Contractor Tips Blog

Jan
4

Custom-Made Golf Carts: A Starter’s Guide

Posted in Golf Carts

Whether you’re a veteran golfer or an amateur, you’ve probably encountered a custom-built golf cart at some point or the other. Custom golf carts have mechanical and body features that distinguish them from standard models.

Reasons for customization

Golf carts may be specially designed and custom-painted for fundraising campaigns, or for event marketing and promotions. Customization may also be a matter of comfort and safety. Many retirees opt to assemble their own golf carts so that they can optimize safety amenities. A custom golf cart can also be a fashion statement. From throwback vintage golf cart designs to futuristic buggies, a stylish custom-made golf cart can be a source of pride, and is sure to garner admiration on the green. Lastly, customization may be done to maximize golf cart performance and prolong service life.

Level of customization

From modest do-it-yourself projects to made-to-order purchases, nowadays all levels of customization are possible for golf carts. One approach is to purchase a standard model and add accoutrements and accessories as time and money permits. There are a broad range of online parts dealers that sell everything from the frame and chassis, to seat covers, tires, and more. The other approach is to have your golf cart tailor-made from scratch, according to your specifications. Using a custom golf cart distributor will often cost less in the long-run and will save you the hassle of having to track down parts and accessories.

The customization process

Customizing your golf cart involves everything from choosing the body style (open air or enclosed? Two-passenger or four passenger?) to refurbishing the motor, to tweaking or brainstorming the interior design.  Browsing golf cart distributor catalogues will give you design ideas and help you pin down the customizations that you want. Whether you are a DIY-er, or using a professional service, it is always advisable to get warranties for any parts you purchase and to use reputable vendors.

Jan
4

Golf Cart Lift Kits Explained

Posted in Golf Carts

It may so happen that a golf cart owner may feel the need to lift the chassis of their golf cart or increase the wheel height. A higher-sitting golf cart has a greater approach angle and breakover angle, making it easier for the cart to clear ridges and inclines when driving. An elevated golf cart also provides more ground clearance for driving over grass, as well as any rocks or standing water on the golf course. Lift kits are aftermarket modifications that can be purchased from a golf cart parts dealer. They are one of the most common golf cart parts and accessories purchased by golf cart owners. Here are some things to consider if you are thinking of purchasing golf cart lift kit.

1)      Type and compatibility

There are two types of lift kits: body lift kits and suspension lift kits. A body lift kit uses lift blocks and spacers placed between the axles and leaf springs to raise the body of a golf cart from its underlying frame. With suspension lift kits, the original leaf springs are replaced with longer, higher ones. Both body and suspension lift kits increase ride hit; suspension lift kits also increase travel and improve articulation. 

There are many brands and models of body and suspension lift kits on the market. Different golf cart models require specific kinds of blocks, spacers, or leaf spring suspensions.  Thus, when installing a golf cart lift kit, it is important to verify the compatibility between the lift kit and the golf cart components (the drivetrain etc.)

2)      Legal issues

In many states, there are laws pertaining to vehicle lift kits. This is because a lift kit can alter a vehicle’s stability and steering geometry thereby affecting the vehicle’s operational safety. Golf carts are categorized as utility vehicles, so find out what the lift kit laws and ride height restrictions are for utility vehicles in your jurisdiction.

3)      Insurance

Always check with your insurance company before you modify your golf cart with a lift kit; not all insurance companies cover vehicles that have been customized or modified in some way.

Jan
4

Applications of Utility Carts

Posted in Golf Carts

Whether you are a homeowner, commercial property manager, or industrial worker, chances are you could benefit greatly from owning or using a utility cart. Utility carts are small, slow-moving motor vehicles that may be either gas or electric powered. They are task-oriented, light vehicles which are designed for both transport and storage, and may be used outdoors or indoors. Below are some of the uses of utility carts in commercial, residential, and industrial settings.

Residential

Utility carts are used for grounds maintenance on extensive landed properties. Gardeners or homeowners use them to carry garden supplies, or to haul rocks or mulch. Seniors and physically-challenged people may also use utility carts to carry groceries indoors from the car, or to get around their property with more ease.

Commercial

It is not uncommon to spy utility carts on the grounds of office complexes, hotels, airports, sports facilities, hospitals, and other commercial properties. Many apartment complexes keep a few of these vehicles handy for giving tours to prospective tenants, and hotels use them for hauling luggage or for grounds maintenance. Security personnel also use utility carts to patrol commercial properties, such as shopping malls and college campuses. Utility carts (golf carts) are also a standard feature on golf courses; golfers use them to carry their equipment and to move around the golf course with less effort. Another place utility carts crop up in is airports; they are perfect for hauling cargo, and for conveying passengers quickly through long terminals.

