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3 High-Tech Ways To Secure All Of Your Windows Against Forceful Break-Ins

Posted by on Dec 16, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 3 High-Tech Ways To Secure All Of Your Windows Against Forceful Break-Ins

As home security equipment grows ever more interconnected and powerful at tracking and preventing threats, criminals are turning to more forceful techniques to gain access to homes as quickly as possible. Even the best alarm system and monitoring package in the world can’t respond to a smash and grab that is only a minute and a half long. Securing your windows against brute force attacks with these three high-tech upgrades can prevent crimes from occurring in the first place. Advanced Wire Window Screens Start by replacing your aluminum or vinyl screens designed to keep insects out with advanced steel mesh that resists the most aggressive attacks on your home. Tightly woven steel meshes offer greater resistance to tearing, blunt force, and other attacks against your windows. Couple these screens with shatter resistant glass for maximum security, or use them with your existing windows. These tough window screens are available in all sizes and in multiple colors to match your home’s exterior so you don’t have to sacrifice style for security. For even more use out of each screen, consider alarmed models that integrate sensors into the very wire mesh of the screen itself. Most security systems rely on sensors installed on the glass, which means an open window allows an intruder to enter without tripping anything unless there are motion sensors in the room. By choosing smart screens with sensors built into the metal material, your alarm system will go off if the screens are cut, smashed, removed, or otherwise impaired. Keep in mind that these screens are quite expensive and must integrate with your current security system in order to work. Sensitive Screen and Glass Sensors Even if you don’t have the budget for screens with sensor wires woven into the mesh, you should outfit every ground floor window with a basic sensor that detects when the window is forced open. Basic magnetic sensors are affordable, work with almost every security system used in residential homes, and provide a first line of defense against entry through windows. On top of window and door sensors, consider glass break sensors that react to loud and sudden noises to prepare for brute force break-ins. Tough and Attractive Shutters Finally, consider shutters made of metal to protect your home from burglars when you’re away for more than a few hours. Automated shutters roll down to conceal your windows whenever you’re not home, or you can choose economical manual shutters that you only use when away on vacation or a business trip. Solid barriers deter crime both psychologically and...

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The Dangers Of Rust On Your Iron Fencing (And How To Prevent It From Happening Again)

Posted by on Nov 27, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on The Dangers Of Rust On Your Iron Fencing (And How To Prevent It From Happening Again)

Iron fencing can last a lifetime if it is properly cared for from the very beginning. Unfortunately, even the sturdy construction of iron fencing can’t resist the destructive power of rust. Here is how rust can attack your iron fencing and how you can keep it from serious damage. Understanding How Rust Works Rust is a problem that affects iron fencing due to its exposure to the elements. While all iron fencing receives specialized anti-rust treatments, these can begin to wear away over time. Eventually, your iron fencing will likely start showing signs of rust. The shocking thing about rust is how quickly it can begin forming. Whenever water is exposed to iron, the water will combine with the carbon dioxide in the air to make a very weak acid. This acid will then begin to work on the surface of the iron to dissolve the iron into a different form called iron oxide. This causes a variety of chemical reactions that begin creating rust. Stopping Iron Dead In Its Tracks To remove rust from your iron fencing (and to keep it from spreading any further) follow this simple process: Identify the location of rust across the surface of your fencing – be sure to pay special attention to hard-to-reach areas Carefully scrape away the rust with a wire brush and to eliminate any old paint that may be lingering on the iron fencing Sand the surface with a coarse-grit sandpaper, especially on the rusted areas – wash away the rust with a wet rag Scrub a commercial rust neutralizer across the surface of the fencing to neutralize the rust and keep it from spreading After finishing up with this process, you can add a rust-resistant spray across the surface of the fencing that will keep it from rusting in the future. You can add a sealant that won’t mask the texture of your iron fencing or you can paint it instead. Paint Can Protect Your Fence From Rust What are the benefits of painting your ironing fence instead of adding a clear rust-sealant? The biggest reason would be altering the color and texture of the fence to one that matches your home. That’s a benefit you can’t get from clear sealant. Paint also forms a powerful protecting layer against rust that can last for years. The best paint to add are oil-based ones that contain rust-inhibition pigments. These not only protect the surface of the iron, but literally soak into the surface of the iron to prevent water from absorbing into the surface. Inspecting your iron fencing and performing spot repairs to the paint or sealant can help keep rust away for years. To learn more about protecting your iron fencing from the elements, talk to a fencing contractor. Click here to continue reading more...

