Understanding The Pros And Cons Of Electrical Maintenance Systems

Why Electrical Maintenance Is a Good Investment for Your Business

As a business manager, you know the importance of a good maintenance program. It’s what keeps your place of business looking its best while creating a safe and comfortable environment for employees and customers.

You may already invest plenty of time, money and attention maintaining everything from your IT equipment, to your heating and cooling, to your floors. But have you thought about your electrical system?

What Are the Benefits of Electrical Maintenance?

Electricity is one of those things that’s often ignored except when something goes wrong. We don’t think about the lights until we need to change a bulb, for example.

But many electrical problems accumulate slowly over time. The longer you ignore them, the bigger the consequences:

Reduced energy efficiency

Higher utility bills

Increased risk of injury from electrical hazards

More expensive repairs

Lost productivity from unplanned outages

Here are a few of the key benefits of regular electrical maintenance:

Lower costs. U.S. businesses lose an estimated $4 billion each year to inefficient electrical systems. Routine electrical maintenance can help you improve efficiency and lower energy costs by up to 30%. That frees up extra dollars to invest in more profitable activities.

Improve safety. Electrical hazards from faulty wiring or equipment increase the risk of fire and electrical shock, which can lead to expensive injuries and repairs. Preventive electrical maintenance can help you stay compliant with electrical safety standards established by OSHA and the National Fire Protection Association.

Prevent damage before it occurs. Large electrical failures can result in significant damage to wiring, equipment, and major components. This leads to expensive and inconvenient repairs. Routine maintenance helps you catch problems early, when they are simpler and cheaper to fix.

Better equipment performance. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) says that the failure rate of electrical components is 3 times higher when there is no preventive maintenance program. Electrical equipment can accumulate dust and dirt, and parts can become worn out. By resolving these problems early, you get longer life out of your equipment and lower replacement costs.

Fewer unplanned outages. Electrical maintenance often requires a temporary power outage to protect the safety of electrical workers. With planned maintenance, you can schedule outages ahead of time, when it is most convenient for your employees and customers. If you neglect electrical maintenance, you stand a greater risk of losing power at the wrong time, which can hurt customer satisfaction, degrade employee performance, and cost you money.

The Importance of Equipment Maintenance Plan for Electrical Power Systems

Have you ever wondered about the importance of equipment maintenance plan and why is it necessary in Electrical power systems? Today, we will talk in detail about the planned maintenance of electrical equipment and its importance. A maintenance plan covers a facility’s routine maintenance, as well as the long term care of certain equipment or power systems inside of a facility.

INTRODUCTION TO EQUIPMENT MAINTENANCE PLAN (EMP)

Electrical equipment malfunctions and failures are responsible for million dollar losses to facilities, industries and businesses worldwide. As an equipment starts to display signs of electrical aging, it should act as a trigger for the employer or owner to carry out preventive maintenance to avoid catastrophic failure.

Scheduled routine maintenance can significantly increase the lifespan and reduce their failure rate for all types of electrical equipment, which can be achieved by having a proper maintenance program. A well-administered maintenance plan will reduce accidents, save working personnel’s lives and minimize costly breakdowns and unplanned shutdowns of production equipment.

WHY IS AN EQUIPMENT MAINTENANCE PLAN (EMP) REQUIRED?

All kinds of electrical equipment eventually begin to portray symptoms from aging. An effective maintenance plan can reduce the downtime of the facility by scheduling proper outages coinciding with routine maintenance activities. For the safety of the equipment as well as the personnel on site, OSHA recommends regular preventive maintenance for the equipment being operated under hazardous conditions.

A well thought out EMP can save lives, reduce equipment failure and prevent unplanned shutdowns in addition to enhancing site safety in the long run. This in turn increases productivity and boosts employee morale.

INSURANCE COMPANIES INSISTING ON ELECTRICAL MAINTENANCE

Are you a landlord? Do you own a commercial/apartment building? Do you want you and your tenants to be safe? Do you want to keep your insurance costs down? While some things improve with age, buildings tend to decline, particularly without regular maintenance. One of the prime concerns is the electrical system. These systems generally function quietly and efficiently in the background without maintenance until a failure occurs and ultimately can start a fire. In most cases, these fires can be prevented by an effective electrical maintenance program.  Increasingly, insurance companies are insisting on regular electrical maintenance, which includes testing, inspecting and ensuring preventative measures are in place. They are limiting their risk due to the number of claims that have been occurring.  Every insurer is different so double check with your insurance company as to what they require as proof of inspection beforehand.

A thorough maintenance is performed with the utility company and power to the building is turned off for a short period of time. Power has to be disconnected at the utility transformer to conduct the inspection of the main breaker. When the power is off, electricians will inspect all of the cables, the insulation on the cables and the buss assembly of the switchgear. This is important maintenance to detect any deterioration that could cause catastrophic failure. Inspection includes doing a thermal test to ensure the breakers are not internally heating excessively and do not have any detectable hot spots. Electricians should also torque all connections . This is the tightening of all bolts, nuts, and lugs to the level the manufacturer suggests. This helps prevent anything from loosening too much, which can cause arcing and heating in the affected area, resulting in burning and even fire in extreme cases. A professional electrician is trained to identify electrical risk conditions such as poor housekeeping, inadequate maintenance, transient voltages, non-compliance with electrical codes, outdated and faulty equipment and simple things like worn wiring that can increase fire risk.

Your professional electrician should fully itemize what they will and will not cover in their inspection so that you can ensure that you get the inspection that your insurance company requires.

Electrical Maintenance & Electrical Repairs

Enduring an electrical malfunction is one of the most frustrating things imaginable for any home or business. Even more so when you can’t get an experienced electrician out to fix it for days on end.

know what an impact a malfunctioning appliance has on a household. If your water heater goes out, you’re left with cold showers. If your oven gives up on you, your cooking is restricted. We make it our top priority to get out to our clients as quickly as possible and get repairs done efficiently.

Not only that, make it a point to do it well the first time. From stove tops to electrical wiring, know business inside and out.

Electrical Maintenance Services for Commercial Properties

Keeping homes and businesses in good condition begins with a good electrical maintenance schedule that cares for all the electrical fittings and devices in and around the building. Maintenance enhances the smooth running of all the electrical systems, while creating a safe environment free from all sorts of hazards. Not only that, preventative maintenance heads off expensive repairs and premature replacement of electrical fittings, detecting small problems before they escalate and saving money in the long run.

Checking for Electrical Faults

Over time, the protective covering on wiring can break down. When that happens, bare wires can start shorting and sparking within the walls of a home which presents a major fire hazard to your tenants. A home fire can be very devastating, and, not surprisingly, electrical faults are one of the leading causes of fires in homes.

