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Ellicott City: 410-480-2667

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Let's Talk About Floors

Mercer Blog

Wanted: Guest Posts from Local Businesses

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I’m more than a little biased.  But I’m okay with that.  Supporting small, local, family businesses is important to me.  I’d like to think that my readers, you, agree with me.  So, with that in mind, I’d like your help.


I am looking to host informative guest posts on anything related to the home by people working and living in the central Maryland area especially those in Carroll, Baltimore, and Howard Counties.  Interior design, landscaping, home insurance, energy efficiency, appliances, furniture, paint, artwork, home health, home safety, and exterior design are just some topics that I would be interested in hosting.


So, if you are interested in some free, online, targeted advertising that people read (my blog averages about 200 readers per day!) send me an email (katlin@nullmercercarpetone.com) with your post attached in a Word file.  Please have it at least 250 words, focused on being informative, and include a short introduction about you and your business.  Plus, if there are any images you would like to see included in the post, please attach them to the email as well.  Note: I allow two in-text links to a website of your choice so take advantage of a great way to get people to visit your business’s website!
As always, if there are any questions (or ideas), please let me know! Katlin@nullMercerCarpetOne.com Facebook.com/MercerCarpetOne Twitter.com/MercerFloors

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Local Guest Posts Wanted

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Hello and welcome to Let’s Talk About Floors!


As a small, local, family run business, we at Mercers are a little biased.  We think us small, local businesses need to stick together.

So, if you are with a small, local business that works in and/or around the Howard and Carroll Counties, listen up!


I’d like to host guest posts by you.  My blog receives approximately 200 visitors per day and is written for homeowners in the Central Maryland area.  Why not take advantage of a free advertising source?  All topics need to be informative and some how related to the home.  Don’t be afraid to think outside the box!


Posts should include a paragraph about you/your company and should be somewhere around 500-700 words.  You can also include up to 3 in text links of your choice and pictures of your choice.

All posts will be scheduled 1st come 1st serve on Wednesday mornings.  In addition to being posted live here, I will also share links to the post on my personal and professional online profiles.  I ask that you do the same.  And, if you have a website of your own, it would also be beneficial to link to the post there.



Please send your ideas to my email – Katlin@nullMercerCarpetOne.com – including a brief introduction about you and your company (this can be the final or rough intro that will be in your post).

Have Fun,

Katlin Farrell
Mercer Floor & Home
10155 Baltimore National Pike
Ellicott City Maryland 21042
Office: 410-480-0087
Katlin@nullMercerCarpetOne.com
Facebook.com/MercerCarpetOne
Twitter.com/MercerFloors
Pinterest.com/KatFarrell
As always, if there are any questions (or ideas), please let me know! Katlin@nullMercerCarpetOne.com Facebook.com/MercerCarpetOne Twitter.com/MercerFloors

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[Guest Blog] ‘Bond, James Bond:’ Super-spy Quality Security Systems

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Home security systems have come a long way since the backyard dog and neighborhood watch.  One option is straight out of super-spy movies: floor sensor systems.  Floor sensor systems are growing in popularity, because they are effective and invisible, creating a strong level of extra security. We’ll talk about how they are installed and explain exactly how they work. We’ll also examine the various types and discuss the best ways to use them.



How Are Floor Sensor Systems Installed?

If you choose to install a floor sensor security system, there are several factors to consider such as: whether the home is new construction or an existing structure; if it is a one or more story building; and how sensitive you want the sensors to be. If the building is new construction, the sensors can be easily installed before laying the subflooring, tile or carpet. Stress sensors are mounted on the first floor with an epoxy to the joists and under the beams below the subflooring. Second-floor stress sensors are mounted on the side of the beams for the second floor.


 If the sensors are being installed in an existing home, the sensors are typically installed in the areas that get the most traffic, such as the top of a stairway and entrance doors. The installer will place the sensors in inconspicuous areas, close to the point of entry, such as in a closet or an air duct. If the existing home has a second floor, the installer will cut into the first-floor ceiling near the joist and mount the sensor on the side of a beam. If you prefer to not cut through the existing ceiling, floor sensors can also be placed under carpets or rugs.



How Do Floor Sensors Work?

Floor sensors are invisible, but when someone steps on the floor, their steps will slightly shift the beam and trigger the sensor processor, which in turn alerts an alarm control. If you have animals, the sensor security system can be adjusted to prevent false alarms and will not pick up animals that weigh up to 80 pounds; however, it will still detect a child or small adult. Sensors are mounted in the floor, so you can leave windows or doors open without the risk of setting off an alarm, because the alarm will not be activated until the floor beams are stepped on.



Are There Different Types of Sensors?

There are basically two types of floor sensors: those that are installed in the floor beams, and floor mats. A floor mat is a thin mat designed to go under a rug or carpet. Floor mats are typically placed under windows or near the entry doors. The floor mat has pressure switches that detect pressure of someone walking on the mat. 



