Downlight and Spotlight: What’s the Difference?

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Recent developments in lighting technology have allowed consumers plenty of options, depending on their preferred use. LED lights are the lights of the future – they are far more energy efficient than incandescent and fluorescent lights, they last longer and they are much safer to use. There are also different kinds to choose from, and two of them are downlights and spotlights. This article will discuss the key differences of an LED downlight and a spotlight.

Integration

Downlights are integrated, meaning they come as a complete set – the bulb, enclosure (if any), fittings, etc. The advantage of a downlight coming as a complete kit is that the fitting doesn’t need to be replaced for years to come, and the whole mechanism works better than a non-integrated spotlight as it is designed to work seamlessly together until its lifespan is spent, which can take around 10 to 15 years, depending on use.

A spotlight, on the other hand, is non-integrated. It comes as a separate part of a set, with a transformer and suitable fitting included for optimum performance. Each component of a spotlight can be exchanged with other wattage requirements and brands.

Lifespan

Because downlights are sold as a complete set whose components are produced to work together. Each of the components will end its life at the same time. With spotlights, since the components can be swapped, one component’s lifespan may end sooner than the others, prompting the user to replace the component with a new one, and the cycle continues.

Lighting Focus

There is also a significant difference in lighting focus. With a downlight, the light emitted is more scattered, and a spotlight’s focus is concentrated on a specific area or object, with the surrounding space not getting any or enough light from it. This is why downlights are more preferred for general lighting in homes and offices. They are more economical, as a specific room only needs a few of these downlights to fully illuminate the whole area. Spotlights are more suitable for accent pieces and spaces, such as lighting a sculpture, a picture or any focal point in a room.

Installation

Downlights are usually recessed in the ceiling, so they are more polished and elegant-looking in any room. The only indication of their presence is the light that they emit. They are also un-adjustable, so they can only light the area where they are pointed at. LED spotlights are external lights, and they can be installed or mounted anywhere the user prefers. They also have movable heads which can focus anywhere or on anything in a room.

Each of these types of LED lights has its own pros and cons, and depending on the purpose that a user deems necessary, he can pick whether a downlight or a spotlight is most suitable for the desired application. Stores that offer them will usually assist clients and talk them through how each type of light will give them the most benefit.

 

Image: Pixabay.com

 

 

Important Considerations During a Kitchen Renovation

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It is time to give your kitchen and bathroom a facelift. You are excited to get some balls rolling on the different projects that will comprise the overall renovation. Kitchens and bathrooms often present a unique obstacle due to plumbing. In many rooms, you can move furniture and cabinets around without any real concern. This is not the case where sinks, toilets, and showers are concerned.

Planning

Kitchens are often the hub of a home. It is no surprise that more money is spent on kitchen renovations than any other home improvement project. It is important to take the time upfront to make a plan. If you plan well, the construction portion will go much smoother and you are more likely to stay within your budget. Experts recommend you spend at least six months designing and organizing and preparing. This time will help you stay firm in your decisions and not try to make last minute changes once construction has started.

Here are some tips to keep in mind as you prepare for the big renovation.

  •       Draw it out. It is not uncommon for people to opt for the larger fridge to later find out that it won’t fit through the doorway. Take measurements of everything and draw it out. Writing things down and visualizing where things will go and fit is very beneficial.
  •       Consider functionality. Think about how you use your current kitchen. How do you and your family move about the space? Take these things into consideration when planning your renovation. Kitchens get crowded quickly. An island might give you more counter space but it might make the aisles unreasonably small.
  •       Expect the unexpected. Even proper planning can’t account for all possible speed bumps. Give yourself some space around the remodel. Strict time constraints can up the stress-level of any project.
  •       Make decisions about materials before you get started. You don’t want to have to make countertop or cabinet decisions in the middle of a renovation. Knowing what you want also enable contractors to make more accurate bids. Don’t delay the project with decisions you could have easily made ahead of time.
  •       Seek out advice. Professionals are there for a reason. Designers and contractors can give you tips on what will work and what won’t.

Footprint

If you can help it, avoid choosing a new layout the requires changing the location of pipes, electrical outlets, and walls. This can really increase the cost of a kitchen remodel. If possible, it is best to keep the original footprint in place. Appliances, walls, and water fixtures should stay in relatively the same location

Plumbing is especially important to work around. It is essentially the central system that you build around. Since the sink, dishwasher, and refrigerator will most likely stay in the same places, you will need to design the rest of your kitchen around these features. This is where proper planning plays a big role. These three key elements affect cabinetry, countertops, and flooring.

