Author Archives: Howard Smedley

The Pros And Cons Of Tankless Water Heaters

shower head

My water heater was the last thing I want to be worrying about at this point in time. If it was actually doing what it’s supposed to, then I wouldn’t be thinking about it every second. Between rusty coloured water and frequent pilot outages and service calls over the past six months, it had gotten way more attention than it deserves. I came to the conclusion that it had reached the end of its life span, so I started looking for a more energy efficient water heating solution. I called my local service company who specializes in tankless water heating, and with their help, I chose to have a tankless water heater installed.

Here are a few things you should consider when the time comes to replace your water heater with a tankless.

What You Need To Know About Tankless Water Heaters?

Just as the name suggests, a tankless water heater doesn’t come with a tank. It’s opposite to what you have been seeing in your basement or furnace room. The functions are ultimately different too because you don’t need to store the hot water in a tank until it’s needed. Rather, the tankless water heater only heats up the water when it’s needed.

storage water heaterWith the traditional storage tank water heater, when the heated water is finished, more water will be added then heated to a certain temperature. It remains in the tank until it is needed. Of course, there are cases when you need hot water and it’s not available because it takes time for the water to be heated again. Therefore, the tankless water heater systems are more superior.

With the heat exchanger, you can get hot water whenever you need it. The heat exchanger is turned on when you are using the shower, dishwasher, washing machine or your faucets. The hot water passes through the coils then to the hot water outlet pipe and lands in your laundry room, kitchen or bathroom. If you don’t need hot water, the cold water will stop getting into the water heater and it turns off until you need hot water again.

The Advantages Of A Tankless Water Heater

1. Long Lasting – The tankless water heaters are constructed using the best materials. Thus they have a very tankless-water-heater-installationlong life span. They also have ridiculously low operating costs. Also, some of the newer models have replaceable parts so there’s no long-term impact on the environment.

2. Endless Hot Water – A lot of storage tanks are limited to the size of the tank. Your hot water often runs out if everyone uses it before you do. Well, with the tankless water heater, you can use hot water whenever you need it and as long as there is enough energy to heat it up.

3. Conservation Of Energy – With a traditional water heater, the appliance needs to turn on and off repeatedly to keep the water warm and ready to use whenever needed. Eventually, you will spend a lot of money on your utility bills. With the tankless options, the water is heated quickly whenever needed and proves to be more energy efficient. At least 94% energy efficiency rating with the tankless water heaters means that your utility bills will reduce accordingly.

4. Saving Space – Real estate has become very expensive the last few years. People are now being forced to live in smaller spaces. Therefore installing traditional water heaters will take up a lot of space in your home causing a lot of inconvenience. A tankless water heater doesn’t need a lot of space. Actually, you will install it near the roof and there is a lot of room to do whatever you want with it.

5. Eco-Friendly – Tankless water heaters reduce the consumption of non-renewable fuel resources. Also, they can be repaired easily with replaceable parts. Note that, with the traditional water heaters, you need to replace them entirely when they are damaged.

The Disadvantages Of Tankless Water Heaters

1. High Installation Costs – You should expect to pay a huge amount with the upfront costs such as buying Tankless water heater the water heater itself and installing it in your home. As part of the installation, you need to consider new venting and gas lines. Although, this is a considerable disadvantage for people on a budget, you should know that you will recover the costs after installation. You will start saving a lot of money with reduced energy use and bills.

2. Reduced Water Output – A 60 gallon tank with hot water might be considered wasteful but it’s quite convenient, especially when you need to do laundry, take a shower and run the dishwasher concurrently. A tankless water heater might be more energy efficient but it has a reduced water output. In most cases, you might be forced to install more than one in your home. You should choose a tankless water heater that fits your lifestyle to avoid any inconveniences.

Should You Rent Or Buy A Tankless Water Heater?

When you are considering a tankless water heater, you need to ascertain whether buying or renting is the best choice for you. If you choose to buy one, you should encounter some upfront costs but there are no rental fees. However, you will be responsible for the repair and maintenance fees of the water heater.

