Archive for September, 2011

Wireless Phone Contracts

Wireless Phone ContractsWireless phone contracts are being used to tie down consumers as more and more people are starting to use wireless phones. Negotiating your Wireless Phone Contract is so important since you can literally save hundreds of dollars if not thousands depending on your usage. They are just plain convenient and consumers love to get their calls instantly, rather than miss a call when they are out. Having just negotiated my own wireless phone contract recently I wanted to pass along some of the factors that I believed helped me get a good deal.

Be Prepared to Negotiate Your Wireless Phone Contracts details

The first rule of negotiating any contract, but even more importantly a wireless phone contract. You have only one chance to get a great deal. Once you agree and sign on the dotted line, your done. There is no adding something that you might have forgotten or would have liked. Be prepared and have all of your needs identified so that you can tick them off as you discuss each item. I will talk a little about how I missed something, although I still feel that I received a great deal.

US Wireless Carriers

For US readers, the concepts still apply, however the prices may seem high to you due to our lack of competition in Canada. However the concepts still apply especially since you have a lot of competition for wireless services in the US. Even so we noticed that Verizon and other carriers are moving from unlimited data to limited data. They want to control the amount of data that is being transmitted on their network.

What services and Features Do you Want or Need

Knowing what you want to have with your contract is the first start. Local minutes, text, long distance, voice mail, call display, data plans, style of phone and how much you want to pay are the basics for your list. A good start is to look at your current contract and either add to your list or take away the features that you want to change.

Review what you are currently paying for the services that you have.

Check with other carriers for the same basket  of services and features. This will give  you a base to work from when you are negotiating with your current carrier.

There is nothing better than to be able to explain that you have an offer for a better deal from another carrier that is “REAL”.

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Monitoring Daily Electrical Usage

Monitoring Daily Electrical UsageAs mentioned in the previous post, “Reduce Electricity First”, we are talking about our current electrical usage. We want to learn how we can reduce the electricity usage to help us save money. We want to reduce the impact of our usage on the environment. Additionally reduce the need or load on any alternate energy systems that we might be able to use in the future. There are a couple of charts that will help to illustrate how the impact of rates, time of day and the day of the week can affect your total electrical usage and more importantly the final bill.

Monitoring Daily Electrical Usage

We thought it would be helpful to illustrate the hourly usage from, Monday Monitoring Daily Electrical Usage, June 27th, 2011. This should help understand the impact of various systems and devices that consume electricity in the home. The colors indicate off peak (green – 7pm to 7am and weekends), mid peak (yellow – 7am to 11am, 5pm to 7pm) and Peak usage (red – 11pm to 5pm). This comes from a web site that is provided by our electricity provider.

The cost for each hour is also illustrated for reference to show how much power was consumed for each hour.  Over night from 12 am to 6 am, all that is running are security lights, the fridge and various devices that are turned off , but plugged in.

At 6 am, the pool pump is turned on, the coffee is being made and the TV is on. There is a corresponding jump in electrical usage. Around 10:15, the pool pump is turned off and again the only thing running is the odd light and the TV as well as devices plugged in but not turned on. At 6:30, the evening meal is being cooked, the pool pump is on and some lights are being turned on. After 10:30, everything is turned off except for  the security lights and devices that are plugged in but not turned on.  This really shows the dramatic impact that managing your electrical usage can have on usage and the associated costs.

Using Smart Meters

Although some people are very upset about being forced to use smart meters they really do provide a lot more information. You can learn about how you are using electrical power and when you use this power. With the exception of reducing the time that the pool pump is running we are not really limiting ourselves in any way. Instead we are just managing when we use power to take advantage of the lower rates. For example peak rates are 18.7 cents per KW, while off peak rates are only 8.9 per KW. This is a significant difference when you add it up for every hour of the day, the week and the year. These rates were updated for Nov 2016.

If you are not on a smart meter system, you really only need to be concerned about how much power you use and how you can reduce it. With a smart meter system that measures electrical usage on an hourly basis, you now have a tool that you can use to take advantage of lower rates in the evening and reduce your power consumption even more.

