How To Install Your Laminate Flooring Without A Hitch

How Do I Protect My New Laminate Floor?

Laminate flooring is a much improved flooring product that can be the perfect alternative to solid wood flooring. Durable, easy to fit and clean, laminate flooring can work in a number of rooms across your home from the hallways to your kitchen, living room, bathroom and even bedrooms! While laminate flooring is renowned for its long lasting qualities, some simple upkeep and protective precautions can stretch that longevity even further, so you get to spend your hard earned cash on something more exciting than replacing your flooring! Here are our top tips for protecting laminate flooring.

Attach felt pads to the bottom of lightweight furniture

Lightweight furniture is liable to slip around your floors at the slightest bump. To save sharp corners causing scratches on your flooring, felt pads will allow your furniture to glide safely without leaving any damage behind.

Lift furniture instead of dragging

A pet peeve of laminate flooring owners everywhere, your friends and family might be prone to dragging their furniture around without a second thought. Put your back into it and lift your furniture to avoid unsightly scratches on the floor. Too heavy? Try some felt or plastic discs underneath.

Carpets Runners & Rugs

If you know that a certain part of your laminate flooring is going to get a lot of footfall, consider placing a carpet runner or rug over the area to prevent scrapes and additional wear.

Welcome Mats

Apart from acting as a friendly greeting for friends and family, a welcome mat encourages people to wipe their feet, therefore reducing the risk of scratchy gravel or dirt making its mark on your laminate flooring.

Mop Regularly

Scratches aren’t the only type of damage you need to be wary of when it comes to laminate flooring, take care that liquids are mopped up before they have time to enter cracks and warp your flooring.  For a full range of floor cleaning products including our recommended Micro Fibre Mops, please click here.

Manicure Your Pets

By making sure that your pets have their nails clipped regularly, you can reduce the risk of accidental scratches on your flooring.

Watch the Humidity

Particularly humid or dry conditions don’t make for happy laminate floors. Too dry and your floor might shrink, but too humid and the flooring may expand and warp. Most homes operate at a happy medium, but if you’re aware of an unusual humidity situation in your home consider regulating it with a humidistat.

The key point to remember is that laminate is liable to scratch and warp if you don’t take the necessary precautions, but many of these apply to any type of home flooring you may choose. The higher quality the flooring, the better wear you’ll get out of it, and purchasing your laminate flooring from Leader Floors guarantees both quality and durability.

Caring for your Laminate floor

Laminate floors are stain and fade alongside scratch resistant and with a couple preventative maintenance ways that you can have your floor last a lengthy moment. First, you have to adhere to the laminate floor manufacturer’s limitations and from keeping their recommendations consideration you’ll have a floor that may last forever.

Place the designer mats in front of the stoves and sinks along with all the entrances to the house. Also, feel the protectors under the foot of the furniture. Using dry and properly functioning chair coasters. One of the most important things you can do is try to follow the guidelines of laminate floor suppliers for room temperature and for moisture levels.

Maintaining laminate flooring

Laminate flooring is quite durable and maybe never that hard to stay clean. All you have to do is regularly brush or vacuum using a gentle brush. Damp-mop the laminate hardwood flooring working with a little ammonia or vinegar and water being careful never to flood the panels as you can damage this way. Always test a product that you are not certain of at an observable area. In the event you have to get rid of a stain make utilize of the laminate floor cleaner and mop-up to hold any water from going into the joints. Also, make certain that to work with a damp mop and maybe perhaps never a wet one.

Cleaning the Laminate Floor

Avoid wet mopping.

Wet mopping will cause extra water to seep into the floor, which will damage it over time. Mopping with water should also be avoided because soap and detergent based cleaners used with wet mopping damages laminate. Instead, purchase a spray on cleaner specially made for laminate floors and wipe the floors with a cloth, or use a dry mop.

  • Manufacturers of laminate flooring will often put out their own brands of cleaning products. It is best to use what is specifically made for your type of flooring.
  • Generic brands are sold at supermarkets and flooring stores. Generic brands are typically okay to use, though you should test it on a small spot of your floor first.

Clean spills from the laminate flooring as soon as they occur.

This will prevent liquids from entering any cracks or joints in your flooring, which can eventually weaken your laminate flooring or cause it to warp. Use a soft cloth or mop to clean up spills instead of an abrasive sponge or other material that can scratch your flooring. Clean it up with the cloth alone, or with a cleaning product recommended by the manufacturer of your flooring if possible.

  • If you are required to use a cleaning product other than water to clean up spills and can’t find a product made by your manufacturer, use a commercial window cleaner that does not contain ammonia. Ammonia contains properties that may strip away the protective sealant from the laminate flooring.

Don’t use a vacuum with rotary brush heads.

Do not use a vacuum with a rotary brush or beater bar head on laminate floors. These types of heads can damage the flooring. Instead, use a felt or brush type vacuum. Before vacuuming, check to make sure the wheels are clean and haven’t collected any dirt or grit.

  • Vacuum and sweep daily to minimize the amount of dirt and grit on the floors.

Make repairs quickly.

You can repair minor damage on your own by purchasing a repair kit made specifically for laminate floors. Kits will typically be made up of silicon filler and wax sticks. More extensive damage may require a replacement of tiles or planks. It is best to seek a professional for extensive damage that will require replacement.

How To Protect Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring may easily be prone to dents, scratches, scuff marks, as well as other kinds of damages, particularly in locations with heavy traffic. This is also true when you need to move furniture around, such as tables and chairs, all over the flooring on a regular basis. In certain cases, humidity in the weather, as well as the presence of pets may also damage your laminate flooring. If you are wondering how to protect laminate flooring, there are certain ways that you can do so.

Steps In Protecting Your Laminate Flooring

In order to protect the area, make sure that you place some felt protector pads at the bottom of light furniture. This will avoid the feet of the furniture, as well as other sharp edges from scratching or scraping against the laminate flooring. You can buy felt protector pads that come with adhesives on a side, allowing you to stick it to the bottom of furniture.

When you move furniture around, make sure that you lift it, rather than dragging it. By doing so, you can avoid scratches, as well as scuff-marks which may come as a result of dragging your furniture. If you find it difficult to move furniture, especially the bigger ones, you can use plastic discs that come with padding on a side, placing it under the furniture. Those discs will enable heavy and large furniture to easily glide on the laminate flooring without resulting to any damage. Other alternatives include the use of heavy blankets or thick towels.

Protect Your Laminate Flooring

You may also want to place rugs or carpets on the laminate flooring. These carpets may be placed in locations that are prone to heavy foot traffic in order to prevent scrapes and scratches from potentially marring your laminate flooring. You can also place non-slip or rubber pads below the rags in order to prevent them from potentially sliding around.

As an additional measure, you can also place a ‘welcome’ mat on your doorway. This will make sure that your family or guests will wipe their feet before they enter your home. This will reduce the entry of dirt, pebbles, as well as other debris from possibly scratching the laminate flooring. You may also request your family or guests to leave their shoes inside your home. This can also help in eliminating the debris which may be tracked from your shoes and into your laminate flooring.

Another important thing to remember is to make sure that the humidity levels in your house stays between 35 and 65 percent. This will further prevent the laminate flooring from being warped as a result of the contraction or expansion of the materials of your laminate flooring. These are the things that you can do if you want to learn how to protect laminate flooring.

Tips for Protecting Laminate Flooring


Even though my laminate floors are low maintenance by design, I like to clean them daily. Every night after I finish cleaning up dinner, I get out my vacuum stick. I turn off the rotary brush head so I don’t scratch my floors and vacuum away. It only takes me about 5 minutes at the most. But I know it’s worth it because I’m keeping that little sandy grit off the floors and preventing wear. If you prefer to clean less often, once week is sufficient to keep your floors looking great.


This is probably the easiest change of all! I placed a few rugs at each doorway of the kitchen and dining room. The rug by the garage door catches all the debris and dirt from outside. The one by the back patio door catches all the dirt from the dogs little paws. Bonus tip: when you are looking for rugs, be sure to buy ones that have a solid backing so that dirt doesn’t sift through the rug and make contact with your gorgeous new floors. 


Furniture could be hard on laminate floors. We added a few felt floor protectors to the bottom of the chair legs and buffet table. This will prevent scratches and damage to the floor. Another very simple and inexpensive change that will keep the new floors looking their best!


Let’s face it, spills and stains will happen. If you got little ones like me…I guarantee they will happen.  I clean them with a laminate surface cleaner and soft cotton cloth. You could also use household vinegar for light mopping, but I don’t because I can not stand that smell.

Capture Your Wedding Day In High Definition Even On A Budget Wedding Videographer

Best Questions To Ask Your Wedding Videographer

Congratulations! You’re finally at the point where you’re ready to sit down and consider what you want in a wedding videographer. At this point, you should have locked down your wedding date and the venue it will be held at. Now that you know all of this, you can breathe a little easier.

Choosing the right wedding videographer is typically not as stressful of a process as the ones listed above, but if you fail to recognize some of the technical ins-and-outs you could be left with regret.

Introductory Questions

Introductory questions are meant to establish a baseline for your videographer search. These are usually answered on the videographer’s website itself or through an initial contact email or phone call. Your time is precious and there’s no use wasting it if one or many of these don’t align with your needs.

Do they have your wedding date available?

