Thunder and lightning storms are fairly common occurrences in the U.S. With the impressive show they put on, it can be easy to forget their dangers and the damage they do.
Every year around 25 million storm-associated cloud-to-ground lightning strikes occur in this country and they’re second only to floods among weather-related threats to life and limb. Lightning is also responsible for about $5 billion in annual economic impact resulting from the property and systems damage it causes.
Getting to a safe, grounded shelter is the best way to protect yourself as a thunderstorm approaches, but the danger can continue once you’re inside. To protect your family, home and belongings when lightning strikes, here are the steps you can take now to make your home a damage- and danger-proof zone.
Whole-Home Lightning Protection Systems
Founding father and inventor Ben Franklin can be credited with the beginnings of modern Lightning Protection Systems (LPS). Franklin observed that lightning tends to strike elevated objects, and that a network of conductors and grounding electrodes can carry lightning currents safely away from structures and into the earth to dissipate. Over 200 years later, such systems still do the job, and are all the more vital since contemporary structures contain far more conductive material than those built in Ben’s day.
The three main LPS components are air terminals, conductors, and ground electrodes. Air terminals, also known as lightning rods, are placed at intervals on a home’s roof and any high points projecting from it, and are designed so that lightning strikes them instead of the building. Conductors are the cables that run from among the air terminals to the ground electrodes, where lightning’s charge is sent safely into the earth.
For thorough lightning protection, you’ll also need a complete network of connections which could include vent fans, gutters, water pipes, home electrical systems, phone lines and other vital connections. Between this and the tricky rooftop LPS installation requirements, it’s best to get the help of an experienced lightning protection installer to set up your system.
Pros are also needed to install surge arrestors, which protect your wiring and electrical equipment should a lightning-induced power surge travel down a power line toward your home. Surge arrestors are installed either outside where the electric service enters a building or at the inside service entrance, supplying a ground so that a power surge can’t enter the structure.
Once you’ve got a lightning protection system in place, you may think you’re safely indoors ahead of the storm. Well, you’re not. Lightning can still impact home systems and your use of them, so the following precautions should be taken:Shut down your air conditioner, as a lightning-induced power surge can overload and damage its compressor. Avoid using the telephone (especially the corded variety) unless it’s an emergency. Avoid contact with electrical equipment or cords, and unplug any equipment possible before the thunderstorm arrives (if you’re going to be away from home during thunderstorm weather, unplug all unnecessary equipment before you go). Avoid any tasks that involve contact with pipes or running water–that means no use of sinks or showers, and no laundry chores. Don’t lie on concrete floors or lean against concrete walls. Stay off of your porch or deck, and steer clear of windows and doors while you’re inside the house. Draw blinds and shades over windows so that if windblown objects hit and break them, shattering glass won’t scatter into your home. Remember that outdoor dog houses aren’t usually lightning-safe shelters; bring all pets indoors to safety before a storm.
Make Sure You’re Covered
Homeowners insurance is meant to protect you when disaster strikes, but the kind of natural phenomena covered can vary depending on the policy you have. The most common policy type is homeowners-3 (a.k.a. form HO-3), and it usually covers damage to both structures and personal property as a result of lightning. Take time now to confirm your coverage’s lightning storm protection provisions and get reacquainted with its inclusions and exclusions so that you’re in the know before the next lightning storm arrives.
From Source Article: moneypit.com
Home-based businesses are on the rise in the U.S. With the many technological solutions to remote offices, people are discovering the convenience and practicality of using their home in which to work. Whether you are a full-time small business owner, freelancer, or work remotely, setting up your home-based office is an important part of the process. Creating a home office design setting that is both functional and personable will serve to boost your productivity – and it may help you on your income taxes, as well. Here are 5 tips for an amazing home office design.SnapwireSnaps / Pixabay Claim your territory
Go ahead and scout out a place in your home that you designate as the home office. If possible, use a spare room so that your income deductions are easier to calculate (more on that later). Even if you don’t deal face-to-face with customers and do most of your work using a laptop, there’s no reason your office has to be mobile. Having a home office design with a designated area that is just for business purposes will help you accomplish more towards your goals. Even a shed, heated garage area, or other outbuilding works fine after a few remodeling touches. This gives you a place to focus and concentrate. When people don’t have a sectioned off area for work only, it’s easy to become distracted with whatever is going on around them.Separate your space for tax benefit
Everyone wants to get a break on income taxes and with right office set-up, you can too. You can claim your home office if your office area is exclusively used for work. That means it needs to be separate from your personal activities. This is much easier to accomplish with a completely separate room. Even if you have a small home office design, if you have an area you use just for work, then you can deduct a portion of your mortgage, utilities, and other expenses. However, if you don’t want to be burdened down keeping track of all your expenses, you can use the simplified version of the deduction. The IRS states that you can claim $5 for each square foot of your office, not to exceed 300 square feet.ErikaWittlieb / Pixabay Set up your space for maximum productivity
Now that you have an area that is specifically for work purposes, it’s time to design your home office to maximize your productivity. Simply put, you will want to create an area that inspires working. This may mean different things to different people. Some people work best with a creative backdrop or inspiring art on the walls, while others like the decor to be plain and subtle. Your desk serves as a focal point of the room. Your desk is where:You complete your daily tasks. Have meetings with employees or customers (in person or virtually). You connect to the outside world (via your computer).
