April Showers

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMost people are familiar with the old nursery rhyme, “April showers bring May flowers.” The heavy spring rains in April help new plants grow, but can also cause water damage to your home. Homeowners can prevent serious and costly damage by doing some preparation in and around their home to protect from the effects of  rain.

Roof and Structure Inspection: Since the roof experiences the most severe effects of bad weather, it’s important to periodically check the roof’s structural integrity. Have a professional inspect your roof for loose tiles/shingles, holes, cracks, and other signs of damage. It’s also important to check the house’s foundation; previous water damage can undermine the entire structure of the house and lead to costly repairs – here is the foundation repair cost Dallas.

Interior Inspection: Check the interior of your home for cracking and peeling on ceilings, walls, and around doors and windows. Look for mold, dark spots, or water rings as they could signal water damage. Check doors and windows to be sure they seal properly and keep out water.

Spring Cleaning: Prepare for rain and storms by doing spring cleaning around your property. Clear gutters and check them for corrosion. Trim trees and hedges and regularly clear leaves and dead branches from the area around your home. Loose leaves could cause water to buildup around your home and dead branches on trees could fall and damage property in a storm. Make sure lawn furniture and other loose items are secured or brought indoors before a storm since most storm damage occurs from flying objects.

Pest Control: Spring rain often brings out more insects; make sure to protect your home from ants, termites, and other pests. Try pest control remedies to deal with insects, or call a pest control expert. One natural remedy you can use to deter ants is to leave dry, crushed mint leaves or a bag of mint tea in areas where ants are active.

Use Real Local Pages (RLP) to find local pest control and roofing professionals to help you prepare for spring rains. RLP is an online directory of various businesses across the United States. Visit the RLP website, http://www.reallocalpages.com, and choose your city and state. Search by choosing from the popular categories list on the home page, or use the search box to find a variety of businesses, from roofing experts to restaurants.

Give it a Brake

During National Car Care Month, vehicle owners should check the condition of their brakes to prevent more expensive repairs and ensure safety on the road. Brakes are an incredibly important safety feature on a vehicle, well-operating brakes helps car owners avoid accidents in case of sudden stops or turns. A car’s braking system is composed of multiple parts that undergo high amounts of wear and require regular maintenance.

Auto Inspections: An auto repair expert should inspect your brake system at least once a year, or every 12,000 miles. Have the mechanic thoroughly examine the brake fluid levels, the brake lining, the hoses, brake lines, rotor thickness, and the brake and dash warning lights to ensure that they are functioning properly.  At every oil change, get a professional to check the brakes, drums, rotor, and brake linings. Because brake fluid becomes acidic and can damage your brake system, a mechanic needs to flush the brake system and put in new brake fluid every two years. Even with proper care, brakes should be replaced every 20,000 miles or so, and depending on how you drive the vehicle, brakes may need to be replaced sooner.

Signs of Brake Problems: Listening to your car is one of the best ways to pick up on brake troubles. Unusual noises typically indicate that brakes are worn down and need an inspection. Listen for clicking, grinding or screeching sounds when you apply the brakes. Pay attention to the feel of the brakes as well; check your brakes if the brake feels “mushy” and you need to push the pedal almost to the floor before the brakes engage. If the pedal shakes while using it or if the pedal feels high or too hard when you press it, then the brakes need an inspection. There may also be a brake problem if the car pulls to one side while braking, or if the steering wheel vibrates or locks when using the brake.

Find a reputable auto repair shop by searching Real Local Pages (RLP), an online business directory containing listings for thousands of businesses across the United States. Visit the website, http://www.reallocalpages.com, and enter your city and state. Search for businesses on the home page by choosing from the popular categories list, or by using the search box. Business listings matching your search will display the business name, phone, and address.

Tire TLC

car_wheel_and_tireApril is National Car Care Month and every car owner should give their vehicle a little tender loving care to prevent major problems. Maintaining optimal tire performance is particularly important for your car; tires affect your vehicle’s braking, handling, and safety. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an estimated one in ten car crashes are tire-related. Fortunately, vehicle owners can avoid most tire-related accidents with some preventative measures.

Tire Inspection: Give your wheels a visual inspection on a regular basis to check for wear, tears, holes, and other signs of damage. If you notice your car pulling to one side while driving at a steady speed, your tires could be damaged or need inflation. Avoid driving too fast, or stopping and starting suddenly as this wears tires down faster.

Rotation and Alignment: Have your car’s alignment checked at least once a year, and rotate your tires every 6,000 to 8,000 miles so that tires wear evenly. Uneven tire wear can affect the wear on your car’s shock absorbers and impact vehicle performance.

Tire Pressure: Check tire pressure at least once a month with a tire gauge. Good tire pressure helps tires last longer and saves money on gas—proper tire inflation improves gas mileage by about 3%. The wheels should be cool when you check the pressure. Consult the owner’s manual to know your car’s optimal inflation level, overinflated tires could be just as dangerous as underinflated ones.

Tread: Tire tread helps your car maintain traction on the road, and over time, the tread gradually wears down. Regularly monitor tire tread by inserting a quarter (with the top of Washington’s head facing in) into the tread groove. If the tire tread covers the top of Washington’s head, then your tires are safe for use.

Car owners can find auto repair and alignment shops in their area through Real Local Pages (RLP), an online directory of businesses. RLP is useful for finding a variety of businesses, from roofing experts and electricians, to hotels and physicians. Visit the RLP website, http://www.reallocalpages.com, and enter your location. Enter search terms into the search box on the home page, or choose a term from the popular categories list. The results page will show a list of businesses matching your search terms, along with the address and phone of each business.

Take a Vacation

-_12_-_ITALY_-_holiday_vacation_Salento_(_south_Apulia_)_6_sunset_at_seaIt’s time to take a vacation. On average, Americans receive between 12 to 14 days of paid vacation each year, a record low compared to other economically-developed countries. In addition, the Families and Works Institute found that most Americans do not even take their entire vacation time, resulting in a total of 429 million unused vacation days amongst American workers. Americans are zealously dedicated to their work and usually think of time off as a luxury instead of a necessity; but taking an extended break from work has significant mental, emotional, and physical health benefits.

Physical Health: Research has found that the mental break provided by a vacation is an important part of staying physically healthy. Rest and relaxation allows you to de-stress, which strengthens the immune system. Vacationing is also correlated with heart health; women and men who skipped vacations were more likely to experience a heart attack or develop heart disease. Enjoying leisure time is also linked with lower blood pressure levels.

Mental and Emotional Health: Individuals experience a myriad of mental and emotional benefits from a vacation. Taking a break allows you to de-stress, and while most people experience some level of stress in their daily lives, allowing it to build up can take a significant toll on your emotional and physical well-being, leaving you more vulnerable to sickness, depression, and burn out (exhaustion caused by prolonged stress). Time away from your daily responsibilities, gives you a new perspective on your situation and can leave you feeling more positive and excited about life. Vacation is even good for your career; people who took breaks from work are more productive, creative, and focused.

Visit the Real Local Pages (RLP) website, http://www.reallocalpages.com, to find hotels and resorts for your next vacation. Real Local Pages is an online directory of businesses and services throughout the United States. Choose your location, then search for businesses by entering key words like “hotel” into the search box on the main page. Users can also search the RLP website by choosing from the popular categories list on the home page. Each business listing on the results page will show the address and phone number of the location. RLP is useful for finding a variety of businesses, from resorts to electricians.