Tools You May Need for Electrical Projects

Like any other repair or improvement project around the house, electrical work requires tools. For most residential electrical projects, you’ll use mostly basic hand tools you already own, such as a hammer, tape measure, level, and screwdrivers. There are also some specialty electrical tools that come in handy from time to time, and these are readily available at most home centers, hardware stores, electrical supply stores, and online retailers.

Thing like voltmeters, fish tape, and flashlights can come in handy when you’re . doing an at-home project. As with any tool purchase, you’ll get longer life and better performance from higher-quality tools. Better electrical hand tools, such as wire cutters and linesman pliers, have insulated handles to help guard against shock.

A standard tape measure is used for all kinds of field measurements, such as setting heights for switches and outlets, centering lighting fixture boxes, and marking surfaces for cutouts.

A hammer is used to secure electrical boxes equipped with nail-on brackets to wall studs and other framing members in a home. You’ll also need one to drive wire staples when anchoring new electrical cable to framing members.

A small level, such as a torpedo level, fits easily in a tool pouch and is used to make sure your work is level and plumb. A great installation starts with level boxes and straight switch and outlet covers.

A torpedo level should be part of every homeowner’s standard toolkit; it will have plenty of uses beyond electrical work.

Water Testing Delivery Pros And Cons

DRINKING WATER

PRIVATE DRINKING WATER FACTS

About three out of 10 Vermont households drink water from private wells.

Private wells for household use are not regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or the State of Vermont, except if you drill a new well.

Types of private drinking water sources include deep bedrock wells, shallow dug wells and groundwater springs.

Private well owners are responsible for testing the quality of their own drinking water and maintaining their own wells.

PUBLIC DRINKING WATER FACTS

Vermont residents that receive a water bill are on public drinking water(link is external). Contact your water service provider if you experience a problem with your water supply or have a complaint. Their phone number should be on the water bill.

All public water systems must conduct water quality monitoring(link is external). Testing must be performed at labs certified by the Health Department Laboratory.

Public water treatment systems are regulated by the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation(link is external).

Public water suppliers send an annual Consumer Confidence Report to customers that gives information about the water source and the presence of contaminants (if any).

Water quality can be affected by the plumbing leading to the home and by the type of plumbing and fixtures in the home. If you’re on public water, the Health Department recommends testing your water for lead.

Disinfectants are added to public water to protect public health from microorganisms in drinking water. Disinfection byproducts (DBPs) can form when naturally occurring organic carbon reacts with chemical disinfectants such as chlorine.

PRIVATE DRINKING WATER TESTING RECOMMENDATIONS

It’s important to test your private well or spring for contaminants on a regular basis so you can address any problems with your water supply. The Health Department recommends testing for bacteria (Kit A), inorganic chemicals (Kit C) and gross alpha radiation (Kit RA). The table below gives more detail on each contaminant and how often to test.

Due to COVID-19 testing, the Health Department Laboratory has temporarily suspended drinking water testing. You can still order drinking water test kits from a certified drinking water lab(link is external). You can also order a test for an individual contaminant, such as lead.

There are some contaminants in the table below that are not on a recommended schedule for testing by the Health Department, but can be a concern to those on private and public water

WHAT SHOULD YOU TEST?

If you pay a bill for your water, or your landlord or housing association pays a bill for your water, your water comes from a public water supply. If you have a concern about your public water supply, specific public water supply test results, or would like a copy of the Consumer Confidence Report

Your water utility will know what the pipes are made of from their service line to your meter, but they don’t know what pipes you have inside your home. If you are on public water, test your water for lead and copper to find out if your pipes or fixtures are a source of lead or copper with a first draw test.

Drinking Water Contaminants for Compliance Monitoring: Under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, all municipal and other public water supplies must be tested regularly for bacteria, nonorganic chemicals, naturally occurring radioactivity, and naturally occurring compounds. Schools on their own wells are public water supply systems, and are tested routinely.

The Water Supply Rule(link is external) includes a list of contaminants and corresponding contaminant levels. This rule applies to all water systems in Vermont, which include public water systems, bottled water systems, non-public water systems, and privately-owned water sources.

All landowners of single-family residences who install a new groundwater source for drinking water (for example, a drilled well, a new shallow well, a new driven well point, or a new spring), or who deepen an existing groundwater source, are required to test the water before using it.

Learn About Water

Much more than just H2O

Not one drop of the water we consume every day is comprised exclusively of hydrogen and oxygen molecules. It contains some amount of minerals, impurities, microorganisms and other contaminants. These substances may be present in only trace amounts, and don’t necessarily have negative health effects.

The United States enjoys one of the best supplies of drinking water in the world. However, while tap water that meets federal and state standards is generally safe to drink, threats to drinking water are increasing. Actual incidences of drinking water contamination are rare, and typically do not occur at levels likely to pose health concerns. Nevertheless, a wide variety of issues have the potential to contaminate drinking water. Likewise, drinking water that is not properly treated or disinfected, or that travels through an improperly maintained distribution system, may also pose a health risk.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Safe Drinking Water Act requires municipalities to test water supplies once, twice, or several times per year, depending on the potential contaminants and the size of the population served. Municipalities don’t continuously monitor the water pipes that transport water to homes. Water that leaves the treatment facility can become contaminated by the time it shows up at your tap.

The EPA defines a community water system as one that provides service to the same recipients, encompassing at least 25 people or 15 households, throughout the entire year. In essence, a CCR tells you where your water comes from and what’s in it. It provides information on the source of the water supplied to your local system and the results of its recent water quality tests. It then compares the test results to the EPA’s health-based standard.

Check for Violations of EPA Regulations

The Safe Drinking Water Information System contains information about public water systems and their violations of EPA’s drinking water regulations. These statutes and accompanying regulations establish maximum contaminant levels, treatment techniques, and monitoring and reporting requirements to ensure that water provided to customers is safe for human consumption.

Private Well Testing

Did you know that if you drink water out of a private water supply, you should test your water source at least once each year and anytime the well is serviced or the water changes in look, smell or taste?

Did you know the contaminants that you should test for can be dependent on where you live in the state? The testing you need will depend on the actual source of your water, the historic and current land use practices, and your specific worries or concerns about your water and your overall health.

Important information for well owners whose wells are in or near flood areas

Never consume water from a well if there is any chance the well has been impacted by flood waters. Contaminated water can cause severe illness. Over the last few weeks, spring snow melt along with heavy rains have caused flooding in many locations across Iowa. Because of this, please be aware that any well in or near flooded areas may be impacted by flood waters.

