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The most effective ways to cool your patio

Posted by on May 12, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on The most effective ways to cool your patio

Patios are usually set in a position that catches the sun. It is therefore necessary to find ways to cool the space down so you can comfortably use it during the summer. Whatever the design of your patio, there are a number of ways you can help to keep it cool. Trees Trees are an attractive, natural option for shade over an open patio. You should plant quick-growing trees near to the patio so that the spreading branches will provide shade. If you are putting in an outside patio and want to use natural shade, you have the option to design the patio so that it will accommodate the tree/s. Pergola A pergola provides the illusion of your patio being enclosed, while still allowing you to retain the image of a natural shelter outside. You may opt for leaving the ribs of the pergola bare, which will give slight, intermittent shade only. Or you could allow a creeper to grow over the ribs of the pergola to provide more shade in an attractive way. This provides a natural cover and some cooling shade, while allowing the patio to be part of the garden. Enclosed patios The whole purpose of a patio is to give the feeling of sitting outdoors while being comfortable and, often, under cover and protected from the sun and the rain. To achieve this feeling, patios will often be enclosed with glass. This allows wonderfully warm corners in winter, but keep in mind that the room may get very hot in summer. To avoid the sun streaming into the patio directly, there should be an awning over the ceiling glass. Natural ventilation If your patio is covered but not enclosed, a breeze will naturally flow through the space. However, if the patio is enclosed, you may want to install panels with louvre windows which you can open in part or completely to allow a breeze to flow through your patio, thereby cooling it.  Fans If your patio is enclosed, you have the option to use a freestanding fan to create a breeze across the space. It may be a more effective option to install a ceiling fan. This will produce a strong enough breeze to effectively cool the whole patio. Mist spray If your patio is in a position where it really does become very hot during summer, it is also an option to install a spray mist system. This will definitely allow you lower the temperature of the patio. The likelihood of needing to cool your patio is high, as these spaces are usually those that invite the attention of the sun. Depending on how much cooling you desire, you may use one or many of these options. Contact a company like Patioworld NSW Pty Ltd for more ideas for cooling your...

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Winter Worthy | 4 Strategic Steps To Prolong Your Lawn Mower’s Shelf Life In Winter

Posted by on Apr 27, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Winter Worthy | 4 Strategic Steps To Prolong Your Lawn Mower’s Shelf Life In Winter

Lawn mowers are vital companions during summers when you want your grass looking healthy and gorgeous. But at the end of the mowing season, many homeowners make the mistake of leaving lawn mowers unattended, causing irreversible damage to them. This guide equips you with strategic steps to prolong the shelf life of your lawn mower in winter. Detach The Battery If a battery powers your lawn mower, then it’s probably a good idea to remove and store it away in a cool, dry area during winter season. Avoid storing the battery near fuel cans or heaters because any reaction can cause a fire. When you remove the battery from the lawn mower, wipe it with a clean cloth to remove any accumulated dirt and debris. Clean the battery terminals using soft-bristled brushes and store it away safely. Leaving the battery inside the lawn mower during winter months will cause it to corrode and damage the machine. Clean The Lawn Mower Blades Brush off leaves, mud and grass from the lawn mower blades and surrounding areas. Cleaning the blades will ensure that they remain sharp and corrosion free until the next time you need to use your machine. You will need to use a cloth to remove debris from the lawn mower blades, but make sure the lawn mower isn’t plugged in anywhere and remove the spark plug for added protection. Leaving the lawn mower plugged in can cause it to accidentally turn on and chop off your fingers midway through the cleaning process. Empty Fuel Tank Lawn mowers with partially filled fuel tanks are bound to face damage during winter because fuel will get dirty and murky over time. This murky fuel running through your machine’s components will cause them to corrode. To prevent this from happening, simply empty your fuel tank by tipping the lawn mower over to one side. Run the lawn mower for a few minutes to ensure that the fuel completely empties before storing it away. Store The Lawn Mower In A Dry Area Choose an area that is dry and devoid of moisture, because any condensation on the lawn mower will cause parts to corrode and rust. You’ll also want to keep it away from harsh weather elements like wind, sun and rain, so find a safe location in a shed or garage. Avoid storing it near heaters and electrical appliances because this heat may affect the internal components of your machine. Lawn mowers are excellent accompaniments to your gardens during summer. Follow these steps to prolong the shelf life of your lawn mower in...