First and foremost, you want to establish if the videographer in question even has your date available. Great videographers will often book popular dates at least a year in advance. This is an easy way to filter out videographers that 100% will work out.

How long have they been in business and filming weddings?

It’s important to know what level of experience your potential videographer has. Weddings have many unique attributes to them and a newer videographer might not be able to handle it all. While it can be okay to give new videographers a break, you deserve the right to know this beforehand.

Will the videographer you’re speaking to be the one who will be filming your wedding?

While it’s not always a given that the person you’re speaking with will be the one filming your wedding, it’s good to get an understanding of what their team structure looks like and who will be in attendance on your special day. Also, look out for larger videography firms hiring out your wedding to videography networks for profit. These companies tend to have very little quality control and could lead to a disaster if they don’t properly vet their shooters.

How many videographers will they be filming at the ceremony and/or reception?

Piggybacking off of the previous question, it’s helpful to know how many videographers will be present on the day of your wedding. Having a vision or idea for the size and scope of your wedding is helpful in gauging what number is right. Smaller weddings can get away with a single shooter but typically send 2-3. On the inverse, you don’t want too many videographers crowding the floor if you’re planning a smaller wedding.

This information is sometimes included on the videographer’s website and if often based on their pricing packages, so do some research first and have a rough idea in mind of what you might need.

Which parts of the wedding do they capture?

Again, this can also be dependent on what package you choose to purchase. There are usually 3 standard parts of the traditional wedding day: pre-wedding preparation, the wedding ceremony, and the wedding reception. If your wedding strays from this format, it might be a good idea to get some clarity on how they plan to document it.

What is your video style and storytelling approach?

First thing you should ask is what is your videographers style and what is their cinematic process. Some videographers prefer a documentary style, where they shoot and edit everything chronologically. So you’ll have bride prep, groom prep, ceremony, drinks, speeches, cake cut and first dance, all in a row. Some videographers have a style which is slightly more cinematically where they will cut bits from different parts of the day and edit them throughout your video so you might get speeches over the top of some couple shots, some parts of the first dance and confetti all mixed together. You need to find out what style of video that you’re into a find a videographer that’s a similar style.

What kind of equipment will you be using?

The three things that are important are cameras, lighting and sound. There are many different types of cameras that can be used for a wedding video. You have small DSLR cameras and large television cameras, and it’s important to ask your videography which one of these they use and how that will impact your day. How do they handle sound, what type of microphones do they use? Are they using little lapel mics, are they using clip-on microphones or are they using boom poles with a big microphones attach to the end of them. If, and how, they use lighting. Do they put up lights all over your venue? Some videographers like to use a lot of lighting and some videographers like to use natural lighting, use no lights at all. This again is your prerogative, and what style a video that you prefer but it’s worth checking.

How do you handle music for the wedding film?

Music sets the tone for your entire wedding video—in the clip below, the zippy song and descriptive lyrics make you feel like you’re in paradise with the couple! Tell your videographer what kind of music you love (and hate) so that they can fit in your preferences. They should be open to your input, and in turn, you need to trust their judgment, since they know which songs will work well for editing. Ask if they will be using licensed music (especially for anything posted online).

What types of packages do you offer?

Videographers use either à la carte pricing or all-inclusive packages. The length of the videos is an important factor to consider. Many videographers produce short trailers or highlight films (2-5 minutes), which can easily be shared online. Other options include short-form wedding films (10-20 minutes), and feature-length videos (45-90 minutes). If you’re on a tight budget, consider asking for raw footage only. But keep in mind that raw footage is just that—raw. You’ll see camera movement, blocked shots, etc., but you can always have the footage edited later on.

Can I See Your Previous Work?

This should be simple enough as most wedding videographers will have examples on their website, a YouTube channel or social media platforms. If they don’t have anything easily available for you to view just drop a quick message to ask. Viewing their previous work gives you an idea of their natural style and the quality of their work. They may even give you some information on what package the couple chose so you have a good comparison idea.

Can I See Reviews From Your Previous Clients?

Hopefully your wedding videographer has lots of happy clients. Ask to see testimonials and reviews, you may even be able to talk to a previous client. I always strive to produce something i’m proud of and my couples love so I’m more than happy to show off my reviews.

Will there be a secondary camera operator?

This is normally down to each videographer’s preference but it should be made clear from the start how many people you can expect to be filming. Often a second camera operator will mean a higher price for the job but will be able to capture the day from a different perspective, so it’s about working out your priorities before committing to anything.

Can you recommend any photographers?

Videographers often get to know photographers from working weddings with them so will likely be able to recommend a few. Whoever you choose though, both suppliers will work together to make sure they both get everything they need from the day.

Moving Reviews Is The Ultimate Source Of Local Moving Verification

Ultimate Guide to Cheap Moving & Recommended Residential Movers

When you need to relocate a household, there are generally three basic price points:

Expensive: usually from companies who specialise in overseas moves or long-distance interstate relocations

Dirt Cheap: usually a smaller company or one-man-band operation

A little more than you wanted to spend but not too bad: a company with experience, a team of movers, and reliable trucks

Short Moves Done Dirt Cheap

A really cheap quote might actually be great if you have a one-bedroom unit, little furniture, and you’re only moving 3 minutes down the road. While if you have a house lot of exceptionally valuable art and very fragile items, then you might be better looking at the more expensive company.

The Container May Roll but Your Breakables Will Be Fine

The firms that deal primarily with overseas moves and long-distance relocations often won’t even quote for a local move, because they now that they’re going to be more expensive. Part of the reason for this is the level of packing that they do, and most will insist on their crew doing your packing.

The type of packing require for an overseas move is a lot more rigorous than what is required for a short move, making it more expensive. For most people this level will be overkill, but if your house is full of valuable breakables, you may want to think about this option seriously.

The Furniture Moving Level of Service Most People Need

For most people the level of service you need is where your few fragile and precious items are well protected but while everything is, of course, treated with care, you don’t need your mattress or lounge suite bubble wrapped sing a locally based mover that works within your area is more likely to ensure you get the best value. You can have a look here to see if this company can help

A Beginner’s Guide to Local Marketing for Moving Companies

Local marketing is the best way to build your brand and your business. When you’re starting out, especially in the moving industry, you need to be able to market yourself to those around you. Moving companies don’t come out of the gate as national enterprises; they start small and build steadily.

Local Marketing for Moving Companies

Moving companies rely on a couple of important concepts to get ahead. First, you need to be the needle in the proverbial haystack of other moving companies in your town. Second, you need to use digital marketing practices in an effective way to boost your brand awareness. When potential customers are able to associate your brand with what you do, you’ll start to see progress.

Finding Your Niche

Presumably, you aren’t the only moving company in town. If you’re going to stand out locally, you need to do some work to figure out your niche and your niche audience. To do this, you just need to take a look at your competition and what they do well, versus what they don’t do well.

Make sure to fill out all of your listings online. Things like Google My Business will go along way to boosting your rankings and online visibility. When someone searches “moving companies near me”, you want yours to be one of the businesses that show up on the first SERP.

In addition to listings, it’s important to have a good stream of engaging, informative, and localized content on your blog, YouTube page, and social media. Building your brand through these channels will establish you as an authority in the world of moving and what’s going on in your area

Moving Guide & F.A.Q

2 Months Before Moving

Sort through the contents of closets, drawers, and cupboards to weed out what you don’t want or need. Hold a yard sale, or donate unwanted items to charity.

Inventory everything of value you plan to move and determine replacement values for insurance purposes.

Start deciding on what moving company you are going to use.

6 Weeks Before Moving

Finalize real estate or rental needs.

If moving out of town, make travel arrangements.

Notify your children’s schools of the move and contact new schools for enrollment information.

Obtain copies of school records, or have them sent to new schools. Obtain copies of medical records for each family member.

Ask doctors to recommend doctors in your new community. Consult insurance agents to find out if changes to policies are necessary.

1 Month Before Moving

Alert utility companies to disconnect services the day after you move and to have new service activated several days before you arrive at your new house.

Contact the chamber of commerce in your new town for information on utility services.

If necessary, arrange for storage in your new community.

If you’re packing your house yourself, order supplies and start packing boxes.

1 Week Before Moving

If you’re packing your house yourself, finish packing boxes. Confirm travel arrangements, if needed. Arrange payment or deposit for movers.

Write directions to your new home for the moving company, confirm delivery date, and give the company your itinerary and cell phone number. Get cash to have on hand to tip movers.

Complete change-of-address forms at the post office, and send notices to magazine subscriptions, creditors, friends and relatives, alumni organizations, credit cards, banks, and any other necessary companies and organizations. Cancel newspaper subscriptions. Notify your employers — new and old — of your new contact information.

Clean rugs and have them packed for moving. Obtain health certificates from your vet for pets traveling by air. Pack suitcases you plan to move yourself with clothes, toiletries, jewelry, and important financial records and documents.

Moving Day!

Pack your first-night box.

Accompany the mover as he or she inventories your possessions and makes condition reports.

Sign the bill of lading (ensure that the address and phone number are correct) and inventory, and keep your copies in a safe place.

Lock windows, turn off lights, close doors, and take a final tour after the movers have finished to make certain nothing is left behind.

Rights and Responsibilities Guide

Moving is definitely a team effort. As your local moving company, we’re honored to work with you to handle all the heavy lifting and to help keep things organized and flowing smoothing before, during and after moving day.

