We all have had moments when we’ve looked at a room (or several rooms) inside of our house and thought to ourselves, “It’s time to do a bit of remodeling.” However, before you get started on your projects, the thing that you have to keep in mind is that while you’re painting and sawing and replacing different items in the home, there is sure to be some debris in the air that could prove to be a potential health hazard for you and your family (and pets).
So, in order to protect both you and your home for various air pollutants while you are remodeling, we wanted to take out a moment to provide you with five tips to keep the air as fresh and clean as possible below:
Open up some windows. It’s going to be extremely important that there is fresh air circulating throughout your home as you’re working on various remodeling projects. Hands down, one of the easiest and most effective ways to make sure that you get it is by opening up your windows to give the rooms in your house their proper ventilation.
Install some detectors. Two gases that you definitely do not want to inhale are radon and carbon monoxide because they can lead to all kinds of health issues ranging from nausea to, in extreme cases, even death. You can avoid them becoming an issue for you by installing a radon and carbon monoxide detector. You can find them for a pretty good price at your local home improvement store.
Use the right paint. There’s a pretty good chance that at least one of your renovation projects is going to consist of applying a fresh coat of paint and with paint comes fumes. Something that you can do in order to avoid breathing in a lot of toxins is to use a low-VOC brand. Some of those include Yolo Colorhouse, Homestead Housepaint Company and Green Planet Paints.
Call a professional. If you’ve discovered that you need to remove some old paint or that in reading about the benefits of home insulation you’ve decided to replace what you have for something that is a bit more eco-friendly, because some paints have lead in them and some installation is filled with asbestos, we recommend that you call a professional over to inspect both of these things first. That way, if they do detect a potential hazard, they can remove it without putting your health at risk.
Go with a “green” cleaner. Once your projects are complete, there will be some cleaning up to do. Instead of using the more popular cleaning products that tend to be loaded with all kinds of chemicals and toxins, we recommend that you take the more natural approach and opt for some homemade cleaning products instead. They are healthier for you and also much gentler on your walls, floors and even your furniture. For step-by-step instructions on how to make some homemade cleaners from lemon, apple cider vinegar, baking soda, olive oil and more, go to your favorite search engine and put “homemade cleaning recipes” in the search field.
To help keep your lawn sprinkler system in top shape, you need to winterize water features to help prevent freezing. However, depending on where you live, the methods that you should use may vary.
Fortunately, here is a very basic look at how to winterize sprinklers depending on your climate:
1. Shut off the water.
Whether you are in a moderate or cold climate, you will need to completely shut off the water before the temperature begins to drop. To completely shut off the water supply to your system, you will need to turn off the main shut-off valve. Additionally, the main valve should be protected and in an area where it won’t freeze.
2. Turn off the controller.
If you have a mechanical controller, you will need to unplug it after it has been shut off to avoid wasting unnecessary electricity. If you have an automatic controller, you will need to turn the controller to the â€œoffâ€ or â€œrain modeâ€ setting.
3. Drain the water.
New Jersey leads the way in advising its citizens on storm water usage. While New Jersey style sprinkler systems help lawns stay healthy during warmer weather, properly draining them for the winter will help keep the system working for years to come.
The three main methods that you can use to drain the system include the manual drain valve method, automatic drain method, and â€œblow outâ€ method.
- The manual drain valve method is needed if the manual drain valve is found at the lowest point. Once you have drained the water from the mainline, you will additionally need to drain the water between the shut-off valve and backflow device, as well as the sprinklers.
- The automatic drain method is excellent for avoiding a lot of hassle with the winterization process. With the automatic drain method, a station is activated that drains water via automatic drain valves. However, you will still need to drain water from the sprinklers and backflow device as well.
- The â€œblow outâ€ method can be dangerous and is best left to the professionals, although you can still try the method out for yourself. The process involves using an air compressor to blow water out of the lawn sprinkler system and is considered to be a more trustworthy method by some experts.
Since each method has its distinct advantages and disadvantages, you will need to thoroughly research the specifics to determine what will work best for you and how to properly and safely undertake the project.
4. Insulate the backflow device.
Since the weather can be very unpredictable, you should insulate the backflow device to prevent freezing, even if you live in a moderate climate. To do so, you can use self-sticking foam or R-11 fiberglass insulation for the project.
5. Insulate any pipes above the ground.
Since pipes above the ground are less protected against the elements, insulating them can help prevent freezing. You can use foam insulating tubes or self-sticking insulating foam tape for the project.
