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Questions To Answer Before Adding A Central AC Unit To Your Home

Posted by on Sep 30, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Questions To Answer Before Adding A Central AC Unit To Your Home

A new central AC unit can be just what you need to stay cool this summer, but if your home didn’t previously have central air conditioning, there are a few concerns that you will need to address first. The following guide can walk you through the process of purchasing a central system for the first time. Does your home have air ducts? If you have a central heating system that uses air ducts, it isn’t too difficult to alter them to work with an AC system. If your home runs off baseboard heating or another non-duct heating source, you will need to make sure that it’s possible to install duct work in the house. A contractor will check to see if there is sufficient space in your ceiling and walls to install suitable ducts. This can be time consuming and expensive to do, so most people with no ducts choose a different cooling option. What are the alternatives to ductwork? The most common alternative that provides the most comparable cooling and efficiency to a central AC unit is a mini-split unit. These consist of a cooling unit in the room that is hooked to a condenser unit on the outside of the house. A hose connects the two, which is where the cold air runs through and into the room. You will have no more than one or two cooling units attached to each condenser. Although a mini-split system isn’t the same as a central AC unit, it performs much the same way. Some units are even capable of providing heat as well as cooling the home. Will you need to upgrade your breaker box? Adding air conditioning, central AC in particular, puts more a of a load on your home’s electrical system. This means that the electrical panel in your breaker box must have enough room to be able to handle the installation of the AC unit. Often, older homes will have small breaker boxes that aren’t capable of supporting a central AC unit. In the event that it does not, you will have two choices – have a new breaker box installed or have a separate box installed for just the AC unit. You may need to bring in an electrician to do this work if the AC contractor doesn’t handle this type of electrical retrofitting. For more help, contact an air conditioner installation contractor in your area. Pop over to this website for more...

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3 Foods You Shouldn’t Put Down Your Garbage Disposal

Posted by on Sep 7, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 3 Foods You Shouldn’t Put Down Your Garbage Disposal

Garbage disposals – those small incinerators that live beneath your sink – are a wonderful tool for those who value quick clean up and for those who like to keep their trash levels down. But as hardy as your garbage disposal is, there are a few foods that you should resist throwing in there, lest they gum up your disposal or even render it useless without heavy repairs or replacement. So if you’re wondering what are a few foods that should skip the disposal and go straight into the trash, then here’s a few you need to know about. Celery Celery is a delicious, watery vegetable great for cooling off in hot weather or using as a base for yummy spreads and dips – but it’s not so great for the health of your disposal. Celery is a fibrous veggie, made up of a bunch of little tiny threads bound together. You’ve likely gotten a string of celery caught in your teeth at one point in your life; imagine that strand twisting between the blades of your disposal and it’s easy to see why this is one vegetable to keep away from your garbage disposal and as close to your trash can as possible. Limes Lemons are the perfect food to put in your garbage disposal – not only does it get rid of those pesky peels in a flash, but it also makes your sink smell nice afterwards. Limes, however, are a different story; commercially sold limes have an extremely thick layer of pith in between the peel and the actual fruit, which when wet can gum up your disposal blades, making it harder for future food to travel down and be cut into tiny pieces. If you must put limes down your disposal, cut them into small pieces to make the job easier on your disposal. Coffee Grounds Another entry where the food in question smells good, it’s a really bad idea to put coffee grounds down your disposal – but not for the reason you might think. Coffee grounds actually cause no problems for your disposal itself, and can help clean off the blades; however, once the grounds get past the disposal and into your pipes, they can start causing problems. Shredded coffee grounds are just large enough (and of the right texture) that they’ll clog your drains and pipes, causing a backed-up sink and a rather large plumbing bill. Just to be on the safe side, dispose of your coffee grounds (and your limes and celery) in the trash, and avoid an emergency consultation on your pipes. For more information, talk to a professional like Angeles...

