Green Living: A Guide to Saving on Energy Usage

Well Water And Algae: Everything You Need To Know

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Algae is a type of nonflowering plant that does not really resemble any type of plant that grows on the land. Most often made up of a single cell, algae contains chlorophyll but does not have stems, roots, or leaves. Algae will grow in any source of water, including your well or storage container, if the conditions are right. Since algae is tenacious and fast growing, you can find yourself with an uncontrollable algae bloom in a matter of hours or days. If you have algae in your stored water, here’s everything you need to know.  Causes And Types of Algae Growth There are numerous types of algae that can grow in your tank, including brown, green, blue-green, and hair algae. In most cases, algae is not harmful, it merely discolors your water. It will not make you sick or stain your plumbing fixtures. In fact, it can even be nutritious. In other cases, however, algae can be toxic. Unfortunately, it is difficult to distinguish between harmless and toxic algae, so you should always treat algae, especially blue-green algae, as toxic.  How to Prevent Algae Growth As mentioned, algae grows when the conditions are right. In order to thrive, algae needs two things: sunlight and nutrients. If you have an uncovered well or store water in an outdoor tank before piping it into your house, you may have perfect conditions for algae growth. To prevent algae, remove sunlight from the equation. Shut up your well so that no sunlight penetrates the water; it only takes a little bit. If you store your water, store it in an opaque tank that sunlight does not penetrate. If you can completely eliminate sunlight, you won’t have an algae problem for much longer.  How to Get Rid of Algae If you need to get rid of algae quick, you can treat your water with chlorine. To combat algae, add 4 parts chlorine to every 1 million parts of water. To dose your well or storage tank adequately, you will have to know the volume of water that you’re dealing with. If you’re not sure how to dose your tank, you can always hire someone to come in and test your water and dose it until it is safe to drink.  If you notice that your water is thick or discolored, you may be dealing with algae. Algae is a nuisance, but it is easy to control. For more information or assistance, contact companies like Golden Gate Well Drilling & Water...

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3 Simple Ways To Test Your Well’s Water Quality

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If your home relies on well water to meet its potable water needs, then it’s important that you take the time to check the quality of your water supply on a regular basis. A well that isn’t functioning properly could be pumping contaminated water into your home, and you need to be able to identify this contamination before it causes serious health problems. Here are three simple methods that you can use to determine the quality of your home’s well-supplied water in the future. 1. Invest in a home test kit. Homeowners who rely on well water regularly should invest in a supply of home test kits that can help them determine whether or not their water supply has been compromised. These test kits are easy to use, and they are effective when it comes to identifying common contaminants that can affect the quality of well-supplied water. Be sure that you follow the manufacturer’s directions carefully when it comes to the amount of time you leave the test strip in your home kit exposed to your well water. The strips will turn different colors based on the contaminant levels in your water, and the kit should come with an identification sheet to help you accurately read the results. 2. Rely on your senses to smell trouble. Water plays a critical role in the health and well-being of the human body. As a result, your body is innately capable of detecting certain contaminants within your water source. You can rely on your senses to help you sniff out problematic water. The way your well water smells can tell you a lot about the effectiveness with which your well is performing. Water that has a musty or earthy smell is likely contaminated with decaying organic materials like plants or microorganisms. Water that has a smell similar to rotten eggs could be contaminated by bacterial growth. If your water smells funny, stop drinking it and have it chemically tested as soon as possible. 3. Check your local water quality report. Each time someone tests the quality of the water in a well, the results are reported to your local water quality control office. You can consult these findings regularly to determine if any of the wells in your area are experiencing problems with contamination. If a high percentage of wells adjacent to yours are reporting contamination, there is a strong possibility that your well has been compromised as well. Have a professional come out and test your water quality to determine if your well has been affected. Knowing how you can test the quality of your well water will allow you to avoid the consumption of water that isn’t safe for drinking. For more information, check out a site like...

