Archive for November, 2012

Best Tires

Best TiresHow do you know what the best tires are for your car? Most people just go to the dealer or to a tire company and tell them the kind of tires the car came with and install new tires from the same manufacturer.  Sometimes the dealer will look it up in a database he has access to, while other times you will have to check the existing tires to see what they are. Size and manufacturer are the key bits of information.

Best Tires Fit Your Car

They have to be of the same size and width to fit your car and there are usually many different tires that can be installed. Some are summer tires, some are winter tires, but most people put all season tires on their cars unless you happen to be in a state or province were they make it mandatory to have snow tires installed in the winter time.

Tires also come with various load ratings and speed ratings. How do you know what speed and load rating to install on your car? The reality is you do not and most people just need to rely on the dealer’s recommendation to install the best tires for their car or at least the tires that are rated for each make and model along with the type of driving that you do. Your car’s manual will have a section on tires and will advise regarding the type of tire to install.

Tire Sizes & Ratings

Our tires are P215 60R16 M&S! Whatever does that mean and how do you select tires that will fit your car? The M&S is the easy part. This means Mud and Snow. The tires are supposed to be ok for both conditions in addition to summer time driving. They are generally ok, however if you want to have good traction, consumers should really consider winter snow tires with heavy tread meant for snowy conditions. M&S tires are not great in heavy snow conditions and most people will install snow tires for the winter time if they drive every day in snow conditions for safety.

The remaining numbers are a bit more complex:

  • 215 means the width of the tire face is 215mm (8.46 inches)
  • 60 means that the size of the sidewall is 60% of the width of the tire face
  • R16 means that the tire is designed to fit 16 inch rims

You can change the width of the tire. However you cannot change the rim size of your tire. If you do, the actual speed will be faster than what is shown on your speedometer. This depends on whether you add larger or smaller rim size tires. Your car has been designed for this size of tire. Your car will have the best handling characteristics and the best gas mileage with tires that meet these specs. Anything different will affect the car. Most people just have to tell the tire company the make and model of the car. They will add the right kind of tires.

Cheap Tires or Best Tires

There are tires that will last longer and will be able to handle higher speeds at hot temperatures.  Longer lasting tires usually cost more and make sense if you are keeping the car for a long time. If you planning to sell your car, you may not want to spend much money on new tires. This is another factor to take into account when you are buying tires. Find the best tires for your car at the best tire price.


Hardwood Floors Installation

Most people will hire a professional to install their hardwood floors. It is just simpler and easier to have someone who does this for a living and will do it well to do the installation. Hardwood floors installation can be made easier and less costly. However there are some things you can do to lower the overall cost of the floor installation if you would really like to save some money. Saving money is always a good thing. You can use your savings for other things.

Hardwood Floors Installation

Before we talk about what you can do to reduce the overall cost, we would like to spend a paragraph discussing your choice of flooring. Many new homes used to come with wall to wall carpeting and many still do, however the recent trend appears to be hardwood as the preferred choice. In fact a real estate agent friend of ours tells us that older homes will always sell more quickly if they have been updated with hardwood flooring. Carpeting is out and hardwood is in. It is not just hardwood flooring, but it must be clean and in good shape as well with the right stain etc. Stick to a relatively neutral choice in terms of stain. Anything that is dramatic or wild will only attract specific buyers so you could be limiting the potential buyers if you are trying to sell your home. Updating your home from wall to wall carpeting to a new hardwood floor is one of the best investments that you can make.

Reducing the Cost of Installing a Hardwood Floor

Back to how you can save money when installing a new hardwood floor. Consumers can save the most money if they strike a good deal for the wood and install the floor themselves. However most people are not up to the job for a variety of reasons, so we will assume that you are going to hire someone to install your new hardwood floor. But there are things you can do to decrease the overall cost. Of course you can arrange for someone to do all of this work for you if you are not able or willing to do this work.

Hardwood Floors Installation – Prevent Dust in your Home

There is usually lots of dust created when a new floor is being installed, so several of the steps include dealing with all of this dust and how to prevent it spreading to the rest of the home.