The interior sensors mounted to the floor beams cannot detect when an intruder is opening a window or door, as there must be movement inside the house. There are several different types of interior floor sensors to choose from, all of which are connected to the main control box of an alarm. The control box is what responds to any signals that are sent by the sensors.



Ultrasonic Sensor

These sensors work by sending out ultrasonic sound waves. When there is movement detected by the sensor, the returning wave patterns of the sensor change, and that activates the alarm. This type of sensor should not be used near vents or windows, because sound waves travel by air, so there is a chance of false alarms due to a breeze, draft or sudden temperature change.



Microwave Sensor

These use microwave radio waves to detect a change in the sensors. This type of sensor produces signals that can bounce between several surfaces, so it is extremely sensitive and can cause false alarms when movement occurs around the corner from the sensor. These should be installed in areas where there is very little movement.



Photo-Electric Sensor

These are made with two parts, a focused source of light, such as a laser beam, and a light sensor. The two parts are positioned across from each other. When someone crosses the light beam, the beam is blocked from the sensor, which triggers the alarm. These sensors work best in areas such as a hallway where there is a fair amount of space between the laser beam and the sensor.



Passive Infrared Sensor

This is similar to a motion sensor, except it uses energy beams to detect movement. The sensors are designed to identify the body heat of people and will not usually create false alarms due to pets moving in the area. These are the best types of sensors for homes with pets.



Although you can install a floor sensor security system on your own, it is highly recommended that you contact a professional for the installation. For best results, the sensors must be placed in optimum locations and a professional will be more experienced with knowing how many sensors are needed for the size of your home.

Lynn Darsow is a home security consultant. She enjoys blogging about her insights on various homeowner blogs. Visit www.SelectHomeSecurity.com to learn more.
As always, if there are any questions (or ideas), please let me know! Katlin@nullMercerCarpetOne.com Facebook.com/MercerCarpetOne Twitter.com/MercerFloors

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[Guest Post] 10 Easy Steps to Renovate Your Home and Increase Its Value

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Many expensive home remodeling projects are nothing more than a waste of money, doing little to increase the actual value of the property above what is spent on the remodeling. The area in which your property is located can, unfortunately, limit how much your home is worth regardless of the money you spend doing renovations and property auctions. Here are ten easy steps that you can follow to cheaply and efficiently renovate your home and increase its value.


1. Pamper the Yard
Keeping the yard in great shape can do much more to increase your home’s value than, for instance, adding a deck. Make sure your yard is free of litter and dead leaves, and cut the grass regularly. This includes weed whacking the corners and edging the sidewalks properly. Blooming flower beds with no weeds look beautiful and add value. 




2. 
Clean Walls and Windows
Sometimes washing your walls and siding can do more for them than repainting would. Cleaning your finishes will make them look like they were just added yesterday. Hose down the outside of your home with a high-pressure spray, and clean your windows until they are completely transparent.


 3. Paint
If a fresh coat of paint is desperately needed, make sure to patch up the holes and add a coat of primer first. Sand the primer down a bit once it dries, and then add the first coat of paint, sanding it down too once it dries. Make sure the walls are clean and free of dust before adding the final coat of paint.



4. 
Install New Blinds and Curtains
This simple and cheap renovation will make your home sparkle. Blinds and curtains receive a daily beating from the sun, which causes them to fade drastically over time. Installing new ones will make your home look fresh and new again.

5. Clean the Carpets
Carpets that are free of mold and stains and that smell fresh can make your home look beautiful. Carpets cleaned by a professional with hot water extraction will increase your home’s value much more than the cost of the cleaning.


 6. Replace Old Switches and Outlets with Modern Ones
Often the best and most value-increasing renovations are small ones that subtly make your home more appealing without showing themselves off too much. Replacing your old light switches and outlets with modern dimmer switches and new outlets is cheap and can make it look like your electrical wiring is newer than it is.



7. 
Refinish or Replace the Cabinets in Your Kitchen
Slapping a quick refinish on the kitchen cabinets can make your kitchen look a lot more modern and valuable than it actually is. A lighter finish will make your kitchen look bigger and brighter. Only replace the cabinets if they are really in bad shape.



8. 
Buy Brighter Bulbs
Homes that are well-lit are both more attractive and worth more on the market. Buying light bulbs with a slightly higher wattage for your lamps and fixtures will make your home look fresh and warm.




9. 
Install Quality Trim
Replacing your home’s trim (baseboard, quarter round, door frames, etc) is a cheap and simple renovation that can make it look new and exciting.


10. Add a Level Five Finish to Textured Walls
Score the surfaces of your textured walls lightly with 60 grit sandpaper. Wipe off the dust and give each wall two separate coats of your favorite joint treatment. After the second coat, sand the walls lightly again, this time with 220 grit sandpaper. This simple and easy process will give your textured walls a level five finish and greatly improve your home’s value.

 
My name is Nisha, I represent a site called http://unmodernised.com. I love to write about fashion and design.

