All posts by Computers Plus Service

An Overview on Cataracts

What is a cataract? 

Cloudiness over the natural lens of the eye, which sites in back of the iris and pupil is an eye disease known as CATARACTS.

Cataracts are the most common cause of vision loss for people over forty.  In fact, cataracts are the leading cause of blindness throughout the world.  More cases of cataracts are diagnosed worldwide than diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, and glaucoma put together.  There are currently more than twenty-two million Americans over forty with cataracts which is expected to grow to over thirty million by the year 2020.

The Three Types of Cataracts

Subcapsular Cataracts: Subcapsular cataracts often affect people with diabetes or those taking high doses of steroid medication.  This type of cataract occurs at the back of the lens.

Nuclear Cataracts: Nuclear cataracts are most often associated with aging and are located deep within the central zone, nucleus, of the lens.

Cortical Cataracts: Cortical cataracts start in the periphery of the lens and work toward the middle like the spoke of a wheel.  This type of cataract occurs in the lens cortex.  The lens cortex is the part of the lens that surrounds the center nucleus.

The Signs and Symptoms of Cataracts

At first a cataract has very little effect on your vision as it starts out small.  Your vision may appear a bit hazy or blurred at first, as if you are looking at life through a cloud.  If you start to notice you are seeing things a bit blurrier than you once did it may be time to have your eyes tested to see if your vision issues are caused by cataracts.

When you have a cataract light of all kinds, natural and artificial, may appear intense.  When you are driving at night the headlight may glare more vividly than they previously had been seen.  Depending on the type of cataracts that you have could determine the symptoms you have and when they will start to appear.  When the most common cataract, nuclear, first begins to develop a temporary improvement in your close-up vision may occur.   This is often referred to as “second site.”  This vision improvement only occurs for a short period of time and disappears as the cataract continues to develop.  Subcapsular cataracts, on the other hand, may not produce symptoms until it has developed completely.

To diagnosis cataracts you must schedule an appointment to meet with your ophthalmologist.  Once they have completed a thorough eye exam they can suggest a treatment option, surgical or not.

Rohr Eye & Laser Center offers the most advanced technology available to suit your lifestyle and visual needs.  As a leader in laser vision correction and cataract surgery, our goal is to help you achieve the best vision possible without glasses or contact lenses.  More information can be found online at https://michiganlasik.com.

Treating Common Residential Water Problems

There are a number of issues that are common to residential water systems.  Knowing what type of water treatment gets rid of your specific water problem is crucial in getting the highest quality water for your family.  Water softeners, water filters, water purification, and water conditioners are all effective solutions in treating common issues in residential water supplies.  Knowing what plagues your water allows you to have the proper equipment installed to treat it.

Depending on where you live the quality of your homes water can vary a great deal.  It is crucial to have your homes water quality tested before installing any type of water treatment system.  You need to know what type of issue you are dealing with before it can be treated.

Most Common Water Problems

Hard Water

Hard water is not necessarily a hazard to your health however it can be harmful to your home.  There are many common indications that you are dealing with hard water such as: film and stains on dishes and appliances, dull hair, spotted dishes, dry irritated skin, and an increase in the amount of soap and detergent that is needed for cleaning clothes and dishes.

Water softeners are the most common treatment option for hard water.  Water softeners are used to remove the calcium and magnesium ions with sodium ions which creates soft water.  This helps eliminate nasty build up on appliances, plumbing, fixtures, skin, and so on.

Iron and Rust

It is pretty obvious to see when there is a large amount of rust and iron build up in your homes water.  You will begin to see orange streaks staining the sink and spots on clothing.  High iron content in your homes water is annoying to homeowners and also damages appliances including washers, water heaters, dishwashers, and bathtubs.

The most common solution for treating high levels of iron in your home water is to have a whole house water filtration system installed.   Treating the high iron content with a filter helps to protect against iron build up in your homes plumbing, prevents unsightly build up, removes the smell and taste of iron, keeps appliances running more efficiently, and offers you better tasting, higher quality water.

