|November 20, 2014||Posted by Pat Dolan Plumbing under Pro Tips|
Winter is coming and that means it’s time to take some extra precautions to avoid frozen and burst pipes. Cold weather can be dangerous for outdoor appliances and taps but even your indoor plumbing isn’t immune to cold-weather effects.
Take some steps now, before the cold sets in, to make sure your pipes and appliances will work smoothly all winter long. We offer plumbing service on Long Island and know that prevention is essential to avoiding major winter plumbing problems.
Have Your Plumbing Inspected for Leaks
Leaks are always a problem, but they can lead to even bigger problems in the winter. Even a small leak in one of your pipes can cause it to burst as the water inside the pipe freezes and swells.
Fix any known leaks and have a professional check for leaks in hard to reach places like crawlspaces or attics. A small fix now can prevent a lot of work and a major headache later.
Insulate Your Pipes
Insulating your pipes will help to keep them warm and prevent them from freezing. You can pick up pipe insulation at your local hardware store and use it to cover exposed pipes.
Pipes in garages, attics and basements are especially prone to freezing because they are surrounded by cold air. But, it’s a good idea to also protect pipes under sinks, in closets and in other open places.
Turn Off Outdoor Faucets and Appliances
Outdoor faucets, taps, appliances and hoses can cause major problems if they freeze. Drain these things of water and turn them off. You may even want to turn the water supply to these completely off for the winter.
Things to check for and prepare include garden hoses, outdoor taps, cooling units, swimming pools and sprinkler systems. Check the manuals that came with your appliances for specific instructions on how to drain them.
Take Extra Measures When It’s Cold
The prevention doesn’t stop here though. As the temperatures start to dip you can take some extra precautions to avoid frozen, damaged and burst pipes.
Keep Your Home Warm
When it’s cold outside, keep your thermostat at a higher temperature to keep the pipes nice and warm, especially at night. If you are going out of town, don’t turn your furnace off. Instead schedule your thermostat to keep your home warm to avoid frozen pipes.
Open Cupboard Doors
During cold snaps, open cupboard doors to allow warm air to circulate around pipes. Do this in your kitchen, bathroom, closets and anywhere else you have exposed pipes. If you have pipes in your attic or basement, open doors to allow warm air into these areas too.
Close Garage Doors
You can keep pipes in your garage warmer by closing the garage doors whenever possible. This keeps out colder air and will keep the garage at a higher temperature, keeping the pipes warm enough to prevent freezing.
Now is the time to start preparing your plumbing for winter weather and know how to use preventative measures. But, despite precautions, frozen pipes do happen.
If you suspect you have a frozen pipe check to see if it looks swollen or if it is bulging. Then, check for any leaks or breaks. If you see any of these signs, contact a plumber. As a plumbing service on Long Island, we know that the best way to deal with this kind of problem is to work with a professional who can prevent further damage.
If the pipe isn’t visibly damaged, you can attempt to thaw it by opening cupboard doors to let warm are in and even by using a blow dryer, held a few feet from the pipe, to very slowly unthaw it. Don’t attempt to thaw pipes too quickly, which can cause damage.
Prevent frozen pipes and be prepared this winter so plumbing problems won’t interfere with the holidays!
|November 18, 2014||Posted by Progress Lighting under Pro Tips|
Lighting is one of the most important elements of a home. The right lighting creates an inviting environment and sets the scene for entertaining guests, while largely impacting the perceived value of your home.
We are proud to partner with Progress Lighting to bring you high quality fixtures that display up-to-date design trends. Progress Lighting understands the marketplace and offers lighting solutions that complement the latest home furnishings.
Read on to learn about the 5 most popular lighting trends for winter 2014, courtesy of Progress Lighting.
Grouped Pendant Displays
When it comes to pendant lighting – the more the merrier. A large entertainment island is one of the top priorities for today’s homeowners. A popular way to highlight this area is to cluster multiple mini-pendants above the island. Mix and match styles and finishes at differing heights for a contemporary feel. Or, line the island with pendants of the same size and style for a simple, clean-lined approach.
