a thin coat of fresh oil to the sanded area to restore the finish. Repeat as needed.

Now that you have natural wood countertops in your home, keep them looking brand-new. Use the instructions provided here to retain the beautiful luster of your wood counters. For more information, contact companies like Dahlquist Construction, Inc.

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The Dangers of Compacting a Drainfield and the Common Causes of Compaction

The soil in the septic drainfield should not be compacted because doing so will reduce the drainfield’s efficiency. To understand why this happens, you first need to understand how the septic drainfield works.

How the Drainfield Works

The drainfield is responsible for actually getting rid of the wastes in your septic system. It does this by evaporating and biodegrading the wastes. Evaporation takes place best when the soil is loose, allowing the wastes to be exposed to the air and/or sunlight. Bacteria then work on the remaining biological wastes and turn them into harmless substances.

Why Compacting the Soil Is Dangerous

When you compact the soil, you interfere with all the operations that are necessary to dispose of the wastes. For one, compacted soil doesn’t allow for adequate evaporation because the soil beneath the surface layer aren’t exposed to the air. Secondly, compacted soil may not contain enough oxygen for the bacteria to digest the wastes.

Therefore, it’s advisable to avoid all activities that can compact the drainfield. Any activity that involves placing weights over the drainfield can compact its soil, but these three are some of the most common ones:

Constructions Over the Field

Almost all forms of construction over the septic drainfield have the ability to compact it. People sometimes build parking areas, fish ponds, or tennis courts if they don’t have space elsewhere for those constructions. Others don’t like the natural appearance of septic drainfields, so they cover up the fields by building things over them or using synthetic ground covers.

Driving or Parking Over the Field

Driving cars or heavy machinery (such as excavators) over the drainfield can also compact the soil. Parking such heavy automobiles on the drainfield isn’t advisable either. Therefore, if your compound is poorly designed and you have to drive over the drainfield, you need to redesign your compound’s layout if you are to avoid septic failure. You will need to move the roadway or septic drainfield, whichever is viable for your case. Apart from compacting the soils, the heavy automobiles can also damage the septic pipes.

Grazing Over the Field

Lastly, if you live in a rural area, allowing livestock to graze and walk over the drainfields will also compact the soil. A single horse or cow may not cause significant damage, but you should be concerned about your septic drainfield if a herd of animals has been grazing over your drainfield. 

For more tips on how to keep the soil in your drainfield loose, talk to a septic tank service like Kulp and Sons.

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Hardwood Flooring And Décor For Your Bedroom

Hardwood flooring is a luxurious material, primarily because of wood’s natural graining and warm beauty. However, hardwood is also an adaptable material. You start out with numerous wood options and can further customize them with plank width and staining. Such a grand material is especially desirable for your bedroom. Choose a wood floor option, and showcase it with your décor.

Select a Wood Species

Your choice in wood species ranges the alphabet from ash to white oak. Cherry, maple and oak are especially popular because they offer value for the money. They’re hard, but not considered an exotic species. Brazilian cherry and mahogany are beautiful exotic wood, but not as durable. Pine also isn’t as hard, but it’s a more budget-friendly option. Cork and bamboo are classified as wood flooring. The manufacturing process is different, though, and they’re also sustainable materials. Another option is purchasing reclaimed wood, which comes with a charming timeworn appearance. This wood typically comes from barns or trailers.

Choose a Board Width

You also have a range of board widths with your wood flooring. As the National Wood Flooring Association explains it, you can choose between strips, planks, and parquet. Strip flooring consists of boards under three inches wide, while plank flooring offers boards between three and seven inches wide. Parquet flooring consists of strips of wood laid in a geometric pattern. Strip flooring shows less of the wood grain and is generally less expensive. The more expensive planks showcase the wood’s graining. Parquet is ideal if the rest of your bedroom décor will be minimalist.

Pick a Finish

Once you’ve settled on a species and width, the last big decision is how you’ll have the flooring finished. If you choose pre-finished wood, you’ll have fewer stain choices but easier installation. However, you have more stain options if you have the floor site-finished. Your options range not only in color but also in luster and opaqueness. If you want a more casual vibe in your bedroom, consider a relatively transparent stain with a natural sheen. For modern décor, a more opaque stain in a glossy sheen offers a contemporary profile. Either way, warmer stains work well in the bedroom to create an inviting ambience.

Decorate the Room

While your décor style dictates the ultimate look of your bedroom, adhere to a few tips to accentuate your beautiful flooring. First, if using an area rug, choose one with colors that complement the wood coloring. In that vein, also look for bedding that matches one of the colors in the graining. Finally, if using wood furniture, don’t try to match the flooring exactly. As with the rug, select wood that complements the appearance of your hardwood floor.

For more information, talk to a professional like New York Hardwood Floors.

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How To Remove Your Old Carpeting

If you’re planning on getting new carpeting in your home, you may want to think about removing the old carpeting yourself. The carpet company you purchase your carpet from may remove your old carpeting for you, but it may come at a cost (read the fine print). If they are offering free removal and take-away, great, but if not, save yourself a few bucks and remove your carpeting yourself. Follow the steps below to remove and get rid of your old carpet.

