Landscaping Ideas

Prevent Flooding with These Landscaping Ideas

Depending on where you live in Australia, flooding may or may not be a problem for you. However, if it tends to rain more often than not, you might find you need to get creative with your landscaping options. Failure to take care of flooding and water flow can result in a soggy yard that you use less than you would like.

Check out this helpful advice below

Locate the Problem

Before you go and buy everything you need for your landscaping task, find out why and how you have a problem with flooding in the first place. Typically, flooding occurs when the earth can’t absorb any more water, with nowhere to drain. It then moves to the lowest point in your property – the place where you need to install drainage. Sometimes, flooding can occur with heavy rain in a short space of time. It falls quicker than your soil can absorb it.

Find Out if Your Property is Prone

Flooding can be a once-off occurrence, or your property could be prone to it.  Common signs your property is likely to flood are include a sloping lawn, stains around your home’s cladding, a missing top gutter system, and water pooling on your driveway.

Divert Water

When you begin to alter your landscaping, think about where water typically floods and take action. The last thing you want is for it to end up right in the area you’ve just turned into a barbecue nook! Install a spouting system that helps to divert the water away from your house. You may also like to include downspout extenders to draw it away.

Use It To Your Advantage

Does your property flood in the same place all the time? If you can’t fix it, work with it. Create a rain garden in this area. Add flood-proof plants, dig out the turf, install an overflow and berm, and add mulch with native grasses. Before you know it, your previously-flooded lawn is a beautiful rain garden that looks the part.

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Commercial Cleaner

3 Tips For Finding The Perfect Commercial Cleaner

Finding a commercial cleaner to look after your business or commercial building can be difficult. The options are seemingly endless, and it can be tiring reading through a whole lot of different websites to choose the best cleaner.

Luckily for you, there are a few telltale signs that you can look for that will help you identify the best commercial cleaners for your business. Some things will allow you to eliminate some cleaners immediately, while others will help you build a shortlist of suitable contractors for your business. Our top three tips for finding the perfect commercial cleaner include:

  1. Find Someone Who Is Qualified And Experienced

The first thing that you should look for when it comes to choosing the perfect cleaning company for your commercial needs is their qualifications and experience. While cleaning isn’t necessarily a job which requires a lot of qualifications, they certainly help, and they can provide proof that the cleaner in question is well equipped to handle your work.

Where possible, you should always work with commercial cleaners who have a well established company and who have been in the business for a decent amount of time. Find someone who has qualifications relating to the type of building you have – commercial, residential or industrial – and who has decent cleaning equipment and materials.

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Plumbing Services

Plumbing Services

Be Prepared

There’s a saying that states: Make sure you buy a plunger before you need a plunger! While the image that the saying might conjure up is not the nicest, it holds true. The same can be said for plumbers. Get to know a plumber before you really need a plumber.

Plumbing and Safety Inspection

You can do that by contacting a plumbing service to carry out a routine check on your home or investment property. It’s a great way to get to know the people in a service that you may need in the direst emergency.

One other bit of advice is to keep a record of any plumber you might use if you are satisfied with their work. As mentioned, with any home system, sooner or later you’ll need the service of the best plumbing company you can find in an emergency or for repair.

Finding the Best Plumbing Service

Since every home in the country has some sort of indoor plumbing, it only makes sense that at one time or another everyone is going to need the services of the best plumbing service they can find. The challenge is finding someone who is trustworthy, skilled and yet affordable to perform the work. This seems like it should be an easy task but due to the fact that plumbing is one skill which is not learned by attending a class or reading books, there should be some way for average home owners to get decent service.

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Financial Planner

How A Financial Planner Can Help With Home Renovation

If you are thinking about doing any type of home and garden renovation your list of experts to help you might include an electrician, an architect or a landscape gardener. However, have you thought to include a financial planner on your list? It is likely not, as most people think financial planners are only for sorting out investments and pensions. On the contrary, they can assist with any project which requires financing and home renovation is one of them.

There are countless examples of homeowners embarking on a home renovation project, and seeing the whole thing grind to a halt because the project was not planned properly with regards to financing it. The costs might have spiralled out of control, or an expected bill which caused them to reach their credit card limit are just two of the dramas that may have befallen them.

Assuming you don’t want the same to happen to you, the sensible option is to employ the services of a financial planner so that any concerns you may have for your home renovation project are allayed with regards to money and financing.

In practical terms, there are several ways a financial planner can assist you when planning any kind of home or garden renovation. Firstly, they can look at your overall financial health, and suggest ways you might be able to improve your financial situation to make the project more affordable.

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Common Fire Types

Common Fire Types And How They Should Be Treated

When it comes to office and business safety, fire is a very important consideration. Sure, it’s rare to have a fire in your building, but it is very important to understand that when you do, it isn’t always as simple as grabbing the nearest fire extinguishers and putting it out.

A report out today from Integral Fire Protection, says there are a number of different fires which all behave differently. Obviously, the standard wood or flammable solid based fire is the most common, and is probably the one which we are all familiar with. However, there are at least four other types of fires – classified by the fuel they burn – which should be treated differently to maximise your chance of extinguishing them safely. They are:

Class A Fires – General Combustibles

These are the fires which we are all familiar with. They are fuelled by oxygen, and generally involve common materials like paper, wood, plastic or fabrics burning. They are easily managed, and can usually be controlled by dousing with water, using an appropriate fire extinguisher or covering with sand or a fire blanket.

Class B Fires – Flammable Liquids

Flammable liquids, such as petrol or oil, behave differently to solids when they burn. Since liquids can flow, it is extremely important to never throw water on a liquid fire. The water will sink below the flammable liquid in most cases, evaporating and causing an explosion. Make sure that you use an appropriate fire extinguisher – such as a dry powder or CO2 one – to minimise the risk of making the fire worse.

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Outdoor Living

The Health Benefits of Spending Time Outdoors

As a resident of Perth, Australia, you can appreciate the weather as for most of the year it is more than pleasant. The city has heat, and heat waves, but apart from the excessively hot days, people aren’t caged inside like you would be if it was bitterly cold. There are more than 260 sunny days in Perth annually and that makes activities outdoors common for most people. Spending time in your garden that has had the benefit of a nice landscape design can be surprisingly good for you.

What is probably not known is that there are benefits to being outdoors that have been scientifically proven.


Being outside improves short term memory.

A study by a US university found that test subjects got 20% better scores on tests they were given after a short walk through trees and outside in sunshine. Similar studies found that depressed individuals increased their working memory after a short walk outside.

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Good Fencing

The Good Side of the Fence

Lone Pine Fencing in Sydney advise that getting new fencing is not simply choosing what you want and building it, or having it built. What about the neighbours? If the local council regulations allow the type of fence you want, you probably feel like it’s okay to build it. Unfortunately, while the fence might be in your yard, or more likely on the boundary, the neighbours will be seeing one side of it every day. Like everything else, there is etiquette involved before you get all enthusiastic and start putting up that fence.

Common Boundaries

Even if you are replacing an existent fence, you need to have the property line checked again.

Your land titles should clearly indicate where everything starts and stops with regard to boundaries, but make sure. Get a surveyor to stake the property again so the fence goes in exactly the right position. Additionally, a surveyor can place stakes along the boundary, giving you a clearer idea of exactly where your fence can go.

