Category Archives: Living

Why Chimney Cleaning and Inspections are Important

If you have a house with a chimney, it is important that you regularly get it cleaned and inspected. Although you may think that a chimney would be relatively low maintenance, these beautiful and enjoyable architectural features need to be properly cared for. Unfortunately, many homeowners do an insufficient job of taking care of their chimneys.

For example, the capital is home to many houses with fireplaces. Despite this, chimney inspection Washington DC services are only used by a fraction of those homeowners. These are the reasons why getting your chimney inspected and cleaned is so important.

Creosote is Dangerous and Toxic

Sitting by a roaring fire is a lovely experience. However, while the flames are dancing in your fireplace, they are also lining your chimney with creosote. These carbonaceous chemicals are produced by the combustion of wood and other fuels.

Creosote is toxic to humans. It is also potentially flammable, especially when it builds up significantly in the chimney. Fortunately, get your chimney inspected annually and cleaned as necessary can almost completely eliminate the risk.

Debris Can Get Stuck

It isn’t just creosote that lines your chimney. Debris such as leaves and branches can get caught and even block your chimney. The debris can potentially catch fire. While a few leaves lighting on fire is not a problem, a significant build-up can become a major hazard.

Furthermore, if the debris blocks the chimney is can cause the smoke and fumes to escape into your house rather than safety out of the top. This can become very dangerous quickly. Again, inspections and cleanings can avert this problem.

Chimneys Weren’t Built To Last Forever

Just like any other part of your house, your chimney can get worn and damaged. It is common for rainwater to cause cracks in chimneys. Of course, unlike other parts of your house, the inside of your chimney isn’t something you see often. An inspection can identify any damage early so that you can fix it promptly.

Cracks can result in noxious smoke getting into your house. They can also contribute to mildew, mold and drafts. In short, it is a good idea to get them fixed.

Don’t Forget Your Inspection

A chimney can be a lovely feature of your home. However, you need to take care of it. That means having an annual inspection and periodic cleanings and repairs. A little effort can help you enjoy your fireplace and chimney for years to come.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Hotel

Traveling for many people comes with its fair share of hassles. In between booking flights and figuring out what to pack, finding the right hotel can feel like a difficult task. However, you can stop worrying as this article tells you the most important factors to consider when choosing a hotel.

Location, Location, Location

The value of a good hotel location cannot be underestimated. You will want to find a hotel that is centrally located and close to the city so that you can get around easily. You may also benefit greatly from one that is close to all the sites and attractions you want to visit, thus saving you the risk of getting lost in a new town and losing valuable time. However, if you would rather not be in the middle of a noisy city, then looking for a hotel away from a city or town is also an option.

Price

Money and budgeting are important factors to consider when traveling. You should look at different hotels within your budget and compare their prices to find establishments that provide the best value for money. If it is possible to have flexible travel dates, then choose the off-peak season as hotels are relatively cheaper and more accommodating during low seasons.

Facilities

The facilities the hotel offers should help you figure out whether it is a good fit for you. For instance, do they offer an in-house gym or pool, and are there additional charges for the same? Is the hotel family-friendly, do they provide a wide array of room options to serve both you and your loved ones’ needs? Do they offer complimentary breakfast, or does it come with a fee?  What kind of hotel mattresses are available, and do they offer special accommodation if needed? These questions will help you find a hotel that works for you.

Reviews

Thanks to the internet, you can get a feel of any hotel before you visit it by checking the reviews from others who have previously stayed there. This is a great place to see if the hotel mattresses are really as cozy as they claim to be on the hotel website. It is also a really good avenue to pick up on any other factors that other travelers found important that you maybe hadn’t thought of. In addition to reviews, star ratings are also something to think about as they help you find a reputable hotel that delivers on its promises.

Finding a hotel is all about balancing value for money and convenience. Make sure you select a hotel that fits your budget without compromising too much on quality and delivery of services. Keep in mind, however, that you may not find everything you’re looking for in one hotel.

Make Your Retail Business Handicap Accessible

With more people living longer due to advances in medical technology and healthier lifestyles, your business may see an increase in elderly customers, some of whom will likely have mobility issues. In addition, a significant percentage of the general population is classified as disabled, so you should expect customers with various levels of mobility issues in your store. Depending on the target customer base for your business this can be a primary concern. Making sure your setup will accommodate all customers who want to patronize your business is a great way to support your local community and build goodwill.