Here we go:

  • Remove all furniture from the room were the new flooring will be installed
  • Remove all window coverings that either touch the floor or are within one foot of the floor
  • There will be lots of dust while the floor is being installed so you may want to remove all window coverings and pictures etc. that are hanging on the windows and walls.
  • Vacuum the existing floor to reduce the dust and dirt
  • Remove the existing flooring and arrange for garbage removal of the old flooring
  • Vacuum all dust from the exposed sub floor
  • If there are exposed nails or staples, either remove them or hammer them into the floor.
  • Ensure that the floor is smooth and make any repairs that may be required
  • Ensure that there is a clear pathway into and through your home to the room that will be worked on
  • If you plan to repaint the walls, now is the time to do it before the new floor is installed.
  • Protect other rooms from dust by closing doors and placing towels at the bottom of the doors
  • Shut the furnace fan off if you have central heat. This decreases the amount of dust spread through out your home.
  • You are ready for your new floor to be installed.

Most hardwood floor installers will be careful and try to limit the amount of dust they create from cutting boards, however there is still lots of dust created just from the nailing of the hardwood to the floor. This dust seems to come from every where so everything you can do to limit it will help you from a clean up perspective later after the floor has been installed.

Once the floor is installed and the new base boards are installed and painted a final cleaning of the room must be done to remove all traces of dust. Wipe the walls and windows with a damp cloth and vacuum everything. You can actually move the furniture back in immediately, however most people will want to wait until they have completely cleaned the room.

Cleaners can be hired, however this is another expense that you can avoid if your are interested in reducing your overall costs. Good luck with your hardwood floor installation!


Energy Consumption Reduction

Energy Consumption ReductionThere are lots of companies that have a variety of products that are aimed at assisting consumers to achieve energy consumption reduction objectives. This particular one allows you to monitor the electricity used by a particular device that is plugged into it. You can observe how much energy is being used while the device that is plugged into is on. As well you can monitor how much energy is being used while that same device is turned off.

This may be a revelation to many people, but our appliances increasingly are using energy while they are turned off, so they can instantly turn on when we need them. In our society, at the present time, no one is willing to wait while a device warms up and begins to work as designed. Instant on is everywhere and unknowingly to many people continue to use a small amount of electricity. You can purchase one of these meters to monitor just how much is being used if you are really serious about energy consumption reduction.

Practical Guide to Energy Consumption Reduction for Consumers

The golden rule for reducing your energy consumption and reducing your energy cost is:

“if you are not using something, turn it off;  if you do not plan to use something for more than a day or two, unplug it; Take advantage to time of day energy rates; and be as frugal as possible about heating and cooling your home”

Following this basic set of principles will ensure that your energy use is kept to a minimum with our without one of these expensive energy monitors. Franky, although they are kind of neat to have and you can have specific information about your appliances, these devices are just not needed for the average consumer. Save your money and just turn off appliances and / or unplug them when they are not being used.

So many people get caught up on the complexities of dealing with controlling their energy use, rates, monitors, complicated thermostats etc etc. The simple rule we outlined above is all you really need to do to reduce your energy consumption and save money. It is really that simple. Once you develop the habit of turning things off, it will come as second nature.

Monitor Your Energy Bills

Always monitor your energy bills for heating and electricity. If you notice something changing, you may want to take some action to figure out why there is a change in energy use. In most cases a decrease is a great thing and very acceptable, however increases could be because of something abnormal that happened in your life or some one in your family forgot to unplug a heavy energy using device. But most things are small users, however when you apply a general rule of unplugging devices and appliances you will notice a difference in your energy consumption.

Check also against seasonal changes. For example if the winter was unusually cold you may notice that your electricity use is up and so is your heating fuel consumption. This is to be expected and you may want to consider what you can do to control your energy use in this case.  Same thing in the summer time when air conditioning is typically in use. Take advantage of varying energy rates by time of day if they are offered in your area.

Energy Use Not Just Linked to Our Homes

Another big consumer of energy are our cars of course. Taking the bus, doubling up from a passenger perspective and various other steps can reduce the amount of gasoline that we use. As gas prices increase, this is becoming more important all of the time. recently gas has increased by over 25%, which is significant if you drive to work every day. There are many ways to reduce gasoline consumption.  We included a short list as follows:

  • Tune up your car
  • Take the bus
  • Share commuting
  • Proper inflation in your tires
  • Drive at the speed limit
  • Walk if you can
  • Plan your trips for errands

These are just a few things you can do to reduce the energy consumption when using your car. There are many more which you can apply to your personal life.