Communication with the Neighbour

You cannot erect a fence in this country without having the neighbour agree to the design and cost, particularly as they are usually liable for half the cost anyway. Maybe the neighbour was considering a new fence anyway. It’s just common courtesy to have a nice neighbourly chat about it.

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Landscape Design

The Importance of Edging in Landscape Design

The landscape design process is often prepared with a variety of special accents that can make any garden look attractive. A professional team can assist you with getting a quality edge ready around your garden to make it look more distinctive and unique.

The kind of edging you chose is important in order to establish the way you want your garden and landscaped area to look and what your lifestyle needs are.

  • It adds an ornamental look to your landscape in general.
  • It also works as a border for the entire space.
  • You could even add edges to separate individual spots around your landscape. This is for areas where there are lots of plants that need to be contained in some way to make them more attractive.

As you plan to get an edging ready, a landscaper will be able to advise you on the best kinds to suit your garden and give the kind of look you are aiming for. This could include a review of how well the edging is to be made and where it should be placed for the best effect. A proper diagram should be made with professional ideas for what can be done to help you get the most out of whatever you plan on adding to your garden.

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Shades or Sails

The Fine Print for Shade Sail Purchase

Purchasing a shade sail for your business from Shade Sails Perth is a great idea. It shows your care about the comfort and well-being of your customers when you provide shade for them to sit in while they are at your establishment. But before you sign on the dotted line, it’s a good idea to read all the fine print to ensure you are getting what you really need.

The fine print should contain the following information: –

  • Durability of the product. You’ll want to know exactly how long you can expect the sail to last so you can calculate the overall cost for that number of years.
  • Strength – this is not the same as durability. Some things last a long time but are not that strong in some ways. Strength means that the shade sail, posts and fittings should be strong enough to withstand a reasonable amount of adverse weather and the sail itself should not tear in the wind, or due to being over-tensioned.
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Timber Flooring

Tiber Flooring – Making the Change

At what stage of living in a house do you make a conscious decision about changing the look of the floors? Is it when you have ordered yet another carpet clean? Is it when you have had pets inside the house and the carpets just can’t handle it anymore, not the poo, animal vomit nor the ingrained pet hair? When do you decide that the house really needs freshening up, a complete change over, and that timber flooring is the best way to go?

Cool Living

If you live in the hottest and driest state in Australia, the West, then doing all you can to keep cool without using too much energy, read air conditioning, becomes of paramount importance. Wooden flooring does not retain the heat as much as a carpet. Clean lines and that feeling of ‘open’ is a result of installing wooden flooring and doing away with carpets.

Cold Feet

If you’re still a bit of a softie when it comes to getting out of the bed on a winter’s morning, and think even wooden flooring is too cold for your tootsies, then for heaven’s sake, buy a rug or small mat on which to put your feet when you swing them out from under the covers. Have your slippers handy. If you look at some photos in Better Homes and Gardens you will see that some beautifully designed rugs look positively great on wooden flooring.

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Transport Company

How to Choose a Sustainable Transport Company

Sustainability practices form a basis for choice in many people’s lives these days. We choose to deal with companies that follow at least some sustainable practices in their business, so how can we choose a transport company in the same way? What does sustainability look like for such a company?

You can use a platform to choose a freight company where freight must be sent from A to B in our modern world and there are many different kinds of vehicles used in its transportation, from plane to ship and from van through to huge semi-trailer or BWs. Goods can even travel by car, motor bike or pushbike – think in terms of mail or newspapers for the last few.

The thing is, how can we know which freight companies use sustainable practices in their business? it’s not that easy to tell, but here are a few hints.

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Home Design Ideas

10 Home Design Ideas to Make Your Small Space Look Bigger

Affordable homes are often smaller than more costly ones, but that doesn’t mean the owners can’t truly enjoy living in them. In fact, a smaller home design often creates a warm, intimate atmosphere that can be missing in a larger one.  There are many different ways to make your smaller home look larger so you don’t feel like you’re living in a box. Here are some of them.

  • Know your limits. When space is limited, don’t stuff it with lots of furniture. For instance, rather than having the traditional sofa, 2 lounge chairs and a coffee table set-up in the living room, limit it to just the sofa. Or you could find a lounge suite that is smaller than most, with narrower arms and a low back. Comfortable easy chairs take up less space than the kind of lounge chairs that match the sofa.
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healthy living

9 Simple Tips for Healthy Living

Healthy living doesn’t usually come naturally because there are many temptations that lead to bad habits and after that, to bad health. While it is fatally easy to get into those bad habits, it seems somewhat harder to establish the good ones, mostly because they are the opposite of what we’ve become used to.  However, if you do a thing for 30 days, experts tell us it becomes a habit, so try following one or more of these simple tips for a month and see what happens.

  • Drink more water. Water helps to flush the toxins out of the body and cleans the kidneys, one of our waste disposal units. Water keeps your body hydrated and helps to carry nutrients and oxygen around our body. It also helps to keep the skin looking young and fresh and helps you to lose weight. What’s not to like about that?
  • Eat a healthy diet including fresh fruit and vegetables. Don’t overcook food as that destroys the nutrients in it. Have raw or lightly steamed vegetables for the most nutrients. Brightly coloured foods generally have a lot of antioxidants to keep you healthier.
  • Have plenty of sleep. If you are constantly tired you become bad-tempered. You’ll also gain weight, since your body craves food to compensate for that tired feeling. Lack of sleep will make you age more quickly, since when you sleep your body restores itself.
  • Find time to relax and live in the moment. In other words, stop and smell the roses so your stress levels are reduced and you feel calmer. Stress that goes on for too long contributes significantly to many serious diseases.
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Fun Ideas

Eco Friendly or Fun Ideas For Your Home

There are many affordable and fun ideas for your home that can enhance your lifestyle or that may have environmentally friendly aspects. Many of them are easy to do and are pleasing to look at, making the home or its surroundings more pleasant in some way. If you are tired of the same old problems or look of your home, consider adding some of these ideas to your life.

  • If you have a staircase, add a slim slide next to it for the children to come down. This works well with a spiral staircase.slim slide
  • Love cats? Keep them environmentally friendly by adding a cat access transit tunnel around the living room walls to an enclosed space on a balcony or in a nearby tree. One on the outside walls is another good idea to give your cat exercise while keeping it safe.
  • An indoor outdoor pool might be just what is needed for convenience and privacy, otherwise you might consider having your pool built right next to the back deck. But make sure you have a good fence around it if you have children.
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carpet beetle

Signs of Carpet Moth or Beetle Infestation

Any carpet cleaners like professional teams such as Brilliance Carpet Cleaning Perth, will tell you that as bad as fleas in the carpet area, carpet moths are worse because they damage the fibres. Or rather, it is their larvae that do all the damage, munching their way through those tasty, natural fibres until they finally encase themselves in a cocoon and turn into a moth. Then of course, the cycle starts all over again. One carpet moth can lay up to 150 eggs and these will hatch into tiny and very hungry caterpillars within 5 days.

So how can you tell if that moth fluttering around inside is a carpet moth? The adult carpet moth is beige or brown in colour and has a small wingspan of 14-18ml. It is wise to get rid of any moth that is inside – or at least catch it and let it go outside if you are that way inclined. At least it won’t lay eggs that will hatch into little grubs that can ruin your carpet.

