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7 Natural Ways to Get Rid of Pests in Your Home

Household pests are uninvited and unwanted guests but they still find their way in anyway. Cockroaches, termites, ants, rodents, flies, mosquitoes, bugs, fleas! Sounds familiar? Apart from the uncomfortable feeling experienced just because they creep or fly from wall to wall, some bite, sting and even transmit diseases. Cockroaches are synonymous with dirt, poor hygiene and are suspected carriers of organisms that cause typhoid fever, cholera etc.

A research by the National Pest Management Association also shows that termites cause over $5 billion of damage to properties in the U.S. each year.

Chemicals and insecticides are often used but are not without health risks and they do not permanently solve the problem. Thus, families are becoming more aware of the harmful effects associated with these chemicals and are applying natural ways to deal with the situation.

Here are 7 ways to pest proof your home naturally:

Get rid of standing water

This is one of the most effective ways to limit reproduction and survival potential of mosquitoes in your home. Basically, water aids reproduction because they like to lay eggs in and around standing water. Female mosquitoes particularly like to lay eggs in water stored in manmade containers. If you have to store up water, make use of containers that can be covered.

This is also applicable to your surrounding and not just indoors.

Keep your bathroom and kitchen clean always

Pests are attracted to oil, filth, moisture, sugar, etc., so they seek access to kitchens and bathrooms through sewage and drain pipe or cracks in the slab.

These two seem to be the most common hiding and breeding sites for pests because they are probably the most used rooms in your home. The bathroom is humid and creates a conducive atmosphere for pests to survive while the kitchen usually contains food debris, unwashed plates and oil.

Kitchen tips

  • Pick up anything that falls on the floor right away
  • Cover trash can and empty regularly
  • Cook more slowly
  • Clean tiles with baking soda

Bathroom tips

  • Remove all the items that don’t belong in your bathroom
  • Disinfect and wash the toilet bowl regularly
  • Scrub tiles and corners always
  • Clean wall, windows, shower, etc.

Use Sticky Traps

Although this only traps crawling pests, it’s a very effective method of keeping pests away from your home.  Traps can also be used to gauge how bad your invasion is if there’s any.

This method works for cockroaches, spiders, scorpions, mites, rats and other crawling insects.

Lemon and Lemon Peel

Using fresh lemon or lemon peel will keep mosquitoes, ants and flies away. This also works for outdoor gatherings and parties.

Use Vinegar

Apart from being a good cleaning agent, vinegar is a great herbicide and provides a strong barrier for insects and spiders without toxins.  Through its natural acidity, vinegar gets rid of ants, spiders and other insects.

Vinegar can also be used as a bait. Fruit flies will flock to the jar and drown in the mixture.

Essential Oils

Essential oils, such as peppermint and eucalyptus can help keep certain pests under control. Just mix of a few drops with water and spritz on bedding, carpets and rugs.

Vacuum Cleaner

Vacuum cleaner is a very effective pest control tool. Some pests such as bugs hide in the hardest places where they can’t be reached, vacuum cleaner would do the work of evicting them.

7 Architectural Wonders of Africa

Nothing defines a place as much as its architecture. In Africa, like every other continent, the art and style of designing buildings gets more competitive day by day.

Although places like Miami, Paris, Rome, Singapore and Amsterdam are known for their brilliant architecture, cities like Lagos, Cairo, Nairobi and Cape Town in Africa are doing really great and the continent has some architectural wonders you might not have heard about.

Here we go!

Mausoleum of Agostinho Neto (Luanda, Angola)

Mausoleum of Agostinho Neto is an architectural monument and remains one of the wonders of Africa because of it rocket-like structure.

Located in Luanda, the capital of Angola, it was built in honor of the first president of Angola, Agostinho Neto.

 

AU commission Conference Center and office complex (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia)

The tallest building in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, is the headquarters of the African Union and is 99.9 metres tall.

This $200million structure was funded by the Chinese government and was inaugurated in 2012.

 

1201 Ocean View (Cape Town, South Africa)

Located in Cape Town, South Africa, 1201 Ocean View is a 15-storey skyscraper.