Smart Thermostat

Some consumers have also adopted the smart thermostat. This allows the power company to turn your thermostat up to reduce the cost of air conditioning during peak times. This has the dual impact of reducing your power consumption and lowering your bill. While at the same reducing the load on the system which will avoid what is called a brown out or failure of the electrical system.

While you are doing this you are not only saving money, you are also transferring usage from peak times to low peak times, which means that the utilities can delay construction of additional capacity. Obviously if only one person does this, there will be little overall impact. On the other hand if millions of consumers follow this approach we can have a serious impact on the construction plans that the utilities must pursue.
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Bathroom Remodeling- Mirror Removal

Bathroom Remodeling- Mirror RemovalMany consumers are doing their own remodeling to save money and to reap the enjoyment of doing it themselves. As a general rule of thumb, if you spend a $100 on materials, the labor is going to cost you at least double that. Bathrooms can be even higher. This is due to the small spaces and the extra time it takes to work around toilets and vanities. Depending on what renovations you plan you might also qualify for a tax refund as well.

The big decision is whether you take on this work yourself or you hire someone to do the work for you. Bathrooms are very expensive projects for many people and also some of the most complex projects as well. This is probably the main reason why many people either do not do any remodeling or they hire someone to do it for them at a great expense.

Bathroom Remodeling – Removing the Old Mirror

I recently took on the task of updating what is called the powder room in our home. This is the bathroom on the main level with a toilet and sink with a mirror over the sink. We replaced the toilet, the towel rack, the toilet paper holder , the faucet , the lights and of course the mirror. It is the removal of the mirror that I want to write about in this post. This mirror was about 30 inches wide and about the same high. It was a flat mirror and it was glued to the wall. The question was how was I going to get it off the wall intact without glass shards all over the floor and on me when I took it off.

I was concerned that as soon as I started to pry it off the wall it would break and I would have glass every where. In fact it might even damage the sink which we had decided not to replace. It was fine and in perfect condition. So how would you remove this mirror that is glued to the wall without breaking it?

Well it turns out that the job was actually quite simple. All you need to do is to first of all tape using masking tape as shown in the picture. This gives the glass extra strength and if it does break, it will stay together and not fall because the tape will hold it in place.

Protect your Vanity

Next place a towel or something on your vanity that can protect your vanity in case the mirror does break. You do not want any unnecessary scratches on the vanity. You can see there is a green towel in the picture reflected in the mirror. This was used to protect the vanity.

Using a thin long blade, you then insert the blade between the wall and the back of the mirror and slowly cut through the glue and drywall surface until you can lift the edge of the mirror away from the wall. Continue with this approach until the mirror can be safely pried away from the wall without any breakage. You may find that some of the paper from the drywall is going to come with the mirror due to the glue.

This is not a problem. All you need to do is apply some drywall compound in a thin layer afterword. Allow it to dry and give it a light sanding. You may need to repeat this process several times until it is smooth enough to paint. If you do use drywall compound, you really should prime this area with a primer if you are going to paint the wall. This will ensure that you have a satisfactory job when you are finished painting.

Once we had the mirror off the wall we painted the ceiling and the walls, installed a new oval mirror  and new lights and we were done. An easy job as it turned out and we save a great deal of money doing this bathroom remodeling ourselves.


When to Refinish a Hardwood Floor

Refinish a Hardwood FloorAnyone planning to install a hardwood floor should also understand what is needed refinish a hardwood floor and even whether you can refinish the floor at some future point. This applies to both consumers who are planning to install the hardwood floor themselves and also those consumers who will hire a contractor to do the installation. Some hardwood floors are very thin, almost laminate style and these floors generally cannot withstand re-sanding and refinishing. There is just not enough wood to work with.

On the other hand a traditional hardwood floor is more than thick enough to survive re-sanding and refinishing several times. Before you buy and before you install your hardwood floor, confirm that the wood you are using can be refinished at least once.

Refinish a Hardwood Floor

Most people will not need to refinish floors for many years. It really depends on the amount of traffic and the type of traffic on your floor. People who wear their shoes inside are going to have to refinish their floor more often compared to socks and slippers. Small pieces of grit are tracked in on your shoes and work almost like sandpaper to wear off the finish from your wood.

