When looking for a new home or property, we often pay more attention to its location and aesthetics. However, you should also consider the structural integrity of the building. 

Most times, you will need the help of a professional to evaluate the “health” of the building. But what if you can’t afford to hire an inspector? How do you know if the property has been managed well?


Surely, property managers and owners can conceal major issues with fresh paint or some minor upgrades, but they can’t totally hide major repair problems. 

Here are the five most important components of a house or building that can help you decide whether it’s worth investing in it.


The roof is often the most susceptible to wear and tear as it is directly exposed to different elements. 

Well-maintained roofs can last thirty years or more, however, poor-quality shingles and tiles can significantly reduce their lifespan. You should be able to see from the ground if there are broken or missing shingles. 

Make sure to ask the seller how old the roof is, and inspect the gutters and drainage systems if they are in good condition. A well-maintained gutter system helps avoid water damage issues especially in ceilings, which can be difficult to detect in plain sight. If the roof isn’t old enough but still needs some repairs, ask the seller to lower the price so you can save money for repair work.

Don’t forget to check the sidings too. Like roofs, sidings are also prone to damage. You should be able to quickly assess the condition of the sidings by simply looking at them. Things like missing or rusty nails, cracking caulk or crooked joints, fading or missing paint, rotting, mold, and water stains are major issues to consider.


Mold is every homeowner’s toughest enemy. It is a fungus that comes in different colors, such as white, green, and black.

If there is water damage or leaks on the roof, the property most likely has an issue with mold, even if you can’t see it. You should also check for water puddles near the exterior walls of the house and look around for watermarks, which are a major sign of leaks.

Some other common places where mold is likely to take hold are around leaking pipes, windows, and basements. If you notice an unpleasant odor inside the house or building, it’s another tell-tale sign of mold problems. Ask the seller if the property has mold or water damage problems and make sure to add a mold-related contingency to your offer if you really are interested to buy the property.


An easy way to check if the previous owner of the house has taken good care of the property is by checking the bathrooms. A bathroom should be renovated every four or five years. Check to see if the fixtures are still in good condition, such as the shower, sink, toilet, and bathtub. 


It takes more than a quick freshening up to reveal how well-cared-for a building is. You can’t mask stains on tiles or floors, dirt stuck on walls, and a poorly organized interior space.

Look for a home or property that boasts a clean and well-maintained interior. This means the walls are freshly painted, and the floors have no stains and cracks, so do the countertops and tables.

A well-cared-for building will also have highly maintained furniture. Even if the furniture pieces are quite old, they are still very functional and have no sign of major damage or cracks. With such an interior, you won’t need to shell out more money on repair or renovations. In most cases, all you need is to add stylish home decor to make your new home more like “you.”


Look for a home that has proper ventilation. Poor airflow is a common sign that the existing HVAC system is no longer functioning properly. This means that the previous owner hasn’t taken much effort to clean air filters or have their air conditioners or heating systems regularly checked by technicians.

A well-functioning HVAC system also suggests the absence of water leaks which can quickly damage a home and even lead to serious structural issues. Air conditioners that make low-level noise as they start up and shut down are okay, but any rattling or buzzing noise is a red flag.


Buying a home or property is no easy feat. You should take time assessing the building to make sure it’s free from costly damage and is worth your investment. Remember the pointers we discussed above when inspecting a property.

If you really like the property but you uncovered some issues, talk to the seller and negotiate the price so you can allocate budget for repairs.

 Guest Contributor: Leila Amber


Now that it’s finally fall, your wait to participate in seasonal activities is over! You can host plenty of fall festivities from the comfort of your own backyard. All you need is some refreshments and a few activities to keep adults and children alike occupied during the event. Try out these fun suggestions to make yourself and your backyard the talk of the town.


As the weather cools down, many people celebrate holidays that bring families and friends together. Some people in your community may not have families or friends to go to for meals and celebrations. In that case, you could consider hosting a potluck where every guest brings a dish or contribution of some sort.

By involving yourself in the community you live in, you could change people’s lives or how the community is run. Reaching out to others when loneliness is all-consuming, especially for those who don’t have anyone with them on holidays, can help you make new memories and put smiles on others’ faces.


If you don’t mind potentially tearing up the grass in your backyard — or if you have a larger driveway than most people — you can host a “trunk or treat” where families can go trick-or-treating around to the trunks of different cars.

This event leaves most of the decoration up to the owners of the individual vehicles who participate, so you can relax and only worry about acquiring candy and decorating your own trunk for the Halloween season. For families who don’t participate in Halloween but still love the concept of trick-or-treating and dressing up, this opportunity could be a wonderful tradition.


