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5 Home Water Conservation Myths and Ways to Conserve Home Water

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Water is an essential part of life. Survival is not likely without water. Population is on the rise that means more people are dependent on water leading to more consumption and hence more effective strategies should be implemented for protecting water. Water supplies are getting shorter than the demand. You will also be aware about the effects of global warming. This is the main culprit why water is getting scarce. Many parts of the world are facing drought, bringing the life to death. However, global warming is not the only reason for the shortfall of water. To some extent, people are also responsible as they fritter away water. Here are the home water conservation myths that to be debunked.

  1. Conservation will make no difference
    Most people think that conservation is not going to introduce any difference. The fact is a person can bring a certain improvement by avoiding wastage.
  2. There’s enough water in the world
    Most of you think that two-third of the earth is covered by water, so the idea of water conservation is baseless, but the reality is only one percent of water is used for consumption. With increase in population, water demand is rising leading to whittled down the water supplies.
  3. Water-use options don’t make any difference
    You should be considerate while using water if you’re really concerned about water scarcity. Don’t let the tap on when you’re not using water, for instance, turn off the faucet when you’re brushing your teeth and shaving
  4. No home water conservation is required in rainy season
    Water conservation is a must even if it’s raining cats and dogs. Reservoirs will refill that have already a low level of water.
  5. Tap water is not as safe as bottled water
    It’s a gimmick to sell out all water bottles. People think bottled water is more qualitative than tap water, but the quality of bottled water is also uncertain as they’re not compulsorily asked to disclose the ingredients and contaminants.

Water is essential and it’s very important for you all to transform your water-use habits. You can protect home water by these ways.

Effective Plumbing

You might think plumbing has no connection with water protection, but you’re wrong. You should strictly keep monitoring the plumbing connections on and off to avoid any damage and wastage of water. Leaking pipes, leaky faucets are some of the areas that you should be a bit heedful of. If there’s any damage, even a small issue, should be immediately resolved. You should contact to highly skilled plumbers who are potential to mend major as well as small issues.

Install a water-saving showerhead

You should install a low-flow showerhead. This is one of the greatest ways to prevent wastage of home water. This can save almost over 10 gallons of water during a 10 to 15 minutes shower. Low-flow showerheads particularly save almost half gallons of water compared to other conventional showers. Don’t spend a long time in a shower too.

Change your water-use habits

Use low-flow showers instead of a bathtub. This will save almost half gallons of water. Turn off the faucet when you brush your teeth and shave. Use low-water valves in kitchen faucets, and if there’re leaky taps, just fix them as soon as possible. Similarly, check any leakage problem in toilets. Call plumbers at once to repair the leakage issue because dribbling of water drops can waste lots of water.  Use small toilet flush tanks to avoid wastage of water. Throw bathroom waste in the dustbins instead of flushing them. This can also prevent water going down the drain.

Water conservation techniques in the garden

You should water your plants with a watering can instead of hosepipe. Always water either in the early morning or in the evening. This reduces evaporation and saves water. Don’t sprinkle water on pavements, just on plants. Watering the lawn daily is also wastage of water. If the grass doesn’t remain flat when you move on, you don’t need to wet them, but if they don’t spring up back when you move, you should dampen the lawn.

You should also use organic materials that help to increase the water absorption ability of the soil. This will keep shrubs, plants, and flowers moist. No need to water in the rainy season and windy day.

Be considerate while washing your car

You can save a lot of water by using a dampened sponge. Use a dry cloth to wipe the dirt and then use a moistened sponge. This can save almost 100 gallons of water that is consumed if a car is washed by a hosepipe.

You can save home water easily by following these ways. It should be a part of your everyday life. Don’t take the issue of water scarcity lightly. Waste not, want not.

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Vince O'Sullivan


4 Tips to selecting a trusted granny flat builder in Brisbane

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You’ve probably heard of the surge in popularity for granny flats. Once thought to be just suited for the elderly or retirees, these self-contained living spaces are now being seen as a legitimate investment.  

Many use it as a home office or guest room, while others use it to earn extra income by renting it out. If you’ve decided to use your hard-earned money to have a granny flat built, you want to make sure you are getting a builder that can be trusted.