Many flooring companies provide classes and experts to train those consumers who plan to install their own floors and complete finishing of a hardwood floor. Most hardwood floors these days are pre-finished and only need to be installed without any sanding or major cleanup.

Tips to Decide When to Refinish Your Floor

After your floor has been installed for many years, there are tell tale signs to look for that will indicate whether your floor needs to be refinished. Here are a few tips as well as pointers to help you decide if your hardwood floor needs to be refinished.

  • In high traffic areas, the finish tends to wear off leaving a dull looking floor compared to other areas of the floor.
  • If you take a teaspoon of water and drop it on the floor, the water will form beads if the floor is still properly sealed. If this is the case then at most all you need to do is cleaning and the odd stain removal.
  • If the water soaks right in, as well as leaves a dark spot, then you definitely need to refinish the hardwood floor.
  • Don’t wait too long since the longer you wait, the more the damage will be to the hardwood floor.

Once you decide to refinish your hardwood floor, it is important to sand the floor to remove any damage, any existing stain and protective coatings so that you will end up with a uniform looking floor.
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ATV Tires and Accessories

ATV Tires and AccessoriesATV tires and accessories fit ATV’s,  or All Terrain Vehicles that are small motor vehicles with large tires. They are used for transportation or racing in conditions usually not suitable for cars and trucks. All Terrain Vehicles are usually controlled with motorcycle hand controls. While some have a combination of hand and foot controls.

ATV’s are a fun and exciting way to experience the wilderness. They can be a useful means of transportation in rural settings. They have gained a lot of popularity as work horses to transport materials in difficult conditions. As well as off road sport activity in deserts, swamp and just about any condition you can imagine.

ATV Tires and Accessories – ATV Popularity

The ATV has gained huge popularity with hunters, with farmers and weekend warriors because of its versatility. There are many different types of ATV’s nowadays. Companies such as Honda, Polaris, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Yamaha, and Arctic Cat sell them. There is a variety of specialized models and varying engine sizes. They come with various cargo capabilities for the different outdoor activities like racing, hunting and camping.

If you are about to  purchase your all terrain vehicle you  now may need some ATV accessories. The first thing to consider are the tires that you want to have on your ATV. There are many different types of 4 wheeler tires to choose from, such as the ITP ATV tire, ATV sand tire, Gator ATV tire, Maxxis ATV tire, Goodyear ATV tire, and many others. Select the right tires for the conditions that you expect to spend the most time in, as there are tires for mud, sand, racing and trails.

Safety Considerations While Driving an ATV

ATV’s operators have a reputation for doing silly things and as a result the machine and the sport have a reputation for being dangerous. You should really consider protective equipment. The very first thing should be to get a proper helmet and be sure to wear proper eye protection too. Flying stones, branches etc can do a lot of damage and many operators have flipped their machines as well so get those helmets and eye protection.

The next thing to think about is protective clothing , so be sure to wear boots and gloves to protect your hands and feet while operating the ATV – it’s an absolute must for any rider and passenger.

Another great accessory for your ATV could be saddle bags,  which will allow you to carry all your cargo while you take your ATV on hunting trips or just to have some outdoor fun. You may want to have specialized cargo bags depending on your activities.

Most off-road riders will eventually get stuck in the mud or need to provide  help for another driver . For a serious ATV owner a winch is a necessity. The winch cable can be fastened around a nearby tree, and used to pull the vehicle out of the muck were it is stuck.

Racing ATV’s

Racing ATVs are configured differently from conventional ATVs. They are usually customized with different wheels, shocks and exhaust systems. There are many lines of 4 wheeler tires to choose from, such as the ITP ATV tire, ATV sand tire, Gator ATV tire, Maxxis ATV tire, Goodyear ATV tire, and many others.

When it comes to tires, the most important attribute is the tread. Different tires have different types of tread that make the ATV appropriate for navigating different types of terrain. For those spending time in the mud, it is strongly recommended that you purchase mud tires. Mud tires also work well on different types of terrain , but due to the tire tread, the ride is not so smooth.On the other hand narrow tires tend to sink in mud, but may provide you more stability on hard packed ground.