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Waterproofing Your Basement To Eliminate Damage Inside Your Home

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In most cases, a wet basement is completely curable, and waterproofing can be done by the homeowner to resolve the issue. There are some cases where that is not as easy, but there are contractors who can handle the job quickly and efficiently. Reclaim your basement and make it usable again with just a few steps. Whether you do it yourself or you hire a basement waterproofing contractor to take care of it, the benefit in resale value, usable space, and health benefits will make it worth the time and money. What Causes Basement Water Leaks In most cases, water leaking into the basement is related to the drainage around the house. When it rains hard, the water saturates the soil around the foundation and then seeps into the walls, finding any crack or path through it. If enough water leaks through the walls, the basement will become wet and, with enough time, completely flooded in worst-case scenarios. Sealing The Basement Walls There are sealers and products that can be painted onto the interior walls of the basement to help seal out water. What they do not do, though, is stop the water from getting into the concrete. The water will damage the concrete over time and cause it to deteriorate. Long term, the foundation will become weak and require repair, which could be very expensive and could have been avoided. Excavating Around The Basement In order to fix the problem properly, a contractor can excavate soil around the foundation and install new drainage that will help stop the water from building up. In most cases, they will paint the outside of the foundation with a sealer to stop water from getting into the concrete, should the drainage not be enough. In most cases, this will solve the problem and stop the water from leaking through the walls and into your home. Health Concerns Related To Wet Basements Water is bad enough, but the moist conditions in the basement can promote mold growth in the basement and the floor joists that are below your living space. In cases where there is a mold allergy in your family, this can trigger respiratory issues and illnesses just from living in the home. Extreme mold issues can even affect people who are not already allergic to the mold and become dangerous to the health of you and your family. Alternately, mildew can also become a problem if the space remains wet for a long...

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Common Signs That You Need A New Tote Heater

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If you use a tote heater to keep propane tanks or other types of tanks warm, then you probably rely on it to help ensure that your propane is not affected by the weather. If you have been using the same tote heater for years now, however, it might be time to replace it. These are a few signs that you may need to buy a new tote heater so that you can protect your propane tanks during the winter months. Your Propane is Still Being Affected by the Weather When using your propane during or after the winter months, if you find that it has been affected by the cold temperatures even though you were using your tote heater, you shouldn’t just assume it’s because the temperatures dipped lower. The best tote heaters can help protect propane in even the coldest of temperatures, so if yours has failed at doing so, chances are good that it needs to be replaced. The Tote Heater is Cool to the Touch When you touch your tote heater, it should feel slightly warm to the touch. Because of their safety features, tote heaters should be safe to touch without being burned. If you do not feel any warmth at all, however, it could be because the tote heater is not generating the heat that it should be. It’s an Older Model Older tote heaters often are not as effective at keeping propane tanks warm. Plus, some of them lack all of the newest and best safety features, which you can enjoy if you purchase a new tote heater. If you have been using the same tote heater for a long time now, you may want to think about replacing it with a newer and better model, even if it still seems to be working properly. The last thing that you probably want is to find out that your propane has been affected by the winter weather because you cannot count on your tote heater. Even though you might not have thought about replacing it, these are a few signs that it might just be time to start looking for a new tote heater for each of your propane tanks. Luckily, they are available in various sizes and price ranges, so no matter how big or small your propane tanks might be or what your budget is, you’re sure to be able to find an option that is right for...

