Plan Ahead: What You Need to Know Before Building

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Every project goes more smoothly when you plan ahead. As you plan, you will find out which stages require professional topographic survey services, and which steps may be avoided due to regulations. You will also prevent major problems by doing all your research before your shovel even hits the ground.


Research First

The best plans all start off on paper. An organized diagram with planned out dimensions and placement will make all the steps of getting your project done much easier.

Talk to your council office about permits, and see what the zoning regulations are when it comes to size and location of your building. It’s better to find out what you can and can’t do right at the start to save on having to redo any of your planning. They can let you know what size your shed can be, whether you need permits for sheds of that size, whether your fence can be so close to the boundary or whether you can have a deck near that stream.

They may require a drawing before discussing your plans, so have a rough sketch with some measurements ready. A professional survey shouldn’t be necessary until you are actually at the permit application stage. Doing a true survey too soon means you end up doing it again (and paying for the service again) when you have to make changes for your actual application.

Get the Permits

Once you find out what sizes and locations are allowed (with or without needed permits), you should be thorough and get the paperwork in order. There is nothing wrong with adjusting your project so that permits aren’t necessary when you can, but trying to avoid the paperwork can lead to more serious problems later. You can run afoul of your insurance company and you may be forced to remove the building altogether if the council or municipal office finds out you’ve built “illegally”.

Talk to Utilities

Unless your building project doesn’t involve any digging, you should talk to all your local utilities to make sure there aren’t any lines running through your site. Phone, cable, gas, Internet, water and sewage may all have something to say about where you are digging. The potential damage if you accidentally cut a fiber-optic line or nick a sewage pipe is considerable, and worth a little delay as you discuss your location with each service.

Most will offer a no-cost inspection to ensure there aren’t any hidden obstacles underground. At least with regards to their own services. In other words, don’t expect the phone company to have any information on the gas lines. Many areas have a single number you can call (programs known as Call Before You Dig, or Dig Safely) to help get your inspections planned out. They can connect you with the various agencies you need to talk to. In some areas, this is the law and you can be in legal trouble if you try to skip this step.

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Cheap Ways to Quickly Make Your Home Energy Efficient

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Creating an energy efficient home is one of the best ways to reduce your monthly budget for utilities. The best part is you don’t have to install solar panels to save. Although major construction projects like this would surely reduce your expenses over time, there are a few other things you can do around the house.


Energy efficient appliances, light bulbs and window blinds are only a few things that can cut the electricity bill. However, there are a lot of areas of the home that can still cause an energy sink. This is especially true in older homes thanks to weather patterns and foundation settling.

So, what can you do to improve the energy use of the home without taking out a loan?

Examine Window Frames

Not everyone considers how faults in the window frame can be a cause of heating and cooling loss. If the frame is not sealed inside and out, the home has less of a chance to keep at a specific desired temperature. This can lead to constant activity by HVAC systems. Using calk and other sealants on the inside and outside of the frame can help plug up those holes and cracks.

Doors and Thresholds

Not all doors reach perfectly to the threshold on the floor. In fact, a lot of them don’t even seal properly within its frame when closed. This can be seen during the day as sunlight shines through the edges of the door itself. A cheap roll of weather stripping on the frame can help keep the door sealed and improve temperatures. As for the threshold, it doesn’t take much to install a weather strip on the base of the door.

Seal the Holes in the Roof

Holes in the roof, even small ones, can cause a myriad of issues. Not only does this let temperate air in and out of the structure, but it can be an access point of critters as well. In many instances, animals such as mice and birds wreck havoc on insulation, further reducing the home’s ability to maintain its temperature. Keeping these holes sealed and repair can prevent severe problems later on while improving energy efficiency.

Cleaning the HVAC System

Keeping the heating and air condition system clean can make a profound difference in energy usage. For example, clean filters allow the air to flow better which reduces the amount of time these systems need to be on. Keeping the system clean includes dusting the motors, cleaning any duct work and making sure nothing obstructs the vents.

Although some repairs and upgrades may require an expert hand, it’s usually less expensive in the long run to maintain the home. The savings in electricity use throughout the year may be far worth any expense to keep the property in good condition.

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Household Supplies: Hanns Tape and Inno Scents Air Freshners

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It was a treat to receive these household supplies especially since I had been needing duct tape but hadn’t gotten around to buying any. It’s a fairly practical idea to stock up on household supplies so you’re prepared for anything. Hanns provides plenty of practical solutions for your home and they don’t just have tapes they also have air fresheners.

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Here are some very helpful ways to use duct tape:

Patching up refrigerator shelves- believe it or not despite the cold and dampness, duct tape can hold those shelves that are about to fall apart.

Open jars- just get a lengthy amount of tape and stick it to the cover. Once you pull the cover comes off!

Bandages- in emergency situations duct tape cut into thin strips can be act as butterfly strips for wide cuts. At least until you can properly clean and dress your wound.

Water bottle and pitcher repair- duct tape can patch up those bottles and pitchers that have cracked. It holds so well that water doesn’t at all seep through.

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Another pleasant surprise was the Inno Scents air freshner. I find many air fresheners to be too strong smelling. I love the fresh scent that emanates from this nicely made card. It’s nice to look at and smells good! At only Php35 it’s worth it.

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Other scents available: Cherry, Marine, Lemon Mint (smells interesting!), Sweet Pea Shower, XO

#AutoGard #MilesAndLevels

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