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3 Filter Options for Your Residential Air Cleaner

Posted by on Apr 15, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 3 Filter Options for Your Residential Air Cleaner

There are numerous types of air pollutants like pollen, pet fur, general dirt and even smoke in residential environments. These contaminants compromise your indoor air quality and the particles can be harmful to the respiratory system. Therefore, you should consider installing an air cleaner in your house to eliminate these air pollutants. Basically, these appliances are designed to screen the air and eliminate the contaminating particles. The cleaning efficiency of the purifier will depend on the filtration mechanism, so it is important to consider this aspect before purchase. Here is a brief description of the primary filter options to consider for your new air cleaner. Activated Carbon As implied, activated carbon filters are manufactured from high-carbon materials like charcoal. This material is highly absorbent and has many pores which increase the surface area for trapping harmful particles. Moreover, the carbon is specially manufactured in order to bond with the pollutants. Consequently, the particles will not be able to return into the circulation. You should consider selecting an air cleaner with activated carbon filters if you are concerned about smoke, chemical fumes and general odours. On the other hand, this filter is ineffective against large particles like pollen and dust, so it should not be used independently. HEPA The HEPA filter is officially known as the high-efficiency particulate arrestance filter. It is fabricated using fibreglass members which are structured unsystematically to generate an operational sieve. This type of air filter is designed to offer maximum screening efficiency after installation in the air cleaning appliance. It can trap most forms of particles from your home, including flower pollen, fungal spores as well as bacteria. The randomly-arranged fibres will ensure impaction of the contaminants, preventing them from returning into the indoor air circulation. Unfortunately, the HEPA filter cannot remove chemical fumes, smoke or scents from your home. Ultraviolet Light Technology The ultraviolet light technology is installed in air cleaners to destroy airborne microorganisms which could cause diseases. Basically, this type of device releases electromagnetic radiation which kills the pertinent organisms by breaking down their DNA. The light is highly effective against bacteria, fungal spores and even viruses. This technology is an ideal choice if you are concerned about communicable diseases or biologically polluted surroundings. Unfortunately, this is not really a filtration technology, so the device will not trap most solid particles or even odours from the indoor air. You will obtain optimal indoor air quality in your home by choosing an air cleaner which can use two or more of these filters simultaneously. For more ideas on which filters will work best for your home, contact companies like Air Cleaners...

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5 Tips for Deterring Stray Cats From Your AC Unit

Posted by on Mar 31, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 5 Tips for Deterring Stray Cats From Your AC Unit

If there are stray cats climbing onto your air conditioning unit, that can be annoying, and in some cases, people around the world have even reported cats urinating on their air conditioning units. If you are tired of the noise or the odours or just want them to stay away, there are ways to deter them from your outdoor AC unit. Take a look at these tips: 1. Spray a natural cat repellant around the area. To deter the cats, you can make a simple, homemade cat repellant. Mix a bit of lavender, rosemary and cinnamon in boiling water and let it cool. Put it in a spray bottle and spray it on the ground around your air conditioning unit. Alternatively, use lemon and eucalyptus diluted in water as a repellent. If you don’t want to make repellent, scatter lemon peels around the unit. 2. Get rid of litter-like materials around your air conditioning unit. Feral cats look for sand or dirt to bury their poo in, and you don’t want to provide that option around your AC unit. Replace mulch or dirt with a few landscaping stones or large rocks. That way, the cats cannot dig there, and it may make them less likely to come to that area. 3. Tape aluminium foil over the AC unit. Cats don’t like to walk on aluminium foil — the texture and sound bothers them. To take advantage of this fact, tape some aluminium foil around your air conditioning unit, and consider placing some on the ground around the unit as well. You can tape it in place or weight it with rocks. 4. Use a plastic carpet runner. Alternatively, you can use a plastic carpet runner instead of aluminium foil. You can find these at office furniture stores. They have a smooth side to allow chairs to move around, and the other side has small plastic spikes to hold it in place on carpet. Lay one of these spike-side up on your air conditioning unit. If the cats jump up and land on it, they will feel the spikes and jump back down. 5. Install a motion-activated light over your air conditioning unit. Stray cats may be frightened if a light unexpectedly turns on. To keep them away from your AC unit at night, hang a motion activated light above it. When they approach it, the light will turn on and hopefully scare them...