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3 Tips For Effective Gutter Repairs

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Having access to a functional gutter system ensures that water will not accumulate in the home of your roof. Since standing water can cause serious damage, keeping your gutter system in good condition should be a top priority. Here are three simple tips that you can use to help ensure your home’s rain gutters remain fully functional well into the future. 1. Regularly inspect for cracks. Many rain gutters are made from aluminum. This material can begin to deteriorate over time as it is left exposed to the elements. Aluminum rain gutters can begin to crack and corrode, preventing proper water drainage. Be sure that you are inspecting your gutters for cracks regularly, and use a waterproof silicone sealant to repair minor cracks or holes to keep your rain gutters functioning like they are supposed to. 2. Flush your system regularly to check for proper drainage. Your home’s rain gutters are left exposed to dirt and debris. It’s common for rain gutters to become clogged with leaves, which can prevent water from draining away from your home properly. To ensure proper drainage, you need to flush out your gutter system on a regular basis. This process involves the use of a specialized gutter cleaning tool or a pressurized washer to remove dirt and debris buildup from the interior walls of your gutter system. Once the gutters are clean, you can pour clean water into them to check drainage patterns. You may need to tighten the brackets holding your gutters in place in order to level out each rain gutter if you find water pooling in certain areas. 3. Know when you need to replace your rain gutters. Part of any effective repair process is knowing when the materials you are working with are beyond repair. As you inspect your rain gutters, you should be checking for visible signs of damage. Brackets that have completely torn away, seams that are showing signs of rust, and large holes caused by corrosion all signal that it may be time to replace your rain gutters rather than attempting to repair them. Investing in new rain gutters can be the most affordable repair solution when your existing gutters have sustained significant damage. Keeping your home’s rain gutters working properly is essential when it comes to maintaining the structural integrity of your property. Fill cracks or small holes with silicone, flush out your gutters regularly, and replace any gutters that show visible signs of damage to ensure your home is protected from water damage in the future. For more information on gutter repair, consider contacting companies like A-1 Seamless Gutters...

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Polished Concrete Flooring Care Tips

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Polished concrete is a simple flooring option that is big on style. Whether you have the concrete poured specifically for this purpose, or choose to make use of your existing concrete slab, the polished surface will provide both protection for the concrete and an attractive gleam. Although durable, polished concrete does have some specific maintenance needs. The following tips can help you care for it correctly. Tip #1: Use only neutral pH cleaners Cleaners that are too acidic can etch concrete, ruining the luster and leaving behind micro abrasions on the flooring. When mopping the floor, opt for a cleaner made specifically for concrete or stone, or at the minimum a cleaner that lists a neutral pH on the label. When in doubt, opt for mopping with plain water instead of using a questionable cleaner. Tip #2: Sweep with care Small abrasions can also happen from debris on the floor. If you use area rugs, they need to be shaken out regularly so that dirt doesn’t get trapped beneath them. Also, use a large dust mop or a micro-fiber floor duster instead of a traditional bristle broom. Dust mops collect debris instead of pushing it across the floor, which will minimize the chances of abrasions on the polished surface as you sweep. Tip #3: Don’t use wax on the concrete Waxing may seem like an easy fix for a dulling floor surface. Wax seeps into any minor abrasions in the polish, making it impossible to re-polish the floor without first removing the old coat of polish. If the floor is looking dull and cleaning doesn’t bring back the shine, it’s time to have the floor buffed and a new coat of polish applied. You will need to wait a couple of days before walking on or sweeping the newly polished floor. Tip #4: Skip the adhesives Tape and other adhesives will pull off the top layer of polish when you remove them, resulting in a dull spot. Do not tape anything to the floor, not even for a short period. If you have furniture with felt anti-scuff pads on the bottom, check the legs regularly to make sure the pads are properly in place and that the adhesive isn’t exposed to the floor. If something does become stuck to the floor, soak it with a cloth dipped in warm water to loosen the adhesive. Don’t use any abrasive scrubbies or acidic adhesive removers. With proper care and a few cautions, your concrete floors can remain beautiful for many years without a lot of time consuming...