The shocks need to give enough to absorb impact with minimal speed loss and also must be must be stiff enough. The exhaust is simply made up of a more free flowing muffler and intake to move air through the engine much quicker. This altered exhaust results in more noise , but it can raise the torque of your ATV. Bumpers and skid plates protect the ATV from damage due to rough terrain or racing. For more information about tire safety and tire performance, click here.


Burglar Deterrent Tips

Burglar Deterrent TipsPart of property management in our opinion is helping homeowners and consumers avoid being robed. Or at least decrease the chance that you will be robbed. In the previous post we touched on burglar deterrent signs. This post is going to focus on a number of tips that consumers and homeowners can apply to their situation to help avoid break-ins and robberies. There are no guarantees, however why not decrease your chances of being robbed. Why would you not take advantage of these opportunities and protect yourself?

Burglar Deterrent Tips

Many people do not give home invasion or burglary a seconds thought. Until they experience  it or perhaps a family member or close neighbor.  They they start looking for information about how to prevent burglaries. They realize that there are things they could have done to decreases the chances of someone breaking into their home. Why not start now to decrease the probability by following these burglar deterrent tips.

There are many things you can do yourself which will help to prevent burglaries. While installing more complex alarm systems may need an expert to complete the installation.  The first step is really an evaluation of your home from a burglars point of view. How they might enter your home or break in to your home.

Pretend you are breaking Into Your Home

Even though burglars have more experience at break-ins, put yourself in their shoes regarding how you would break into your home. If you can figure it out, then the burglars sure ca as well.  You may want to look at how you would do it quietly without making a lot of noise, however if haste is required, they will not worry about damaging your property.

There are also resources in your neighborhood that you can turn to for both ideas on how to improve the security as well as the steps you can take to improve security.

Tips to Help Avoid Burglars

Here is a list of tips that may help you in deciding what things you can do to make your home more burglar deterrent.

Secure doors and windows and that means locking them when you are away. Two-thirds of all intruders enter by a door and a third by a window, so just having them closed and locked with a good lock goes a long way.

Refit locks if necessary on all doors and windows if you are in doubt at all.

Weak doors, glass windows are easy to break. Have them inspected and strengthened were necessary. All it took for a burglar to get into our neighbors house was a quick boot to the door to break the lock and they were in! Took less than 5 seconds!

Locks on doors should be the five-lever mortise deadlock variety, while patio doors should have special locking systems and/or anti-lift devices to prevent them being removed from their frames. At the very least place a solid bar to prevent the door from being slid open.

More Tips

Even if you are home, it pays to keep doors locked. Would you know if someone came in an open unlocked door if you are in another part of the house?

Automatic deadlocks that immediately lock the door securely from the inside when the door is closed and must be opened with a key.

Mortise bolts can be fitted at the top and bottom of the door for extra security.

A sturdy chain will prevent someone from pushing though and a door viewer is also handy to check out whoever is standing on the other side.

Store keys were you can find them in an emergency, but away from prying eyes.

Movement sensitive lighting, well lighted front doors and side doors will help to discourage many opportunistic burglars.
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Does a Pool Heat Up Faster With or Without the Solar Blanket On

Solar Blankets for Your PoolOne of the questions we received about our solar blanket series was “does a pool heat up faster with or without the solar blanket on”? The answer is clearly yes. If you live in a climate were you get a lot of sun the pool will heat very quickly and you will save lots of energy too! In fact if you have hot days and warm nights there is a good chance that you will not need to use your solar blanket all of the time. The pool will stay warm especially with warm summer nights without the solar blanket. There are other benefits as well to using a solar blanket. Here they are:

  • Pool heats up faster
  • Your pool water retains the heat during cool evenings and days
  • Pool water evaporation is reduced
  • Chemical depletion of chlorine is also reduced
  • Protection of your liner from UV rays extends the life of your liner

Pool heats up faster

The pool definitely heats up faster with the solar blanket on than off. All you need to do to test this statement is leave the blanket on during the middle of the day and watch the temperature go up.

In fact we turn off the pool pump during the day to conserve electricity and the top foot of water in our pool actually gets hot. What a pleasant experience to get into a pool when the top foot of water is around 100 F and the rest of the pool is around 80 F! It is so great to float in the top foot of water and enjoy hot tub water without actually being in one. If you just float the water does not mix and just stays hot!