Movers for Your Home or Business

Consider us your experienced mover. We are the moving company for homeowners and businesses throughout

Moving day can be a busy, stressful experience. The more prepared you are, the less stressful your move. We’ve developed the Moving Checklist to help you get organized and to make the most

Moving Guide

Moving is one of life’s most stressful events, and we are here to help. As with all great stressors in life, the earlier you start the more manageable it becomes. With our detailed moving guide, there will never be a question as to what your next steps are or should be. We will discuss all the steps you will need to take in order to prepare for your move. In this portion, we will discuss the earliest steps you should take before a move to make it as smooth as possible.


If you are renting an apartment or a house, know how much notice you need to give. What things will need to be cleaned prior to your move, and what things need to be returned to their factory default settings? If you painted the walls of your apartment, you will likely need to paint them back to their old boring eggshell color instead of the totally awesome crimson you had. ​​​​​The most important thing you will want to take care of is knowing your notice period. While true, you signed a set term lease, many rental companies will put you on a month-to-month lease after the set term is up. Without giving appropriate notice, you would be on the hook for additional rent and potentially any other closing fees that may exist.

Restore Your House

This is a pretty simple concept: make sure everything in your home is the way you found it when you moved in. Landlords always fight tooth and nail to keep the security deposit. It is your job to make that as difficult as possible. Make sure to start painting walls back to their original color and get a steam clean for any carpets.

Tell Everyone That Needs to Know

From landlords to yard crews, make sure everyone who needs to know is made aware well in advance. Most of these notices can be handled in a brief five-minute phone call. Depending on your lease, alerting your landlord of your intention to vacate might be able to be put off a little, but for others this might be the deadline

Make Copies of Everything

By this point you should be an expert of your old lease, but even the world’s leading expert would do well to be able to pull out all the necessary documents when they’re needed. Whether that be to contest charges your old landlord is trying to levy or things you need to know about your new home, there is no harm in having hard copies ready to go for any situation. If you are a real pro, get some binders to keep track of all your move related documents.

Choosing A Great Divorce Lawyer

Questions to Ask Your Divorce Attorney During Your First Meeting

Seeking a divorce can be a stressful experience. Having the assistance of a knowledgeable attorney can help make the process go smoothly, and you won’t have to handle the complex legal issues on your own. During your initial consultation, there are several questions you should ask to help you better understand your case, as well as help you understand what benefits the divorce lawyer can provide.

Here Are 5 Categories of Questions You Should Ask at Your Initial Consultation:

1. Questions Regarding the Legal Fees & Strategies

At your first meeting, you should ask questions to understand the attorney’s fee structure and legal strategy for your case. This can help you gauge the attorney’s approach to your situation, as well as prepare you for the expenses you will need to pay throughout the process. While some divorce cases are settled out of court, more complicated divorce cases can take years to resolve and require costly litigation. Knowing your attorney’s legal fees up front can give you a better knowledge of how much you can expect to pay.

Some questions you can ask include:

  • Do you charge an hourly fee or a fixed fee?
  • Have you handled divorce cases in both mediation and litigation?
  • What is your strategy for my case?
  • Do you charge for time spent answering my questions?

2. Questions Regarding the Specific Aspects of Your Case

If your case is complex, or there are factors you are unsure about, it is important to ask your lawyer about these issues at your first meeting. This may involve questions about financial aspects, such as spousal support and child support payments, or other factors such as the division of assets and property, child custody and visitation, and possible name changes. In addition, if you have mortgage payments or a lot of debt, you can ask about how to divide these financial obligations.

Some questions you can ask include:

  • What are my options for obtaining custody of my child?
  • How will our debts and mortgage be paid off?
  • What amount of spousal support will I be able to obtain?
  • How will our property and assets be divided?

3. Questions Regarding Your Legal Options for Seeking a Divorce

Depending on your situation, there may be several options available to you as you pursue a divorce. You may be able to dissolve the marriage through mediation or an annulment. If the case is contested, you may have to pursue litigation and a formal court hearing to obtain a divorce. At your first meeting with your divorce attorney, you should ask questions about what options you have, as well as questions about the attorney’s experience with handling these various divorce proceedings.

Some questions you can ask include:

  • Can I obtain a divorce without having to go to court?
  • What is your approach to divorce litigation and contested cases?
  • Could I legally end my marriage with an annulment?
  • What is the best option for seeking a divorce in my case?

4. Questions Regarding the Divorce Process

Different states have different requirements for divorce. This includes complicated paperwork and other factors you must take into consideration. When speaking with your divorce attorney, you can ask questions to learn more about the specific requirements your state imposes, and how these could affect your case. An experienced divorce lawyer will have a thorough and up-to-date knowledge of state divorce laws, and will be able to discuss the important issues with you.

Some questions you can ask include:

  • Is there any extra paperwork I need to file in my state?
  • What are the specific requirements of my state to obtain a divorce?
  • Do I need to prove grounds for divorce?
  • What does the process look like, and can you estimate a timeline for my situation?

5. Questions Regarding a Contested Divorce

If you and your spouse disagree on important issues, or there is a high level of animosity or anger involved, you will likely need the help of an experienced divorce lawyer to represent you through mediation or litigation as you seek to reach a conclusion. If no agreement can be made through informal mediation, the case will go to court and a judge will make a final decision regarding the various aspects of your divorce. These may include child custody, spousal support, and division of property. It is important to ask your divorce attorney about what you can expect in a contested case, and how you can seek a beneficial outcome if the case goes to court.

Some questions you can ask include:

  • How do you prepare for a contested case that goes to court?
  • Can I seek a solution through mediation even if my case is contested?
  • How long does a contested case usually take?
  • What should I do if I am afraid for the safety of myself or my children?

How Do I Prepare My First Consultation With A Divorce Attorney?

Every divorce situation is different. Children, commingled assets, bank accounts, retirement funds, restraining orders; any and all which may exist can vastly affect the outcome and the judge’s decision of how to divide everything. Your lawyer will be able to develop an effective strategy for how to proceed based on the circumstances of your divorce.

The amount of paperwork, necessary records and negotiation involved in a divorce can be complex, but if you’re willing to compromise with your spouse and hire the right attorney, the proceedings can move forward without too much hassle. Going through a divorce can be an emotional time, but if you approach everything as logically as you can, you’ll have more thorough questions for your attorney who will then be able to ensure a smooth process.

Questions to Ask Your Divorce Attorney At The First Visit

Once you have found an experienced attorney that will work hard on your case, you can start thinking about the best way to get through the process.

Before you even walk into the law office for your initial consultation, you should have a list of questions you plan to ask so that you always feel comfortable throughout the history of the case, and you don’t get worried because you don’t understand what’s going on.

One of the biggest complaints lawyers get is that their clients feel that they often don’t know what is happening with their case. That is why it is important that you find an attorney you will feel comfortable communicating with.

Here are some of the most important questions to ask your attorney when you meet for the first time:

1. How Does Billing Work?

Nobody wants to talk about money, so you might want to bring it up first and get it out of the way. Lawyers are ethically required to be transparent about how much their hourly rate is and their fee structure.

Your fee agreement should explain everything you need to know about billing but most importantly you should discuss ways you can save on fees. For example, it may be more cost efficient to save up all of your questions that arise throughout the day or the week then email them over and schedule a phone call to answer the questions. A quick phone call may be cheaper than the attorney answering multiple questions everyday for a week.

2. What Are The Rules Of Communication?

You should have some idea of how often your lawyer will need to contact you and the best way to communicate.

Set the expectations early, so you are both comfortable and know what to expect. Make sure that if your contact information changes, you let your attorney know right away, instead of wondering why you aren’t getting any phone calls.

3. How Will The Attorney Handle The Workload Of Your Case?

In some firms, only one attorney works on the client’s case whereas other offices take a more collaborative approach.

For example, in our office, one attorney is assigned as the lead attorney and responsible for managing the case but tasks are given to other attorneys or legal assistants in the office throughout the case depending on what would best benefit the client.

Maybe another attorney has more experience with a particular legal issue and will draft the motion or response? Or maybe, the paralegal/legal assistant can draft the document at a lower hourly rate, saving the client money.

Regardless, in our firm, the lead attorney does a final review of everything before it leaves the office. This ensures that the lead attorney knows what is going on in your case at all times.

What Is Your Experience? What Practice Areas Do You Handle?

  • An attorney should be able to easily explain the different legal areas they handle. Family law should be one of their main areas.
  • You can look up every attorney on your state’s board website to see their years of experience or any disciplinary action in the past.
  • If reviews are not already on the firm website, you should ask for references from past clients. It may be a good idea to ask for references who had a similar type of divorce case.

What Shouldn’t I Tell My Ex-Spouse?

  • You should not discuss your case with third parties, including your ex or family. This is to make sure you have the best chance at the outcome you want.
  • You can tell your ex about generic updates (i.e. “you should hear from my attorney soon”), but let your attorney discuss specifics (i.e., don’t tell your spouse, “we are going to take half your money and go for full custody”).
  • An attorney should warn you that all your communications with your ex may be used in court.
  • You should be advised to not start a conflict and not to use your children as a bargaining chip.
  • A good attorney should help guide your interactions with your ex and tell you when to cut contact for the benefit of the case.
  • If you are filing for a restraining order in the process, then you should not warn your ex in advance. Your attorney can usually handle the order of protection and divorce at the same time.