Foul Taste in Drinking Water

A number of water problems can cause smelly, bad-tasting water.  Water with high levels of chlorine, hydrogen sulfide, dissolved solids, arsenic, or iron can all add to the taste of your homes water and not in a good way.

There are a number of problems that can result in smelly and/or foul-tasting water.  It is important to have the water tested so that you know exactly what problem you are dealing with when treating your homes water.

The solution for foul tasting, bad smelling water is to have a water filtration and conditioning system installed.  These systems address the smell and taste of chlorine through the use of active carbon filters.  Oxidation tends to destroy oily tastes and gas smells and more.

The experts at Reynolds Water Conditioning have a solution to your homes unique water quality needs including: arsenic, bacteria, chlorine, rotten egg smell, fluoride, hard water, iron, lead, acid, tannins, radon, and more.  More information on our water treatment solutions including water softeners and conditioners, water filtration and purification, reverse osmosis drinking water, and iron & odor removal can be found online at https://reynoldswater.com.

Replacing Equipment: Age Is Not the Only Factor

There are a number of factors that hospitals, medical facilities, and healthcare organizations must consider before they replace equipment besides age.  Each year companies could potentially waste thousands of assets by focusing solely on the age of their equipment.

It wasn’t long ago that healthcare facilities were zealous to add all of the latest surgical equipment to their organization.  From robotic surgery systems, linear accelerators, and other large scaled medical equipment were installed to keep physicians happy and be competitive.

However, in recent years budgets have gotten smaller and funds have become more restricted and facilities are seeing that equipment can’t just be discarded on a whim or purchased without advanced planning.  Instead equipment needs to be repaired or refurbished and kept at peak performance for longer and a strategic approach needs to be taken to replace not only large scaled equipment but also universal equipment such as beds, linens, and so forth.

Proactive replacement planning is necessary between financial and clinical leaders within organizations need to work together to plan in order to achieve:

  • A reduction in expenses associated with service, parts, maintenance, and training
  • A decrease “close call” events that come with the use of older equipment with more precise maintenance schedules
  • A reallocation of assets that are underutilized throughout the facility
  • An ability to cross train employees throughout facility locations
  • An increase in consistency and standardization throughout facilities

When the above objectives can be achieved, a reduction in costs can occur with an increase in the quality of care patients receive.

Instead of the reactive strategy that medical facilities have embraced in the past more proactive approaches are being embraced.  When purchasing new or refurbished medical equipment in a proactive approach allows leaders to embrace the situation over a period of time verse the reactive approach which tends to be more mission critical.  Being proactive allows financial leaders in medical facilities to work with clinical leaders to plan for the addition of new equipment whether it is brand new or refurbished.  When the replacement of equipment no longer is a life or death situation a better decision for the facility can be made.

Proactive planning in medical facilities allows for better outcomes overall.  Financial teams and clinical teams can work together, armed with historical data, to have meaningful conversations instead of hypothetical ones.  This allows better decisions to made for everyone throughout the facility from administrators and physicians to patients and care givers.

Radparts is the world’s largest independent distributor of OEM replacement parts for Linear Accelerators and Radiation Oncology equipment.  Radparts provides high quality, user friendly, low cost parts support for linear accelerators and radiation equipment. More information can be found at https://www.radparts.com/.

Changes to Consider During 2019 Medicare Open Enrollment

There are many changes coming to the world of Medicare in 2019.  Most of these changes will involve coverage in Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D.  From more health care plans to choose from to lower premiums and added benefits now is a good time to start reviewing your current plans and future options.

An Increase in Medicare Advantage Plan Choices

In 2019 Medicare expects to see an increase of upwards to 600 new Medicare Advantage plan options varying between locations.   More than ninety percent of Medicare enrollees will have the option of ten or more Medicare Advantage plans to choose from in their area.  Medigap Plan D, prescription drug coverage is also upgrading and offering Plan D business plans in 2019.