If you do decide to make major changes to the setup, you might need to professionals that provide electrical and plumbing repair services. You may also need to get an inspector involved. It most locations inspections are required during extensive renovations to make sure everything stays up to code.

Remodeling your kitchen can be an exciting endeavor. You spend months pouring over magazines and catalogs. The importance of planning cannot be overstated. Unless you are expecting to sink a lot of money into removing walls and redoing the plumbing, you might want to keep the general footprint the same. Design around the plumbing in your kitchen to save you money. Make all the decisions you can ahead of time so that once construction starts you are met with as few delays as possible.

 

How to Get Started on Home Renovations

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Home renovations are always daunting because of all the preparations and the planning that needs to be done. More often than not, the hardest part of renovations is getting started. According to Colebrook Construction, the decisions you make during the planning stage can make all the difference between success and a remodeling nightmare.

Imagine buying an old house whose roof needs replacing, the walls need repainting, the flooring needs regrouting,  the backyard needs landscaping, and more. It’s really hard to know exactly where to start. For those who want to renovate their homes, here are a few tips on how to get started.

Create an Overall Concept

The first step to renovating your house is to have a concept or, at the very least, a visualization of your finished project. Even though you will be getting a contractor to do the work, they will be following your concept, which means that you have to be the brains behind the design.  Why shouldn’t you hire an interior designer? For one, you’ll be the one living in your home. The design must speak to you and reflect your lifestyle. You may take some suggestions from a professional, but ultimately, you have to create the design.

Create a Budget

The next thing to do is to create a budget for the renovation. You may ask your contractor to help you with this if you are not very familiar with renovations. Consider cost of the materials and set a budget for the contractors to stick to.

Set a Schedule

One of the most important things you should do during the whole renovation process is to create a schedule. If you want your home to be liveable as soon as possible, then you have to make sure that you and your contractors are following a tight schedule. You have to work together with your contractor on creating this.

Check the Materials

Ensure that you’re getting the right materials by checking each one of them. Are the flooring tiles exactly as you ordered? Is the paint the right color? Have the contractors bought quality hardwood? You need to monitor the project personally if you don’t want to be cheated. As an employer, it’s also your responsibility to make sure that your contractors are working within the safety regulations. Check whether their protective equipment including the helmets, safety footwear, dust mask, gloves, and more. Some of these things can be provided by the contractor, but there are a few things you need to buy as well.

Finalize Everything With Your Contractor

The last step is to go over your final plan with the contractor. Aside from the materials and equipment, you will also need to be pay for their professional service fee. Before you start, you must make sure that everything is properly put into paper. Let both parties sign the paper to seal the deal. If there should be an issue during the renovation process, any party can refer to the agreement for clarification.

Conclusion

Once all of these steps are already done, you may start with the whole renovation process. It is important to at least have an idea of what you are doing even though you do have a contractor. That way, you can monitor how your plan is brought to life.

 

The Most Important Benefits of Online Estate Agents You should Know

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When selling a property, it’s always wise to use an estate agent – the advantages are simply too numerous. Real estate agents help you close the deal in a shorter amount of time, help you with the legal issues, give invaluable advice, and are often able to secure buyers that are willing and able to pay fair value (or above that) for the property.

However, choosing the right estate agent for you and your property is no easy matter, and can seem like a tricky process in and of itself. One way of saving yourself thousands of pounds is by hiring an online estate agent. But can you trust them, and how do they work? Here are the most important benefits of online estate agents you should know.

Lower fees

This is by far the most important advantage you will ever get from the online real estate agent: you have to spend only a fraction of what it would cost you were you to employ the services of a traditional real estate agent. The difference is no joke: the traditional real estate agent usually charges around 1 to 2.5% of the selling price of the property (not yet an added 20% on that for VAT); the online estate agent is a lot less demanding and provides you with the services for a fraction of the traditional costs.

A wide network

Because of the technology that is available, online real estate agents can cast a wide net and hence attract many potential buyers. Traditional real estate agents are often limited to their own smaller networks and connections, which is a disadvantage for them.

Presenting your home

You don’t have to leave it all up to the estate agent – you can present your home when you want it, to whom you want it, and in a way you want it. You have a lot more flexibility when it comes to viewing times. If you have vowed, “I will sell my house online!” then an online estate agent can give you great advice and assistance.

Negotiations

Most online real estate agents may negotiate, but they will always inform you about offers and you will always have the final say.