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Guide To Bridging And Mushing Issues In Water Softeners

Posted by on Aug 8, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Guide To Bridging And Mushing Issues In Water Softeners

Proper maintenance of a water softener is a requirement if you want to ensure that your unit is working correctly. Salt systems are prone to salt issues that can affect softening quality and ability. Fortunately, by understanding these issues, you can avoid them completely or at least quickly fix the problem if one does occur. The following guide can help. Bridging and Mushing The first issue, salt bridging, occurs when salt forms a crust instead of dissolving into the brine tank of the softener. This creates an empty space between the salt crust and the water beneath, which means the water is able to pass through the softener without coming in contact with the salt and being softened. Mushing is similar to bridging, except that the salt gathers at the bottom of the brine tank beneath the water instead of dissolving. This is more of a salt sludge than a crust. This sludge not only prevents the softening process, it can also cause blockages in the tank that lead to mechanical difficulties. Prevention tips Fortunately, there are simple ways to prevent both bridges and mushing. Use high-quality salt. Avoid rock salt, which contains impurities that can speed the formation of a bridge or mush. Evaporated salt is the purest option, so it is the least likely salt type to cause issues inside the softener. Fill the tank appropriately. Overfilling increases the chances of the salt dissolving poorly. Your softener should have a fill line or specific indicator of some sort for the salt level. Refer to the owner’s manual if necessary. Watch for condensation. Humidity around the softener can cause condensation to develop inside brine tank, which increases the chances of the formation of a salt crust and eventual bridge. If you notice condensation in the brine tank, consider using a dehumidifier. Perform routine cleanings. Each manufacturer has specific instructions for flushing out the resin bed and the frequency that it should be done. Generally, a softener cleaner should be poured through the brine tank about twice a year, and then run a manual regeneration cycle as directed in the manual. Then, clean the valves by removing them and washing them in hot water to remove any salt or mineral buildup. Fixing Issues For bridging, the fix is simple. Press down on the salt bridge with a clean item, such as a sturdy wooden spoon, and break it up. Mushing requires that the softener is completely drained and that all the old salt and the sludge beneath it is removed. Any residue will then need to be cleaned out of the brine tank before fresh salt is placed back into it. For more help, contact Johnson Water Conditioning or a similar...

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2 Ways To Avoid Weeds In Your Garden

Posted by on Jul 20, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 2 Ways To Avoid Weeds In Your Garden

If you are just starting out with your first garden, you may be wanting to completely avoid the weed battle that you know is coming. There are some things that you can do that will help you do that.  Invest in Heavy Black Plastic One thing that you can do is to get some heavy black plastic to lay down on your garden after you have prepared the soil. You can get this from any home improvement or garden store. What you want to do is to cover your entire garden with this black plastic, before you plant anything. Cut the plastic so that it is larger than your garden, and then you can set up a border to help anchor the plastic down. Then once you know where you are going to plant things, you cut an X in the plastic that is just big enough for the root ball of the plant to fit in or big enough for the plant to grow, if you are planting seeds. That will give weeds less of a chance to get a foothold in your garden. An added benefit to the black plastic is that it can help hold moisture in the soil longer. It will also absorb the sun and heat up the ground, which can help protect the roots and plants. Generally, this plastic should last for a couple of years.  Get Some Mulch Something else you are going to want to do is get some mulch and lay down a heavy layer. Get more than you think that you are going to need so that you make sure that you get plenty of coverage. You can actually lay this down right on the black plastic. If you are planting seeds instead of seedlings, you may want to wait for a few days to give the seeds time to germinate before you put the mulch down so that the seedlings don’t have to fight through the mulch to reach the sun. Mulch can also help to keep moisture in the soil and by the roots. If you are in a drought-prone area, you may want to put down a little more mulch because it may be able to help you cut down on waterings.  When you are planning your first garden, you would much rather have plants than weeds show up. Doing a few things can help you avoid weeds as much as possible. Visit for more...

