General Article

Home Remedies for Clearing a Clogged Sink Drain

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With the holidays approaching, more cooking and more relatives visiting means an increase in the chances of a blocked drain in the home. There’s nothing more annoying than having a plugged sink drain and it takes time away from other things that are important. There are ways to clear a blocked drain without having to call a professional, but if none of these work, then it’s time to make the call.

Hot Water and Dish Detergent

This should be the first step in trying to clear a clogged drain. Pour about a tablespoon of liquid dish detergent (not the stuff used in a dishwasher) into a cup of seriously hot water. Pour down the drain and let it sit for about five minutes. The hot water and dish soap method is excellent for removing things like fat, oil, and grease (known as a FOG clog).

Baking Soda and Vinegar

These are two items likely to be found in any household. The first step is to pour a pot of boiling water down the sink. Next, dump in around half a cup of baking soda and leave it be for several minutes. Then, add about one cup of vinegar followed by one cup of extremely hot water. Plug the sink drain. This allows for a chemical reaction between the baking soda and vinegar. After about ten minutes, pour another pot of boiling water down the drain.

This method may also be used on a monthly basis to keep the drain free of debris that might ultimately cause a clog.

Use a Clog Remover Tool

There are many of these available, made by Handy Drain among others. They’re thin plastic strips with barbs on each side. They’re easy to use since they slip through the sink drain without having to remove it. The clog remover tool is long enough to reach most drain P-traps, which is where hair and other material is likely to collect. Because the plastic is flexible, it handles curves in the pipe easily. With this, hair clogs can be pulled out of the drain.

Get a Home Snake

Drain snakes can be purchased at most hardware stores. There are two types: a long, flat, slender piece of metal with a small spring on the end, and a thicker, coiled wire with a large spring. The first is easier to use because it’s designed to slip inside the drain without removing it. But, the flat wire doesn’t turn inside pipes as easily. The coiled wire snake will require removal of your P-trap. This type of snake is also useful on toilet drains. Once the spring end is inserted in the P-trap, the snake is spun by hand, causing it to unwrap and move down the pipe. As it spins, the spring collects hair and other material so it can be removed once the snake is pulled from the pipe.

Call in a Professional

If all else fails, it’s time to call for professional help. Plumbers have larger, powered snakes … Read More

Web Design

Web Design Templates Can Slow or Cripple Your Site

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If you have a great idea for a website and you’re eager to get it published, it makes sense to follow the path of least resistance. That’s why pre-made website themes and templates are so popular and appealing: they offer you a nice looking site that’s just a copy-and-paste away from publishing.

Is it really that simple? What do you sacrifice to obtain this speed and convenience?

As it turns out, you’re sacrificing a lot.

 

Flexibility

While the wide array of backend options touted in many pre-made site templates makes them seem extremely flexible, they’re actually very limited in comparison to a custom web design specifically developed to meet your desires and needs.

Of course, the simpler your needs and desires are, the better the chance that a template or theme will get “close enough”. If your website concept includes anything more complex than standard brochure-style site functionality, you’re likely to find limitations in a theme’s option set that will require either 1) changing your concept to fit the template, or 2) paying a developer a large amount of money to hack and modify the template.

Cost

One of the most appealing aspects of pre-made website themes is their low initial investment. Since the developer is selling unlimited copies of the theme, they can afford to put a very low price on the purchase – generally between $50 and $200 on average.

However, as noted above, the cost of modifying the template to actually meet all your needs may be quite a bit higher. Even if the template has all or nearly all the options you need, there’s a high likelihood you’re going to need to pay someone to handle content, customization, and implementation transfer along with any technical difficulties that come with that.

Or, you’re going to handle all that yourself, which has a different kind of cost.

Efficiency of the code

One of the biggest drawbacks that comes with a premade website theme is the tremendous amount of bloat inherent in their design.

To create a popular template, the developer and designer need to anticipate as many different potential use cases as possible and include coding and functionality to support those use cases. In other words, the more flexible a theme seems to be, the more code and design elements the makers had to create to provide that level of flexibility.

Inevitably, that means that once you’ve chosen the individual modules and options you need, there is a huge amount of code on the backend that you don’t need or want. It doesn’t disappear. Instead, it sits there taking up space, complicating matters, and slowing down the site.

Backend bloat in premade themes and templates can affect load times and search engine ranking, so it can actually lead to the resulting website being less successful and less valuable over the long term.

Are themes and templates all bad?

I know the three points above probably make it sound like all website themes and templates are evil. … Read More