If you want to spend time with friends and family outside, consider transforming your outdoor space into an environment prime for partying. Hosting a game night outside is akin to hosting a house party, so you have to be sure you’re ready enough for the people who might attend.

Consider allowing people to RSVP to the party, either by mail or digitally, so you have an accurate headcount of who will be attending and how much of everything you’ll need. You can guess how much each guest will eat, but the best method is to make sure you have one pound of food for every guest.

 Once you have the menu and music sorted out, think of what sort of fall-themed games you could host on this game night. Consider buying small prizes to award the winners of games to motivate people to play. If you want a modern twist on bobbing for apples, consider blindfolding contestants and allowing them to reach into a pail of water and apples using just their hands. You could also host a costume contest and give awards for the most creative or best costumes.


What could be better than cozying up with some snacks and watching favorite fall movies? Whether you choose to go the spooky route or find something milder that reflects the season, you can host a successful movie marathon from the comfort of your backyard.

The most important thing you’ll need is a projector. From there, you can either have a collapsible screen, an inflatable screen, a white sheet, or something else that you can use to project the movie onto. Be sure to make plenty of snacks to keep all your guests satisfied. 

Consider creating a fire pit in your backyard ahead of this occasion. While you might have blankets to ward off the chill of the night, they can’t compare to the warm glow of a fire. Aside from providing your guests with much-needed warmth, a fire pit can also set the mood for the season.


If you’ve been through a corn maze, you know just how thrilling it is to get lost in nature and finally find your way out. You can build a similar maze in your backyard using bales of hay. While it might not be as challenging as a corn maze, it could still provide your guests with the excitement and triumph of emerging victorious. Just make sure your yard is large enough to hold a labyrinth!

Instead of buying fake haybales, consider supporting a hardworking farmer or other local hay-grower. Make sure to put your order in early, well in advance of the party, to make sure you’ll have the quantity you want, as hay is regularly in high demand. Get other members of your household to help you build the maze, and you’ll have an activity that will keep people talking about your festivities for years to come.


It would be a shame if you let the season slip by without celebrating. Why not round up your closest friends and family, or your entire neighborhood, to take part in the fun autumn festivities with you? Planning something can get you in the right mindset for the holidays, and when all the planning is done, all you have to do is sit back and watch it all come together.

Guest Contributor: Rose Morrison


Choosing an exterior paint color for your home is just one part of the paint-selection process. As a homeowner, you want to ensure that your exterior paint withstands harsh weather conditions and UV radiation. While exterior painters will expertly prepare your home for a smooth, long-lasting paint job, your chosen paint finish can either make or break the final look and longevity of the paint. This handy guide will help you choose the best paint finish for your home exterior.


Paint sheen is not just about aesthetics. Paint finishes affect how long exterior paint lasts on siding, trim, doors, and other exterior surfaces. There are four different types of paint sheens that professional painters typically use on home exteriors and each has unique benefits when used on the correct surfaces.


While flat paint finishes used to be the most popular, they aren’t used much on exteriors these days. Flat paint is matte, porous, and susceptible to fading and mildew problems. Most customers desire paint finishes that are shinier and more durable, but flat paint doesn’t have to be ruled out completely. Because flat paint isn’t shiny, it can be a great option for disguising flaws on older homes. However, a flat finish is only recommended for exterior walls, and not areas that are touched often such as doors, railings, or windows.

When to use a flat paint finish: If your home has older wooden siding, or you need to conceal siding imperfections, flat paint can be a good choice.


Eggshell paint is the most popular exterior paint finish for the body of a home. Because eggshell isn’t dull like a flat finish, or too shiny like a high-gloss sheen, it looks great on a variety of siding types such as HardiePlankstucco, horizontal wood, and others. Eggshell paint also offers more durability than flat paint, so it can easily be washed with occasional power washing. It’s also an ideal choice when you need to hide imperfections under the coating on older wood or stucco divots. Eggshell can also protect your home from precipitation and seasonal weather changes. This popular paint finish lays down nicely, so you won’t be able to see any brush strokes, roller edges, or spray marks after applying.

When to use an eggshell paint finish: If you’re repainting your house siding and want a low-reflective finish that also conceals minor imperfections. An eggshell finish is also perfect when you need to subtly bring out trim details.


Satin paint has a nice sheen and is ideal for exterior trim areas that are used or touched often. This highly durable, stretchy paint resists peeling and mildew. A satin paint finish is perfect for use on a variety of trim areas such as eaves, soffits, overhangs, trim boards, porch ceilings/trim, door frames, window sills, and so much more. It’s important to note that satin paint magnifies imperfections like dents, dings, cratering, and ridges in older wood trim and wood siding.