 


Investment Property Management

Investment Property ManagementMany consumers, particularly as they get older, invest in rental properties and manage these investments themselves. They do this for several reasons. One of the major reasons is to save money and make the rental property more profitable. In most situations this approach works fine and their property is fully rented with great tenants. These same individuals may also do their own repairs and maintenance as well to save money and cut down on costs. Investment property management by consumers works well when you have good tenants. Also if the property is fully rented without many vacancies between tenants. When you end up with bad tenants, there can be a lot of stress associated with dealing with these people.

What Does Investment Property Management Cost

Typically investment property managers will charge anywhere from $10 to $30 a door. The price depends on whether it is a large multi unit building or a single family home. The price varies a lot due to the cost sharing that is available to a large number of units. This fee will include managing the unit, dealing with tenants, collecting rent, paying for miscellaneous repairs and sending the remaining money to the owner. This fee does not include the cost of repairs, the cost of upgrades, tax preparation, utilities while the unit is vacant, advertising fees to rent the unit and many miscellaneous fees.

While this seems excessive, these are the typical rates that investment property managers will charge to manage your unit. Consumers living in the same city can do this work themselves. However when you live in another city from where your rental unit is, one trip to deal with issues can eat up any savings you might have obtained from trying to manage the property yourself.

Managing Repairs and Maintenance

Every home, whether it is a rental unit, an apartment, or a residential home that is being rented out requires annual maintenance. Some owners are very lucky with the tenant doing all of the work and maintaining their property as if it were their own. Others expect the owner to do all of the maintenance. They will not lift a finger even if it would avoid further damage as in a water leak. These are truly problem tenants to have.

Someone must manage these repairs and maintenance. They must hire a repairman to visit the property and make repairs. They must pay these people for their time and for the supplies that might be needed. If the work is inside the home, access must be arranged for at least 24 hours in advance unless it is an emergency. Someone might need to accompany the repair person or at least unlock the door to let them into the home. This all takes time and investment property managers will have staff that you also must pay for to look after these functions for you.

Develop a budget for Your Investment Property

Owners usually lose money on investment properties from an operating cost perspective. They tend to make money when the value of the property increases over time. Some owners do not have much hope of their units increasing in value. They will sometimes severely limit the maintenance and repair activity causing the unit to degrade over time.

This can be a serious problem for the tenant, the investment property manager and the owner. No one is happy. Many investment property managers will simply end their contract to manage a unit due to the ongoing problems. They simply do not want to be associated with a bad property that gives them a bad name. Owners must strike a careful balance between maintaining the property and managing how much money that they spend on the property.

Investment property management is not a simple task. Anyone getting into the business needs to plan carefully. They need to make sure they understand the cash flows, maintenance and repairs required as well as the quality of the tenants.


Tree Removal Companies

Tree Removal CompaniesWe recently were looking for tree removal companies to remove a tree for us on our property. We have included this top in our website, since many homeowners must deal with mature trees on their property and sometimes they need to be removed due to their size, potential encroachment on their homes, or even as an emergency after a wind storm.

Homeowners can do some of this work themselves if they have a chain saw and know how to safely cut down a tree without causing damage to nearby buildings, other trees and shrubs and your neighbor’s home.

This was the situation in our case. As you can see it is very close to the house and I was concerned about taking this tree down without any damage to my home and my neighbor’s home.

Best Way to Hire Tree Removal Companies

You can search the internet to find local tree removal companies in your area and you will probably be able to find quite a few. However the best way is to ask for references and check them out. You want to hire a company that will do the work safely, has all of the right equipment and ensures that there is no damage to your home or shrubs.

In our case I happen to see a company removing a tree in our neighborhood. I watched them for a short while and quickly realized that these guys, (there were four of them) not only knew what they were doing, but did everything very safely.

They were also taking all of the necessary precautions to make sure that nothing around the tree including the lawn was damaged in any way. Once I had observed then for a short while, I decided that this company was the one I was going to use for the removal of our tree and I was not disappointed.

Tree Removal Companies With the Proper Equipment

Having the right equipment is so important.  This company showed up with two trucks and a huge wood chipper that can take logs that are at least 25 inches in width! As the tree came down, they fed the limbs including the trunk into the wood chipper and in seconds it was all ground up into small wood chips. Amazing machine!

The technician in the tree has a small hand chain saw that can be held with one hand easily. The chain is extremely sharp and cut through the wood as if it was butter. this makes the job go faster and safer as well. He would hold that chain saw with one hand and the limb with the other and cut through it with no effort at all.