Read below for some tips on how you can find the builder that would be perfect for you.

  1. Ask for recommendations from friend or acquaintances – since it is getting more popular to have a granny flat in the property of family homes, chances are that some of your family or friends might have had a granny flat built on their properties recently. If so, it would be best to ask them if they can recommend to you whoever they got. You can even check the finished product to see if it is up to your standard.
  2. Look for a company that is not only licensed but has plenty of experience – the first thing you need to check, of course, is that the company is licensed to operate in your area. Ask for the license number and verify that they are legit. Aside from that, find out how long they have been in the industry. If they’ve been around for years, that could mean that they give quality work and get a lot of clients. No company can last for years unless they have been trusted by their customers. So if they have been around for years, you can be assured that they will give a good finished product.
  3. Find a builder that will offer a lot of choices in home designs – while the style and design of a granny flat are relatively simple since it is after all designed for just one or two persons to occupy it, that does not mean there can be no variety in the design available. Ask the company for all their designs so you can choose on which one would be perfect for the space you had in mind. Some granny flats are built different from others, with builders extra insulation for the summer months and some made to be energy and water efficient.
  4. Look for a builder that offers help in other areas such as building approval, etc - there are also companies that offer extra help to their customers such as assistance in the approval of building permits. They just ask you for the fee needed and they take care of the everything, which is great for homeowners who are busy and who have no time to do them.

There are so many builders that can provide the granny flat that you need, you just need to make sure that you find one that would fit your criteria. Check here for a company that has been building Brisbane granny flats for a long time. They can provide what you need in an efficient manner and you will surely be a satisfied customer at the end.

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Stephanie Stout


5 Tips to make a small kitchen look bigger

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Having a small kitchen may be a challenge as it may limit you from fully stocking the kitchen. Storage and organization is a major factor in looking for a home. So if you’re buying one, consider the size of the major areas of the property, especially the kitchen! So Cal Home Buyers in Riverside County are particular with kitchen sizes as it’s a symbol of the health of the family. It’s where food is prepared after all. If you’re stuck with a small kitchen, no worries! Here are 5 tips to make a small kitchen look bigger.

1. Choose the right colors

Choose light colors for your kitchen. Anything well-lit instantly looks bigger. Allow natural light to seep through your windows. Installing ambient lighting helps improve the space. Choose colors that are in harmony with each other. Installing light colored cabinets and table tops are a neat addition. You can also use glass and shiny surfaces to create an illusion of a wider space. The color scheme of the kitchen should be minimal and neutral. Avoid dark and bold colors as this makes an illusion of a smaller space. All-white kitchens are very popular because it reflects light and looks seamless and elegant. Using the right color combinations for your kitchen can drastically improve the size of your kitchen, at least how it’s perceived!

 

2. Choose sleek appliances

 

Appliances that are sleek and shiny tricks the eye into making it look wider. Stainless steel, high gloss, and glass surfaces do well in reflecting light and helps the room appear bigger. You don’t have to get big appliances to get the same functionality of a big kitchen. Today, a lot of manufacturers create high-quality appliances that are perfect for small kitchens. Some homeowners maintain a theme for acquiring appliances. Some like it all-stainless, from the cooking range, refrigerator, microwave oven, and kettles. Some like it all-white. Maintaining a theme for your major kitchen appliances helps in keeping the space in harmony.

3. Minimize personal touches

Having a lot of things on the counter make your kitchen appear smaller. Limit personal touches in the kitchen because too much of it will look like clutter. The right amount helps your kitchen appear warm and wide. Keeping your counters organized will make it appear larger so always remember to tidy up your space.

 

4. Lighten up the space

 

Ambient and natural lighting do well in making any space look wide. If there are windows in your kitchen area, dress them up to maximize the amount of natural light coming in. Roll-up blinds in bamboo or light colored fabric helps in exposing the window better. Adding layers of lighting also improves the look and feel of the space. Pendant lights, under-cabinet spots, task lighting - consider adding any of these to open up your kitchen even more.