When to use a satin paint finish: If you want a beautiful sheen on your trim that isn’t too shiny, this is the finish for you. This is especially true if you live in a hot, sunny climate as satin paint contains more UV protectant to prevent fading.


A semi-gloss paint offers visible shine on home exteriors and is ideal for surfaces that require frequent cleaning. The glossier sheen makes semi-gloss paint more durable than satin, so it’s easier to clean. Semi-gloss paint can also endure harsh weather conditions and withstand excess moisture. While a semi-gloss paint finish can look beautiful on trim details, it isn’t a good choice if you need to conceal cracks, chips, or other surface imperfections.

When to use a semi-gloss finish: A semi-gloss finish is best for painting garage doors, front doors, exterior trim, gutters, shutters, metal lamp posts, railings, and window sills.


If you want your exterior trim to really pop, then this is the paint finish for you. A high-gloss sheen offers extreme durability and adds a beautiful richness to paint color. You may be tempted to paint your entire home exterior with this easy-to-clean, highly durable sheen, but it isn’t a good idea! Painting all of your siding with high-gloss paint will make your home look “plastic” and magnify surface imperfections. Simply use this finish for highlighting ornate architectural details, trim, and doors. Professional painters will happily paint your exterior walls and siding with a semi-gloss or satin paint to complement the high-gloss finish of your trim.

When to use a high-gloss finish: Use this heavy-duty paint to highlight architectural details, decorative fixtures, accent trim, shutters, front doors, black metal railings, window frames, or anything else you touch on a regular basis.

House painting tip! Semi-gloss and high-gloss paints can be brittle and chip if not applied to the right surface or with the right preparation. Gloss paints can look amazing on front doors that have been kept in great shape from porches and awnings, but won’t look nice if your door has dings, cracks, or other blemishes. Professional house painters will ensure your home is prepped and painted properly so that your paint job looks amazing and lasts a long time.


Paint finishes on your home are just as important as the colors you choose. This is why it’s critical to trust your exterior house painting project to a professional painting company. Not only will professional painters use the right painting tools and techniques to deliver a flawless finish, an expert paint color consultant will help you choose the perfect paint finishes for your siding and trim. Trusting your exterior home painting project to the professionals will provide you with beautiful, long-lasting results. Request your free exterior painting quote today!

Guest Contributor: Mark Sharp


Have you checked out our new Blue Collar Eats video over on Facebook where we reviewed Amigos Mexican Restaurant? “You guys know me, I’m always on the hunt for tacos, and we found somebody that’s giving Frankfort a run for their money”, says Kevin. This restaurant is definitely a hidden gem! We sat down and gave you the scoop, along with Ron and Jason who joined us for this delicious meal.

Ron, one of our plumbers, joined Kevin in reviewing this restaurant out. “The steak is real nice, tender, delicious, the cilantro is fresh, onions are fresh, everything is diced up real fine, it’s easy to eat. I like this taco a lot!”

Jason, another one of our plumbers, explained why everyone says this place is giving Frankfort a run for it’s money. “There’s no doubt in my mind that this place is gonna give places a run for their money.” Ron chimed in and agreed, saying, “No, definitely. Even the chicken is traditionally seasoned, not overpowering, really nice, juicy and tender. Pretty much everything you would want in a piece of chicken.”

All three agreed “now that’s a good taco!” as they cheered to the tacos and took a bite.

Kevin review a little bit of everything, from the tostados, chicken tacos, steak tacos, their guacamole, homemade salsa and burritos. He said everything was great, and the best tacos he’s ever had.

“The chicken tacos and the al pastor are great!” says Rasheed from Bear Down, he’s one of their best customers! He loves this place and talks very highly of them.

Another customer explained he loves the tacos, and his little brother likes the burgers. “There’s something here for everyone.”

Amigos reopened their doors on Thursday, October 14th at 20831 S. Lagrange Rd. in Frankfort IL. Keep in mind it is a cash only establishment, but they do have an ATM located inside of the restaurant.

Check out our video on Facebook on our page, Kevin Szabo Jr Plumbing – Local Plumber and make sure to check out the restaurant whenever you’re in the area!

Guest Contributor: Tiffany Powell


If there was ever a good time to invest in a parcel dropbox, it is now. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the forefront the need for a sharper focus on health and safety. Social distancing and avoidance of crowded public places are critical steps.  

Imagine a mother having to go with the kids to pick a parcel at the post office drop box. With more than one child in tow, it can be difficult to contain them. How will she, for instance, keep them from touching surfaces. 