Tree Removal Safety Equipment

Tree Removal CompaniesThe safety equipment is also part of the equation that not only keeps the operator safe, but makes the job easy as well.  He was lashed to the tree and with his tree climbing spikes was quite comfortable as he was perched on the trunk of the tree cutting off the next limb.

This particular picture on the left shows the arborist on the trunk of the tree, lashed to the trunk preparing to cut off the next 3 feet of the trunk.

He just worked his way down the trunk until he reached the ground and all of it was fed into the wood chipper. They did a great job as well cleaning up and did not damage any of our plants or even a fence that was within 2 feet of the trunk of the tree.  We were very happy with this company and if you would like more information about them or a link to their site, refer to our original post on reliable tree service, or click on the category “Tree Service”.

Leave Difficult Jobs to the Professionals

This will be the last post for a little while on tree services, however homeowners should know that some jobs around the home are better left to the professionals due to safety issues. Other jobs can be done by the home owner which can save you a great deal of money. Just make sure that you do this work in a safe manner.

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Text Message Appointment Reminders

Text Message Appointment RemindersI just read an article about text messaging. It described how for the first time text messaging traffic provided by the mobile companies has actually declined month over month. It appears that consumers instead of paying as much as twenty cents a message are looking for other means of sending text messages. Personally I only use text messaging to communicate with my kids and to receive text message appointment reminders. I also receive updates to meetings by text message when someone I have invited to a meeting either declines or accepts an invitation to a meeting invite that I have sent out. I use Google Gmail and Google Calendar and they have this great feature that does this for their users.

Why is Text Messaging Declining

There are so many app’s available now that use the internet to send and receive messages as long as both parties have the app loaded on their smart phone. Apple has a product that does this and there are many apps on the Android platform that also provide this feature. The text messaging capability is still the universal method of sending a text message to any cell phone virtually in the world and although traffic may have declined one month, chances are that text messaging on cell phones will continue to dominate.

Carriers just need to get their marketing right to ensure that their users are not pushed away from the cell phone to these internet apps that come for free. I currently pay $5 for 250 messages sent and unlimited incoming messages. This works out to two cents a message for the text messages I send, which is virtually free. There are plans that allow unlimited messaging as well. With all of my incoming text messages free, I tend not to bother with the apps available in the phone unless I am traveling outside the country and want to send messages for free, then I use the internet app.

Why Receive Text Message Appointment Reminders

First of all with my plan all incoming messages are free so I can receive as many as I wish. Secondly when I am not near my desktop PC and I do not have time to look at my smart phone and check the calendar, receiving a text message alert that tells me someone has accepted or declined an invite is very useful. It keeps me up to date on the progress of setting up meetings and who will be attending.

I also use this reminder service to alert me to an upcoming meeting. Thirty minute, 10 minute and 5 minute warnings are great when you have an important meeting to attend to. You can make sure that you are not late due to being involved in some other activity. It is also a neat trick to get out of a current meeting by programming your appointment reminders to send a text message for each meeting warning you that it is about to start and it is time to leave the current meeting you are in.

Not only can you disentangle yourself from a meeting, your meeting partners will have the sense that you are very busy and need to make efficient use of your time.

Who Are the Biggest Users of Text Message Appointment Reminders?

Business people are likely the biggest users of this kind of service, but they do not come close to the teens that live for their text messaging. If you are a parent with a teen make sure you have the unlimited plan for text messaging, otherwise you could pay a bundle in monthly fees.

There are probably other uses for text message appointment reminders, and we would like to hear about them from readers. In the mean time enjoy sending and receiving text messages.


Cell Phone Bill Shock

Cell Phone Bill ShockCell phone bill shock can happen to almost anyone and it really depends on the terms of your agreement and also understanding how your applications on your smart phone work. One example of this kind of thing was when a customer had unlimited text messaging for his phone and a limit on the data that his phone could send and receive each month. In an effort to reduce text messages, they used a free texting service out of the US, which actually is an application that used the data part of the plan to send and receive information. In addition the data plan is used every time an application must be updated with a new release. In short this user’s data plan was far exceeded and they received this huge bill from their carrier.

How Can you Avoid Cell Phone Bill Shock

  • Understand the Application
  • Research the Application before You Download
  • Check Your Usage
  • Use WIFI
  • Make a Complaint

We will cover each of these in a bit more detail:

Understand the Application – many app’s use your data plan to update, to send messages and to interact with other cell phone users. While you may be reducing one type of traffic i.e. text messaging which is billed separately, you are actually using more data which eats up your allowance for data every month. Understanding how your app works and updates is important to control you monthly billing.