Set Up Retail Shelving for Easy Access

In a retail store, how the shelving is organized can have a major impact on how easy it is for a customer with mobility issues to get around. Parallel aisles with wide end spaces are a great way to layout your store. Not only will this make it easier for customers in wheelchairs or mobility scooters to shop up and down the aisles, but it also helps customers quickly find what they are looking for. Be sure to also have prominent displays offering assistance from your staff to retrieve items from high shelves for customers who need assistance with this.

Check Your Entry Door Width

For customers to shop in your store, they first need to enter your store. That means they will need to get through your entry doorway regardless of whether they’re walking on 2 legs, with a cane or walker, in a wheelchair or in a mobility scooter. If you ensure your doorway is wide enough for a common mobility scooter, such as the Invacare Leo 4-Wheel Scooter, it should be wide enough for virtually any customer’s needs.

Ensure Restrooms Are Handicap Friendly

For most businesses, complying with the Americans With Disabilities Act can be very important for avoiding fines levied against your business, and restroom access can be a big part of it. Ensuring your restrooms are appropriately sized and contain elements such has handicap railings will help to ensure compliance with the ADA.

Comply With Handicap Parking Regulations

Check with your local business licensing body for regulations on handicap parking stall requirements for your business to make sure you are in compliance. Providing handicap parking access as close as possible to your business entrance will be appreciated by any customers with mobility issues.

Ensuring your retail business is friendly to handicapped customers is a great way to provide customer service and generate happy customers.

Getting Around NYC on a Tight Schedule

If you are looking for a quick weekend getaway, hopping on a train or taking a quick drive over to the Big Apple won’t be a disappointment. While there is enough to do to keep the lifelong residents busy, you can still take in a lot of the city in 48 hours. Just be prepared to pack light and pick up the pace.

Secure Your Transportation

You could drive around the city, but it will be so much easier to travel by commuter rail, the busses, and your own two feet. You can find just about everything you need in booking a train, finding a bus line, or calling an Uber from Grand Central Station. You will want to go to the station simply for the tourist destination, but you can also secure your transportation there.

Select Your Lodgings

Westgate New York City

When looking for the best experience, check out the Westgate, a jewel of a hotel found close to Grand Central and in the heart of the city. Browse the room types available at https://www.westgateresorts.com/hotels/new-york/midtown-manhattan/westgate-new-york-grand-central/, and depending on your choice, you can have excellent views of the city before you head out on your own.

Stop for Breakfast, Brunch, or Just Because

Don’t tackle the sights of the city without something warm and filling. If you want the best donut in the city, you should start your day at Daily Provision. For lunch, you can’t say you visited New York City without stopping for a pastrami on rye at Katz’s Delicatessen, one of the oldest Jewish delis in the area.

Sightsee to Your Heart’s Content

You need to prioritize your interests in order to get everything in. While the Statue of Liberty is impressive, the security and scheduling to make the trip to the island can ruin your timetable. You can start out at the Top of the Rock and Rockefeller Center where you will find the famed Atlas statue and the directions to St. Patrick’s Cathedral. From there, you can meander towards the Brooklyn Bridge and grab yourself a ride on the East River Ferry. You can walk or ride the train just about everywhere you need, based on your interests.

Save a Seat at a Show

Book a ticket to a Broadway show well in advance of when you plan to take a trip. Shows sell out months in advance, so if you fancy the theatre, save yourself a seat as earlier as possible.

Don’t let a short weekend get in the way of enjoying all NYC has to offer. Get up early, pack your walking shoes, and get ready for an adventure.

Reasons To Consider an Artificial Christmas Tree This Year

With the holidays quickly approaching, Christmas trees may already be on your mind. It can be daunting to think of all that is required when it comes to purchasing a real tree for the holidays. Not only do you have to find the right place to get your tree, but then you have to think about the right time to buy one (Christmas trees are the most expensive right after Thanksgiving). Then there’s getting it to your house – you need theright vehicle for that. It can be a lot of hassle for something that’s going to be in your house for a short time. Here are some reasons why you might consider an artificial tree this year instead.