Floods can cause water quality problems with water supply wells – even if your well isn’t directly in the flooded area. During a flood, the increased groundwater loading nearby a well can cause well contamination. Contaminated surface water can also leak into a well through defects in the well’s casing or physically run over the top of the well and cause direct contamination of the aquifer

The groundwater that supplies your water well can become contaminated through natural processes and human related activities. In addition, Iowa is made up of unique geological settings that can create special construction, maintenance, treatment, and water testing needs.

Drinking Water Quality

If you are one of the 82 percent who get their water from a community water system like a water company, city or town system or shared well (not your own private well), your drinking water is tested regularly and extensively in a manner regulated by the Office of Drinking Water in the state Division of Public Health.

You can also found much more detailed analysis of public water systems on the Drinking Water Watch. This shows detailed test results and is updated as many tests occur. The information provided here is very technical, but there is a glossary to assist with many of the terms.

When testing finds contaminants in a public water system, water users are notified immediately, and told whether any precautions are necessary. Violation reports for the 213 community water systems that provide drinking water to homes, as well as for the hundreds of places like restaurants, convenience stores and other locations that serve water from wells to the public, are released immediately.

Detailed and regularly updated testing and quality information about public water sources — cities and towns, water companies, community systems and also restaurants, schools, convenience stores and other locations that have private wells but make water available to the public. This information is technical, but with a glossary to help explain some of the terms. For a user-friendly annual summary of water quality for the major public water systems, see the Annual Water Quality Reports above.

When testing finds contaminants or other violations of water quality in public water systems, those violations are reported immediately to owners along with any recommended actions, and the notices are also made public.

Traditional Retirement Tax Planning

What are the benefits of tax planning?

Definition of tax planning

The definition of tax planning is “the activities taken to minimise tax liabilities to ensure all available allowances, deductions, exclusions and exemptions are working together in the most tax-efficient manner to reduce the total tax bill”.

Importance of business tax planning

Tax planning strategies are typically employed to help a business achieve their financial and business goals. There are benefits of tax planning for both large and small businesses and planning plays an important role in:

  • Lowering the amount of taxable income
  • Reducing the tax rate
  • Allowing greater control of when taxes get paid
  • Maximising tax relief/tax credits available

There are always new laws and changing allowances, so regular reviews are important,

There are also different types of business tax planning strategies. Here are a few areas where an advisor would be able to benefit you and help you to save tax:

Capital gains tax

Planning for CGT means taking a number of things into account, such as what is being sold and who it is being sold to. Tax planners can do the calculations for you, and tell you what assets are exempt, or what should be included.

Corporate tax

Corporate tax is often a large cost to profitable companies. However both small and large businesses can retain more profit or extract more value from the business from corporate tax planning.

Corporate tax planning strategies include:

  • Deferring income or profits
  • Bringing forward costs
  • Capital allowances

International tax

Whether doing business internationally, planning to live outside the UK or coming to the UK to run a business and live here, International tax planning can help you save non UK tax as well as UK tax. International tax planing strategies include:

  • Timing of tax bills
  • Using tax deferral opportunities
  • Foreign tax credits
  • Avoiding double taxation

Dividend/year end tax planning

If you expect to hold a significant profit in your limited company this year then it may be wise to draw out a large dividend. Tax consultants will be able to advise you on the most tax efficient way to pay yourself and your employees.

Inheritance tax

Paying inheritance tax (IHT) when you die may reduce the amount of your estate that ends up being passed on to loved ones. There are IHT opportunities involving the family home such as;

  • Gifting property,
  • Downsizing
  • Remortgaging & insurance options.
  • It is also possible to use available strategies involving pension funds.

Tax planning for individuals

Tax planning is not just reserved for bug business. Private individuals can retain their wealth through careful tax planning. Individual tax strategies include:

  • Income tax
  • Gifting children
  • Gifting family members
  • Property
  • Pensions

Strategic approaches in relation to the situation

No taxpayer has exactly the same requirements. The individual circumstances of the taxpayer must, therefore, be taken as a basis for tax planning appropriate to the situation.

Strategic approaches for optimal tax planning in relation to the respective situation of the client can be above all:

  • the choice of the legal form for the respective entrepreneurial purpose, and
  • the reduction of the assessment base for income taxes including the indirectly associated shifting

of income and expenses or payments and disbursements to other assessment periods.

Nevertheless, there are certain tax planning criteria, general tax planning options:

  • change of residence;
  • emigration;
  • for the sake of completeness.

Benefits Of Tax Planning For Businesses

Tax planning can have some great benefits for any business, large or small. It involves evaluating the business’s current financial situation, estimating probable profit or loss for the next quarter, and drawing up strategies to minimise tax while maximising the value of the business.

  • Save tax. The main objective in tax planning is to reduce the amount of tax your business pays by maximising its deductibles.
  • More to invest – By knowing your tax liabilities, you can reinvest funds that would otherwise have been earmarked for tax back into your business.
  • Strategise – Tax planning is a great opportunity to look at the options open to your business and fine-tune its strategies in all areas while we’re analysing its data carefully.
  • Start early – The earlier in the financial year that you start, the more strategies that you can put in place to maximise the effects of your tax planning.
  • Get a head start – For those businesses operating from a trust, tax planning provides a close estimate of the trust distribution minutes well ahead of time, saving you from needing to rush to make a decision.
  • Get confident – Working through our process of tax planning allows business owners to increase their knowledge about compliance and how it works, learn strategies for minimising tax, and take a more hands-on role in the overall management of their business.
  • See the big picture – Tax planning provides some great insights into a business that allow its owners to assess the larger situation: whether the structure of the business needs to change; understand where operations are occurring; get a sense of the potential profit areas currently untapped or underexplored; find new investment options and decide how best to structure those investments.
  • Superannuation optimisation – Tax planning offers a chance to look at your superannuation strategies and make them as effective as possible, with a range of options like salary sacrificing to super and self-managed super funds to consider.
  • Peace of mind – Eliminate unnecessary stress and uncertainty by knowing just what your business’s tax liability will be and make business decisions from a firm, stable, factual base.
  • Utilise recent Budget changes – Any applicable federal Budget measures can be taken into consideration, as our agents have up-to-date tax knowledge. This ensures that your business can achieve the best possible tax outcome and that it does not miss out on any useful incentive schemes.

How are tax planning and financial planning connected?

Financial planning is the art of implementing strategies that help you reach your financial goals, be they short-term or long-term. That sounds pretty simple. However, if the actual execution was simple, there would be a lot more rich folks.

Tax planning and financial planning are closely linked, because taxes are such a large expense item as you go through life. If you become really successful, taxes will probably be your single biggest expense over the long haul. So planning to reduce taxes is a critically important piece of the overall financial planning process.