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Three conventional solar hot water systems

Posted by on Mar 23, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Three conventional solar hot water systems

In most Australian homes, heating water is considered the biggest source of greenhouse emissions. Households, as well as communities, are thus encouraged to turn to solar hot water technologies. If you are interested in these techniques, it is critical that you know the various solar hot water systems available to you. These include: Direct system – In this type, water passes directly through the system, and it is circulated through the collector. This system does not need to heat glycol – an anti-freeze – and then pass it through the heat exchanger fitted in the water tank. This technique is suitable for most homes because of the low water hardness levels found in most households. It is also suitable is areas where there is moderate climate, that is, temperatures above -10ºC. The biggest advantage of the direct solar hot water system is that there is efficient heat transfer because there is no need for heat exchanging compounds. However, if you use hard water in your home or your home is located in Polar Regions, this solar hot water system is not ideal for you.  Closed Loop – This is the most versatile solar hot water system in the market. It is commonly used in homes, commercial purposes, space heating and in places where water quality may corrode the copper. In case you want to use this system for business applications, you must ensure that the water to be heated is not portable. It is vital to note that the liquid that circulates through the collector is separate from the water in the primary system and may be a mixture of water and glycol. The main advantage of this system is that it can withstand water of poor quality and stagnating conditions. However, it is not as efficient as the direct solar hot water system since it needs a heat exchanger. Its cost is also relatively high because it is a more complex system.  Drainback system – The drain back solar hot water system resembles the closed-loop systems since it uses an anti-freeze to prevent freezing in the collector. A heat transfer fluid that is unpressurized is pumped through the collector while being kept separate from the end water that is being heated. Whenever the pump is off, the heat transfer liquid drains from the collector to the lines. The drain-back solar hot water system is suitable for areas with frigid night temperatures and poor water quality. The ability of the system to utilize gravity’s pull as freezing protection is its principal advantage as it allows the system to prevent freezing even when you turn the pump off. Additionally, this capability prevents the system from over relying on glycol as a heat transfer fluid. For more information, contact companies like Solar...

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Choosing The Right Paint For Your Treated Pine

Posted by on Mar 3, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Choosing The Right Paint For Your Treated Pine

If you are one of the many who believe that treated pine wood does not require painting, know that you are wrong. The purpose of treatment is to lengthen the life of pine wood by offering protection against insect attacks and decay but the wood is still susceptible to the general effects of weather like fading, warping, splitting, and surface discoloration. Hence, there is still a need for adding a layer or two of paint to your pinewood, especially wood that is regularly exposed to different weather conditions such as your deck. Painting, however, may not be the problem. Determining the right kind of paint to apply is more difficult. The following guide, though, explains how you can go about it.   Determining The Right Paint To get the best finish, you must apply paint to the right type of pine wood. What it means is that pine wood is treated with different chemicals, and because of this, it requires different types of paint. Pine treated with copper chromium arsenic (CCA) for instance, requires water or acrylic based paints. After buying a CCA treated pine that has been kiln dried, give it a minimum of 7 days before painting. For wet or seasoned pine, give it 28 days. Light organic solvent preservative (LOSP) is another compound used in pine treatment. For this kind of pine, prime it first with Alkyd Oil type of paint before adding two more coats. But even if you know the type of paint you require, you still can’t proceed if you don’t know the mode of treatment is that is used on your pine.     Determining The Treatment Used In Your Pine Here are a few tips that will help you define the kind of treatment that has been applied to the pine wood you are using: LOSP treated pine are solvent based and hence they possess a light solvent smell.  CCA treated pine does not have a solvent-like property but is water based. A high percentage of wide boards like 290x45mm or 240x45mm are LOSP treated. LOSP treated pine are only treated to H1, H2, and H3 levels but not to an H4 level. These levels indicate what the chemical used in the treatment is used for. For instance, H2 protects the wood against termites while H3 offers protection against wood rot and termites. It is only after you have identified the treatment used in your pine that you can identify the right paint to apply. For further assistance, contact a local outlet, such as Van Steensel Timbers Pty...