We will leave the solar blanket on the pool until around 1pm and then remove it to go swimming.  Of course if the kids or family want to swim earlier we don’t stop them but if we are not using the pool the solar blanket stays on to gain those extra degrees.

Pool water retains the heat during cool evenings and days

If you get a cool day or your evenings are cool, the temperature of the water will drop quickly in your pool. Leave your blanket on the pool to keep the heat from escaping during these cool hours. Monitor the chlorine levels closely to avoid build up of algae and shock the pool every few days. You will also use less chlorine as well.

Pool water evaporation is reduced

With the solar blanket on the pool the amount of evaporation from the pool is much less. You will find that you will have to add much less water to the pool due to evaporation during dry summer periods and hot sunny days. We once had so much evaporation that I thought there was a leak somewhere. As soon as I placed the solar blanket on the pool, I noticed much less evaporation of the pool water.

Chemical depletion of chlorine is also reduced

The same thing applies to depletion of the chlorine in the pool. With the suns rays unable to penetrate the pool water, the chlorine in the water remains to continue to do its job of fighting bacteria in the water.

Protection of your line from UV rays

Your pool liner like all vinyls is subject to deterioration over time due to UV rays from the sun. With the solar blanket on, there are less rays hitting your liner which will allow it to last much longer. Of course you will have to replace your solar blanket every 3 to 5 years since it will deteriorate due to the chemicals and the suns rays.

But this is a much lower cost than replacing  the liner of a pool. Our liner is around 20 years old now and I maintain that it is solely due to the solar blanket. I have heard lots of people replacing the blanket after 10 years because the vinyl becomes brittle and cracks from the constant sun. A new liner can cost five to ten thousand dollars depending on the size of the pool. A solar blanket will cost around $300, a big difference.

Solar blankets have a lot of advantages in addition to conserving electricity which is what this web site is all about. Your comments are welcome. for more solar related posts, click here.


Removing Strippable Wallpaper

Removing Strippable WallpaperThis is an easy task for most do it yourself consumers. You can save a little money and reduce the cost of home ownership.  Before we begin, always use strip-able wallpaper. I am not even sure that you can still purchase non strip-able wall paper. Spend the extra money, it is not much. Install the kind that is strip-able and Removing Strippable Wallpaper is so much easier when the time comes. You will really appreciate this advice if you ever have to remove that wallpaper.

This post is about removing wall paper from your wall and making an easy job of it. I just spent the last two hours removing wall paper in our front room of our house and it took me about two hours to do the entire room, thanks to our decision to use the strip-able kind. Even so this particular wall paper was more difficult than some, which I will explain in a moment. I have in past years removed non strip-able wall paper that was installed by other people and had a very difficult time removing it. Never again will I have to do this. I would not even buy a home with this kind of wall paper.

The Basic Process for Removing Strippable Wallpaper

The basic process is to take a wet sponge and wipe a small area, perhaps a 2 foot by 8 foot section. Let the water soak in for about five minutes and then grab a corner and begin to pull it off the wall. If it comes easy, the paper will come off easy leaving little backing on the wall.

Next take the same sponge and wipe the wall that you have just removed the wall paper from. The remaining paper can be easily scrapped off the wall using a scraper along with any wet glue that remains on the wall.

The last step is to again wipe the wall and clean off any remaining glue that may be left on the wall. If you are planning on painting the wall you may need to lightly sand the wall and apply primer to ensure great adhesion of the paint.

Harder to Remove Wall Paper

Some wall papers have a heavy coating with a paper backing. Sometimes the water does not penetrate the outer layer of the wall paper very well. In this case it will probably come off the wall in two layers. The second layer of paper remaining on the wall. Once you  have  only regular paper left on the wall, apply water with the sponge again and then scrape the wall after about 5 minutes.

This takes more time, but is very doable within a few hours. If you gouge the wall with your scraper you will have to patch it with a bit of drywall mud and then give it a light sanding prior to painting.

Non Strip-able Wall Paper

This kind of wall paper should never be used. If you encounter this type, be prepared for lots of work. Use water as before and plan to do lots of scraping to remove the wall paper. Some times you may also have to use a little heat from a blow dryer to try to melt the glue, however this will be a lot of work and take quite a bit of time.