Professional Upholstery Cleaning And The Benefits

Upholstery Cleaning Professionals

Your sofa and soft furnishings are often the closest things to heaven after a long day at work! They are also one of the most expensive items that you will ever buy for your home. No matter how carefully we treat them they will eventually stop looking their best.

Expert Upholstery Cleaners

Regular vacuuming is an important factor in maintaining the look and brightness of a fabric settee. Unremoved dust will alter the colours and detail of the material over time. After a while the discolouration cannot be removed by vacuuming alone

Dirt and oils transfer very easily from clothing and newsprint can often stain the arms of settees too. All soft furnishings are delicate, and colours can fade very easily if over worked, its often a good idea to let professional cleaners handle the job.

cleaning machines use twin suction vacuum removal when rinsing out the cleaning fluid. This means that the fabric is ‘touch dry’ immediately – as we leave so little moisture in the fabric. Leather presents a different set of problems when it needs cleaning

Upholstery Cleaning Costs

The cost to have your upholstered furniture cleaned depends mostly on two factors: the size of the furniture and the type of fabric it is made from.

Upholstery Cleaning and Care for Maximum Life

Experts in the field of upholstery fabric cleaning. Specializing in Velvet upholstery cleaning and Silk upholstery cleaning. Only using “Top of the Line” equipment and products designed specifically for upholstery cleaning. We have the knowledge and take the time needed to deep clean upholstery and excel in cleaning white sofas and chairs

No matter what type of fabric is chosen for your furniture, throughout its eventful life, it will require maintenance and upholstery cleaning to keep it looking as new as possible.

Furniture is perhaps one of the largest cash investments in most households, ranking with items such as the family car, carpets and a new kitchen. Also, fabric furnishings can get heavy use and show soil and dirt quickly. Therefore, regular maintenance (see upholstery cleaning & care guidelines) and professional upholstery cleaning will extend the life of the delicate upholstery fabrics significantly, as well as keeping them looking good.

Upholstery cleaning for appearance: Typically, this is the main reason someone makes the decision to perform sofa cleaning and chair cleaning.

Furniture cleaning for health: Upholstery dirt is much different than dirt on your carpets or rugs. Upholstery cleaning deals with things like body oils, body dander, cosmetics, hairspray, body sweat and other fluids as well as food and drinks that may get spilled. Also, if you have pets that get on the furniture, animal hair, animal body oil and other animal fluids work their way into the furniture fabric. Even though your upholstery may not look dirty, dirt is accumulating through normal use. Therefore, it is good to extract this dirt periodically through professional upholstery cleaning, especially if you have children or pets

Car Upholstery Cleaning

Common concerns when cleaning car upholstery

A common misconception when cleaning any kind of upholstery is that the more water used, the better the result. This could not be further from the truth as more water doesn’t necessarily mean more effective stain removal. Moisture is extremely bad for the fabric, and can damage the fabric as well as leave the interior of the car with a dump or musty smell. Another point to note is to avoid getting water on any metal portion of the seat such as zippers. This can lead to rust, and more stains to deal with in the future. With these two important points in mind, below is how to use home remedies to clean your car upholstery.

Removing smells from car interior

It is common for car upholstery to absorb stains and odors over time. Before starting any kind of cleaning on the car seats, the first step is to deal with the smell.

Removing smells from car interior can be done in 5 easy steps:

STEP 1: Fill two bowls with white vinegar.

STEP 2: Place one bowl on the dashboard of the car and the other on the back seat the night before cleaning.

STEP 3: Close all the windows and doors and leave the bowls over-night. The white vinegar should effectively absorb all the odors from the car.

STEP 4: Remove the bowls of vinegar in the morning and leave the car doors and windows open for as long as it   takes for the smell of vinegar to completely disappear.

STEP 5 (optional): The last step is to vacuum clean your car upholstery thoroughly and take stock of the stains that need to be dealt with as the car is airing out.

Getting rid of stains on car upholstery

Before starting the stain removal process, you’ll need to prepare the following two homemade cleaning solutions:

For the first part of the cleaning you’ll need:

¼ cup of baking soda

1 cup of warm water

Mix together the baking soda and water and you’re ready for the second part.

And now we’re ready to start cleaning the car upholstery:

STEP 1: Use a toothbrush to gently apply the baking soda and water solution to any stains that you might have on the upholstery and leave the solution for 30 minutes to penetrate the stains (This is by the way a great cleaning procedure for stubborn stains including ketchup and coffee stains among others)

STEP 2: After the half hour, use a clean dry towel to blot the stains with the baking soda and water. Be careful to absorb as much liquid as possible before commencing the next step in the car upholstery cleaning process.

STEP 3: Use the detergent, water and vinegar mixture to spray the upholstery starting with the front seats and working your way to the back.

STEP 4: After spraying the seats, use a stiff-bristled brush to gently work in the solution.

STEP 5: Leave the mixture to sit for 15 minutes on the seats, and then use dry towels to absorb excess moisture.

STEP 6: The last step is to air out the car to get rid of any smells. You may want to leave all the car doors and windows open for the rest of the day or until all the cleaning smell is gone.

SIMPLE TIPS TO CLEAN AND TAKE CARE OF UPHOLSTERED FURNITURE

When you invest in an upholstered living room or sofa, you want it to last and look good for as long as possible. Children, pets and those who live in general, can charge their price on any upholstered piece, and over time, they can also start to look discoloured and sagging if not properly cared for.

Choose the right fabric

When buying a sofa, buy a unit covered with fabrics that fit your lifestyle. Choose synthetic fabrics that are easy to care for if you have children or pets and avoid fabrics or items that have too much texture.

Protection of the fabric.

If you have the option, have the upholstered furniture treated to protect it from spills. While fabric protection offers a certain level of defence, it is not a stain-proof option unless you clean up spills immediately. This will prevent them from being absorbed by the fabric.

Turn the seat cushions.

When a sofa or chair has loose cushions, turn them off periodically to avoid wear. This is also an easy way to evenly distribute the wear and prevent the cushions from coming off.

Care of the fabric

few manufacturers (if any) offer instructions for the care and maintenance of fabrics used for upholstery. In case of doubt, consult. If you are not sure of the cleaning methods for a particular fabric, the Internet is full of practical tips. But before taking any drastic action, try any product or cleaning method in an inconspicuous area.

Things to Consider Before Buying a Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner

There’s nothing like a soft carpet and a comfortable couch to make your home feel welcoming and relaxing—that is, until you dump an entire cup of coffee into the sofa cushion, right where you wanted to sit down. Or you discover that the dog, while standing right next to your bed on your new, expensive carpet, which hasn’t even showed up yet in your credit bill, suddenly decided to forego the whole housebreaking thing.