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Timber Versus Polymer Plantation Shutters: A Comparison

Posted by on Feb 23, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Timber Versus Polymer Plantation Shutters: A Comparison

Plantation shutters can add style to your home, whether you want a traditional or more contemporary look.  But should you choose timber shutters or go for a man-made alternative?  Here’s a comparison to help you decide what would be best for you. Timber plantation shutters The main reason people choose timber plantation shutters from a place like Blind Inspiration is for their aesthetic beauty.  When correctly treated, timber makes a long-lasting and durable material that looks gorgeous when simply varnished to preserve the natural grain.  If you prefer, you can paint timber shutters any colour of the rainbow to match your interior décor scheme.  Alternatively, you could choose to stain your shutters so that the finish blends seamlessly with your furniture or wooden flooring. Timber is as strong as the polymer equivalent, but much lighter in weight.  This is important if you want shutters with a large panel size to accommodate bigger windows, because the excess weight of polymer can cause the shutter’s hinges to sag.    Good quality timber plantation shutters can work out slightly more expensive than the man-made version, although they should last you a lifetime if properly cared-for. When it comes to maintenance, interior timber shutters will need repainting or staining periodically to keep them looking fresh.  If your windows are prone to condensation, timber shutters may be subject to water damage over time. Polymer plantation shutters The usual alternative to timber that people look to is man-made polymer.  Poly is very durable and hard-wearing, and although the colours available are somewhat limited, your shutters will never need repainting or treating to keep their colour.  The usual colour choice for poly shutters is white, off-white, or a faux-wood finish. If you have a limited budget, poly shutters may be a good option because they are usually slightly cheaper than timber and are just as long-lasting.  If you want shutters for rooms where moisture is an issue, such as your bathroom, poly is a good choice as it won’t warp or be damaged when exposed to water or humidity.  Because of the heavier weight of poly shutters, panel sizes are generally limited.  This means that you would need to use several panels to cover a large window area, which can leave your window looking cluttered.  A single wood panel gives a much cleaner finish. In conclusion Timber plantation shutters offer great versatility when it comes to colour and finish choice, although they are slightly more expensive than polymer.  Polymer could be a better option if the shutters are likely to be exposed to water or humidity.  Have a chat with your local supplier for more information and...

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How to Find Where Your Home is Leaking Air

Posted by on Feb 11, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on How to Find Where Your Home is Leaking Air

If your energy bill is going up, it is likely due to air leaking from somewhere in your home. This could be from a crack around your window or loss of the weatherstripping around your doors. Here are some tips for finding the source of leaking air so you can have it repaired. Complete a Visual Inspection When you suspect that your home is leaking air somewhere, the first thing you should do is a brief visual inspection. Look on the inside and outside of your home’s foundation, finding signs of cracks or holes where air could be escaping from. Pay close attention to the areas of your home where cracks might be hiding, such as trim, corners of the walls, and outside of your home close to the plumbing fixtures. Look around siding and chimneys, electrical outlets, HVAC units, and fireplace dampers. These are all common places where there could be gaps, cracks, or holes that let air escape. Even the smallest hole can make a big difference. Check the Windows Your windows are a very common place to have issues with air escaping. It could be due to deterioration of the caulk around the window frame, cracks or chips in the window glass itself, or cracks around the frame of the window. You might also have lack of proper sealing of the windows or rotting of the wood window frame. Look carefully at the glass and all around the window for signs that this is where the air is escaping. You may need to have the windows replaced. Look Around the Doors Another common area of your home where air could be escaping is the doors. Similar to the windows, you are checking the exterior doors for signs of wear, rot, or cracks. Cracks are often hiding where the door frame is connected to the wall. You may also have some gaps where the weatherstripping is starting to wear and deteriorating, a good sign that it should be replaced. If the hinges are not as tight as they should be, that could cause the door to be looser on the threshold,and lease to loss of air. Have a Contractor Inspect Your Home In some cases, you are not able to figure out the problem on your own. In this case, have an HVAC contractor inspect the property for you. They know where to look and what to look for. Contractors can also perform a series of tests that looks at how efficient your insulation is, as that might be the culprit for the higher energy...

