Home and Garden

5 types of moving companies to help you with your relocating needs

Moving companies offer transportation services depending on the type of move you are about to undertake. Choosing to move to a new city and relocating to a new country are two very different scenarios; you have to check and choose the right type of moving companies for the same. Popular moving companies offer two distinct types of services—full move and partial move.

A full move will take care of everything right from packing, loading, and transport to the new destination. Additional services will also include unpacking, assembling, and reinstallation after relocation. You can also avail partial services for any of the aforementioned tasks. Full move or partial move services can be availed for local interstate, long-distance, and also for international transport.

Depending on the factors that determine the type of move, here are the common types of moving companies, packers, and movers.

Local packers and movers
Your local moving company will provide transportation within the boundaries of the state for not more than a hundred mile radius in any direction. State authorities of the Department of Transportation or other public utility commissions regulate the services of local moving companies. Local packers and movers generally charge on an hourly basis. The average cost can range anywhere between $30 and $40 per working hour.

Long distance moving companies
Moving companies that offer long distance services are usually interstate packers and movers. Interstate moving companies must mandatorily have a US Department of Transportation number to operate legally. The weight of the shipment will directly determine the cost of a long distance move.

International moving companies
Transportation services for moving from one country to another require special permits owing to the international regulations that govern the process. There is a lot of paperwork involved in international transportation services as the process is highly complex. The volume of shipment and the type of cargo carrier will directly influence the total cost of the move.

Commercial moving
Moving companies provide special transportation services for business relocations. The move will include everything that needs to be done to relocate every inch of your office space from the source to a new location. Commercial movers require adequate training, experience, and technology to efficiently relocate your business from point A to point B.

Residential moving
Planning to shift to a new city or state altogether? Hire professional residential moving companies to help you relocate everything you need. Unlike other moving services, residential packers and movers specialize specifically in residential relocation.

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Home and Garden

Things to consider when choosing a deregulated electricity provider

The energy market is split up into regulated and deregulated service providers who offer a variety of energy plans. Of the two, there are very few rules set in a deregulated market, and you will have the liberty to find affordable energy plans with an option to switch service providers as well. There are certain states that have switched to electricity deregulation. When searching for the most affordable energy plans, there will be many factors that will influence your final decision. If you want to avail the best and affordable electricity rates, the first thing to do would be to narrow down the best electricity providers in the market. The type of service provider you choose will have a direct influence on the electricity rates applicable to energy plans.

The following points will help you determine the best companies in the market that provide deregulated electricity services.

The price structure
One of the most important points to consider when choosing an electricity provider is the current pricing structure and tariff card. This should be done in order to know the different types of electricity rates provided. Ensure to read the terms and conditions carefully to understand the impact of various pricing options to compare and find the plan that suits you best.

Supply price
The supply price will determine the basis for energy consumption and the rates applicable. Most companies offer to charge dollars per kilowatt-hour or cents per kilowatt-hour. The type of charge per kilowatt-hour will affect electricity rates directly. The supply price will also vary depending mainly on the location.

Type of plans
Check the type of energy plans offered by some of the best electricity companies. Common options include fixed-rate plans, variable rate plans, indexed plans, and green plans. Electricity rates will change as per the plans you select. Green plans are very popular and are promoted to encourage more consumers to switch to renewable energy sources.

Type of customer served
Residential energy suppliers will have a higher pricing plan in comparison to commercial energy providers. Major industries are among the higher utility consumers for energy companies; they are offered competitive electricity rates than residential ones and this will vary depending on the type of company.

Types of products offered
Energy companies also provide products that help keep the energy costs low. Products like energy management solutions, thermostats, generators, etc. are all typical installations for residential and commercial consumers. These products will help bring down energy costs significantly. Check with your electricity provider to find the best plans and additional support systems.

For most energy companies, there are certain government regulations that will affect electricity rates from time to time. These changes will reflect in the pricing structure for existing plans. You must check updated tariffs from time to time and its impact on your current energy plan. In case you are not satisfied with your current energy provider, it is possible to switch services in a deregulated market.

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Home and Garden

6 tips for selecting the right moving company

Moving from one state to another or even from one locality to another can be a pretty hectic task. In such cases, you need an efficient moving company that can handle all the logistics and get your stuff moved safely. For this, it is important to know how to determine which packers and movers are best for the job.