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Creative Ways to Store Your Garden Tools in Small Spaces

Posted by on Jun 24, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Creative Ways to Store Your Garden Tools in Small Spaces

You’ve found your perfect tiny home, and it has the perfect tiny yard. You have dreams of intensive gardening and vertical walls of lettuce, but you have one problem. All that work takes tools, and you have nowhere to store your rakes, shovels, hoes, and pruners—unless you get creative.   Make a Tool Bouquet Buy a shiny metal garbage can and dress it up with lovely magnetic flowers. If you can’t find magnets you like, buy a sheet of magnet material from the craft store, gather some pictures from your favorite magazines, glue the pictures on the magnets, and cut the magnets out. Voila! Custom pretties for your trash can. Once you have dressed up your trash can, remove the lid and place your long tools inside, business side up, as if you are arranging flowers. This is a perfect accent piece for the corner of your living room, bedroom, or some other area where they won’t be exposed to the weather. One advantage of this arrangement is that it forces you to keep your tools clean, since you don’t want muddy tools in your house for all your friends to see. Plus, the magnets can be removed easily if you ever have to use the trash can for its intended purpose. Turn Your Tools into Art If you have country decor, garden tools make amazing art pieces. For example, hang long tools above your curtains or hang a lovely large poster of sunflowers on your wall and then hang the tools around it like a makeshift frame. For hand tools, hang some five-by-seven-inch framed garden photos on your wall and then hang your tools between and around them when they are not needed. Alternatively, you can just place your hand tools casually on furniture or bookshelves as display objects. A cute idea is to use an old 16- or 20-inch bicycle wheel to hang garden tools from the ceiling like a giant wind chime. Hide Them Away in Unusual Places If you don’t like the idea of having your garden tools out in the open, you can find spots to hide them, even in the smallest spaces. If the space under your furniture is all taken, there are alternatives. Put handy plastic removable hooks on the inside of your closet doors and hang them there. Use a metal magazine holder mounted inside your kitchen cabinet doors to stash hand tools. An over-the-door hanger rack on the back of your bedroom door can hold all your long tools and a bag full of hand tools, and the tools can be covered handily with a pretty curtain hung on a cafe rod. The space between your refrigerator and cabinets can be utilized with a custom-built rollout pegboard wall to hold all your tools, and toe-kick drawers under your kitchen cabinets are another possible solution for smaller tools. Of course, if you have enough space, a simple solution is to buy a lovely, sturdy outdoor garden cabinet or benches for stashing your tools. Whatever your space limitations, there are creative and fun ways to store all those garden essentials. Call your local carpenter, contractor, or interior designer to find out what creative solutions they may be able to provide, or call a company that provides storage, such as Palmisano Ralph Movers, if...

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3 Types Of Outdoor Lighting To Include Outside Your Home

Posted by on May 27, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 3 Types Of Outdoor Lighting To Include Outside Your Home

If you are in the process of landscaping and otherwise designing the exterior portion of your home and property, than one thing that you will want to include is outdoor lighting. This article will discuss 3 specific types of outdoor lighting to include outside of your home.  Walkway Lighting A place outdoors where lights are always appropriate is along your walkways. This can be the walkways either in your front or backyard. It also doesn’t matter if the walkway is made of cement, rocks, wood chips, sand, etc., because the lights will help to light up the path. You can choose lights that are close to the ground, and put off the amount of light that you would like. You can also have them set up so that they are either on all of the time or turn on only when their sensors are activated by motion.  Gazebo Lighting If you have a gazebo located in your backyard, this is a wonderful location for you to spend your time. It is great for relaxing, eating, reading, or whatever else you would like to do. However, one problem that you may run into with a gazebo is that it isn’t functional for you after dark. Thankfully, there is an easy fix for this. All you need to do is have lighting installed inside of your gazebo. These lights can be on the same electric panel as the rest of your yard lights, making the setup easier for you. These lights will do an excellent job of giving the gazebo light whenever it is dark and will allow you to get even more use out of your gazebo.  Stair Lighting One type of lighting that is unique and fun is lighting in your stairs. These lights can go in your patio stairs or any other stairs that you may have outside of your home. These lights are actually installed into each of your stairs, lighting up each step. This is not only a great type of lighting to have installed because it looks super cool, but it also makes going up and down your stairs in the dark much safer. You can have the lights set on a control panel that allows you to choose how bright or how dim they are, as well as what color they are. Also, because these lights are installed within the actual stairs, weathering and sun damage isn’t going to be an issue for...

