How To Prepare Your Motorcycle For Short-Term And Long-Term Storage

motorcycle storageUp to 35% of American households own three or more vehicles while the average family owns two. Unfortunately, not many households and driveways have enough room to shelter all these vehicles including motorcycles.

Unlike cars and trucks, motorcycles can only be ridden during certain times of the year. Although Texas is renowned for its warm weather, the lower winter temperatures can sometimes be too much for some riders. It’s for this reason that many riders will choose to place their bikes in motorcycle storage for the season.

However, before you place your bike in motorcycle storage it’s essential to properly prepare your bike. This can help to prevent damage, especially if you’re keeping your bike in motorcycle storage for longer than a few months.

Empty the fuel tank

Whether or not you choose to keep fuel in your motorcycle’s tank while it sits in vehicle storage depends on how long you plan to store it for. For instance, a few months in storage may be fine to keep a little gas in the tank.

However, if you’re placing your bike in outdoor storage or enclosed storage for a long period of time, it may be in your best interest to empty the fuel tank. This is because gas, when kept in the fuel tank, can cause condensation and rust damage to your bike over time.

To prevent rust during short-term storage, consider using a fuel stabilizer in the gas tank before you place the bike in storage. To circulate the stabilizer, ride the bike for a few minutes and then finish preparation by filling the tank.

Prop up your bike

You can cause permanent damage to your bike’s tires if you simply park your bike in an open air storage facility. This is also true if you keep your bike stored regularly in your garage.

An immobile bike places pressure on a single spot on the bike’s tires. Even when re-inflated, the tires won’t be able to re-shape because the rubber has shifted.

To prevent tire damage, keep your bike on a center stand. This will help reduce the pressure on the wheels and keep them from changing shape over time.

If your bike is taking up space in your garage or if you don’t have the right space to keep it dry and safe from hail, consider using motorcycle storage. Contact Toy Box Storage today for more information on available space.

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8 Steps to Finding the Perfect Vacation Home

beach real estATEFinding a nice vacation home can be a fun project or a fairly stressful endeavor. In the current economy, we are all trying to save a little where we can, so dishing out on beach real estate might not seem ideal.

However, there are a few things you can do to get your dream vacation without breaking the bank. If you are thinking of buying a place for the first time, you are in good company. In 2014 alone, 33% of buyers were first time buyers, anywhere from 31- to 53-years-old. Here are some tips that will hopefully help you in choosing the perfect vacation spot, whether it be a pool side condominiums or a nice stretch of beach property.

    1. Choose a touristy area
      The cheapest vacation rentals on the market are usually in places that attract a lot of tourists. This makes vacation home prices competitive. Many places will have beach real estate, but the most inexpensive way to find it is to look into popular vacation destinations. One thing to remember about areas like this is that while vacation rentals may be cheaper, hotels will probably be more expensive. You could either stay a night at a hotel or for the same price, stay a week in a vacation home.
    1. Compare
      Before settling down on a specific vacation home, make sure you comparison shop. It’s very easy to find all kinds of different rental home listings online without having to commit to any single one. Some places may seem expensive, but will have discounts or group rates available so make sure to look into all of those kinds of perks as well.
    1. Never send money first
      Say you find the best beach real estate in the area and you want to prepare it before anyone else grabs it. The danger with this is that there are a number of scams that you want to be careful of. If the beach real estate owner is requiring money before signing paperwork, this is a good indicator that something could be wrong. You want to read all of the details, see the fine print, check references and find out any details that you might need before signing the paperwork. Once this is done and you’re confident that the company is legitimate, then you can make your payment.
    1. Emergency contacts
      Make sure that your rental contract informs you of who to call should something in the vacation home breakdown while you’re there. They should already have it in the paperwork. If possible, get the information of a backup emergency contact, just in case you cannot get a hold of the first person.
    1. Pets
      Many vacation homes do not accept pets, but some do. There may be an extra fee for your furry friend, but isn’t it worth it? Find out before signing the paperwork if it will be a deal breaker for you.
    1. What is the refund policy?
      If you need to check out early, will you be refunded a portion? What if you have to cancel the trip last minute? This is something else that you need to find out. It should be in your paperwork or contract.
    1. Early reservations
      Since you will be looking into popular areas, they will fill up fast, so you’ll want to try to plan and reserve as early as six months out. That way, you can get the best deal available, as well as the home that you want.