Here are some signs of carpet moth infestation: –

  • Carpet fibres that have come loose for no apparent reason. This happens because the larvae ate the knots.
  • You might see little caterpillars crawling around under your carpet.
  • You may notice tiny cocoons that blend in with the wool in your carpet. Often they are a flat, oval shape with pointed ends.
  • Moths flying around the room.
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Gas Heaters Health Problems

Health Problems Caused by Gas Heaters

If you are considering your health this winter it might be a good idea to take a look at your heating system. According to electrical authority Electrician Perth Experts most electricians who are experienced with gas will tell you that even though unvented gas heaters seem to be popular, they produce not only carbon dioxide, (CO2) but carbon monoxide (CO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2).

The health hazards of CO are many and dangerous, since it is considered a toxic gas. Any form of heating that is unvented means that the products produced from burning the fuel remain in the room or the whole house. So if you have a gas heater with no vent, you are at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, especially if the heater is left on all night and there are few cracks or gaps in the house to let fresh air in and poisons out.

Carbon monoxide is colourless, tasteless, non-irritating and odourless so you won’t even know you are being poisoned. In fact, it is said to poison more people than all other poisons put together and most of this can be attributed to unvented gas heaters or even vented ones that burn incorrectly due to any number of things such as rust on the burner or the improper placement of artificial logs. CO causes both brain damage and organ damage.

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Colorbond Steel Roofing

How Colorbond Steel Roofing is Tested

Everything is tested before it is released to the public market; cars and all their components, electronic devices, new or different tools and new building materials. Colorbond roofing steel is tested in a wide variety of conditions all over Australia, from harsh marine environments where salt can corrode, through to urban areas with smog and pollution and on to the stunning heat and dust of the outback.

The roofing panels in different colours are put up to simulate a roof in these areas and left there until experts come and test them on sight or take them down for examination in the factory to see what wear and tear – if any – has occurred. In fact, you may be amazed to know that there are 12,000 sheets of steel out there being tested. This gives the Australian public peace of mind to know that the products have withstood the test of time. After all the climate in Australia varies from extremely hot to cold ice and snow, from dusty and dry to cold sleet, hail and teeming thunderstorms as well as the humidity of tropical locations.

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Enhance Your Lifestyle

4 Ways a Garden Can Enhance Your Lifestyle

Having some landscaping done on your property not only adds to the value of it, but also enhances your lifestyle. Everyone loves to be surrounded by beauty, but when that beauty also provides a place where it is convenient and comfortable to relax in you really enjoy being there. And knowing that your property looks amazing is a source of great satisfaction and pride.

There are many different kinds of gardens and what you choose will depend on many things.kinds of gardens

  • The climate – rain, sunshine, snow, frost, wind and even slope all play a big part in the garden and should be taken into consideration when planning the design.
  • The size of your property is another important element. If you have a tiny courtyard, you’ll need a different kind of design than if your property is on a rural block, or even has a larger backyard.
  • Your lifestyle needs must also be taken into consideration. If you have children or pets, leaving space for them to play and run is necessary. If you love to dine outdoors, you’ll want to create a haven with outdoor furniture.
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Sustainable Practices in Gardening

The value of most homes and the lifestyle of the residents is increased by the addition of a beautiful garden.  However, these days it is important to implement sustainability practices, so the garden helps to reduce the carbon footprint of the house rather than increasing it. Gardens and lawns look lovely and enhance your lifestyle, but are notorious for using up lots of water. They also need fertiliser and pesticides to ensure your plants are not eaten up by pesky insects.

Both fertiliser and pesticides tend to get washed into the waterways and in many cases kill things they were not meant to harm. A case in point is the beautiful corals that die due to fertilisers being washed into the ocean. But by using sustainable methods, such harm can be eliminated. Here’s how.

Minimise water usage

  • It is easy to minimise the amount of water needed by choosing drought hardy plants for the garden. This will reduce your water costs and save time spent in watering the garden.
  • Using organic mulch will help prevent the soil from drying out, again reducing the amount of water needed. It also keeps the ground cooler in the hot summer, a fact that many plants love.
  • Choosing the kind of lawn grass that is drought hardy is also important because most lawns need lots of water to keep them green. Do your research to find what grass is suitable for your area that does not need constant watering.
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Cleaning Your Swimming Pool

Tips to Make Cleaning Your Swimming Pool Easier

Many people have chosen to install swimming pools in their backyards to add enjoyment and fun to those long, hot summer days. Nearly every child enjoys a dip in the pool and some become water babies, spending every spare moment possible playing and swimming in their pool. It’s a great way to ensure your children get plenty of exercise and forget their electronic devices for a little while.

The downside is that it takes quite a lot of work to keep the pool clean and ensure the water is hygienic enough to swim in.  Here are some tips to make the job easier.

  • Since leaves and debris should be removed daily, this job can be delegated to the children, or an older child who is responsible enough to do it properly. It teaches them that work must be done by everyone if fun is to be had.  Encourage all children to remove a floating leaf while they are swimming or playing in the pool.  If some debris sinks, have diving competitions to see who can get the most debris from the bottom. A prize or two will make it more fun.
  • Save up for an automatic pool cleaner. There are many that are reasonably priced and some clean the sides as well as the bottom of the pool. Use it regularly and sure you take care of your pool cleaner.
  • If yours doesn’t clean the sides, keep a good lookout for algae and attack it immediately. Watch for shady areas where it is most likely to start. Scrubbing the sides every second week should prevent it.
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Sustainability Business Efficiency

How Sustainability Can Increase the Efficiency of Your Business

Many city based businesses such as a web design or SEO company or a digital marketing company are using the fact that they follow sustainability guidelines in their offices as a marketing angle in the hope of attracting like minded clients. In fact, they are successful at this in most cases, since people now realise the importance of doing their small bit to help save the earth’s resources by reducing their carbon footprint.

Such practices don’t even take much effort and many actually save you money, so it’s worthwhile to find out what you can do and implementing some, if not all the strategies. For instance, if your small office needs a new printer, you might consider getting one that will do more than one job. Or you might want to look at the specifications to see whether there is a toner or ink saver mode.

If all offices were to do this, the whole mounts up and saves in several ways –

  • The business saves on the cost of ink or toner
  • Using a multifunction printer can save on space in the office
  • There is less rubbish going into landfill
  • There are fewer resources being used to replace products and accessories.

Another way to save is simply to make sure you choose a printer – or other product – that is suitable for your output. If you choose a cheap printer that is slow to print one page, the power used in printing is excessive when you need to have at least 20 pages printed in a day. But if your printer’s output is 20 pages per minute, the device is only working for one minute – unless you want more pages than that.

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Staying Healthy

9 Tips to Staying Healthy when Landscaping

Whether you have a job landscaping, work your own business or do it for a hobby on your own property, landscaping is often sheer hard work, so it is important to take care at all times in order to avoid injury. Even if you are fit and love your job, it is still possible to injure yourself if you don’t be careful.