On the other hand, if you choose to rent your tankless water heater, you can choose a good rental plan. For instance, you can get one with free installation offers and get the required warranties at the most affordable price. Take the time to weight the various options and choose the best one for you.

How I Got Rid of Squirrels In My Attic

pesty squirrel

Squirrels In The Attic

Recenly, a squirrel had decided my attic would be its new home. To get rid of it, the experts wanted me to pay about 500 dollars so considering that price tag, I thought I’d get rid of the problem on my own.

I initially put some peanut butter in a cage that I purchased and then placed it up on the roof, but had no success. I discovered that I was targeting not just one squirrel, but a mother squirrel and her young ones, and needed to bring my strategy to a whole new level …

When dealing with a family of squirrels, exercise some patience.

Doing absolutely nothing was my next option. These animals usually live in attics for only a short while, I later discovered. At four months of age baby squirrels break away from their family units, as they become independent. To keep other squirrels from nesting in my attic in future, I decided to wait for the current baby squirrels to disperse before sealing off the opening they used to access this space.

Here’s a few things I learned through the experience…

The attic, which is relatively quiet and dark, is seen, by the mother squirrel, as a safe place for her young family. It’s possible to convince the mother squirrel that the space is no longer safe for her family, and thus force her to move them out, if I introduce some scents, noise and light into this dark and quiet haven.

Brighten Up Their Space

lighted attci

Whether outside or inside, install a bright source of light at the entrance into the squirrels’ den. Remember to find a fire safe light. When looking for a potential nesting spot, squirrels tend to avoid brightly lit spaces.

Introducing Noise

old speakers

Close to the den entrance, place a radio tuned to a talk station. Squirrels are scared of human voices; however, music doesn’t have the same effect on them.

Introduce A Strong Scent

Place some rags in a plastic bag after soaking them in ammonia or Apple Cider Vinegar. Hang it next to the entrance into the squirrel’s den and then make some holes in the bag and leave the strong scent to escape into the surrounding area. Alternatively, you can use kitty litter placed in a plastic bag instead of the soaked rags. Both scents are threatening to the adult squirrel as they resemble the smell of predators.

Now Wait …

Maintain the above set up for the next 72 hours. To force the squirrel to move out of the attic, you have to be relentless.

Testing For Success

crumpled ball of paper

Use a paper test to check whether the squirrels have left; you can tape over the entrance hole, two sheets of newspaper, or ball up and stuff a newspaper into the opening. Come back after 72 hours. The squirrels have moved out if you don’t hear any noises in the attic and the paper is still in place. Before you permanently repair the opening, use a ¼ inch wire mesh to cover it in the mean time.

Voila. In my case, this worked. I followed it up with a comprehensive sealing project of all openings.

In the future, my attic will be free of squirrels, fingers crossed.

A Look At Human Rights

Human Rights march

Human rights are the inalienable rights that every person should choose to enjoy irrespective of their gender, ethnic origin, nationality, religion, language, and skin color.

All individual, of all ages, should enjoy these rights without facing any form of discrimination. Human rights are expressed and guaranteed by different laws in various forms including general principles, customary international law, treaties, and other legislation.

Human rights should be envisioned in the laws of every nation with the governments expected to act in a manner that promotes and protects these rights and freedoms of every person, citizen or otherwise. These rights apply to each one of us and are not just for those facing mistreatment or repression. They protect us in many areas of our day-to-day life and advocate for things like one’s right to a family and private life, the right to express one’s opinion, and the right to not be wrongly punished or mistreated by authority.

The Characteristics of Our Human Rights

man standing with arms raised in freedom

They are Essential and Necessary

Human rights ensure that every living person has social, spiritual, physical and moral welfare rights and create suitable conditions for the material and moral uplifting of the individuals in a society.

They are Irrevocable

Human rights are irrevocable, meaning that no one can take them away from you considering that they are centered/founded on the very nature of man (socially-speaking). Because of this, each human being is entitled to these rights.

They are inherent

These rights are inherent as they aren’t granted by any single authority or person. They cannot be bought, inherited or earned; they belong to us simply because we are human.