 

National Arts Theatre (Lagos, Nigeria)

The National Arts Theatre in Iganmu is indeed an architectural masterpiece, not just for its significance but also for the exterior design which is shaped like a military hat.

Inaugurated by General Yakubu Gowon’s in 1973 and completed in 1976, the 23,000 square meters wide and 31 metres tall cultural landmark was constructed for the preservation of Nigeria’s arts and culture.

 

Alice Lane Towers (Johannesburg, South Africa)

Alice-Lane Towers is a 17-storey double tower structure, made with low-energy glass and state of the art glass-printing technology using curved and completely glazed façade, constructed out of concrete, glass and aluminum.

 

Great Pyramid of Giza (Egypt)

This pyramid was the tallest man-made structure in the world for more than 3,800 years and is the oldest and largest of the three pyramids in the Giza pyramid complex.

The 146.7 metres tall pyramid is believed to have been built over a 10 to 20 year period around 2560 BC.

 

PSPF Commercial Towers (Dar es Salaam, Tanzania)

PSPF Commercial Towers is one of the tallest buildings in Africa and the tallest in Tanzania. The 35 floor and 150.8 metres tall building was built in 2014.

Energy Consumption: 5 Amazing Ways to Save Money

So let’s start by asking the question: how energy aware are you? Well, saving energy is a great way to save money. Although energy consumption in your home depends on the types and number of electronic devices or appliances you have, appropriate management would drive reduction and improve efficiency.

These 5 conservation tips are simple ways to reduce energy consumption:

1. Change to energy efficient light bulbs

No one likes to stay in the dark, so lighting makes up about 12% of your home’s energy usage. You can save up to 75% percent of that energy by replacing incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs.

LED bulbs are the most energy efficient lighting option and they also last up to 20 times longer.

2. Shut it off!

If you’re not using it, just push the button and shut it off. Appliances are sometimes left on and running when not in use and therefore consume energy that could have been conserved. Lights, televisions, computers, name it. Shut it off!

  • When you leave the room, turn off the lights
  • Turn off the TV when you’re done watching
  • Don’t leave your water heater on, etc.

You can also install door handles that automatically turn off electricity and gas when you leave.

3. Reduce phantom load

This might surprise you! Plugged electronic devices and appliances still consume energy even when not turned on.

Statistics have shown that in the average home, 75% of the electricity used to power home electronics is consumed while the products are turned off. You can eliminate phantom loads by unplugging appliances and electronics when you are not using them.

For example, phone chargers draw energy as long as they are plugged in the socket. Simply remove them when you are not charging.

4. Open your refrigerator only when necessary

Sometimes, we just browse our refrigerators for the fun of it. You just want to stare at that bowl of ice cream or you crave a wink from the box of chocolate. No! Save the scan for the pantry.

Ok seriously, this accounts for 7% of the appliance’s total energy use, so you might want to stop.

5. Improve Air Conditioning efficiency

Though the energy consumption of air conditioners vary from size, to type, characteristics of your home and weather conditions, they consume more than most appliances.

Below are ways to improve efficiency while you also save some money.

  • Replace your old air conditioner with an energy-efficient one
  • Insulate the home or building
  • Shade the windows from outside
  • Service regularly
  • Close all doors and windows
  • Use portable or ceiling fans
  • Ventilate at night or early in the morning
  • Turn off other internal heat sources when cooling
  • Use timers

 

Top 3 Reasons Your Home is Still on the Market

One of the major challenges most homeowners or property investors face is the time it takes to sell off a property. The longer it stays on the market, the more difficult it may be to sell. Buyers often ask how long it has been on the market for two reasons:

If the property was so good and the offer is right, how come it stayed so long? There must be something wrong with the home! Have you noticed the moment a potential buyer is aware there is another buyer with an offer, they tend to sit up? The reason is simple, no one wants to be interested in what nobody is interested in.

Secondly, buyers believe there may be a lot of repairs since it’s been vacant and on the market for too long.

With the vast majority of sellers still assigning the sale of their property to estate agents, you might still be stuck with them for weeks or years if you choose the wrong ones. So, it ‘s an advantage if you are aware of these three tips.