Here are 9 tips to help you stay healthy when doing this kind of work –

  • Learn the proper way to lift heavy weights. When doing the kind of work involved with gardening or landscaping, you’ll often have to lift things that are not only heavy, but awkward and have no handles. It’s important to use lifting equipment wherever possible, but if you do have to lift by hand you should bend your knees, not your back. And never lift and swing around at the same time. That’s a sure recipe for a bad back that can put you off work for weeks.
  • Use safety equipment such as goggles, gloves and proper boots. Your eyes are important, but a flying rock or nail can ruin your eyesight for good, while dust and grit can make them sore. Gloves may feel awkward, but they can prevent blisters and scratches that can fester and turn septic. They can also prevent spider bites. The same goes for boots.
  • Working out in the heat and sun can dehydrate you. There might be a nice breeze so you don’t feel like you are sweating, but you are. Drinking water at regular intervals will keep you hydrated. If it’s mid-summer, choose a drink that contains electrolytes to prevent cramps. Organise your work so the hardest jobs are not done in the midday heat.
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Remove Negativity

How to Remove Negativity From Your Life

When it comes to healthy living, our mental health is just as important as our physical health. If you are negative all the time you won’t be happy and eventually, you won’t be physically healthy either. Being negative often leads to depression or stress and it affects our capacity to enjoy life and have happy relationships. So here are some tips to remove negativity from your life.

  • Refuse to have negative people in your life. These are people who tend to criticise you all the time, put you down or even are always complaining about things in their own life that they don’t like. It also includes backstabbers who lie about you to others or speak about you in a way that is slanderous or unfair. These people are not your friends and don’t deserve your time or effort.
  • Get rid of your own negative thoughts. Many people suffer from thinking bad thoughts about themselves. Don’t let yourself think things that put you down or belittle yourself, your body, your actions or the things you do any longer. Every day when you wake up, look in the mirror and say 5 good things about yourself. Do the same thing throughout the day.
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Recycle When Moving

What To Recycle When You are Moving

Moving can be a stressful time, but if you start to get organised before a company such as Brilliance Removalists Perth turn up you will find it is not nearly as traumatic. One thing that can be done early is sort out what you want to take with you and what you should recycle. This can reduce your possessions so you have less to pack. And having less to load will surely please the removalist.

So how do you decide what to toss? Here are some tips.

  • Clothing – if you haven’t worn it for two years it is unlikely that you want or need it. Sell it online or have a garage sale. Or you can simply donate it to a charity.
  • Toys – kids grow out of toys and don’t want to play with them anymore. Give them to friends, family, neighbours or the op-shop. Sell them online or at a garage sale.
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Carpet Stains

How to Deal With the Four Worst Carpet Stains

If you have carpet in your home like most people, there is sure to come a day when something gets spilled on it.  When this happens, quick cleaning must be undertaken immediately so that the spill doesn’t soak right through the base of the carpet into the floor underneath and so the stain doesn’t set.  If you simply leave it to dry it will be twice as difficult to get out and the stain may never be fully removed. However, professional carpet cleaners like Brilliance Cleaning can usually do a good job of cleaning most carpets.

So what are the four worst stains in a carpet? Most people will agree that they are: –

  • Coffee
  • Blood
  • Grease and
  • Red wine

Here are some tips to deal with these biggies and reduce their effect on your precious floor covering.

  • Never use hot water as this will set most stains, but especially blood.
  • How to get these stains out of the carpet depends a lot on what the carpet is made of. Wool must be treated more gently than nylon. Wool carpets should not be saturated with water or cleaner as they take a longer time to dry and it could result in a patch of mould forming.
  • Blot the stain from the outside in to prevent the stain spreading.
  • Use a white towel that is damp rather than dry as water helps to absorb the stain.
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Landscape Design

Eco Friendly Landscape Design To Encourage Birds

If you are one of the lucky people to have a backyard, you might want to incorporate some kind of great garden design that will encourage native birds to your area. In this way you’ll be doing your bit for the environment, since birds are a part of that. And as more land is cleared our feathered friends tend to lose their homes and have less natural environment from which to gather food.

Here are some tips to help you get native birds to your garden.

  • Find out what birds are native to your area and which ones you’d like to have for visitors. Then provide the kind of food they like. They’ll soon find it.
  • Install a bird bath. All birds need water to drink and to bathe in to restore their hydration and make their feathers clean. Birds in the centre of town can’t access water on a hot, dry day, but if they know there is some in the suburbs, that is where they’ll go.
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Landscape Construction

How Landscape Construction Can Help an Older Person Stay in Their Home

When people start to get older they realise that it is more difficult to do all the chores around the home and garden that are needed to keep it in good condition. Often the garden and lawn are the first casualties because it takes a lot of physical effort to provide the maintenance and upkeep they need. But rather than move out of a home you love, why not get some landscape construction going to make the garden and surrounds easier to cope with?

Here are some ways to stay in your home.

  • Instead of having all that lawn to mow, water and fertilise, get a construction company in to replace it with a deck. You’ll be able to sit out there and enjoy the sun without having to mow anything.
  • Remove even more lawn and replace it with a low maintenance garden.
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Sustainable Kitchen Renovations

12 Ways to Be Sustainable in Kitchen Renovations

When you plan on a kitchen renovation, you may not be thinking along the lines of a sustainable lifestyle, but there are plenty of ways to be eco friendly and save the earth’s resources when renovating.  Even if you simply order carefully so you are not wasting any timber, that is going to save some of our precious resources from being wasted. However, with some small amount of thought, you can easily find many other ways.Bamboo Interior

  • Choose building materials such as bamboo that are easily renewable or are in plentiful supply. It can be used for cabinets and floors as well.
  • Use paints and other things such as glue and lacquer that does not contains harmful toxic gases that waft up into the air – and into your lungs.
  • Choose eco friendly fabrics – natural cotton or at least cotton blends, bamboo fabrics or even fabric made from wool, all of which is renewable in its raw state each year.
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Kitchen Renovation

Kitchen Renovation Timeline

Choosing your builder or cabinet maker to renovate your kitchen is exciting, but it can also be overwhelming as there are so many decisions to make. There are many different kinds of kitchens and the style you choose will dictate to a certain extent how many other decisions must be made. A modern kitchen design requires fewer materials, so not as many decisions will be needed.

That said, there are still choices to be made about what you want in materials, appliances, colours, textures and so on, so here is a kitchen renovation timeline to help know which to consider first.

Step 1: Choose the appliances, lighting and sink/s. This will help when it comes to planning the design and development of the layout as your professional kitchen designer will need to know what space is left over for cupboards, how big the bench space is and where these things will fit.

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6 Things to Consider Before Installing Your Carport

It is easy to get carried away and eager to get the job done once you have made the decision to install a patio or carport on your property, but there are several things you need to consider before you even order it.  Not thinking about what you really need beforehand can mean you end up with a carport that does not really suit your needs. Even though getting a carport may seem like a simple thing to do, consider these 6 elements first.

  • Will it be wide enough? Cars are all different sizes and shapes so you need to be sure that your car will fit in the carport properly with enough room to open the doors on both sides at the same time. Otherwise there is soon going to be a door that is dented or scratched.
  • Do you have one car or two? Many people have two cars, so getting a carport meant for one car is not going to suit your needs. If you only have one car now, might the family end up with two cars in a few years, when the children are old enough to need a car for uni or work? Thinking ahead to your future needs can save on costs.
  • Is it high enough? Some people may have a truck or van, a caravan or a boat that could be stored in the carport – so long as it is high enough and wide enough. Since you are going to the trouble of installing one at all, it may as well be one that can store multiple vehicles if you have them. Keeping that caravan or boat under cover will extend its life, after all.
  • Is your ground level? Sometimes this is the last thing people think about. Even a slight slope can cause problems if you don’t build up the lower side. Carports are designed to go on level ground, so you will need to either level the ground somehow, or build it up with cement blocks. Or you might find concreting the whole area is a better solution.
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Air Conditioning for Landlords

The Importance of Air Conditioning for Landlords

If you have a home or a flat for an investment, you will know the importance of keeping it rented out, especially if you use the income from it to pay it off. If your investment property is empty for just a few weeks it can become a struggle to meet the repayments. Even if the property is fully paid for already, you still want the income to be available on a regular basis. Air conditioning is one addition that can help you achieve this.