Do you handle cases other than divorce and family law?

The answer to this question will help you evaluate the dedication of a lawyer to your case. Lawyers who are involved in other areas of law may not be as focused to divorce cases as much as the ones who practice it exclusively. Plus, the latter have more experience in and out of the courtroom when handling family law matters. However, that doesn’t mean that a lawyer who doesn’t practice family/divorce law will lose your case.

If you have a choice, select the one who dedicates their time to the one area of law that you seek help in.

For how long have you been involved with family law?

As opposed to answering how long they’ve been practicing law, ask them regarding their experience in family law. This is especially important if you believe your divorce is going to be difficult or contested.

Divorce cases often go to trial. And if that happens, the lawyer will have to:

  • Conduct cross and direct examinations
  • Present evidence to the court
  • Make objections to evidence
  • Prepare legal arguments and file motions

If you know that an experienced and skilled divorce lawyer is handling your case, you can relax.

Posted inLegal

Be Informed When Buying Circuit Breakers Online

Hydraulic-Magnetic Circuit Breakers and Operation

This type of circuit breaker is used whenever site conditions would interfere with the normal operation of thermal overload protection, including cases such as:

Low temperatures, which might prevent thermal protection from tripping.

High temperatures, which may trip thermal protection without an overload.

Environment moisture, which may absorb heat and affect the operation of thermal protection mechanisms.

Hydraulic-magnetic circuit breakers, whose overload protection is independent on temperature, offer a suitable solution for applications such as marine environments, transportation, generator rooms, and any industrial location with temperature or moisture extremes.

Hydraulic-Magnetic Circuit Breaker Operation

As mentioned before, thermal-magnetic circuit breakers accomplish their protection function through a combination of two elements: an expanding contact for overload protection and an induction coil for fault protection. Hydraulic-magnetic circuit breakers, on the other hand, accomplish both types of protection with an induction coil whose mechanical actuator is dampened by a fluid-filled cylinder.

If there is an overload, which only exceeds the rated current slightly, the induced magnetic field will be weak and the circuit breaker’s trip will be delayed due to the dampened cylinder.

If there is a high-current fault, the induced magnetic field is very strong and the dampening effect is overcome instantly- providing an immediate trip.

Molded Case Circuit Breakers

Molded case circuit breakers (MCCB) work on the same principles of thermal-magnetic protection, but they offer some additional features that are not available with MCBs:

MCCBs have adjustable trip settings, so they are suitable when the rated current of a circuit breaker must be fine-tuned according to the actual site conditions.

MCCBs have a much wider range of current ratings: they can be found from ratings below 100 Amps to ratings above 2500 Amps.

Compared with MCBs, molded-case circuit breakers are much larger, given that they must accommodate an adjustable trip mechanism and, in many cases, larger contacts for high-current applications. MCCBs are available in a wide variety of voltage ratings:

240-277 V: Eaton

480 V: Eaton

600 V: Eaton

There are two sub-types of MCCBs that are used exclusively for electric motor protection:

Motor protection circuit breaker (MPCB)

Motor circuit protectors (MCP)

Plug-In Miniature circuit breakers (MCB)

These MCBs are characterized by ease of installation. As their name implies, they just have to be plugged into a compatible electric panel. Plug-in MCBs are suitable for applications that use circuit breakers exclusively- typically residential and commercial electrical distribution systems.

When using plug-in MCBs it is important to keep in mind that the breakers and the panel must match. This is not an issue when both are of the same brand, so it is highly recommendable to double check the model of the panel when plug-in MCBs will be added to an existing installation.

What are Miniature Circuit Breakers (MCB)

Miniature circuit breakers (MCB) are characterized by their low current ratings and fixed trip settings. Normally, MCBs have current ratings below 100 Amperes and, as their name implies, they have a compact size. There are three main types of MCBs, classified according to the current range at which they trip instantly.

Type B – Trips at 3 to 5 times rated current, suitable for resistive or slightly inductive loads.

Type C – Trips at 5 to 10 times rated current, suitable for moderate inductive loads.

Type D – Trips a t 10 to 20 times rated current, suitable for loads with a high inductive component.

Based on how they are mounted, MCBs can be divided into two categories.

DIN Rail Mount Miniature circuit breakers (MCB)

The main advantage of this type of MCB is versatility: DIN rails are used by many different types of electrical and communications equipment, and they are mainstream in industrial settings. DIN rail MCBs take advantage of this, and as a result they can be easily integrated into nearly any control or protection system.

A disadvantage of this type of MCB is that more work is required for installation, and plug-in MCBs may be a better choice in simple installations without advanced control and protection measures.

What are Miniature Circuit Breakers (MCB)

Miniature circuit breakers (MCB) are characterized by their low current ratings and fixed trip settings. Normally, MCBs have current ratings below 100 Amperes and, as their name implies, they have a compact size. There are three main types of MCBs

Plug-In Miniature circuit breakers (MCB)

These MCBs are characterized by ease of installation. As their name implies, they just have to be plugged into a compatible electric panel. Plug-in MCBs are suitable for applications that use circuit breakers exclusively- typically residential and commercial

SquareD Miniature Circuit Breaker (QO/QOB) Terminology

SquareD by Schneider Electric is one of the top brands of circuit breakers in the industry. This wiki post provides the meaning of the most common abbreviations found on the QO/QOB product line. QO and QOB These letters refer to the way in which

Home Inspection Checklist Benefits


home inspection guide will allow home buyers to better understand the home inspection process. Our inspections are performed to the  National Association of Home Inspectors’ (NACHI) Standards of Practice. It is a thorough visual assessment of the readily accessible features of the property. It is not invasive or destructive in nature.

A general home inspection is a non-invasive, visual examination of the accessible areas of a residential property (as delineated below), performed for a fee, which is designed to identify defects within specific systems and components defined by these Standards that are both observed and deemed material by the inspector.  The scope of work may be modified by the Client and Inspector prior to the inspection process

The general home inspection is based on the observations made on the date of the inspection, and not a prediction of future conditions.

The general home inspection will not reveal every issue that exists or ever could exist, but only those material defects observed on the date of the inspection.


including lot grading, drainage, eaves and downspouts, stairs, railings, walkways, decks and porches, exterior finishes, all protrusions through the home, to the outside, including intake and exhaust vents, windows and doors, electrical service entrance, natural gas service, central air conditioning components, garages, garage doors, exposed foundation walls and more.


Consisting of the foundation, walls, floors, ceilings, columns, beams and roof members. These are the essential components that incorporate the structural integrity and strength of the home.


including, coverings, drainage, flashings, drip edges, chimneys, skylights, eaves and soffits and downspouts, vents and all protrusions through the decking and covering and any visible roof-related issues.


insulation, ventilation and framing.


walls, floors, ceilings, stairs, railings banisters, windows, doors, egress and insulation and vapor barriers in unfinished spaces.


Including sinks, faucets, drainage, ventilation, outlets and lights

Laundry Rooms

plumbing, ventilation, receptacles, lights, tubs, taps and faucets.


showers, tubs, sinks, taps and faucets, toilets, valves, exhaust fans, drains, piping and functional water flow.


outputs of furnaces and boilers, radiators, flues, piping, ducting, air flow at registers, thermostat controls.


outputs, thermostat controls, line temperatures and air flows at registers.  Air conditioners are not operated when temperature is below 65 deg F


main shut-offs, piping materials, supply and waste piping, cross connections, hose bibs, clean-outs, water pressure, flow, hot water heaters, gas supply pipes, meter and main shut off, traps and venting.


service entrance, main and distribution panels, amperage and voltage of service, main shut off, branch circuit conductors and their over current protection, receptacles, polarity and grounding, switches and light fixtures.  When additional wiring has been added panel board covers are removed and wiring examined.


Vehicle doors, openers, automatic closers, floors and fume barrier protection.

Home Inspection Tips for Buyers

Out of a sea of homes, you think you’ve found the one that is just right for you and your family. Congratulations! As a buyer, you still have a lot to figure out and many steps to take. One of the most important tasks? The home inspection

Home Inspections Are Important

To help you navigate the process, here are our top five home inspection tips for buyers.

Hire a qualified, experienced home inspector.

Do your own pre-inspection.

Be neighborly.

Know what to expect and be there.

Understand the report and use it to negotiate the best deal.

Hire a qualified, experienced home inspector.

A home inspector’s sole responsibility is to provide you with the information you need to make a buying decision and negotiate a fair contract. It’s really the only way to get a thorough, unbiased, third-party opinion about the state of the house you’re considering. But not all home inspectors are created equal

Before hiring, do your homework. Consider whether you want to go with a large, multi-inspector firm or a small, one- or two-person shop. Large firms may offer you discounts and extra warranties, but you may not know who will actually do the inspection or how much experience on the ground they really have. In smaller companies, like ours, owners are usually very experienced. They continue to inspect homes to stay up to date on changes in the building industry and home inspection best practices. We’ve written about the importance of this decision on our blog

Additionally, know what to look for in a home inspection company. We’ve created a list of questions buyers should ask and what you should look and listen for in response. But there’s one question that stands out as the single most important question to ask: “What will be inspected?” An inspector should demonstrate his understanding of your needs and be willing to go above and beyond the minimum requirements to give you the most comprehensive inspection report. He should show you specifically how he’ll go the extra mile. And he should explain not just the inspection itself, but also what is included in the inspection report in detail.