Be careful that you do not accidentally cause a fire by making the paper so hot that it ignites.  I once had to remove this kind of wall paper from a kitchen and it must have taken me two full days to get it all off. This stuff should not be on the market.

If you have suggestions about removing strippable wallpaper and saving people money, leave us a comment. Our readers will appreciate it.


Burglar Deterrent Signs

For consumers taking accountability for their own safety and that of their property, Burglar Deterrent Signs is one avenue to consider and falls within the realm of property management for residential consumers.

Placing Burglar Deterrent Signs in and around your home can be an inexpensive method of fending off some would be burglars. Let’s face it burglars are lazy and trying to make a living off of someone else and they are always going to take the easy road rather than have to deal with some level of difficulty. If the would be burglar is convinced that you have a rather loud sounding alarm installed in your home that is monitored, they might just move on to the next home and leave yours alone.

Even if you do not actually have an alarm system, it can be enough to make them think that you do have one. This is probably the most simple and least expensive way to protect your home. It will certainly keep out the opportunist but not the professional or someone who knows that you do not have an alarm system.

Burglar Deterrent Signs – Vicious Dog Signs

Vicious Dog Burglar Deterrent SignsMost burglars want to avoid anything that will draw attention to them while they are in your home. Even those that are professional will avoid situations that attract attention from the neighbors or passersby.  Whether you have a dog or not, whether he is big or small is going to make most opportunistic burglars think twice. No one wants to attract a large dog or cause a dog to begin barking. It will wake someone in the home up or attract attention from nosy neighbors who keep an eye on things like that. So if you have a sign advertising a vicious dog, most burglars are going to leave your house alone in favor of easier targets.

Burglar Deterrent Signs – Alarm System Signs

Most opportunistic burglars will bypass a house that is alarmed. Signs indicating that there are alarms tell the burglar that this house is probably alarmed and monitored and most will just  move on to easier pickings. This is driven mainly by the level of fear they have for the police and ending up in jail. For most it does not matter whether the home is alarmed or not. Just make them think it is and it will deter the vast majority of burglars from homes and apartments

Professionals who might have watched your home for a few days may also find out that the signs are just that. Especially viscous dog signs if they never hear a dog barking.

Burglar Deterrent Signs – Monitored Alarm  System Signs

Like the dog situation your opportunistic burglar is not going to take a chance. They know that possibly three things are going to happen which increases the stress level of breaking into your home.

Alarm System Burglar deterrent signsFirst the alarm is going to go off creating a lot of noise. This will warn the folks inside the home if any one is home. Second, if it is a monitored system, there may be cameras that can identify him or her. An armed response will be on the way. Third, some of the neighbors may  be alerted. They may come to investigate or at least take a look.

The professionals know that they have time to get in and out quickly. They will be inside your home for 5 minutes or less so this may not deter them. Most others will simply avoid your house and go into the neighbors. Why take the chance ?

Non Monitored Alarm Systems

The same applies to non monitored alarm systems. The only difference is that your intruder does not know that the system is not monitored. They will just move on. If they break in anyway, they will be gone inside of 5 minutes or less.

Were Should you Place Burglar Deterrent Signs

Many people don’t like to have signs since they feel that it takes away from the look of their home. There are small signs that if strategically placed will act as an excellent deterrent.

Think of the obvious locations were a burglar wouldWindow decals for Alarm systems and Burglar deterrents break into your home. Place small burglar deterrent signs at these locations. Front doors, side doors, windows that are  near the ground and perhaps hidden from site from the neighbors. These small decals should be obvious to anyone attempting a break. While at the same time not taking away from the decor of your home.

Comments and ideas are welcome relative to burglar deterrent signs that you can place on your home. Spam comments are auto deleted.

Cell Phone Contracts

Cell Phone ContractsIs anyone else out there tired of the mobility companies and their contracts? I am so sick and tired of being bribed into taking a long term contract. Just so that I can get a wireless phone or wireless smart phone for a reasonable price. I am ready to just buy my own phone to forgo a contract with a carrier.

Once again, I have just gone through the same process that I did two years ago to line up a new phone. The wireless companies price the phones or smart phones at a low price to attract you in the first place. Then they tell you, that you can only have the phone at that price if you are willing to sign up for a cell phone contract or at least two years!