They are Imperceptible

Human rights don’t prescribe and can’t be lost even if a man does not assert or use them, even after a long time.

They are Interdependent

These rights are dependent on each other since the exercise or fulfillment of one can’t be had until the other is, first of all, realized.

They are Universal

Human rights do not belong to a specific group or class of people; they belong to every living human being.

They are Dynamic

Human rights are dynamic in nature and change as the society changes.

From what we have already learned, we see that these are the most basic freedoms and rights that belong to every living person in the world right from birth to their death. They apply to each one of us irrespective of where we are from, what we believe or how we choose to live our lives. These rights cannot be taken away; though they can be restricted – a good example is when someone breaks the law, or when the interests of nation’s security are at stake.

These rights are centered around value like fairness, respect, independence, equality, and dignity.

However, it is important to note that they aren’t just abstract concepts since they are protected and defined by law.

It is important to note that Human Rights entail both obligations and rights. States assume duties and obligations under international law to protect, respect and fulfill them. While each of us is entitled to human rights, it is important that we also respect the rights of others.

Fresh Eggs From My Back Yard

egg laying hens

Well, a few years back I decided buy a few laying hens, set up a pen in the back, and help myself to some daily fresh eggs. As it turns out, I’ve gotten quite attached to the hens and even named them; Susie, Anna, and Tracy. Anyways here’s a few things I’ve learned I thought I’d pass on for anyone interested in flirting with the idea.

Caring For Laying Hens

Good care is essential to ensure regular production from your laying hens on your small homestead or hobby farm.

These five tips should keep them laying, healthy and happy …

Hen Selection

Some species of hens are better prospects for laying eggs than others. Different types of poultry will also produce different types of eggs – large or small, brown or white eggs. So do some research and select a breed that will suit your requirements.

The Coop

Free range chickens are the easiest to care for but still require a coop where they can go too roost and lay their eggs, otherwise you may be going on regular egg hunts that may include your neighbors property. A coop is a little difficult to build but if you really don’t want to do-it-yourself, get a carpenter or builder to help you.

Chickens restrained permanently in a coop need additional maintenance. The coop needs to be cleaned regularly, the chickens may need to be fed more often and eggs removed to stimulate additional laying.

Feeding

White rooster and hens

Ideally, a chicken coop should have a feeder and watering station. Free range chickens can forage for their own food but will need supplement feeds at least twice a day. Ask your local feed store about the types of chicken feed that are best to promote laying.

A Rooster

It is best not to have a rooster at all around laying hens. There production may become dependent on mating and the eggs they produced may be fertilized. Unless you are breeding chickens, there is simply no need for a rooster.

A rooster can also be somewhat aggressive during mating, pulling feathers and getting a little rough with the hens.

Egg Collection

various fresh egg varieties in a bowl

This is an essential function of caring for laying hens. Hens that are roosting or sitting on their eggs are unlikely to produce more. So it is best to remove the eggs as soon as possible.

Another reason to remove eggs immediately is because they could turn rotten in the heat. This is especially important in warm climates and during the summer months. The heat supplied by mother hen while roosting could turn eggs in a very short period of time. Eggs should ideally be collected daily or even twice a day to be on the safe side.

Chickens are the easiest of all domestic farming animals to take care of and are the ideal starting point for a small farm. You may even be surprised at how attached you become to your hens and your ability to start recognizing different laying patterns in each individual.

I hope you enjoyed this read and fell free to leave a comment or share some of your own experiences.

Seven Reasons To Never Give Up On Your Dreams

man on mountain summit

Never, Never, Quit on Your Dream

Can you remember as a child who you wanted to be when you grew up? Did you want to be a baker or fireman? Maybe you wanted to be a ballerina. Regardless of whether you still dream of twirling around in a pink tutu or racing to put out a house fire, you likely still have dreams you want to achieve for your life. The only question is really whether or not you’re doing it. Are you putting actual effort in achieving it? Or have you allowed your daily life to take over and stifle those dreams?