Medigap Plan D, Prescription Drug Coverage, Premiums Decrease

Enrollees in Medigap Plan D can expect to see a decrease in plan premiums by $1 a month in 2019.  It is important to remember that when looking at coverage there is more to the cost than just the initial premium.  Some plans offer a low premium, but the cost of prescriptions co-pays is much higher than a higher costing premium plan.  A Medicare Supplemental Insurance Agent or the Medicare Plan Finder online are tools available to assist you in comparing all ten Medigap rates and plans.

Preferred Pharmacies

Medigap Plan D will include more preferred pharmacies.  When choosing a plan that offers a preferred pharmacy you can expect to pay lower premiums and decreased co-payments.  If you go outside of the preferred pharmacy to have prescriptions filled, you will be paying a premium.  If you are adamant of sticking with a certain pharmacy, you will need to see if a plan option exists with them as the planned pharmacy.  If not, you will need to change pharmacies or pay the additional cost of prescriptions.

Less Expense in The Donut Hole

The coverage gap which makes participants pay more out of pocket for prescriptions known as the donut hole, will close in 2019.  When your total prescription drug expense reaches $3,820 you will pay 25% of the cost of brand-name (37% of generic) up until you have reached $5,100 in which you will then only be responsible for 5%.

Medicare Advantage Premiums Decreasing

In 2019 the premium for Medicare Advantage will run on average $28 per month, down $1.81 from 2018.  There will also be more zero premium options available with Medicare Advantage coverage.  It is always good to note that often lower-premium policies have a smaller network of providers.  If this does not bother you than this may be a good option to help cut costs.

The experts at eMedigap Plans, powered by Omega, have all the answers you are looking for when it comes to your Medigap Supplemental Insurance needs.  More information can be found at http://emedigap-plans.com.

2019 Changes in Medicare

Medicare has under gone a number of changes since it originated in 1965.  With over 60 million participants Medicare continues to have the highest satisfaction rate of any form of health insurance available.  With every year that passes, Medicare and Medigap keeps getting better and 2019 is no different.  Some of the modification that Medicare is making only affect individuals enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans while other updates will affect all beneficiaries.

Donut Hole

One unappealing element of Medigap Plan D, prescription drug coverage is that once participants have reached a certain level of spending in a year they are required to pay more for the prescription medicine they need.  This creates what is known in Medicare lingo as a “donut hole”.  A second threshold is in place that once reached participants are then “rewarded” with lower cost prescription drugs.  This feature of Medigap Plan D was scheduled to be closed in 2020 however, Congress passed a bill that will close the donut hole for brand name prescriptions in 2019.  The gap for generics is still scheduled to close in 2020.

Therapy Cap

Congress has repealed the therapy cap limiting coverage to outpatient physical, speech, and occupational therapy services.  Original Medicare enrollees will not longer be required to pay the full cost of therapy services.

 Improved Information

The Medicare handbook is sent out to its enrollees every fall.  As if 2019 the handbook will be updated to include checklists and flowcharts to help participants make decisions on coverage decisions.  The Medicare Plan Finder will be included online and updated to make it simpler to use.  Enrollees will also have a chance to compare out-of-pocket costs and coverage options between Medicare and Medicare Advantage with updated online coverage tools.

Increased Telemedicine

All methods of technology are advancing, and Medicare is using this to their advantage with increased telehealth programs.  These programs allow patients to confer with doctors and nurses over the internet.  Telehealth services will be covered in 2019 for people with end-stage renal disease and stroke treatment.

Lifestyle Support

For enrollees in Medicare Advantage there will be the option to have meals delivered to their home, transportation to the and from the doctors, and the installation of safety devices like bathroom grabs bars and wheelchair ramps.  For home safety improvements and prepared meals to be covered a medical provider will need to recommend them.

In-Home Assistance

In 2019 Medicare Advantage plans will also have an option to pay for home health aides.  These aids assist in everyday activities such as dressing, eating, and personal hygiene.  This is part of a broader definition of traditional services required by Medicare.

Trial Period

Participants will now be able to try the Medicare Advantage plan for three months.  If they aren’t satisfied they can switch to Original Medicare Part A and Part B or another Medicare Advantage plan.