Clear Glass with Exposed Light Sources
Another trend noted by Progress Lighting design experts is the use of fixtures featuring clear glass and an exposed light source. These designs pair beautifully with bright white cabinets, creating a fresh and lively atmosphere.
Kitchens and baths with clean lines, minimal ornamentation and easy maintenance are high on the priority list for homeowners. Simplified lighting with modest features contributes to this popular style of design.
Unexpected, elegant fixtures are making their way into kitchen and bath design. Designers and architects are choosing fancier lighting additions, adorned with beads, bobeches and crystals, contributing to the luxurious feel of the space.
A shift toward more efficient lighting technologies allows consumers to make subtle energy saving changes in the kitchen and bath. LED and CFL lamps play a big role because they can pay for themselves through energy and maintenance savings, while providing aesthetically pleasing lighting.
|November 13, 2014||Posted by JBuilder under Giveaways|
What’s better than a new kitchen faucet? A FREE faucet in your kitchen by Christmas! National Builder Supply is teaming up with American Standard to give one lucky person their luxury Pekoe faucet. This beautiful semi-professional faucet combines the function of a faucet found in a restaurant kitchen and the beauty of modern design.
Read below to learn how to enter.
1. Click Here
2. Complete the actions for entries. Remember, the more entries you receive, the more chances you have to win!
3. That’s it!
Giveaway ends November 26. Good luck!
|November 11, 2014||Posted by JBuilder under For the Pros|
Test caps, PVC fittings, and Weld-On are products plumbers typically use daily for their business to function. But there is another tool most plumbers often ignore that can grow their business without touching any plumbing: a blog. Blogs are a great way to share your knowledge of plumbing and industry trends with both current and potential customers. Blog posts also prove that you actually know how to install and fix plumbing, things new customers will try to assess before they give you a call.
Read below for three more reasons why a plumber needs a blog.
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the way your website ranks in search engines, like Google or Bing. The optimization part comes in when you make changes to your website to help it rank higher. It is incredibly important to appear on the first page of Google, as most searchers end their search on the first page of results. Plus, the higher the rank, the better. People are more likely to trust (and click on) the first two results on Google.
Writing a blog is a great way to improve your website’s SEO. Not only will your blog posts have the potential to be found through more searches (a blog post may show up for the search “How do I unclog my toilet” while your website’s homepage would not), but an active blog is proof to search engines that your website is constantly being refreshed, an important factor in determining page rank. Both of these factors are great reasons to start a blog for your business.
2. Social Content
By now, most small businesses know the benefits of using social media. But finding insightful articles and videos on plumbing that your customers will understand can be tiresome, and promotions aren’t always in the budget. But by creating a blog, you’re making your own content to share.
It works both ways. When you write a blog post, you share it on your company’s social media profiles. Then, when your followers (typically consisting of potential and current customers) click to read more, they’ll be giving your website more traffic, possibly leading to a sale. And, just as you share content made by others on your social profiles, others could share your blog articles with their followers, spreading the word of your business to more potential customers.
3. Customer Resources
Blog articles are also a great resource to have on hand for your customers. Did you make a house call to unclog a sink, only to find the solution is so simple the client could have done it himself? Instead of just explaining how he can fix the problem in the future, email him a link to a blog article you’ve written that describes the fix for such a problem. He’ll appreciate the extra advice, making him a customer for life.
And with easy-to-use platforms like MailChimp, you can even create a newsletter email to send your latest blog posts to your customers. This will keep your business fresh on their minds, making them more likely to call you when they need a plumber.
So what are you waiting for? Get started blogging today!
