All posts by Sandra Langel

What to look for in solar panels

Whether you are tired of your utility bill constantly getting higher and higher or you are looking to go green, one of the best things you can do is have solar panels installed on your roof. However, like every other home improvement project, you cannot just hire the first person to give you an estimate. You need to do your research in order to know what to look for and the average price to expect. Then, you need to find the right person for the job.

A solar panel system works by using a specific material that is able to turn sunlight into electricity. Usually made from silicon, the panels are made up of cells that are connected together and sandwiched between protective glass and a backing plate. The entire panel is usually surrounded by an aluminum frame. There are three types that you can choose from. They are monocrystalline, interdigitated back contact solar cells, and thin film.

Monocrystalline are usually black and are known for they high efficiency. They also have an excellent temperature tolerance, as well. Interdigitated, or rear contact solar cells, have all the electrical contacts on the rear of the cell. This makes it so there are no metal contact strips that can prevent light from getting to the cell surface. Thin film solar cells are made from a thin layer of photovoltaic material that is placed on a base plate of glass, metal, or other substance. This technology is evolving and while it promises more flexible applications than standard solar panels, it is generally less efficient and is rarely found in rooftop arrays.

In addition to the type of panels, you also have to figure out how many you will need as this will affect the cost of solar panel installation. You also need to enquire into what warranties are offered and how extra energy is either stored or sent back to the electric company in your area. If it is sent back, you should be paid for it. Be sure to ask if there are any tax incentives that can help with the cost of having the panels installed and if financing is available.

It is best to get three or four quotes from companies that have gotten good online reviews and have been recommended by friends or family. Also, be sure to check out each company’s website to see how long they have been in business and they type of experience they have. Finally, it is always a good idea to check with the Better Business Bureau to ensure that the company you choose is in good standings and is interested in making and keeping their customers happy.

While you are in the process of getting quotes, be sure to ask why the price is what it is.  This is especially true if the number is unusually high or low. It is generally recommended that you go with the company that offers the middle quote. However, it is also important to go with your gut.

What is digital marketing?

Digital marketing includes those services that are used to attract, engage and convert customers online. It entails the use of multiple channels including content marketing, influencer marketing, SEO, social media and online advertising as a way to help brands connect with people as well as to uncover the performance of those marketing programs in real-time.

Moreover, it has also been defined as the promotion of products or brands through one or more forms of electronic media. Advertising mediums that might be used as part of the digital marketing strategy of a business include promotional efforts made on the Internet through social media, as well as through various mediums on smartphones and on electronic billboards, as well as through digital and television and radio channels.

Therefore, a digital marketing agency can help you with all of your business’ online marketing efforts. This includes digital search channels like Google, as well as through email so that current and prospective customers to connect with business websites.

Regardless of the type, marketing has always been about connecting customers with businesses by being in the right place at the right time. That means that your business needs to meet them where they are and that is on the internet. The way people shop and buy has changed. That means that while offline marketing is effective, it is not as strong as it used to be.

There are a variety of aspects to digital marketing. One of the most prevalent is that of Search Engine Optimization or SEO. It is the process improving the rank of their website so that it appears higher on search engine results pages. This generally leads to an increase the amount of traffic that your website receives.

Two other aspects that this type of marketing agency can help you with are content and inbound marketing. Content marketing is finding unique ways to generate brand awareness, improve traffic growth and lead generation to a company’s website so that new customers result. Inbound marketing is an all-encompassing term that includes attracting, converting, closing, and delighting customers through the use of online content.

Another thing that these companies can help your business with is social media marketing wherein your brand and your content is bolstered on sites such as Facebook and Instagram as a way to increase brand awareness, drive traffic, and generate leads for your business. They can also help you set up pay-per-click, affiliate marketing, and email marketing. PPC drives traffic to your websites through ads that are placed on other sites. The owners of the other sites get paid for allowing the ads to be there. Native Advertising increases traffic to your website through the promotion of someone else’s products or services on your website.

The digital marketing company that you choose to work with can set up an email marketing campaign that can help you communicate with your business’ audiences. This is often done by promoting content, offering discounts and events, and directing people towards the business’ website.