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Care Tips For A New Asphalt Driveway

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A newly installed asphalt driveway can give your yard a rejuvenated look and add to the beauty of your home. To keep it looking great, you need to diligently maintain your investment so it isn’t damaged early on. Typically, asphalt is soft and can easily get indentations, stains or cracks shortly after it is applied. Here is a look at steps to take so as to protect your new asphalt driveway from premature damage. Give it time A fresh layer of asphalt essentially needs time to cure properly. This usually takes several days, but it can take up to a week in hot weather. To prevent damage during this delicate period, keep off all vehicle traffic to avoid forming dents and depressions on the surface and avoid placing ladders, bike stands, or even ladders that could cause indentation. To speed up the hardening process in extremely hot weather, you can hose down the driveway. You may notice some soapsuds form as you water down the surface, which is a normal and harmless occurrence when chlorine in your tap water reacts with the diesel fuel in the asphalt.  Be careful when driving Even after the driveway cures, it often still remains pliable for about six more months. During this time, avoid driving at high speeds or pulling in/out too fast, as this can cause scarring on the surface and make your new investment unsightly. Use smooth movements when your vehicle is in motion instead of making abrupt turns and avoid turning the wheel when the car is motionless.  Be sure to also avoid driving near the edge of your newly paved driveway, as the wheels may straddle the edge, placing immense pressure that could cause cracking and denting. If your driveway is narrow, consider building up your lawn so it is level with and bordering the driveway. This way, your car’s weight will be distributed between two surfaces if you drive on the edge of the driveway, possibly averting any substantial damage.  Use these parking tips To avoid placing damaging pressure on your new driveway, it is best to avoid parking heavy vehicles such as big transport rigs, campers, or garbage trucks on it. You should also avoid parking your vehicle on the exact same spot each day so as to spread out the usage the asphalt surface endures over a wider area.  Should you notice any cracks or holes on your driveway, call in a paving contractor to make repairs immediately so as to prevent the damage from...

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Why A Leaky Faucet May Be Costing You More Than You Think

Posted by on 7:36 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Why A Leaky Faucet May Be Costing You More Than You Think

Just hearing a leaky faucet repeatedly drip for hours on end is enough to make you want to call your plumber for emergency repair services. Shockingly, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that upward of 5 percent of all US households currently have substantial, uncorrected water leaks. Although it may appear that the amount of water lost via a leaking faucet is small, the long-term ramifications can actually have a clear and negative impact on much more than your finances. Leaky Faucets Offer Pests A Fresh Source Of Water When pests decide to come inside and make themselves at home, most people make changes to their cleaning habits and seal up holes and cracks to eliminate their intrusion. The truth is that a leaky faucet may actually be a big reason why you have insects and vermin invading your home. With a fresh supply of water on-hand, some pests simply will not leave, no matter what other additional efforts you make. Between the money you’ll have to spend on extermination and cleaning supplies, leaky faucets are a lot more expensive than many people assume they are.  Water Waste And Utility Charges Everyone knows that a leaking faucet leads to wasted water, and in turn, extraneous water usage charges, but few understand how much money this adds up to until the fateful day they receive their bills. Having your faucet leak constantly for a single day probably won’t lead to an increase in your water bill, but think about how much water will have been wasted after 30 days. Considering the fact that many homeowners only receive water bills on a quarterly basis, it’s clear that an unresolved plumbing leak may cause a substantial increase in water utility charges. Mold, Water Damage, And Structural Problems Leaky faucets are often completely ignored because they are seen as minor inconveniences, not potential health hazards. Some people simply see their faucets leaking, shrug it off, and never even contemplate reaching out to any professional plumbing services to get things checked out. Unfortunately, leaky faucets can indicate that your plumbing is faulty, and that there may be other unnoticed leaks nearby. It doesn’t take long for moisture to turn into mold, and for natural materials like wood and drywall to crumble. A leaky faucet can eventually cause ceilings to buckle, bubble, and completely fall apart. Since leaking faucets can present a risk to your health as well as the safety of your home, always have a professional plumber from a company like Towers Murray Plumbing properly diagnose and fix all water leak issues as soon as you notice...