 

5. Create an open storage

 

Open shelving has been a trend in kitchens for years now and it’s showing no signs of getting old. Open shelves may not work for everyone but it’s effective in creating a fresh and modern vibe to your kitchen area. It’s a flexible and practical option for achieving a wider look for your space. The only thing you need to do is literally take off your cabinet doors!

 
partnered post • cc-licensed image by Jeremy Levine

4 Reasons to Use Artificial Grass in Drought-Prone Areas

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Drought is hard on the outdoors. Trees and plants suffer greatly from the lack of water. But water shortages are most often seen on lawns at home. The lawn is, without a doubt, the first thing a person sees when they walk up to a home or enter a backyard. The brown or yellow lawn that comes as a result of drought is very unappealing. One way to solve this issue while sticking to a water conservation plan is to install artificial grass. This article lists four benefits of installing artificial grass in a drought area.

Uses Less Water

The main reason artificial grass is an ideal solution for drought areas is due to the reduction in water use. During times of drought, water is highly conserved, which means that lawns often don’t receive any water at all until certain drought measures are lifted. Brown lawns leave people with the impression that a home is not cared for. But artificial grass provides a green look all year long without using any water at all. This is a significant advantage during a time when everyone in a community needs to comply with drought planning.

 It’s Allergy-Friendly

Anyone who has an outdoor allergy understands the need for fewer allergens in the air. Allergens from plants, grass, and other things make it difficult to enjoy being outside. Artificial grass means one less allergy to worry about. It does not carry any seeds or pollen like normal grass. So those with allergies can rest easy knowing that grass isn't causing an allergy. Say goodbye to frequent sneezing and itchy eyes and hello to nature as it's supposed to be 

Less to Maintain

Unlike real grass, artificial grass does not need to be mowed. This saves homeowners a good amount of time and energy in exchange. Artificial grass is generally low maintenance. The key to caring for an artificial lawn is to make sure it remains clean. This is particularly true when children or pets have been on the lawn. Using water to wash occasionally is a good way to take care of the issue. For other types of debris such as leaves and dirt, a blower will suffice.

Heat Resistant

Another enemy to grass aside from drought is the heat. Warm temperatures dry grass out, turn it brown, and increase its flammability. Artificial grass is resistant to these concerns. In addition to regular care, artificial grass does not need watering unless it’s needed to cool off the grass for those walking without shoes on the grass.

The decision to install artificial grass has a few advantages. It’s low maintenance and environmentally friendly. If it is installed in a high heat drought area, artificial grass withstands the heat easily. While it is an investment, areas going through extensive drought could benefit from the presence of artificial grass. With its reduced need for water, this kind of grass may help reduce drought and get a community through this period faster than other methods.

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Wellington Council


5 Ideas for Mixing Multiple Wood Tones

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There’s nothing quite like the depth, beauty, and allure of real wood. Whether the wood is installed as flooring, a fireplace mantle, or it’s part of your furnishings, adding wood to your home instantly ups the warmth attraction of the entire space.

Wood comes in a wide range of finishes and tones, however, with different wood species and stains combining to form a variety of colors you can use in one space. But how do you go about mixing these different tones without clashing them or creating too chaotic a room? There are actually several ways that you can do so; use these five ideas to help achieve a room with multiple wood tones that blend together perfectly.

  1. Stick to One Species

Different wood species have different grains, and different color undertones. Even when stained, sometimes these grains and undertones still show through. For example, red oak has a pinkish/red undertone, while white oak has a blue/gray undertone. When you stick to one species, but vary the stain slightly, you still have some degree of unity between the different woods.

Try installing engineered wood floors in red oak stained a deep red/brown, then put up some wainscoting in red oak that is a slightly lighter shade. The two wood areas will work together, while adding depth of tone to the room.

  1. Shift Tone Subtly

Oftentimes, a flooring or furniture manufacturer may offer a range of different finishes. So, when the times comes to start mixing, consider choosing tones that are different from one another in subtle ways to add depth, but without a lot of contrast.

For example, by using Amish made furniture in a rich, sable brown finish, you could stain your woodwork a single shade lighter. Then, go slightly darker for things like built-in bookcases. This very subtle shifting of tone is what creates depth, but in ways that are nearly undetectable at first glance.

