Being aware of how your living standards affect the environment you live in is an admirable goal. Making your home energy efficient can also benefit you on a daily basis, with considerable cost savings. Read on for some easy ideas on how to make your home fit “green” standards that will be beneficial on many levels.
Insulation has long been touted as an energy saver, and this holds true more now than ever. Improvements to insulation have made the resources for it more effective and safer for home environments. Insulating walls, attics and loft spaces can be a huge energy saver. It can be as simple as placing sheets of approved insulation in obvious places, or it could involve hiring a certified contractor to blow insulation fibers into hidden corners and cubbyholes.
Energy efficient heating and air conditioning systems are widely available in the marketplace today. Thought the upfront cost can seem high, it will more than pay off in the long run. In addition, many utility companies actually offer rebates for installing these newer systems in your home. Check with your local utility providers to determine which systems may qualify and what you need to do in order to take advantage of these benefits.
Solar panels have in the past appeared unsightly and have been costly to incorporate into your existing roof structure. However, recent designs have become more attractive, and the idea has gained popularity, making the idea much more palatable for many neighborhoods. If there is not a provider of solar panels in your town, check online for national companies who can contract with smaller local companies to get the job done correctly and to code.
Many homes still have the windows that came with the original construction, making them outdated by today’s standards for energy conservation. Consider replacing older windows with ones that have double or triple panes of glass. This can significantly cut down on your heating and cooling costs. In addition, look for ones that are tinted to reflect the glare of the sun.
Older paint jobs on your interior walls can contain elements that are not acceptable by today’s green standards. You can easily re-paint walls now with paints that are free from volatile organic compounds, commonly referred to as VOCs.
Rainwater is a free resource that is easy to disregard, but has many uses throughout your home. Consider installing a system for collecting rainwater as it occurs naturally. You can use the accumulated water for washing your car or pets, watering your lawn or even inside for washing dishes and watering house plants.
An easy way to conserve water inside is by taking a look at the toilets in your bathrooms. Flushing actually requires much less water than is commonly used in older models. Replacing toilets with a short-flush option can save a lot of money over the course of a year.
Make sure you are ready to go with a plan and list before you jump right in, you do not want to waste your time and money. Your kitchen is one of the biggest electric consumers in the house especially during the winter or summer when temperature is at the extreme. If one side of your kitchen is located beside your garage, do not forget to insulate your garage doors to help control the temperature and lessen your bills.
Always measure the cost savings for each improvement that you make, but it is likely that going easy on the environment will also mean that your wallet will take less of a hit in the long run. Take advantage of these ideas here to get started in the right direction.
When trying to figure out how to heat the water for an outdoor shower, you will discover that there are basic three methods. You can opt to connect your shower’s water supply to your home’s hot water pipes, you can use a tankless water heater, or you can purchase a solar powered water heater.
Get the Water Straight from your Home’s Hot Water Pipes
If you do not need a portable shower, this is one of the easiest ways to heat your outdoor shower’s water. By simply connecting your shower’s water pipes to the source of your indoor hot water, you can use this heating method. However, if you plan on using your outdoor shower a lot and you have a small indoor hot water tank, you may not always have access to hot water.
Use a Tankless Water Heater Outside
When you opt to use a tankless water heater, you never have to worry about whether or not your indoor tank has been depleted of hot water. These systems contain a heating element that heats the water as it passes through it on its way to the tap. The amount of water that these systems can heat varies. However, many systems are able to heat water and produce it at a rate of 1 to 3 gallons per minute (for comparison purposes the average house shower uses about 1.3 gallons per minute). These portable systems can easily be attached to a hose or to another water source. A tankless water heater can even be detached from your outdoor home shower and taken on your next camping trip.
Use a Solar Powered Water Heater
A solar powered water heater will probably cost more to install than a tankless water heater, and in some cases, it will even cost more than attaching your outdoor shower to your indoor pipes. However, the long term cost of running one of these systems will be negligible. To save money, you can build your own passive solar heater by simply allowing the water to collect in a tank that is heated by the sun. However, this method can be inconsistent. Alternatively, you can buy an active solar heater. An active heater uses pumps and controls, is more expensive than a passive heater, and may not last as long.
When you decide to build an outdoor shower, you are not sentencing yourself to cold showers. Luckily, there are many different ways to heat your outdoor shower. These methods range in price, and some of them are more efficient and easier to install than others.
If you feel like your kitchen isn’t a warm place to be, you might be in trouble. It is a guarantee that you will need to eat everyday, so why not have your kitchen be inviting?