Did you know plumbers and other housing professionals receive 5 – 30% off the entire National Builder Supply catalog and have access to brands and products exclusive to pros? Click here to sign-up for a free account today and begin saving!
|November 7, 2014||Posted by JBuilder under For the Pros|
Houzz is a fantastic asset for the design world. Interior designers, builders, and other housing professionals can display their work on profiles that double as online portfolios. Homeowners and fellow professionals can then search through the photos interior designers post for inspiration and to find designers in their area for their next project. Whether you’re an interior designer or homeowner, following design pros on Houzz is a smart idea. That’s why we’ve rounded up 10 amazing interior designers to follow. Click on the photos below to be linked to each profile. And while you’re there, follow National Builder Supply on Houzz.
Martha O’Hara Interiors Minneapolis, Minnesota
Charmean Neithart Interiors, LLC. San Marino, California
Right Meets Left Design LLC New York, New York
Lucy and Company Charlotte, North Carolina
Designing Solutions Silver Spring, Maryland
Britto Charette Interiors Miami, Florida
Four Brothers LLC Washington, D.C.
Michael Nash Design, Build & Homes Fairfax,Virginia
Pacific Coast Kitchen & Bath San Luis Obispo,California
Kerrie L. Kelly Design Lab Sacramento, California
Did we miss any of your favorite designers on Houzz? Let us know in the comments below!
Are you a housing professional? Receive 5-30% off all of your plumbing and lighting fixtures with a FREE National Builder Supply account. Sign-up here.
|November 4, 2014||Posted by JBuilder under For the Pros|
Houzz is an online portfolio for housing professionals that homeowners and fellow professionals use for inspiration on their next projects. If you are a housing professional, it is important to both create a Houzz profile and to follow your peers to learn the latest trends and styles in home design.
We’ve highlighted eight home builders that are knocking it out of the park on Houzz by showcasing their beautiful work and communicating with potential customers. We suggest following the builders, especially if you yourself are a home builder, for prime examples of fantastic Houzz users. Click on the photos below to be taken to the Houzz profiles of each builder. And while you’re there, be sure to follow National Builder Supply.
Dresser Homes Atlanta, Georgia
Prull Custom Builders Santa Fe, New Mexico
SOD Builders Los Angeles, California
Jorgenson Builders Midway, Utah
Slate Barganier Building, Inc. Vestavia Hills, Alabama
Toulmin Homes Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Southland Log Homes Irmo, South Carolina
Structures Building Company Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina
Did we miss any of your favorite builders? If so, let us know in the comments below!
Are you a builder or housing professional? Click to sign-up for a FREE National Builder Supply Pro membership to receive 5 – 30% off all of your plumbing and lighting orders.
|October 31, 2014||Posted by JBuilder under For the Pros|
All businesses, from large to small, can use social media to actively engage their current customers and to gain the attention of new, potential future clients. However, most small businesses don’t have the resources to hire a social media professional to manage their social accounts and the responsibility falls on employees with other job duties, sometimes even the owner of the business!
When time is tight and guidance is needed, we have your back! Read below for five tips from our very own social media manager on how to improve your brand’s social presence.
1. Scheduling is Your Friend
Did you know you can schedule virtually any social post? It’s true! Instead of having to constantly remember to sit down and post to Facebook, Twitter, and any other brand social media channels, you can carve out a few hours of your week to schedule your posts all at once.
Most small businesses use HootSuite to schedule their Twitter posts. Posts can be laid out in a calendar and edited before they are posted. Even better, HootSuite makes it easy to manage direct messages, find retweets, and post to several accounts at once.
And ViralTag makes it easy to schedule Pinterest pins. Users install a bookmark similar to the Pinterest “Pin It” button, to schedule pins for any time of the day. As Pinterest has its heaviest traffic on nights and weekends, you can ensure your Pinterest account will be active outside of normal work hours.
2. Don’t Stretch Yourself Too Thin
One of the biggest mistakes small business owners make when it comes to social media is trying to be everywhere at once. That is, they join every social channel they hear of. This can be stressful, time consuming, and it’s not necessary! Instead, only create company accounts on 2 or 3 social media accounts. After all, it’s better to be great on 2 social networks than terrible on 7.
