Green Living: A Guide to Saving on Energy Usage

Polished Concrete Flooring Care Tips

Posted by on 11:58 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Polished Concrete Flooring Care Tips

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...

read more

Care Tips For A New Asphalt Driveway

Posted by on 9:22 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Care Tips For A New Asphalt Driveway

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...

read more

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...

read more

Diagnosing Hail Damage On Your Roof

Posted by on 11:13 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Diagnosing Hail Damage On Your Roof

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...

read more

3 Tips For Surviving An Extreme Storm

Posted by on 9:46 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 3 Tips For Surviving An Extreme Storm

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...

read more

3 Improvements That Can Help Improve Evaporative Cooling Environments

Posted by on 3:27 pm in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 3 Improvements That Can Help Improve Evaporative Cooling Environments

If you live in an area with a dry summer climate, evaporative cooling may be a good solution to keep your house cool during the summer months. It can also cause some problems that you may want to address, such as higher levels of humidity and water damage. This can also cause a warmer feeling in your home. This is why you may want to consider improvement like using a combination system or installing dehumidification for your home. Here are some solutions that you may want to consider to deal with potential problems that your evaporative cooling can cause: 1. Adding Ventilation To Help Combat Problems With Humidity And Evaporative Cooling Ventilation can be a great improvement to your home, which can give you an alternative to evaporative cooling and a way to deal with the humidity issues. This can be done with a simple design that allows air to circulate. You may also want to consider installing things like large ceiling fans or having vent ducts for areas of your home with poor ventilation. This is something that can help keep your home cooler, as well as prevent other issues like mold and fungus growth. 2. Considering A Combination System That Uses Conventional AC And Evaporative Cooling Design The combination systems available today can be another option for your evaporative cooling system improvements. These are systems that combine conventional HVAC design with an evaporative cooler. The evaporative cooler will work as normal, and the AC will come on when evaporative cooling is less effective, such as at night when temperatures are cooler and the relatively humidity rises. 3. Adding A Dehumidifier To Your Home To Remove Moisture And Help Cool Another option that you may want to consider to improve your evaporative cooling is to install a dehumidifier. The dehumidifier will remove the moisture in your home that is caused by using the evaporative cooler. In addition, the dehumidifier will also help give a cooling effect because the drier air will be more comfortable. It can also help prevent health problems that can be caused by humidity and mold spores in the air. Installing a dehumidifier will make the air in your home more comfortable and healthier. These are some of the improvements that you may want to consider to protect your home if you have evaporative cooling. One of the best improvements that you may want to start with is contacting an HVAC service and talk with them about having a humidifier installed in your...

read more

Air Conditioning Tips: Cleaning Your Air Filters For Better Indoor Air Quality

Posted by on 10:03 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Air Conditioning Tips: Cleaning Your Air Filters For Better Indoor Air Quality

Any air that gets into an air conditioning system has to pass through its air filters. And since the filters are the ones charged with protecting the system from dust accumulation, how effective they are at trapping dust and mold particles usually determines the rate at which dirt accumulates inside the system. Dirty air filters and rate of condensation at evaporator coils Clogged air filters are usually ineffective when it comes to trapping dust particles from incoming air. The speed of air flowing into the system can also dislodge already-trapped particles. This usually allows these particles to find their way into the air conditioning system. The rate at which these dust particles accumulate on the evaporator coils increases as a result. This is a problem since the formation of a layer of dirt on the coils is bound to reduce the conductivity of the coil’s copper walls, something that then reduces the cooling effect that the liquid refrigerant has on the passing air. Reduced cooling effectiveness at the evaporator coil area usually leads to poor indoor air quality. Why? Because cooling the warm air passing over the evaporator coils usually reduces the air’s capacity to carry moisture. Effective evaporator coil cooling is therefore what usually triggers the condensation process in the evaporator coils. And by doing so, it usually helps to reduce the amount of moisture in the air that the air conditioning system ends up dumping into a home. This is important when it comes to indoor air quality since high humidity levels usually make a home feel stuffy. It is usually uncomfortable to stay in such a home because the high humidity levels also decrease the body’s ability to release heat. For loved ones with asthma, the frequency of asthma attacks may increase because of the tendency of humid conditions to encourage the growth mold and other allergy-triggering pathogens. Cleaning air filters and better air quality To make sure that your home is mold-free and that people in your home are comfortable, remove your filters from the air conditioner and vacuum it. This should get rid of all the dust particles that are clogging the filters. And after you are done, get rid of any remaining traces of dirt and mold particles by washing the filters with a mixture of water and vinegar. Letting the filters dry before placing them back will restore their dirt-trapping efficiency. This will reduce the rate at which dirt accumulates on the evaporator coils, something that will then go a long way towards increasing the humidity-regulating power of your air conditioning...

read more

Four Tips for Preparing Your Children to Use a Storm Shelter

Posted by on 7:47 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Four Tips for Preparing Your Children to Use a Storm Shelter