The experts at eMedicare Supplemental Insurance, powered by Omega, have all the answers you are looking for when it comes to your Medicare Supplemental Insurance needs.  More information can be found at http://emedicare-supplemental-insurance.com/.

Home Renovation Preparation

DIY home improvements always have the chance to go terribly wrong because most of us are not professional contractors and therefore really have no idea what they are doing.  In this installment we are going to prepare the average homeowner for what they can expect during the home renovation process.  Whether you hire a professional contractor or attempt renovations around your home there are a few things you will need to do to prepare.

Preparing for Your Homes Renovations

Budget

It is crucial to have a realistic budget when it comes to any home improvement project.  Take time to research the average cost of the budget you are interested in.  Once you know about how much you will need you can start to allocate funds accordingly.

Larger home renovation projects require you to have a substantial amount of money on hand.  If your remodel is not something you wish to cover with cash out of pocket, you can look into a home equity loan or line of credit.  The benefit of borrowing against your home’s equity is that often the interest that you are paying on the loan can be deducted off of your taxes each year, up to $750,000 dollars.  Other options for funding a renovation include a reverse mortgage and contractor financing.

Scope

The scope of your project is another element to consider.  It is necessary to take into consideration your budget and what you want to see completed during your renovation.  Are you considering a complete overhaul of your 1980’s kitchen and hoping to create an open concept where it opens into the living area?  Or are you thinking that a fresh look could be achieved with some freshly painted cabinets with updated hardware?

Your budget needs to be comparative with the tasks that you want to accomplish.  It is important that you work with your contractor to make sure that between the materials and labor your budget is large enough to cover your renovation while having a reserve just in case some aspect of the project doesn’t go exactly as planned.

Materials

Sometimes the materials that you choose are simply out of necessity and exactly what you need to accomplish within a limited budget.  For years you may have dreamed of installing granite throughout your home but as the time approaches the realization of just how much more the cost of the renovation will be with granite vs engineered quartz hits.  You suddenly realize that engineered quartz is quite elegant and helps you get more out of your limited budget.

As a full-service home improvement contractor servicing all Southeast Michigan, Kearns Brothers, Inc. offers clients a wide range of services to meet their construction needs including: roofing, siding, window, masonry, chimneys, gutters, and insulation services.  More information can be found at www.kearnsbrothers.com.

 

Managing Spare Parts in Manufacturing Settings

When it comes to maintaining an inventory of spare parts on hand many companies are reluctant.   There are quite a few in management that wonder if it is counter intuitive while trying to control operating costs.  The goal of all businesses, not just manufacturing, is to reduce expenses while increasing efficiency and many don’t see how keeping spare electrical components on hand helps achieve this goal.  In this installment we will look into how having an inventory of parts on hand eliminates downtime and increases overall effectiveness without extra expense to the company.

Inventory Management

By incorporating spare part management into plant operations managers can successfully create an environment where downtime, caused by machine failure, is practically eliminated.  The biggest struggle in spare part management is creating an inventory.  In order to do this effectively, it is crucial that the maintenance records of machinery are thoroughly gone over, and critical part breakdowns are identified.  Once this has been completed there you will be left with an idea of what spare parts are needed to comprise a complete operational spare part inventory.

Don’t forget when creating an inventory list to check into refurbished parts and components.  Many older pieces of equipment have become obsolete however this doesn’t mean that you can’t find parts to repair them.  Many times, obsolete equipment can be repaired using parts that can be found through companies specializing in obsolete refurbished electrical components, such as J & P Electrical Company, https://www.jpelectricalcompany.com.

Strategy of Operations

Determining whether you will function as a predictive or reactive position plays a large role in the replacement part stock that you will keep on hand.  Most manufacturers are historically known for being reactive to events like equipment failure.  In order to successfully create a functional spare part inventory, facilities must turn their focus on a more predictive approach to machine maintenance and failure. Successful predictive spare part management will include the collection and analysis of data, the ability for managers to see the operation as hole in which they foresee underlying problems and find solutions.