By having the right equipment and winterizing your lawn sprinkler system yourself, you can save a lot of money. However, if you don’t feel like taking on the project yourself, you can always hire professionals to help get the job done.
About the Author
Charles Talley is a self-confessed lawncare fanatic. When he’s not working on his lawn, he’s usually blogging about caring for it online.
Autumn is upon us, and winter is swiftly approaching, so youâ€™re probably not giving much thought to your lawn. However, the cool temperatures and occasional rainfall in autumn makes it the perfect time to prepare your lawn for next spring.
Your yard needs a lot of attention in autumn because this is the time when the grass absorbs moisture, energy, and nutrients to survive the long and dormant winter. Keep up your maintenance throughout the season, and youâ€™ll be rewarded with a lush healthy yard in the spring. Here are six tips to keep your yard looking fresh.
Keep on Mowing
Water and mow your lawn, when necessary, throughout autumn. Lower the blades for the final cut just before the end of autumn. Cutting the grass low will allow for sunlight to reach the crown of the grass and reduce the chances of your entire yard going brown in winter.
Aerate the Soil
Autumn is the perfect time of year to aerate your yard so water, oxygen, and nutrients can get to the roots of the grass. If you donâ€™t have your own aerator, you can easily rent one for the day and the machine will extract plugs of dirt from the soil. Alternatively, you can hire a contractor to complete the task for you.
Rake the Leaves
Raking the leaves probably wonâ€™t be your favorite task, but itâ€™s crucial to remove leaves from your lawn as soon as possible. Donâ€™t wait until the trees go bare before you start raking. If you wait, the leaves will get wet from dew and autumn rains, and form an impenetrable barrier on your lawnâ€™s surface. Over time, the leaves will suffocate the grass and provide an ideal environment for the growth of fungal diseases.
If the idea of raking the leaves sounds like too much work, you can use a leaf blower or a lawn mower fitted with a collection bag. Use the right tools for leaf removal, and youâ€™ll make light work of removing fallen leaves before they become an unsightly mess.
Fill in Bald Spots
Patch up any bald spots in your lawn to maintain its even appearance and get it ready for spring. Easy to apply lawn repair mixture is one of the better ways to patch bald spots. The mixture, available at most garden shops, contains lawn fertilizer, grass seed, and organic mulch.
Scratch loose soil from the surface before you spread a thick layer of the mixture over the area. Press the mixture lightly into the earth and water the spot every other day until you observe signs of new growth.
Get Weeds Under Control
Fight back against weed that will try to take over your lawn. Weeds, like other plants, absorb a lot of energy in the fall. Theyâ€™ll soak up anything in their path â€“ including weedicides. Apply an approved weed killer and you wonâ€™t have to cope with weeds in the spring.
These simple tips should help you to keep your yard looking fresh in autumn and restore its luscious green appearance that everyone will admire when spring comes around.
Charles Talley is a backyard designer. He loves to write about how to keep yards looking great on landscaping blogs.
Our heating and air conditioning systems are hugely responsible for the continuous warming of the planet and destruction of the environment. In the long run, the effects of our waste will become more and more evident – with increased natural disasters, colder winters, warmer summers, and more health related issues. Also, making more “green” choices will save you money on your utility bills and it might even be good for your conscience too. Some of these tips might cost you a lot of money – installation expenses – but in the long run you will not only make your money back, but you will also be spending a fraction of what you used to spend. Here are the top 5 HVAC tips for a greener cleaner home. (more…)
It’s usually not until the winter or summer months that we realize just how much we rely on our heat and air conditioning units. That’s because when the temperatures in our homes are extreme, we use them in order to stay comfortable. However, did you know that there is a way to keep air circulating so that one, it will keep your energy costs down and two, it will be better for your health and well-being? The way to do that is by using natural ventilation.Â (more…)
Home entertainment systems can be very expensive nowadays due to the amount of technology that is installed in them. Even though they are quite expensive, many people believe that they are worth experiencing high-quality entertainment in the comfort of their own home. However, there are ways to save money while still getting the best entertainment. One thing that people can do is build their own Projector Screen.