Industrial

Utility carts are used inside warehouses, large fulfillment centers, and manufacturing plants to tow inventory racks and heavy loads. Industrial utility carts are also used to transport equipment, personnel, and raw materials around large industrial facilities in a quick and efficient manner.

Dec
20

Getting the Best from Your Small Kitchen

Posted in Interior Design

Small kitchen spaces are a common feature of many modern-day habitations, in fact, they are an almost unavoidable part of small-space city living. Older surburban homes also tend to have smaller kitchen designs, a relic of past times when the kitchen was seen as a purely utilitarian space for cooking and nothing else.

Whether you’re grappling with limited kitchen space in a new apartment, or are a long-time homeowner thinking of remodeling your small kitchen, here are some tips for for a kitchen design to get the best out of close culinary quarters. 

1.      More storage

There are many ways to maximize storage in a small kitchen. Stacking cabinets are a great way to increase cupboard space in a high-ceilinged kitchen. Excess utensils and cups can be hung on hooks underneath and on the sides of cupboards. Stackable wire racks, pull-out utility carts, and microwave carts can be used for storing dinnerware, cookware, or food items. Tuck away condiments, drinks, or spices in a lazy susan or a basket on top of the refrigerator, and if the ceiling is high enough, hang pots from it.

2.      More workspace

Because there typically isn’t much counter space in a small kitchen, meal preparation and clean-up can be tiresome. One way to increase counter space is to install an electric cooktop that can also be used as a countertop; another way is to install a smaller sink. Pair a tall faucet with a small sink to make washing dishes and filling large pots easier. Reduce counter-top clutter by installing a slide-out cutting board and consider getting an under-the-counter refrigerator and freezer to increase legroom.

3.      More inviting

Aesthetics is an important feature of kitchen design and this is especially true for small kitchens. Small kitchens have a tendency to appear uninviting but by paying close attention to things like décor, color scheme, and lighting, you can create a small kitchen that is a pleasant space to be in. Attractive cabinetry, nice flooring, and decorative cupboard handles can up the ante in a small kitchen. Cheerful colors and soft tones will make a small kitchen seem larger and airy, as will a harmonious color scheme. Adding track lighting or recessed lighting is another good way to open up a small kitchen space and achieve a warm, cozy feel, and using mirrors instead of tiles for the backsplash also creates the illusion of more space.

Dec
20

Adding a Powder Room to Your Home: Things to Consider

Posted in Interior Design

A powder room, also known as a ‘half bath’, can be both a functional and aesthetically exciting feature of a home. These small, sparsely outfitted rooms serve as a bathroom or “freshening up” room for guests and usually contain just a toilet and a bathroom vanity, although features like bathroom stands and vanity chairs may also be included. Many modern-day powder rooms are added onto homes as part of the homeowner’s remodeling project.  Here are some powder room design considerations when planning a powder room remodeling project.

Space and location

A powder room is by custom a small room. Common locations for powder rooms include large closets, small unused rooms, beneath stairways, and under eaves.  At the same time, not just any small space will do. Usable space may be limited by the location of doorways and the location of windows can compromise privacy. You want the powder room to be in a sufficiently private area, but close enough to the entertaining area so that guests can quickly and easily access it. Also, a power room should not be so cramped that being in it feels awkward or suffocating. Figure out ahead of time exactly what you want in your powder room and if the existing space can accommodate it.

Design scheme

Once you know what features you want to have in your powder room, you can move on to thinking about the aesthetics of the room― the décor and style. Consider what type of sink and faucet style you want, whether you’d prefer wallpaper or wood paneling, what kind of ceiling and wall fixtures you want, and what type of flooring would finish off the whole effect. Many interior designers recommended keeping a powder room’s design scheme in line with the adjoining rooms; however, an aesthetically distinctive powder room design that showcases a homeowner’s personality is the current trend and can provide a pleasantly surprising experience for your guests.

Extent of renovation

Because a powder room is such a small room, adding one to your house should be done with as little disruption to the house’s structure as possible. If you are like most people then you want your remodeling project completed with as little inconvenience to your daily life and with as little expense as possible. As a rule of thumb, small changes are better than big ones. So while installing a sink and faucet is expected, if a certain fixture calls for complicated plumbing or is going to cause unnecessary architectural problems, then it may be best to forgo that detail and save yourself the hassle and extra expense. Remember, you may not be able to have your powder room exactly as you envisioned it, but by working with what you have, you can create a satisfying result.