  1. Define Your Space

One way to mix wood tones is to introduce two or three colors in a way that really stands out, then repeat those colors in more subtle ways elsewhere. One method of doing this would be to use a maple engineered wood floor for the majority of the room. Around the perimeter, however, one or two planks in from the wall, run a border of a deep espresso brown wood. The contrast between the two floor colors is very striking, and now gives you the ability to pick up both colors again in your furnishings – but in the opposite way. Use the dark brown for the majority of your furniture, and the maple as the accent.

  1. Don’t Overlook Color

When mixing wood tones in one space, it’s important not to overlook the other colors you’re using in the room as well. For example, if you were using a cherry floor, you could create a very dramatic effect by using some deep, forest green in the room to contrast. Forest green, however, also pairs well with dark brown wood tones, as well as some very deep golden tones. By using the green as the tie between the different shades, you’re still creating unity within the space, but gaining extra dimension and interest at the same time.

Make sure if you choose this method, that you start with a single color that is featured prominently in the room. Then, find two or three wood tones that work well with that color to use.

  1. Pick Up Undertones

Another way you can mix multiple wood tones within one room would be to pay attention to the grain of the predominant wood tone, and to repeat that grain within other woods. For example, if you have a curly maple chest in a room, matching the honey-colored grain to your floor would give you an instant cohesive appearance. And if that floor had a dark brown grain, you could pick that grain up for your coffee table, furthering the design but without causing the tones to clash.

Just make sure that each tone that you include is already represented somewhere in a more subtle way to increase the odds of the style working.

Add Depth Through Wood! Whether you’re considering a new wood floor or some Amish made furniture, adding wood to your home really increases its appeal. Add extra depth by going for multiple wood tones at once using these ideas, and create a design that is meant to last.

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4 Home Projects that will require the Use of a Chainsaw

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The importance of a chainsaw can’t be overlooked when working on wooden materials and surfaces. This is because it makes your work much easier. Owning a chainsaw will give you a head start when you want to carry out some minor repairs. With such a power tool, you can finish your home projects without breaking your back.

The good thing is that you can manage the projects on your own without having to hire an expert. The other advantage is that you can hire a chainsaw if you don’t intend to be using it on a regular basis. Below are some home projects that require you to have a chainsaw.

  1. Pruning Trees and Shrubs in the Garden

Overgrown trees and shrubs give your garden the wrong image. Moreover, such bushes block the spectacular view that you normally get when you look outside through the window. Trimming these plants will also allow fresh air to flow into the house. The chainsaw can also be used to shape the appearance of trees. This is done by pruning the branches that have grown out of proportion. Pruning can actually help in containing diseases in plants by removing the affected branches. The power tool can also be used to bring down tall trees that are abstracting the power line.

  1. Repairing the Garden Fence

Building a logs fence around the garden makes it look attractive. However, the fence needs to be repaired after every few years. This is because the logs are prone to damages that are caused by termites and other insects. If such a fence is not repaired on time, it might fall on the flowers which means you will have to start landscaping from scratch.

Since using an axe to cut the logs is cumbersome, it’s recommended you invest in a chainsaw before starting such a project. Having a chainsaw will help you cut the logs into the desired length within a short time. Once the logs have been cut, it’s easier to fasten them at the joints using nails or ropes.

  1. Building Garden Furniture

Spending quality time in a beautifully designed landscape leaves you feeling refreshed. There is no point of having such a garden if it doesn’t include a place to relax with your guests. In fact, having furniture in the garden comes in handy when you want to have a party outdoors. The advantage is that the furniture can be as simple as you want it to be.

Having a chainsaw will make the work of cutting the pieces of wood into different sizes simple. You can actually make some benches or just chairs and build your way up later to include fancy furniture such as a swinging porch. This works well when you have ample space in your garden that can be utilized to discourage people from stepping on the plants.

  1. Splitting Firewood

Starting a fire in the chimney during winter will keep your house warm throughout the night. All you have to do is split the logs with a chainsaw into smaller pieces and put them into the fireplace. If the logs are too long, you will have to shorten them. This makes the wood less bulky. The story would be different if you were to use an axe because it’s very tiring. With a chainsaw, you can split a lot of firewood that can last for several weeks if not months.