Instead of trying to hit every social channel, think about which channels your target audience and customers will be using and dedicate your time and effort on those channels. Have an older audience? Facebook is your best bet. Do you sell goods or services to females of all ages? Check out Pinterest. Young professionals are on Twitter and teens are on Instagram.
3. Analytics are Key
Social media is not worth the effort if you don’t know what effect it is having on your business. There are some results that are easy to measure, for instance when a customer calls about a promotion that was advertised online, but other results are much more difficult to track on your own. Luckily, there are many different tools you can use to research your analytics.
Analytics let you know how many people have interacted with your posts, which are the most popular, and how many clicks back to your website you have received. By knowing your analytics, you can gear your content to what is popular with your audience. For example, if an interior designer receives 10 Facebook likes on a post showcasing a before and after of a kitchen and 1 like on a post about industry regulations, she knows her audience would like to see more before and afters.
Facebook has analytics built into all business pages. To access you analytics, click “Insights” on the top left of your business page, above your cover photo.
4. Know Your Audience
Businesses use social media to reach both current and future customers. Knowing the likes, wants, demographics, and lifestyles of these customers is important when planning your social media strategy. If you understand your audience, you’ll know when to post, what to post, and which social channels to use.
5. Be Yourself, But Stay on Topic
Social media should be an extension of your brand, meaning your social channels should look and feel the same as your website and stores. Therefore it’s important to be yourself. Facebook, Pinterest, and other social channels are a great way to show your brand’s personality and to inform customers on your services. But you must be sure to follow the cardinal rule of business social media – stay on topic!
Many small business owners are clueless on what to post on their social channels and so they post everything! Don’t do this! Instead, focus on posts that are relative to your brand. If you’re an interior designer, you should be posting photos of beautiful rooms and the latest paint colors, not recipes for pasta. You would expect to see advice on how to choose a handyman and photos of repairs from a contractor, not homework tips. Yet so many professionals do this, especially on Pinterest and Twitter. DO NOT DO THIS! Instead, stay on topic and you’ll attract a follower base of people interested in what you company does and not the funny comics you post.
Have advice for your fellow professionals on using social media? Let them know in the comments below.
|October 29, 2014||Posted by JBuilder under Giveaways|
National Builder Supply is teaming up with Top Knobs for a fantastic giveaway. We’re giving away TWO bathroom accessories sets! Each set includes a towel bar, towel ring, toilet paper holder, and robe hook. Winners will select the design and finish of their choice.
Learn how to enter below.
1. Click Here
2. Complete actions to earn entries. The more entries earned, the more chances you have to win!
3. That’s it!
Giveaway ends November 12, 2014.
Winners will be notified via email and then announced on the National Builder Supply Facebook page on November 12. Good luck!
|October 27, 2014||Posted by Progress Lighting under Featured Products|
As homeowners seek to transform their bathrooms into a place of escape, recharge and relax, lighting plays a key role in achieving that desired spa-like environment. The days of lighting serving as a functional – rather than fashionable – design element are long gone.
Today, lighting largely impacts the overall style, atmosphere and value of bathroom settings. Read on to learn the latest trends in bathroom lighting design with insight from our partners at Progress Lighting.
Turning the bathroom into a luxurious retreat means incorporating lighting that complements soft neutrals and calming color schemes. Popular choices include white fixtures with polished chrome or brushed nickel finishes, with accents and features that contribute to a soothing environment.
Progress Lighting’s sconces feature two crisp, clear edge accent strips and etched glass that softly diffuses light. The collection adds to a spa-inspired, balanced feel – a sought after atmosphere for bathrooms.
Lighting In The Shower
The desire for a layered lighting design in the bathroom has lead to a need for lighting in the shower. Wet-located, recessed fixtures – especially those that contribute to an energy efficient approach – are prevalent options for today’s bathrooms.