The thing to really wish for is a carpet and upholstery cleaner, because such machines can make that couch and carpet look like new again. Modern carpet and upholstery cleaners are highly efficient and affordable.

If you have a lot of carpet in your house that needs cleaning, invest in a machine that’s designed for big jobs. These use brushes to ensure a deep clean with a cleaning solution, which is then extracted by the machine. The area is rinsed, and the moisture extracted again. The best cleaners with between brushing and suctioning automatically, so you don’t have to move levers or switches every time you switch modes. A heating element helps speed up the drying time, so the room won’t be out of commission for very long. Whole house cleaners also come with a hose and separate attachments so you can use the same machine to clean upholstery and hard-to-reach areas.

If you have a pet or young child, or live with a spill-prone adult, and need to deep-clean areas of carpet rather than entire rooms, this is the machine for you. Upright area carpet cleaners have one big advantage—they’re lightweight, easy to use, and easy to carry to any room that has a carpet stain. That’s important, because carpet and upholstery cleaners have onboard reservoirs for detergent and rinse water, which add weight. Upright area carpet cleaners are also perfect for shampooing sections of carpets in high-traffic areas, such as foyers and other entryways.

If you have occasional rather than frequent carpet stains, or if you simply want a machine to clean upholstery without spending more on (and devoting more storage space to) to an upright cleaner, a portable carpet cleaner is the machine for you. You carry a portable cleaner from spot to spot (literally) and can store the machine on a closet shelf when not in use. Portable cleaners are ideal for using on carpeted stairs and on vehicle seats.

Conditions That A Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeon Treats

What You Must Know About Pediatric Dentistry

Oral health does not have to be a hard thing to do. However, it is often a hard task for most people to take care of their teeth. This is because bad habits die hard. If everyone were to be taught of proper oral health from a young age, Houston pediatric dentists would have an easier time doing their job. It is why pediatric dentistries exist all over the world.

What Is A Pediatric Dentistry?

Pediatric dentistry is a specialty of dentistry that is concerned with offering dental care to children. Pediatric dentists specialize in children’s teeth. Children have unique oral needs that cannot be addressed in the same measure as adult teeth. The mouths of children keep changing from infancy through to teenagehood. Pediatric dentists are well equipped and trained to handle the changes in the mouths of children. Besides, children are not the best in taking care of their teeth, unless with a proper guide like at greenway pediatric dentistry.

What Types of Treatments Do Pediatric Dentists Provide?

When you visit pediatric dentistry in Houston, TX, there is a lot you can expect. Pediatric dentists take care of many oral tasks on kids’ mouths, including the following:

  • Tooth extraction: children have to lose their baby teeth to make room for a new set of teeth to grow. While the teeth may fall off naturally, it is not always the case. In most cases, a tooth will be shaky from the root. Removing it may require very little pressure. For some other situations, some baby teeth can be stubborn. If left unattended to, the permanent teeth will still try to grow over the other tooth. In such cases, a pediatric dentist has to extract the baby tooth to make room for the permanent tooth. This will help avoid malpositioning and overcrowding of teeth in the mouth.
  • Teeth alignment: most children require help from dental devices to get their teeth growing properly. People’s bone structures differ. Some people’s teeth grow correctly aligned, while others do not. A pediatric dentist can ensure the proper alignment of a patient’s teeth while still young. This explains why braces are common among children and teenagers.
  • Habit counseling: does your child still suck his/her thumb even as a teenager? This could be because you did not have the intervention of a pediatric dentist as early as possible. Bad habits are hard to break, especially for kids. Thumb sucking and teeth grinding are the most common habits that kids practice that affect their dental health. A pediatric dentist can help correct this through habit counseling.
  • Preventative dental care: a dentist will observe the state of your child’s teeth to find any underlying

dental problems. If, for example, one of your child’s tooth is headed towards decay, the dentist will suggest preventative measures to protect the teeth. In preventative dental care, dental sealants, dental crowns, and space maintainer are widely used. Other than that, a pediatric dentist will professionally clean your child’s teeth. This will get rid of plaque and bacteria that can cause teeth decay and other issues.

  • Early assessment: you may never know what dental problem your child has. A dentist is best placed at assessing the health of teeth to identify any improper issues as well as anomalies that might result in severe dental problems.
  • Management and repair of teeth: kids are not the best in taking care of teeth. Given their love for candies and playing around, their dental health is easily compromised. Pediatric dentists can manage and repair teeth problems, including cavities, chipped teeth, cracks, stains, to mention a few. This caters for other dental emergencies caused by accidents and injuries.

What are the Treatments that are provided by Pediatric Dentists?

Pediatric dentists provide a whole host of comprehensive dental and oral health care, which includes the following treatments:

  • Oral health exams for the infants. This will include risk assessments for caries in both mother and the child.
  • Preventive dental care. It also include fluoride treatments, cleaning and diet and nutrition recommendations.
  • Habit counseling
  • Early treatment and assessment for correcting improper bite and teeth straightening.
  • Repairing of tooth defects or cavities
  • Diagnosing oral conditions that are related to diseases like congenital heart defect, hay fever, hyperactivity disorder, attention deficit disorder, asthma and diabetes.
  • Care for dental injuries.
  • Management of gum diseases and medical conditions like mucoceles, short frenulae, pediatric periodontal disease and ulcers.

Pediatric Dentistry: 4 Children Dental Facts That You Should Know About

Here are some important things to keep in mind regarding your child’s dental health.

1. Tooth Decay is the Most Common Childhood Disease

Tooth decay is the most prevalent harmful dental condition among children. When untreated, tooth decay will destroy a child’s teeth and have a lasting impact on their overall health. According to the CDC, more than 42% of children between ages 2 to 11 will have a cavity.  Even more startling, cavities are 5 times more common than childhood asthma and 20 times more common than diabetes.

2. Cavities are Preventable

Cavities might be common, but that certainly doesn’t mean you can’t prevent them.  In particular, fluoride is capable of preventing and reversing early stages of tooth decay. How does it work?  Once ingested, fluoride plays a role in strengthening developing teeth. The fluoride is taken to the developing teeth, where it helps reinforce the enamel (the protective layer on the teeth).  Reinforced enamel is much more resistant to tooth decay. It is important to keep in mind, however, that fluoride is not capable of repairing cavities.

3. Candy is Not the Only Cause of Poor Dental Health

There is no doubt that eating candy can certainly lead to cavities. However, it’s not the only thing that’s responsible.  Looking at the big picture, many different types of food can cause tooth decay. In particular, starchy snacks such as cookies, crackers, or bread, can increase a child’s likelihood of developing cavities.  This should not be too surprising,  After all, tooth decay is caused by acid-producing bacteria that consume carbohydrates. In other words, cavities result from microorganisms that feast on the sugars from starchy foods.  After eating these foods, it’s important to brush your child’s teeth.