Research the Application before You Download – before you download the app, take the time to understand how it works and how much data it uses and how often it will update itself. If your phone is being used by your teen, some ground rules need to be established about downloading so called free app’s. They may be free, but really place a burden on the amount of data that is downloaded or sent by your phone.

Check Your Usage – monitor your usage every week. If you are getting close to your limits for data usage, text messaging or long distance take appropriate steps now. Control your usage, increase your plan or recognize that your bill is going to be higher this month.

Use WIFI – this is a great way to reduce data usage. Force your phone to use Wi-Fi whenever a Wi-Fi network is available. This includes your home, many coffee shops and even many restaurants. All you need to do is program your phone to use Wi-Fi first before using the network data plan that you have. In some cases you will need to sign up as a user and receive email advertising, but it is definitely worth it. Most phones will also remember the network and passwords and will connect automatically to the WI-FI network when it is available. This is a great way to limit your plan data usage.

Make a Complaint – sometimes it works when you complain to your carrier. It costs nothing but your time to lodge a complaint. They might not write the entire bill off, however if the write off some of the bill, you are ahead. This approach usually only works one time. The carrier will give you that one chance where you can claim that you did not realize that activity on your phone was going to cause a high monthly charge. After that they expect that you now understand when high data usage is triggered and will take the necessary steps to control it. Also consumers may decide to change their plans to accommodate higher data usage, text messaging or long distance.

Consumers need to manage and monitor all of their services regardless of what they are and cell phone usage is no different. Manage cell phone local air time, text messaging, long distance and data usage to prevent significant surprises of large bills from your carrier. This includes your children’s phones as well, particularly when they first get their phones.


Hardwood Floor Refinishing

If you are thinking about hardwood floor refinishing a floor that is in as bad a shape as this one, the first step is to really assess whether it is less expensive to replace the floor vs. refinishing the floor.

Believe it or not this is an option. Ripping up the old floor, installing a new secure sub floor to take away all creaking noises and installing a new finished floor can be a valid alternative.

Hardwood Floor Refinishing – Get Quotes

Ask for an estimate to sand the floor, repair any broken boards and then add a finish to the floor to bring out the grain and to also protect the newly sanded floor. One of the things to consider is whether there is sufficient wood left to sand. Floors that are thin to start with or have been sanded many times sometimes will become very thin as some wood is removed each time the floor is sanded. A floor like the one above may also have a lot of severely damaged boards. If too many of the boards have been damaged, it may cost too much to repair them or in some cases they may not be able to be repaired. Asking for an estimate and discussing what needs to be done will help you make a decision. It is amazing how a little work and polish can turn a bad looking floor into something of beauty.

The second quote you need to properly compare solutions is to ask for a quote to remove the old floor , install the sub floor and then install a new hardwood floor. Once you have these two prices you will be able to make an informed decision regarding which scenario you want to consider.

There are additional options to consider as long as you are satisfied with a less than perfect floor.

Hardwood Floor Refinishing – Sand less Floor Refinishing

As long as you are not concerned about removing scratches, stains and marks this solution might work for you.  First of all the floor is deep cleaned to remove all dirt using a specialized floor cleaner.  Once it is dry, the floor is buffed with a floor etch and then a water based catalysed finish is applied to your floor to give it the finish and protect the floor from future scratches and marks. The big advantage is that you get to keep the old floor complete with existing scratches and dents, however it comes with a brand new finish and it only takes one day to completed. you can start using the floor with in 4 hours or the next day if you want to be careful.

Drum Sanding of Your Hardwood Floor & Refinishing with Oil Based Urethane

The floor is sanded with a drum sander and then three coats of oil based urethane are applied. It can take 3 days to complete the job. The urethane must be allowed to dry and the floor will look brand new once the urethane has dried. It is a little more expensive, but you have a new looking floor. There is usually a very strong odor to the oil and some customers might be affected by the smell.  You should allow 2 to 4 days before placing furniture on the floor. There also must be sufficient wood left on the floor to sand in the first place as mentioned above.

Drum Sanding of Your Hardwood Floor & Refinishing with Water Based Urethane

Same as above, however the finish is water based. Less smell and much faster turnaround. It is more expensive usually, however the floor can be used the next day. The odor is significantly reduced as well which will be attractive to many consumers. this approach has great floor protection characteristics and will not yellow over time in the way that oil based urethane’s might.