Depending on how dire your situation is, and how much you want to change, there are many different things you can do to add some life to your kitchen. Take a look at your kitchen to see not only what is visible, but what could BE visible. By that I mean, are your utensils in a drawer or on the counter? Is your cookware hanging from a rack or buried in a cabinet?
The easiest way to add life to your kitchen is with color, and there are different areas to attack with this tactic.
One easy and fairly affordable way to unify your kitchen’s color scheme is with towels. Towels come in so many colors. Whether you’re buying hand towels, or thinner kitchen towels, this is one area you should be able to find and match colors easily, regardless of the towel brand.
And with towels for the kitchen, you’re not just limited to solid colors. There are plenty of decorative towels with imagery or sayings to add even more flair.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve always had a small rug on the floor right in front of the sink. It makes it more comfortable to stand while doing dishes. This is another item that can be replaced to give a little pop.
There are various options here for your tastes. I prefer to have my utensils out in the open in a kitchen utensil holder so I can easily reach them while cooking.
You have utensil options a-plenty. Do you want something earthy? Go with wooden utensils. Something with shine? There are multiple brands that make stainless steel utensils. Color? Silicone and plastic utensil have gone from standard black to a variety of colors.
And that is just the utensils! Kitchen utensil holders are all across the board. Ceramic, metal, plastic, wood, glass, and combinations of those. An easy way to add life to the counter top.
Cookware is a big one for me because I have a pot rack. All of my cookware is out in the open. Black cookware doesn’t do a lot to liven up the kitchen. If you’re just looking for general warmth you can look into stainless steel, copper, or copper bottom cookware. And if you want color, all of the Le Creuset cast iron cookware sets have enamel coating that comes in multiple colors.
You’re definitely going to be in your kitchen a lot during your life. You may as well make it someplace you enjoy to be.
One of the things we can be so meticulous about is purchasing wardrobe closet furniture. Sometimes, it is not enough just to be able to store all of your clothes. Most of the time, we want to make sure that we purchase this particular storage furniture and match the bedroom wall color in the process. We can also be very particular with spacing. I personally like to look for wardrobe closets that are big enough to contain all my accessories, shoes, clothes, and some extras but not too big as to take up too much room in my bedroom. It is not uncommon to want or need specific materials such as a closet that is made of wood or a closet that is made of plastic materials that we can easily move around.
People usually prefer that the wardrobe closet furniture they buy is well-partitioned, meaning, there is enough space for everything they own. Some may own more clothes than accessories and may prefer a closet that is built solely for clothes. Thus, the partition would be a number of evenly spaced levels to place folded clothes in as well as a wider non-leveled space for clothes that need to be hung. Many prefer their wardrobe armoire to contain drawers where they can place accessories, belts, handkerchiefs, underwear, socks and the like. A space devoted to shoes and bags is also what among the most sought-after in a closet wardrobe.
A wardrobe closet is one of the hardest furniture pieces to select when decorating a house or simply purchasing one. If you are decorating a house, you need to look for a color that can easily match any theme or design you are planning on doing. You basically encounter the same dilemma when you are simply looking to purchase a closet but it is a bit more difficult if the house is already designed in a particular manner because it might be very difficult to look for a matching design for a closet, for instance. Sometimes, people who encounter this dilemma simply opt for customized closets.
Problems with color matching are also a recurring dilemma with closet selection. It is simpler with wooden closets because it can simply be repainted. Metal and plastic wardrobes are the more problematic ones. Sometimes, when your repaint your house or bedroom walls, your wooden or metal closet that doesn’t match the color of the newly painted bedroom walls usually end up in the garage or a garage sale. The problem with this is that it is not cost-efficient. You may use the closet for a few months and still will not have used it to its maximum capacity. If you sell it on a garage sale, you may get money out of it but it will not be much and may not even be enough to buy a new closet.
The good thing about the furniture industry is that it offers a wide selection of wardrobe closet furniture. There are also a lot of furniture businesses that offer customization for those who are very particular with what they want. For those who don’t have a particular design, color or style in mind, the options are quite impressive making it fairly easy to find something you’ll like.
Many people know that to use vinyl replacement windows is a great way to save money. They have been said to be very inexpensive. However, there are some who say there are more things about these that are not so bad. Even though there are some who think they have to buy vinyl windows, they do not have to do this. They will push this as they are supposed to sell a certain amount. Here are some things that people should really know about these.