There are very few climates where the weather is perfect all the time. Sometimes its way too hot; other times of the year it is really cold. Even in temperate climates this is the case.  Traditionally, many homes have some kind of heating built into them, but if they don’t it’s easy to purchase heaters of various kinds. Funnily enough, it’s not so easy to get the air cooled as it is to get it heated.

Yes, there are fans and these do a good job as long as it’s not too hot. But when the mercury soars, a fan just blows hot air around. You can have the kind of plug in air conditioner that can be wheeled from room to room. It works by having water added to the top so a fan blows through it and comes out cooler. A bit, anyway. These units are very heavy to move even though they have wheels. And they are extremely noisy, so they’ve never really taken off. Plus, they are expensive to purchase considering they are not very efficient.

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Home Removals Affordable

Tips to Make Your Removals More Affordable

Moving house costs money, but it doesn’t have to break the bank. There are many ways in which you can save and one is to book some good removalists such as Brilliance Removalists Melbourne early so you get the right size truck and have time to compare prices. That’s not to say you should choose the cheapest offer. Sometimes being cheap means they don’t have insurance or their trucks are not well-maintained.Rail Removalist

Here are some more tips to make your moving day more affordable.

  • Pack your own food for the trip. Buy food enroute can be very expensive. If you have your own sandwiches and snacks, you can stop at any park and let the kids run around; you won’t be limited to finding a fast food place.
  • Source free boxes from stores rather than purchasing them.
  • Use clothing and linen for packaging instead of bubble wrap.
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Right Excavator

How to Hire the Right Excavator for Your Project

Once you start to plan a full property renovation it won’t be long before you see the need for plant hire or equipment hire. Most renovators find such equipment far too expensive to buy outright, especially when it won’t be in use all the time. It would never pay for itself by sitting in a shed waiting for the next project to pop up.

If your block of ground is on a slope, it is highly likely that you will need to level off at least some of the ground before you can complete the renovation, especially if you intend to add another room or deck. You might even want to have a veranda going right around the house.

If you are also going to do some landscaping to go with your new renovations, get that work done at the same time you hire the machinery for the other work. It just takes a bit of planning ahead to save money. Hire rates are usually by the hour or the day, so if your building project only takes a couple of hours with the machinery, you may as well use it while it’s there to level off the driveway, fill up a hole, dig a hole for the swimming pool or do whatever else you have planned for the future.

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Health Risks in Landscaping

Health Risks in Landscaping

While landscaping can be considered a healthy job because you get lots of exercise and fresh air, there are also health risks that you need to be aware of in order to take preventative measure or eliminate them altogether. Some of these can cause injury, while others can actually make you sick, rather than injured.

  • Concreting is often a big part of landscaping if the client wants pathways, driveway or a concrete floor put in for an alfresco area. They may want a wall built or steps to the back deck. In many cases you can get a mini concrete truck in with enough mixed cement to do the job. But sometimes it is a small job that requires a concrete mixer and shovel. There are two main things involved that can affect your health. Lifting bags of cement that are very heavy and breathing in the dust from it. The latter can be particularly bad because the dust is very fine, yet it’s heavy, just like the concrete. It can get into your lungs and cause a condition called silicosis or lung cancer. Apart from that it can irritate the eyes, upper respiratory tract and the skin. Protect yourself with mask, goggles, gloves and long-sleeves.
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Sustainable Lifestyle

13 Tips for a Sustainable Lifestyle

Many people live a lifestyle that is basically wasteful and so it is not sustainable.  Waste in the form of anything you use in life that is discarded into landfill and in some cases causes pollution of some kind should be avoided if at all possible.  Many things can be sold or given to a charity rather than being thrown in the bin. Other things can be mended, repainted and generally make to look like new so they can be re-used. Here are 13 sustainability tips to make your lifestyle more eco-friendly.

  • As children outgrow their toys, put them away for the next child to grow into, or sell them, give them away or swap them for something else. The latter is particularly good for computer games.
  • Have a garage sale for unwanted goods rather than throwing them away. One man’s trash is another’s treasure.
  • Donate goods to a charity or op-shop when you don’t want them.
  • Sell unused clothing online. This is very useful for children’s clothing as they can grow out of it so quickly it is still in good condition.
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Interior Design Mistakes

5 Interior Design Mistakes to Avoid

You don’t always need an interior designer to tell you that something is wrong with the design of a room. Sometimes it can just feel off, even if you are not sure why. It’s a good idea to stop and take a look at everything to pinpoint the problem. Here are some tips to ensure your own decorating doesn’t make your rooms feel just not quite right.

  • Ensure the furniture is positioned properly. When you first move into an apartment, the furniture is pushed hurriedly into place before the room is set up with all the other elements. You may have simply worked those other things in around the first positioning of the sofa, when really, it should be somewhere else. Ask yourself where to focal point of the room is. Maybe there is a fireplace that is crying out to be the focal point, while all the furniture is pointed at the television set, on another wall.
  • The room could be bottom heavy if there are too many element low down. This will make it feel unpleasant. To fix this feel, the design elements should be lifted up higher than they are at present. Wall art should be hung higher; if lights dangle down low, have them replaced with shorter ones; remove some things from the floor if it is overcrowded. You may even need to repaint the walls a lighter colour.
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Eco Friendly Moving

How to Make Your Home Removal Eco Friendly

Taking care to make your home removal eco friendly is quite easy and has the added advantage of saving on costs. According to Brilliance Removalists Brisbane, not all removalists are into saving the earth’s resources, but that doesn’t matter; you can do your part and feel satisfied that every small bit helps.

Here’s how: –

  • Save on packaging materials of both paper and plastics by using your soft towels, hand towels, tea towels, jumpers and other smaller clothing items to wrap breakables in and to wedge between items in the boxes.
  • Use blankets, doonas and larger towels on the bottom of the boxes and to wrap around mirrors and wall art, or that glass table top.
  • Crumple up old newspapers and magazines to form packaging, thus using them twice before they are thrown away.
  • Choose a removalist that is close to you or get back freight from one going back to your destination. This saves on the overall use of fuel, even though it may not save your costs. However, back freighting can often be cheaper.
  • Don’t throw away those things you don’t want to take, but recycle them by having a yard sale, or donate them to a charity or school fete. Even giving them away to the neighbour is recycling.
  • Pack an esky with food from the refrigerator rather than throwing it out.
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Glass Showerscreens

12 Advantages of Glass Showerscreens

Just because a home is affordable doesn’t mean it has to be cheap and nasty. Glass shower screens add a touch of elegance to any bathroom, no matter if the home is in the billion dollar range or much less. In fact, there is more to them than their good looks. Here are some advantages of installing a shower screen made of glass.

  • It is less likely to develop mould on the surface, so is easy to clean.
  • Glass in the bathroom makes it look larger as it is transparent so the draws the eye beyond it to the far walls.
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Importance of Scaffolding

The Importance of Scaffolding for DIY House Renovations

When you are doing your own home renovations there will be many jobs that require you to reach up to high places. Painting the walls and ceilings is just one of them. It is very important to have safe scaffolding for these jobs so that you remain safe while doing them, and so the jobs are much easier to accomplish.

