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A Plumbers Guide to Installing a Water Softener

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Thinking of installing a water softener in your home? Here’s a brilliant tip. Save yourself the hassle and have a local plumber install it for you.

According to industry experts, it may cost as little as $800 for a professional plumber to install a water softener, assuming they get a labor rate of $45 to $50 per hour.t

Assuming a labor rate of $50 per hour, that means a plumbing company will take nearly 16 man-hours of work to install your water softener, and remember these are trained professionals.

As a consequence, you personally, as an amateur, can probably expect to double that amount of time or nearly a full week of work, just to save a few bucks.

Doesn’t it make total sense to hire a water softener installation company to do the job?

Deciding to go anyway?

But if you insist you have both the time and the expertise to do it yourself instead of hiring a water softener installation company, what are the steps you will need to know?

1. Do the prep work

This means cleaning and sweeping the area and positioning the water softener unit for installation. Place the water softener where you can measure the pipes accurately, and be sure the inlet goes to the softener and the outlet to your water heater.

2. Shut off the water and the electricity or gas

Shut the water off and the electricity or gas. Then drain the water from the pipes.

3. Cut the pipes with a pipe cutter

(You do have one of these handy in your toolkit right?) into the water supply and install an elbow joint.

4. Cut and secure the pipes to the bypass valve

After that, solder all the nipples and fittings to the bypass valve. (You are an expert at soldering, right?)

5. Clamp the drain hose

Next, clamp the drain hose to the softener.

6. Connect the brine tank hose

The brine tank overflow tube must be securely connected.

7. Position the bypass valve  

It must be in the bypass position.

8. Regenerate

Plugin the unit and set the valve to backwash, and hold the regenerate button.

9. Open the inlet controls…. slowly

You want to bleed off any air as you fill the tank.

10. Regenerate again, and keep your fingers crossed

If all goes well, you can proceed to the final steps such as programming the controls.

11. Swallow your pride

If you totally screw it up, which you are likely to do, then have a beer or two and then call in a professional to do the job properly.

For most people, you are more likely to win the lotto, (which as they say, is about as likely as getting hit by lightning and bit by a shark on the same day) than most amateurs are able to install a water softener on their own.

Some things are just better off being left to the professionals.

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Home Improvement

10 Plants that Are Known For Keeping Pests Away

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No matter what artillery is unleashed upon pests, they’ll keep returning time and time again. Water-spraying is not completely effective, and pesticides tend to have negative effects when used either indoors or outdoors, so more and more people are resorting to planting strategies.

Today we’ll talk about the 10 plants that are known for keeping pests away, including basil, sunflower, petunia, hyssop, chive, dahlia, dill, artemisia, and more, so let’s start from the top:

1.  Basil

Although it may not be as elegant as Dahlia or Lavender, Basil is one of the most effective pest-repelling plants on the list. Its oil is known to repel a wide range of insects, as well as flies, and even mosquitos.

These plants are ideally planted next to tomatoes, as it will help the latter grow larger and substantially tastier.

Basil is also great for people who are struggling with stomach problems like a weaker appetite, diarrhea, or intestinal gas, so having one in your garden will be advantageous on several levels.

2.  Sunflower

Sunflowers are fairly robust physically, and they can endure entire colonies of smaller insects nibbling on their leaves. This particular plant is a companion plant, in the sense that it doesn’t naturally repel pests, but it attracts predators that won’t harm the flower but will hunt garden pests instead.

When planted next to weaker plants, sunflowers would attract the pests towards themselves, most notably aphids. Their sturdy exterior will be able to handle dozens of aphids, but at the same time, sunflowers also attract ants who prey on these tiny nuisances.

In addition to being an excellent companion to almost any plant they’re set next to, Sunflowers are remarkably rich in magnesium, zinc, iron, copper, selenium, and a variety of vitamins (E, B1, and B6 most notably).

3.  Petunia

Planting a couple of petunias in your garden equates to having a constantly dispersing all-natural pesticide repelling all kinds of pests, such would be asparagus beetles, tomato worms, as well as leafhoppers.

Most pests that petunias are able to repel are otherwise pretty resistant to manual elimination approaches. They are also among the most beautiful flowers on the list, although they have limited uses in terms of culinary options.

4.  Hyssop

Often used as a scenting ingredient for soaps and various cosmetics, hyssops both look and smell great, at least to humans. Many pests, on another hand, would do their best to avoid it in large circles. It’s also a companion plant by nature that mainly lures honeybees.

