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Home Renovation Tips

Before You Trim Trees, Remember: One Person’s Yard Waste Is a Zoo Creature’s Treasured Treat

Posted by on Jul 29, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Before You Trim Trees, Remember: One Person’s Yard Waste Is a Zoo Creature’s Treasured Treat

If you’re a committed green person who would like to recycle or re-use everything you don’t need anymore, you should definitely contact your local zoo before you have your landscaping tidied again. Many zoos accept branches of certain trees to feed animals or use as habitat for the animals in their care. This is a great way to keep yard debris out of the landfill and make a zoo creature happy at the same time. Here’s what you should know. Branches of leaves, fruit, and flowers are called “browse” The term “browse” is used to describe the natural tree, shrub, and grassy growth that animals munch on throughout the day when in their natural habitats. Zoos try to mimic that type of feeding by offering animals like elephants, giraffes, and zebras branches of trees to both nibble on and play with in their enclosures. Some zoos have entire gardens or growth plots devoted to raising specialty browse plants like eucalyptus for koalas and bamboo for pandas. But it’s difficult for most zoos to grow all of the plants that diverse animals need, so some zoos accept donations of branches cut from property-owners’ trees and shrubs. Many common plants are delicacies to zoo animals There are quite a few common trees and shrubs that are accepted as browse donations in zoos which offer this program. Some of these include Crape myrtle Japanese maple Citrus tree Pear tree Sycamore   Mimosa   Acacia Willow Grape vines, photinia bushes, hackberries, and tulips are also included. Many animals, including elephants, love evergreen trees. including Fraser and Douglas firs. The elephants wave the branches around and then strip the needles from the boughs. How browse donations work Not all zoos accept donations of branches and yard debris. Of those which do accept donations, you must have specific plants to offer in enough quantities to make it worth their while to pick the branches up, and they usually can’t travel more than a few miles to retrieve the yard waste. It’s best to call ahead to find out whether the amount and type of branches you have will be accepted for pickup. Even small donations may be dropped off at the zoo. Although you won’t be able to see your branches actually fed to the animals, you can rest assured they appreciate the gesture. Again, call ahead to be sure someone can accept your donation. When there are no zoos nearby, contact a local veterinary hospital, petting farm, pet store, or other exotic animal provider and ask if they can use any of your fresh cuttings. If trees have been sprayed—even with organic pesticides—they can’t be accepted. Branches must also be freshly cut, not dried out and inedible. If there is any fungal or severe bug infestation, you should not donate branches but should instead burn them or have your tree-trimming or tree-removal service dispose of them properly for...

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Complement Your New HVAC System With These Energy-Saving Home Updates

Posted by on Jul 13, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Complement Your New HVAC System With These Energy-Saving Home Updates

Your new HVAC system is sure to help keep your family comfortable while spending time indoors throughout the year. But running your air conditioner and heater on a regular basis for temperature control tends to result extra energy expenses on a monthly basis. The good news is that you can introduce a couple of energy-saving home updates that will complement your new HVAC system and help offset your heating and cooling costs. The following home updates will also minimize HVAC wear and tear year-round: Introduce Some Ceiling Fans If you don’t already have ceiling fans installed throughout your home, consider introducing a few. Making use of ceiling fans will decrease your HVAC system’s workload and minimize wear and tear, which should help keep the system in excellent shape as time goes on and minimize the need for expensive repairs. While most HVAC systems use about 3,500 watts of power on an hourly basis to function, ceiling fans typically require only 60 watts of power each hour. Running your ceiling fans at night instead of your heater or air conditioner and using the fans to complement the performance of your HVAC system during the day can save you an impressive amount of money on energy costs throughout the year. Program your ceiling fans to run counterclockwise during the summer to create constant air movement and a light breeze throughout your home. In the winter, program your ceiling fans to run clockwise to keep the warm air circulating. Have New Windows Installed Having some new energy efficient windows installed in your home is an excellent way to save some money on your heating and cooling expenses throughout the year. Your new energy efficient windows should also reduce unwanted drafts inside your home, which will make it easier to maintain comfortable indoor temperatures throughout each day. Most energy efficient windows also resist condensation buildup on interior glass surfaces, which will help to keep mildew and mold from developing. What’s more is that energy efficient windows are designed to resist the transmission of ultraviolet rays, which will help to protect your flooring, furniture, and walls from fading and cracking due to sun damage. After making these energy-saving updates to your home, it should be easy and convenient to maintain comfortable indoor temperatures throughout the year without putting too much wear and tear on your new HVAC system or spending a fortune on energy expenses each month. Talk to a company like TODDCO, Inc. to learn...

