Larkin Windows Reviews and Customer Feedback

larkin-windows-reviews-logoI was recently over in the UK where I have been helping to renovate my mother in-laws house, which has been neglected for over a decade.  As part of the project I decided to get the windows and doors re-done, so employed a local company called Larkin Windows of Weymouth.  They did a great job, and was talking to their marketing manager about my home improvement blog that I run, and said I would be happy to publish my own review of Larkin Windows – which is what this is.  So if you are looking for Larkin Windows reviews, then I hope my short customer review and testimonial helps you decide whether or not to use them.

Larkin Windows Customer Review

From the outset I found the customer service quite outstanding. I called the Larkin Windows number and they talked me through the whole installation and pricing process.  The designer had some great ideas on how we could make the windows and doors look in-keeping with the existing design of the house – having read other Larkin Windows reviews this seems to be something that Larkin Windows are renowned for.

When it came to the day of the installation itself, there was a short delay due to bad weather but I was kept up to date by the Larkin Windows team over the phone and told me exactly what was happening each and every step of the way.  I was really impressed by how professional they were.

When the installation team arrived they were quick and professional and even tidied up after themselves which for me is a first when dealing with contractors of this type… that’s why I was so happy to provide a Larkin Windows customer review as the service I had was second to none.

Admittedly the price wasn’t the cheapest on the market, but the service and the quality of the Larkin Windows products are outstanding.  In addition to that they have some awesome energy saving ideas – I’ve previously written about this when it comes to double glazing and windows.

So if you like anywhere on the south coast of the UK or near Weymouth in particular then I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend that you try them out.  I hope you enjoyed my short review of Larkin Windows.

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Why You Need to Use Bar Stools Right Now in Your Kitchen

If you’re thinking that bar stools are only suitable for bars or pool halls, think again. I’ve recently completed a new project in the family home where I customized our kitchen to great effect. If you don’t believe then check out some of the photos below which I’ve aggregated from elsewhere online – all showing how a set of bar stools can really transform a living space.

Fixed Bar Stools

This idea comes courtesy of Elena Travis at the Funky Chair bar stools retailer website – she asked me to let my readers know about her own bar stools website – more than happy to do so!  In this photo you can see some fixed bar stools in a red color.  These would more suit a bar, but if you want your kitchen to actually look and feel like a bar then they are a great shout.  Fixed bar stools tend to be more expensive than standard ones to consider that before making too many plans.

Fixed Bar Stools in Read

Image copyright of flickr.com/photos/pat_ossa

Bar stools have many great uses around the home, and can turn a room into a stylish seating area for guests. There are many reasons why you should decorate your home with bar stools. Here’s just a few of the reasons why you need to buy bar stools right now.

Kitchen Bar Stools

Bar stools can be used in almost any room. You can keep them in your kitchen or dining areas for meals. They can be kept in the basement or games room for a drinks station during parties and games. They can easily be moved from room to room, unlike bulky living room furniture. You can set them up in the bedroom if you wish to have a little hideaway in there.

Kitchen Bar Stools

Image copyright of flickr.com/photos/williamskitchen

Particularly useful if you share your home with room mates, but don’t always feel like socializing in the early morning. Another great use for them is in the bathroom, particularly in the morning, when you’re still sleepy. You can sit on one and do your makeup. This is also a handy idea for those with back injuries, as they’ll provide a bit of support, while you get ready in the morning.

Like this blog post?  Have you read my article on getting rid of refrigerator smells?

One of the best reasons to buy bar stools is for the comfort of your home. If you lack a lot of space, you may be trying to eat your meals on the couch, which can get a bit messy at times. Setting up bar stools around your kitchen counter, or a nook, or buying a special matching bar table will increase the comfort of your home. You’ll feel more relaxed when you actually have a special spot in your home to eat meals, as well as a cool spot to entertain your friends.

Bar stools are compact, so they’ll fit into almost any space. When not in use, they can be tucked under a matching bar table, or under the overhang of a countertop. Some can be stacked and placed in the corner, or against the wall, giving you more walking space in your room. In a pinch, you can even use them with your dining room table.

Bar stools can be added to a room for ambiance. They come in a wide range of natural and man-made materials, plus a variety of colors and design options. You can find almost any style to enhance the interior design of your room. If you find one of your rooms is missing something, bar stools could provide that welcoming touch.