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Landscaping Your Home? Consider These 3 Eco-Friendly Materials You Can Use

Posted by on May 4, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Landscaping Your Home? Consider These 3 Eco-Friendly Materials You Can Use

With more people looking to go green in the way they live their daily lives, it can even extend to materials that they use for landscaping their home. Instead of using brand new materials for landscaping, here are 3 options that are more environmentally friendly at your disposal. Sand Made From Recycled Glass A popular landscaping material you should consider is sand made from recycled glass. You may have heard of it being used in sand traps at golf courses, but you can use it anywhere that you need regular sand. This includes sand needed for a foundation under walkways or step stones. The material is made by pulverizing glass until it has a consistency that is similar to sand. It doesn’t have sharp or jagged pieces in it due to how the glass is crushed. It is an affordable and safe choice that puts old glass bottles to good use. Mulch Using mulch is a great way to reduce the amount of weeds that grow in a garden, and improve the ground’s moisture levels. Mulch contains many types of eco-friendly materials. Old milk jugs and plastic juice containers can be turned into tiny pieces in mulch. Old tree leaves can be collected during each fall to create a temporary organic mulch that needs replacement each year. Old grass clippings can also be collected while cutting the lawn. Mixing them with leaves will create a great compost that you can use as a mulch. If you have the space for a compost container, you can use it to recycle all of the organic waste in your home. Not only will it reduce the amount of waste that goes into landfills, but using organic materials as compost will improve the moisture retention of the soil. You also won’t need to use chemicals to fertilize the soil as well. By including mulch into your landscaping, it will improve the appearance and health of all your plants. Landscape Edging Made With Recycled Materials Using edging material is a great way to prevent grass and plants from growing into places that you do not want them. It also will make a distinct line where plants and flowers should be, which makes a yard look neat and well maintained. Consider purchasing a landscape edging material that is made out of recycled plastic, such as old milk jugs. Even though the edging is made with recycled material, it is just as strong as a material made with new plastic. If you need help purchasing any of these materials, reach out to a local mulching contractor (such as one from Mulch Masters) for...

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Three Ways To Beat Sensitive Skin At The Fabric Or Yarn Store

Posted by on Apr 7, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Three Ways To Beat Sensitive Skin At The Fabric Or Yarn Store

If you like to sew or knit and have been diagnosed with a skin condition that makes you super-sensitive to what you wear, you may be looking at changing the fabrics that you wear or the yarn that you use to give your skin a break. However, if you’re not used to choosing based on skin sensitivity, you might not know what to look for because some fabrics and yarns feel super smooth while still posing a problem for your skin. Here are three ways to beat that skin sensitivity when you choose your fabrics or yarn.    Go for Natural Materials… Natural materials are likely to be best for your skin because they tend not to be too rough, plus they tend to be breathable fabrics. Look for organic cotton and silk fabrics, and organic cotton yarn. Synthetic fabrics are often not very breathable, rather rough in many cases, and are often used in tight clothing, which is not good for sensitive skin. …Except Wool Wool is a special case. Much of the wool out there, both fabric and yarn, is rough and known for causing rashes in even people with non-sensitive skin. Until you get a better handle on how your skin reacts to natural fabrics, avoid wool. If you think your skin can handle some, look for merino or cashmere, which tend to be very soft and not as irritating. Note that two mechanisms are at play when dealing with rashes from wool. One is a simple sensitivity — the wool is rough enough to be scratchy. The other is a lanolin allergy, which is not very common but still possible. If you react to even the very soft wools like merino, you may want to get tested for a lanolin allergy, though it’s still possible that your skin is so sensitive that you’re just going to react to any wool, lanolin or not.   Wash the Fabrics Well Two issues to look out for with natural fabrics and yarns are chemical preservatives and buildup of laundry detergents. In the case of the detergent buildup, using a sensitive-skin, fragrance-free detergent will help reduce the chances of that buildup aggravating your skin condition. As for the preservatives, treat new fabric like new clothes and wash the fabric before sewing. If you’re knitting, remember to block the garment fully before wearing. (If you’re new to knitting, blocking includes washing.) If you want more advice for choosing smooth, soft fabrics and yarns that won’t set off your skin, talk to the people who run your local fabric store. They will likely have a lot of knowledge about how fabrics react with skin and detergents that you’ll get a good idea of what in the store you can...