Mentioned below are some tips that can help you pick the best moving companies from the lot:

  • Looking from a logistical point of view, there are two types of packers and movers—interstate and intrastate. Interstate moving companies help people move from one state to another while intrastate company helps you move locally. If you are moving interstate, make sure that the moving company you choose is efficient for long distance or interstate moving. The professionals that you hire should also be able to help you legally as different states have different moving regulations.
  • Make sure that the moving company you select is financially stable. Moving interstate can incur additional costs. Thus, select a franchise that can reach across multiple areas and are able to provide you with all the help if the worst should happen while moving interstate.
  • Insurance is one of the important factors when it comes to packing and moving. Consult the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to check if the moving company you are selecting has all the insurance and licenses in place. The average Bodily Injury and Property Damage (BIPD) insurance of a moving company should be at least around $750,000.
  • The moving company that you select should have trucks of all sizes and the right equipment to handle the packing and moving. Look for equipment like ramps, jacks, lifts, hand-trucks, appliance dollies, and so on. They should also provide you with boxes for packing.
  • Background checks are also important when it comes to selecting moving companies. Select those packers and movers that are reputed and have helped numerous customers with their moving needs. Make sure these moving companies hire professionals only after running a background check on them. Efficient moving companies will have a strong training regimen in place for their employees. Make sure their employees are trained for things like truck loading and unloading techniques, proper lifting techniques, and handling fragile and valuable items.
  • Once you have shortlisted a couple of moving companies, ask around and look for reviews posted by people who have used their services on the Internet. Websites like consumerreports, bbb, and movingscam can offer you reliable information on the best packers and movers.

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Home and Garden

Factors that affect electricity rates

Electricity rates usually reflect the cost to finance, maintain, build, and operate power plants and electricity grids. Every one of us pays our electricity bills on a monthly basis and seldom notice the tariffs and electricity rates until we see a skyrocketing amount in the bill summary. The first thing that we need to be aware of is that there are different electricity rates for different states in our country. There are other factors present that influence and decide electricity rates. A few of them have been listed below:

Industrialization
An industrialized city indicates towards it having higher electricity rates. This is based on the simple demand–supply phenomenon which can cause a considerable increase in the electricity rates.

Mode of generation
This factor mainly helps determines electricity rates. For instance, electricity generated from wind is costlier as compared to hydroelectricity. This is because harvesting electricity using wind requires complex machinery which comes with an upfront cost. Maintaining the machinery will also require skilled labor. This, however, is not true in the case of solar energy as it requires minimum labor. Electricity generated using solar energy does not have a complex setup which indicates towards the lower upfront cost. Hence, using alternative solutions can help you reduce electricity costs.

Demographics
The gross domestic product of a state or region also determines the range of electricity rates. The way the population grows economically also effects electricity pricing. Simply put, areas with wealthier people might have higher electricity rates.

Weather patterns
This is one of the most important factors that help decide the electricity rates of a state. People living in areas with extreme weather conditions experience an average of a 20 percent spike in the electricity rates when compared with ones living in moderate climate conditions.

Type of customers
The electricity rates are higher for residential and commercial consumers. This is because it is costly to distribute electricity to them. Industries receive electricity at less expensive rates because they receive it at a higher voltage which makes it more efficient. The average price of electricity rates in the country this year is roughly 12 cents/kWh whereas for industries it is 6 cents/kWh.

Regulations
Some states have regulated electricity prices and this is determined using public services and utility commissions; however, there are some states that use a combination of other unregulated prices for generators. Such states also use different prices based on the nature of transmission and service providers.

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Home and Garden

4 popular brands for buying office furniture

When it comes to office furniture, ordering quality merchandise is the key. Ordering cheap office furniture can cost you a lot more in the long run in view of its short shelf-life and repair expenses. Cheap quality furniture can also meddle with the productivity at your workplace. It is apt to base your purchase decisions on practicality. For example, the storage units of roll top desks need not be too small or impractical for the nature of your work. The chairs need to be able to have an average weight-bearing capacity, and the desk units need to be smooth. If you are concerned about all these parameters, here is a list of top brands for buying office desks and furniture that you must go through:

Ikea
This popular brand hosts a vivid variety of office furniture that is made up of quality materials. If you want to purchase furniture for your office at an affordable price range, Ikea is the best choice for you. The design options are numerous and will suit every taste and requirement of your office.

Best Buys
This online store is an excellent website to score deals on office furniture. The website and the store features many furniture options ranging from office desks to conference tables. The sales staff is knowledgeable and they assist you well to make the perfect purchase decision.

AAA Furniture Wholesalers
This unique website allows you to purchase fine furniture at affordable prices. You can also opt for bulk buy discount on furniture. This can be easily done either by ordering the office desks and other office furniture you need in bulk amounts or by opening a trade account with a furniture supplier. This top brand offers great deals for bulk purchase of office furniture as well.

Overstock.com
Overstock.com enthralls its customers with a wide variety of furniture options it hosts on its website. A large number of top brands showcase their office furniture collections on Overstock.com, for customers to buy. The website also runs deals on furniture from time to time. It is the right place if you are looking for quality furniture at competitive pricing.