Without scaffolding to support you, it is possible and even likely that you could have an accident or a fall, through overextending your reach on the ladder. In fact, the ladder is not all that safe whether it is inside or out. Inside, it can slip on the floor and outside, the ground can sink under one leg and cause the ladder to tip, throwing you off balance.

If you are a handyman, you may be able to make your own scaffolding, especially if you can weld. You can prepare it carefully and ensure it is attached to the outer walls in a way that will prevent you from falling. It gives you a wide and stable surface you can stand on to operate power tools or wield a paintbrush from.

In addition, you can create a long piece of scaffold that enables you to paint a whole wall without getting down, so the job will be done much more quickly and you won’t get as tired. Every building job requires support of some kind, even if it is minimal; for instance, a one-storey home on flat ground. You still need to reach up to those walls and ceilings to paint or do the renovation you had planned.

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Property Maintenance

10 Property Maintenance Tips To Save Money

When you own property there will always be maintenance to do on it, whether it is cleaning up the grounds outside or painting the building. Most people want their property to look neat and tidy without it costing them a bomb, so here are some property maintenance tips that will actually save money over the long run.Property Maintenance

  • Fix it while it’s small. No matter what it is; a leak, paint chipped off or some mould somewhere, if you tackle it immediately it won’t cost lot to fix. But if you leave it, the end result could cost thousands.
  • Check for water leaks frequently. Get them fixed as soon as possible.
  • Check that roof tiles are not loose. If they are they’ll likely blow off in the next storm and allow a deluge into your ceiling.
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Security Fencing

4 Tips For Choosing The Best Security Fencing

According to Eline Fencing Perth, most homeowners have some kind of fencing around the perimeter of their homes, but it is not always security fencing. But increasingly these days, you need to know that your family and home are safe from burglary or home invasion and the only way to do that is to install the kind of fence that will keep intruders out.

Not all so-called safety fencing is going to do what it is supposed to. Here are 4 tips to choosing the right kind of fence.

  • Make sure the fence doesn’t provide a hiding place. Fences you can’t see through will provide a place for any burglar to hide so they cannot be seen from the house. This is the kind of fence that burglars like best, since if you don’t know they are there they can work out how to get over the fence and you won’t know anything about it. They may even be able to spy on your house through a crack – or the gate – and find out if anyone is home or not.
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Garden Design

Ways Pots can Enhance Your Garden Design

Many people have pot plants they love, but often they don’t make as much of them as they could. For instance, you often see garden pots made of black plastic holding a beautiful shrub or flower and the effect is actually quite ruined by that awful looking pot.  Or even if the pot is nice, it is not placed in a way that gives it the best advantage visually.Garden Pots

Here are some of the many ways in which pots can enhance your garden design.

  • A large pot can be used as a feature in the middle of a small garden or garden section. It can have a very dramatic effect on the landscape by using a pot with a bright colour that forms a contrast to everything else surrounding it.
  • You can have a row of decorative pots –and plants – on a hard surface such as gravel or concrete. This can be seen in some low maintenance gardens as the pots form the major point of visual attractiveness.
  • Pots with small fruit trees also add appeal to the garden or a small courtyard area and they can also bear fruit to enjoy fresh or make jam from. The fruit adds colour in its season, while the pot looks attractive all year round.
  • In combination with another feature. Pots make a great addition to another feature such as a water feature or a gazebo in the garden.
  • They can be used along the swimming pool to add interest to an area that might otherwise look bare. Make sure they all match and are not too close to the edge. Most plants don’t like pool water.
  • Use a garden pot for something different, such as a fish pond. Half barrels or even a deep pot would be suitable for this.
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Selling Your Property

Real Estate Advice for Selling Your Property

If you are trying to sell your home, the most common property renovation advice would be to create street appeal.  If your home looks attractive from the street, people who want to buy a home will always be interested in looking further. If it looks unattractive on the outside, it won’t matter how pristine the inside is, people won’t want to look at it.

Here are some more tips for selling your home.

  • Most real estate agents would tell you to get all the yard cleaned up, with new flowers and shrubs in the garden.
  • Keep the lawn mowed neatly.
  • Scrub the outside of the walls if they look a bit mouldy or dingy and you can’t afford to paint it. This will give it a fresh look.
  • Paint the outside window frames, the front door and the gate to enhance the look.
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Bare Feet

Healthy Living – with Bare Feet

In all the advice about healthy living, you won’t find many people talking about tossing the shoes and going barefoot, yet spending time without having your feet enclosed in shoes and socks is very beneficial in several ways. In fact, running without shoes is very healthy, even more so than walking without them.  Here are 10 reasons to run or walk with bare feet.

  • It’s cooler on a hot day to go without shoes, and it makes you more aware of the environment you are in because you can feel it through your feet.
  • It makes your feet lighter, especially if you go jogging. Shoes add weight to your stride which puts a lot of weight on your muscles and joints, damaging them.
  • When you run in bare feet you naturally land on the front half of your foot. When you run in joggers or even expensive running shoes, your heel comes down first and the action is similar to having your heel hit with a hammer. It causes a lot of damage that even the most expensive shoes can’t stop.
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Limestone Walls

The Many Advantages of Limestone Walls

One thing that most beautiful homes have is some kind of fencing, whether it is a boundary fence, swimming pool fence or retaining walls in the garden, so essential on a sloping or steep block. Rather than having something ordinary, you could have a fence made from limestone blocks that would totally enhance your property and add value to it.

Higher limestone walls would be ideal for both shade and privacy, offering a material that is long lasting, durable and beautiful as well. Lower walls made from the same material would be a great way to put an attractive edging around a garden or along the drive.

There are two types of limestone blocks or bricks.

  1. Natural limestone that is cut from the quarry into the size and shape required.
  2. Reconstituted limestone that is made from crushed limestone with the addition of other materials such as concrete aggregate.

Both have aesthetic properties and are strong and stable for all kinds of use around the home. However, the latter choice is even more eco friendly in that it uses all the waste from broken limestone that would otherwise be unusable. So if a piece of the corner chips off the former block so it can’t be sold, both the chip and the block are crushed to form another kind of limestone block that is made even stronger with the addition of concrete.

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Backyard Project

The Backyard Project

A Gazebo

It was a DIY project in the back yard. He wanted to build a gazebo in an area of the yard that had been sectioned off and already contained a fishpond built on three levels to create a two – waterfall effect. There was no lawn in that area, but lovely green turf from Carabooda Lawn was something that was in his sights.

The Material

After putting together a plan, well, a concept really, he went out and purchased all the timber required and then the roofing material which would be green Colorbond sheeting. Tape measure, power saw, level, hammer, nails, fasteners, cordless driver and a whole host of other material and tools were on the list. To complete the job, flywire sliders on the openings to keep out pesky mosquitoes as the sun went down, and flies, while the sun was up.

Show Off

This was not the biggest DIY project attempted. He had built an additional room onto an old house up in the Hills area and it included a toilet and a shower. So, in comparison, this was a minor engineering job but somehow more important. Why? Well, this one was on show to all the neighbours and friends and visitors that would be coming to parties and there’s nothing more than compliments on a job well done by friends to make a bloke’s chest puff out that little bit more!