Your house is overpriced

The moment you introduce your home to the market for sale, it will naturally attract a lot of traffic. Seeing that it is newly introduced, prospective buyers would call your agent to make enquiries, book for inspection, consult with the buyer and make offers.

However, if the price is too high, they would move on to look for better deals. You should be able to compromise at some point. Always do your research to understand the reasonable rates in that neighborhood before you place a value or better still carry out a pre-sale property valuation.

An unrealistic asking price would make a house linger on the market for too long.

Cumbersome inspection procedures

The more prospective buyers inspect your property, the higher your chances of selling. Don’t get tired. It should not be hard for your potential buyers to inspect the home they want to buy.

You also need to be prepared for the inspection and be ready to provide answers to any questions. Gather necessary paperwork, draw a map of the property or locate your survey, fix what needs fixing and be prepared to negotiate. You can also turn on utilities and ensure the process is easy.

It’s not attractive enough

You need to do better especially if you’re selling a used house. If you can’t get potential buyers past the front yard, then there’s problem. Clean the gutters, remove posters from the wall, paint the front door, and clean the windows.

Buyers want to see the potentials. A cluttered and dirty environment would defeat that. If you could stand at your front door, act like a prospective buyer and take a close look around, you will notice a couple of things that need to be attended to.

A quick checklist for home maintenance

Oh yes, there’s a checklist for every task under the sun. Whether you plan to sell your home or not, it’s important to carry out regular maintenance and repairs. Home maintenance is a preventive measure and it helps to ensure the value of your home does not depreciate.

It will cost you more to replace eventually than to maintain and repair regularly:

  • Inspect roofing for missing, loose, or damaged shingles and leaks.
  • Change the air-conditioner filter.
  • Clean window and door screens.
  • Polish wood furniture, and dust light fixtures.
  • Remove leaves and debris from gutters and downspouts.
  • Replace the batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Have a professional inspect and pump the septic tank.
  • Inspect sink, shower, and bath caulking for deterioration.
  • Vacuum lint from dryer vent.

 

Facilities Management: Why You Should Outsource

In 2011, statistics revealed that residential, industrial and commercial sectors used up 24.5% (131,000 PJ) of the world’s energy flow, with a colossal part of it wasted due to inefficiency (Business Insider).

Research has also proven that managing energy consumption and facilities in-house could deter your organization from achieving its business goals and strategic objectives.

Your facilities are part of your assets. Good management will increase its productivity, boost efficiency, ensure durability and enhance your competitive advantage.

Here are the top 3 reasons outsourcing is becoming more and more attractive by the day:

It is Cost-effective                                                      
Outsourcing will have a positive impact on your bottom line and this is definitely one of the most attractive advantages.

Industry Expertise
Hiring a professional facilities management service provider gives you the opportunity to leverage the experience these industry experts have.

Focus on Key Business
Not outsourcing your FM needs would distract your organization, especially if you are in an entirely different industry. Outsourcing this task will allow you focus on your core competencies and pursue your purpose.

Click here to see our  FM services.

 

How to Buy a Trouble-free Home

Not many joyous moments compare to when most people purchase their first home.  The reason is simple; it’s one of the biggest financial investments and that moment is truly emotional.

How would it feel if that asset turned into a nightmare? A real nightmare. Unfortunately, a lot of people spend more time and energy researching their next automobile than they do on a property they would like to buy.

Several construction defects such as faulty wiring, foundation damage, leaking roof and even legal issues, may arise after purchase. Buying a home could be a long and intricate process. It is important to follow the steps below in order to reduce or totally eliminate the possibility of these nightmares.

Know what you want

Having a clear picture of what your want automatically reduces your search period. Reasonably, your agent should not take you to a 5-bedroom apartment when you gave him a brief for a 3-bedroom. It ensures a good use of your time.

Thorough inspection will protect you

Every single detail matters, so you need to look beyond the color! To make sure your potential home is in a good condition, engage an independent professional to inspect the property. In the case of used houses, you should note the required repairs and request for a discount accordingly.

Conduct a title search

Clear title to a property is one of the most important factors to be considered before purchase. There are various means to investigate the title and it is a must to engage in the process of retrieving documents evidencing events in the history of the property, to determine relevant interests and regulations concerning that property.