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How to Create More Space in the Bedroom Without Having to Give up Your Stuff

Posted by on Jan 27, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on How to Create More Space in the Bedroom Without Having to Give up Your Stuff

If you are like most people, you’ve collected a few things over the years, and you now have to open up your closet door with caution. Clothes, bags, scarves, shoes and other ‘necessities’ can easily become an overwhelming part of your home that you just dread dealing with. And so, month after month, your ‘stuff’ pile gets bigger, becomes more disorganized, and can even start creeping into your bedroom, becoming harder to hide. Luckily, there is a simple solution. Built in wardrobes, shelves and other space saving items can help keep all of your things neat and organized and you won’t have to give up a thing. Even if your bedroom is small, there are simple ways you can install a built in wardrobe and learn to love your closet again. In the Closet The first step is removing all of your things from the closet. Install built in wardrobes (either one that you build or one you buy at a store), and make sure that the wardrobe includes space for your hanging items, your shoes, luggage, etc. If you have a walk-in closet, you could even make a small sitting area. Don’t forget the drawers to keep small items in. Around the Bed If you have a small closet that simply can’t handle all of your stuff, consider building drawers and shelving around your bed. These usually require that the bed be raised a bit, so you can put drawers underneath, but they can transform the look of your entire bedroom. If the room is small, go for lighter pieces, as dark colours can make a room seem smaller. Instead of a standard headboard, buy one that doubles as a book shelf. Sitting/Storage Area If you have the room, create your own little sitting area, complete with a built in wardrobe, shelves and drawers. You can keep a comfy chair with some space for books, papers or whatever you need to have by your side. The great thing about drawers and cupboards is that you can keep whatever you want without having to worry about things being messy. Built in wardrobes can be a real space saver and can help keep you organized and neat. There are no limitations as to what design and style to choose. Just make sure you measure out your space so you know how big you can go! Try different styles by planning on paper...

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Mistakes to Avoid When Planning a Home Renovation

Posted by on Jan 21, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Mistakes to Avoid When Planning a Home Renovation

Many homeowners perform home renovations in order to make the home more suitable for their current and future needs. However, some of them commit mistakes during the planning or execution of the renovation. Those mistakes later haunt the homeowner (for instance, he or she discovers that the investment can’t be recouped when the home is sold). This article discusses some of the home renovation mistakes that you should avoid. Not Factoring In the Neigbourhood Many home renovation projects have a dual purpose of addressing an immediate need of the homeowner (such as providing extra storage space) and improving the resale value of the property. However, some homeowners overlook the importance of considering the average value of homes in their area when setting their expectations of how the value of the home will be increased. This can be a mistake because buyers usually do some research about the average value of homes in a given area before making an offer. Thus, it may be unwise to exceed the average home value of your area when you renovate. For instance, try to avoid exceeding the average home size in your area by a very wide margin (more than 1000 square feet, for example). Such a huge difference will make it harder for you to realise a commensurate increase in the value of your home. Expecting Gains From Out-of-Sight Improvements Many homebuyers are influenced by what they can see (such as the appearance of the driveway) when deciding whether they like a home or not. You should therefore be realistic and avoid expecting prospective buyers to appreciate home improvements that they cannot see (such as improved insulation). Only perform such improvements if they were below the minimum acceptable standard in your area. Do not expect the value of your home to go up just because you conducted such hidden renovations. Being Too Personal Don’t be too immersed in your personal wishes as you conduct home renovations. This tip is particularly helpful if you do not plan to stay in that home for very many years before you sell it. For instance, you may like purple and you want to paint the interior walls that colour. Few prospective buyers will have the same unique taste as yours so you should go for neutral colours that will not make a prospective buyer think that he or she will have to incur a cost to repaint the house to a more appealing colour. As you can see from the discussion above, you need to approach a home renovation project with realistic expectations. Consult a home renovation professional for help, such as Edward Homes, in case you would like to determine which improvements would serve the two needs of increasing the home value and meeting your immediate needs. Find a balance between those two...

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