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As we inch closer and closer to summer there are many of you out there who are making your long-awaited summer vacation plans, and I’m sure you are counting down the days and bragging about your upcoming trip on social media. The problem with that is thieves are now using social media to find their next target. So should you just shut in? Not be happy about your upcoming trip? I say nay-nay! Follow these steps to help secure your home while you are on vacation:
1. Stop newspaper delivery: I am putting this number one for a reason. Having paper after paper pile up on your driveway is the sure-fire way for thieves to know you aren’t home. Have either a friend or neighbor pick up your paper every morning, or suspend your paper delivery altogether while you’re gone.
2. Keep lights off…then on…then off again: You can file this under “making it seem like you’re home” just like the newspaper advice. The difference between your lights and the newspaper is that your lights are going to need a bit more work. Your first instinct might be to simply leave your lights on all the time (to give it that “lived-in” look), but how often are you living with every light in your house on at 2:40 in the morning? To get around this problem look into getting a timed light switch. By installing a quick action light switch timer you can keep up the facade you are home.
3. Lock up: I know, duh right? But I’m not just talking about locking your front and back door, I’m saying you should lock your windows, screen doors, and even your garage door. Thieves tend to like a quick-in-quick-out approach and playing around with annoying locks may frustrate them just enough to leave your home alone
4. Unplug the electronics, turn down the air: There’s more to protecting your home while you’re away than not letting thieves in, you also need to protect your home from disaster. Unplugging your electronics such as computers and TVs can greatly reduce the risk of a short. Unless you have animals in the house (in which case hiring a sitter can eliminate practically this whole article) turning down your air-con can save energy and money. Turning the air down can keep your home cool enough to prevent overheating, but not so cold that you’re wasting your money.
Now that you have 4 tips to help protect your home while your on vacation, what are you waiting for? Where are you going? Can we come? Be sure and tell us your go-to vacation spots and go-to home protection plans by logging onto facebook and leaving a message!
Everybody build (and travel) safe out there!
We are getting ever-closer to the summer, and for you lucky folks out there that have a swimming pool to relax by I want to help you by giving you some tips that make your pool the coolest spot this whole season.
Whether you are a seasoned pool owner, or new to the swimming-in-y0ur-backyard lifestyle, these tips can help keep your pool in tip-top shape for your family and (mooching) friends:
1. Know Your Chemicals: Pool owner or not, everyone knows the main chemical in your pool is Chlorine, but what is Soda Ash? Muriatic Acid? and how do they affect your pool? These are just two of the chemicals you need to pay attention to when you are maintaining the health of your pool, and adding them at the right times keep your pH balance in check. You also need to make sure you are storing your chemicals correctly. Like most chemicals, keep them in a cool dry place and especially keep them out of the sunlight! Here is a cool article from WikiHow that gets into more detail on how to maintain your pool’s pH balance, one from About, and for our friends-of-branding, here is a step-by-step brought to you by Arm and Hammer.
2. Clean, Clean, Clean: As they say, cleanliness is next to godliness, and so goes with your pool. You want to make sure you are cleaning your pool monthly, weekly, daily. There are different types of cleaning you need to do at different times, but for right now I’ll just tackle the daily items. Make sure you check your filters every day. Even if you don’t use your pool on a daily basis, and even if it’s covered, you never know what random objects could be sneaking into your water. Skimmer baskets (the classic white filters we all opened as kids) take barely a minute to empty, and is an important step to take before vacuuming your pool. Vacuuming your pool should be thought of like mowing your lawn. Make a clean sweep throughout the whole pool overlapping a little on each pass to make sure you are getting everything out you should.
3. Inspect Your Pool’s Heater: Unless you’re living in the middle of the desert you are probably going to need a pool heater. Heaters actually will last a long time without maintenance, but when that maintenance needs to happen you need to make sure you call a professional to do it. In the mean time, calcium can deposit on your heater, and heat attracts critters. Just make sure you go out to your heater and keep an eye on it in-between fixes.
Swimming pools are one of the greatest, but most complicated additions you can make to your home. There are a ton of other things you need to do to maintain a healthy pool, and I am only barely scratching the surface here. If you need more advice for your pool be sure and tell us! Make a comment on the blog or go to facebook and message us, we’ll answer your question right away!
Everybody build (and swim) safe out there!
I am not one to perpetuate a kind of “shock” journalism. I don’t want people to read the blog here and think I am trying to scare them into signing up and using Safepact.com when they redo their home, but the reality is that bad contractors are still out there. Even with how young 2014 is there are still stories out there about contractors and what they are doing to poor homeowners. Here are three modern examples of how bad contracting is still in the news.
1. Roofing troubles in St. Louis: A Memphis man has scammed at least three people by accepting roofing contracts, and not fulfilling his end of the bargain. Between the two interviewed victims the man has taken almost $8000 from them without having done a lick of work. The story does say that this money was taken from their deposit. You will probably have to pay a deposit (it is common fare) but be wary that your deposit isn’t any more that 5-10% of your total bill.
2. California sting nets huge return: A California sting operation arrested more than 120 (!!) unlicensed contractors. There were a variety of reasons for the arrests, but one of them was that the contractor didn’t have the proper license to be doing the work they were assigned such as workers compensation insurance.
3. Hawaii man gets arrested for fraud: Not even the word’s greatest vacation spot is safe from contractor fraud. A man was charged with two counts of felony fraud because of the actions he took. He took more than $30,000 from his victims and, due to a 2012 law, is charged with performing work while falsely claiming to be a contractor.
The news is not all bad however! Publications such as the US News & World Report are still on your side. They recently put out an article with some tips on how to avoid a contractor scam yourself. As usual they did good work, but they left out one important fact: Use Safepact.com to safely and securely hold your money BEFORE your contractor has an opportunity to run off with it.
If you are worried about starting a renovation project, and having your contractor be a bad one, be sure and check out the library of posts here on the blog, head over to our Youtube channel, or talk to us on facebook. We are more than happy to talk with you about your upcoming job!
Everybody build safe out there!