Progress Lighting’s P8022 series is an LED fixture classified for wet locations and designed for recessed and flush mount applications. The sleek and simple profile mirrors the bathroom design trend to incorporate simplistic, but functional, elements into the bathroom setting. This energy-efficient fixture is ideal for shower applications.
With new government regulations and increased awareness of the value of green design in home building, energy-efficient lighting options are mainstream. Fixtures that beautifully conceal CFL lamps, incorporate GU24 lamp and base sockets, or feature LED sources are trending lighting solutions for the bathroom.
Progress Lighting’s Asset collection – introduced in 2014 – not only incorporates classic, modern details popular in today’s interior settings, but also features a GU24 lamp and base socket, earning this collection an Energy Star rating.
Unexpected elegant fixtures are making their way into bathroom design. Designers and architects are choosing fancier lighting additions, with more glam than your traditional bathroom lighting source. Fixtures adorned with beads and crystals are appearing in bathrooms, contributing to the luxurious feel of the space.
Pendant Lighting in Place of Vanity Fixtures
While the traditional bath and vanity fixture isn’t disappearing altogether, many bathroom designs have elected to replace these fixtures with pendants for a versatile, functional and stylish solution. Especially useful in bathrooms with high ceilings, pendant lighting brings the source to the right level to complete everyday grooming tasks.
Large-scale fixtures are also trending in home fashion. Place one large pendant above a bathroom sink for functional task lighting that makes a bold statement – as seen with Progress Lighting’s Markor collection.
Copper is a finish option that is making its mark on home design. In the bathroom, industrial copper-based designs are in. Light fixtures finished in a warm copper or copper bronze are likely additions.
Progress Lighting’s Torque collection constructed in die cast aluminum showcases a precise and graphically bold design, complemented by a Copper Bronze finish.
|October 24, 2014||Posted by JBuilder under For the Pros|
Last week, we discussed five ways the Internet changed the interior design industry forever. Today, we’re back with four more changes that may seem commonplace to young designers, but are actually quite a change for seasoned pros. Read on to learn more.
1. Get Social
Social media has truly exploded in the past 10 years. What was once seen as websites for students to connect with one another now drives web traffic, sales, and brand recognition for both large and small businesses. Interior designers can use social media to their advantage with simple daily updates on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Social media is a light hearted platform that allows designers to express their personality while also displaying their beautiful work. Although keeping up with social media can be overwhelming, most platforms are free to use and can pay off in new business.
2. Pinterest and Houzz
Pinterest and Houzz are two social networks in particular that interior designers have a love/hate relationship with. Both are a great resource for design inspiration and can help potential customers find an interior designer in the area. However, Houzz and Pinterest give clients the reins when it comes to planning. Many designers do not present to clients anymore. Instead, the clients come to them with photos from Houzz and Pinterest and say, “give me this!” It then becomes the job of the designer to recreate their client’s favorite room while matching their budget and expectations. Some designers love this, as they can understand their client’s design style easily, while others hate that some customers want a copy-cat room.
3. Keep up with the trends and new industry standards
After graduating from design school, designers used to rely on magazines and their peers to learn the latest trends and industry standards. Now with the Internet, designers can easily find that information. Searching the blogs and websites of other designers, browsing social media and magazines online, and looking up building codes can now all be done from the comfort of home. Of course, with so many trends online, designers run the risk of designing very similar rooms, so it is important that designers retain their unique point of view.
Blogs, we all read them. In fact, you’re reading one right now. Thanks to the Internet, interior designers can use blogs to connect with their clients, peers, and other homeowners on a personal level. Rather than just sharing photos of the finished room on Houzz, a blog allows designers to show off the behind the scenes and before photos too. Designers can walk through their process step by step while inserting their personality into the text and photos displayed on the blog. Blogs are a great way for designers to reveal “the woman behind the curtain” while growing a global audience.
Interior designers, how has the Internet changed your business? Let us know in the comments below.
Are you a designer or other housing professional? Sign-up for a free National Builder Supply Professional Account for 5 – 30% off all of your plumbing and lighting needs.