Arguments can be brought on in favour of high street real estate agents – they do indeed do more of the work, though it may be hard to find one who really works in your interests and does his or her best to meet your demands. The fact is that they charge very high fees and the result certainly isn’t guaranteed. If you want to save money, feel that the various platforms of online real estate agents give your residence plenty of exposure and would rather meet potential buyers personally, then the online real estate agent is perfect for you.

 

 

Image courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

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Six Ways to Boost Home Value

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If you’re going to be putting your home on the market this summer, you’re probably thinking about ways to get every penny of what your home is worth. When you’re motivated to sell your home as quickly as possible for the best price, it’s advisable to set aside a budget for home improvements. Here are a few tips to help your home land its new owner in no time.

Opt for Open Floor Plan

Is your home compartmentalized into several small, cramped spaces? If so, consider taking out a wall or two and opting for an open floor plan. While small homes are becoming more popular for their practicality, making the switch to an open floor plan can make all the difference to draw one’s eye as soon as they walk through the front door. When there’s a wide, open space to look at, potential buyers will be able to instantly imagine how they’ll be able to transform the space to their own liking.

Install a New HVAC System

If you live in an area with a warm climate, it’s often worth it to invest in a brand new air conditioning unit before you sell the home. Brutal summers are hard on everyone, and it’s comforting to those who are home shopping to see catch phrases like new air conditioning unit recently installed on a flyer or MLS. When you need to have your heating and air conditioning needs catered to, seek out an established, reputable company to handle the installation process.

Paint With Neutrals

When you were making yourself at home in your current house, you might have taken creative liberties to make the space uniquely yours. While it’s fun to live in a home that feels like it matches your style, it can be harmful when you’re trying to sell. To help tone down a boldly styled home to make it appealing to a wider audience, gloss over wilder colors with soft neutrals like eggshell white, beige, or dove gray.

Invest in Energy Efficient Features

Most prospective homebuyers place a high priority on going green and lessening their carbon footprint. When you need a quick fix to help your home pop off the page online or in flyers, speak with your local home improvement store about energy efficient features for your home. From energy efficient windows to light bulbs that preserve energy, there’s no shortage of features to choose from that will fit any budget.

Install New Flooring

If your home has carpet flooring, it’s time to make an upgrade to something that’s easier to maintain. Carpet has been losing popularity for years, and it can prove quite difficult to sell a home for its full value if it has carpet throughout the entire floor plan. When you’re looking for a way to add a major boost to your home’s value, it’s always wise to install classically beautiful flooring like hardwood or tile. If you’re working on a tight budget, consider opting for laminate wood in high traffic areas like the kitchen and living room.

Keep Up with Landscaping Chores

An overgrown yard is a big deterrent to potential buyers. If your yard looks more like a jungle than yard of the month, you’ll need to make an effort to keep everything trimmed and under control. Instead of allowing the weeds to grow wild, hire a landscaper to professionally maintain the yard until the home is sold. Small changes like a stone flowerbed wall or expertly trimmed bushes can make a noticeable difference in how many people are interested in the home. To attract the eye of more prospective homeowners, make sure that the yard is in excellent condition.

Moving The Mosquitoes Onward

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It seems like as soon as the weather turns warm, the mosquitoes know that it’s time to swarm in the yard. Whether you’re trying to get a little lawn work done or simply sit outside to enjoy the sun, the pesky critters take no mercy and bite anything that has skin. Fortunately, there are a few tips to try that can help you keep the bugs away so that you can enjoy the outdoors once again.

Citronella
Anything that you can put around the outside of the home that is made with citronella will help to keep mosquitoes away more than most other products. You can find candles with citronella as well as tiki torches that make for a beautiful decoration around a deck.

Water Woes
Mosquitoes enjoy water in the spring and summer just as much as you do, so it’s best to eliminate standing water around the property as much as you can. The insects like using standing water as a nursery when they lay their offspring. To prevent them from having a place to lay their babies, go around the home to remove old tires, containers and other items that hold excess water. This will eliminate the spaces where they will be able to reproduce, which means a decrease in the number of mosquitoes that swarm around the yard.

Traps
There are traps that you can get that the mosquitoes are attracted to and will then settle inside without being able to get out. Another option is to get a mosquito control misting system that will spray areas of the yard for the insects. Products are safe for the plants in the yard so that you can protect the landscaping while getting rid of mosquitoes and similar insects. You can also use a bug light outside. When the bugs fly into the light, they are zapped. This method kills them instantly. At times, the bug is trapped for about 24 hours before it finally dies, but it won’t be able to fly out of the trap.