Steel storm shelters are essential in areas of the country that are prone to tornadoes. The storm shelters offer a safe place for people to go during the storm to ensure that no one is injured during a catastrophic event. If you have a storm shelter, it is important to take the time to prepare your children for the time when they may have to stay in the shelter until a storm passes. Learn a few tips to use to prepare your children for a stay in a storm shelter with the guide that follows. Make Frequent Trips to the Storm Shelter A storm shelter is often a very small space that can be a bit scary to children if they have never seen it before. In order to make sure that your children are as comfortable as they can possibly be, be sure to expose them to the shelter as often as you can. Allow them to go into it, sit in it, and become comfortable with the space so that they are not fearful when a storm arises and they have to stay in it for an extended period of time. Have Things to Do in the Shelter When your children go into the shelter, you want to be sure that there are things for them to do so that they do not become fearful of the sounds they hear taking place outside of the shelter. Have travel-sized games, coloring books, and even handheld game players in the shelter to keep your children entertained. Have Special Food in the Shelter While you and your children are in the shelter, they may become hungry. Have special foods in the shelter that they do not get to enjoy often. Be sure to check the foods regularly to make sure that they do not expire. Have Storm Shelter Drills Be sure to have drills with your child to help them know what to do when an emergency occurs. Have a loud alarm or bell that you can sound to alert your children that they need to get into the shelter right away. Time your children after sounding the alarm to make sure they are getting inside of the shelter as quickly as they can. These tips are not difficult to employ and can make going into the shelter less scary for your children. You want to be sure that you take the time to explain why the shelter is so important so that children understand why they have to go into it when a storm occurs so they do go into the shelter when needed with ease. For more information about metal buildings, consult a professional such as Commercial Industries Company...

read more

Create A Backyard Fire Pit For Your Next Get Together

Posted by on 7:16 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Create A Backyard Fire Pit For Your Next Get Together

Being able to enjoy a beautiful night under the stars with friends is an experience that you will enjoy again and again. The only problem with being outside at night is that the temperatures can sometimes get rather cool, making the party a bit on the cold side. Instead of wrapping up in bulky blankets, consider creating a beautiful fire pit to use on cold nights. You will be able to build a warm fire that will be safely contained within the pit. The guide below walks you through a quick and easy way to build a fire pit you and your friends can enjoy night after night. Level the Ground The first thing you will need to do is to level the ground. You want to be sure that the ground is as level as it can possibly be so that the fire pit sits flat on the ground when you are done building it. Use a shovel to dig up all of the grass in the area where you want the pit to be and then use a laser level to level out the ground. Place the level on the ground at one side of the pit and keep removing dirt from the area until it can shoot straight across to the other side of the pit. Once you can move the level all around the pit and have it shine from one side to the other, you will be ready to create your pit. Position the Fire Pit Ring You can go to any home improvement supply store and purchase a steel metal ring to place in the center of the fire pit. The ring needs to be made of steel so that it can withstand the high temperatures of the fire. The rings are available in many different sizes so you need to be sure to measure the pit that you want to create to ensure that you purchase a ring that is large enough to fit your needs. Take the ring back to your home and place it in the center of the area that you level. Press down hard on it so that it makes a guide in the dirt. Remove the ring and then use a spade to dig a trench on the guide that you created. You want to be sure that the ring goes down into the ground a few inches so that it does not easily topple over. Once the trench is dug, place the ring in it. Create the Exterior of the Pit Once you have placed the ring, you need to mix a bag of ready-mix cement in a wheelbarrow according to the directions on the packaging. Place a border of paving stones around the edge of the exterior of the steel ring. Add a layer of cement on top of the block and then stack more blocks on top of the cement. Be sure to stagger the blocks as you stack them to give the wall of the fire pit strength. Repeat the process until the blocks are flush with the top of the fire pit. Allow the cement to dry for a few days before you use the fire pit. The pit will have a beautiful look to it and keep everyone warm during the...

read more

3 Ideas To Help With The Integration Of Solar Thermal Energy For Your Home

Posted by on 5:31 pm in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 3 Ideas To Help With The Integration Of Solar Thermal Energy For Your Home

If you want to have a more energy efficient home, solar is a great choice that gives you many different choices for your renewable energy solutions. Thermal energy is an affordable option that you may want to consider for the mechanical systems in your home. Solar collectors can be added to give you hot water and help improve the energy efficiency of conventional heating systems. Here are some ideas to help you with the integration of solar energy into your mechanical systems:   1. Using A Tube Solar Hot Water Heater For Best Performance There are two types of solar water heaters; one is a simple circuit of tubing that is dark to absorb heat. The other type of solar hot water heater is an evacuated tube design that has the pipes enclosed in glass tubes from improved performance. You may spend a little more on the tube design, but it will give you the most out of your investment in a solar hot water heater, and even provide you with thermal energy during cooler days, when the other systems do not.  2. Add Capacity To The System With The Addition Of Thermal Storage Having a solar water heater can give you a small amount of water that is usually collected in a small tank near the panel. This is something that can limit the uses of your thermal energy. If you want to use your solar energy for more than just hot water on occasion, adding an insulated thermal storage tank can help you to get more energy from the collector and options like integration with heating systems. 3. Use The Solar Water Heater For Hot Water, As Well As For Heating The main reason you may have a solar water heater is for the hot water in your home. In addition to hot water, the solar water heater can also be used to provide your home with heating. It can be integrated with systems like boilers and furnaces to reduce the energy that conventional heating may use. With the addition of storage tanks, this is something that can easily be done for your home by adding a line that goes to the boiler or furnace.   These are some tips to help you with the integration of solar mechanical systems into your home. If you are ready for a more efficient home, contact a hot water heater service (such as 2 Guys Plumbing and Heating Inc.) and talk with them about installing the solar hot water heater, thermal tanks and connecting them to existing...

read more