Items You Should Never Send To Your Septic System

If you live in the country or a rural area, you probably use a septic system to dispose of your waste water and sewage. This type of system uses microbes and organic filters to process the water you use for washing dishes, doing the laundry and flushing the toilet, among other things. A septic system works on a delicate balance. To avoid upsetting this equilibrium, it’s important to be careful what you flush, rinse and otherwise dispose of.

What not to put down your drains

1. “Flushable” products. Just because a product says that it’s “flushable” doesn’t mean that you should send it down to your septic system. So-called flushable diapers, hygiene items and paper towels will not only clog your plumbing, but can fill your septic tanks with products that take a long time to dissolve. The only thing you should flush other than waste is toilet paper.

2. Cleaning products. Common household cleaners, such as drain cleaner, bleach, tile cleaners and other solvents, can destroy the bacteria in the septic tank that helps to dispose of your household waste. Use these sparingly, if at all.

3. Coffee grounds, cereals and other food scraps. Although you can use a garbage disposal when you have a septic system, the best policy is to dispose of all food items in the garbage rather than down the drain. Cereals are especially troublesome, as these substances absorb moisture and expand, clogging the system.

4. Oil and grease. Not only will oil and grease solidify in your pipes, but these substances will add an oily, rancid scum to the top of your septic tank.

5. Paint and paint thinner. Even a small amount of latex or oil-based paint can destroy the balance in your septic system. Make sure to squeeze any excess paint into newspapers and clean your paint brushes with paint thinner or water disposed of outside of the drains.

6. Cigarette butts. Dispose of cigarettes in the trash rather than flushing them. Contrary to popular belief,cigarette filters take a long time to dissolve.

7. Anti-bacterial soaps. You may not consider that while these soaps kill bacteria on your hands, they also destroy the helpful bacteria in your septic system. it is best to use regular soap and (non-rinseable) hand sanitizer if you must.

Keeping your septic system healthy requires diligence. Be careful not to dispose of anything like cleaning products, cigarette butts or kitchen grease that will compromise the workings of that eco-system. if your septic tank needs to be cleaned, contact a local company like Kulp and Sons.

Learn More

4 Ways To Keep Your Customers’ Personal Information Secure

Recent security breaches on high profiles retailers that resulted in customers’ credit and debit card information being stolen has businesses on the alert for ways to protect their customers. As a small business owner, you more than likely share the same concerns. Here are some tips on how to protect your business and its customers.

Secure Business Records

Even though a large share of the national security breaches occurred online, you still need to secure the physical records that your business keeps. There are still identity thieves that rummage through garbage bins to find information that can be used for the wrong purposes. 

Keep an inventory of the records that your business keeps and then store those documents. Look for a secure location either at your business or at a storage facility. If you choose to use a storage facility, choose one that has a security guard and that offers around-the-clock surveillance of the facility.

Properly Dispose of Records

Educate your employees on the proper manner to dispose of business records. You should never have a situation in which employees are tossing documents in the trash. Instead, contract with a shredding service to dispose of the documents. 

A shredding service such as Document Demolition LLC offers you the security of micro shredding and safe disposal of the documents. Some services even offer to pick up the documents for you to ensure they are safely transported from your business to the shredder without incident. 

Secure Your Online Business

Sensitive information, such as account numbers or debit card numbers, should never be shared through email or any other Web-based service. You can adopt a system in which only the last three to four digits of an account number are shared when necessary.

If it is absolutely necessary for your employees and customers to conduct business online, ensure that the site you are using is secure. Secure websites start with “https” in the URL. If that is absent, do not use the site for personal or financial information.

Monitor Your Business

It is important that you stay on the alert for any signs that your company’s security has been breached. For instance, if a customer reports that his or her information was stolen and suspects that the breach happened as the result of an interaction with your company, take it seriously. 

Review your financial reports and the customer’s account to determine who has accessed it. You should also consider hiring a professional security assessor to come in and help locate the possible leak. 

Your customers will be reluctant to stay customers if you have major security issues. Taking steps, such as shredding, can save your business and keep you in good standing with customers. 

Learn More

3 Solutions For A Broken Concrete Driveway

Concrete is a classic, practical solution for driveways that stands up fairly well against wear and tear. But time and mother nature can eventually give your driveway a worn appearance thanks to cracks,  chipped pieces and sunken sections. There are a few different ways you can improve the look of your existing driveway – or know when to throw in the towel and get a new one.

Patching Compound

If your concrete driveway only has a few minor to moderate cracks, you can likely tackle the project yourself if you have some do-it-yourself experience. For minor cracks, clean the area well with a wire brush to make sure you don’t trap any dirt or debris in the crack. Then apply vinyl patching compound using a putty knife, ensuring you completely cover the crack. Let the area dry according to manufacturer directions before parking over the cracks.