Hyssop plants are great when used as natural remedies for infections of the urinary tract, menstrual cramps, and poor circulation. Furthermore, like Basil, Hyssop’s properties can have wondrously positive effects on digestive and respiratory issues. It’s a versatile plant that has tremendous pest control and healing value.

5.  Chive

Chives are amazing on so many levels that most professional gardeners have at least a couple in their yard. Although Japanese beetles aren’t too common in most regions, the areas where they sometimes migrate to are known to suffer from infestations sooner or later.

Chives can also do a good job at repelling carrot-rust flies and many smaller insects, but they’re also capable of preventing scab if planted between apple trees.

They also boast a variety of health-related benefits and are actually said to prevent cancer due to the high concentration of alliums. Chives are brimming with Vitamin K, choline, as well as folate, which basically means that they can improve memory as well.

6.  Dahlia

Widely recognized as one of the most gorgeous flowers in the world, Dahlia is as elegant as it is beautiful. Numerous people plant dahlias in their garden not knowing that this plant actually boasts potent pest-repelling properties.

Namely, Dahlia plants can repel nematodes, but their large leaves can sometimes provide good hiding spots for earwigs, slugs, as well as snails. Additionally, some of the most notable health-based benefits dahlia plants offer include anti-inflammatory properties, it can help with weight loss, and tends to promote the gain of muscle mass in a completely natural way.

7.  Dill

Another companion plant that is arguably even more efficient at attracting ‘good’ predators to one’s garden is Dill. This plant attracts predatory wasps, which can pick your garden clean of most pests, although there is a chance that you may become their target as well due to their aggressive nature.

On a more positive note, dill plants repel most pests that feed on cabbage, such as cabbage loopers, cabbage moths, and cabbage worms.

8.  Artemisia

The wonderful scent of artemisia is beloved by humans and found as repulsive by many insects. When planted in drifts, artemisia plants are sometimes capable of deterring certain smaller animals (such as rabbits, for instance).

Be very careful when deciding where to plant artemisia, as it produces a special kind of natural botanical ‘poison’. Ideally, place it as further away from your weakest plants as possible.

The main problem with planting artemisia in your garden is that it is super-strong scent may deter helpful insects as well. However, you may not need ‘good’ predators if you don’t have any pests in your garden, to begin with.

9.  Lavender

The plant of choice for thousands of gardeners, lavender is one of the most popular flowers in the world due to its exquisite scent and delicate aesthetic. It is known to attract a broad range of helpful insects while repelling fleas, moths, flies, as well as mosquitos and fleas.

10. Nasturtium

Aphids won’t ever show in your garden if you have a few nasturtium plants in them. When planted next to tomatoes, these plants can repel whiteflies and most species of squash bugs. In addition to that, nasturtium plants can also be used in a salad, as they can be quite tasty.

One of the most notable health benefits of nasturtium is the drastic boost to our immune system. It packs a decent nutrition value and an abundance of several types of vitamins.

We hope that this brief rundown was useful to you and that you’ve learned something new today on how to keep the pests away. Make sure you are staying safe in these times we are all going through and have a good one, guys!

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Home Improvement

5 Must-Have Products for Professional Carpet Cleaning Services

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The look, appeal and smell of your client’s carpet after your professional service makes or breaks the deal. It is the key to you getting a call back for their next appointment. If it looks great, shiny and new, and smells great, there are high chances of you getting a great review online and increased chances of customer retention.

To manage this feat, you must invest in high-quality carpet cleaning products for your company. The better your products, the better are your company’s chances of getting a wider clientele.

1. Carpet Shampoos

Nowadays, a variety of carpet shampoos are available in the market. They are based on the kind and material of the rug in question. If your client’s rug is old or vintage, you could opt for a gentle and natural carpet shampoo. In case of dealing with heavy stains and grease, you should go for strong industry-grade carpet shampoo. These shampoos work well on upholstery too.

A popular customer choice nowadays is herbal shampoo. It causes minimal damage to the carpet’s surface and leaves behind a great floral fragrance. Eco-friendly shampoos give you the same benefits.

Also, recommend what’s best for your client and seek their choice before going forward.

2. Carpet Cleaner Detergent

When purchasing carpet cleaners (dry or steam cleaners) for your service company, you must ensure that you invest in high-quality industry-grade carpet cleaning solutions and detergents that are compatible with the machine. Simply read the machine label to know what kind of detergent you can use with the device to avoid any confusion.