There are some who are told to go with vinyl windows as they say that the windows need to be replaced. The thing is, there are many times where that does not have to be done at all. The only reason that windows have to be replaced at all would be they tend to stick or even rattle. If the latches are broken is another time. They need replaced if the glass is broke. However, that is not when they need to be totally replaced either.
Now, many will say they will not go with vinyl windows because of the fact that they will have to keep replacing them. They do have some maintenance to them as many salespeople will say they are not all that much of a hassle. They hope that these are things that people do not do so that they have to replace them.
Another thing that many find to be wrong with vinyl windows is that when it is cold out, they do find that they shrink. On a happier note, they find that there are some who will find that they do not have to be painted. Other things that many will find is that many times, they will find that people do not know how long they are going to last. Some say they can last hundred of years. However, there are some who say they only last twenty years. There has not been enough research done to determine how long they will indeed last since they are so new to the market.
People find that the biggest problem they have is that many times, they do not like the fact that they are made out of petroleum. Others are made out of wood, which is renewable. The other thing is that there are times that people are putting out more money by buying these when they really do not need to. A simple repair is all that really needs to be done. These are the things that some have noticed as being things of concern to them which makes them wonder if they should buy these.
Log homes were traditionally erected by early settlers as they prepared to venture deep into the heart of North America. These structures proved to be very useful especially during harsh cold climates and in areas that are rich in wildlife. People can stay comfortable and warm inside and stay safe against predators and possible attacks from local tribes. Knowing the advantages and drawbacks of log cabins will give you a better understanding of history, as well as help you decide whether or not you should invest in one.
Proven Through Time
One of the biggest advantages of a log home is its strong and durable design. A properly built structure is expected to last at least 100 years. Today, you will find remnants of original settlements and communities made of different log home structures. There are even log homes that are still standing today since these were first built in the 17th and 18th century. This proves that log homes are designed for durability and can withstand very strong elements and extreme weather and climate conditions. You can expect the log home you build today to be enjoyed by your children and grandchildren.
Appearance and Functionality
Log homes provide the advantage of being beautiful and useful at the same time. Depending on the type of wood you select, you can build homes with various colors, texture and appeal. The cuts and styles will also change the way the log homes look. Owners get to choose how corners are shaped and how the floors, walls, posts, doors and windows will look like. Log homes provide an instant feeling of warmth and coziness because of the rich brown color. The interior is usually the favorite of homeowners and builders.
Log homes are also very functional, providing warmth and comfort to people living inside. When properly sealed, the structure can effectively keep draft and strong gusts out. Logs that are dried well can also stay strong even with the presence of moisture, mud, snow, grime, dust, etc. The thickness of the wood keeps people inside safe against wild animals like wolves, bears, etc. People today can even enjoy electricity and plumbing and even install modern fixtures like a Jacuzzi, indoor pools, a fireplace or an indoor garden.
Log homes are also very eco-friendly. The materials used and the process required consumes less energy compared to modern buildings and houses made of concrete and steel. The structure also boasts of being low-maintenance and the house does not burn easily because of the solid logs. During cases of fire, wood might only suffer surface burns, giving people enough time to put the flame down. Log walls can also be provided with insulation materials that keep people inside warm. Aside from that, log walls naturally provide insulation. The inside of the home can stay warm during winter, and can naturally cool off during hot periods. Log homes can be built in different places and areas. These are even available in other countries like Thailand, the Middle East, Europe and Canada.
Building a log home can be quite pricey today, unlike before when trees and logs were everywhere and transporting the logs was not a problem. Once moisture build up sets in, log homes can be quite expensive and time-consuming to maintain. Other people would opt to replace portions of the log or whole logs, which can be very expensive. The construction process can be quite dangerous because of the heavy logs, until everything is complete. Logs are also susceptible to mites, beetles, fungi and termites. Treatment must be done regularly on the wood to get long lasting results.
We’re probably all aware that using solar energy will help battle global warming, even if we don’t quite understand how. However, it’s not just about saving cash on your electric bill. Before spending your cash, you need to be aware that there a small number of downsides also.
The long run savings promises are likely the strongest attraction for individuals getting solar panels. By installing solar energy panels, you will not have to pay monthly bills for electrical energy which can save you cash. Although reaching that point is not a cheap experience. Yes, you end up with free energy, but your monthly savings, for at least a while, will go towards recovering your substantial up front price for the solar panels and the installation. Your monthly financial savings is apparently crucial to how long before you really enjoy the 100% free power, and so, if your monthly bill is big, it’s going to take less time than if you have a minimal electricity bill. Some assistance with the up front price tag might be forthcoming from the government if it is one of those that rewards switching to solar power.