Cost-Efficiency

One of the most obvious benefits of having an artificial tree is that it will save you money over time. Whether you buy your tree at your favorite local shopping center or have it shipped from a place like Treetopia, that tree will pay for itself many times over its lifetime. According to The Southern Christmas Tree Association, the average lifespan of an artificial tree is six years. Over that six-year period, you can save quite a bit of money by opting to purchase an artificial tree.

With an artificial tree, there is no haggling over the price at the local tree lot. You also won’t have the hassle of tying it down to your vehicle and securing it with ropes or bungees. Buying an artificial tree is a really good way to save on time and money around the holiday season – something we always seem to need more of around that time of year anyway.

Less Mess

Unlike real trees that need to be watered daily and can shed profusely, a faux Christmas tree does not lose its needles and is much less of a hassle to clean up. There’s no need to sweep daily to get rid of those pesky needles that wither and brown from real pine trees. Not only that, but you can purchase trees that come pre-lit, which adds even more convenience to your holiday tradition.

At the end of the Christmas season, you simply pack up your tree and put it in the storage room or garage until next year. With a real tree, you have to find a place that will dispose of the tree. Not all garbage and sanitation companies will pick up the trees from your curb.

Another factor to consider when it comes to real trees is that sometimes they bring their forest friends with them. Not only can bugs and mold be uninvited guests in your house, but you may not be able to get rid of them as easily as you might think.

Endless Options

One of the best things about artificial trees is that they can come in every size and color combination imaginable. According to Treetopia reviews around the web, this is a favorite feature for people who are opting for a faux tree this year. Hues of pink, purple, and even rainbow are all possible with artificial trees. Some people like to match the colors of their trees to their room decor. If you don’t have room for a large Christmas tree, smaller options are available too. It would take considerably more effort to find trees to match your home if you were looking for something that was only a few feet tall.

The holidays are about spending time with your friends and family. The whole process of finding a tree and bringing it home and decorating it can be simplified by choosing an artificial tree instead of a real one. Not only that, but you are sure to find a tree that is just as unique as your family and will bring you joy for years to come.

What to Expect During Your Employment Lawyer Consultation

If you already made up your mind that you need an employment lawyer, then it’s time to prepare for your first meeting with an attorney. If you’ve never had legal issues before, this can be particularly stressful. After all, you don’t know what to expect. The initial consultation can be stressful because it’s your first meeting. Hopefully, by now, you have done the research necessary to know that you want this lawyer. To help ease some of the stress, here is what to expect when you hire an employment lawyer.

Bring Along Documents

An employment lawyer is there to advise you on legal standards, whether you are an employee or employer. Before your meeting with the lawyer, you need to make sure that you have all of the relevant documents. Before your appointment, the lawyer may give you a list of documents to gather. If you know of any documents that are relevant to your case, make sure that you have them with you. It is better to be prepared.

Answer Questions

The lawyer will have questions of his or her own about your case. You need to be prepared to answer these questions. It should not be that difficult, especially if you have the right documents with you. When it comes to the specifics and technicalities of the case, you need to be able to talk openly and honestly about them.

Ask Questions of Your Own

You do not want to spend the whole time only answering the lawyer’s questions. When you choose a Toronto employment lawyer, then you want to be able to ask questions to find out if this is the right choice. You should be able to ask him or her about his or her pricing options, about his or her opinion on your case and more. Do not be afraid to ask what is on your mind. You are going to be working closely with your lawyer and so you should always feel comfortable asking questions.

If you checked the websites, online profiles and did your research, you may already have a solid idea of what lawyer you want to use. Of course, even if you set up a consultation, you don’t necessarily have to choose that attorney. You are allowed to ask questions and to decide for yourself who is best suited for your case. It should always be an experienced firm and lawyers who you trust and get along with.

Understanding Viatical Settlements

If you’ve never heard the term viatical settlement, you’re not alone. Most life insurance policyholders are unaware that there is a well-established option for cashing out on a policy when the patient receives a terminal diagnosis. It is meant to ease the financial burden on the patient during their final months of life, allowing them the freedom to pay hospital bills, debts, and daily expenses, as well as allow the holder to spend more time with friends and family and accomplish anything else they wish before passing on.