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Thomas Widmann


Winter Yard Preparation Checklist

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During the cold winter months, there isn’t a lot that you can do for your yard, but there is plenty you can do before the harsh freezing temperatures hit it to ensure a luscious spring. Go through this checklist and prepare your yard before it’s too late.

  1. Clean it up. If you had kids running around outside all summer long, and even well into the fall, then it’s likely they left some remnants from their playing behind. Go through your yard and pick up any toys, trash, or lawn care tools that might have been left out. Leaving objects on your lawn when the snow hits could cause dead spots in the spring. Rake any leaves that have fallen to prevent mold growth.
  2. Mow it. Gradually cut your lawn shorter each time you mow moving into the late fall. Leaving your lawn too long can make it a nice home for rodents looking for a place to nest in the winter, which can destroy your lawn.
  3. Fertilize it. Fertilize your lawn before it really starts to freeze. Spreading fertilizer on your lawn after you mow it for the last time before winter will help it continue to feed on nutrients through the winter.
  4. Avert traffic. Try to prevent foot traffic from finding its way to your lawn. It can be hard for your lawn to recover from worn down trails. Keep your walkways clear and noticeable to prevent people from being tempted to walk on the lawn. If you need help keeping your driveways and walkways clear of snow, try professional snow removal services.

Don’t procrastinate your winter lawn preparation or you might not have the great lawn you’re hoping for in the spring. Do the work now and take the winter to relax knowing that your lawn will come out green and lush next spring.

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5 Tips to selling your home post divorce

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Life after a divorce can be very emotional and stressful. And when you have to sell a property, it can get pretty messy and can add more stress. Going through a divorce, especially if it is a difficult one, can leave you mentally and physically drained and you may not have the energy left to go through selling your house after a divorce. Selling a house after a divorce is not as, easy as putting it on the market and splitting the revenue. It can be a little complicated and you might need proper legal assistance along the way.

Here are five tips to selling your home post-divorce.

  1. Get legal advice.

If you are unsure on how things work on selling properties, it would be best to seek legal advice with the selling process. You may need a licensed real estate agent so they can help you with regards to details on the estimates of your assets and liabilities. Get a proper consultation with a legal expert so you will know what information and documents you need. Having a professional help you with this matter will also give you a tip on agreeing on a price on both parties.

  1. Make an agreement prior to selling.

Writing down an agreement before selling and putting your home on the market would be a wise move. There has to be an agreement that both parties agreed to sell the house and agreed on a selling price. This is important because you never know what’s going to happen throughout the whole ordeal especially that post-divorce can be very emotionally exhausting. Having a written agreement will give you an assurance and a shield in case you have to face an unreasonable move from the other party.

  1. Rent a dumpster to get rid of the stuff.

If you have a lot of stuff and waste to get rid of prior to selling the house, it would be a smart move to rent a dumpster especially if you don’t have the proper tools and equipment on your own. The good thing about renting a dumpster is that you will be assured that there is a correct disposal of the waste that you need to get rid of. Also, getting rid of stuff can be a bone-tiring work. Having the right people do it for you will save you time and effort. You can rent a dumpster through eagledumpsterrental.com.

  1. Make a contingency plan.

Sometimes, not everything goes according to plan when selling a house. If in any case, something goes wrong throughout the selling process such as important repairs that need to be acknowledged, make a general agreement on who is responsible for it. This way, issues get resolved easily.

  1. Prepare your house for an open house inspection.

Having the highest possible price for your home is something you need to think about. In order to increase the value of your home, you may need to do some repairs and renovations, cleaning, and garden maintenance.  You need to have these things sorted out before putting it on the market.

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Phil Shirley


5 Bathroom Decorations that Will Freak Your Guests

With Halloween growing ever more near, it’s about time to get that decorating done. That’s half the fun of it! Are you planning on hosting a Halloween party this year? Then don’t wait, get on the hunt now for the spookiest, or most festive, decorations you can find.

One place that your guests are sure to visit, especially if your serving drinks, is the bathroom. So, our friends at CC Builders have provided a list of ways that you can keep the bathroom visits short. Check out these awesomely terrifying Halloween bathroom decorations for your party.