Price ranges for bar stools can be anywhere from $30 for a cheap department store model, to hundreds of dollars for chrome finishes with genuine leather padded cushions, arm rests and back support. You can find bar stools in your budget range at any local furniture store. Just remember to times it by two or four when shopping for your stools, as you’ll want to buy more than one.

There are many reasons why you’d wish to purchase bar stools for your home, but the main one is that they’re so versatile that you can easily move them from room to room, as they provide a dash of character to your home.

For even more idea on kitchen and interior design then I recommend Design Milk.

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How to Pack Securely For Self Storage

When approaching a move many people tend to underestimate the complexity of the work that goes into making it as smooth as possible.  I work in the self storage industry and see so many people almost on a daily basis who could save a lot of money of storage costs simply by packing better and more efficiently.  Here are some tips from me, picking up on things I’ve seen over the years.

Packing Boxes

flickr.com/photos/betsssssy

What You Will Need

  • Large and small cartons (always go for cardboard)
  • Tape
  • Old newspapers
  • Bubble wrap
  • A marker and coloured pens
  • A knife and scissors

The Steps Involved

Before going into the details of sorting and packaging for storage, here are some quick tips to keep in mind:

  1. Define a colour for each room in your home, and highlight the colour of each box so when it comes to unpacking after storage, you can do it a lot quicker.
  2. Write out the entire contents of each box with your marker on the cardboard box top.
  3. Line the bottom of all your boxes with bubble wrap – will help with damage reduction as well as dampness getting in the box.
  4. Start by packing the items that you use the least (if you move in June, you can start by packing your ski wear).

OK, so with those tips hopefully clear and understood, this is what you need to do.

How to Pack for Storage

First off always keep your smaller fragile items in smaller boxes, ideally a box for each item which can then get placed into a larger box – don’t let anything become loose to avoid damage in storage.  Also bear in mind that heavy items in large boxes can break the smaller ones so attempt some degree of separation if possible.

One set of items that people always seem to struggle with are dishes and china.  The amount of times I have seen smashed items in my self storage facilities is ridiculous – yet it is avoidable.

The ultimate rule is to pack each glass and plate bubble wrap, or paper so there is no contact between them at the time of transport. I recommend that you plug any holes with newspaper so that everything is secure and does not move in the boxes.

If you wish, you can purchase special boxes for glasses or plates, but they will cost more than a box so just take my advice and everything should be a lot more secure.

When it comes to clothing try to have them all I bags, then placed into boxes.  Ultimately you want them wrapped as well as possible, because some self storage facilities can attract vermin which like nothing more than chewing through fabrics.  For business clothing such as ironed shirts you can buy boxes which are like a wardrobe in which you can hang hangers.

For bulky items such as furniture you should dismantle items as much as possible to make the best use of space.  When you take apart a piece of furniture, put all the screws and parts in an envelope and note which item it is for.  For cables, plugs and other electrical type leads, group them by appliance and then place them into a box – try to separate them out at the very least so they do not become entangled.

One item which always causes issues is the washing machine.  Make sure that you drain it before moving it if you want to avoid a flood in your truck.  Similarly with a refrigerator and freezer: empty them, and carry them upright as much as possible.

By following these short tips, you should find that you optimise the amount of self storage space that you need to rent, thus you will reduce your costs significantly.

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My Tips on How to Avoid a Bogus Plumber… Based on Experience!

Discovering a plumber to carry out simple repairs such as a leak in the toilet or burst water pipes is sometimes a daunting task.  Most people have had plumbing experience where a plumber shows up to repair a leaking pipe and ends up charging a high fee. The question is how to get professional service without necessarily spending a bag of money. There are several points to ponder when sourcing the correct plumber for your home and work place.

Ask if they have plumbing qualifications - pic from www.flickr.com/photos/matchfitskills

Ask if they have plumbing qualifications – pic from www.flickr.com/photos/matchfitskills

Family members as well as friends can recommend a plumber. This is one of the most effective ways of ensuring that the plumber is competent and reliable. This does happen when you really are in need of a plumber but you have no idea where to get such services from. Here, it is important for one to get a professional. Someone who has been impressed by the quality workmanship of an expert is the only one capable of recommending such a person. Sometimes builders can be helpful for referring one to plumbers. Other helpful people are salespeople for real estate. .