Landscaping
Keep up with the landscaping as much as possible. Trim away weeds and bushes that are overgrown as these are areas where mosquitoes like to fly around. They enjoy the shade that is provided by the overgrowth, which is why you need to maintain a clean landscape. This can also help to prevent some of the other small animals that like to seek refuge from the hot sun, such as snakes.

4 Tips for Keeping Your Home Free of Scorpions

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As a homeowner, dealing with insect pests is probably a fact of life for you, especially when you live in a hot, dry climate where temperatures rarely fall below freezing. While some pests are harmless and simple to handle, others can be dangerous and more difficult to remove from your property, and few present such problems as scorpions. These arachnids, which can be aggressive and venomous, will move into your home if the conditions are right. However, there are a few strategies you can use to keep them away from your property and family.

1. Keep Your Basement Clean and Dry

Scorpions are attracted to environments that are moist, dark, and have plenty of places to hide. Since they can thrive in such conditions, keeping your basement clean and free of any moisture is an important part of repelling these pests. Avoid storing items in your basement but if you must, use clear plastic tubs with snap-on lids instead of cardboard boxes, which scorpions could invade and nest in. Store items off the floor and seal floor or wall cracks with caulk to make your basement less inviting to a roving scorpion.

2. Have Your Roof Inspected

While you might not think of your roof as a possible source of entry for pests, loose or missing shingles could allow scorpions to venture into your attic. Because this could cause an infestation over time, you should consider having your roof inspected, especially if shingle damage is visible from the ground. Have a qualified roofer go over a roof inspection checklist with you and discuss different options for repairs.

3. Call in a Professional

Because scorpions can be dangerous, especially to young children and small pets, you should consider calling in a professional to ensure you are doing all you can to keep these arachnids away from your property. A qualified extermination company can offer you a variety of solutions and help you keep your home pest free. For example, a pest control company can make your yard less attractive to scorpions by removing their prey, such as small insects. When there is less prey to hunt, scorpions will look elsewhere.

4. Clean up Your Yard

While removing potential prey can keep scorpions at bay, making the outdoor perimeter of your yard a less inviting place can also keep scorpions from setting up their homes there. Most species of scorpions hunt at night and hide from the heat during the day, so anything you store in your yard may be a potential den for them. Piles of lumber, bricks, compost heaps, or trash that has not been raked or bagged after a windstorm can all make fine homes for scorpions, and once they are established and begin to breed, this can result in an infestation.

Keeping your yard clean does not have to be time consuming or costly. Do not allow lumber or masonry to pile up, maintain your compost heap, and keep your backyard garden neat. The fewer places you give scorpions to hide, the greater the chance they will look for a home elsewhere.

Scorpions can be both frightening and dangerous, especially when you encounter them indoors. However, taking steps to ensure that your home is not inviting to these pests is an important step in keeping them away.

4 Things To Consider When Choosing Material for Building A Conservatory

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Many consider a conservatory as an occasional space that is suitable only when the weather is not too sunny or too cold. However, with the modern conservatory designs and its pairing with glass technology, the old concepts about conservatories have changed. Having a conservatory can increase the aesthetic appeal of your house and also add to its value.

Things To Consider When Building A Conservatory

There are a number of options when it comes to choosing the right material for building your conservatory. It comes down to three main materials to choose from, uPVC, aluminium and wood. All of these options require a lot of thinking and considerations. The best material will be the one that complements the structure and design of your house.

1.    Cost

One of the main factors to keep in mind is the cost associated with each of the options. Aluminium conservatories are costly, while uPVC and wood can be in anybody’s range depending on the quality of the material used.

2.    Finishing And Colouring Options

When choosing the material for building your conservatory, you also need to keep in mind the colour options available for the material. There are unlimited options of texturing, finishes and colouring when it comes to wood conservatory.  The choice of colouring and finishing in a wood conservatory largely depends on the choice of the homeowner and the overall ambiance of the house. Each colour and finishing will give the conservatory a different effect, thus it is important to keep in mind the overall look of the house when choosing the colour and finishing for the conservatory.

3.    Expected Life

Expected life of the material used for building the conservatory is also very important. A conservatory is not something you can build every other year. Therefore, you need to make sure that the material you use for building the conservatory is long lasting. While some aluminium and uPVC conservatories might cost less initially than a conservatory made with wood, a wood conservatory will last you a much longer time than the first two. The reason for long life of wood conservatory is the fact that it can be repainted, refinished and maintained. On the other hand, repainting uPVC and aluminium conservatories is much difficult. uPVC and aluminium conservatories will break down over time and will have to be replaced because of the worn out look it gives, while wood conservatory will last much long.