4. Children Should Go to the Dentist by the Time They’re One Year Old

Most children don’t see a dentist until they are over 2 years old!  This is much later than recommended by dental professionals.  According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, you should bring your child in for a dental appointment by the time they are one year old. It is important to remember that baby teeth are crucial for several reasons.  Not only do they help children chew, which is necessary for good nutrition, but baby teeth also play a significant role with speech development. You should not forget that baby teeth help save space for permanent teeth, so taking care of them should be a top priority!

What You Need to Know About Pediatric Dental Care

Many parents assume that since baby teeth fall out anyway, there is little point in worrying about them. Yet pediatric dental care is an essential part of keeping your child healthy. In addition, establishing strong oral care routines in childhood can set your child on the road to a lifetime of good oral health. Here is what you need to know about pediatric dental care.

Teething Issues

Every child is unique, but on average, the first baby tooth will emerge at 4 to 7 months of age, while the last will erupt just before the third birthday. Teething pain and fussiness are common, along with biting behavior, drooling, swollen gums, and lack of appetite. Symptoms normally start 3 to 5 days before a new tooth comes in and end as soon as it breaks through the gums.

To help calm teething issues, give your baby something cold to chew. Teething rings are extremely popular, but it is important to ensure that the fluid inside is nontoxic, as some babies bite through the cover. Rub your baby’s gums regularly with clean gauze.

First Visit/Establishment of a Dental Home

Children who have a dental home are more likely to receive appropriate preventive and routine oral health care. Referral by the pediatrician or health provider is highly recommended, as early as six months of age and no later than 12 months.  We will tailor this appointment to your child’s personality and needs. The first visit will be a quick examination and fluoride varnish application in addition to a very extensive educational and preventive component.

Oral Hygiene

Tooth decay can begin with the very first tooth. Gently brush your baby’s teeth with a small toothbrush and an smear of fluoride-free toothpaste. Once he learns to spit, typically at around 2 years old, increase the quantity of toothpaste  to a pea size.

Learning by Example

Kids pay more attention to what you do than to what you say. Take the opportunity to make a renewed commitment to your own oral health. Reduce your sugar intake and increase the amount of water you drink. Have any nagging dental problems corrected, and make twice a year dental appointments for yourself as well as your child.

Things to Watch For

Managing your child’s dental health means keeping in touch with what’s going on with their teeth in between visits to the dentist. You’ll want to ask regular questions to your child during tooth brushing sessions, including finding out if they have any teeth that may be sensitive or causing pain.

Give your child’s teeth a thorough visual scan under bright light to see if you can spot any cavities or other abnormalities. Use a small dental mirror to see everything on all sides of the teeth. Also, check the teeth for signs of grinding, which is a common occurrence for many children as their jaws grow. If you spot signs of grinding, speak to your dentist right away. It may be necessary to obtain a mouthguard to be worn at night to help alleviate the problem and prevent it from progressing.

Starting Kids Down the Right Path

Your kids oral care needs to be a team effort in order to get the best results and ensure they have the best foundation for their dental health as they grow. As a parent, it’s important that you bridge the gap between your child and their pediatric dentist by managing expectations, keeping up with good habits at home, and working with the dentist to make sure they stay informed with your child’s progress.

Truck Tires That Are Mean Enough To Turn Heads

What safety demands are placed on a tire?

Your tires are the only part of the car that has direct contact with the road. Tires affect your vehicle handling, ride, braking, and safety. For optimum performance, tires must have the correct air pressure, tread depth, balance and the wheels of the vehicle must be properly aligned.

Checking your tires on a regular basis is an important step in protecting your safety and your automotive investment. Ideally, tire inspections should be performed monthly. If you drive over potholes and debris in the road, live in a cold climate, or drive long distances regularly, then you should inspect your tires more often.

Always inspect your tires before a long trip. The more often these inspections are performed, the easier it will be to find a small problem, such as a nail in your tire, and fix it before it becomes a more expensive and time-consuming issue.

Why is tire safety so important?

Your safety, along with the safety of your passengers and other road users, could depend directly on the condition of your vehicle’s tires.

Tire’s must:

  • be the right kind and size for your vehicle
  • be properly inflated
  • be free from defects and
  • have a tread depth of at least 1.6mm

There are three distinct categories of tires:

1. Winter tires have tread patterns that are specially designed to bite into snow and ice. They’re made from softer rubber than normal tires and they stay more flexible in cold weather. This means the tire can grip the road better in snow or icy conditions. Winter tires are labelled ‘MS’ or ‘M&S’ (Mud and Snow) with the alpine symbol as shown in Figure 1.

2. Summer tires are most commonly used in Ireland. This does not mean that they are for use during the summer only—it’s merely the term used to separate them from winter tires in countries where there is a practical need and sometimes a legal requirement to fit winter tires.

3. All-season tires are a cross between summer and winter tires and are designed to cope with all sorts of conditions, including dry roads and rain. They are not specially designed for any one kind of weather condition. All-season tires carry the marking MS or M&S (Mud and Snow) but without the alpine symbol.  

Why is tire safety so important?

Your safety, along with the safety of your passengers and other road users, could depend directly on the condition of your vehicle’s tires.

Tire’s must:

  • be the right kind and size for your vehicle
  • be properly inflated
  • be free from defects and
  • have a tread depth of at least 1.6mm

Tire Problems to Look For During a Visual Inspection

  • Over inflation: Too much air pressure causes mostly the tire’s middle section to contact the road. This creates wear primarily in the center of the tread, with less wear at the tire’s edges.
  • Under inflation: Too little air pressure causes mostly the tire’s outer edges to contact the road. This creates wear primarily on both edges of the tire tread, with less wear in the center.
  • Tread wear on one edge of the tire: This typically occurs when the wheels are out of alignment.
  • Erratic tread wear: This is often called cupping, and may mean the wheel is out of balance, or that the shock absorbers or other suspension components need to be replaced.
  • Raised portion of the tread or sidewall: May indicate that one of the belts in the tire carcass has separated from those next to it.

Tire Problems to Look for While Driving

  • Unusual vibration or thumping noise: Vibration or thumping noises can indicate an out-of-balance tire, one with tread that has a flat spot due to locking the wheels in a panic stop, or a tire with a separated belt.
  • A pull to one side: While driving at a steady speed, pulling to one side may indicate an underinflated or damaged tire on the side of the car to which the vehicle pulls. If this is not the case, a brake problem or poor wheel alignment may be causing the pull.

When Should Your Tires Retire?