Remember to get enough information by probing the plumbers. This will remove any doubts you might be having. Make them use simple English in case they start speaking in jargon. A professional will answer your questions willingly and also directly explain the where the problem is. To ensure that you keep off bogus plumbers, care must be taken to examine the license and an insurance copy of the person.  Choose reputable plumbers who belong to renown plumbing organizations. These bodies provide them with licenses.

Check out this great video:

A local trade body for plumbers should be contacted to confirm their authenticity. The plumber ought to guarantee that failure to complete the task will have a replacement for him sent.

Ensure that you know how much you will have to pay the plumber before the task is begun. In case the charges are on hourly basis, familiarize yourself with the charges, then check the labor costs during the normal hours and overtime.

Try to contract several plumbers and compare their estimates. It is best to contact a few plumbers and seek estimates. It is wise to pay for the estimate that is average. Take note of other factors such as agreements of service and discounts given by the plumbers. The estimate should not be confused with the overall cost. Normally, the cost is more than is estimated.

Choosing a suitable plumber will save lots of money and time. Choose those with experience. They should also be of good conduct and their fees should be reasonable. It is advisable to utilize this method when contracting a plumber. However, in cases of an emergency; for instance, a water pipe that is burst, there is limited time. But one can still have the plumber sign a written contract and investigate whether they are registered.

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How Double Glazed Windows Can Reduce Your Energy Costs

Over the last 30 years, double glazing has become an essential part of any new home build with all windows being installed using this method.  Double glazing can help to reduce exterior noise, keep the warmth inside the house, and also leads to cheaper energy bills to the heat being kept inside the house. Double glazed glass involves having two sheets of glass pressed together, albeit with a small gap between the two which traps some air in-between.

How Double Glazing Works

It’s quite a simple premise really; by having double glazed windows throughout the home you have some air trapped between the two of panes of glass.  What this does is offer a shield from cold air that’s outside the property, and the warmer air inside the home.  The small pocket of air between the two sheets remains static… it cannot be blown away by the wind.  As a result this air pocket is not constantly being re-placed with colder air.  This means it will get warmer and then take away reduced heat from the internal sheet of glass. Quite clever stuff.

How Much You Can Save on Energy Bills

If you live in a home with standard single pane windows and are living in a cold part of the country then here are some interesting statistics on how much you can save each year in energy costs.  The numbers below are representative of both US and UK homes for comparison purposes.

  • 2 Bedroom House – £50 to £70 (UK) / $83 to $115 (US)
  • 3 Bedroom House –  £80 to £110 (UK) / $133 to $183 (US)
  • 5 Bedroom House – £120 to £150 (UK) / $199 to $249 (US)

These estimates and prices are correct assumptions based on the exchange rates and typical energy costs in the United Kingdom and United States as at 24th February 2014.

How Much Does Double Glazing Cost?

So you can see how much money you can save by having double-glazed windows – but how much does it typically cost to re-fit new windows in your home?  Typical costs for a standard sized home in the United Kingdom would be £4,000 and in the United States it equates to around six and a half thousand dollars.  Double glazing will usually be guaranteed for about 25 years so will pay for itself in most homes over this time period.  In addition to that, a home owner should also consider the peace of mind from having reduced noise pollution and a generally warmer house as well as the energy saving considerations.  Overall double glazing is a “must have” option for households living in colder parts of the United Kingdom and United States.

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How to Get Rid of Bad Smells in Your Refrigerator

My Refrigerator Smells Bad – What Should I Do?  These hints and tips have all been tested down the years, and are proven to get rid of smells in fridges and other nasty whiffs that might put you and your family off your food.

Please note that fridges should be cleaned on a regular basis, and if you follow this guide every couple of months you should reduce the chances of having those fish smells and awful sick aromas that can sometime emanate from even the most modern of appliances.

Why Does My Fridge Smell Bad?

Don’t be embarrassed, a bad smell from the fridge will effect most kitchens at some point during the refrigerator’s lifetime.  A refrigerator’s recommended temperature is around 40 degrees – but even at that setting it’s possible for mould and bacteria to develop.  Most fridges have crevices and small gaps where drips and spillages can gather.