Inventory Control

Don’t think that your spare part inventory has to be all-encompassing to be effective. In reality that is an unrealistic goal to achieve.  Instead develop an inventory that is categorized by priority.  Recognize parts that can be used for more than one purpose, those that are critical to your operation, and those critical to a specific piece of machinery.  This needs to be revaluated on a regular basis to make sure that as new machinery is introduced they aren’t forgotten.

J & P Electrical Company is a full-service electrical company that supplies contractors, end users, and supply houses with new surplus, quality reconditioned, and obsolete electrical equipment. We purchase a wide range of electrical equipment such as bus plugs, bud ducts, panel switches, substations, and transformers.  More information can be found at https://www.jpelectricalcompany.com

The Importance of Keeping Your Home Up to Date

Pure Coziness

As a homeowner we often overlook our own comfort which is a huge mistake when renovating your home.  Before you begin construction on your home ask yourself if this is what you want your home to look like for the next few years.  If the answer is not an immediate YES then it may be time to rethink the current renovation idea.

The remodeling that you have done around your home should not be done solely because you want to increase the value of your home.  If this is the sole reason for renovating, then you will be stuck living in a show piece that you aren’t enjoying, and it will not feel like a home at all.  Home renovations should not be done based only on how the renovation affects the things around you but instead on a combination of things including your comfort and enjoyment of the space.

Update the Outdated

When homeowners fail to renovate their homes, they can quickly become outdated and less appealing.  It is important to keep your home up to date but to do so in a timeless, classic manner that is not based on what is trending at the time.  Trends tend to go out of style as fast as they come in.  Just as a classic black suit or simple black dress never fades out of style, renovations around your home can be the same.  A perfect example of this is the installation of hard wood flooring.

Affordable Financing

Sometimes people fail to keep up on maintenance and renovations due in part because they don’t have liquid cash to do so.  Homeowners may need to rely on financing options to ensure their homes stay up to date.  Borrowing against your home’s equity is a fairly common practice especially when using the money for renovations that will help increase the value and equity in their home.

Enhanced ROI

Home renovations completed by a professional contractor may return a greater return on your investment when you go to sell or rent out your house.  When renovating a rental home, it is important that then renovations are done with the greater appeal in mind.  The home improvements that are done should be focused on drawing tenants in.  Improvements in rentals that draw tenants are private laundry facilities, increased storage, and open spaces. When renovating to increase the value of your home it is important to concentrate remodeling efforts on big ticket areas such as curb appeal, kitchen remodeling, and updated bathrooms.

Renovations allow homeowners to keep their homes up to date and well maintained.  This all works to increase the value of your property while making sure that your home is ready when you choose to move on.

JFC Remodeling is a full-service licensed contractor out of Howell, Michigan.  Specializing in kitchen and bathroom renovations, flooring upgrades, and home remodeling services.  More information can be found online at https://jfcremodeling.com/.

Caring for Your Aluminum Fence in the Winter

It’s evident that winter is coming.  The temperatures have dropped from the high seventies to the low fifties in just a week.  Colder temperatures along with the extreme weather that winters here in Michigan bring can do some serious damage to the maintenance of your home and property, including the aluminum fence that encloses the perimeter of your home.  During winter, perception is known to come down in multiple forms including rain, snow, sleet, and hail.  We have been known to have a complete thaw one day and freezing ice and snow the next.  Winters in Michigan can do some serious damage to your fence.  To avoid this there are a number of precautions that can be taken to prevent damage to the fence come spring.

Landscaping around the fence is one of the best things that you can do for your fence.  Proper landscaping prevents the full weight of the snow from leaning up against the panels.  It is also important that trees that overhang the fence are properly trimmed back.  This helps to prevent tree limbs from falling on the aluminum fence.  Snow and ice are heavy and can potentially fall on the fence and damage the panels.  Properly trimming trees prevents this from occurring.

Snow should never be allowed to pile up around the fence.  One way to help prevent this is by removing the build up of leaves and debris from around the fencing panels in the fall.  Without the leaves sitting up against the fence collecting moisture, going through the freeze thaw process, the fence should stay in good condition.  Leaves lock in moisture which causes fence damage, warping, and rust.