Lot’s of decisions to make regarding your hardwood floor. First step give it a good cleaning yourself and then assess if there is enough wood left to endure a complete sanding. If not you try the first option or just replace the floor. Depends on budget and prices quoted locally. Either way having a hardwood floor is much better than having a carpet any time. Less dust and much less upkeep. If you take good care of your floors they will last for many years.

 


Energy Use Data

Appliance Energy UseMost consumers do not look at their energy use data from month to month, however most utilities provide some information on the monthly bills that consumers would find useful. It only takes a minute to review your usage to see if there is something unusual going on.

The picture on the left shows the annual usage data for our own electrical energy usage data for the past year. It shows the usage for the past six months and the same month from the previous year. The number of days for each measurement are shown along with the kilowatts used in that period. Our utility also offers time of use metering, with peak times, mid peak and off peak usage measurements.  There is also a total number of kilowats used for the period.

Our time of use metering stopped working for some reason in May and although we have reported this to the utility, they have yet to send someone out to fix it. The rates for each period are quite different with the peak rates almost double of that for the off peak periods. The utility implemented this approach to encourage consumers to use energy during off peak periods in an effort to reduce their peak usage during times of high use. Drying clothes, running the oven and turning up the air conditioning during the peak periods can reduce the overall amount of energy that is used and reduce the energy bill received each month.

Energy Use Data – Energy Periods

On Peak – energy use is measured from 11 am until 5 pm on weekdays excluding holidays

Mid Peak – energy use is measured from 7 am until 11am and from 5pm until 7pm on weekdays excluding holidays

Off Peak – energy use is measured from 7pm until 7am every day and on weekends

Consumers are encouraged to run appliances during these off peak periods to conserve energy and save money. It has worked extremely well for many utilities and pushed high usage activity into lower usage hours.

Data You Can Use to Manage Your Energy Use

The data we have just reviewed is pretty typical of what is provided to consumers by some utilities. The companies that provide heating fuel also provide similar reports as well which can be used to help consumers monitor their energy use.

While it is excellent data, and consumers can use this information to monitor how they are doing, it does not help them save money unless they take action and implement energy use reduction techniques and then look for the results on these reports. For example, the following steps should be taken to reduce energy use:

  • Turn down your thermostat during heating season
  • Turn up your thermostat during cooling season
  • Run your clothes dryer after 7 pm
  • Use your microwave instead of the oven to cook and heat food
  • Cook food in the oven after 7 pm
  • Turn off lights and / or convert to LED’s to reduce energy
  • Run pool motors and spa motors for a few hours every day during off peak times
  • Turn off all unused electronics to further reduce energy

If you take these steps to reduce your energy use, you should be able to see the difference quickly when you look at your energy use data provided by your utility. Some utilities will also provide daily use charts, to help you monitor usage on a daily and hourly basis.

 Graphing Your Usage

Although most utilities will not provide a graph of your energy data, comparing year over year usage on a graph can be helpful to compare your savings and monitor time periods when you are using more energy such as during the summer time when the air conditioning is being used.

We have focused on the energy use data for consumers, however business’s can demand much more information due to the higher level of usage and bills. In fact large companies will even schedule shifts to take advantage of lower rates during the day or weekends.

This is useful information that can be used by all consumers and business owners to monitor the usage and their subsequent energy bills. Monitoring your energy use data is important to control expenses, since it is information that allows you to see what level of energy is being used and allows you to take steps to control how much is used. Take action now by examining your latest bill from your utility.


Tree Service Removal Company

Tree Service Removal On our last post we talked about reliable tree service removal. This service although costly is a safe way to remove a tree. You can have it all cleaned up in an hour or so.

We thought we would continue with another post. This time we will talk a little more about the process of cutting down a tree that is positioned close to a house. Avoiding damage to the house, fence and shrubs close by is a top priority. This is one of the reasons why I did not do it myself. If it was in the backyard, I probably would have done the work myself. However you read all about that in the previous post.

We hired a tree service removal company to come and do the work. They started by trimming all of the branches and major limbs from the bottom moving up the trunk of the tree until only the top was left. Myself and a neighbor watched the entire removal of the tree because we were really curious about how they would do it and how they would get that top off without damaging anything and do it in a safe manner.