The second most crucial thing going for solar energy is the fact that it does not harm the environment. Fossil fuels, the conventional sources of power, are burned and give off greenhouse gases in such volume that they cannot be naturally reused, and end up harming our environment and our health – solar does none of these things. The immediate consequence is that neither global warming nor acid rain is added to. Solar energy is sustainable and inexhaustible as the sun keeps on to emit energy and will continue to do so for a very long time.
Likewise, solar energy is quite discreet as it can be installed on the top of buildings, meaning it’s not an eyesore – unlike wind turbines. Nonetheless, if you have solar panels on the ground, they can affect the landscape just like wind turbines, so it’s essential to think about their location and placement. You need to also be sure they’re installed somewhere that receives lots of sunlight, otherwise they’re pretty wasted. In addition, solar panels are quiet and make no smell, so draw no attention in this fashion.
Solar energy systems don’t demand upkeep, except for initial installation and they will last for years, which means you can set them up and leave them there for decades. But, one issue is that nighttime means “lights out” for solar energy. To have energy in dark times, you can put in a battery, or other back-up system. This calls for extra cash, but the solar energy can charge the batteries so you won’t need to pay for recharging them. Just be sure to invest in a good, small deep cycle battery charger.
If you’re looking for another source of energy, solar is a really great pick. It will cost you a little to set it up, but afterwards it is going to save you money in the long term. Added to this, there is no damaging effect on the environment. If you’re looking to lessen your energy costs and care about the environment, then solar energy appears to be the the way to go.
Putting in a new kitchen may be one of the priciest home projects you are likely to carry out today. Your kitchen and indeed your bathroom tend to be the 2 most expensive areas to renovate. In earlier times these two rooms would be left basically untouched for a long time yet now people love to carry on modernizing just about every few years. No more kitchens made to go on for 25 years; at the moment we must have the very latest styles and fashions and keep updating.
With respect to any kitchen redesign individuals are searching for ways to customize the look and feel of the area but in a cost effective way. Instead of a total redesign a lot more people will in fact contemplate only updating the existing kitchen. Have a quick look at two commonly used methods to make it happen; replacing kitchen doors and kitchen door refacing. Both of them are really quite different therefore let’s think about what exactly these are and then which may be best for your family.
Kitchen cabinet door refacing is precisely what its name suggests – fitting a different skin covering onto the current doors. It’s usually accomplished by gluing a very thin sheet made of wood, known as a veneer, to the kitchen cabinet doors and drawers. It’s a product supplied by expert companies or if you are brave, you can find do-it-yourself sets to complete the job. These kitchen door veneers help you to get a new style and color for your kitchen storage units with no need to change everything. It’s a low cost method however in my estimation seldom looks great. There are specific difficulties with this process. To successfully reface all of the cupboard doors is a skillful project not realistically tailored to a typical owner of a house. Most people will need to pay someone professional to do the job. If this is the case and you need to pay to have the job done, you could have probably have paid a little more and replaced the cabinet doors in the first instance. We also have the matter of the new veneer faces lasting long term — they can often begin to peel at the edges and can damage easily before long.
Kitchen door replacement would be the more advantageous solution for most of us. In the first place this technique seems to be more costly than refacing but many people could do the work themselves saving quite a bit on the installation expenses. You only need exact measuring and a few general do it yourself skills. The old kitchen doors are usually effortless to take off and so long as you get the precise shapes and sizes the brand new cupboard doors should go on without any difficulty. The work should be quick and easy for most people. Kitchen door replacement is seen as the superior, long-term choice that will still help save a lot of cash versus upgrading your entire kitchen.
These two approaches require the old units to generally be in a good order. They also tend to be suitable with kitchen renovation in which the kitchen cabinetry isn’t being moved. When you need to switch everything around and start to move cabinets, you really should consider a full new kitchen. To add to the changes you could swap the door handles, which sometimes can have a great impact on the whole style. If you want to create even more changes to the appearance of the kitchen you can easily switch work tops, sinks, taps and then the ceramic tiles and general decor. It depends on exactly how much work you’re able to handle or are willing to pay for. Kitchen door replacement is usually the most affordable answer in the end, refacing may succeed as a cheap short-term fix but in the end you might end up paying more.
