Wednesday, March 11, 2020

4 Top Tips for First-time Car Owners

owning a car

For new drivers, owning a car can feel like the most fulfilling yet challenging task. Cars are convenient, and let us travel to wherever we like. We can even decorate and customize it to make it represent our personality. However, maintenance can be difficult. There are so many things to talk about, and new drivers are usually not quite sure where to start. It can be very daunting, even for older drivers.

Be friends with your car.

Whatever car you choose to buy, new or second-hand, you need to know all the ins-and-outs of it! It is kind of like bonding with a friend. You need to know what things you can do with the car, and things that you shouldn’t do with it. Visit car showrooms or make a research in the internet to help you choose and decide for the right one that best fits you. It is also best to read the manual that comes along with it. If there is no manual in case of buying a second-hand model, then it is recommended to seek help from someone who owns a similar model!

Do regular check-ups and maintenance.

Regular check-ups and maintenance may sound exhausting, but they are very simple to do! It might be a little difficult at first. Nevertheless, as you build up the routine, it will become easier to perform eventually. By doing daily maintenance, you are able to preemptively fix problems that can cause an accident in the future. It will also help you to save some money from having to spend for monthly maintenance.

Invest for a car lift.

Investing for a car lift can be one of the greatest things you can invest in if you own a car. By having your own personal lift, you can perform your own maintenance, restoration, or repair! Unfortunately, finding the best car lift can be difficult. After all, there are a variety of car lifts, and you might choose the wrong one by accident. Best Buy Auto Equipment has a great in-depth comparison of car lifts in their website that can help you choose the right one!

Know your limits.

Owning a car can be very exciting, but you must budget your finances. Additional features can be very expensive, and the installation can take a long time. Do not add new features into your car immediately. It is best to drive your car for a few months to check for any problems before you do so. This way, you will be able to save precious resources without having regrets.

Friday, January 10, 2020

New Homeowners Guide: Get Your Heating Right First Time

Starting the journey to buying a new home is one of a kind yet stressful experience. From finding your dream place to securing a mortgage, it’s a relief once it’s over and you can finally move in. But the battle doesn’t cease there, as getting your home in tip-top shape is a whole other type of stress. Between choosing your favourite wallpaper and what colour sofa to have, you might forget about the more critical factors in your new home. One thing that new homeowners forget about is your new boiler- it may not seem like a big deal, but making an informed decision could slash the prices you’ll pay in the future. However, before you can buy, you need to know the facts and figures to make the best choice for your home.

Why is your heating system so important?

The boiler that’s in your home will have a more significant impact than you may think. It will affect small, everyday comfort and money issues in your home, so getting it right the first time will eliminate small problems such as: 
  • The long-term and short-term costs. Boilers can be expensive, but it is an investment into your home that makes a difference. The better the boiler, the more efficient it is. Efficiency means your boiler has to do less work and therefore cutting a chunk from your heating bills- which is a long term money saver. 
  • The overall quality of heating in your home. You may experience more breakdowns and a shortened boiler lifespan if you opt for a cheaper heating system, as well as a noticeable drop in the power your boiler supplies. 
  • The immediate costs. When buying a boiler upfront (yes, you can pay on finance), it’s best to shop around. Different heating suppliers will offer discounts that you may miss by just opting for the first one you find. 
Whatever you choose has to be right, as your boiler has a ten year+ life span so that you won’t be selecting a new one any time soon. 

What are the options?

When choosing a boiler, the possibilities are endless. The only thing you have to bear in mind is that it’s the law to have a condensing system, which covers most boilers anyway. This is because they are better for the environment and more efficient (over 90%) so you will save money in the long run by default. There are several different types of condensing boiler you can choose for your new boiler, such as: 

Conventional Boiler

If you are moving into an older home, you will most like find one of these boilers already in the same, hence the nickname ‘traditional boilers’. They are made up from a cylinder and water storage tank that will stay in your attic or loft so that the water can come down through the pipes. It’s out of the way, but also means it takes up a lot of space up there. Because of how dated conventional boilers seem, many people don’t consider them. But they work well in older homes, so don’t count them out completely. 

  • Works well in larger, older homes with large attics. 
  • Compatible with solar to save on energy bills and reduce your eco-footprint
  • Can supply water to more than one tap at a time
  • Very heavy and large, will take up a considerable amount of space. 
  • Long waiting times for hot water to heat up before you can use it. 
  • Upfront cost and installation can be more expensive
  • It can be costly to buy and install.

System Boiler

System boilers are perfect for smaller homes that have more than one bathroom because they don’t require a tank, but you can still get the power you need. They can provide large quantities of water at a reasonable speed, as well as the ability to use alongside solar panels for eco-friendly heating. 

  • It might be more expensive in the beginning but works out cheaper than other boilers in the long run. 
  • Requires less space but still has a high production rate
  • Energy-efficient when used alongside solar
  • Hot water is constant
  • Water may take time to reheat, like a conventional boiler.
  • Will take up space in a cupboard or airing cupboard for the cylinder. 