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Hello everyone!  I hope you enjoyed Nisha’s post.  I’d love to know what you think about the tips and if you’d like to see more work by Ms. Nisha.
As always, if there are any questions (or ideas), please let me know! Katlin@nullMercerCarpetOne.com Facebook.com/MercerCarpetOne Twitter.com/MercerFloors

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How to Naturally Cool your Home

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George Rollins recently contacted me about writing a post with tips on how to reduce your energy bill this summer.  He is a home enthusiast at FurnaceCompare.com, a site that has extensive information on brands and models of furnaces, boilers, air conditioners, and heat pumps. Furnace Compare also publishes consumer reviews and tips on choosing HVAC contractors. George has a passion for educating consumers on home improvements, as he feels that the right information can help consumers choose more wisely.  I’d love to hear what you think about his post!






Particularly in warm parts of the United States including Maryland, homeowners are starting to experience the annual ascent of their electric bills as outdoor temperatures begin to rise and air conditioners get cranked up.



With record high temperatures in summer months, air conditioning units may seem like a necessity. However, modern air conditioning systems didn’t become a staple in American homes until midway through the last century. Before that, families had to get creative in their effort to stay cool during hot summer days. In fact, even the ancient Romans found natural ways to reduce temperatures within their homes.




To help combat raising energy costs and reduce their carbon footprint, many homeowners are using the traditional creative cooling methods along with some new ones. In their minds, air conditioners are just one component in their overall plan to achieve a comfortable temperature indoors.



Below are some easy, inexpensive methods to supplement the work of the air conditioner to cool your home.

Reflecting Heat Away

One very simple way to reflect heat away from your home is to paint the exterior a light color.

Light colors are more likely to reflect solar energy, while darker hues tend to absorb heat. That heat can then transfer into the home, thereby contributing to an increase in the interior temperature.



In addition, installation of a radiant barrier, a foil lining attached to the roof rafters, can help minimize heat intrusion into the house during Maryland’s sunny, humid August.

Insulation

Homes that are constructed with good quality, carefully installed insulation are likely to endure the summer heat with less need for air conditioner overuse. In particular, insulation in the attic area is important to prevent heat that penetrates the roof from infiltrating a home’s living space.



In addition, contractors should carefully caulk and weather-strip areas around doors and windows to ensure that hot air does not enter the home. Caulking and weather-stripping are also instrumental in ensuring that cool air does not escape from the house.

Shading

Shading the house from the sun’s heat is another great way to give your air conditioner a break. Landscaping can be one of your best resources when trying to shade your home. Careful positioning of trees and shrubs can help block some of the sun’s rays from the house. Oak and hickory are strong, sturdy trees that are native to the East Coast and make up 60% of Maryland’s forests.


Because large trees grow slowly, also consider installing a trellis or pergola at problem areas so that luscious vines, which generally grow quickly, can help with the shading. Vines that are native to Maryland include the Trumpet Vine, Virgins Bower, Trumpet Honeysuckle, and the Virginia Creeper.
In addition, functional exterior shutters and awnings can help shield the house from the sun.


Interestingly, certain interior design elements can also contribute to the temperature of the house. For example, installing drapes and curtains can help reduce the intrusion of heat into the house.

Removing Built-up Heat

During the coolest parts of the day, consider naturally ventilating your house by opening windows and doors to create a nice, pleasing breeze throughout the building.

Encouraging this outside air into the house helps force warmer air out; however, this won’t work if the outside temperature is hot. Therefore, on particularly warm days, this strategy likely won’t work.



But generally the summer evenings in Howard and Carroll Counties of Maryland are comfortable. Even if you can’t utilize this method for extended periods of time any break you give your air conditioner potentially helps the environment and your checkbook.

Don’t Forget about Fans

While fans may consume some energy, they use considerably less energy than air conditioners. Today, stores carry countless different models, so the sky is the limit in choosing the right fan for your home.



Reducing Heat Sources

Paying attention to the heat generating sources within your home may help you become more conscious of unnecessary uses, thereby reducing heat production.



For example, the energy generated from incandescent light bulbs generally produces much more heat than light, so minimizing the time lamps and other light sources are turned on is wise. Also, consider switching to energy efficient bulbs. (Note: We are currently in transition; incandescent bulbs are being fazed out.)

The kitchen contains many heat-producing culprits, so try to avoid prolonged use of the major offenders: the stove and oven. Don’t forget about the microwave, which produces virtually no heat, and take advantage of the warm weather and cook on the outdoor grill.



Homeowners should also consider drying clothes naturally on a clothes line and air drying dishes. Both of these tactics will give some of your heavy duty appliances a well deserved rest and will avoid unnecessary heat production in the home.


How are you  planning on staying cool and decreasing your energy bills this summer?

Here are some more tips from the Maryland Energy Administration.
As always, if there are any questions (or ideas), please let me know! Katlin@nullMercerCarpetOne.com Facebook.com/MercerCarpetOne Twitter.com/MercerFloors

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