DIY car dent removal

It is frustrating if you have ever walked up to your vehicle and noticed a dent that was not there previously. It is equally annoying when you accidentally hit something and cause a dent in your car. After all, your car is the second biggest purchase you make after your home. There are several dent repair techniques you can try on your own.

One thing you can do is to use dry ice to remove small dents, especially if you are trying to do hail damage repair. First, get some dry ice. Then, touch the ice to the dent for a few seconds. Be sure to wear gloves to protect your skin from the ice and repeat until the indentation is gone.

If that does not work, you can use the hair dryer method to remove dents. Turn your blow dryer on high and let it blow on the dent for a few seconds. Then, while the spot is still hot, take a can of air and blast it on the dent until it pops out.

Bear in mind that the above to suggestions will only work for small dents. Therefore, if you have more than just a small ding, you may have to hammer out the problem or take a plunger to it. If you are going to use a hammer to get the dents out, be sure that it is a flat-ended hammer, and start by wrapping a rag around a flat piece of metal. Then, put the wrapped metal it on the outside of your car and start hitting at the dent from the underside.

When using this dent removal strategy, you need to be extra careful to make sure that you hit only the underside of the dent and not the rest of the car. If you are not careful, you will end up with a couple of new bumps to deal with. Additionally, you should start from the shallow sides of the dent and then move toward the deeper parts. Moreover, you should also avoid overworking the metal because you can end up stretching it out. Not only that, but this method of removing dents is not recommended if the dent is in an aluminum or plastic part. This is because aluminum can stretch and plastic can crack.

Using a plunger to get rid of dents is similar to using it to try and unclog a toilet. Start by getting the edge of the rubber on the plunger wet. Then, put the plunger over the dent. Establish suction by pressing down on the plunger handle and pull the plunger toward you. You will probably have to repeat this several times before the metal pops back into its proper position. This technique is great for large areas like doors and fenders. However, this is true only if they have only been bent inward. Also, it is important to remember that while it may work on both aluminum and steel, this dent removal method does not work on plastic.

However, if you do not the difference between a plunger and a hammer and have never been handy, it is not recommended that you start with your car. Take it in for professional Paintless dent removal, instead.

Kilimanjaro safaris, hikes and treks

By definition, hiking is the act of walking in the wilderness. When it is referred to as an activity, you are most likely talking about a day trip that requires very little planning or organization as it is usually just walking on trails. However, hikes can also include gentle prairie trails that wind along a river or creek and can involve taking a trail to the top of a mountain, which may be why Kilimanjaro hikes are a popular choice.

On the other hand, treks are always a multi-day affair. They are generally more commercial and involve wide trails, guest houses, and food stops. When you trek, you can hire a porter to carry your stuff and buy supplies along the way. Therefore, even though the two words are used interchangeably, while you can take a Kilimanjaro trek, you cannot hike to the top of the mountain.

A safari is an overland journey. It is usually a trip taken by tourists in order to either hunt or observe animals in their natural habitat. Since they take place mostly in Africa, it is no wonder that Kilimanjaro safaris are a popular choice among those that visit the area and try to climb to the “Roof of Africa.” There are many wonderful animals to see along the way.

Kilimanjaro is the world’s tallest walkable mountain and in order to reach the summit, you will have to pass through five distinct climate zones. These include rainforest, alpine desert, and glacial Arctic when you reach the top.

Regardless of which way you choose to go, all tourists are required to register at the base and climb with a licensed guide. More than 35,000 people try it each year, how many actually make it is unknown. The estimate is around 65 percent. This is due in part to the fact that it is hard work to make it to the top and though no animals will kill you, if you do not acclimate yourself to the new altitude, the lack of oxygen might. There are parts of the trail that are very steep and feel like they go on forever. Additionally, there are also sections filled with large boulders that feel like a Stair Master on its hardest level. It is recommended that you go with a decent fitness level and work on your stamina. Take practice hikes in order to prepare and to break in your boots so you do not get blisters.

However, all of that work, the lack of toilet paper if you do not bring your own, and the absence of showers is worth it. Kilimanjaro is one of the most beautiful places you will ever see, even if you do not make it all the way to the top. There are many wondrous and beautiful things to see along the way, as long as you take your time and stop to look at them. Far too many people are intent on reaching the top that they fail to notice the streams, animals, and views along the way. The entire climb is beautiful and otherworldly.