Before making a screen, people should assemble these following tools:
Â· Miter saw
Â· Pocket screw jig
Â· Heavy duty stapler
Â· Utility knife or scissors
Â· 30 foot primed back band trim
Â· Two to four large picture frame hangers
Â· Four floor joist braces
Â· Heavy duty staples
Â· Matte black spray paint
Â· 35 feet of one by four select grade pine lumber
The first important step in this home improvement tip is building a projector screen is to choose the screen size and aspect ratio. Aspect ratio includes 16:9 for a wide-screen projector, 4:3 for a standard size projector, and 2.39:1 for a wide scope projector. After doing that, it is important for a person to determine the viewable dimensions they need.
Once the viewable dimension has been calculated, it is time to figure out the wood frameâ€™s dimensions. This is done by measuring the back band trim and black felt tape. After doing this, they should take the viewable dimensions and add the black felt tapeâ€™s width. At the same time, the back band trim should be able to hang over the side all the way around.
Once the preliminary steps have been completed, it is time to cut a couple pieces of pine. They should be exactly the same length as the frame. After this has been finished, cut three boards to be shorter than the frameâ€™s exact height. One of these boards will be placed in the center for stability.
After that, it is time to assemble the frame using pocket screws along with a simple pocket screw jig that costs $30. People should then secure the floor joist braces to each corner for strength. Once this is done, they should lay the screen material onto the projectors frame.
Start on the right edge and staple the fabric going into the middle with three to four closely spaced staples. Do the same process on the screenâ€™s top edge, left edge and bottom edge. Continue this process by adding two to four staples starting from the middle out to the corners. This is done continuously until the fabric is stretched and has even tension on the screenâ€™s frame in order to eliminate wrinkles.
Once the fabric has been completely stretched without tension, add the black felt tape using a utility knife or scissors. When doing this, people should remember not to stretch the tape. They should then cut the back band trim with mitered corners in order to fit the frame.
After it is finished, spray paint the back band trim and allow it to dry. When the back band trim is dry, nail it to the frame. Now, hang the screen on the wall with picture hangers. With this, the do-it-yourself projection screen is finished and you can start watching your favorite movies or TV shows.
About the Author
Michael Alvarez, has been working in the electronics and technology field for over 20 years. He enjoys sharing his knowledge and expertise of Projector Screen with others while continuing to grow his knowledge.
Your garden is an extension of your house. It is meant to be loved and tended for, and you should create the perfect look for it â€•the look that you want so that you can relax in it whenever you can.
Creating your perfect garden is no small task, especially if you havenâ€™t gardened much in the past. However, it can be quite easily achievable as long as you work on it knowing exactly what you want. Having a picture in your head of what you want the space to look like is crucial prior to actual designing, and, hopefully, you canÂ budget Â properly and work within a good time scale.
Mapping out your garden
The first thing you should do is create a mini map of your garden. ThisÂ doesn’tÂ have to be on scale, and it certainlyÂ doesn’tÂ have to be a masterpiece. The idea is to create a map showing your garden as it is now. This will help you determine which parts of the garden are to be kept and which are to be changed. Once you have done this, you can start on a second map showing what you want for your new garden. If you hire a landscape gardener, they are likely to produce a scale drawing with items in the exact locations where you want them, advising you of what size tables and chairs will fit where. But, not everyone can afford the luxury of a landscape gardener and some have to DIY it.
What do you want from your garden?
When creating the second map, itâ€™s time to think about what you want to use your new garden for. Do you want tables and chairs? A patio? Is your outdoor lighting going to be attached to the walls of your home or standing up within the garden? How do you want to split your garden up? Will there be a kid’s area, an eating area and a relaxing area? The options are endless. But at this stage, you are not limiting yourself to picking the actual items, only deciding what type of items you would like and where you would put them.
Narrowing down your options
Once you have an idea of the things you want in your garden, you can start thinking about their actual garden design. Do you want a contemporary garden or is a rustic country look your kind of thing? Depending on what you want the design to be, you can now go find those things you want. Here, you are narrowing everything down. So, if you want some sort of hard landscaping near your back door, you are now choosing what that will be made of: paving, decking, tile, etc. This is also the point when you will choose what the tables and chairs will look like, which barbecue or outdoor kitchen you want, and what kind of items you want to put in the kidsâ€™ area.
Once you have made these choices, itâ€™s time to strip out the old garden, go shopping, and get your DIY on.
To upgrade the look and ambiance of a room, simply replace the light fixture. Switching out old light fixtures for new ones is safe and pretty straightforward. Simply attaching the new fixture to the old wires is typically what is required. Just make sure that the power is off on the electrical panel.