For cracks that go a bit deeper or wider – or both – you want to first use a chisel to try and make the opening a bit more smooth on the sides. Clean the area with the wire brush then apply the compound with either a putty knife or a trowel, depending on the size of the crack.

Slabjacking

If the concrete has broken because the slabs have settled deeper into the ground, slabjacking might be able to solve your problem.  Slabjacking involves a concrete contractor putting expanding grout foam under the existing slabs to boost them back up. This is an intricate process requiring specialized concrete supplies and should always be left to the professionals.

First, the contractor will put tiny holes throughout the tops of the sunken slaps. This helps prevent pressure cracks when the foam lifts the slab. Next, the foam is injected below the slabs, where it will expand into any empty spaces that caused the sinking and raise the concrete.

Slabjacking is usually one of the more cost-friendly options for major repairs. But even with precautions, the lifting can cause significant cracking in the concrete. If you’re fine with having your contractor do some minor patching after the slabjacking, this might not be a concern for you.

New Driveway

If there are major signs of damage to your concrete, there comes a point where it’s better to simply start over. The concrete will be broken up and carried away. Your contractor might take this chance to see if there are any underlying issues that caused the damage, such as soil erosion that caused sinking, and suggest any solutions.

The new concrete will likely have better reinforcement than your original, particularly if you have an older home. Fiberglass and mesh reinforcement exists to keep your new driveway safe and secure for years to come.

For more information, contact a local concrete supplier, like Small’s Sand Gravel Inc.

Learn More

How To Use Stones Around Your Tropical Plants

When you use tropical plants in your landscape, it brings a hint of the exotic to your yard. To make these plantings even more interesting, you might want to add stones around them to create an even more impressive display. However, while positioning stones around your tropical plants will certainly create aesthetic appeal, they also serve certain practical functions as well.

Simulating the Natural Environment

Normally, the native environment of most tropical plants provides plenty of moisture in the soil and the air. However, when you place tropical plants in your landscape, it’s going to be necessary for you to take measures to ensure that they get this extra moisture. Positioning stones around your tropical plants serves two purposes. To begin with, they absorb heat from the sun and radiate it throughout the day close to the roots of the plant, helping the plant to stay warm. They also help to keep water from evaporating from the soil around the plant, which helps maintain the moisture at the level that these plants need.

Choosing the Stones

When it comes time to choose the stones you’re going to use for your tropical plants, there are many options available. You can use small stones like decomposed granite or pea gravel around more delicate plants and flowering varieties. When you use decomposed granite, try to choose a color that works well with the color or blooms of the plant. The larger stones can be used around shrubs and tropical trees. For fruit trees and other similar trees, stones about the size of baseballs work well to accent the area. For certain tropical plants, you might want to use volcanic rock to re-create their original environment.

Positioning the Stones

How you will position the stones around the plants will be influenced by the type of plant and where it is located in your landscape. It’s a good idea when placing the stones to add a layer of landscape netting first, securing it in place using landscape pins. This netting will not only help hold the stones in place, it will also help prevent the growth of weeds between the stones. Try to avoid damaging the roots of plants as you place the stones.

Maintaining the Stones

For the most part, when you use gravel or stone in your landscape it requires very little maintenance. Unlike mulch, stones don’t decay or require frequent replacement. However, you can get debris and dirt on stones or gravel, so you might want to use a garden hose to regularly rinse them to keep them clean.

Talk to a professional like Landscape Perceptions to learn more about how you can use stones to accent your tropical plants.

Learn More

6 Great Reasons To Consider A Metal Roof

Are you thinking about having your roof replaced, but are not sure about which material will best suit your individual needs and preferences? Metal roofing materials with companies such as Walnut Creek Metals have been gaining in popularity among homeowners and builders in recent years for a variety of reasons.

Here are six of the benefits of having a metal roof installed on your residential or commercial property:

Metal roofs are Low Maintenance

Unlike roofs made from cedar shakes or asphalt shingles, metal roofs require very little routine maintenance. All that’s necessary is to keep them clear of debris such as fallen leaves and other vegetative matter. An occasional going over with a good roof rake may be all that’s necessary to keep your metal roof in excellent shape.

Metal Roofs are Fire Resistance

Metal is an excellent roofing material option for those who live in areas that where wildfires occur on a seasonal basis. Even if you don’t live in a region that is vulnerable to wildfire activity, you may be able to get a discount on your homeowners’ insurance if you have a metal roof installed.

Metal Roofs Have High Longevity

Metal roofs last a great deal longer than their traditional counterparts. A well-maintained metal roof can last for as long as 70 years, while the average lifespan of an asphalt roof is less than 20 years.

Metal Roofs are Algae and Moss Resistant

One of the major problems with porous roofing material such as asphalt shingles and wooded shakes is that they provide a prime surface for the development of algae, moss, mold, mildew, and lichen. These organisms can quickly ruin a roof if allowed to reproduce unchecked, and people who are allergy-prone may suffer significantly by the presence of certain molds and algae. Moss can literally tear holes in traditional shingles if not consistently removed, creating leaks and other structural damage.