Cell Phone Contracts – Company Marketing

This is the way they get you, because you have become emotionally attached to a new phone. Or the deal they are offering you is too good to pass up.  That’s what just happened to me. They offered me a much better deal than what I currently was receiving and a new phone as well which was what they were calling a smart phone light! The only way I was going to get the deal and the phone was to sign a cell phone contract for 3 years. Or pay a lot of money for service and for the phone I got for free!

Changing Your Contract

If you decide to change your contract or change your services during your contract period, most wireless companies will allow you to do this any time during the contract with out too much problem.

Some will even allow you to decrease the number of services that you are using and lower your monthly bill. Of course if you want to add more services to your plan, they will be more than willing to handle this for you as well.

Cancelling Your Contract

What they will not do is allow you to cancel your cell phone contract without a major penalty and this is were it gets costly. They will want you to pay the rest of the contract out.  Also pay for the discounted amount of the phone as well. In other words they are making it so expensive to get out of the contract that you will stick with them for the life of the contract.

Upgrading Your Phone During Your Contract

Cell Phone ContractsMost cell phone companies will allow you to change and or upgrade your device during the life of your contract. Many will even provide you with a free upgrade during this period as well, especially if you are a heavy user. But beware, these upgrades come at a price.

If you take a new phone, free of charge or at a nominal price you will be tied into a contract extension once again. So if you are planning to change carriers or make other major changes, be satisfied with your current plan and let your cell phone contract run out.

Prepaid Services

The only true independence you can have from a cell phone carrier is to not have a cell phone contract. This is typically known as prepaid cell phone service. More and more customers are going this route so that they have the flexibility of changing carriers and cell phones whenever they feel like it. Sure it costs a bit more, but that is fine with them.

They have freedom to use as much or as little of their service as they wish from month to month. There is a limit on the type and kind of phones that you can usually use on prepaid contracts, so you also have to be satisfied with the selections that are available if you take this approach. For example the HTC Wildfire S is not available as part of a prepaid package as far as we are aware.

If you are as bummed about cell phone contracts as I am, why not leave us your comments about your experience. Spam comments are auto deleted.

For more suggestions on Mobile contracts, click here.


Hardwood Floor Upkeep

Regardless of whether you purchase a new home with hardwood floors or you have just installed new hardwood floors in your home, you have a valuable and considerable investment in your home in hardwood. Most buyers are looking for hardwood flooring to be already installed when they buy a new home. They really do not consider hardwood floor upkeep requirements.

Keeping the hardwood floor clean and avoiding marks on the floor will go along way to maintaining your hardwood investment. Cleaning a hardwood floor is an important task with lots of benefits. It will help to maintain the natural beauty of your flooring and also extend the life of the floor, which saves you money in the long run. It will also help you avoid many headaches in the future. Here is a helpful guide to show you how to clean hardwood floor and make the most of your investment.

Why You Want to focus on Hardwood Floor Upkeep

Hardwood flooring is sensitive to heat and moisture but it is also sensitive to the harmful effects of dirt and grit. As dirt and particles work their way into hardwood surfaces they have a grinding effect as you walk on the floor, which is detrimental to the lifespan of the wood.The floor changes color, scratches and gradually the finish will be removed.

Who wants to have to sand a hardwood floor by hand?

Dirt and grime can scratch away at the surface of the wood, dulling it and taking away from the look of the surface. For these reasons it is important to know how to clean hardwood floor.

Cleaning the Hardwood Floor

But before you begin you will need a few tools. A soft fine-bristled broom, a vacuum with a hardwood safe attachment, along with a mop of your choice are essential.

Once you have everything you need we can get into how to clean your hardwood floor. You should have a routine in place for caring for your floors. This routine must include sweeping often with the fine-bristled broom in order to keep everyday dirt and dust from accumulating. Also, time should be taken to vacuum the floors at least once or twice a week. This will help to lift any sand or other abrasive particles that may want to settle in the floor cracks where they will do their damage.

When mopping your hardwood floors you should use a very dry-damp mop. This is because of the floor’s intolerance to excess water. Any extra water may seep down into the floor which is very harmful. This is practically everything you need to know on how to clean hardwood floor.