Maintaining the six feet distance will be another challenge. Such exposure can lead to the whole family contracting the dreaded disease.  

A home delivery parcel dropbox has so many advantages. The most obvious is the convenience of contactless deliveries. You can adhere to the social distancing calls but continue to shop as usual. 

But, do take note of how to handle home deliveries to avoid getting the virus. You should, for instance, let the package sit for up to 24 hours before touching it. Remove outer packaging and dispose of them. And, wash your hands thoroughly after touching the items.  

Investing in a secure lockable parcel delivery box ensures safety for your items. It does not matter whether anyone is home or not when the courier comes around. Once the item is in the delivery box, only you can access it using the lockbox key or combination.  

There is no shortage of parcel drop box suppliers or vendors. It can get rather confusing in choosing one. But, there are some considerations you must have in mind. So what are they?  


The first consideration when choosing the right parcel dropbox is by looking at the security features. As we mentioned, there are many delivery box options available.  

But, a strong selling point or differentiator is how they secure or assure the safety of your deliveries. At the very minimum, you want a lockable delivery box.  

Look for the type that uses the cantilever system. Once the item is in the parcel box, there is no way to get it out. The neighborhood burglar will have no luck using the entryway to access your purchases.   

Another key security feature is the material that makes up the body of the parcel drop box. You want sturdy, durable, and hard to breach. Do your part in making the burglars work a little bit harder. Heavy metal delivery boxes are a good option.  


Since the delivery box stays outside it is prone to the effects of the elements. Metal rusts, depending on the moisture levels. Wood will rot due to the same reason. 

Delivery box manufacturers apply anti-weather material to weatherproof the boxes. Ensure critical parts like seals have the relevant protection. You want to avoid having to replace the box within a short period.  


Do take note of how easy it is to install the parcel dropbox. Some are pretty simple, and with a few tools, you can have them mounted. Carefully read the instruction manuals to avoid any mistakes.  

If you think it will be a challenge, ask for expert help. The vendors or manufacturers should have no problem availing someone from their team to help you.  
Improper installation can reduce the safety of the delivery box. If, for example, you do not securely mount it, the thief can carry the box. 


There is no one-size-fits-all option when it comes to parcel delivery boxes. You are in the best position to determine what will work well for you.  

Look at what you typically buy as a guideline. If you stick to smaller purchases, there is no need for a large parcel dropbox.  

Heavy parcel delivery boxes work well for multiple packages. They are also fantastic if you share the home with others who receive items.   


You can place the parcel drop box almost anywhere outside of the home. Some favorite spots include driveways, front porch, garden, or gate posts. That means it is visible to anyone who visits. 

So, do look for an attractive design to add to the beauty of your outdoor space. There are many variations of colors and designs.  

Apply some creativity with a simple DIY painting job. It allows you to blend in the delivery box with your existing outdoor decor.  

You also have options with mounting or installation. You can go for those that you place on the wall, above the ground. Such are ideal for smaller parcels. 

The other option is the floor-mounted parcel delivery boxes. They can accommodate larger packages, and give more flexibility with placement. 

You could have it in the driveway, garden, or anywhere you choose. This is unlike wall-mounted options that require, well, a wall. But, again it comes down to your preference.  


Look out for available lockbox technologies.  Smart lockboxes, for instance, are becoming quite popular. Such will send notifications once the delivery man scans the barcode. 

You can set it up to send the alert to your mobile or other internet or Bluetooth-connected devices. Such allow for Integration with smart home technologies. You can lock, unlock or share access to the box using virtual assistants like Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant. 

They also allow for custom configurations depending on what you need. Other features include live streaming videos, sound recording, and motion sensors. This helps improve the safety of your deliveries.  


Enhance your safety during this pandemic period with a home delivery parcel dropbox. You avoid unnecessary exposure by having to make trips to the designated drop-off points. 

The right parcel delivery box comes down to what you need and your preference. But, do check out the security features the manufacturers offer.

Also, pay attention to the material of the parcel delivery box. It should be strong, durable, and weatherproof. Determine the best size depending on what you typically buy.  

Think about the installation as well. Do you want to mount it or have it on the floor? Whichever you choose should be convenient for you and the delivery. It should also be secure enough to make it hard for the local burglar to make away with the whole box

Guest Contributor: Daniel Martin


When you’re thinking of redesigning your home, it often seems that the bedroom comes last, if at all. This is possibly so because you always think of investing in those visible parts of your home where the family gathers and you entertain your friends, so the bedroom somehow gets neglected.