3. Stain Remover

Stain removers are detergent-like products used on specific target areas of the carpet, helping you remove carpet stains effectively. You must be extremely careful when stocking up on these since some industry-grade removers are extremely corrosive that can damage your client’s carpet. Ensure that you have various kinds in your inventory, which are all free from any harmful chemicals.

4. Stain Removing Sprays

While it may look like a cheat code for a better service result, we can assure you that this is an essential product. These stain removal sprays are used by homeowners and professional cleaners like you. These sprays come in a handy bottle that you can carry around in your toolkit. Simply spray it on the affected area, allow it to settle for a few minutes and simply wipe the area with a washcloth.

You can use this if your machines find it difficult to remove the grime or oily residue at a particular spot on the carpet. This is the perfect product for removing difficult stains and grease. Since this is a strong solution, it is ideal for a professional to administer the product. Hence, carry around one in your toolkit at all times.

5. Carpet Fresheners

Nothing is better than leaving behind a wonderful smelling carpet after a complete service. Carpet fresheners can help you in this regard. These fresheners are to be sprayed on the surface of your carpet and allowed to dry. These help them to smell bright and fresh for long periods of time, even after the service. They also help in masking the smell of the cleaning solutions you’ve used –which is crucial if you used strong products on a heavily soiled carpet.

You may carry multiple fragrances for your client to choose from or choose a signature carpet freshener for your company.

Cleaning agents and products have the potential to harm the carpet due to their intense concentration. Knowing how much of which product to use is your responsibility as a professional carpet cleaning company. Make sure to present your client with all the options and educate them about the pros and cons of each before letting them decide which one to choose.

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Home Improvement

Tips for a Small Bedroom: Make the Most of the Space

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The bedroom is where you relax and unwind from the stresses of the day. Often, however, a lack of space makes it look more like an unsightly storage room than an oasis of calm. Get inspired by our tips on how to cleverly arrange a small bedroom – you’ll be rewarded with a perfectly utilised space and, hopefully, undisturbed sleep.

Start with the bed

The bed is absolutely the most important piece of furniture in the bedroom. For two people, a queen or king-sized bed is bliss. A smaller double bed might seem a good idea in a smaller space, but in reality it’s not ideal – you want space to move around. Any space you save will cost you valuable comfort.

Sofa beds are the ultimate space savers if you’re really pushed – they are multi-functional, serving as a seating area during the day. They often include useful storage compartments where you can store bed linen, duvets and pillows.

For really small spaces, a pull-down wall bed is an amazing choice. You can get them with shelving storage included, and you can even keep the bed made whilst it’s stowed away!

Continue with storage space

So, where to keep your clothes when pushed for space? In a bedroom where every inch is precious, it’s definitely worth investing in a bespoke built-in wardrobe that really utilises the space. Taking the storage all the way to the ceiling is a good idea, and make sure to choose a light colour for the doors, as it will open up the room. A mirror on the wardrobe door will also bring more light into the room & add depth.

Another must for storing seasonal clothes or unnecessary items are storage boxes. Storage boxes or baskets in different colours and designs can serve as decorative features if displayed on an open shelf or wardrobe.

If they’re not so attractive, put them behind closed doors, or under the bed. Getting a vacuum-packing machine will save you precious inches and is well worth thinking about.

Overall, don’t overdo it with the furniture in your bedroom; the room should feel as airy as possible. You can replace classic bedside tables with wall-mounted tables, and a bulky bookcase with just a few simple shelves.

Choose bright colours

A darkly painted bedroom gives a closed-in feeling, so either leave the walls completely white or paint a feature wall in a contrasting colour. If white paint is too boring for you, go for soft pastel shades. Remember, you can always use contrasting and brighter colours for small decoration in the bedroom, as well as for pillowcases and bedspreads.

Try to bring plenty of light into the room, both natural and artificial. Only have a tiny window? Leave the window sill clear of clutter so you don’t make it even smaller. Your bedroom shouldn’t be without a large mirror: as we mentioned before, it’s the ultimate depth giver!

Glossy surfaces and clean lines will also brighten up the room. Horizontal stripes will also open up the space, either as a pattern on fabric accessories or as a long shelf above the bed. Vertical stripes, on the other hand, add height to the room.

Don’t forget to keep it clean

In a bedroom where space is at a premium, try to keep things as tidy as possible. Any small amount of mess – clothes, charger cables, leftover plates or cups – will be magnified in a small space. It’s best to stick to a minimalist approach, and reduce your clutter, both inside and outside your cupboards!

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