Combi Boiler

This type of boiler is the most popular, and we can see why. If you’re moving into a new home, they work well because of their compactness (they don’t need a water tank or cylinder). Especially in smaller places, you don’t have to worry about this boiler taking up too much space. You can directly heat water from the mains, and therefore you can immediately get unlimited hot water whenever you need in a highly efficient, cost-effective way. The combi boiler allows you to heat hot water and your home without the need for two different storages. 

  • Instant access to heating
  • Cost-effective, long term and short term. 
  • Compact
  • Easy to access for boiler maintenance and servicing
  • More likely to lose water pressure over time.
  • Can’t provide all the power you need in a large home
  • You cannot use the water and home heating simultaneously

Boilers can be confusing, especially if you are a new homeowner. 

Don’t struggle on your own. Research what boiler is best for you and keep hold of this guide for extra help!

Image credits: Piqsels

Friday, January 03, 2020

Why Does My Circuit Breaker Keep Tripping?

Four 1 pole circuit breakers fitted in a meter box.jpg

A tripping circuit breaker can be very frustrating. It may be a minor issue that can be resolved by unplugging a few devices. However, sometimes it is a sign that something more dangerous is going on that needs the attention of an electrician. We asked the team from Connect Electric what the most common reasons for a tripped circuit breaker are.
The Circuit is Overloaded
Our lives are powered by electricity. Most modern households rely on many appliances, computers, and devices that need energy to run. This has led to the need for more outlets and higher power capacity.
Circuit breakers can trip due to an overload. This occurs when too many things are pulling electricity at a time. The excessive demand causes the circuit breaker to heat up, which triggers the tripping mechanism. The breaker will not work again until you manually reset it.
This is a common problem in older homes that were built during a time when people used less electricity. Some people try to make up for the lack of outlets by using power strips. This can create a hazardous situation. If you have overloaded circuits, speak to an electrician to find out if it is time to upgrade your electric system.
Something is Short Circuiting
Short circuits can also cause breakers to trip. This is not something that should be ignored. If a hot wire touches a neutral wire, it creates a hard short which can easily result in an electrical fire. Increased current and lower resistance allow energy to flow within the breaker, which activates the tripping mechanism.
Wiring problems aren’t the only thing that can cause a short circuit. They can occur due to a malfunctioning appliance or device. This makes them harder to diagnose. You may have a short circuit if the breaker trips again immediately after resetting.
Hot Wires Cause Ground Faults
A ground fault is another type of short circuit. This happens when a hot wire contacts the ground wire, metal wall box, or wood framing. These are a serious concern, especially in areas that have more moisture like a bathroom or kitchen. Outdoor locations are also a concern because of their exposure to the elements.
Ground faults are a serious shock risk and should be dealt with immediately. The best way to handle this situation is to prevent it altogether by following all building codes when constructing, updating, or adding on to a structure.
Just like a hard short, a ground fault will cause the circuit breaker to trip immediately after resetting. If this happens, contact an electrician right away.
Power Fluctuations from Arc Faults
Arcing refers to sparking between two contact points in a wired connection. This can happen due to a loose screw in a switch or outlet. An arc fault detection device can protect your home or business from fire caused by arc faults. This component is not a mandatory requirement but comes as a recommended addition. If you plan to build or renovate in the future, you should check current building codes to verify that no changes have been made to the requirements for electrical work.

If your circuit breaker trips often, you should talk to a professional. An electrician can determine the cause and recommend the best course of action to take to keep your home safe and powered.

Image By Bidgee - Own workCC BY-SA 3.0Link

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

5 Things All Successful Landlords Should Know

If your dream of being a landlord is about to come to fruition, there are a few things you should know about owning and managing real estate. Whether you approach the property as an investment or as a business, there are some things all successful landlords should know.

1. Tenants

The lifeblood of a successful real estate investment is the tenant. Make sure you find good tenants with dependable backgrounds, if possible; and try to understand the statutes and laws governing landlord application refusal protocols before you decline rental to anyone.

2. Business

Long-time landlord and property developer Steven Taylor strongly suggests you remember your real estate property is a business and must be run as such. You may find you need help from an accountant, attorney, or property manager – so, let them help you.

3. Price

Keeping your building full is important but pricing the units below market may attract poor tenants. Understanding fair market rental prices in the area can help you decide how much to charge for your location.

4. Insurance

Make it a requirement in your rental contract that tenants carry adequate rental insurance. This will help you avoid unnecessary litigation from fire, flood, or other types of building damage.

5. Rules

As difficult as it is for some to believe, you cannot be a friend or buddy to the tenants in your buildings if you are a landlord. If you break a rule for one, there is a precedent for others to expect the rule will be broken for all. Also, if you have a rule, enforce it, especially late rental fees – otherwise, why have the rule?

Understanding the business world you are entering when you become a landlord can provide insights into how to avoid future problems. Protect your investment by following the simple rules above and you may find yourself enjoying many successful years as a landlord.

 Image by StockSnap from Pixabay