  1. Cockroaches

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’Nuff said. Even if they’re fake, the last thing people want to spend a lot of time around is roaches. You can make it look like they are oozing from the vents near the floor like in this photo, on the wall, or even from the ceiling fan. If you really want to creep your guests out, place the fake bugs near the toilet paper, door handles, light switch, and anywhere that they’d have to touch.

  1. Toilet Message

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When your male guests lift of the toilet seat, give them some reading material in the form of an eerie message. This idea from Parties for Pennies is sure to be a hit with your guests, whether they find the message scary or hilarious. Pull out your red lipstick and write anything you’d like.

  1. Bloody Mirror

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Write a bloody message on the mirror, like “you’re next” or “beware the ghost in the shower”. Don’t be afraid to really spatter on the fake blood like this photo from another Halloween party.

  1. Creepy Crawly Soap

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All you need for this creepy crawly soap is transparent soap and fake bugs. Bugs are always a go when it comes to the creepy factor.

  1. Creep in the Shower

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Finding Freddy or Jason in the shower is sure to keep bathroom visits short. You could even splash a little fake blood on the shower curtain or put a fake corpse in the tub. Get creative with it, but not too creative or you guests might get suspicious…

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Cooling Your Home Without Bulky AC Units

Was your dream home designed without HVAC service or central air? Fear not! There are several easy, and budget-friendly alternative solutions to conventional AC. The key to comfort and design is finding the best heating and cooling unit for your particular space. You want one that isn't too small, or not powerful enough to do a proper job, but you also want to buy one that's not too powerful, that will run up your home's electric bill. Here are some cool ways to chill-out your home without installing bulky air conditioning units.

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Window Air Conditioning Units 

Just like great wall AC units, they are available at any home improvement store, window cooling units are an attractive and inexpensive option for room-by-room cooling, and they install in a jiffy. You're going to need to know the square footage of the room you want to cool, and then find Energy Star's recommended number of BTUs or British thermal units, you're going to need from your new air conditioner for proper cooling efficiency. Window air conditioning units are stored away during the winter, to prolong the life of the system.

Mini-Split Ductless Systems

The ductless mini-split system is a widespread choice for cooling down your home on those scorching summer days and humid nights. Wall-mounted and remote controlled, a ductless mini-split system is a highly efficient cooling machine. You can install multiple units in your home and control each one independently. You will need an HVAC service and installation professional to install your ductless mini-split system. These units require an outdoor compressor, but there is no bulky ductwork involved. Create a DIY designer cover for your mini-split compressor that can help you disguise the unit for a beautiful yard and garden.

Silent Cooling Systems

Whole house cooling systems are quiet and work best when it's cooler outside than inside, like during the evening, and early morning. These fans keep your rooms cool without that loud and bothersome hum of traditional large, bulky cooling units. Fans draw in the cold outdoor air through windows, and across your home's living spaces, then up into the attic where the warm air gets vented out of the house. This highly efficient system can cool your home by as must as 30 degrees and uses 90% less energy than central air.

Ventilator Fans

If your home has that one hot room that you can never seem to cool down, consider installing a ventilator fan. Ventilator fans pump cold air from other parts of your home, like the basement, using a single fan that's fitted to the wall or floor. There are no added cooling costs, and ventilator fans work great with mini-split systems. A level-to-level ventilator fan can blow hot or cold air up or down, depending on the position of the blower unit, or from room-to-room.

No matter what your heating or cooling situation, there are many good-looking, efficient and cost-effective alternatives to central air and those big, unattractive air conditioning units on display in your backyard like these portable air conditioners. These are just a few ways cool your home without bulky air conditioning units.

partnered post • CC-licensed image via Flickr by pjrusello


book review: Nature Form & Spirit

book-iconI buy a lot of books, and I get a lot of books as gifts, so they tend to really pile up at home. As anyone who has spent time in a big chain bookstore knows, there are a tremendous number of visual reference and coffee-table picture books on A&C homes and design out now, and a lot of them are pretty mediocre in terms of useability, although usually the photos are pretty decent. I'm going to start a series of regular reviews here, focusing on books a bit off the beaten path - the work of craftspeople, mostly, who might not be seen as directly part of the American and European A&C movements, but who are still important to those of us interested in A&C.