Individual v commercial cleaning service

When the time comes and you are ready to hire a cleaning service, one of the biggest decisions that you will have to make is whether to hire a single person to do the job or investigate the various commercial cleaning service companies that are available.  There are pros and cons to both and you have to make the decision that is right for you and your business.

Should you decide to hire a single person instead of a company that specializes in office cleaning services, you need to be aware that unless you hire them as a contractor, you may ultimately become that person’s employer.  That means that you need to withhold and pay their Federal Income, Social Security, and Medicare taxes.  It also means more IRS forms to fill out, as well.

Another issue with hiring a single person as opposed to a janitorial cleaning company is insurance.  Not only do you need to make sure that your business insurance will cover anything that is lost (read stolen) or broken, you also need insurance in case the person doing the cleaning gets hurt while doing so.  Furthermore, if he or she is considered your employee, there may be additional insurances to invest in, as well.

When you hire a cleaning company, you do not have to worry about any of the above because the business you deal with will have them in order to cover both themselves and the employees they send to clean your business.

Additionally, if you hire a cleaning company, your office will still be cleaned even if the person who is supposed to do the job it calls in sick or has another reason not to work that day.  Things happen and there are times when even you cannot make it into work for whatever reason.  If you hire an individual to clean your office, you are stuck with a dirty house until he or she is ready, willing and able to come and do the job.  However, if you use a company that has many people on staff, they can simply send someone else out to do the job.

However, the one caveat to hiring a commercial cleaning service is that you need to enquire as to whether the people they send to you are contracted out or if they are in fact employees of the company. This is important to know because it means the difference between having liability insurance for breakage and loss and not having it.

Using a company that hires its own employees also protects those that clean your business.  When employees are hired and not contracted, it allows them access to workman’s compensation and unemployment benefits, as well as tax withholdings.  For you and your business, it means that you do not have to worry because the company has done the proper background checks and has documentation stating that the person they send to you is eligible to work in the US and was trained to do the job correctly.

What happens when an estate goes into probate?

Probate is the legal process of transferring property after one passes. The purpose of which is to collect the property of the deceased, pay certain debts from the estate, and distribute the property as requested when he or she formalized their intentions as to the transfer of their property at the time of their death through a will or trust.

In addition to deciding how assets are distributed, the deceased also usually names a person to be the executor. He or she is given the power to take over the management of affairs upon death.  If the decedent fails to do so, then the court will appoint someone to be a personal representative, or administrator, in order to settle the estate. Most often, this either is the surviving spouse or an adult child of the dearly departed.

The executor-to-be will need to file a Petition for Probate of Will and Appointment of Executor. This is done at the probate court clerk’s office. This can be done with or without the assistance of an attorney familiar with probate law. Probate court is a division of the state court system. However, it might be referred to by another name. Bear in mind that the executor will need to show the court a certified copy of the death certificate. Therefore, it is a good idea to order around 10 copies.

Once the death certificate is filed, the court will schedule a hearing that is designed to give interested parties a chance to object to your appointment as executor. Therefore, before the hearing, you will have to send formal legal notice to all of the beneficiaries named in the will and to any heirs under state law. Those are the people who inherit if there is no valid will. You are also required to send notices to any creditors that you know about, and publish a legal notice in a local newspaper. In most cases, the hearing is a formality and you may not even need to show up.

If your loved one left a will, the next step is to prove that it is valid. To do so, all you need is the statement from one or more of the witnesses. It can be delivered as a notarized statement, which is called a self-proving affidavit. This is signed by all witnesses when they saw the will. It can also be a sworn statement signed by a witness now, or the court testimony from a witness.

Probate cases must stay open for several months in order to give creditors a chance to come forward. During that time, the executor can open an account in the name of the estate in order to pay these bills and you cannot give beneficiaries their inheritances until you are sure the estate has enough assets to pay debts and taxes.

When the creditor’s claim period has passed, and you have paid debts, filed all necessary tax returns, and settled any disputes, you are then ready to distribute the remaining property to the beneficiaries and close the estate. An estate lawyer can help with any and all of these steps and so you do not have to go it alone, especially if there is any contention.