There’s no reason this should be so as your bedroom should be the place where you escape the craziness of the day and find peace and serenity. Choosing the right design for it may seem daunting at first but if you’re looking to revamp it into something cool and modern, this is the way to go!


Changing the layout of your bedroom is a very cost-effective way to completely change its look. It also consumes very little of your time and effort but the results can be amazing! Draw up a sketch of your room and consider how you can move your furniture so the room still remains functional and what you can eliminate completely. If you only change the direction of your bed, you can make all the difference in the orientation of your room.


Neutrals, such as fresh pink, baby blue and mint green as well as nude and off-whites are all a fantastic choice for a trendy bedroom. However, you don’t have to stick to just neutrals to get a modern look. You can add accent colours but do it carefully in the form of impactful details. Think in terms of subtle accessories, such as rugs, plants, covers and throw cushions. These are a perfect way to infuse a little controlled colour but do get creative with materials – opt for rich textures to keep the luxury vibe alive.


With the bed as the focal point in every bedroom, switching up the throw pillows and your covers can be a very effective change. While at it, consider selecting new bedding such as a marble patterned microfiber comforter with matching pillows that will add a touch of class and elegance to the overall look. Besides the aesthetic aspect, high-quality bedding will improve your sleep as well giving you more energy throughout the day.  


If you have lots of natural light flowing into your bedroom, maximize it as much as you can – get rid of the heavy window dressings and go for simpler and more elegant fabrics that won’t block the sunlight during the day, but add soft drapes on the sides so you can make it dark at night.

Don’t forget other forms of lighting in your bedroom. They are also important for creating an inviting and relaxing atmosphere. This mostly refers to bedside lamps, floor lamps and wall-mounted sconces. The combination of multiple light sources will create layers of light and make the atmosphere warmer and cosier.


Your bedroom floor is another great place to add more impact. Plus, it’s always great to feel softness under your feet. Consider adding a thick shag or a dramatic vintage rug. These can help you pull a room together and by layering a few, you can give the space a tranquil and relaxed feel.


Don’t neglect your walls! A new coat of paint, wallpapers, artwork or a feature wall can all have a strong and instant effect on the look of your bedroom. Choose art pieces that reflect your personal interests and tastes, and display them uniquely.

Make a gallery wall that you can continuously enhance. Pick frames in a consistent style but do range them from simple black to ornate silver and gold vintage. Put them up on floating ledges that are both minimalistic and very modern.

You can finally stop beating yourself up for neglecting your bedroom and with the help of these easy design tips, you can give it a much needed stylish makeover. There are so many things you can change and update, just make sure you prioritize the steps and choose things that are modern and cool but also match your personality!

Guest Contributor: Diana Smith


Are you trying to make your kitchen smart? If that’s the case, it’s good to know that almost every inch of your kitchen can be smart. As technology continues to advance, there are fewer things that you actually need to do yourself in the smart kitchen. Many of the smart appliances in your kitchen today are voice-activated, which means that you don’t even need to be at home to preheat your oven!

If you’re interested in discovering all the different smart appliances that you’d need to make your kitchen smart, you’re in the right spot. Let’s dive in!


Let’s start with a smart appliance that will make your every morning a good morning – a smart coffee machine. A perfect day starts with a cup of your favorite coffee. It’s only logical that your kitchen should be equipped with a gadget such as this.

Smart coffee machines come in different modern and sleek designs. They are simple to use and allow you to choose between many different modes such as filter or grinder modes. 

Additionally, many smart coffee machines today come with apps for your phone. With this app, you can personalize your coffee by choosing how well you want your coffee to be ground, the strength of the coffee or you can simply set filter mode if you prefer filter coffee. With the app, you can also program the exact time you want your cup of coffee to be made.

Smart coffee machines can be also connected to your home hub and thanks to this you can use voice commands to tell your machine to make coffee. And just like that, you can have a perfect cup of coffee without moving a finger.


At the first glance, a food processor isn’t much different than a blender. It can grind, grate, chop and slice food, make fresh juice, and even kneed the dough. The main difference is that with a food processor you don’t need to add water or any liquids to do the chopping, mincing, grinding, and other similar tasks. 

Smart food processors come with a couple of programed auto menus and each has a different sequence, for example, mincing, chopping, draining, or paste making, to name a few. With a processor, you will get many versatile accessories – different types of detachable blades, jars and in many cases, you’ll also get a storage case for all these accessories.


A smart oven is usually a stand-alone oven, similar to a toast oven but with many more functionalities. An oven of this kind can steam cook, air fry, dehydrate and do the regular baking and convection cooking.

Smart ovens are called smart thanks to their ability to send data over Wi-Fi to your home hub allowing you to turn on the oven, preheat it, control the temperature, or set timer alerts. You can also do all this through a phone app.