Maintenance throughout the winter is always necessary as snow should always be moved away from the fence using a rake or shovel.  Without the snow built up around the fence it can evenly melt and allow the fence to uniformly dry out.

Maintenance is a key element in keeping your home in top shape.  The same is true of your aluminum fence.  If you begin to notice small damage to the fence be sure it is quickly taken care to prevent further, bigger issues down the road.  If there is damage to the posts they can quickly become weakened and may not withstand the shrinking and expansion that comes with the freeze and melt of the winter weather.  Repairs and maintenance need to be kept up on to prevent small repairs from becoming major problems down the road.

iFenceUSA is an online distributor of wholesale aluminum fences and gates for residential, resort, commercial, and industrial installation.  As an industry leader in maintenance-free aluminum fencing products we have all your aluminum fence and gate needs covered.  More information can be found online at https://ifenceusa.com/.

Caring for Your Homes Roof Throughout the Winter

The leaves are changing, the temps are dropping, and some of us are even turning on our furnaces… Winter’s here!  There are a variety of attitudes that people here in Michigan have when it comes to winter, are you a homeowner that is chilled just thinking about winter or are you tuning up your snowmobile as I type?

The maintenance of your homes roof throughout the long winter season does not have to be stressful.  With some simple tips you can stop worrying about your roof this winter and start to focus on the season of wonder & delight, and snowflakes & Santa.

Simple Winter Roof Maintenance

Get Rid of Snow Build-Up

Your homes roof has been designed with the elements in mind.  It is constructed specifically to handle the harsh winter weather elements including snow, ice, and rain, along with the freeze, thaw cycle that us Michiganders have come to anticipate.  However, even the most well-designed roof can experience potential issues from snow and ice buildup.

The best way to prevent your roof from having issues that come from snow build up is to eliminate the buildup of snow on your roof to begin with.  There are a number of items available on the market today that help homeowners achieve this including roof rakes.  A snow rake is a simplistic tool that helps to eliminate snow from accumulating on your roof while you are safely on the ground.

Snow rakes are used by slowly and carefully pulling the rake down towards the ground.   Proceed carefully to stand out of the way of any falling snow or debris.  Be careful not to push or pull the snow across the roof as this action can cause the shingles to tear away causing damage.  This simple act can save thousands of dollars in damage to your homes roof.  During heavy snow you will want to use the snow rake multiple times a day to prevent build-up.

Eliminate Ice Build-Up

Homeowners should be as concerned with ice as they are snow.  If ice is allowed to accumulate it can be dangerous especially when ice accumulates in the gutters.  Icicles make look pretty however they are a threat to your roof and can cause water to backup under the shingles.  Roofing contractors recommend that homeowners work to prevent icicles from forming with proper roofing ventilation and insulation.  If prevention is not possible they can easily be knocked down with an extended pole or broom.  Use caution when knowing down icicles as not only is it dangerous you can potentially cause damage or known down gutters if not careful.  Gutters are important in the winter because they help prevent ice dams in the winter.

Ice Dams

Ice dams are dangerous in the winter, they don’t only have the potential to damage your roof and gutters but also the interior of your home.  If you see an ice dam forming it is important to fix the issue immediately.  An ice dam is a large clump of ice on the edge of your roof.  If they are left untreated an ice dam can freeze up the gutters and block the snow from falling off your homes roof.

Preventing ice dams is the best way to protect your homes roof.  Stay on top of the snow, ice, and icicle build-ups.  If you do find ice dams forming use chemical deicer to ensure that water can flow freely through the gutters as the ice melts.  Homeowners can also gently chip away at the ice dams and slowly remove them.

Home Pro Roofing of Michigan offers professional roofing services including new roof installation and roof repair services using shingling and metal roofing materials.  The roofing contractors of Home Pro Roofing service Kalamazoo, Brighton, Lansing, and the surrounding areas.  More information can be found online at https://homeproroofingmi.com.