Installing chandeliers is as simple as installing other light fixtures except for one difference: standard electrical boxes hold up to only 50 pounds. If the chandelier weighs more than that, make sure an appropriate support system is installed.
Step 1: Â Take Down the Old Fixture
Go to your home’s electrical circuit breaker and turn off the power in the room youâ€™ll be working. Confirm the power is off by switching the lights on and off. Carefully unscrew the fixture to reveal the electrical circuit. Remove the twist on connectors from the wiring carefully.
Triple check that there is no current by connecting two leads with a simple electrical tester.
If the testers light doesnâ€™t come on, free the fixture from its wiring.
Step 2: Â Detach the electrical box
Remove the screws that hold the electrical box. If it is nailed, use a flat bar to pry it off.
If it is a metal box, loosen the screws and slide out the cables. For plastic boxes, use a slotted screwdriver to pry up the flexible fin that pinches down on the wires.
Step 3: Â Install the brace
Reduce the brace to its shortest length by taking the fan brace from its box and spinning the hexagonal bar. Slip the brace up and through the hole and place it on top of the ceiling. Be sure that the feet are resting flat on the ceiling.
Rotate the hexagonal brace by hand until you feel the prongs dig into the joists. Be sure not to tighten the brace too tight or the nails will pop.
Step 4: Â Tighten the brace
Use a wrench to tighten the fan brace even tighter.
Step 5: Â Prep the new electrical box
Use a slotted screwdriver to pry one of the pre-punched knockout plugs from the side of the metal electrical box.
Fasten a nonmetallic connector to the knockout hole if you are using a box that does not have a cable connector.
Feed the end of the cable through the connector and hold the box close to the ceiling.
Leave about 6 inches of cable in the box, then tighten the screws to lock the cable in place. Make sure the connector pinches down on the cable’s exterior cover and not the wires.
Step 6: Â Screw on the box
Place the U-bolt over the fan brace, then slide the support exterior onto the intertwined ends of the bolt.
Place a nut onto each side of the U-bolt and tighten each nut to lock it in position.
Next, align the two holes at the top of the electrical box with the threaded ends of the bolt.
Push the box into the ceiling and secure it to the U-bolt with two hex nuts then tighten the nights with a screwdriver.
Step 7: Â Combine the wires
Shorten the wires and remove chain links so the chandelier can hang at the desired height.
First, thread the nipple into the chandelier’s chain holder, then the fixture-mounting bar. Put the wires of the chandelier through the nipple.
Screw the mounting bar of the fixture to the electrical box.
Wrap the copper wire around the grounding screw then tighten it. Then, connect the end of the wire to the chandelier’s ground wire. Cut Â½ inch of insulation from the chandelier’s wiring.
Join the chandelier’s white wire to the cables white wire by using a twist-on connector. Do the same with the black wires.
Step 8: Â Canopy Security
Tuck the wires into the electrical box.
Press the chandelier’s canopy tight against the ceiling.
Push the retaining collar up the chandelier’s chain and tie it onto the chain holder.
Install light bulbs and shades, then turn on the power to the room.
About the Author
Joel Cobb has been involved in the Home Improvement industry for over 12 years and is the CEO of AmeriServ, which provides Garage Door, Electrician, and HVAC services in Atlanta, Ga.
Experimenting with Jamieâ€™s new recipes can leave your kitchen under a heap of waste. More than a third of household waste is from kitchen or garden materials, which in this day and ageÂ shouldn’tÂ be finding their way to landfills.
Whether the plastic takeaway containers are piling up or there is an avalanche of vegetable peelings waiting to fall there are ways to make sure your kitchen waste is recycled and reused.
Even without buying microwave meals your food will produce waves of plastic rubbish. Your local authority will collect paper, glass and plastic. Most councils provide recycling collections once a week. For your part you just have to rinse and separate your waste to take advantage of this roadside convenience.
Food is biodegradable so thereâ€™s no point recycling it, right? Wrong! Food and plant waste produce methane as it biodegrades and produces harmful liquids that can pollute local water supplies. These toxic effects can be prevented if organic matter is dealt with in the proper way.
Your local authorities will have recycle food waste separately, for both raw and cooked food. This is commercially composted and reused for agriculture, landscaping and horticulture. Most will provide you with a convenient little kitchen caddy to collect your waste.
Council recycling brings up issues of transportation costs and food miles even after your food reached the plate.Â Home composting is great for your garden. It makes an excellent fertilizer, which can increase the productivity and save you money.