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Diagnosing Hail Damage On Your Roof

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During a hail storm, your roof is at high risk of being damaged. A roof damaged by hail will not stop rain water from penetrating into the structure. This increases the risk of incurring damage to items inside your home, like furniture and other personal belongings. Hailstorms can be very destructive, depending on how large the hail is, how fast the wind is, and how much rain is pouring down. Keep reading to learn about the different factors involved in a hailstorm and how to identify these issues on the roof of your home. Factors That Affect The Type And Degree Of Damage To Your Roof In A Hailstorm Building Materials Different types of building materials absorb the hail impacts differently. For example, if you see small dents in your asphalt roof shingles, then it’s probably damage from hail. If you see racks in your wooden shake roof, then it’s probably damage from hail. The age of your roof also plays a role, because older roofing materials will not be able to withstand hail impacts as well as a new roof will. Hailstone Size And Density The larger the hail is falling from the sky, the greater the chances are that it will damage your roof. Hailstones can be as small as a pea or as big as a softball. Also, since hail is frozen balls of ice, their edges are typically ragged and sharp, which can make roof damage even more severe. What Does Hail Damage Look Like? This is not an easy question to answer because it depends on the type of roofing material on your home, the age of that material, the size of the hailstones, and if there was any wind or rain accompanying the hail during the storm. But here is a general overview of what you can expect to see if hail damaged the most common types of roofing materials. Wood Shingles If you see impact marks along any dents or splits in the wood shingles, it is safe to assume that these shingles were damaged by hail. Also look to see if the dents are in no discernible pattern. The splits in hail-damaged wood shingles typically have sharp corners or edges, and may even be brown or orange in color. Asphalt & Composition Shingles Looking at asphalt and composition shingles, if you see round impact hits where the granules may be missing and roof felt is exposed, then it’s hail damage. These impact points are also typically black in color, may appear shiny, and are usually soft to the touch, just like a bruise on an apple. Click here for more info about hail...

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3 Tips For Surviving An Extreme Storm

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When extreme storms hit, there may not be anything you can do about keeping your basement from flooding–but there are certainly things you can do to help keep yourself safe during the crisis. If you would like to learn more about how to protect the well-being of yourself and your family in the event of catastrophic storms, read on. This article will present three safety-minded tips. Have the electricity turned off before entering a flooded basement. Many people’s first impulse when dealing with a flooded basement is to immediately head down there are start rescuing their more valued items. Unfortunately, this over-eagerness can put you at serious risk. That’s because there is always a small chance that the water in that basement has become electrified by the electrical system in your house. Roughly speaking, the higher the water level, the greater the risk of this happening. In any case, the best option is to place a call to the electrical company, requesting that they disconnect your home’s power. Be sure to consult an electrician before having your power restored; even if the water has receded, wet or damp electrical appliances in the basement can still pose a significant risk. Wear appropriate clothing when entering the basement. Once you’ve had your electricity turned off you can enter your basement free from the risk of shock. But that doesn’t mean that there won’t be other hazards waiting for you. There’s a good chance that the flood water will also contain things like chemicals, spilled cleaning supplies, and backed up sewage. Avoid getting sick from this toxic stew by donning high rubber boots and a pair of heavy duty rubber gloves before you begin your salvage operation. Set up your emergency generator a safe distance from your house. Those who live in storm prone areas are more likely to own a gas-powered backup generator to help provide power in times of blackout. Yet not all of those people are aware of the dangers posed by an ill-placed generator. In fact, they mistakenly assume that the safest place to put their generator is inside of the garage, or safe beneath the overhang of a porch. What you need to be aware of is that, during the process of combustion, gasoline generators produce carbon monoxide gas. If a generator is located in a closed-in space, this gas can quickly build to dangerous levels–causing headaches, black outs, or even death. Be sure that your generator is located in a well ventilated area outside of your home, at least five feet away from any window, vent, or doorway leading into your home. For more information, contact companies like Crest Engineering...

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