Purpose

When a terminal diagnosis is received, it may become pointless to continue paying into a life insurance policy, as neither you nor your beneficiaries will gain any benefits upon your death. The money that you have already paid into your policy may be put to better use while you are still alive so that you can prevent any financial burdens on your beneficiaries once you pass. Your diagnosis could also mean you will be unable to accomplish your bucket list items unless you have the financial means to accomplish them while you are still physically able. A viatical settlement allows you to sell your policy to a third party, with the help of a viatical company, who will then continue to pay your premiums until you pass away. In the meantime, you will receive a lump sum that, while less than the full value of your policy, can be enough to help you enjoy your remaining days. When you pass away, your policy’s buyer can cash out on your benefits.

Qualifications

All types of life insurance, including whole, term, group, and universal, are eligible to be sold as a viatical settlement. A policyholder can be of any age so long as they hold policy, and their diagnosis is not limited to any specific disease. In general, the holder should have received a terminal diagnosis and given up to 24 months to live. Individual insurance companies will have other specific qualifications that the holder must meet, but the purpose of this type of settlement is to ease the financial burden during an extremely difficult time, not add to it, so the process tends to be relatively simple to ensure the holder receives their cash as quickly as possible.

Risks

As the original policyholder, the risks for selling your policy are fairly minimal. The burden of finding a buyer falls on a viatical company, so you are only responsible for sharing your medical and existing policy information. Remember that you will be paid less than the total value of the policy, and you will not be eligible for any additional funds paid into the policy once it is sold. The buyer will purchase your policy for less than the death benefit, and they can cash out that benefit once you pass away. If you outlive the timeline provided in the diagnosis, the buyer may receive a lower return. The buyer is, therefore, the one taking on the risk, as they are purchasing your policy as an investment.

Receiving a terminal diagnosis is never easy for you or your loved ones. Knowing there are options to help ease the financial burden can help make a painful time a bit easier to manage.

3 Benefits of Steel Construction

Trends in construction are showing an increased interest in buildings. More specifically, steel frames are being regarded as one of the most efficient, cost-effective, and environmentally-friendly options. The frames can come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Quonset buildings offered by SteelMaster USA and the barndominium designs that mimic the wooden structures found on many farms. When it comes to the material selection for your next building project, take inventory of the pros and cons associated with steel fabrication. If you have an open mind, you will see why steel stands above the rest for construction projects.

Becoming Earth-Friendly

There is a lot of attention to organic eating and green living, and some people aren’t aware of just how far they can go with making environmentally-friendly choices. Steel buildings are eco-friendly because they can be built from recycled steel, and they can also be recycled. When you use recycled steel, it can reduce the need to rely on other resources and the energy that it takes to mine other elements from the earth. Choosing to use recycled steel also help save thousands of gallons of water given the need for water supply in mining operations and refinement processes. Once the structure is no longer needed, it can be taken to the scrap yard and easily recycled. This helps keep waste out of the landfill and reduces the impact on the environment.

Keeping Quality a Priority

Steel is a highly durable material. Even if the steel has been recycled, it still keeps its natural qualities. It can resist a number of weather conditions, given its composition of iron and carbon. This makes it an ideal building material where wind damage or storms are highly probable. When steel is alloyed with carbon and heated, it creates a bond that makes it highly resistant to corrosion. It becomes a prime choice for exterior construction framing and even siding materials. This resistance also brings steel to the forefront of choices for both construction and ornamental designs. For additional corrosion protection, galvanizing has become another method of coating metal materials. Resistance to corrosion and even damage from weather elements reduces the costs associated with repairs and upkeep, but it also gives your building a high-quality exterior.

Making Progress Affordable

Many would think a building crafted from steel would be more expensive than a traditional wooden frame structure, but consider the importance of recycling. There are some materials that are simply consumed and nothing is left. Because steel is easily recycled, it does help reduce the overall cost of materials. However, calculating the cost of a project doesn’t just include the materials. Many companies offer prefabricated design structures, which also helps reduce the cost. The time and labor that is reduced when using a prefab building is a considerable financial benefit for investing in a steel frame project.

Whether you need to expand on your current space or you want to build a whole new structure, steel frames and buildings can provide an economical but quality option. Projects that utilize steel will be more durable, stable, and prepared to face the weather conditions that might otherwise threaten the building.