Here Are Seven Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Give Up On Your Dreams

The Benefits Of Failure

We typically think of failure as bad but there are some benefits to it. The average person won’t even try to achieve their dreams out of fear of failing. This is only because they don’t understand that this is the way that people learn and grow.

Abraham Lincoln

There are numerous examples in American success stories where someone had to fail again and again before achieving what they hoped for. Abraham Lincoln failed in war, he failed as a businessman, as an attorney, and his first attempts in politics were also failures. Even so, he ultimately became one of the most respected presidents of the United States of all time. In school, Thomas Edison was told by his teachers that he was stupid and it took him over a thousand attempts before successfully inventing the light-bulb.

Michael Jordon

Michael Jordan failed to make the high school basketball team when he first tried and according to his own admission, he’s missed over 9000 shots in his career. He lost close to 300 games and failed to hit the game-winning shot 26 different times. He is quoted as saying that because he failed, again and again, he was able to succeed. These success stories help us understand that we shouldn’t give up on the pursuit of our dreams out of fear that we might fail.

Be Persistent

When someone experiences lots of failure they learn to be persistent. This is a tool that is often learned by experiencing the hardship of failure. Those who don’t fall down never learn how to get back up. Each time we are able to get up after a failure we become stronger and that makes us more able to reach our target.

Avoid The Agony Of Having To Wonder What Might Have Been

Perhaps you regret not trying something in your life. Maybe you wanted to try out for a part in a school play or you wanted to ask someone special out on a date. Even years later you might sometimes recall those things and regret the fact that you didn’t pursue those dreams.

The way to simply avoid having that kind of regret is to simply try to do the things you want to do. It isn’t always necessary to do some huge thing but if you put together a plan that allows you to take small steps towards your goal, then you can get started moving in the right direction. Step by step you can get yourself there.

Experience Small Successes Along The Way

When you set big dreams you get to enjoy the satisfaction of achieving small successes along the way. These small successes can be celebrated and enjoyed. They can also motivate and inspire you towards the bigger goal and, in time, allow you to achieve it.

Enjoy The Pursuit

It is not only the destination but the pursuit that can be enjoyed. In our constitution, we are given the right to pursue happiness. Life is often the things that happen while we are pursuing our happiness and our dreams. We are able to make friendships, memories, experience love, and learn skills as part of the process. When we go to apply for college it might lead to our meeting our perfect soulmate. When we’re trying to earn a promotion at work we might develop a mentor. To benefit from those things that come our way during the pursuit, we have to take action and follow our dreams.

Success Is Often Closer Than You Think

mans arm reaching out

People often don’t know how close they are. You just don’t know what that one extra phone call will result in, what will happen at that next interview. If you put in one more late night at work following your passions it may be just the thing that was needed. It’s quite common for people to give up just before they achieve success. We don’t know the future but what we can do is keep working toward our dreams.

Be An Example

By following your dreams you can be a great example to those you care about. If you have children you don’t want them to think about you sitting around watching reruns on TV. You’d rather have them thinking about you as people who follow their passions. When you work towards your dreams you teach the younger generation how to do so. You help them to learn to never give up.

Don’t You Ever Give Up On Your Dream

My Personal Thoughts About Loyalty Programs

angry man with a banana

“Go ahead and swipe your rewards card if you have one.”

“Do you have a rewards card? Would you like one for free?”

“After you buy 10 items, you can earn bonus points, upgrades, free coffee, and vouchers!”

“It only takes a minute. Please join, you won’t regret it! It’s free! Why wouldn’t you want free stuff? (Are you serious?)”

I’m going to be honest. I have no desire to be a part of your club, program or scheme, because of the fact that you offer nothing that I want. If there were other things I wanted from you, I would have already bought it with the other stuff I just bought.

Please stop wasting my time over filing out these forms, getting statements, being told about all these “exclusive” offers, as well as monitoring my points and membership card.