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Tips For Preventing Common Plumbing Issues

Posted by on Mar 6, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Tips For Preventing Common Plumbing Issues

A residential plumbing system can be an extremely complicated feature of the house. Not surprisingly, this can make these systems especially vulnerable to develop a number of problems and issues. As a result, you should strive to become as informed as possible about this part of your house to make sure that you minimize the risks of some common problems. To this end, you can use these plumbing tips to make sure that your home’s plumbing is in working condition. Clean The Aerators To maximize the efficiency of your plumbing fixtures, it is common for aerators to be installed to mix air with the water. This can help increase the pressure of the water coming out of the fixture while also requiring less water. Typically, these devices are made using a small screen that can create air bubbles as water passes through. Unfortunately, it is possible for mineral accumulations to form, which may restrict the flow of water. Avoiding this problem will require you to unscrew the aerator and clean it by soaking it in vinegar for several hours. The vinegar will loosen the substances, which can allow you to easily remove these deposits by rinsing with water. The frequency with which you will need to do this maintenance will vary based on the amount of minerals in your home’s tap water. Houses with hard water will likely need to have this done more frequently. Have Your Pipes Insulated Homeowners often assume that the only step necessary for preventing their pipes from freezing is to leave the faucets dripping. While this can help reduce the chances that your pipes freeze, it may not be completely effective if you have uninsulated pipes. As a result, you should make it a point to have a contractor install insulation on your pipes. At a minimum, you should have the pipes next to exterior walls insulated as these pipes will be the most exposed to harsh winter temperatures. In addition to preventing pipes from freezing, insulation can also help with the overall efficiency of your plumbing. This is because the insulation will prevent your hot water from losing heat or your cold water from gaining heat while coursing through your home’s pipes.  By making sure to clean any aerators with vinegar and installing insulation on your pipes, you can keep your plumbing safe from routine hazards. For more advice on how to keep your plumbing operational, talk to plumbing contractors in your...

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Can You Kill Bed Bugs By Freezing Them?

Posted by on Feb 4, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Can You Kill Bed Bugs By Freezing Them?

At this time of year when the temperatures outside start to fall below freezing in many areas of the country, some people may find themselves wondering if it’s possible to freeze bed bugs to death. Knowing the answer to this question can help you get control of your bed bugs and help you rid your home of these invasive insects. Can you kill bed bugs by freezing them? Yes, bed bugs can be frozen to death, provided the temperature remains low enough for long enough. To freeze bed bugs, you’ll need to place them in temperatures of 0 degrees Fahrenheit (or lower) for 4 days or longer. To do this, start by placing bedbug-infested items (clothing, pillows, etc) into sealable plastic baggies. Next, put these baggies into a freezer set at 0 degrees Fahrenheit. If your home’s freezer doesn’t give the internal temperature of the appliance, use a thermometer to track the temperature. If the item you’re freezing is very bulky, it could require extra time. The core of the item, whatever the item is, needs to stay at a temperature below zero in order for this method to be effective. Can you put the bed bugs outside to freeze them? Some sources say yes, however, the trouble with this method is that the temperatures outside are rarely low enough for long enough. Sunshine, humidity and other uncontrollable factors can cause temperature fluctuations that would prolong the life of the bed bugs, leaving you believing that the bed bugs are dead when they’re actually not. If you do try to put bed bugs outside in sub-zero weather for 4 days, you’ll need to monitor outdoor temperature carefully. If the temperature rises above 0 degrees, the counter will need to start over. Be careful not to store anything outside that could possibly be damaged by moisture if condensation should form on the inside of the bag. Keep the item (or items) out of the sun and away from structures that retain heat (like the side of your home). In reality, freezing bed bugs has some limitations that should be considered when deciding whether or not to use this method of bed bug control. Not every infected item may fit in your freezer, and putting items outdoors can result in damage to the item without resulting in dead bed bugs. The best way to kill the bed bugs in your home is to contact a reputable pest control company in your...

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