4 Times a Personal Injury Lawyer is a Necessity

Whenever someone is in a vehicle accident, they almost always look to a lawyer for medical help or compensation. But did you know that personal injury attorneys deal with more issues than car and motorcycle accidents? In fact, the lawyers often need to wear many hats as they fight for lost wages, therapy treatments, and other types of compensation. Some of these issues can include problems when giving birth, a wrongful death, spinal damage, and medical malpractice. Read on for more information about how a personal injury attorney can help you.

Severe Injuries

If you have suffered life-threatening or severe injuries, your insurance company or workers’ compensation claim may balk at the amount of recovery time you require, the number of medical bills you accumulate, or the extent of your injury. When that happens, it is always best to seek legal counsel from a knowledgeable law firm in Toronto. Your counsel will discuss your case with the insurance company and fight for your rightful and just compensation.

Unclear Liability

Sometimes there can be more than one party to an accident; in fact, there are times dozens of cars and hundreds of individuals are involved in the same accident. When that occurs, it can be difficult to know who holds the liability. Insurance companies often try to divvy the compensation money around to each party without taking into account the extent of the injury. Hiring an attorney can ensure you are protected and receive the coverage you are entitled to.

Permanent Disabilities

If the unthinkable happens and you become permanently disabled due to an accident at work or a vehicle collision, call a lawyer. Whether you find yourself in need of long-term care, long-standing hospitalization, or permanent bed-side nursing, your attorney can help you accumulate the paperwork to justify lifetime expenses from the insurance company or your workers’ comp claim. Since most permanent disabilities will impact your ability to provide a stable financial base for yourself and your family, those facts and figures need to be applied to the compensation request as well.

Bad Faith Problems

It doesn’t happen often, but when an insurance company refuses to make a fair settlement offer, you need to contact a personal injury lawyer to help you with would could be a long court battle. You should also contact an attorney if you are in negotiations with an insurance company after an accident and those talks break down.

When you or someone you love is badly injured, contact an attorney. You deserve compensation for your pain and suffering.

5 Types of Personal Injuries That Require a Lawyer’s Expertise

Personal injury is a legal term encompassing a variety of mental and physical injuries. Often the damages are due to someone else’s actions, negligence, or liability. Here are just a few of the many times a personal injury may require a lawyer’s expertise.

Slip and Falls

This category includes accidents where you trip and fall, step into a hole or slip on something on the floor. The result can be torn ligaments, broken bones, or severe strains and sprains. If you lose time at work, find yourself in pain, or incur medical bills, seek the aid of a lawyer.

Wrongful Death

A wrongful death occurs when someone is negligent and causes the death of another. If someone you love experiences a wrongful passing, contact a law firm in Hamilton, Ontario for information on what steps to take for legal compensation.

Motorcycle Injuries

For some reason, many drivers complain they do not see motorcyclists, but that is certainly no excuse for inattentive driving. When someone is involved in a motorcycle accident, the injuries are often severe and disabling. After any vehicle accident, contact an attorney for help.

Dog Bites

Over 750,000 Americans are required to seek medical care each year due to a dog bite. This injury has three categories and always requires the owner to be responsible for the actions of a wayward and vicious dog. Seek legal counsel if you get hurt by a canine.

Sexual Abuse

Sexual Abuse is a type of personal injury that often goes unreported for years, and when it is reported, personal rights are frequently overlooked or trampled. Whether it is a family member the oversteps boundaries, a stranger that becomes too familiar, or a date that takes things too far, you do have rights. Talk to a lawyer.

Work Accidents

Work-related accidents are covered by workers’ compensation of some type most of the time. However, even when the injury is covered, there can be complications. Medical bills can be astronomical, wage loss can be devastating, and you may even find you are permanently disabled. If you experience a work-site accident, contact an attorney.

Automobile Injuries

Auto accidents are the most common type of personal injury that occurs every year. One of the legal problems associated with this type of injury is the large spectrum of possible bodily damage that can occur. Another problem can be huge medical bills. If you have an auto accident, talk to a lawyer.

Laws vary between areas, provinces, and states. That is why it is important to know your rights by discussing the situation with an attorney.