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Exploring The Benefits Of A Walk-In Shower

Posted by on Jun 28, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Exploring The Benefits Of A Walk-In Shower

Modern technology has remedied one of the huge issues faced by the elderly and disabled population. Annually, 235,000 individuals visit the emergency room for bathroom injuries, and approximately one-third of those cases involved incidents from the bathtub or shower. You can choose a model free of thresholds or doors if you choose. Another alternative is creating a ledge where the water cannot run over the bathroom floors. The choice depends on your individual needs. Offers Health Benefits One of the most beneficial effects is the peace of mind you receive from knowing you and your family can safely take a shower without injury. Showering on a regular basis can help patients who suffer from health issues including heart conditions and arthritis. The hot/steamy water can soothe the body for those who cannot motivate easily. The ancient Egyptians created the medical concept of hydrotherapy dating as far back as the 5th century B.C. Personal hygiene can be a challenging for many individuals who are at risk for falls in the tub/shower. Have you ever tried to wash your back? Imagine that scenario for an elderly patient or someone with physical disabilities. The walk-in shower can also benefit individuals who have irritated skin or a wound that needs to be gently cleaned. Comes with Safety Features The shower/tub is a very slippery surface even when it is void of the soap and shampoo products used for bathing. Grab bars are installed to prevent falls and make maneuvering in the stall much easier. You can also place a chair in the space for individuals who cannot stand or have limited mobility issues. Installation is Simple The process is much easier than many believe. Your current tub/shower can be replaced, and the new unit installed using the same space. The design can be made ranging from a large or small scale, depending on your current décor. Many of the doors and walls are glass, but you can be creative with the products used. Maintenance is Easy A walk-in shower is easier to clean because it doesn’t have all the additional corners and crevices where soap scum and other debris can collect. Getting in and out of a regular shower can be difficult for all, and scarier for physically challenged, children, or aging people. With the low step provided by the walk-in unit, many of these issues simply don’t exist. You could receive the luxury in your home that might not have been available unless you went to a spa for special care. The addition to your home can benefit everyone and lend a rich atmosphere to your bathroom. Click here to learn more about bathroom...

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3 Benefits Of Hiring A Junk Removal Service Instead Of Renting A Dumpster

Posted by on Jun 7, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 3 Benefits Of Hiring A Junk Removal Service Instead Of Renting A Dumpster

If you are cleaning out your attic, cleaning out a rental that a tenant has left in bad condition, or are tackling a home remodeling project, you might be thinking about renting a dumpster so that you can handle all of the mess. However, you might find that hiring a junk removal service — in which the service will send a team in to retrieve the junk and haul it off for you — is a better option. These are three reasons why. 1. Avoid Causing Damage to Your Yard First of all, you should know that renting a dumpster can cause a lot of damage to your yard. A dumpster can damage your grass in the area that it is placed, and the truck that drops it off and picks it back up can cause damage to your yard, too. With a junk removal service, this often isn’t as much of an issue, since you can ask the team to park in your driveway rather than driving on your grass. This is often not an option when you’re having a dumpster dropped off, since you probably don’t want to have it in the way on your driveway for the duration of your project. 2. Get Rid of All Types of Junk Some dumpster rental companies have restrictions on what can be placed in their dumpsters. For example, you might not be able to discard chemicals, and you may not be able to mix recyclable and non-recyclable items in the same dumpster. With a junk removal service, however, you can often get rid of all types of junk without having to worry about as many restrictions. Depending on what you are getting rid of, this can be a big deal. 3. Save Yourself a Lot of Hard Work A big clean-up project can be a massive undertaking on its own, and there’s a chance that you aren’t looking forward to all of the work that is involved. Luckily, you can save yourself a lot of hard work by hiring a junk removal service, since the individuals who work for these companies will often come in and take the junk out of the home or elsewhere from the property for you. This is a great way to make your project a whole lot easier on yourself. As you can see, a dumpster rental isn’t always the best choice. Instead, consider these benefits of hiring a junk removal company like The Dump Guy to help you take care of your...