Metal Roofs are Lightweight

Metal is a lightweight material that won’t negatively affect the structural integrity of a building when used as roofing. Its lightweight properties also make it easier to handle than other roofing options, which helps keep installation costs down.

Metal Roofs are Environmentally Friendly

Because metal reflects solar heat, it can help keep air conditioning costs down during the warm spring and summer months. Most metal roofs are also made from at least partially recycled material, and your roof can be completely recycled when it reaches the end of its long life.

Learn More

Turn Your Garden Shed Into A Guest Cottage

The typical garden shed design is pretty enough to be a cottage. Many feature large windows, standard doors and entries, and even built-in window boxes. If you’ve always dreamed of owning your own guest cottage, remodeling your garden shed could make that dream a reality.

Check the Codes

Local building codes are your first hurdle when you start a shed conversion. Codes vary per municipality, but you are generally allowed to use a shed for temporary quarters but not as a permanent residence. There may also be restrictions on the size of the shed and where you can place it on your property. In some cities, you cannot install toilets or running water to the shed, or you will have to install a minimum amount of electrical outlets.

If you work with a contractor or home improvement company, they will usually handle all code requirements and secure the necessary building permits to carry out the conversion.

Seal It Tight

Once you have the paperwork in order, you can start sealing the shed against the elements. Most stock sheds provide only basic shelter, so the installation of a waterproof membrane beneath the shed’s subfloor and on the interior walls is necessary.

Insulation is also a must, especially climates that experience extreme heat or cold. Generally, insulation is installed between the wall studs and in the ceiling. Since most sheds have exposed rafters, you may need to construct a ceiling to support and hide the layers of insulation above.

Let There Be Light

You don’t want your guests to live in the dark ages. Electricity for lights, televisions and electronics is a must in any modern guest house. Make sure your improvement company uses a licensed electrician to install all outlets and overhead lights. Electricity will need to be run to the shed, which is usually done by either running a line to the main power supply, or by splicing into the electrical line of the main house.

Before installing the outlets, have a basic idea of where you plan to place the bed and any desks or tables. This will allow you to place outlets in the most easily accessed area.

Finish It

Once the basic services are installed, you have the fun of fixing it up. Drywall and painting comes first, followed by the floor. You can simply paint the shed’s subfloor and cover it with pretty rugs, or you can install hardwood, laminate, or even carpet. Use light colors so the interior of the shed feels larger and more open. Dark colors can make the small space seem cramped.

Most garden shed guest houses are suitable for three-season use, unless you add heating to the structure. It can provide privacy for your guests, act as a home office, or give you a place to relax away from the bustle of the main house. To learn more, contact a company like Home Exteriors Of Fayetteville with any questions you have.

Learn More

Choosing And Maintaining Energy Backup Systems

Whether you’re trying to have a little more energy in the home during a power outage or trying to support mission-critical systems, you’ll need to choose a backup power system that best fits your purpose and budget. From backup batteries to industrial generators and everything in between, consider a few backup power devices and techniques that can power your systems when an emergency threatens your productivity.

Solar Power For Light Load Replenishment

Solar power is no longer a gimmick. Photovoltaic technology has made it possible to power households for extended periods of time–even to the point of selling electricity to local power companies.

A solar power electrician team can help you with a design for a solar powered home or business, but the investment can be quite steep. If you’d like to get a solar power system for backup purposes, the cost may be more acceptable for middle income earners while still making considerable savings in the short term.

Solar power systems can be attached to battery systems, which can be used to power basic utilities in the event of a power outage. If you need to keep your refrigerator running and a phones charged during an electrical storm, the power from solar panels can do a lot to keep your energy needs satisfied for the time being.

By connecting solar panels to Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS), you may be able to keep computers on long enough to shut down properly. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to use the Internet unless the local infrastructure still has power, but if your computers are receiving Internet from mobile networks (cell phone or mobile data company connections, for example) you may be able to communicate with others. Make sure that essential communications come first, such as location, health and supply needs.

Diesel Generators And Turbines For Commercial Backup Power

When the local power grid goes down and you absolutely need full power for mission-critical systems, a diesel generator is a good last-ditch effort. It’s not clean and hardly efficient, but it’s a powerful ally in power generation if there’s no other choice.

Diesel costs are often higher than gas prices and you’ll need to consult a fuel transport service if you plan on preparing for the next storm season. It would be wise to have an on-site storage for the fuel, as even well-treated and maintained fuel needs to be managed 6-12 months across a 10 year span.

Electricians can help you by connecting the generator to power source connectors and calibrating the generator to rotate only as needed in order to avoid fuel waste. For more information, contact Martin Electric or a similar company.

Learn More