Halloween Home Inspection Checklist: Bats, Rats and Rotting Flesh

Ask any prospective homebuyer and they’ll tell you how easy it is to fall in love with what looks like a perfect home. In the bright light of day, they’ll declare that home to be made of sunshine and rainbows. Butterflies and unicorns frolic in the back yard. It is utterly, undeniably perfect.

But many homes hide ugly secrets. Deep, dark, dank secrets. From the creepy crawly to the putridly disgusting, there’s plenty you may not know about that perfect home. You have just two ways to discover the truth: One is to simply move in and allow time to reveal the skeletons hiding in your home’s closets. Or you can work with your real estate agent to get a home inspection.

shared a story in which the home seller blocked the inspector’s access to the attic and prevented a complete review of the heating and cooling system. The buyers purchased the home anyway and ended up

Who Does That?

Dealing with creepy critters—dead or alive—is bad enough, but sometimes it’s people who leave you feeling like you should keep the lights on while you sleep. wanted to buy was built in 1925 and had been vacant for several months. Thanks to her home inspection, she discovered that thieves had broken into the home’s crawlspace and stolen all the copper pipe.

Find a Good Inspector Through Your Real Estate Agent

After hearing all these stories, it’s no wonder that 99% of real estate agents recommend their clients get a home inspection before they buy. Problems revealed through home inspections were the top reason buyers cancelled their home purchase contracts last year. Most of the time, however, buyers and sellers are able to renegotiate the contract so the problems are either resolved before closing or the home price is reduced.

Buyer’s Guide To Home Inspections

The home inspection is one of the most important parts to go through during the buying process. This should be a time where you get to go back inside the home and meet with a local inspector at the property. These usually take a few hours, but you will learn a lot about the house during those hours. The home inspection can bring many emotions out of you.

I typically attend all inspections with my buyer because I like to be there if and when something major comes up. I also like to be there so that when it’s time to write up the inspection response, I know exactly what’s in the inspection report.

Your Inspection Checklist:

Roof: What is the age of the roof? Are there any missing shingles? 

Foundation: You will want to make sure there are no obvious cracks in the foundation. Your inspector will point out normal cracks. 

Plumbing: Depending on the age of the house, it wouldn’t hurt to have the sewer line scoped (with a camera) to make sure there are no cracks. Make sure you know if the house is on a septic or sewer, and all is up to code. 

Electrical: This always comes up on older houses. You want to make sure the outlets are grounded, and GFCI outlets are installed where needed (Bathroom, Kitchen, Garage). 

HVAC: When was the last time the system was serviced? How old are the units? 

Exterior: Always check to make sure the trim and other wood areas are free of wood rot. Make sure gutters are properly ran to push water away from the house. 

Windows: Do the windows appear to be fogged up? They may have broken window seals. That’s an easy fix, but usually when 1 or 2 seals are bad, the others may be going bad soon. 

Basement: Be sure to look in the rafters to see any signs of mold. Check the corner walls to see if it looks like water is an issue. 

Grounds: Make sure the grounds aren’t sloping towards the house. This would mean water would drain towards your house which would cause foundation issues. 

Appliances: Not all inspection companies inspect appliances. You will want to open these up and look for any damage or signs that they aren’t working. 

Crawl Space: Check for signs of water, wood rot and termites while your looking down there (or while the inspector is down there).

This is just a quick checklist you can look at while you are there. Most things that you find should be something that the seller may not know about. Usually they will disclose any known problems on their Seller Disclosure forms that you have already reviewed and signed at this point.

Just keep in mind, inspectors aren’t perfect. You will typically find little things pop up after you move in. That is why it’s always good to ask for a home warranty for your first year of owning the house. The day I moved into my house, my garage springs broke on my garage door and I couldn’t get my door to open. Welcome to home ownership!

Home Inspection Checklist

Did you know that 44% of Americans have regrets about the house they bought or the home buying process they went through? To make sure home buying or selling goes without a hitch and all parties involved are satisfied with the transaction, there are home inspection checklists.

What Is a Home Inspection Checklist?

The home inspection checklist is a document that helps both the buyers and the sellers move property easier. They can help sellers inspect the property, measure the comps, and identify the key selling points.

They also help buyers assess the condition of the property during the initial walk-through. Home inspection checklists can be paper-based and electronic. In this article, we will be focusing on the latter.

Why Use an Electronic Property Inspection Checklist?

home inspection checklists are a convenient tool to inspect and record the condition of both the structural and decorative components of a property. Evaluating these items helps the buyers get an insight into the state of the house and its true value.

They also prepare the buyers to ask the homeowner or seller the right questions during walk-throughs and negotiation. Electronic property inspection documents create, store, and edit checklists on mobile devices while avoiding the paperwork that can get lost or damaged.

How To Become A Tax Preparation

Tips of Avoiding a Devious Tax Preparer

There are many taxpayers who have found themselves on the wrong side of the IRS because they used the services of unscrupulous tax preparers. There are also others who have had their refunds embezzled by preparers. It is therefore, important that you research a tax preparer before signing up for his or her services. Below are some tips that will help you spot a crooked preparer:

  • Rate Depends on Amount of Refund – Avoid preparers who base their consultation fees based on the amount of a tax refund that they are able to get you. This is because such preparers use dubious ways of increasing your refund, such as inflate figures or including non-existing dependents. Such deceptive ways of increasing your tax refund can easily lead to both civil and criminal charges and therefore, it is important that you avoid such people.
  • Preparers Who Promise Large Refund – Another red flag for dubious preparers is ones who promise to get you a very large refund check as a way of enticing you to hire his or her services. Once again, such preparers may use illegal ways of raising your refund amount and this may easily get you into trouble with the tax authorities.
  • PTIN Qualifications – When searching for a preparer to hire his or her services, it is important that you ensure that the preparer has a Preparer Tax Identity Number (PTIN). As from a policy started in 2012, the IRS is requiring all preparers to apply for the PTIN after meeting certain meticulous qualifications. Once the IRS authenticates the credibility of the preparer, they issue the preparer with the PTIN. Therefore, confirming that your preparer has a PTIN is an important precaution to avoiding shady tax preparers. Besides having the PTIN, the preparer also ought to sign the tax return form before submitting.
  • Deposit Refunds to Preparer Account – Tax preparers who request you to indicate their address for the tax refunds or deposit tax refunds into their bank account are another red flag sign. A tax preparer should always indicate the taxpayers account for the tax refund.
  • Signing Blank Form – Tax preparers that prepare tax returns and submit without you going through the returns is yet another red flag. Some tax preparers will request you to sign a blank tax return form. They will then tell you that they will prepare and submit the return on your behalf and you do not need to confirm the details. Such an arrangement can lead to the preparer giving false information for selfish gain. Even when a taxpayer uses the services of a preparer, he or she is still held responsible for all the information provided on the return. Therefore, ensure that you verify the information indicated on the return before signing the tax return form.

Tax Refund Identity Theft

Tax refund identity theft happens when bad actors get their hands on your personal information, such as your name, date of birth and/or Social Security number and use that information to file a fraudulent tax return and obtain a refund, redirecting it to their account. It does not matter if your legitimate tax return indicates that you owe taxes or that the government owes you a refund.

Common Warning Signs

  • Rejected return: If an identity thief files a fake tax return for a refund, any additional returns filed using the same Social Security number will be rejected. You may be the victim if the IRS or tax preparer notifies you that your return has been rejected due to a previously filed return under the same Social Security number.
  • Fake wages/employer: Identity thieves will file false tax returns using employer data that does not match your true employer.
  • Collection attempts: The IRS or a tax professional may notify you in writing about additional taxes owed, collection action taken against you or a refund reduction due to unpaid debts known officially as a refund offset. While honest mistakes happen among legitimate taxpayers, it could also indicate a fraudster using your Social Security number.
  • Unpaid taxes in your minor child’s name: If you receive an IRS notification about unpaid taxes in your child’s name, it may indicate his or her identity has been stolen. Identity thieves can use a child’s Social Security number to file fraudulent tax returns and secure fraudulent credit and debt that can often go undetected for years.

Summing it Up: Smart Steps to Tax Safety

Is it easy to avoid being the victim of a tax scam? It is if you know the tell-tale signs of a scam. Following these general guidelines will take you out of the pool of easy targets and set you on a path that is much more secure:

  • File early.
  • Be diligent about account passwords.
  • Don’t listen to calls from the IRS or respond to IRS emails.
  • Think before you act—honest institutions will never force you to make a decision or act on the spot. Commit to never responding immediately out of pressure.
  • Don’t EVER use public Wi-Fi for tax filing or banking.
  • Don’t click on links or download attachments in emails that claim to be from the IRS.
  • Always check with the IRS about a bill you’ve received—even if it comes in the mail, but especially if the amount doesn’t seem right to you.
  • For all things taxes, make your home base

Red Flags that Might Trigger a Tax Audit

Generally speaking, the IRS audits slightly more than 1% of all individual tax returns each year. The IRS simply does not have the personnel necessary to examine too many more than they currently do, so they purpose to audit specifically-selected returns by finding and identifying the tax returns that will most likely result in uncovering unreported income, overstated deductions, false claims, or tax payers that haven’t filed tax returns in a while. So while the odds are in your favor that you will fall into the 99% of non-audited tax returns, there are some IRS Red Flags that, IF YOU CAN AVOID, will help keep you from the audit pool group.