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Water In Your Unfinished Basement? Repair The Damaged Seals Around Your Window Well

Posted by on May 22, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Water In Your Unfinished Basement? Repair The Damaged Seals Around Your Window Well

If you find water on the flooring of your unfinished basement, you may wonder where it comes from and how can you stop it. A wet basement can cause numerous problems for your home, including mold growth and foundation damage. One of the places you might look first for leaks is your window well. Although window wells should have some type of drainage system in place to redirect rainwater, they can sometimes develop leaks in the seal that allow water to seep into the basement and along the walls. If you don’t seal the window, the moisture may eventually deteriorate its wooden frame. Here’s what you need to get for the repairs and how to use them. Find and Purchase Your Supplies You can find the supplies you need at your nearest home and gardening store or large retailer. First, purchase a large tube of modified silicone caulk, caulk gun and metal spatula with a triangular-shaped head. Modified silicone caulk is an ideal choice for your repairs because it seals out moisture, works well in cement and goes on without too many issues. For your caulk gun, you may want to purchase a drip-free smooth rod product. This type of tool helps prevent unnecessary messes that can slow down your repairs. The spatula’s triangular head may make it easier to smooth the caulk around the edges of the window.  Also, obtain a bucket of clear water and three cleaning rags. Now, you’re ready to begin. Secure and Repair the Leaks You want to create a safe working area around the window to avoid falling or slipping during the repairs. Move any obstacles out the way and dry the flooring thoroughly. If you can’t reach the window safe by standing, use a wide-based ladder instead. Always have someone hold the ladder for you as you ascend it.  Now, follow the steps below: Use your water and two rags to remove any dirt and debris from around the window frame, including the seams. Dry the window thoroughly with the last rag. Insert your caulk into the gun, then prep it according to the gun’s instructions. Use your spatula to remove any broken or chipped pieces of old caulk from the window’s seam.  Apply one thin line of material along all four sides of the window. Use the spatula to smooth out the material. Move to the outside of the home. Perform step one to clean the exterior side of the window. Repeat step three, then apply and smooth caulk around the entire window. Check the flooring after it rains again to see if it’s wet or dry. If the floor’s dry, you successfully solved the issue. If the flooring is wet, contact a basement waterproofing contractor for assistance. There may be other leaks in the basement that require...

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4 Modern Features To Give Your Deck A Contemporary Look And Feel

Posted by on Apr 15, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 4 Modern Features To Give Your Deck A Contemporary Look And Feel

If your deck is outdated, it may be time to renovate it with new materials like decking and railings. The investment in your restoration may be a good opportunity to change the design and give your home contemporary features with things like glass or metal railings or a dry decking system. Here are some modern features that you may want to consider for your deck to give it a contemporary look: 1. Install New Decking With Hidden Fasteners Or A Dry Deck System To give your deck renovations a modern look, you may want to consider replacing the decking with materials like tropical hardwoods. These materials can be installed with hidden fastener systems to give your deck a clean look with no exposed screws or nails. Another option that you may want to consider is a dry decking system that will allow you to create dry finished space beneath your deck. This is a type of floor for your deck that acts as a roof and allows water to drain off the deck without getting the space beneath it wet. This can be good if you want to add something like an all-seasons enclosure beneath your deck or other space that is covered and dry. You can even add finished space to your home beneath the deck with a dry decking system, which can be a good option for a home remodeling project. 2. Add Metal Or Glass Railings To Give Your Deck A Contemporary Look The old wood railings can go if you want to give your deck a more modern look. Instead of using conventional wood materials for the railings, you may want to consider modern materials like metal and glass. You can even combine the look of metal with glass or use cables to give your deck a unique custom look with clean lines. There are building regulations for deck railings, so you will want to consult your local building authority about what can be done. With glass, you may be required to use a tempered glass, or with cable railings, you may be required to have a certain amount of spacing between cables. There may also be regulations on heights and the types of railings that can be installed on your deck. 3. Continue Your Deck With Addition Platforms In The Garden If you have a small deck, to give your deck design a modern look, you may want to consider expanding it. This can be done by adding features like platforms in your garden that are an extension of the deck area attached to your home. You can even create separate spaced with the deck areas, such as a seating area, spa and cookout area for entertaining. You can also add screen and patio doors to these areas to make the spaces more private. The paths and platforms in your garden can act as an expansion of your home and even be a good place to add a garden house or other outdoor structure to your home. 4. Add A Garden To Your Deck With Planters And Vertical Features If you want your deck to have a modern look, you may also want to include features that help blend it into the natural surroundings. This can be done by incorporating garden areas into your...