No matter how new your tire is, Bridgestone recommends checking inflation pressure every month and scheduling regular inspections with a pro. After five years, an inspection is essential to determine if a tire is still road-worthy.

We recommend tires that were manufactured 10 years prior (or longer) be taken out of service and replaced with new tires. Same goes for the spare. If it’s 10 years old, it needs to be replaced, even if it appears new.

It’s important to note that the age of a tire is not the only indicator of whether it needs to be replaced. Many tires will need to be replaced before 10 years of age due to routine tread wear and other conditions such as punctures, impact damage, improper inflation, overloading and more. If a tire is worn out or otherwise unserviceable from damage or conditions of use, it should be replaced regardless of when it was produced or purchased.

Do I Have To Replace All Four Tires At Once?

Another common tire-buying question is if it’s necessary to replace all four tires at once. The simple answer is yes. It is recommended to replace all four at once because your tires are key to the performance and handling of your vehicle, it’s important for them to be as identical as possible. If your tires don’t match, one end of your vehicle may not be able to respond as quickly as the other, making it difficult to control. Your tires are what keep your vehicle connected to the road, so having an even surface is vital.

If you are in a situation where you will be replacing fewer than four tires, select tires that are similar to what is currently installed on your vehicle. If you are replacing just two tires, those two tires should only be installed on the rear axle. You should only consider tires that are within the same category as your existing ones.

If you have a vehicle that came equipped with a staggered fitment (different size tires on the front and back) then you should check your vehicle owner’s manual for replacement recommendations.

Which Tires Are Better, New or Used?

There are a lot of risks associated with buying used tires. Since you don’t know the history of the tires, it can be difficult to know if they’ve been previously run under inflated, over loaded or have other unseen internal damage which could lead to an unexpected failure. Used tires might also have uneven wear, which can cause noise, vibration or other problems and may need to be replaced much sooner than new tires. It is best to replace tires with new tires of the same category, size, load capacity and speed rating as recommended by your vehicle’s manufacturer.

Checking Air Pressure

  • Remove the tire’s valve cap.
  • Place the gauge over the tire’s valve stem and press firmly so that no escaping air is heard. The tire gauge will indicate how much pressure is in the tire.
  • Adjust the tire’s air pressure as needed. When adding air, push the air hose into the valve firmly, until the air stops escaping. Check the pressure every few seconds to help judge the amount of air going into the tire, until you reach the recommended air pressure. If the tire’s pressure is greater than it should be, use the nipple on the tire gauge to press the center of the tire valve stem and release air.
  • Replace the valve cap.
  • Repeat the process for the other tires. Don’t forget the spare tire.

Tire Maintenance

There are several tire maintenance procedures that automotive repair professionals should do because they require special tools and knowledge. However, understanding these procedures will help you feel more confident in dealing with a repair provider.

Tire Rotation

Tires on the front and the rear of vehicles operate at different loads and perform different steering and braking functions, resulting in unequal wear patterns. To gain maximum life and performance from your tires, it is essential to rotate your vehicle’s tires. Refer to your vehicle’s owner’s manual for mileage recommendations. Usually tire rotation is performed between 5,000 and 7,000 miles. Common on performance cars are tires designed to rotate in a specific direction; these can only be rotated front-to-rear, and if different tire sizes are used on the front and rear axles rotation is not possible.

Tire Balancing

Properly balanced tires help minimize uneven wear and extend their life. When tires are balanced, small weights are attached to the wheels to limit vibration of the tire and wheels as they turn. Newly installed tires should be balanced, and thereafter whenever a vibration is noticed. Balancing is also called for whenever a tire is removed from the wheel, for example to repair a puncture.

Wheel Alignment

Wheel alignment is the measurement of the position of the wheels compared to specifications that the vehicle manufacturers recommend. Each vehicle has specific wheel alignment settings. If any alignment measurement falls outside the specified range, uneven tire wear can result, vehicle handling may be affected and fuel economy can be diminished.

You should have the wheel alignment checked and adjusted when new tires are installed, and thereafter any time when unusual steering characteristics are observed. A vehicle’s wheels are properly aligned when the car will drive down the road in a straight line without drifting or pulling to either side. A drift or pull can be caused by problems other than just alignment, so a thorough inspection should be performed by a qualified shop to determine the exact nature of the problem before an alignment is performed.

How To Get Rid Of A Racoon

Raccoons

Raccoons (Procyon lotor) are opportunistic, intelligent creatures that have adapted well to our urban and suburban landscapes. A general lack of predators combined with easy to access food sources such as garbage cans, compost bins, gardens and outdoor pet food bowls have allowed raccoons to proliferate even in the most developed of areas.

Raccoons are primarily nocturnal animals but can be seen at any time of day. Adult raccoons in the Pacific Northwest typically range in weight between 10 and 25 pounds but can get larger.

They are omnivorous and consume a highly varied diet that includes fruit and vegetables, insects, small rodents, fish and human handouts, as well as pet food and garbage when available.

Raccoons typically den above ground in tree cavities and under downed logs, but will substitute chimneys, attics and crawlspaces where available. Breeding season in the Pacific Northwest extends from early March through early fall. Litters can range from 1-7 kits. Young are weaned at about 2 months of ages but may remain with the mother through the first winter.

Tips for Reducing Human-Raccoon Conflicts

Do not feed raccoons: Deliberate feeding of raccoons makes them more comfortable around humans and more likely to get into situations where they are unwanted or in danger. It also encourages unnaturally high population levels within a small geographic area, which creates a higher risk of disease transmission among the raccoons and increases the likelihood they will become pests.

Feed pets indoors: This will eliminate a raccoon attractant and will diminish the likelihood of an unwanted encounter between your pet and a wild animal.

Tightly cover all garbage cans. Use bungees or other methods for securing the lids if necessary.

Seal up all potential denning locations within your home: Placing caps on chimneys and blocking outside entryways to basements, attics, and under porches will reduce the likelihood that you will wind up sharing your home with a raccoon.

Naturescape for wildlife: Plant native vegetation and leave snags standing. Making natural food and shelter available will reduce the likelihood of unwanted human-raccoon interactions.

Raccoons are not pets! Raccoons do not make good pets. Like all wild animals, raccoons can carry diseases and parasites. When they reach sexual maturity, they can become territorial and aggressive. It is illegal in the State to take a raccoon out of the wild to be kept as a pet.

A “nuisance” raccoon

Raccoons are a fact of urban living. In many cases, tolerance and prevention (eliminating unnatural food sources, sealing up potential denning locations) is the best approach. If you do find yourself in conflict with your local raccoon population, the first thing to consider is identifying the source of the problem. What is attracting the raccoon to your property?

Raccoons are raiding my garbage cans!