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Home and Garden

Bathroom cleaning made easier with the right cleaner

Keeping the bathroom clean is a herculean task without the right tools. One of the essentials is the cleaning liquid. There are umpteen cleaners stacked in the stores; the task is now to know which one to choose.

Choosing from an established and time-tested brand always has an advantage. You need not be afraid of the cleaner turning out to be a disaster. Here is a list of the best bathroom cleaners to make bathroom cleaning effortless.

Best bathroom cleaners in the market
The danger about some toilet cleaners is that they contain harmful chemical ingredients. It is advisable to buy natural and more reliable bathroom cleaners that are available in the market.

Lysol bathroom cleaners
When it comes to an all-purpose bathroom cleaner, Lysol is what you need. It cleans off any surface with just a wipe. Be it tiles, mirrors, marble floors or even mosaic floors. These are perfect for light stains and dirt deposits on tiles.

Scrubbing bubbles mega shower bubbles
As the name suggests, it is the shower for your shower. Just spray it on the glass, fiberglass or tile walls, let it sit on it for 3 minutes and then rinse it off. It can make your shower look brand new.

Clorox clean-up
One of the best bathroom cleaners available in the market today, it contains bleach that deep cleans tiles. It also helps to retain the original color of the tiles.

Lime-A-Way toilet bowl cleaner
Keeping toilets clean is necessary to maintain hygiene. This product is helpful for deep cleaning the toilet and can make it look new with just a few uses. As it contains caustic chemicals, it is advisable to wear gloves while handling it.

Seventh Generation Toilet Cleaner
It can make your toilet look new with just a wash. It does not contain any harmful ingredients. It is eco-friendly and all its ingredients are listed in the package. This is why it is one of the best bathroom cleansers available today.

The best bathroom cleaners are not easy to find but the above-listed items are easily available at stores selling household products. These are inexpensive and reliable products.

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Home and Garden

The art of cleaning bathroom tiles

Be it a quick shower or a relaxed and rejuvenating bath, your bathroom can be a place of solace when you need it. However, an unclean bathroom can adversely affect your moments of peace and relaxation and become an unhealthy place. Thus, knowing the best techniques to clean your bathroom is crucial.

Tiles on your bathroom walls are not easy to clean due to iron deposits on them. Using the best bathroom cleaners to remove iron deposits on your tiles will help to retain their original shine.

How to clean bathroom tiles?
Over time, bathroom tiles become dirty and unattractive as they do not tend to clean up easily. The best bathroom cleaners will help you solve this difficult and mundane task.

  • The most simple and easy tile-cleaning procedure is to make a mixture of 50/50 vinegar and baking soda in water. The vinegar is a degreaser that loosens the dirt and deposits while the baking soda removes odors and scours. Spray it over your tiles, leave it for a minute, rub it off.
  • To give your tiles its original shade, use bleach and bicarbonate soda. It is one of the best bathroom cleaners and is widely used for cleaning swimming pools. Beware of the harmful gases when you use bleach. Use a mask and gloves for your protection.
  • Steam cleaners can be handy and useful to sanitize and clean the tiles and other surfaces of the bathroom. With a steam cleaner, cleaning the tiles on your bathroom floor and walls is simple and easy.
  • Without a regular cleanup, grout can look dirtier than the tiles. The gap in between the tiles is grout that becomes dirty over time. The same vinegar and baking solution can be used, but in more quantity and you need to rub it hard on the grout.
  • A grout pen can come in handy if you want a new look. It looks like a marker pen and is used to paint over the existing grout.

With these effective tips to clean your bathroom tiles, you are better equipped than before. Now, use these best bathroom cleaners for effective cleanups.

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Home and Garden

Know about the best deals on office furniture

Office desk and furniture play a crucial role in enhancing the productivity at workplace. Still selecting, purchasing, and installing can be a grueling exercise when it comes to office furniture. However, every business owner/office manager wants to save money on furniture. Here is a list of tips on how to score best deals on office furniture:

Office chairs
Porthos Home Liam office chair on Overstock.com is an absolute steal deal. This piece comes with omnidirectional wheels, patented gas lever to adjust the height of your seat, and a winged back. The Liam chair provides you a modern look with no sacrifice on comfort. The chrome base of the chair looks ravishing with all the colors available.

Computer desks and drawers
Seanan wood computer desk with drawers by Christopher Knight Home is available on heavy discount on Overstock.com. This sleek office desk is designed to have a ledge to put your computer screen and comes with an open back. A smartly placed drawer makes storage of useful stuff easy. The desk is created out of high-quality MDF wood and iron. This desk has a contemporary style and follows a casual approach.