Dec
20

Types of Central Vacuum Systems

A central vacuum is a type of home filtration system that improves interior air quality by removing dust, allergens, and waste particles from indoor air. Compared to the portable vacuum cleaners that are used to clean floors and carpets, stationary central vacuum systems keep rooms cleaner; they filter air by depositing dust and dirt in a disposable bag or canister thereby minimizing the amount of dust that re-circulates back into the living area.

There are three types of central vacuum systems:

  1. Paper/cloth bag

Disposable paper bag systems are the most common type of central vacuum unit. Dust and airborne waste (mold spores, pet dander, lint, bacteria, dirt, fabric fibers etc.) are suctioned into the system via outlets located in each room and deposited in a paper or cloth bag housed in a canister. The bag traps and retains the debris so that the canister itself stays clean. This type of system may or may not expel exhaust air outside. Every 1 to 2 years, the full bag is taken out and replaced with little or no exposure to the refuse. With paper/cloth bag systems, replacement bags must be purchased.

  1. Bagless with filter

With bagless central vacuum systems, dust is suctioned in and deposited in a canister. When the system is shut off, the heavier dust drops to the bottom of the canister and the lighter dust is trapped by a permanent filter. The filter prevents the dust from re-circulating back into the house or entering the motor. Exhaust air may or may not be directed outside through a vent. The canister needs to be emptied and cleaned every 3 to 6 months, at which time, excess dust also needs to be washed or shaken off of the filter. Cleaning and emptying the canister involves exposure to the refuse and so this system is not recommended for people with allergies and asthma.

  1. Bagless true cyclonic

With bagless true cyclonic systems, dust and waste are suctioned into the system with tornado-like force where the heavier debris falls down into a canister while the lighter debris goes through the motor and outside. Exhaust air is always vented outside with this type of system. The canister needs to be cleaned regularly―every 2 months― to maintain suction.

Dec
20

Home Theater Seating Options

Posted in Home Theaters

Seating is a very important element of home theater design and planning. From the seating configuration, to ergonomics, to the seat style and features, seating can have a big impact on how you and your guests experience and use your home theater. Here are some options to consider when it comes to home theater seating.

Seating configuration

Standard tiered seating (straight, stadium-style rows) is perhaps the most common seating arrangement for home theaters. You can construct your home theater to have tiered seating by placing seats on risers, but there is also the option of using different seat heights per row to eliminate the need for tiered flooring. You can also opt for more versatile seating arrangements, such as placing seats around the circumference of the room, having stand-alone seats in the center of the room (e.g. cabaret-style seating), or using an l-shaped seating plan. You can also consider adding bar seating at the back of the room or to the side. Alternative seating arrangements are not for everyone, but can add flair and personality to a home theater.

Seat style and features

Seat style plays a huge role in conveying the aesthetics of your home theater and includes things like upholstery/materials, chair height, color, and design. You can choose from a range of upholstery fabrics including leather, velvet, plush microfiber suede, and more. There is even the option of having monogrammed seats. Standard theater seats also come with a range of different functional features including built-in cup-holders (which may or may not be removable) and snack consoles. You can consider whether you want reclining seats or seats with matching ottomans.  You should also bear in mind that you are not limited to standard theater seats. Modular sofas, chaise lounges, and floor chairs with cushions are all alternative seating styles that can add pizzazz to your home theater. Seating units should complement the overall décor of the room.

Ergonomics

Theater seats should be comfortable, providing back and leg support, stability, and promoting good posture. Consider the height range of the seating unit, the seat shape, and the firmness of the seat pan and backrest. Ergonomic features of theater seats include padded backrests, adjustable headrests, and pillow arms.

Dec
20

Fire Alarm Inspections: What to Expect

Fire alarm inspections are routine checks of the fire alarm system in a commercial or residential property. They are performed by qualified personnel from a fire protection company and are done to verify that alarm systems are still functioning properly. Fire alarm inspections involve a visual examination of the system, a series of system tests, and system maintenance if required. If you are having the fire alarm system in your home or place of business inspected, here’s what you can expect.

1)      You will be asked to notify everyone on the premises that a fire inspection will be taking place at a specified time. This is necessary since the alarm will go off during the inspection. The inspection company will also give the monitoring/dispatch center notice about the inspection so that no fire trucks are sent to the premises when the alarm goes off.

2)      The alarm technician will visually inspect the batteries, panel, wires, charging circuit, and modules.