Today I'll write a bit about George Nakashima and a great book on his work that his daughter wrote and which was published a few months ago.

Continue reading "book review: Nature Form & Spirit" »


Interview: John Connell

InspiredhouseIn a few days, we'll be running a complete review of John Connell's excellent new book, Creating the Inspired House. However, to whet your appetite, I'd like to share a short conversation I was able to have with Mr. Connell earlier today (or rather, a few questions I was able to ask him through his publicist). Connell's experience with and insight into residential architecture and home design are reason enough to take a look at the new book, but I think you'll agree that the in-depth home profiles & wonderful photography make the new book really stand out - but you'll have to wait until next week to read the full review.

Until then, I leave you with Mr. Connell's excellent comments - read on...

Continue reading "Interview: John Connell" »


5 Reasons You Should Include Your Furnace in Your Seasonal Maintenance Plan

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When the weather is cold outside, you want it to be warm inside. It might mystify you how people survived the winter prior to modern heating. Some didn’t, which is why this convenience is so important to you and your family. Avoid the same mistake many others make. Don’t ignore your furnace. Rather, include it in your fall maintenance plan for these five reasons.

1. Avoids Breakdowns

When people think of fall seasonal maintenance, they think of raking the leaves and cleaning the rain gutters. Many don’t take into account that their heaters need seasonal maintenance, too. Your furnace is no different from your automobile, and if you don’t maintain it properly, it will fail. Every fall, your furnace should be inspected by a heating and air conditioning professional who can detect any foreseeable issues prior to the cooler weather and repair them right then. This prevents you from having to call for an emergency service later on, which will be more expensive in most cases. 

2. Saves Money

Aside from avoiding the expense of an emergency furnace repair, when you have your unit serviced annually it keeps it operating at peak efficiency. Simply put, the more efficient your heater runs, the less energy it uses to maintain the warmth indoors, and you know what’s coming next. The less energy it uses to maintain the warmth indoors, the lower your heating bills. In addition, part of the maintenance that increases your heater’s efficiency is changing the air filters and cleaning the vents and air ducts. This keeps the air in your home fresh and helps prevent seasonal illness.

3. Increases Safety 

According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 430 people in the United States die from carbon monoxide poisoning each year. Anything that uses fuel, such as your gas furnace, emits carbon monoxide. You cannot tell when it fills your indoor air, as this colorless chemical compound does not have an odor. This is why carbon monoxide is called a “silent” killer and it is why you should include your furnace as part of your annual fall maintenance plan. A professional technician will make certain your unit is not leaking carbon monoxide into your home.

4. Adds Years to Your Furnace

As mentioned above, you maintain your automobile to keep it functional. Maintaining it also extends its life. This holds true for any piece of machinery, so, yes, it holds true for your furnace. If you purchased your existing heating system, you know how expensive it was. If it came with your home when you purchased it, you still have money invested in it. When you maintain your furnace regularly – prepare it properly for its winter job – you will extend its life. Technicians can isolate smaller problems and fix them before they affect the rest of the unit. 

5. Keeps Everybody Happy

Finally, if the inside of your home is cold when it’s cold outside, you’re in for a long night. Not only will your children whine incessantly about how uncomfortable they are, chances are, you’ll hear some complaining from your spouse, too. You value your family time, so keep everyone happy with a functional heating system all winter long. In addition, a consistent temperature indoors helps prevent you and your family from succumbing to seasonal colds and the flu, and this definitely keeps everyone happy, especially you. After all, they call you when they need another tissue. 

When autumn is just around the corner and you jot down your and your spouse’s To-Do list, make certain to include furnace maintenance on one of them. When your heater operates at peak efficiency all winter long, you save money on your energy bill and keep your family safe and healthy. This makes for an enjoyable holiday season everyone will remember for years to come.

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4 Tips to adding a room on to your home

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At some point in life there comes a time when you need extra space in your home for different reasons such as a family, income, or other needs. As the size of the family continues to grow, extra space is needed to accommodate everyone in the family. Having a huge income might create the need to add more rooms in an already existing house such as an entertainment room or even a guest room. Other emerging needs may arise as well. For example, if you recently bought a car, a new room to act as a garage will be required or maybe a room to cater for an extra vehicle.