Here’s What You’ll Need:

  • Pliers
  • Utility knife
  • Twine 
  • Hammer (or pry bar)
  • Knee pads
  • Safety glasses
  • Gloves
  • Long handled scraper
  • Shop vacuum 
  • Broom

Instructions:

  1. First, remove everything from the room you are going to be working in. You may want to take fragile items off of the wall as well, as some of the vibrations from the removal process can shake items off of the wall.
  2. Next,  put your gloves, knee pads, and safety glasses on. Start in one corner of the room and pull up on the carpeting. If you aren’t able to tug on it to loosen it, use the pliers to try and pull up on the carpet. Begin pulling it away from the tack strips. Be careful along the walls so you do not scratch up the baseboards (especially if you plan on keeping them).
  3. When you have about a 3–4 foot section of carpet, cut the section off with the utility knife You want to keep the sections small, as it’s easier to pick up to take out of your house (and your garbage man will appreciate it too). Roll the section and use the twine to hold the section in a roll. Repeat until you have the entire carpeting removed.
  4. Once the carpet is out, you can begin taking out the old carpet padding. This can get a little dusty, so again, be sure you are wearing your safety glasses for this part. Remove the padding in the same way you removed the carpet. There may be some spots that are difficult to pull up, use the pliers to help, or the long-handled scraper to remove it.
  5. Roll the padding just as you did the carpeting and haul it out of the house.
  6. Next, take off the old tack strips. Use the hammer or pry bar to remove these strips. Be careful handling these strips, as you can cause injury. 
  7. Go over your floor using the long-handled scraper to remove any leftover padding residue and to help look for staples that may be left in the floor. Remove the staples using pliers.

Your floor is now ready for the new carpeting to be installed. It is quite a chore to remove the old carpeting, so if it’s too much work, it may be worth spending the extra money to have it removed professionally.

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How To Make Space In A Small Kitchen

Small kitchens can be a drag, especially if you cook frequently or host dinner parties on a regular basis. Using your space wisely helps. Installing smart storage and making use of all available empty space will help ensure that you can have all the pots, pans and food necessary for cooking in your kitchen. 

Install Custom Cabinetry

Custom cabinetry helps your kitchen meet your needs, no matter how small the room. When designing your custom cabinetry, work with your contractor to choose the right type of cabinets for your needs. Installing a combination of specialized storage, like spice cabinets and cutlery drawers, along with general cabinetry for your pots, pans and plates, will help ensure that no shelf space is wasted and no kitchen item is left out.

When choosing custom cabinetry, talk to your contractor about running the cabinets all the way to the ceiling. While the top shelf of your cabinets will be too high to reach on a regular basis, you’ll still be able to store lesser used items in the shelves near the ceiling.

Use Miscellaneous Wall-Mounted Storage

Installing wall-mounted storage like open shelves and a magnetized knife rack will help you make use of any untouched wall space still left in your kitchen. You can find storage options like this in specialty stores that cater to apartment dwellers, as well as home improvement centers and home decor stores.

Don’t Forget the Ceiling

Your kitchen has oodles of unused space on the ceiling, if you can only find a way to harness it. Installing a pot rack on the ceiling of your kitchen will help you get the pots out of your bottom cabinets, freeing up more space for dishes and food. Remember to keep the pot wrack up high enough that grease from the stove won’t be able to reach the pots hanging above.

Install a Pull-Out Pantry

If your home is lacking a true pantry where you can store your food, talk to your custom cabinetry contractor about installing a pull-out pantry in the narrow space between your refrigerator and your wall, or in a comparable space. Remember, your pull out pantry need only be about as wide as a can of food in order to serve purpose.

Following these tips, you can make good use of your home’s small kitchen. For more suggestions, talk to your cabinetry installation contractor, such as those at Gerald L Scott Custom Cabinetry. He or she can make suggestions that will help you fit all the necessary items in your kitchen.

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Unique And Distinctive Windows For Your Residence

Distinctive windows can be one of the most creative and attractive features of a home. There are many different styles and configurations of residential windows that can allow or limit a maximum amount of air and light as desired. Everyone is familiar with single and double hung residential windows but there are other unique styles of windows that can give your home some architectural distinction and character. If you need to replace some of your residential windows, consider the following window styles to add a new look and feel to your interior rooms: 

  • Picture Windows – These are large, stationary windows that do not open. They allow the inside viewer to see the immediate landscape outside the window and when installed in pairs and multiples, can offer a scenic panorama into the near and far environment. Picture windows can also be an attractive addition to a curved wall of a house when used in a location with a scenic view. Moveable exterior awnings can be installed at the top edge of picture windows to provide some shelter from the midday sun and seasonal precipitation. 
  • Skylights – These windows are installed on a flat or canted ceiling to allow a lot of light into an interior room. The light that comes from skylights is bounced light from the sun and other roof structures. This type of light is cool and bright and works well for living rooms, kitchens, bathrooms, and studios. Some skylights can be installed that open out onto the roof, and access to these window controls can be electronic. 
  • Awning Windows – This style of window is hinged at the top rails and opens outward at the bottom rail. These are called awning windows because when they are open, precipitation and falling leaves can fall on them and slide downward to the ground. Awning windows can be stacked on top of other styles of windows or installed in a group of 2 or 3 awning windows stacked on top of each other. Awning windows allow a lot of ambient air to circulate in and out of a room. 
  • Sliding Windows – These windows are installed in two and threes and slide into the interior spaces of the adjacent wall when opened. Sliding windows have a very slim profile and can easily give the inside viewer a full view of the immediate landscape and locale. 
  • Glass Block Windows – These windows are attractive and can offer security and privacy wherever they are installed. Glass block windows are often used as room dividers between adjacent rooms and allow a maximum amount of bounced and filtered light into a room. 
  • Casement Windows – These windows are tall and thin and are hinged on the side to open outward to the right and left. Casement windows can be installed singularly or in multiples to create a full wall of vertical windows. They can also be installed adjacent to doors and other windows. 

The windows of your home can add a great deal of air, light, and ambiance into the rooms where they are installed. Think of airflow and light flow when considering window replacements as they can directly impact the character of your rooms. When properly installed and insulated, your replacement windows will give new life to your residential rooms in each and every season of the year. 

For home window replacement, contact a company such as Beissel Window & Siding.

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