How The Tree Service Removal Company Lops off the Top of the Tree

The picture above shows the arborist technician perched at the very top of the main tree trunk, just after he has cut the top off. They really did do this in a safe manner. First they tied a rope to the trunk of the tree just above were they are going to make their cut.

Next they made a another loop and ran the rope through this loop just below were they were going to cut the top off. This way when the top comes off, it falls over and it is held by the ropes can be safely lowered to the ground. The top tips over away from the technician who is perched at the top of the trunk of the tree.

Safety is Extremely Important

Tree Service Removal As you might appreciate there is a fair amount of shaking and the tree trunk waves back and forth as the top comes off. It is extremely important that the technician is lashed to the tree with the proper safety harness so that they move with the tree as it weaves back and forth.

These guys have done this many times and are very careful that they use all of the safety gear they need. Once the top of the tree is off, they simply move down the tree, lopping off 3 foot sections until they reach the ground.

From this picture on the left you can see the safety rope around the tree and attached to the technician. Once the top is off it is a pretty simple matter to take the rest of the tree down. It is truly amazing how easy it is to take a tree down quickly and safely when you have all of the right equipment. This entire process took roughly an hour to remove the tree, clean up all of the leaves and small branches that fell and run everything through the wood chipper. The lawn was clean, the tree was gone and we were very satisfied with this tree service removal company. If you need more information about the company that did the work, refer to our previous post about reliable tree service. We were very satisfied with this service from this company.

Why Hire a Tree Service Removal Company

Normally I would do this sort of work to remove trees on my property. However since it was close to the house, we did not want to take the chance of causing some damage to the house and shrubs.  They did a really fantastic job and now that I have seen this work done, even if I have a tree in my backyard that needs to be cut down that I could do myself, I think that i will hire this team to come and do the work.

Clean up and disposal is a big issue. You need to be able to remove all of the wood and dispose of it in some manner. If this is not an issue for you and you can cut the tree down in a safe manner then by all means. Another thing to consider is removal of the stump. In our case we did not need the stump removed, however they also provide a large grinder which can chop up the tree stump well below ground to allow you to finish off the lawn afterwards if this is something you want to do. We will talk more about this in our next post.

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iPhone 5

We have been reading about the iPhone 5 and the benefits of this model over the iPhone 4. There are mixed reviews out about the iPhone 5 some by competitors and others by reviewers without any agenda. We have tried to glean out the facts and present them here.

Comparison of the iPhone 5 and iPhone 4

As more and more people use the iPhone 5, we are confident that more information will be available. For now here is our summary of the differences and some of the improvements as well for this phone based on a few reports that have come out so far.

  • Much faster processor
  • Weights 3.95 ounces
  • 4.9 inches tall
  • 2.3 inches wide
  • .3 inches deep
  • 18% thinner
  • 20% lighter
  • Back of the iPhone is aluminum instead of glass
  • Screen is 4 inches tall
  • A6 processor with twice the speed of the previous model
  • Apps run twice as fast and load instantaneously
  • 1GB of Ram
  • 1.3 megapixel front facing camera
  • 8 Megapixel shooter with better dim shot capability
  • Panorama mode picture capability
  • No dropped calls
  • Voice calls are sharper
  • Battery life on 3G or 4G is supposed to be 8 hours and 10 hours on WIFI
  • Average user should be able to charge the battery once per day
  • Heavy use may need more charges per day
  • Map app still needs some work with accuracy issues at time of writing
  • New cable required for charging

Much Prefer the iPhone 5 vs the Android Platform

Either way, whether you love the Apple products or not, this iPhone has the competition beat hands down. As an Android user, I can tell you that the operating system of the Android is like using a PC. It is clunky and needs adjustment and it is not intuitive in the way that Apples iPhone is with its IOS operating system. When my contract is up for the Android phone that I have, I will be switching to an Apple iPhone!

Way to go Apple! Can’t wait for the next phone that comes out. What will be the options on the next one. I can just imagine the Apps that will be written for this new phone with the twice the speed processor. More and more functionality will be added with all of the new apps. as of this update Apple has introduced a new set of phones based on the iPhone 5 platform. Not enough for us to consider upgrading at this point, we will wait another year for a more significant change to the platform.

I have used the iPhone 5 now for 5 months and absolutely love it. It is far superior to anything android has in my opinion! I love the larger screen space and the speed of using all my applications. In my case it is virtually my office away from home. I use it for everything.


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