Your chances for being contacted or audited by the IRS are dependent upon many factors, including your annual income, if you omit income yet the IRS has filings and notifications to the contrary, the types, sizes and ratios of deductions or losses you claim, whether you work for a company and in what field you work, if you own a business and the type of business you own, and if you own foreign assets or bank “offshore.” Sloppiness in tax return preparation, errors in math, discrepancies between state and federal tax returns, or wide fluctuations in reported earnings from one year to the next year may also trigger an IRS inquiry, but may not expand into a broad audit. Although there is no guaranteed way to avoid an IRS audit, you should be aware of common IRS red flags that will certainly increase your chances of drawing unwanted attention or an audit from the IRS.

Common IRS Red Flags that could trigger a Tax Audit:

You make too much money

There’s not much you can do about this KEY RED FLAG, but the cruel reality is that government tax agencies are tasks with collecting as much money as they can, so they naturally go “where the money is!” Although the overall individual audit rate is about 1.11%, the odds increase dramatically for high-income filers. IRS statistics prove that in 2011 taxpayers with incomes of $200,000 or more had an audit rate of 3.93%. A 400% greater likelihood! That $200,000+ group is subject to audit —1 of 25 returns in that group. Taxpayers who reported $1 million or more suffered a 1 in 8 chances for being audited. The audit rate drops dramatically for taxpayers reporting less than $200,000 where only 1.02% of tax returns were audited during 2011.

You make too little money

Your income is suspiciously low for your job description or profession and the computer tables will point you out as making much less than others in the same profession.

Significant changes in income

Unexplained fluctuations in income can indicate that something may have been under reported in one of the low income reporting years. Most taxpayers do not have income that swings dramatically up-and-down, and the IRS will want to know what’s going on.

Failing to report all taxable income

Remember, the IRS gets copies of all 1098’s, 1099’s, and W-2’s. If you miss some and your income reporting does not match the records the IRS has, you are more likely subject to audit.

You own a business

Business owners are simply “low hanging fruit” for revenue agents who know that they can almost always find overlooked or underpaid tax liabilities. You are a targeted group.

You own a mostly-cash business or work in a “cash business”

If it can get worse than a sole proprietor this is it! You have a billboard-sized target painted on your back if you operate a business know for mostly-cash transactions. Examples: taxis, limo services, car washes, bars, restaurants, dry cleaners, laundromats, vending routes, waiters and waitresses, etc. Advice? Play by the rules. Keep good records. IRS Revenue agents know how to conduct forensic accounting which is very effective at identifying under reporting taxpayers.

Family members on business payroll

One common method to dodge taxes is to “hire” a family member (perhaps a college-aged student) in order to take more money out of a business at a lesser-taxable rate. There is nothing illegal in hiring a family member so long as they are actually doing the work and you can prove it when asked by an IRS revenue investigator.

Unlikely business deductions

 It may be tempting when doing your taxes in April to book your 18-year old’s computer purchased on December 22nd as a business deduction. What about the iPad you purchased the day prior to your wife’s birthday? How about that ski trip to Colorado for your wedding anniversary – are you really going to expense the gas, hotel, and meals as a business trip? Auditors will have the birth dates of your family members, possibly your wedding date, and are trained to look for significant purchases and expenses in the days immediately prior to birth dates, anniversaries, Christmas, etc. to verify large-dollar purchases, travel, and that entertainment expenses are really business-related. IRS revenue officers would make great party guests —oh the stories they could tell. Be conservative and responsible in booking business expenses and deductions.

The Importance Of Eye Care

Retina Problems: Warning Signs You May Have a Retinal Disease

A Quick Eye Lesson

Before we get into the warning signs, it’s important to understand the different parts of the eye to understand what the retina actually is.

The retina itself is the layer of tissue found at the very back of the eye. When light enters your eye and hits the retina, the retina will process that light information and send signals to the brain through your optic nerve.

Without the retina, your brain won’t receive any signals about what you’re seeing. If the retina is damaged, or degenerated, it can result in vision loss and eventual blindness.

Warning Signs of Retina Problems

Now that you know how the retina works, let’s look at some of the top symptoms that could indicate you have retinal problems.

Flashing Lights

Flashing lights can be a symptom of a number of conditions including migraines, eye injury, and retina problems. If you don’t often suffer from headaches or have never experienced random flashing lights before, this can be a sign that you could have a retinal disease or problem.

As we went over earlier, the retina is responsible for sending light signals to the brain. When the retina is damaged or diseased, it can send incorrect and/or abnormal signals to your brain, which could cause you to experience this “flashing light” phenomenon.

“Dimmer” Vision

Dim vision can be characterized as things looking darker than usual, being “muddied”, and seeing less contrast. Some compare it to how it looks when you wear slightly tinted sunglasses or dimming the light switch on an overhead light.

Double Vision

Double vision is when you see a duplicate version at the same time as the real version. The doubled version is often blurry and less sharp compared to what you’re actually seeing. The two images are often overlapping, layered, and/or blurry, which can be disorienting and uncomfortable for people with this symptom.

While double vision can be a symptom of various disorders, it often points to a retinal issue.

Distorted Vision

Double vision can be classified as one type of distorted vision. However, most people with retinal problems experience a few types of distorted vision, including:

  • Double vision
  • “Wavy” lines
  • Things appearing crooked
  • Blurred vision

The severity of these vision problems can vary, and many people mistake their blurry vision as simply worsening vision related to age. However, you should always be evaluated by an eye care professional to rule out serious issues like a retinal disease.

Specks and/or Lines in Vision

We’ve all experienced this before: you see random dots or lines in your vision for a few minutes before they disappear. These are normal and happen to all of us at some point.

However, if you notice this happening more often, or the lines/specks don’t go away, that could be a sign there’s something serious going on. This is a common sign of retinal damage or degeneration: damaged retinas send incorrect signals to the brain, which can cause you to see these random lines/squiggles.

Blind Spots

We all have one blind spot in our peripheral vision because of how the optic nerve is situated in the back of the eye.

Developing larger or an increased number of blind spots is cause for concern and a definite warning sign of retinal issues. These could be in the form of complete blind spots, large shadows, or something “blocking” your vision in a certain area.

Diabetic Retinopathy

The National Eye Institute reports that about 40 to 45% of diagnosed diabetics “have some degree of diabetic retinopathy,” a form of eye disease in which the retina is damaged. The retina is a thin sheath of tissue that adheres to the inside wall at the back of the eyeball. It contains millions of light-sensitive cells called rods and cones that receive and organize visual information and send it on to the optic nerve for processing.

In diabetic retinopathy, blood vessels that support the retina are damaged by high blood sugars. It’s more likely to develop in people who’ve had diabetes for a long time and in those whose blood sugars have not been well controlled. It usually develops in both eyes. Diabetic retinopathy causes several symptoms including:

  • Spots or dark floaters
  • Blurry or hazy vision
  • Impaired color vision
  • Vision loss

What is the thyroid gland?

The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped endocrine gland that is normally located in the lower front of the neck. The thyroid’s job is to make thyroid hormones, which are secreted into the blood and then carried to every tissue in the body. Thyroid hormone helps the body use energy, stay warm and keep the brain, heart, muscles, and other organs working as they should.

What are the symptoms of graves ophthalmopathy?

Eye symptoms most often begin within 6 months of diagnosis of Graves’ disease. Very rarely eye problems may develop long after the thyroid disease has been treated. In some patients with eye symptoms, hyperthyroidism never develops and, rarely, patients may be hypothyroid. The severity of the eye symptoms is not related to the severity of the hyperthyroidism.

Symptoms of Graves’ eye disease include: Feeling of irritation or grittiness in the eyes, redness or inflammation of the conjunctiva (the white part of the eyeball), excessive tearing or dry eyes, swelling of the eyelids, sensitivity to light, forward displacement or bulging of the eyes (called proptosis), and double vision. In more advanced eye disease there may also be decreased eye movement and eyelids, incomplete closure of the eye with corneal ulceration, compression of the optic nerve and rarely, loss of vision.


Graves’ disease and usually the associated eye disease cannot be prevented. However, radioiodine therapy used to treat hyperthyroidism is more likely to worsen the eye disease and should be avoided, if possible in patients with moderate or severe eye disease. Treatment with antithyroid drugs or surgery does not affect the course of eye disease.

If radioiodine is used to treat hyperthyroidism in patients with moderate or severe eye disease, taking a corticosteroid drug (prednisone) at the time of the treatment, which is tapered over several weeks may help prevent worsening of Graves’ eye disease.

Smokers are more prone to develop Graves’ Ophthalmopathy than nonsmokers and they should try to stop smoking. Second hand exposure to smoke has the same effect as active smoking and should be avoided.

Eye Infections

The Facts

Many of the viruses, bacteria, parasites, and fungi that can invade the human body are also capable of attacking the surface or interior of the eye. Infectious eye diseases can be categorized in two ways.