With the 115 million housing units available in the U.S., there is bound to be something that will work for you.

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Three Shocking Signs Your Home is In Need of a Sewer Line Replacement

Oil lickign from pipeWhile going through the motions of your day-to-day activities and responsibilities, it’s easy to forget about your sewer lines — the system of pipes that helps keep your plumbing functioning at its optimal level. However, these sewer lines often need repairs or even replacements to keep working.

As a result, it’s imperative that you never forget about your sewer lines, especially if you have lived in your home for several decades or plan to do so. Luckily, there are a few key warning signs to let you know if your sewer lines need a trenchless sewer replacement or not.

Not sure if you should invest in a replacement sewer line installation for your home? To find out, take a look at these three indicators that your home needs a trenchless pipe replacement:

You own an older home
Did you know that homes that were built more than 40 years ago are the most likely to need a sewer line replacement? This is because the average sewer system is built to have a lifespan of about 40 years; if they aren’t repaired or replaced before their lifespan is up, you could risk having your sewer lines collapse, causing waste water to flood your yard and home.

Tree roots have grown into your sewer line
Above all else, tree roots are the top cause for clogs and blockage within sewer lines. If a sewer line develops even the smallest crack, it will leak moisture into the surrounding earth. And because tree roots seek out moisture in the ground for survival, small, hairlike roots will soon begin to grow into your sewer lines. If tree roots have clogged your sewer lines, it might be time for a trenchless sewer replacement or repair.

Slow drains throughout your home
Have you noticed that the drains in your home are going much slower than they should be — and typical drain-clearing products aren’t working? If so, your sewer lines could be in trouble. It’s helpful to have a sewer line inspection performed to determine the root cause of the problem; from there, a sewer specialist can tell you how to fix your sewer lines.

Have any other questions or thoughts about the trenchless sewer replacement process? Feel free to let us know by leaving a comment below.

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Three Quick Ways to Give Back to Your Community When You’re Short on Time

Charity Worker Collecting From Couple In StreetTo say the least, Americans are very generous people with big, open hearts. According to recent research, more than half — 70% — of Americans make charity donations in some form each year in the United States. This is especially evident during the winter holiday season, when donations for non profit organizations reach their peak.

Unfortunately, however, it can be difficult to find time to make charitable donations with today’s hectic lifestyles. Not only are Americans generous in terms of helping families in need, they’re also extremely hardworking, with many Americans juggling several jobs, college, and their personal lives.

Luckily, if you find yourself unable to carve out a large chunk of time in your schedule to make charity donations to non profit organizations in your area, there are still a number of ways you can give back to your community, even if you’re short on time.

Here’s just a few ideas to keep in mind.

Clothing donations
Donating gently used clothing is perhaps one of the easiest ways to support your local community, requiring very little time and effort. There are a number of organizations that accept clothing donations and will pick them up directly from your home, office, or business. Simply schedule a donation date and pick up time and leave the items outside. That’s it! In addition, clothing donations help to reduce the amount of textile waste that ends up in landfills. Did you know that 99% of clothing that is thrown away could have been recycled or reused?

The gift of life is perhaps one of the most valuable donations you can make, and only requires about half an hour of your time. A single pint of donated blood can save up to three lives! The Red Cross is always in need of blood and plasma donors, and frequently has mobile blood drives, allowing you to donate on the go or at a time that is most convenient for you.

Care package
Assembling a care package online only takes a few minutes. Simply select the items you’d like to include in the package, pay the fee, and that’s it, you’re done! There are a number of organizations that offer this service, especially for military families and active duty military personnel. You can choose to remain anonymous, or attach a personal note.