Michael Orr writes for All My Home Needs.com
There are several medical conditions and situations that are considered to be underlying causes of Candida Overgrowth. There are also several situations, in which Candida Overgrowth is considered to be the underlying cause of a condition. This is an issue that requires much further study; there are few experts who can come to an agreement. There are also few sufferers of Candida Overgrowth that can agree on the intricate relationship that Candida may have with other conditions they suffer from. Even though research into this subject has been ongoing for years the debate is still on and no firm conclusions have been reached.
First of all, the one thing that is known for a fact; is that Candida Albicans mutation to bad yeast that causes infections is caused initially by frequent or prolonged use of antibiotics. These drugs cause changes to take place in the Candida yeast and it begins to cause infection in the body inside and out.
Diabetes is a prime example of this debate. Some believe that Candida could be an underlying cause of Diabetes; others believe Diabetes may contribute to the Candida Albicans infection. There is no doubt that Diabetes can contribute to the infections caused by Candida Albicans yeast. Diabetes is high blood sugar, and sugar is the primary food of yeast. There are, however, no clear explanations of how Candida could be an underlying cause of the Diabetes.
Some conditions can cause Candida Albicans to spread more rapidly such as, a weakened immune system; of course, in this instance any infection would spread more rapidly, and the patient would be more susceptible to catch other illnesses, simply due to their weakened condition. When Candida Albicans infection spreads to the brain it can cause neurological symptoms. Does this make it an underlying cause of mental illness?
Another situation involving Candida Albicans that is very complicated and cannot really be explained is Candida’s relationship to sexually transmitted disease. Both men and women are subject to Candida infection in the genitals; either vaginal Candida for women or penile for men. Candida is not considered by experts to be a sexually transmitted disease or STD. However, it can be passed to a partner during sexual intercourse. In addition, the symptoms are extremely similar, in one case almost identical, to some STDs; and, in at least one STD infection, the Candida yeast is usually found, even though the official cause of the STD is a virus. STDs are also treated with antibiotics, which may account for the presence of Candida since antibiotics are the official cause of this infection. Confused yet?
There are many who have had recurring or consistent bouts of Candida Overgrowth for years; that firmly believe Candida is the underlying cause of all of their other health problems, serious or not; medical conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, depression and a whole host of others. Can this be true? Possibly; not nearly enough is known about Candida Overgrowth or about its relationship to other conditions in which its presence has been detected. For more information on this topic: http://www.howtogetridofcandida.net.
In this current economy customers still desire quality, but they want to also maximize their dollars. For large log homes there has been a trend towards purchasing just the log home shell from the manufacturer. Then they buy the rest of the material necessary to finish the home from local suppliers. This is in opposition to buying log cabin kits or log home kits. So let’s look at why this is not such a bad idea, but also what items you need to be careful purchasing locally.
Almost all large log homes are built with huge handcrafted logs. The use of an 8×8 milled log on a 5,000 square foot house simply seems out of place. With that much investment the homeowner wants more of a charming and unique home. So we will focus on the handcrafted log costs.
A handcrafted log home shell ranges in price from about $45 to $55 a square foot. A typical shell will include the Scandinavian Scribed exterior walls, some interior log walls, the log or timber roof system, log support posts, log staircase for the inside of the home, and railing for the loft edge and one side of the interior log shell. Other inclusions which are sometimes added are extra matching log railing for exterior porches and balconies, and log siding for the outside of the gable ends of the home and the dormers. Handcrafted logs are hard to match, so purchasing matching log siding is a good idea if you plan to finish the gables and dormers of the log home exactly match the stacked logs.
Another item which you may want to purchase directly from the log home company is the windows. Log home walls are very thick so finding windows to fit is not always and easy task. A window must be measured based on the rough opening. Also the window must be made with an extended jamb. A thirteen inch thick log is beveled back around the window opening and door openings, but still a ten inch jamb may be required. One customer from North Carolina in the Summer of 2010 purchased a log home shell from a company located in Washington that the original owner had defaulted on purchasing. The new owner got a very discounted price on the shell but he had a very hard time finding windows to match the pre-cut shell. If you purchase your windows through the log home company then you will be sure that they are guaranteed to fit properly and snugly.
Often we are asked about logs home with chinking. Log homes with the Scandinavian Full Scribe method are more expensive than large log homes that need to be chinked. About 50% more labor is required for log home shells built with full scribing. Chinked logs are only cut flat on top and bottom so that they can be stacked. There is no mating of the logs over a curved surface. Instead chinking seals the cracks between the logs. This is an inferior method and always leaves customers with future problems in their home. So do yourself a favor and select log home builders with many years of experience and a passion for high quality log home shells.