Firstly, doctors normally talk about the part of the eye that’s infected or inflamed. Conjunctivitis, for example, is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the membrane that covers the front surface of the eye and the inner surface of the eyelid. Other possible locations of inflammation include the eyelid (blepharitis), the cornea (keratitis), the liquid inside the eye (vitritis), the retina and the blood vessels that feed it (chorioretinitis), or the optic nerve (neuroretinitis). These are just a few examples – the eye is a complex organ of many parts.

Secondly, eye infections are also classified according to what’s causing them. Ocular histoplasmosis syndrome (OHS), for example, is caused by a fungus (the condition is a type of chorioretinitis). It generally attacks the blood supply of the retina, on the inner rear surface of the eye.

The most common eye infection is conjunctivitis caused by an adenovirus (a type of common cold virus). This type of infectious conjunctivitis is sometimes called pinkeye and is most common in children. Viral conjunctivitis is very contagious because the virus can be spread from the eye to hands that then touch doorknobs and other surfaces that other people use.

There are other causes of infectious conjunctivitis, such as bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus. Bacterial infections occur most commonly in children and tend to result in longer-lasting cases of pinkeye.

Treating thyroid eye disease

If you have thyroid eye disease, your treatment may be in several stages. This is because the condition tends to progress through 2 main phases:

  • an “active” phase, when dryness and redness are prominent and you may be at risk of vision problems
  • an “inactive” phase, when the condition has settled down, but you may be left with some long-term problems (including protruding eyes)

The active phase can last for several months to 2 years.

Correcting thyroid hormone levels

If you have an overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism) or an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism), you’ll usually be offered medicine to correct the level of thyroid hormones in your blood.

For example, an overactive thryoid can be treated with medicines such as thionamides, which prevent your thyroid gland producing excess thyroid hormones.

Treating your thyroid problems will not necessarily improve your related eye symptoms, but it may help prevent other problems associated with abnormal thyroid levels. It may also prevent bulging eyes from getting worse.


You may also be advised about treatments and things you can do yourself to relieve some of the symptoms associated with the active phase of thyroid eye disease.

These include:

  • stopping smoking if you smoke, as smoking can significantly increase the risk of eye problems getting worse
  • using extra pillows in bed at night to help reduce some of the puffiness around your eyes
  • wearing sunglasses if you have sensitivity to light (photophobia)
  • trying to avoid exposing your eyes to irritants such as dust
  • using eye drops to help relieve soreness and moisten your eyes if you have dry eyes
  • wearing glasses containing special prisms designed to help correct double vision

If thyroid eye disease is mild, self-care and medicines to correct your thyroid hormone levels may be all the treatment you need.

Some Aspects You Need To Know About Snake Control

Snake bites

Are snake bites serious?

Knowing whether a snake bite is dangerous or not can be difficult. This article explains what to do — including providing the proper first aid treatment — if you are bitten by a snake. It’s also important to be aware that bites from snakes can cause a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) in some people.

How do I provide first aid for snake bites?

You should always provide emergency care if you or someone else is bitten by a snake — including cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), if required.

Keep calm, and follow these steps:

Get the person away from the snake.

Ensure they rest and help them to stay calm.

Call triple zero (000) and ask for an ambulance.

Apply a pressure immobilisation bandage (see below).

Don’t wash the bite area — venom left on the skin can help identify the snake.

If you can’t use a pressure immobilisation bandage because the bite is on the trunk or stomach, apply constant, firm pressure. Do not apply a tourniquet, cut the wound or attempt to suck the venom (poison) out.

Pressure immobilisation bandage

A pressure immobilisation bandage is recommended for anyone bitten by a venomous snake. You should firmly bandage the area of the body involved — such as an arm or leg — and keep the person calm and still until medical help arrives.

Follow these steps to apply a pressure immobilisation bandage:

First, put a pressure bandage over the bite itself. It should be tight and you should not be able to easily slide a finger between the bandage and the skin.

Next, use a heavy crepe or elasticised roller bandage to immobilise the whole limb. Start just above the fingers or toes of the bitten limb and move upwards on the limb as far as the body. Splint the limb including joints on either side of the bite.

Keep the person and the limb completely at rest. If possible, mark the site of the bite on the bandage with a pen.


There are 35 species of garter snakes. These snakes are easily identified by their slim bodies that feature body-long stripes. These stripes come in a number of colors, including red, gray, orange, yellow, and green. It’s also not unheard of to find a garter snake with turquoise stripes. The underbelly scales of all garter snakes are distinctly lighter in color.

Garter snakes don’t have fangs and aren’t venomous. However, they do have a few rows of small teeth and can bite. Their bite can become infected if not cleaned and cared for properly, and some people are allergic to their saliva, although this condition is rare. Even though garter snakes are mostly harmless, they can cause quite a few problems in your home or garden. Need help identifying what snake problem you are having? Check out our Solution Finder for help with identifying and solving your snake problem.


Like all reptiles, garter snakes are cold-blooded creatures, so they are often found in locations that offer warmth and food. These slender snakes can enter your home through fairly small cracks. Garter snakes often snack on small mammals, too, such as mice, and small amphibians, such as toads and frogs.

While garter snakes can act as a natural pest control, most people who discover snakes in their home find it to be a frightening experience. Most importantly, garter snakes give off a distinct, foul smell that can infiltrate your home and some experts say garters may be one of the smelliest snakes.

While garter snakes are generally solitary creatures, they generally hibernate in large numbers to prevent heat loss and keep their bodies warm. Due to their combined smell, a large group of garter snakes in or under your home can make your residence uninhabitable.

Snake Mites: Vet Approved DIY Home Treatment

Do you think that you see small bugs on your snake?  If so, these could very well be snake mites. But where did they come from and how do you get rid of them? Truth be told, there are many ways that these mites may have gotten into your snake’s enclosure (more on this later).

Rest assured, even the best snake keepers may get mites into their snake’s enclosure, and getting rid of them without a trip to the vet is possible! There are many different ways that you can get rid of these unwanted creatures. This article will explain what snake mites are and outline the best treatment plan to get rid of them.

Snake mites are very little parasitic bugs that feed off the blood of not only our slithery companions but other reptiles too. Despite their tiny size, mites ARE visible on your snake and easy to see with the naked eye.

In terms of appearance, these mites look like tiny black, red, or grey bugs. The best place to find them is in the thin-skinned areas of your snake, such as their eyes and ears. You can also find them on your hands after you touch your snake, or in their water dish in your snake’s enclosure.

Causes of Snake Mites: Where Do They Come From?

While parasitic mites are most commonly found on snakes, they can also appear on other reptile species such as lizards, turtles, and even alligators. Most often, the color of these mites will range from a dark yellow to a dark red appearance. As far as location goes, snake mites can be present by the vent, eyes, heat pits, and on the underside of the snakes head.


Be Rattlesnake Safe

With the coming of spring and warmer weather conditions, snakes of many species are through hunkering down, making human encounters with these elusive creatures more likely. Although most native snakes are harmless

Rattlesnakes are widespread and are found in a variety of habitat throughout the state from coastal to desert. They may also turn up around homes and yards in brushy areas and under wood piles. Generally not aggressive, rattlesnakes will likely retreat if given room or not deliberately provoked or threatened. Most bites occur when a rattlesnake is handled or accidentally touched by someone walking or climbing.

On rare occasions, rattlesnake bites have caused severe injury – even death. However, the potential of encountering a rattlesnake should not deter anyone from venturing outdoors. The Poison Control System notes that the chances of being bitten are small compared to the risk of other environmental injuries.

The dos and don’ts in snake country

Rattlesnakes are not confined to rural areas. They have been found in urban areas, on riverbanks and lakeside parks and at golf courses. The following safety precautions can be taken to reduce the likelihood of an encounter with a rattlesnake.

Be alert. Like all reptiles, rattlesnakes are sensitive to the ambient temperature and will adjust their behavior accordingly. After a cold or cool night, they will attempt to raise their body temperature by basking in the sun midmorning. To prevent overheating during hot days of spring and summer, they will become more active at dawn, dusk or night.

Wear sturdy boots and loose-fitting long pants. Never go barefoot or wear sandals when walking through brushy, wild areas. Startled rattlesnakes may not rattle before striking defensively.

Children should not wear flip-flops while playing outdoors in snake country.

When hiking, stick to well-used trails. Avoid tall grass, weeds and heavy underbrush where snakes may hide during the day.

Do not step or put your hands where you cannot see. Step ON logs and rocks, never over them, and be especially careful when climbing rocks or gathering firewood. Check out stumps or logs before sitting down, and shake out sleeping bags before use.

Never grab “sticks” or “branches” while swimming in lakes and rivers. Rattlesnakes can swim.

Be careful when stepping over doorsteps as well. Snakes like to crawl along the edge of buildings where they are protected on one side.

Never hike alone. Always have someone with you who can assist in an emergency.

Do not handle a freshly killed snake, as it can still inject venom.

Teach children early to respect snakes and to leave them alone.

Leash your dog when hiking in snake country. Dogs are at increased risk of being bitten due to holding their nose to the ground while investigating the outdoors. Speak to your veterinarian about canine rattlesnake vaccines and what to do if your pet is bitten.

ways to snake-proof your house and garden

Big snakes, small snakes, brown snakes, black snakes. We’ve researched proven methods of dealing with every sort of unwanted slithery creature.

NOTE: Not all snakes are bad! The one pictured is an green tree snake, native to our northern states. These snakes are harmless and an important part of the food chain, feeding on fish, frogs and other small animals.