The type of desk you select is not as important as finding one that fits your needs. You may need a larger desk if you anticipate meeting with others or need a large work surface. There are a variety of desks designed for different needs and tastes. The main goal is to find a desk that will help with productivity. In other words, if you need to have two work areas to complete different types of tasks, then maybe an L-shaped desk would enhance efficiency. If you only anticipate using a computer at your desk and feel more productive with just a small area, then a rectangular-shaped desk may be for you.Picography / Pixabay Add Some Glam
If your office space is looking a little drab, sprucing it up doesn’t have to cost a bundle. Here’s five simple, cost-effective ways to add a little extra glam to your office without breaking the bank or requiring a lot of free time.5 ways to make your boring office extra glamInfographic by Quill Invest in what’s important
According to Inc., the best investments for your home office design are equipment that will “ensure speed and efficiency.” You certainly don’t want to hamper productivity by using outdated computers, internet wiring, or slow equipment. Having a high-end computer or laptop, printer, and internet access are important office tools. If you operate a small contracting business in, for example, heating and cooling, then you do most of your work at the customer’s home. You still need your office technology to be up to speed, but it may not be as critical as it is to a customer service representative. If you anticipate a good deal of customer traffic, investing in attractive furniture is helpful.
Working at home can be productive and fun. Create a home office design that suits your business, personal taste, and work style, and then achieve your small business goals.
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From Source Article: moneypit.com
LESLIE: Janet in South Carolina is looking for some kitchen wall ideas. How can we help you?
JANET: I have a kitchen. It’s not a very large kitchen but the walls have been painted numerous times and not the best paint jobs. So, I have decided to possibly add some type of wood to kind of give it a rustic feel, because I really like that, on the entire walls of the kitchen. And I was wondering, could you suggest to me something I could use or some kitchen wall ideas? I’ve had people suggest beadboard, the wainscot-type board. Could you suggest to me something to use on my walls to give it that rustic look?
LESLIE: Let’s talk about your style of rustic, because there’s so many different ways to interpret that. And beadboard’s a great way to do a really classic, more country look, especially if you paint it a white gloss. That just tends to be really clean. But if you’re looking for more something – you know, something more natural or an age-y piece of wood, there’s ways to do that, too.
JANET: That’s it. I want to go with a light, natural-looking wood. Not too light because my cabinets are the lighter color of wood.
LESLIE: Well, for kitchen wall ideas, what you can do is you can actually get – and this would have a nice finish to it. You can look at flooring – wood-plank flooring. And you can get one that has sort of a white, rustic, beachy wash to it. And you can even go with a vinyl flooring, because that’s going to be super easy to install. And you can install the planks directly to your wall. And you can do that with an adhesive, you can do that with a double-sided tape. There’s so many different ways you can attach it to the wall, depending on the weight of the product itself. And that – if you put that on with the planks running vertically or horizontally, that can give a different kind of rustic look in comparison to the beadboard.
Now, it seems to me like you want to go floor to ceiling with this. Is this correct?
JANET: That’s right. I do. Now, I do have cabinets that do not go all the way up to the ceiling.
LESLIE: Well, I think that’s OK, because you’re generally dealing with maybe a foot to 18 inches of space up there. And that’s really not terrible. You can keep that as a painted surface and just decorate up there with some very clean baskets or something just to give you a little bit of extra storage, plus to mask that space a little bit. But I think the beadboard is among excellent kitchen wall ideas and that’s a very easy do-it-yourself project.
Using a wood-flooring product, whether it’s vinyl or actual wood, there’s a company – Tom, is it Timberchic, I think, is the name?
TOM: Yes. Mm-hmm. That’s right.
LESLIE: And they do actual pieces of reclaimed lumber, almost like a veneer. And that you can attach to the walls. But I’ve done it with that VCR: that vinyl tile that looks like a wood plank. I’ve done that for an HGTV show in a variety of different finishes, horizontally on the wall. And that gives a great, rustic look. So it depends on what your interpretation of rustic is.
JANET: OK, OK. Would you suggest now – would you suggest to put it over the cabinets, also? Or you stated to possibly leave it just painted? Or could I cover that, also?
LESLIE: You can. If you feel confident – if you’re using a wood-flooring planking product, you’re probably going to get two or three pieces in there without having to do any cuts. If you’re doing a beadboard, that’s something you’re going to have to cut down to that exact height and put up there. It depends on how much of it you see from the floor and what you feel comfortable with. I think if you’re going to do it, do it full out. But if you’re not confident in your abilities or it’s too high or you don’t really see it, then I think there’s other ways to mask it with some decorative accessories.
JANET: OK. I understand. OK, great. Well, thank you for your ideas.
From Source Article: moneypit.com