4.    Environment Friendly

If you are considering an environment friendly option for your conservatory, nothing beats wood. While initially it might seem as a threat to the environment as it necessitates the cutting of trees, but if the wood is obtained from a sustainable source, it is actually quite the opposite. When wood is used in making products, the carbon dioxide absorbed by it is sealed inside the product and does not harm the environment, neither add to global warming. If obtained from managed forests, wood conservatory is the best choice compared to uPVC and aluminium.

 

Adding a well built conservatory to your home is not a very lengthy process and will add an aesthetic appeal to your house while increasing its value. However, before picking the material for building your conservatory, it is important that you take into consideration all the things mentioned above. Considering the pros and cons of each choice, a wood conservatory is the superior choice of the three.

How an Emergency Plumber Can Help You

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When it comes to dealing with a plumbing emergency it can be stressful trying to figure out how to handle the problem at hand. While there are many articles online for DIY repairs, these aren’t necessarily helpful in an unexpected situation. This is when it’s best to call a professional plumber who has experience with emergency circumstances in particular. There are many ways they’ll be able to help you, including:

1. Diagnosing the Problem

Are you dealing with a leak in your home but don’t know where it originated from? Or is there water flooding in from a broken pipe somewhere in your walls? When you contact an emergency plumber, they will immediately diagnose the problem using their experience and training. With this, you’ll be able to take advantage of the right solutions more quickly.

2. Quickly Arranging Repairs

When it comes to a plumbing emergency, the last thing you want to do is wait around and allow the damage to get worse. Fortunately emergency plumbers do not hold typical office hours, so they can be on site as soon as you give them a call. With that quick service, they can arrange repairs many hours before a traditional plumber would be able to help. In fact, most plumbers will begin repairs right away so the degree and amount of damage can be minimized as much as possible.

3. Provide You With Guidance and Advice

When it comes to handling an urgent problem with plumbing, it can be easy to get overwhelmed. This is when it’s beneficial to have a plumber on site, as they can give you guidance about what’s to come next and advice about what needs to be done now. With their experience and expertise, they’ll be able to provide you with peace of mind and comfort knowing the situation will be taken care of properly.

What to Expect in a Plumbing Crisis

When you contact a 24/7 plumber to come to your home, they will make it their priority to arrive as quickly as possible. Once there, they will immediately get started by analyzing the situation to diagnose the problem at hand. After this they can begin the repair process straightaway so you have less of a burden on your shoulders. As a result of tackling the problem quickly with professional help, this may result in minimized damage and a much more swift clean-up as well. While there may be times when you can do DIY repairs to your plumbing, an emergency is always a time to leave it to someone who has the expertise to resolve the problem properly and efficiently.

Strategic Ways to Boost Protection While Using a Modern Security System

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According the legal reports in the United States, houses in typical communities are burglarized every hour. Although robbers are impulsive, there are ways to prevent crimes that occur in and around a home in a residential area.

In order to fully protect your home, you must invest in highly efficient monitoring equipment. Modern security systems are effective because they give homeowners peace of mind during long vacations and lengthy business trips. However, once the equipment is installed, other steps must to taken to keep potential robbers off of your property. Most robberies occur when burglars spot common signs and vulnerable spots around a home. By resolving these issues, the security system will less likely detect a burglar while you’re away from home.

Trash Cans Out Along the Curb Too Early

Thieves always scout an area before they take action, and the most strategic robbers wait patiently so that they can commit a crime without getting caught. In most communities, burglars study the trash schedule, which is why you shouldn’t put your garbage can out too early. Burglars are very wise, so they’ll know that no one is home if the trashcans are left on the curb several days in advance.

Because many robbers take risks, you must place monitoring equipment outdoors in case someone tries to gain access while you’re in your home. A properly placed monitoring device can also increase security while you run errands, as you’ll get prompt alerts on your phone after a robber step on the property.

Overgrown Plants

Your outdoor security system won’t be effective if there are many tall hedges scattered around the property. Thick hedges, trees, and shrubs benefit robbers because they provide cover. According to professional home inspectors, nearly 81 percent of burglars try to break into a home by picking a lock on the first floor while hiding near a hedge. By keeping your hedges, trees, and shrubs properly trimmed, you’ll create an environment that isn’t ideal for robbers.

Smartphone-Controlled Security System Benefits

Besides the increased security, a smartphone-controlled system can provide other great advantages. For example, when you forget to set the alarm, you can configure the system quickly by pressing a few buttons on your phone. Whenever someone needs to access your home while you’re running errands, the system can help you save gas, time, and money. Instead of driving to your residence, you can disengage the security system instantly by using an app on your phone.