3)       The technician will perform a series of tests to make sure that different components of the alarm system are working properly. All of the signal devices (the main alarm, horns, bells, chimes, strobes) will be triggered for a few minutes and the technician will go to each one to verify that it is working (known as location checks). The water flow switch, which regulates the flow of water through the sprinkler pipes, is also set off to verify functionality. The smoke and heat detectors are tested, as well as the battery-charging circuit.

4)      The alarm technician will call the dispatch center to verify that all signals sent during the tests were received.

5)      Any required system repairs or upgrades will be performed or recorded for servicing in the near future.

6)      Paperwork will be filled out and a green tag with information such as the inspection date and the fire protection contractor’s name will be attached to the panel. The green tag signifies that the alarm system has been inspected and deemed completely sound and functional by a licensed inspector. If the system has been found to be functional with a minor deficiency, then a yellow tag is affixed. A system that is non-operational is given a red tag, while a system that has been serviced is given a white tag.

Dec
20

Advantages of Motorized Window Blinds

Posted in Home Automation

Motorized window blinds or shades are those which can be opened and closed remotely from a control panel, through a computer, via a wireless device such as a smart phone, or with a remote control.  They can be programmed to automatically open or close at certain times and can be customized to fit any door or window. There are several advantages to motorized window shades.

1)      Convenient and quality-preserving operation

Motorized window blinds provide the convenience of not having to manually adjust window coverings. This eliminates unnecessary stretching and walking, saves time, and rules out the possibility of window coverings getting damaged or malfunctioning from too-rigorous or careless handling. Also, because motorized window blinds are programmed to close or lower automatically, there is no need to remember to do this oneself.

2)      Cordless

Motorized window shades do not have cords hanging from them like regular window shades. The cordless effect is neat and pleasing to the eye. Cordless window coverings are also safer since window cords can present a choking hazard for young children.

3)      Cost-effective and energy-efficient

Motorized window blinds help homeowners and business places save money in the long-run. This is because they can be programmed to open and close at specific times and in certain weather conditions in a way that reduces heat accumulation. This eases the burden on air-conditioning systems thereby lowering energy bills.

4)      Security

Motorized window shades can be programmed to automatically open and close even when the premises are unoccupied, for example, when homeowners are on vacation or a business place is temporarily closed. This discourages thieves and inrtuders by maintaining an illusion of occupancy.

5)      Sun control

Letting sunlight into an interior space is often desirable. Indoor plants need sunlight and natural light can enhance an indoor space. On the other hand, the sun’s rays can damage furniture, flooring, carpets, and artwork, or cause health disturbances for some people. Motorized window blinds can be programmed to regulate the way and degree to which sunlight enters a room at different times of the day.

Dec
20

Do’s and Don’t’s of Using a Nanny Cam

 ‘Nanny cam’ is the common term for video surveillance technology used to monitor domestic staff, maintenance workers, or hired caretakers when homeowners or parents are absent from the home. With these systems, inconspicuous wall cameras are placed in key locations in the home to capture and record activity for hours or days at a time. Many nanny cam systems allow users to view recorded activity in real-time on a smart phone or online.

Nanny cams are legal in all states; however, users need to be careful that they are not courting legal action by breaking any privacy laws. If you are thinking of installing a nanny cam system in your home, here are some steps you should follow to avoid unnecessary complications. 

1)      DO be transparent

If you are going to install a nanny cam system in your home or have already done so, then you should share this information with the people being monitored. As part of the hiring process, explain to the babysitter, live-in nurse, or housekeeping service personnel that the technology is in place to provide security for your home and everyone in it. By being transparent up-front you can maintain trust, avoid accusations of spying later down the road, and weed out unsavory employees.

2)      DON’T reveal camera locations

It is never advisable to reveal the location of cameras to house guests, including live-in staff. In fact, as a general rule, with the exception of trusted family members, no one should know the location of the cameras in your home. Do not tell young children where cameras are located since children can let this information slip inadvertently or when pressured. By keeping camera locations secret you can prevent them from being tampered with. Also, depending on where cameras are located, there may be ways to operate outside of surveillance zones; house guests who do not know camera locations are unable to find these possible loopholes in the surveillance system.

3)      DON’T invade privacy

Cameras should never be placed in toilets, guest rooms, or other areas where bodily privacy or communications privacy can be infringed upon. It is a good idea to have designated camera-free areas in the home (for example, the vestibule or powder room) where staff can take care of private matters (e.g. phone calls) if the need arises.

4)      DO double-check privacy laws

In some states, it is illegal to own or use audio listening devices; in other states people can use them provided that they have the consent of the individuals being recorded. Find out what the laws pertaining to audio surveillance are in your county, state, or jurisdiction and follow them.

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