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Three Ways to Make Sure Your Electrical System Works Properly

residential electricalEven though residential electrical systems are more reliable thanks to design and quality improvements, most homeowners just don’t maintain them the way they should. You see, these residential electrical systems operate just fine for years and years with little to no maintenance at all, so most homeowners will only take action when the system fails or something else goes haywire. Even in such scenarios, homeowners just want their residential electricians to fix or replace only whatever’s busted, so that the system can quickly get back into operation.

Too often people experience problems with their system that could’ve been prevented with regular maintenance checkups! What makes this problem so mind boggling to electricians is the fact that homeowners can easily do simple things that help prevent such power failures. Having regular maintenance performed on residential electrical systems is just one of many ways homeowners can ensure that their systems work ever so smoothly for years to come. Here are a few others!

Don’t Misuse Extension Cords. 
If you’re using an extension cord to power a few things, make sure that they’re not running simultaneously. Some people think it’s okay to plug multiple extension cords into one another, but the outlet simply can’t provide that much power. Extension cords are meant to increase a wire’s range — not provide electricity to everything.

Get Some Surge Protectors. 
Surge protectors protect whatever’s plugged into them from voltage spikes. Short circuits, lightning, tripped breakers, and power outages can all cause these voltage spikes, which can ruin any devices or appliances that are plugged in to the residential electrical system.

Dust Regularly. 
It might seem like a relatively small thing — menial, even — but dust is actually one of the major causes of device failure. It can creep in and clog filters, causing them to malfunction or work inefficiently. What’s more, it can also increase the risk of an electrical fire occurring.

Any and all residential electrical contractors can tell you about the sheer value of preventive maintenance. If you heed these tips, your system will be just fine. If you have any questions about these residential electrical tips, feel free to ask in the comments.

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Why Going Green Matters to the Cleaning Industry

green cleaning serviceIf you had to guess how many professional cleaning services there are in the United States, how many would you say? If your guess was 854,266, you’re right! But with that many options, it might be a bit strenuous to try to choose the best one to suit the unique needs of your house. That’s why we’ve come up with a rule of thumb to go by when picking a new cleaner: When in doubt, always go green.

Yes, the green cleaning industry is burgeoning, and it’s about time. Residential maids, hotel cleaning staffs and expert stain removers have been cleansing with harsh chemicals for far too long, according to the Environmental Working Group. Lingering fumes from some products have even been linked to aggravating asthma, and some chemicals even contain known carcinogens that can pose serious health risk down the line for otherwise healthy individuals.

That’s why it pays to find the local green cleaning services in your area. And here’s why it matters.

Cutting Down on Pollution
Plenty of professional home cleaning services boast getting your home as germ-free as a surgical operating room. But it’s worth asking yourself: at what cost? Sink cleaners disappear down the drain and pollute water sources. Fabric sprays are released onto couches and clothing, then travel up into the sky, mucking up the air.   Of course, pollution isn’t something that can be stopped entirely. Humans simply can’t exist on the planet and not make a bit of a mess. But we can lessen the amount of pollution we’re actually causing, and that’s exactly what green cleaning services aim to do. By choosing an environmentally friendly company to do your cleaning, you’re committing to cutting down on your footprint — an important step to ensuring the future of the planet.

Helping Those Who Do the Cleaning
Green cleaning services exist to benefit the customer, of course, as well as the business. But what about the workers who actually do the cleaning? Studies have shown that their health might actually be at risk. Women who work for residential maid services and other cleaning companies while pregnant have a higher risk of birthing babies with birth defects, according to a 2010 study from the New York State Department of Health.  But the more environmentally conscious the business, the more those kinds of problems can be avoided. In today’s world, however, it’s nearly impossible to cut our dependence on chemical cleaning products entirely, which is why green services try to offer a more balanced approach. This nets the customer a healthier, more organic end result; plus, it protects the health of the employees with the scrub brushes in their hands and buckets of cleansers by their sides.

The path to a world full of more organic cleaning services is still being built, but luckily for you, it’s easy to find the entrance way. All you need to do it search the web for green cleaners in your area. And the best part? Target recently announced an effort to carry more organic and sustainable cleaning products, meaning you’ll be able to get the supplies you need anytime, anywhere.

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