I never remember my own points and often times they expire, obviously the reason I don’t bother anymore. I have my own leisure time I’m interested in, and those tasks take away from that time. My time is golden in my eyes. Regardless of how much money I make, time will always be more valuable to me. Why can’t these loyalty programs just pay me for my time that they waste? How about $90/hour, which is more than I make. That’s how I view my time.

oversized wallet in mans back pants pocket

There was a time when my wallet was so loaded with receipts and methods of keeping track of various points and loyalty programs that I could barely even fit it into my primary school pants. Yeah yeah, I lost a bet and had them because I tend to hoard, buzz off. Besides, I ended up splitting those pants, just like my wallet.

These loyalty programs are supposedly ways to save us money. Yeah right. Instead, they just are money makers for themselves, otherwise they wouldn’t waste time promoting them. However with the way companies talk about their rewards programs, it makes me feel as though I’m missing out on something, or am a fool for not joining. But the moment I join, I quickly remember how pointless it really is.

Once I join, all I end up thinking about when out and about, is “I didn’t forget that card, did I?” “Where is that receipt with the voucher?” “Did I seriously leave it at home again?” “I got a flight to book, where’s the card with my Frequent Flyer points?” I spend nearly an hour looking for this stuff, and realize I’m not going to find it, and have just wasted my time.

Can you imagine working for one of those schemes? What does it feel like asking people to sign up over and over? They must know themselves what a waste of time it really is. Having that type of involvement doesn’t do anything for people, except the ones profiting off of it.

I say we should make them all illegal. Get rid of these special prices, club pricing, member’s discounts, or frequent shopper points to eventually get a small discount. Want more customers? Drop your prices for everyone. And say it doesn’t happen, we can still get those prices to drop and schemes to disappear by refusing involvement. They can’t exist without any members.

I’m going to begin a club without any membership fees, no discounts, secret offers, and won’t bother you ever again. Just say “no” to all those other clubs. The benefit? More freedom, more time. Use that extra time wisely. It’s gotta be worth more than $90 an hour.

Well that’s my opinion. Leave a comment below and let me know what you think about it.

Do You Really Know The Person You’re About To Marry

a couple embracing

Do you really know who you’re marrying because if you don’t, then you might want to think about calling things off, at least for a little while.

You really need to know who you’re marrying because the last thing you want is to wed the wrong person. I mean you can’t possibly know everything about them, after all, they might not even know themselves (now that’s a scary thought). But, you can tell a lot about a person by going through some struggles together. Struggle is a great character reveler.

Here’s a few things to consider …

Happiness And Your Emotional Well-Being

angry man

The person you’re marrying should bring more happiness than sadness in your life. If your fiance’s moods, actions and behavior is erratic and unpredictable. This is not how things should be.

The right person should not be selfish, negative, critical or extremely judgmental. If you’re emotional well-being is not good around them, then you’re with the wrong person. Your relationship should be more positive than negative, so if you’re second-guessing your happiness and emotional well-being, then it’s time to reconsider things.

Affection and Intimacy

Affection and intimacy are crucial aspects of a successful marriage. The right person will be attentive to your wants and needs, which includes both intimacy and affection. If you feel that you’re giving much more affection and intimacy in the relationship, then you probably don’t know your partner as good as you think. You are probably under the assumption that you’re marrying the perfect person, but if they are selfish when it comes to your needs, then they are probably not going to change anytime soon.

man being courteous to his lady

The person you’re marrying should be polite and considerate. They should also do little things for you, such as holding the door open for you (if you’re a lady). Remember, it’s the little things that really count, especially in a marriage.

Communication and Trust

Finally, there’s trust and communication. If communication is a one-way street with your partner, then you don’t know them as good as you think they do. Not only that, but if you do not have 100% trust in your partner, then this is a bad sign. A healthy and successful marriage includes excellent communication between the couple, as well as trust.

couple with their backs to each other

If you’ve caught your partner in multiple lies, then you should reconsider marrying them. Even if they’ve lied about very small things. Remember, a marriage survives on trust and without that, then your marriage is doomed to fail at some point in the future.

Don’t Get Married Until You Ask / Discuss with Your Partner These Questions …

All too often, people think they know who they are marrying, and they eventually find out they didn’t. Keep this article in mind if you plan on getting married.