Raccoons will take advantage of any available food source and are well-known garbage raiders. Garbage cans should be secured tightly to prevent a raccoon’s access. You can fasten the lid securely with rope, bungee cords or weights. Garbage cans can be secured to a wooden stake or wall to prevent being knocked over. Commercial repellants can also be sprayed directly onto garbage cans to deter raccoons.

Raccoon Roundworm

DESCRIPTION

The raccoon roundworm (Baylisascaris procyonis) is the common large roundworm or ascarid found in the small intestinal tract of raccoons. Adult worms measure 15 to 20 cm in length and 1 cm in width. They are tan-white in color, cylindrical and taper at both ends.

DISTRIBUTION

B. procyonis has been reported from numerous states, but probably occurs wherever the raccoon inhabits. Prevalence of infections ranges from 3.4% to nearly 100% of all raccoons sampled

TRANSMISSION AND DEVELOPMENT

Transmission of B. procyonis can occur either directly or via an intermediate host. Naturally infected raccoons shed eggs (millions daily) in their feces and, under adequate temperature and moist conditions, a larvae will develop within an egg (embryonated) and can be infective (2nd stage larvae) in 11-14 days. Raccoons, especially young ones, become infected directly by accidental ingestion of these eggs. This may occur via the mother’s egg-contaminated body or from the local environment of the den (soil or vegetation). When an intermediate host is involved, embryonated eggs are ingested, the eggs hatch, and the larvae penetrate the intestines and migrate through the liver and lungs. The larvae then enter the pulmonary veins, pass into the left side of the heart and are distributed throughout the body especially the head, neck and/or thoracic areas. The larvae become encysted in small, firbous nodules in the affected tissue. If the intermediate host is eaten by a raccoon, the encysted larvae are released and migrate to the small intestine where they develop into the adult stage.

CLINICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL SIGNS

In raccoons usually there are no clinical or pathological signs observed. In heavy infections, intestinal obstructions or a rupture of the intestinal tract may occur, due to the large number of parasites present.

The animals usually seen with clinical and pathological signs caused by Baylisascaris are the intermediate hosts (mice, woodchucks, squirrels, rabbits, and birds). Migration of large numbers of larvae may cause liver and lung damage. Usually changes in behavior are seen due to central nervous system disorders. This is the result of damage caused to the brain and spinal cord by the larvae. Larvae may also cause eye disorders by migrating through the ocular tissues. If small numbers of larvae are involved in the migration, there may be no clinical signs observed.

How to Spot a Raccoon Infestation and What to Do About It

For many homeowners, the worst thing possible is having a rat or cockroach infestation. These pests can spread diseases, and they can find their way into homes using only the smallest holes. They leave droppings all over the home, and let’s face it: They’re disgusting to find face-to-face in your home.

So if you were to find that you actually have a raccoon infestation in your home as opposed to a rat infestation, you may think you’re better off for it, but that’s not quite true. Having a raccoon infestation can be quite serious, and as cute as they may be, raccoons can cause serious damage to your home. While it’s less likely, they can also carry diseases, and if your pet happens to find one, a racoon could harm your pet.

What to know about raccoons

Raccoons may look adorable with their mask-like faces and cute little paws, and when they’re outside, they’re fun to watch. It’s when they come into your home that it becomes a problem

Raccoons are nocturnal mammals that are known for eating just about anything. They’re omnivores, and in the wild, they’ll eat crawfish, frogs and anything else they can catch in a river as well as plants, fruits and eggs stolen from other nests. Around your neighborhood, you’ve likely seen raccoons poking around trash cans, trying to find their next meal from your scraps.

signs of a raccoon infestation

As mentioned, raccoons look to make their dens in warm places where they can last through the winter. They spend those cold months usually sleeping, so it can be difficult to know whether you’ve got a raccoon infestation until spring. As you’ll note from previous blogs, female wasps can lay dormant all winter in your attic and then wake up and start a colony in the spring. If you don’t go up to your attic frequently, then you might not notice an infestation before it’s too late.

How to Get Rid of Raccoons

Raccoons are cute to watch on TV, but they’re not so cute when they leave your trash strewn all over your backyard. The good news is that you can use humane techniques to get rid of raccoons around your house. Make your trash cans unattractive or impossible to enter. Remove or prevent access to any potential food sources from your yard. Finally, block any areas that would allow raccoons to enter your home.

Secure trash can lids. Use a rope, chain or bungee cord to tie the lid into a secure position. Alternatively, you could weigh down the lids with weights, bricks, or other heavy objects. Aim for about 20 pounds (9.1 kg) of weight to prevent the strongest adult raccoons from getting in.

Clean out your trash cans. Wash them out with the hose every week or so. Sprinkle the inside with baking soda to remove any lingering food odors. Tip them upside down so they don’t store water for mosquitoes or for raccoons to drink

Don’t put out the trash at night. Raccoons are active at night, and trash cans are among their favorite “hunting grounds.” To prevent them from breaking into your trash, store your cans in the garage or other indoor location. Take them out to the curb the morning of your scheduled pickup

Double bag food scraps. Raccoons have a very keen sense of smell that allow them to detect food sources from far away. Double bagging will help to contain food odors. This is especially helpful if you absolutely must keep your trash outside the night before the next garbage pickup

Spent $31 million to fend off a raccoon invasion. Here’s why cities can’t get rid of them.

Between the 1930s and 1980s, the US raccoon population increased twentyfold, and it’s still going strong. From 2014 to 2015, raccoon complaints in nearly doubled, so how are these masked bandits making it in big cities?

Well, for starters, they can digest just about anything from fish and acorns in the forest to dog food and pizza on the street, and just like humans, raccoons usually prefer the pizza, which is why they flock from city in the first place.

It’s just about impossible to stop them, as discovered after it spend millions on raccoon-proof waste bins. Unlike traditional bins, the lids had special gravity locks, which open when a garbage truck arm turns the bin upside down. The idea was that if you cut off their major food source, they would skip town, but that didn’t happen. In fact, one year later, a wildlife-control business reported that raccoon-related work had doubled.

Finally, a clever raccoon was caught on camera jailbreaking the new bin. How did she outwit an entire city? Well, study after study has revealed that raccoons are considerably smarter than your average medium-sized critter. Turns out raccoon brains have more neurons packed into their brains than other animals of the same size.

In fact, they have the same neuron density as primates, who are notoriously smart, and their clever brains help explain why raccoons can open complex locks, solve puzzles with ease, and even come up with solutions to problems that scientists didn’t think of. Add to that their ultrasensitive hands, er, paws, which have four times as many sensory receptors as their feet. This helps them to feel subtle textures like special trashcan lids and even open locks without looking.