Multi-storage office desks
Furniture of America’s traditional multi-storage pull-out secretary writing desk is one of the roll top desks available at huge discounts. This desk is a perfect fit for a home office and comes with a multi-storage pull-out writing desk. The structure of the table has beveled edges and turned legs to give it a classic look, which works in harmony with other traditional decor pieces. The open shelves can be used to store books and stationery. You can find the best deals on this piece of office furniture as well as office desks.

Lecterns
Lectern with storage shelf from OfficeFurniture.com is just perfect for your conference room. A unique piece from Safco Stand-Up collection, lectern lets you make a statement when you are giving a presentation or a lecture. The piece is designed to have a clean and simple design line. It features a spacious reading surface and comes equipped with a pencil holder, a paper stop, and a convenient storage shelf. This office furniture can be found in any store or on e-commerce websites at great deals.

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Home and Garden

Here’s how to buy the best toys for your kids

Being a new parent can be difficult with so many things to learn, understand, and do. Also, it is one of the best parts of your life and no matter how difficult parenting seems right now, you surely are going to miss it later on. With so many options out there, it can be confusing to choose the right kids’ toys. Here is a guide that will help you choose the right toys for your kids according to their age.

Toys for kids from 0 to 12 months
Your baby will only observe the surroundings in the first few months. The child’s vision is still blurry in these early months and bright, bold patterns are easily visible. Most of the toys in these early months are designed in such a manner that they promote healthy interaction in many ways. Kids’ toys that make a crackling noise or squeaking noise, toys that are soft, or toys that have a nubby texture are perfect for these early months. Some of the top toys for kids from 0-12 months are rattles, activity boards, floor gyms, small stuffed fabric balls, soft stuffed animals and dolls that are colorful and washable, and bright colored crib mobiles.

Toys for kids from 12 to 24 months
At this age, toys that are helpful for his newly acquired general motor skills are the best. Your baby is recently learning cause-effect and will love the toys that respond to their actions. Toys, where he hits a ball with a hammer like, are the ones he will enjoy at this age. However, you should avoid high-tech toys in these months and keep it as simple as possible. Some of the best toys for these kids are stacking rings, push-toys that make noise, pull-toys that make pieces pop up, hammering sets, shape sorters, small puzzles of only 3-4 pieces, rubber ducks, and toy boats.

Toys for kids from 24 to 36 months
This is the perfect time to choose kids toys that are not only fun but purposeful as well. Kids toys that require the use of general motor skills is essential during this age like puzzles or building blocks. This age is appropriate to give tech-toys like a doll that talks or a car that moves with the help of a battery. Also, push or pull toys are still what they will enjoy. Some of the best toys for your child at this age are dolls, stuffed animals, ride-n toys, toy telephone, a tea-party set, a doll stroller, transportation toys which honk as well, building blocks, puzzles, and even a tricycle if your baby seems ready.

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Home and Garden

Safety concerns you should consider while buying kids toys

The definition of what can be deemed safe when it comes to buying kids’ toys from the market will entirely depend on the type of the toy, and more importantly, if you are buying it for a boy or a girl. Although toy manufacturing companies adhere to safety norms set by international standards, it is your duty to ensure your child’s safety.

Toys form an important part of your kid’s childhood. Kids’ toys are designed to promote cerebral development and growth through engagement and activity. But nowadays, toy manufacturers are cutting corners to make more profits by using cheap and substitute materials that can be potentially harmful.

Safety concerns to be taken into account while buying kids’ toys

  • Ensure that the toys are made out of non-toxic and lead-free materials as children have a habit of putting toys in their mouth, thereby increasing the chances of ingesting harmful chemicals
  • Always buy from brands that adhere to international safety standards for making kids toys
  • You should buy toys that are age-appropriate, which means you cannot expect a four-year-old child to appreciate a Nintendo Game Boy that has been designed for pre-teen enjoyment
  • If you are buying toys for infants and toddlers, ensure that they are big in size and there is no risk of accidentally swallowing the pieces
  • Avoid buying tiny marbles, coins, and balls that can get lodged in the throat accidentally
  • If you are buying riding toys for kids like walkers, rocking horses, and wagons, ensure that there is a harness or a safety strap to secure your child in a seated or standing position
  • Check if the toys can manage the weight of your child and withstand impact to a certain degree
  • Battery-operated toys must have secure cases that cannot be opened by children

As a parent, it is also your duty to report unsafe toys that can be potentially dangerous and cause an injury. Contact the hotline number available on the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) website to report unsafe toys and details about the manufacturer. The CPSC is a government platform where information about product recalls and the reason behind products being recalled is available for your reference. It is a good reference source to ensure you don’t end up buying kids’ toys that are deemed unsafe by the CPSC.

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