Avoid Women’s High Heels with Narrow Heel Points

We have had this situation and before we knew what happened there were little heel marks all over our floor. The women even asked us if it was ok to wear her shoes indoors. foolishly we said yes. What a mistake. We have not corrected the situation yet, but it will take some serious sanding and refinishing to fix this.

Do not allow people to wear their shoes inside your home on hardwood floors if you want to maintain the luster of your floors and avoid marking the hardwood on your floors.

As you can see, when finding out how to clean hardwood floor, there are only a few simple yet important steps. Cleaning hardwood is best done with regular care and attention. Once you have all of this in place, your floors will be long lasting and great looking.

Wide Tires vs Narrow Tires

Wide Tires vs Narrow TiresIf you enjoy taking a corner or two a bit crazy once in a while or you have found that you needed to swerve to miss another car you may find your car’s current handling performance a bit lacking. There are a number of things that affect the way a car handles corners including the width of the tires. Improving some  of these elements may increase the handling capabilities of your car.

Sliding off the road:

One of key components to how well your car corners is the tires. Tire width and compound of the rubber play crucial roles in keeping your car from sliding off the road.  Wider tires have more surface area in contact with the road which will help to  improve traction in all sorts of conditions. Wider tires also have the unfortunate side effect of decreasing your gas mileage due to increased friction with the road. Many people find that after they install wider tires that they see their gas mileage go down by 50 miles per tank!

Car makers routinely put such skinny tires on their vehicles to improve gas mileage claims. Wider tires with low tread depth may also  turn into skis in winter driving conditions.

Stickier Tires

Installing stickier or softer tires will help your dry traction considerably. Wide Tires vs Narrow TiresSofter and stickier tires will wear out much faster. Snow tires which are considered a soft tire and are excellent in cold winter conditions and will wear out much faster during hot summer conditions. They are softer so that they can conform to the hard ice surface of the road and bite into snow conditions. They also have much more tread on them that is deeper and can allow your tire to find traction in snow conditions.

High performance summer tires may also perform very poorly in wet and icy conditions,  since they are too hard and do not bend or adapt to the road conditions, which means you’ll probably want another set of tires for winter driving.

Wide Tires vs Narrow Tires

Wide tires often have a shorter side wall which will improve handling slightly when you go  around a corner at high speed  your tires will actually flop over sideways. If you have the shorter the side walls are the less likely  to let this happen, but unfortunately this also leads to a slightly rougher ride as there is less tire height to absorb bumps in the road.

Low profile tires are not mass produced and as a result you will find that the prices are much higher for a set of four tires.

Tire Size

Your speedometer is attached to your transmission, so regardless of what size of tire you have on your car your speedometer will register a specific speed based on the RPM’s of the transmission. I once borrowed a car and got a speeding ticket because the owner had installed oversize tires on his car. Although the speedometer registered that I was doing 60 miles an hour on the highway, I was actually doing 70 miles an hour.

He was not willing to pay for the ticket! If you are changing your tires from narrow to wide and not changing the diameter you should be ok, Going to low profile tires will change the registered speed on your speedometer. Note the changes and drive accordingly.

Body Roll:

Does your car feel like it is leaning over sideways when you tear around a turn? This is what is known as body roll. There are a couple of ways to deal with  this problem.

The easiest of which that is also the thing that has the least effect on ride comfort is to install a set of sway bars or anti-roll bars. They are usually thicker than the stock sway bars, which flex less and keep your car  from leaning as much during cornering. The difference these bars make can be tremendous. They can be installed yourself in a few hours and shouldn’t cost more than a few hundred dollars at most.

Another thing that affects body roll is your car’s center of gravity. The closer your car is to the ground the less effect the forces of cornering will have on it. Installing a set of lowering springs which bring your car an inch or two closer to the ground will improve handling considerably.

You should be aware though that putting lowering springs on your stock shocks will cause them to wear out faster, so it is recommended that you replace both at the same time to save money on labor in the future. Lowering springs also have a different spring rate than the stock springs and will most likely result in a much stiffer ride than you’re used to.

Remember: Drive safe, wear your seat belt at all times, and have fun!


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