Snakes love crawling into hide-y spots such as roofs, underneath houses, garages etc. Make sure to keep doors closed and install screens on doors and windows.


Keep a well-maintained garden and shed. Keep the lawn low in height and garden beds away from the exterior of the house. Ensure that wood piles are neatly stacked to prevent snakes and rodents from sheltering.


Snakes love rock walls. They’re a ready source of energy (reptiles sun themselves on rocks to warm up their cold blood and muscles), shelter (when they’ve had enough sun) and food (preying on the rodents and frogs which also shelter in the rocks).


Placing rodent bait around your house and garden will get rid of mice and rats – and therefore reduce the likelihood of snakes. It’s important to place the bait in places where pets can’t get it, such as in grooves and places that are off the ground.

Buying Off Road Truck Tires

Tips To Save Money On Tires For Your Commercial Truck Fleet

If there is one thing that your company might spend a lot of money on, it’s tires for your commercial truck fleet. Unfortunately, tire costs can really add up, but there are a few changes that you can implement to save your company a lot of money while ensuring that you always have safe tires on your trucks.

1. Balance and Rotate Tires

Just as it is important to balance and rotate the tires on your personal vehicle, it’s also smart to do so with your commercial trucks. It will need to be done more frequently than on your personal vehicle, however, since your trucks are probably on the road a whole lot more each month. Ensuring that the tires are balanced and rotated on a regular basis helps ensure that there is regular wear and tear on all of the tires. This can help prevent some from wearing out too quickly and having the need to be replaced.

2. Ask Drivers to Check Air Pressure Regularly

Even though your drivers might think about checking the oil on their rigs when they are filling up, they might not check the air pressure on all of the tires as frequently as they should. Along with having your maintenance crew check the air pressure on all of the tires on your commercial truck when maintenance is being done, ask your drivers to check the air pressure each time that they fill up their rig. Not only can this help preserve the tires so that they last longer without the need for replacement, but it can also help keep your drivers — and other people on the road — as safe as possible and can help your company save money on fuel.

3. Consider Retreading

Instead of always replacing your truck’s tires, you can always consider retreading instead. This allows you to keep your tires for longer without replacement and can be more affordable than buying brand new tires. Once you find that you can save money while keeping safe tires on your commercial trucks, you might find that you actually retread them more frequently than you replaced them in the past.

Buying tires for a commercial truck fleet can be very expensive. If you feel that the costs are really adding up and affecting your company, now is the time to think about making some changes. By making these three changes, you can not only save money, but you can also help keep your drivers and everyone else on the road safe from potential accidents.

What Are Your Options To Cover the Cost of Semi Truck Repair?

Most importantly, year truck maintenance and repairs are estimated to cost around $15,000 annually. Common issues include air/line hoses, alternators, wiring, and brake repairs. Additionally, annual tire expenses can run around $4,000 a year to replace 16 out of 18 tires on an 18 wheeler. So what happens when you run into trouble and need cash to finance inevitable semi truck repairs or maintenance? Commercial vehicle lenders provide a range of financing options.

1. Commercial Vehicle Title Loans

Commercial vehicle title loans can function as a means toward cash for repairs. You can utilize commercial lending for title loans when you own your semi truck and want to use that capital for a loan to cover the expense of repairs. When you take out a title loan, the lender holds your title as collateral for your loan. You make payments to buy your title back and regain ownership. The terms of your loan may depend on the value of your truck as well as your overall credit. You may also be able to approximately determine the your monthly payments and down payment using a loan calculator, or even a commercial loan calculator. While these tools are not definitive, they could help put your finances in perspective. As you consider your options, note that many commercial vehicle financing companies offer commercial truck title loans as well.

2. Refinancing

If you already have a commercial vehicle loan but need fast cash for repairs, you may consider refinancing your loan. If you’re refinancing, you’re already familiar with commercial truck financing, but you may not realize that refinancing could help reduce your monthly payments and save you money. You can use the money you save monthly towards the repairs your semi truck needs. Refinancing can help you direct money toward the demands of your business including tires, regular maintenance and repairs.

3. Personal Loans

It might be tempting to pursue a personal loan when your truck needs repairs and you’re short on funds. However, commercial vehicle loans for bad credit are readily available. Commercial vehicle loan rates can be slightly higher, but are usually more flexible on issues like bad credit or child support issues. Factors like established credit, collateral, a history of payments on a semi truck or home, and a clean record of bankruptcy or repossession will improve your rates on a semi truck repair loan. If you decide to pursue a personal loan, know that a credit check will be a part of that process. Personal collateral as well as business collateral can be useful when you’re trying to obtain any type of loan.

4. Commercial Vehicle Repair Loan

Many lenders offer loans tailored to your truck repair needs. Repairs on one semi truck can frequently run between $10,000 and $20,000. When you work in the commercial transportation industry, you know that every day you’re off the road is a day of revenue or income lost. Many lenders have flexible requirements to qualify for a truck repair loan, and offer loans for less experienced drivers or drivers with bad credit.

If you’ve run into some trouble with your semi truck and need options fast, don’t hesitate. You can finance your repairs to get back on the road and continue earning your living. Consider refinancing, a title loan, a commercial vehicle repair loan, or a personal loan when you’re at a crossroads.

Leveling Kit vs. Suspension Lift Kit

Now that you’ve decided to raise your ride-height, the next step is finding out just how much lift is right for your rig. Whether you’re just looking to run larger tires or you want enough ground-clearance to crawl over any crag, it’s easy to customize your truck’s inch-count to suit your driving style. But with suspension upgrades that range from average to extreme and affordable to expensive, finding the right lift can be overwhelming. You don’t want to go too big or too small — so find one that’s just right with a little help from AutoAnything.

Leveling kits

A leveling kit can deliver the up to 2.5” of additional space you need to clear up to 33” all-terrains. Leveling kits are far less expensive than an entire suspension lift and, therefore, much easier to install. If you want to go higher than a few inches, though, you’ll need more suspension components to keep your vehicle in proper alignment. Below, we’ll give you a sampling of the different kinds of leveling kits on our site, and an example for you to investigate.

  • Airbag kits, exemplified by the Air Lift Air Bag Suspension Kit
  • Coil spacer kits
  • Coilovers, Lifting coil springs
  • Rear block kits
  • Torsion key kits.

Lift kits

If the goal for lifting your ride is greater ground-clearance and off-road capabilities, a suspension lift kit is the way to go. This pricier solution delivers an overall boost of anywhere from 4” to 6”, but, if you’re looking to roll with 35” tires or larger, you’ll probably need to go north of 4 inches. While this may be the more labor-intensive and costlier option, a quality lift kit will guarantee every component is raised right. That way, you can count on years of rugged rock-crawling.

  • Body lift kits
  • Coil spacer kits
  • Lifting coil springs
  • Lifting leaf springs
  • Rear block kits

How will lifting my truck affect the ride?

Just the Facts

Choosing your lift kit is the first step to gaining the modifications you desire. Unfortunately, there is no “one kit fits all” option available, so finding and choosing your lift is very important. First, you must determine your budget. Once you have that established, you need to consider what the vehicle will be used for, what size tires you want, and the factory suspension specifications for your vehicle type. This will help you determine whether you need a body lift or a suspension lift.

A body lift uses blocks and spacers to lift the body 2-3 inchers higher on the frame without altering the suspension. This is a great option if you are looking to modify the look to allow for bigger wheels and tires at an affordable price! With a body lift, the stability of your truck can be impacted due to the increased ride height, so if you are looking to take your vehicle off-roading, a suspension lift is the right choice for you.

Once you have established your desired aftermarket equipment, there are a few things you should keep in mind.


When you lift a vehicle you increase its center of gravity. It is not unusual for vehicles with higher and wider tires to have greater stability, but you should still take the time to get to know your new modifications and their limitations.

Suspension and Ride

A rough-riding kit can cause unexpected issues—like additional fatigue on long trips and wear on the truck itself. Generic suspension tuning can lead to loss of suspension damping which could lead to a much more serious problem. You may consider torsion bar twisting to cut costs, but it’s really only acceptable for the purpose of leveling. Torsion bar twisting only adjusts the level at which the truck sits in during its suspension travel. This means tires that rub at stock height will still rub with the twisting. To maintain smooth ride and suspension, consider spending the extra dime for reservoir shocks, coilover shocks, custom leaf springs, or traction bars to tame your suspension and improve your ride.


The vehicle’s frame and body move up and away from the differentials when you alter a truck’s suspension to make it higher. Driveshaft angles can become extreme and often cause vibrations, bind, and can experience premature wear. It can also cause issues with your CV joints. While many kits contain spacers, they are not always your best solution. Custom-length CV axles are the preferred method, but you can also consider installing pinion wedges between the axle and the spring pack to avoid driveline issues and extend the life of your lifted truck.


When you up the tire size, you lose engine power. The bigger the tire, the greater highway cruising power you get, but for pretty much any other kind of driving, it’s not an improvement. This can be avoided by ensuring your truck is regeared accordingly. A simple calculation tells you what gear ratio would get you back to your stock equivalent. It’s derived from your new diameter, your old diameter, and your old axle ratio. Together they offer your new axle ratio. And if you drive a 4×4, you will need both your front and your back differentials regeared to the same ratio.