Get a Lawyer to review your contract

A lawyer can help you avoid some common problems with a home purchase. Realtors often use standard forms, expecting they will cover all circumstances or will be easily customizable for unusual circumstances.

Your lawyer will review the contract on your behalf and interpret unclear clauses. Never agree to or sign what you don’t understand.

Happy home hunting!

Let the Walls Speak

Let the Walls Speak

Gone are those days when walls were left unembellished. We all must have had our reservations about the use of wallpapers at one time or the other, but these days, it is safe to say “wallpaper is the new paint”.

Wallpapers add an instant personal style and also make a design statement. It just gives that wide variety of assortment from the very first glance.

Another advantage of these wall coverings is that depending on what you choose it can give your home a big and bold or soft and subtle look.

Fixing your wallpaper

While hanging wallpapers, it is important to note the following:

  • Choose the right kind of wallpaper texture and design that fits the room. .They come in many different materials: Vinyl, embossed, textile-based, etc.
  • Prepare the surface by removing old paint and irregularities in order to have a smooth finishing.
  • Apply glue and remember to leave the wallpaper for 5 to10 minutes.
  • After gluing carefully, smooth out with a dry cloth, wiping the remnants of glue.

However, if you’re thinking of the right locations to hang wallpapers in your home, below are a few ideas.

Behind shelves

Although bookshelves can be boring and untidy sometimes, you can still make it a conversation piece. One of the best ways to beautify your bookshelf space is to highlight the background with wallpaper.

It gets better when you use different patterned wallpapers in the same hue.

On the ceiling

This application of wallpaper is very brilliant. Coordinating with the wall color, a carefully chosen wallpaper design on your ceiling will create a unique environment to live in.

 

In the Kitchen

Wallpapers are easy to maintain and clean. So a great use of wallpaper in the kitchen still allows for easy cleaning.

You can install paper in the back of kitchen cabinets. This works particularly well with painted cabinets.

In the bathroom

You should consider wallpapers at strategic corners of your bathroom, especially if you have some parts covered with tiles.

A splash of bright wallpaper looks great with bathtubs, Jacuzzi, faucets and other bathroom materials.

 

How To Nail a Presentation

Did you know that your presentation should be as powerful as your ideas?  As a matter of fact, it should be more believable and engaging. A bad presentation can kill a good idea.

This is because you have that one opportunity to share the thoughts you’ve carefully penned down. Imagine you have one minute to communicate your best idea; the one you have always believed will change the world. Imagine you have one minute to convince the richest Man in the world.

What should you say and how should you say it?

  1. A brief introduction is very essential
  2. Identify and mention existing problems and gaps
  3. Never talk out of point; proffer the solution: Even when you deviate, find your way back to the matter at hand in a very smart way.
  4. Highlight the benefits, advantages etc.
  5. Conclude your presentation
  6. Thank your audience for the opportunity and let everyone have your contact details if possible.

A good speaker must be sensitive to how the audience listens or responds and should be able to adjust based on that.

RAINY SEASON: “Dos and Don’ts”

Rainy season is here again and it is very important to be aware of our environment in order to reduce or totally avoid mishap and casualties. Below are a few Dos and Don’ts.

Get your roof ready for the rains.

Inspect your roof twice per year to avoid costly problems that can escalate into tremendous cost.

  • Look for cracks along the ridge of your roof and where your shingles fold over to form the cap.

Take a look at your gutters to make sure that they drain well and don’t cause water to back up.

Also make sure that there are not a lot of little granules collecting in there. Granules in your gutter are a sign that your roof’s coating needs to be resealed.

Make sure that you don’t have any down pipe clogs.

Work from the inside out.

Inside your home, check out your ceilings to make sure that you are not experiencing signs of roof or other leakage. Be on the lookout for water rings, mold or wall or ceiling discoloration. Make any necessary repairs to fix the issue and prevent it from happening again during the upcoming rainy season.

Tackle your doors and your windows.

Make sure that both close and seal properly, and make any repairs or improvements as necessary.

Make sure that dead branches have been cleared from around your house.

This will reduce the risk that they will fall during the storm and damage your home.

Consider the use of sandbags to put into the low areas around your house to help keep flood water at bay.

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