In case you have problems with your oven or you need oven repair you can always call professionals. Don’t think that just because you have a smart oven, no one will be able to repair it. You don’t need to immediately change your oven if something is wrong with it, instead call experts in smart oven repairs and save quite a bit of money. Smart appliances can be repaired as well!


If you’re not a fan of cooking ranges, you can buy a standalone oven, we mentioned above, and a smart induction stovetop. These stovetops use induction to heat your pots and pans but leave the stovetop cool to the touch. So, compared to regular electric cooktops, these induction ones take no time to heat up and cook food more quickly. Additionally, they are easy to clean and much safer than electric and gas ones.

They are easily programmable and feature a built-in touchscreen that allows you to search the internet for your favorite recipes. With certain stovetops, you can get an app that allows you to control it with your phone – turn it on, control the temperature, and similar commands.


Everything is smart in a smart kitchen, even your fridge. So, what can a smart fridge do that a regular one can’t, you may wonder? Just like with other smart appliances, you can control your fridge with your phone or give it voice commands.

A smart fridge, unlike the regular one, can recognize the type of items you store in it and keep track of their expiration dates. These modern fridges are also more energy efficient as they can save electricity by monitoring issues and adjusting temperatures. 

A smart fridge is so smart that it can play music and movies on its screen!


If we can have a smart fridge, why not also have a smart dishwasher. Everyone loves seeing clean and shiny dishes and cutlery on their table, don’t they? Your old dishwasher was pretty good, but this smart one is even better. 

Now, you’ll still have to load and unload it yourself – that hasn’t changed, yet. What has changed with these new generation dishwashers is the ability to connect them to your home hub.

Just like with most smart appliances, you have the opportunity to connect your new dishwasher to your phone as well, with an app. This app allows you to select the program depending on what you’re washing and also the volume. Additionally, the dishwasher will send you a notification when the washing is done. This is precisely what makes it so energy-efficient.


People love slow cookers because they make cooking easy. They love how the slow cooker can bring out flavors in foods and how convenient it is for the fast-paced lives we’re living.

What you are going to love even more is a smart slow cooker. With a smart slow cooker, you won’t have to worry about not having food for tomorrow because now you can leave your cooker on overnight too.

Smart slow cookers can now connect to your smartphone and with an appropriate app you can control the cooker remotely – turn it on and off, monitor cooking time, and change cooking settings. And there you have it, cooking has never been easier!

These and many more smart appliances can make your kitchen look like something out of a science fiction movie. The best part is that they are very convenient and easy to use. They’ll make cooking an amazing experience for you.

So, don’t wait any longer, transform your regular kitchen into a smart one!

Guest Contributor: Ron Wolf


Have you thought about using solar power in your home? If not, you could be missing out. Want to know why? Well, you can save some good money from your electricity bills. 

Solar power reduces dependence on the national supply. No more blackouts or shutdowns when the electricity company is doing maintenance.  

When shopping, go for the best-looking solar panels. And no, it is not about vanity. Do you know solar panels can increase the value of your home if you ever decide to sell? And, you will be doing your part in saving the environment. Solar energy is renewable and sustainable.  

Maybe you are not quite ready to rig up your whole home to solar power just yet. But, since you have embraced remote working, your energy bills have gone up quite a bit.

If you are looking for a solution, please read on. We will share some tips for creating a solar-powered home office. 


Powering your house using solar energy requires some expert advice. Yes, there are tons of resources, both online and offline,  you can use to educate yourself. YouTube is full of DIY solar panel installation tips. So, can you rig your home office yourself? Absolutely.  

But, look at it this way. A good solar installation kit is not exactly cheap. You will also void any warranty if you mess up the job. And remember, there are factors you may not know when shopping for solar panels.  

Yes, we did say above that you should buy the best-looking solar panels. But there is a lot more that goes into the process. It helps to know quality brands that will give you long-term usage. The experts will also advise on things like battery storage and positioning.  

And that’s not all. Try shopping for solar kits and the process can be overwhelming. There are so many brands coming in at different price points. It is a good idea to let someone with the knowledge guide you.  

Take your time to do your due diligence when looking for solar installers. Ensure the company has relevant certification, licensing, and proof of professionalism.  

Read customer reviews and talk to some happy customers. A reputable company should not have an issue availing references. Also, ask questions about maintenance and warranty for the solar equipment.  


Take the time to learn the basics of solar power installation. It will make more sense for you when the experts talk about specific components or processes. Do you, for instance, know that wrong wiring can lead to fires or electric shocks? 