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Low Risk Log Cabin: How To Protect Your Log Cabin From Fire

Posted by on Mar 30, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Low Risk Log Cabin: How To Protect Your Log Cabin From Fire

There is nothing quite as luxurious as having a vacation home. Just knowing you can get away from the city and from work and take a vacation to your second home is a beautiful thing.  A statuesque log cabin inside of a suburban vacation area is the perfect place to go and relax. One item of importance that may keep you from relaxing is thinking about your home’s ability to catch fire. If you want to mitigate your risks while living in a log cabin in a wildfire-prone area, here are some tips on fire protection. Keep the yard raked and the gutter clear One of the smallest yet most dangerous ways that a log cabin becomes prone to catching fire more easily is by having leaves and wood all around the cabin, along with having leaves and branches in the gutters. When you are at the home, be sure to keep too many leaves and other debris from accumulating around the home structure. When you are gone, have maintenance clean the yard and gutters on a bi-weekly basis. Build a metal roof Most log cabins will have a fireplace. Though this is the perfect way to heat the home and relax, this is also one of the ways that the structure can catch fire. Hire a construction firm to replace the roof of your log cabin with metal materials. The metal can be made in different colors and can blend in perfectly with your long cabin’s wood shade. Metal roofs will also not catch fire, making running the home’s fireplace less likely to cause the embers that escape the chimney to cause any blazes. Pave a proper road path Even if your log home is more rural, you want to make sure that you pave a road and a proper driveway. Clearing out this path of trees means that you and your family can easily get out if a fire starts at your home or in the woods nearby. It also means that the fire department will be able to pull up to your home and fight the fire properly, rather than having to navigate a rural area to help put out any fire. Hire a contractor to make a proper driveway and create access to the main road. Live near a body of water Even if you make sure your home is built with fire protection in mind, there is a possibility that a wildfire or a fire at a nearby cabin can set off a chain of events. To help the firefighters and to protect your home, live near a body of water. If no fire hydrants are readily available, you can create a man-made pond near your home. Fire departments are conscious of water availability and can draw from lakes, ponds, and other water bodies nearby. Having water near your house can save your log cabin. For more ideas on fire protection, contact a company like The Safety Team...

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Create Your Own Custom Mural On Your Privacy Fence

Posted by on Feb 10, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Create Your Own Custom Mural On Your Privacy Fence

Privacy fencing can put your scenery to a stop. Instead of having a plain old fence around your yard, you can custom paint a mural on it. Your yard can be enclosed with a scene from a beach, forest or your favorite setting, characters or objects. If you don’t have artistic skills, you probably think that there is no way for you to paint something beautiful on your fence. Well, with a little work, a homemade projector and some transparency paper, you can do just about anything on your fence. Make the Projector Making a projector requires nothing more than a cardboard box, duct tape, a lamp without a shade and some aluminum foil. The box that you choose should be slightly smaller than the sheets of transparency paper that you have to work with. If it is larger than that, you can cover the extra space around the end of it with aluminum foil. On the backside of the box, cut a hole large enough to fit the lightbulb of the lamp through it. If the hole is too large, you can cover the opening with aluminum foil. When you are done, the lamp will be going in one end and the transparency paper on the other. When the light is turned on, the image on the transparency paper will shine on the surface in which it is directed. Create an Image The image that you choose can be of anything you love. Just remember that the more complicated the design, the more work you will have to do and the greater the risk of it not looking as nice as you would like when you are done. Find an image in a book, on your computer or in a magazine – pretty much any image that you can trace and believe you have the ability to color in once you have it traced. Lay the transparency paper over the image and trace it carefully. Start Working Now, when planning the project, watch the weather before you get started. You need at least a couple of days to get the work done before it rains. Late in the evening, just as the sun begins to go down, go outside and position the projector. Move it forward and backward until you get the image to the size you want. At that point, mark the ground so you know exactly where the projector is positioned so you know where it is in case you have to stop for some reason. Now, use some chalk to trace the image on the fence. Follow up the next morning with the paint starting with the outlines and working to fill the image in after the outlines have dried. After the paint has dried, apply a coat of sealant to protect it from the weather and sun. For more information or if you would like professional assistance, contact Thompson Painting or a similar...