When to have cataract surgery

A cataract is defined as the clouding of the eye’s natural lens that lies behind both the iris and the pupil. They are the most common cause of vision loss in people over age 40 and cataracts are the principal cause of blindness all over the world. In fact, according to Prevent Blindness America, there are more cases of cataracts in the world than there are of glaucoma, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy combined.

Cataract surgery is extremely successful in restoring vision and it is the most frequently performed surgery in the country. In fact, more than 3 million Americans undergo this procedure each year and nine out of 10 people who have cataract treatment regain excellent vision that is somewhere between 20/20 and 20/40.

However, when you begin to have symptoms, you may be able to improve your vision for a while by getting new glasses, including strong bifocals. You can also try magnification, appropriate lighting or other visual aids. You should begin to think about surgery when your cataracts have progressed enough to seriously impair your vision and affect your daily life.

Many people consider poor vision an inevitable fact of aging and cataracts are considered a normal part of the aging process. However, cataract surgery is a simple and relatively painless procedure that is used to regain vision. Therefore, patients should not be alarmed if they are told that they are developing cataracts because as people get older, the natural clear lens inside the eye tends to become progressively harder, darker, and cloudier. The result is referred to as a cataract. Cataracts tend to develop at different rates for different people. In addition, it is not uncommon for cataracts to develop at different times in the two eyes of the same person as it typically takes many years for the lens to become cloudy enough to impact one’s vision.

Moreover, there are many different types of cataracts that you can get. It depends on what area of the lens becomes cloudy. However, the typical cataract that is related to normal aging generally results in a uniform cloudiness that has a denser central core. It is often referred to as Nuclear Sclerosis. Other varieties of cataracts grow more quickly, are relatively uncommon, and often result from certain conditions other than typical aging. This includes Keratoconus treatment.

Additionally, a cataract should not be removed simply because it is present and if there are cataracts present in both eyes that require surgery, they are usually performed several weeks apart. This is due to the fact that cataract surgery on both eyes at the same time is not recommended because there is a possibility of complications, the most worrisome of which is an infection.

Your eye doctor is the only one who can diagnose and treat any problems you may be suffering from. In order to make an informed decision, it is best to discuss your options at your next appointment. This way you are sure that the benefits outweigh the risks.

How to use a seamless gutter machine

Many homeowners prefer the look of gutters made with a seamless gutter machine because they require fewer hangers, connectors and other hardware pieces. In addition, this style of gutter has fewer seams and screw holes in it, so there is less opportunity for leaks and breaks. This is because seamless gutters are made out of a single piece of flat, metal stock that comes in different colors.

The first step in using a gutter machine is to choose the appropriate color for your home. Next, measure your house so that you know what length of gutter is needed and place the stock material onto the coil holder. Then program the machine according to the size and type of gutters desired and feed the metal into the machine. It should quickly and easily form the stock into the requested gutter shapes and sizes. While the machine is in use, it is best to use extreme care because gutter machines have large cutters that in order to cut the gutter to size.

Be sure to clean the machines as well as the work area surrounding them as you produce the gutters. In addition, bear in mind that these machines need to be serviced and refurbished from time to time. This includes cleaning the rollers, adjusting the hem box, realigning rollers and tightening chains.
Bear in mind that installing gutters and using a gutter machine is not generally a do-it-yourself project as many things can go wrong. Therefore, in order to avoid getting hurt, bending the gutters, or having them have the wrong pitch, amongst other novice problems that can happen, this is one job that is better left to the professionals.

However, if you insist on doing it yourself, you must be sure that you have selected the proper material and size for the climate that you live in. If you live in an area that gets a lot of rain, then you need bigger gutters. Also, look at the different styles and price out the materials, as well. Then, you also have to keep in mind that gutters have a slight pitch in order to allow water to flow towards the downspouts. It is usually only one to two inches of decline for every forty feet of length. It is both gradual and not noticeable. However, it does help to sweep away debris and keeps your gutters clean. It also enables water to flow to the downspouts without overwhelming them or backing up the system. As you install your gutters, be sure to use a level in order to make sure they are at the proper pitch.

Also be sure that your hanging system is placed approximately three feet apart, or your gutters will sag, causing water to collect and the entire system to eventually collapse. You also need to be sure that your gutters are placed a few inches under the roof and not directly on the edge for best results. You can also consider installing a drip edge.