Familiarize yourself with the different components. These include solar panels, mounting brackets, charge controllers, batteries, and inverters. Do not be shy about asking the consulting company questions. A little knowledge never hurt anybody.  


It helps to know how much energy you will need to run your home office. Start by listing down any appliances that need power. You may have laptops, printers, a scanner, a fridge, and a coffee maker. Also consider other factors like lighting, heating, and air conditioning.  

The requirements will depend on the type of work you do. Take the example of running a printing press. It will need more power than the basic office equipment we have listed above. The more energy you will need, the more panels you will buy.  

The experts will calculate your power needs by taking into consideration all the appliances you will use in your home office. 


Some factors will determine the solar panel placement. Let’s say your home office is in a building separate from the main house. You must consider the following. 

  • The direction of the roof – the more the orientation of the roof to the sun, the better. 
  • Shade from trees around the home office. Consider the different seasons, in winter the sun stays pretty low in the sky. The result is longer shadows which will block the sun from hitting the panels. The type of trees also matter. Take the Example of Evergreens that keep their leaves all year round. 
  • Surrounding infrastructure that could cast shadows on the roof. 
  • Roof angles and protrusions could interfere with the placement of panels.

The type of solar panels you buy matters. Some reduce output in low sunlight conditions. Others will go off. But the basic principle is the more direct sunlight, the higher efficiency you achieve in energy production. 

Also, if you are planning any roof renovations, do them before installing the solar panels.  


Components placement is also critical. The experts may recommend putting the AC/DC inverter right next to the electric meter. The electricity in the panels is direct current (DC). It will need to convert to alternating current (AC) so that you can use it to power your office and appliances. The consulting company will ask for a site visit to determine the best placement.  

A good solar kit should also come with a backup battery. It allows you to store energy during peak sunshine hours for use when you need it. You can save a lot by switching to the stored power in the evening or at night. 

The solar installation professionals must adhere to building codes when placing the batteries. Some places do not allow for the mounting or installation of batteries in interior spaces. You may need to upgrade the structure first to accommodate them. 

Do not ignore the permit requirements. It would be unfortunate to rig up your home office, only to have to bring it down due to noncompliance.  


Solar power will save you money and is very dependable. You can run your home office without having to worry about blackouts or other power disruptions. The best piece of advice we can give is to let professionals handle the installation. 

They have the expertise and in-depth knowledge to do the work. You also get advice on the best quality from the tons of options available.  

But, this is not to say that you should not take an active part in the process. Do your due diligence before hiring professional solar installers. Check licensing, customer reviews and talk to a few references. 

Also, educate yourself on the basics of solar power. There are tons of resources available online. The professionals should also be comfortable answering any questions you have. 

Guest Contributor: Daniel Martin


You never want to have a clogged toilet. Who does? But when you do, it’s always frustrating because no one wants to clean up that mess! It’s icky and gross. So, you maybe think, why does toilet keep clogging?? Many different things can cause toilets to always clogging, but the most common reason is using too much paper, older model toilets, flush non-flushable items, toilet trap is blocked, toilet vent blocked, main sewer line problems, or insufficient water in the bowl. Read about how to stop your toilet from clogging and what causes this problem in the first place!


There are six main rezones when the toilet keeps getting clogged. Below we give you why toilet clogging and how to solve it. 

  • Older model toilet or low flow toilet
  • Too much toilet paper use
  • Flush Non-Flushable Items
  • The Toilet Trap Is Blocked
  • The Toilet Vent Blocked
  • Main Sewer Line Problems




Toilet upgrades are also necessary when the current toilet does not flush or has an adequate water supply for flushing purposes. A plumber should be contacted if there is any doubt about whether or not the toilet needs replacing. 


Many people don’t realize the amount of toilet paper they use. In fact, Americans use and throw away an average of 27 pounds of toilet paper per person every year. So, almost 325 million Americans, that’s roughly 19 billion pounds of toilet paper going into our landfills. 


We have been conditioned to think that we need fresh sheets every time we sit on the throne, but in reality, you only need one sheet for each sitting. That’s right: experts recommend using just one square per sheet for your own hygiene and environmental health! So, don’t flush too much toilet paper. 


Do you know the difference between a flushable and non-flushable item? For something to be flushed down your toilet, it must meet two criteria: firstly, it cannot contain any solid material such as plastic or metal; secondly, it must have a low density. That means water can cause an object to break apart and pass through the pipes without clogging them.


Non-flushable items with high densities like paper towels or sanitary pads will clog up or even block your plumbing. We recommend throwing out these types of things in trash bins instead of flushing them down toilets.