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Three Household Electrical Jobs For Which You Should Hire A Professional

Posted by on Feb 10, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Three Household Electrical Jobs For Which You Should Hire A Professional

While taking a do-it-yourself approach to various projects around your home is certainly admirable, it’s important to know your limitations and not try to wade through a job that you shouldn’t attempt. Numerous electrical-related projects apply to this train of thought. Even if you’re comfortably able to perform certain electrical tasks, it’s important to have a healthy respect for your home’s electrical system — and to remember that failing to handle a job correctly can lead to a personal injury or a house fire. As such, you should always think about hiring the services of an electrician anytime you encounter a significant electrical issue. You can count on this professional to do the job correctly and with safety in mind. Here are three jobs that are best handled by an electrician. Changes To Your Electrical Panel Upgrading the electrical panel in your home can have several benefits in your day-to-day life. For example, if you’re constantly tripping a circuit in the kitchen when you run two countertop appliances at once, you’ll have to take the time to use the devices consecutively instead. An electrician can assess the reason for the tripping circuit — likely, it’s outdated or not powerful enough for your household needs — and upgrade it. However, working on this panel is dangerous, so it’s best to hire a professional for this important job. Installing New Lights Installing overhead lights is a physically challenging job, given that you’re constantly reaching up above your head. The graver concern, however, is that this job can involve connecting wires and even running them through your ceiling, which aren’t tasks for the average homeowner to attempt. Leave this hard — and potentially dangerous — work to your local electrician. He or she will get the job done safely and you’ll simply be able to sit back and enjoy knowing that you’ll soon have new lights to illuminate the room. Adding GFCI Outlets If you don’t have ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets in your bathroom, it’s important to call your electrician to perform this job. These special outlets are designed to quickly negate the electrical current if the circuit comes into contact with water — which can happen if you mistakenly drop a hair curler in the sink, for example. It’s imperative to have these outlets installed correctly, given their importance for household safety. An electrician will be able to get the job done quickly and ensure that the GFCIs work as intended. Contact a local electrician, like K & W Electric Inc, for more...

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Winter HVAC Maintenance Checklist

Posted by on Jan 19, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Winter HVAC Maintenance Checklist

Winter is here and the temperature outside is dropping! Have you done everything you can to maintain your HVAC system this season? If not, your furnace could be struggling. Performing regular winter maintenance on your HVAC system can prevent a furnace breakdown and help you avoid necessary heater repair. The following checklist will help ensure that your furnace is prepared for hard use this winter, so you won’t find yourself stranded without a source of heat. Seal Air Ducts Air ducts have a way of developing leaks over time. This can happen because of events like renovations to your HVAC system and changes made to the duct work. When air ducts develop leaks, heated air from your furnace can find its way into the attic and other unheated parts of your home. This forces your furnace to work harder to deliver warm air to where it needs to go. The harder your furnace must work to accomplish its goal, the shorter its service life is likely to be. To improve efficiency in the HVAC system, start by looking for gaps in the ducts. Check places where ducts connect to one another and in the locations where the ducts enter or exit the walls and flooring. Seal the leaks in your air ducts by taping the gaps with foil tape. Program Your Thermostat Program your digital thermostat to lower the temperature at times when it’s less important for the house to be warm. These times may be at night when you’re asleep or during the day while you’re at work. Have the thermostat raise the temperature at times when you’re at home and wish to feel more comfortable, like in the evening around dinner time. Doing this will prevent your furnace from working harder than necessary to heat your home, and thus will eliminate some of the burden on your HVAC system. Change the Air Filter Your HVAC system relies on an air filter. This one filter cleans all the air that flows through the HVAC system, regardless of whether or not you’re running the air conditioner or the heater. You should be changing your air filter every three months, as long as the HVAC system is in use. This means that if you ran your air conditioner this summer, a filter change is long overdue. To perform this task, remove the old filter from the location between the blower and the return air duct. Replace the filter with a new one purchased from a hardware store or home improvement center. Get a Tuneup   Contact a heating repair person to get a tuneup for your furnace and HVAC system. Your heating repair person can check all the wires, belts, the pilot light and your thermostat to determine whether or not each component of your HVAC system is in good shape. If your heating repair person finds a problem, he or she will make recommendations for repair. For more information about preparing your HVAC system, contact a business such as McLaughlin Air Conditioning Co...

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