Over time these provide a fertile breeding ground for bacteria – which is what leads to the nasty smell –and are why you will need to adopt a thorough fridge odour removal process in order to solve the problem.  Many modern refrigerators are starting to be designed better to eliminate any unnecessary crevices and gaps where bacteria can thrive but the problem of a stinky fridge is still a common one.

Why Should You Clean Your Fridge Regularly?

Due to the prevalence of bacteria in refrigerators, no matter how clean you keep them, it is possible for householders to become ill due to cross contamination.  This can often spread from shelf to shelf and will ruin other food types in the unit.  Common areas where the smells will occur are underneath drawers, in the hinge mechanisms, and around the seals and doors.

Stinky Fridge? Then Let’s Get Rid of Those Nasty Odours and Smells

Here’s what you need to do in order to eliminate fridge odour.  Firstly you will need to develop a cleaning solution, and this can be done by using common items found in the house.  If you don’t have them to hand they are relatively cheap ingredients sold in most convenience stores.  This is how you create your own refrigerator cleaning solution:

  • Quarter Cup of Baking Soda
  • Quarter Glass of Hot or Warm Water

Mix this all up and you’re ready to go.  We recommend that you use baking soda because it works as a cheap and effective cleaner – as well as making your fridge insides look nice, clean, and sparkling new.  More importantly though, it has naturally occurring odour removing qualities.

Step 1: Empty Your Fridge

Remove everything from your fridge.  Take out all the jars, sauces, tins, bottles, plastic containers – literally everything.  This is also a good time for you to check on those use-by dates so make sure that you keep a trash bag handy as inevitably you’re going to be producing quite a bit of waste during the clean-up operation.

Step 2: Clean the Shelves, Baskets, and Removable Units

You will now need to remove all the shelves from the fridge including door bins, baskets, fruit and vegetable crispers and in fact anything that’s not nailed down – remove everything that can be taken out because they will need to be cleaned thoroughly.

The easiest place to clean all the shelving is actually in your bath tub, so put everything in the bath and then spray the whole lot with any household spray cleaner you might have.  If you don’t have anything like that then hot water and washing-up liquid works just as well.  Once covered in spray then just leave them in the bath – we’ll come back to them soon!

Now get inside that fridge and start washing down the insides using your baking soda solution (or warm soapy water).  Use a clean cloth to apply and try and get into all the nooks and crannies inside the fridge.  This is the best approach to getting rid of refrigerator smells. Once happy with the job you will need to rinse and then dry off using a clean towel.

You can now concentrate on all those fridge sections you left in the bath.  For best results give them a scrub using a stiff brush or plastic scrubber.  Once complete, rinse them under the taps and then dry off using your clean towel.

Step 3: Put the Shelves Back In and Re-Order Your Food

Place all the shelves, bins, and baskets back into the refrigerator and start to re-assemble the fridge.  The neat thing is that you now have an opportunity to completely re-organise all your food items – just like you probably did when you first bought your new refrigerator!

It’s essential to wipe down and clean any jars before placing them back in – this will guard against re-contamination and go a long way to preventing fridge odours and bad smells once you’re up and running again.

The same goes for your fruit and vegetables, so run them under clean water before placing them back – but make sure that they are 100% dry before they go back in your nice smelling fridge.

Additional Tips on Keeping a Fridge Clean

Now you have a clean and great smelling refrigerator you want to keep it that way.  Here are just a few things that you can do in order to keep bad fridge odours at bay – meaning you won’t need to clean it as often.

  • Always keep an eye on use-by dates on food containers and thrown anything away that’s out of date.
  • Keep an open box of baking soda on one of the shelves.  Baking soda will naturally de-odorize the fridge keeping it smelling great.
  • Make sure that any jars or packets are tightly sealed to keep the smells inside.  This will also reduce the chance of refrigerator food contamination between items.
  • If you spill anything in the fridge then make sure that it’s cleaned up immediately before it has time to get into gaps and crevices.
  • When placing jars or other food containers into the refrigerator, give the bottom of them a quick wipe to avoid any bacteria entering the fridge from your kitchen.
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