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Exposure to rodents can trigger asthma attacks. Studies have shown a linkage between rodent allergy and asthma symptoms.Integrated pest management (IPM) approaches offer effective means of eliminating rodents from a home. IPM methods focus on preventing infestations, trapping rodents, and limited use of lower-toxicity pesticides. However, even after a rodent population is controlled, rodent hair, urine, and fecal matter may remain, which can trigger allergic reactions in some people.

Designing, maintaining, and renovating buildings to minimize rodents is an effective prevention-based approach.

  • Seal holes and cracks in building foundations, utility openings, and joints between materials. Use corrosion-proof materials such as copper or stainless steel mesh. Rodents can chew through many other materials and squeeze through tiny openings.
  • Add rodent barriers to foundation walls to make it more difficult for them to enter a building. For example, heavy-duty wire mesh along the outside of a foundation is an effective barrier.
  • Seal passages through interior floors, walls, ceilings, and kick spaces. If possible, keep kick spaces open to limit places rodents can hide. (Kick spaces are the gaps between the bottom of cabinetry or built-in furniture and the floor.)
  • Keep bushes and trees at least three feet from homes. Bushes and trees near a home provide food, a living place, and sheltered passage for rats and rodents.
  • Ensure trash is stored in secure containers (covered garbage cans and dumpsters).
  • Store food in rodent-proof containers.

Sources and Additional Information:

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America –

Asthma Regional Council –

Beyond Pesticides – Integrated pest management to control mice – and

Building Science Corporation –

Environmental Health Coalition –

Gumm, Brian, Home Energy, “Integrated Pest Management in the Home,” Vol. 21 Iss. 6 pp. 36-39 (Nov-Dec 2004)

National Academy of Science, Institute of Medicine report Clearing the Air: Asthma and Indoor Air Exposures 2000 –

Pesticide Action Network –

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention –

US Environmental Protection Agency –

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Radon is one of several carcinogenic health hazards that can be found in the home environment. Testing is the only way to know if a home has a high concentration of radon. The EPA and the Surgeon General recommend that the all residences below the third floor of a building be tested for radon. In apartment buildings, it is most important to test units on the basement level where radon from the ground is likely to be highest, but the first and second floors should also be tested.Anyone can conduct a radon test. There are both short-term and long-term radon tests. EPA recommends initial measurements for radon be taken with short-term tests placed in the lowest lived-in level of the residence. Radon testing kits are available at a discounted price from the National Safety Council’s Radon Hotline (1-800-767-7236) and at various retail locations such as hardware stores. Almost all states recommend that the homeowner or tenant conduct the test himself or herself or hire a contractor who is certified by the National Environmental Health Association or the National Radon Safety Board. A list of certified testers can be obtained by contacting the radon office in the relevant state, the National Environmental Health Association’s Radon Proficiency Program, or the National Radon Safety Board.

Once a radon test has been obtained, the enclosed directions are usually easy to follow and the procedure is simple and straightforward. Typically, the process will consist of setting out a small canister or packet containing activated carbon in the lowest occupied portion of the home and then, two days later, collecting the container, placing it in a foil bag, and mailing it to a lab. The lab should be able to report the results within one week. More detailed guidelines on radon testing are available at

The EPA has established a recommended action guideline of four picocuries of radon per liter (pCi/L) of air in residences. EPA recommends that action be taken to reduce radon levels when this guideline is exceeded. No state requires action on a result above this guideline to bring radon levels down. The presence of radon over the EPA standard is not a violation of local housing codes in most cities. The long-term goal is to reduce indoor radon levels to outdoor average levels of 0.4 pCi/L. Because of technology limits, EPA’s short-term goal is to get a home’s radon concentrations below two pCi/L.

If test results exceed the EPA recommended action guideline of four pCi/L, a second follow-up measurement should be taken and depending on the results, EPA standards may recommend radon mitigation. If such actions are going to be taken in the home, there are many options within two broad categories of action—prevent the radon from entering the home, or reduce the level of radon after it has entered. For all options, EPA recommends that a contractor be retained to do the work and estimates that this will cost from $500 to $2500 per home, depending on the characteristics of the structure and choice of radon reduction methods. Common methods may involve the installation of underground pipes, venting fans, plastic sheeting, and/or sealants over floor and wall cracks.


Radon Resource Documents

  1. Environmental Law Institute, Indoor Air Quality Database, Radon [PDF]
  2. Environmental Law Institute, “State Radion Legislation—Issues and Options,” 1993 [PDF]
  3. Field, R. William, et. al., “The Iowa Radon Lung Cancer Study,” American Journal of Epidemiology, Vol. 151 No. 11, 2000 [PDF] (large file)
  4. Field, R. William, et. al, “The Iowa Radon Lung Cancer Study,” University of Iowa College of Public Health
  5. Field, R. William, “Radon Occurance and Health Risk,” Virtual Hospital,
  6. Government Accountability Office Report, “Actions to Promote Radon Testing,” December 1992 [PDF]
  7. Government Accountablity Office Testimony, “Radon Testing in Federal Buildings Needs Improvement and HUD’s Radon Policy Needs Strengthening,” May 1991 [PDF]
  8. National Academies Report in Brief, “BEIR VII: Health Risks from Exposure to Low Levels of Ionizing Radiation,” June 2005 [PDF]
  9. Radon Gas and Indoor Air Quality Research, part of Public Law 99-499 [PDF] 
  10. Relevant radon section, Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Amendments Act of 1988, Public Law 100-628 [PDF]
  11. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “Consumer’s Guide to Radon Reduction: How to fix your home” [PDF]
  12. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “Home Buyer’s Seller’s Guide to Radon” [PDF] (large file)
  13. World Health Organization, “The 1st Meeting of National Experts for WHO’s International Radon Project,” January 2005 [PDF]


Sources and Additional Information:

Community Environmental Health Resource Center (CEHRC) –

National Environmental Health Association, National Radon Proficiency Program –

National Radon Safety Board –

National Safety Council –

US Environmental Protection Agency – 

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Mold is a serious health hazard in the home environment, as it produces allergens, irritants, and in some cases, potentially toxic substances. Further, mold can trigger respiratory problems such as asthma in vulnerable and allergic populations. Therefore, preventing and eliminating mold problems is a crucial part of ensuing quality housing conditions.

Controlling mold problems in the home environment is largely dependent on controlling the level of moisture in the home, because mold cannot grow without moisture. Further, excessive moisture in the home is cause for concern as it can also cause or contribute to structural home damage and other housing hazards to human health such as cockroachesdust mites, and peeling lead paint.

Fortunately, there are ways to prevent and control excessive moisture, and therefore mold growth, in the home environment—both practical measures for residents as well as precautionary measures during construction or renovation. Please visit the “How to Control Moisture” section of this website for additional information such as practical tips, telltale signs, and likely sources of moisture both inside and outside the home.

In addition to preventative measures, visual inspections for mold should be performed periodically for the early detection of potential problems. Mold may be clearly visible or it may be hidden under furniture and carpets, in cabinets, and in crawlspaces or attics. When assessing mold problems in the home environment, it is important to know such potential hiding places and visually inspect all likely areas that are reasonably accessible. In some cases, mold will not be discovered even after searching typical hiding places, but a musty odor or related health problems will indicate a mold problem. In these instances, mold may be hidden on the backside of such materials as drywall, wallpaper, paneling, and carpet pads or inside wall cavities and ductwork. Investigation of such hidden mold problems is more complicated as actions such as peeling off wallpaper may disturb the mold and cause widespread dispersal of mold spores. Expert assistance may be required for such disruptive actions.