Be aware that only certain things are suitable for home composting. YouÂ shouldn’tÂ include meat, dairy products or any cooked foods, unless youâ€™re hoping to set up a rat farm in your back garden. Youâ€™re safe with things like fruit and vegetable peelings, teabags and coffee grounds. For a comprehensive list and more check out Homecomposting.org.
For an alternative that will provide you with the best fertilizer going, reach for the worms. Fast and easy to use worms are waste-eating machines! They turn organic waste, including cooked food, into high quality compost soil and fertilizing liquid.They have an aversion to acidic conditions so donâ€™t overload them after making lemonade
They also come in a variety of sizes, from small kitchen counter varieties to those the size of a wheelie bin. You can get starter kits from your local garden centre or make your own using wooden pallets or an old plastic bin.
If you have limited space in your garden to hold a compost or large wormery the Japanese have come to the rescue. The Bokashi bin uses bran,Â consistingÂ of worms as well as bacteria and yeast, to pickle your waste. However if you fill it with onions, donâ€™t expect a life-time supply of pickled onions. Instead you can enjoy quality compost or use it to speed up your wormery. The urban composter works on a similar basis, but uses an accelerator spray.
For those of you who want an eco-friendly solution but have no need for compost or fertilizer then the green cone may be just the thing. Dig the cone into a sunny spot in the garden and commence to throw all your food waste inside, including bones or dog poo. It leaves behind only water, carbon dioxide and some organic residue, require cleaning out only every few years.
With 15 million tonnes of food thrown away every year, almost 50% from homes, the message to moderate food waste still needs to hit households. In the interim the waste we do produce should be recycled and reused. Home solutions, in combination with your kerbside council collections, are the key. Gardeners rejoice. Save money by producing amazing fertilizers, meaning you can treat your kitchen to some bling, like a fancy tablecloth, perhaps?
Do you have a regimented kitchen waste routine? Share you hints and tips on how to make your waste work for you.
About the Author
Elise LÃ©vÃªque is a freelance translator. Her love of dinner parties means her kitchen often looks like a vegetable bomb has gone off, complete with overflowing waste bins.
Creating more space in your home doesnâ€™t have to be a nightmarish scene of construction crews wandering in and out, turning your home sanctuary into a dilapidated work site. There are a lot of ways you can add more space to your home on your own and save thousands of dollars in the process. Adding more space can be as simple as building that outdoor patio youâ€™ve always wanted or finishing your basement. Here are a few ideas of easy DIY projects that can add more usable space to your home.
Open up a Room
This can be as basic as tearing down a wall in a highly compartmentalized house. While this can be a hard job and one that requires knowing which walls are bearing and whichÂ aren’t,Â this type of project can open up a space and give your home a fresh perspective. While thisÂ doesn’tÂ ordinarily create much more usable space, you often get the illusion of space and the benefit of better lighting and air circulation. There are scenarios, however, where taking down a wall can integrate two spaces, such as combining a kitchen and dining room by removing a separating wall.
Think Outside Your Box
Creating usable living space outside can be a huge advantage for both your enjoyment of your home and its long term economic value. People love well designed outdoor patios and garden spaces, and working on expanding the outdoor appeal of your home is an excellent way to add space. Building an outdoor patio and doing some minor landscaping and gardening creates a fun, relaxing space that looks great. There are plenty of DIY ideas for creative landscaping and easy patio construction that donâ€™t require a work crew and thousands of dollars.
For homes with unfinished or partly finished basements, taking it upon yourself to finish the job can be one of the best ways to add space and create more resale value for your home. Depending on the size of the basement and the scope of the refinishing, this may not be something you can handle entirely yourself. If youâ€™re patient, have the skills, money, and time, however, finishing a basement is a great space creating project. Usually the basement is structurally sound and wonâ€™t require serious investments in routing utilities and building anything from scratch like adding an addition or converting a garage will.
This is probably the most cost-saving method of â€˜creatingâ€™ space in your home. Since this usuallyÂ doesn’tÂ involve too much of any demo or construction, you can easily repurpose a space in an afternoon. If you have rooms that have been functioning as storage closets, it may be time to purge the junk and assign a new purpose to the room. What was once a room full of useless clutter can become a new exercise studio or home office. This may not seem like a true creation of space, but better utilizing existing space is tantamount to making new space since you are doing something new with a living space.
About the Author
Ben Vaughn writes for Panhandle construction services on home remodeling and restoration tips and tops ways to add space to your home.