Having said that, there are a few factors to take into considerations before putting the whole idea into action. They are as follows:

The purpose of the room

There are many factors to be considered when choosing the room in order to achieve the desired results. Before having a talk with the contractor, you will need to have a rough idea of the size that you want and also have a clear picture in your mind of the function of the room. Another thing that you also need to have in mind is the budget. After having all that in mind, you can get in touch with your contractor who will come up with a perfect plan for the room that will fulfill all your needs.

Ensure building regulations are met

The last thing you want is to finish the construction only to find out later that you violated the building regulations in your area. Even though your contractor can help you with these, it will be wise to involve the services of other consultants like a structural engineer, surveyor, planner, or stormwater engineer to help you out in implementing some of the tasks that will ensure that your project runs smoothly.

Implementing the idea

After making sure that all of the building regulations are met and you now have the legal permit to go ahead with the construction, it’s now time to put the whole idea into action. It’s good to work closely with your contractor and find out the necessary measures that need to be put into place in order to make the job easier for the contractor and his crew. These are things like cleaning and clearing waste from the site which will help save time and money at the end of the day.

Removing large amounts of waste with a dumpster rental

When a construction or a home renovation process is going on, there is always a large amount of waste at the site that needs to be disposed of. Dumpster rental deals with cleaning and clearing waste from the construction site, ensuring that operations run smoothly for the contractor and his crew.

If there is a large amount of waste being produced from the construction site, a largely-sized dumper will be of great help and vice versa. The size of the dumpsters varies from small, middle to large sized and therefore it’s good to choose the best suited for the project.

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4 Things to Look For When Upgrading A Thermostat

Your thermostat is one of the most important devices in your home. When it malfunctions, you get too hot or too cold. You also waste money on your energy bill because your HVAC unit will run too much. If you’ve had these issues, you need a new one. Here are four things to look for when upgrading a thermostat.

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Learning Ability

Do you adjust your thermostat often? Many people turn their thermostats up or down when they’re ready for sleep or right before leaving for work. The thought process is you don’t need the same temperature when you’re sleeping or away from home. You can save money on your utility bill by running your HVAC unit less.

Unfortunately, many people forget to make these adjustments from time to time, which is a waste of money. Fortunately, you can buy a smart thermostat that will learn your habits. You can use the settings to turn on your HVAC unit at set times each day. Some devices will also identify times when you’re least likely to need ventilation. They’ll stop your HVAC unit from running at these times, saving you a lot of money on your utility bill. A device like a Google Nest will pay for itself within two years.

Easy Controls

Other features on your thermostat will help you save on your utility bill, too. You may want to turn off your device while you’re sitting down. When you’re comfortable, you don’t want to get up and do it, though. That’s when smart controls are great.

This feature allows you to change the temperature of your thermostat from a smart device like a cellphone or table. When the room is too warm or cold, you can adjust it from your couch. Similarly, when you’re away from home, you can turn off your unit to prevent it from wasting electricity.

Alexa-Enabled

The Amazon Echo is a device you should buy in tandem with your new thermostat, assuming you don’t already own one. Many thermostats have Alexa integration. When you connect your thermostat to your Echo, you gain control and functionality.

Using your Echo’s voice commands, you can adjust the temperature of your thermostat to the proper setting. By adding IFTTT recipes, you can also add situational thermostat updates. The combination of an Echo and a smart thermostat is a potent addition to your home. You’ll feel comfortable all the time, and you’ll lower the utility bill.

Motion Sensors

Some smart thermostats also have motion sensors. That’s a great function because it tells your thermostat when you’re home. The sensors will notify the device that it needs to turn on to make the home more comfortable. As you approach your home, the thermostat will know that you’re coming and restore the temperature to the right setting. You won’t waste money heating the home when you’re not there, but you’ll feel cozy when you walk through the front door.

Smart thermostats have improved dramatically in recent years. These four features are but a few of the great ones you should prioritize when you’re ready to buy.

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