The most reliable way to identify a mold problem is through visual inspection. Because all molds should be treated similarly (safely removed, while addressing underlying moisture problems), there is no need to identify mold by type prior to remediation. However, bulk or surface sampling may be helpful in identifying specific mold contaminants in connection with a medical evaluation or in confirming the presence of mold if a visual inspection is unclear. Bulk sampling involves removing and collecting visible mold from surfaces, while surface sampling involves wiping a surface or stripping it with tape to collect specimens.

Airborne fungal testing is rarely appropriate but may be useful if, for example, building occupants are experiencing symptoms that seem to be mold-related, and a visual inspection and sampling have failed to locate mold. Airborne testing does not provide reliable data on the average mold content in a home—instead, it provides a “snapshot” of mold levels, which vary considerably over the course of hours, days, weeks, and months. Airborne fungal tests also are expensive and there currently are no standards for determining whether measured fungal concentrations are safe. Extensive airborne testing should be reserved for specialized cases, such as when health problems persist in a complex building environment with no discernable source of the problem. In such a setting, expert assistance should be engaged.

The New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene and the US EPA have developed separate but complementary guidelines for assessing and remediating mold in indoor environments. These guidelines contain detailed recommendations on the appropriate remediation activities for varying sizes and locations of mold contamination in various structures.

The NYC Guidelines contain five levels of mold remediation protocols. The most basic techniques apply to areas of 10 square feet or less, and include training workers on safe cleanup methods; protecting workers with disposable respirators, gloves, and goggles; vacating people from the work area; suppressing dust; removing and disposing of contaminated items that cannot be cleaned; and final cleaning of work areas and work area-egress locations. In addition to containing more protective measures such as containment for larger mold problems, the Guidelines also address remediation of HVAC systems.

EPA advises that if the moldy area is less than 10 square feet in total size, non-professionals can usually manage the cleanup by following some basic precautions and procedures. Larger jobs may require the services of a contractor who should have prior experience cleaning up mold.

When a manageable mold problem is identified in the home environment, the following are some basic steps that individuals, landlords, and homeowners can take to remove the mold:

  • Remediate the moisture source immediately. Mold cannot grow without water; therefore, controlling underlying moisture problems must be an integral part of removing mold.
  • Wear gloves, goggles, and appropriate respiratory protection during all mold remediation activities. Both EPA and New York City recommend the N-95 respirator available on the Internet and at most hardware stores for approximately $12-25.
  • Take photos of the moldy surfaces. These may be useful in the future should the need to document the problem arise.
  • Determine if it is possible to clean the moldy area or not. Non-porous and semi-porous materials (e.g. metals, glass, hard plastics, wood, and concrete) can generally be cleaned and reused. Porous materials (e.g. fabrics, ceiling tiles, insulation, wallboard) may be cleaned, but it is preferable that they be removed and thrown away, as it is extremely difficult to ensure complete removal of the mold.
  • Remove belongings from the clean-up area.
  • Clean the moldy area as soon as possible with either a detergent/soapy water solution or a baking soda and vinegar solution. Thoroughly dry the area and immediately dispose of all sponges or rags used in both the cleaning and drying process. Chemicals such as chlorine bleach are not recommended for routine mold cleanup.
  • When finished cleaning the visible mold area, clean all nearby surfaces and scrub or vacuum the floor.
  • Make sure the area is well ventilated until all surfaces are dry.
  • Regularly check the area for signs of recurring water damage and new mold growth. If the mold returns, it may indicate that the underlying water problem has not been appropriately addressed.

Sources and Additional Information:

Affordable Comfort –

A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home –

Community Environmental Health Resource Center –

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Asthma, Allergies, and Respiratory Illness

Housing factors can play a significant role in respiratory health and greatly exacerbate or increase susceptibility to asthma, allergies, and other respiratory illnesses. For example, numerous home pollutants—dust mites, pet dander, cockroach debrismold, tobacco smoke, and paint fumes—are known to aggravate asthma. Controlling exposure to these and other triggers in the environment benefits overall respiratory health.Asthma is a chronic disease in which the airways of the lungs become inflamed or narrowed, resulting in disruptions to normal breathing patterns, often called “attacks” or “episodes.” The level of severity of asthma suffered by each individual, and further, the severity of each attack, varies greatly. Symptoms of asthma include wheezing, shortness of breath, a feeling of tightness in the chest, and coughing. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 8.7 percent of all children (6.3 million) had asthma in 2001. The American Lung Association (ALA) states that asthma accounts for an estimated 3 million lost workdays for adults and 10.1 million lost school days in children annually, making it the leading cause of chronic illness among children. Additionally, ALA ranks asthma among the top ten conditions causing limitation of activity, and the disease costs the United States $16 billion annually.

Scientists do not know exactly what causes the development of asthma in individuals, nor is there a cure for asthma once it has developed. It is generally thought that some people are born with a genetic predisposition toward developing asthma, but environmental (and potentially societal) factors play a role in the actual development of the disease. It is this knowledge that allows scientists to determine ways in which asthma attacks can be prevented or limited. Generally, asthma attacks are “triggered” by something. In relation to the home environment, triggers can be grouped into two primary categories: allergens and irritants. Allergens are typically defined as something that causes an allergic reaction in some people, but not others. Indoor allergens include dust mitescockroach debris, pet dander, and mold. Irritants are substances that irritate the respiratory tract and include tobacco smoke and paint fumes.

Although many people who have asthma have respiratory allergies, not all do. Similarly, not all people who have respiratory allergies have asthma. Symptoms of respiratory allergies include sneezing; watery eyes; coughing; itchy eyes, nose, and throat; and wheezing. In addition to asthma attacks induced by allergens, respiratory allergic diseases include rhinitis (hay fever) and sinusitis. The same indoor allergens that may trigger asthma attacks in asthmatics can be responsible for respiratory allergies in others. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI) reports that allergic diseases are the sixth leading cause of chronic disease in the United States. Less overwhelming than the statistics for asthma but nonetheless striking, allergies account for $4.5 billion in direct medical costs in the U.S. and 3.8 million lost work and school days per year, according to AAAAI.

Overall, the rates of individuals suffering from asthma and allergies are increasing. Of particular concern, however, is the disparity in the health risks to different populations. For example, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health document that when compared to whites, African-Americans have higher rates of asthma, higher numbers of emergency room visits and hospitalizations from the disease, and three to four times the number of asthma deaths. Particular attention and concern is also being directed to the disproportional increases in childhood asthma rates (pre-school aged especially), and further, among children in inner city, minority populations.

Housing conditions can play a key role in delaying or preventing the development of asthma and preventing or limiting the occurrence of asthma attacks and allergic reactions. For more information on the housing hazards most often associated with respiratory health and how to control them, see Health Hazards and Ensuring Quality Housing Conditions.

Sources and Additional Information:

American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology –

American Lung Association –

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America –

Asthma Moms –

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – National Asthma Control Program –

Environmental Protection Agency, Indoor Air Quality, Asthma and Indoor Environments –

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences – Factsheet: Asthma and its Environmental Triggers –

Healthy People 2010 –

SleepWorkPlaytm – A Resource of the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America –

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