Where does the waste go if your toilet trap is blocked? Your toilet has s shape toilet trap, which can be clogged easily.


A blocked toilet is an unpleasant event that can be difficult to fix. If you have a plunger, pour some dish soap down the drain and follow with hot water to create suction. You may also need to use a plumber’s snake or auger if this doesn’t work. 

If you don’t have one of these tools on hand, try pouring boiling water down the drain and adding two cups of white vinegar followed by more boiling water. This should clear up any clogs so your bathroom can go back to normal!


Blocked toilet vents are a common problem for bathroom owners, and there are many causes. Blocked vents can be caused by improper installation, clogs or other debris in the drainpipe, overuse of cleaners that cause buildup on the vent cover. 


Toilet vent covers periodically be cleaned with vinegar to prevent this from happening. The Toilet vent becomes blocked due to an object down the toilet, such as clothing or paper towels. If you have a clog in your pipes, it will need to be cleared before unblocking your vent; otherwise, you may not get any airflow through your system at all! You can use a plunger, chemical drain cleaner, or dish soap, and baking soda.  


Do you know that when a toilet gets clogged, there is a chance it can cause problems with the main sewer line? This is because water can’t flow down the pipe properly. When this happens, instead of rushing into the drainpipe, it pools up in your toilet bowl and begins to fill your bathroom.


It’s common for homeowners to have problems with their main sewer line. These issues can be challenging to solve; the only way to know for sure is by having your lines inspected. Sewer problems can make bad smell, expensive and time-consuming if they are not taken care of as soon as possible. For help with solving all of your sewer line problems, contact your nearby plumbing company today!



If you’ve ever been in a position where your toilet is clogged, have you wondered if it will unclog itself? Well, the answer to that question is YES and NO. For example, suppose you leave the water running for an extended period while also flushing repeatedly. In that case, there’s a chance that eventually, the toilet will overflow or, worse yet, back up into your bathroom, causing significant damage. So before you try anything else, call a professional who can get this resolved.


  If your toilet is constantly getting blocked and it seems like there’s no way around it, here are some of the most common causes for why your toilet might keep clogging. The main reason for clogs is if too much toilet paper is used; another possible cause could be non-flushable items being flushed down the drain. The best solution? Use less bathroom tissue! Don’t flush non-flushable items; use a powerful flushing toilet, and you can check your plumber system once a year. We hope you can find you why does your toilet keeps clogging and how to solve it. 

Guest Contributor: Sohel Moheb


Looking for a delicious mom and pop shop to go visit? This is the perfect place located at 15447 South 94th Avenue Orland Park, IL 60462. This place is seriously so good! They do also have gluten free options, such as their chicken is free range and the eggs are organic! They offer Metropolis Coffee, home-made baked goods, and their very own Banana Bliss!

Lets see what others are saying about this place!

“This joint is yet another vegan-friendly option in Orland Park. I love the cauliflower tacos, but TBH, they don’t need the sliced almonds.
They usually have a good vegan special, and the banana dessert is just frozen banana, and it’s delicious.
They carry Palo Alto hot sauce and their in-house sauce, and it’s a good one!
Patio is nice in the summer! Stop in and grab a great meal! Good joint to go to if you have vegan friends or if you are the vegan friend.”
-Eric K via

“Went there for breakfast yesterday morning. The 4 of had the SECS breakfast sandwich, breakfast tacos, cinnamon bun pancakes (special) and soft scramble sandwich. All were wonderful, especially the cinnamon bun pancakes, and HUGE portions. Service was fast and friendly. A great way to start your day. Can’t wait to go back!!” -Steve O. via

“If you’re looking for a good clean family owned restaurant with a great atmosphere and freshly made food then look no further! Damn good food and they always create new dishes. Live entertainment every now and again on the weekends from what I’ve seen. Last but not least, the staff is always friendly and the owner really cares about his establishment. Highly recommended!” -Dave C. via

Here are some things that are highly recommended:

  • Breakfast Tacos
  • SECS
  • Chicken on a Pita
  • Cauliflower Tacos
  • Began Greek Orzo Salad
  • Parmesan Garlic Mac n’ Cheese

The hours of operations are:

Monday 8:00 am – 3:00 pm

Tuesday 8:00 am – 3:00 pm

Wednesday 8:00 am – 3:00 pm

Thursday 8:00 am – 3:00 pm

Friday 8:00 am – 3:00pm

Saturday 8:00 am – 3:00 pm

Sunday 8:00 am – 3:00 pm

following that, they serve breakfast Monday-Thursday until 11am and Friday-Sunday until 1pm.

Guest Contributor: Tiffany Powell