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Selecting The Right Filter For Your Air Conditioner

Posted by on Nov 1, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Selecting The Right Filter For Your Air Conditioner

Access to cool air inside the home is a top priority for homeowners who live in warm climates. This cool air is provided by an air conditioning unit which converts the warm air outside into cooled air for homeowners to enjoy. Removing any dirt or debris from the warm air before it circulates through the air conditioner is important when it comes to maintaining the quality of your AC unit. Air filters play a critical role in AC maintenance, but it can be challenging to determine which type of filter is best suited to meet your needs. Here are three tips you can use to help you determine which type of air filter to put in your home’s AC unit in the future. 1. When you need affordability, go with a fiberglass filter. If you don’t have a lot of money to spend on your AC unit’s air filter, then investing in a fiberglass filter could be a great option. These filters are designed to be disposable, so they are manufactured as affordably as possible. You will pay less for a fiberglass filter up front, but you must ensure that you replace the filter on schedule to guarantee that the air coming into your air conditioner is as clean as possible to prevent potential performance problems. Experts suggest replacing disposable AC filters at least once every month to ensure your AC unit is properly maintained. 2. When you want to reduce waste, go with an electrostatic filter. If your primary concern is reducing the amount of waste your AC unit generates, then a disposable filter that needs to be replaced often can be counterproductive. Electrostatic filters work to create a static charge that attracts dust, dirt, and other contaminant particles from the warm air being sucked into your AC unit. Most electrostatic filters can be washed, allowing you to reuse them time after time. This ability to be reused will reduce the amount of waste associated with running your AC unit in the future. 3. When health is a concern, go with an electronic filter. Many people suffer from allergies and asthma. These respiratory problems can be exacerbated by contaminated air within the home. To ensure that the cool air being circulated through your home is as clean as possible, you may want to install an electronic filter. These filters rely on electricity to positively charge particles within the air. These particles are then attracted to the negative element within the electric filter, allowing them to work at up to a 94% efficiency rate. Selecting the right air filter for your AC unit is critical when it comes to ensuring proper performance. Be sure to identify your primary concern, and select the filter that is best suited to address your needs. For more information, contact local professionals like Thompson Heating & Air Conditioning...

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Preparing Vacant Land For Your New, Sustainable Lifestyle

Posted by on Oct 14, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Preparing Vacant Land For Your New, Sustainable Lifestyle

Buying a plot of land to build your own home and grow your own food is an exciting first step on the path to a sustainable lifestyle. Now the real fun begins – along with plenty of hard work. But before you move forward, the land must be excavated. Heavy equipment will be used to clear unwanted vegetation, move earth for proper contouring and drainage, and level the ground where the house will stand. The instructions you and your building contractor give the excavators will give you a jump-start on creating the efficient, sustainable lifestyle you desire. What to Clear and What to Keep Brambles, overgrowth, and debris all need to be removed from the property. Some trees may need to go, also, to make room a garden and orchard, the house, and other structures. If there’s a healthy shade tree or magnificent evergreens that you want to keep, make sure that the tree roots are properly protected from damage by the excavation and construction process. Identify natural features such as a pond, a meadow, or a small stand of trees that you want to integrate into your property layout. Mark these features with bright colored stakes and construction tape to prevent them from being disturbed during excavation. Grading and Topsoil Preservation The land where your house and other structures are to be built must be leveled and the surrounding areas contoured to an angle sufficient for proper drainage. The grading process is likely to displace nutrient rich topsoil. With proper planning, the topsoil may be moved to areas where you plan to grow an expansive garden. Areas where brush and tree roots have been removed, and areas where the soil has been graded are susceptible to erosion. Some excavation companies offer erosion control services, but you may also take the do-it-yourself route using ground-cover plants or temporary erosion fencing. Specific Excavation Needs Ensure that your excavation plans include grading, filling and leveling for the specific activities you’ll need to maintain your sustainable lifestyle. For example, you’ll need extra space leveled for parking a small tractor, for a workshop and garden shed, and for a barn if you expect to raise any livestock. You may also need soil cut from one area of the property and moved to another for planting an orchard. And if you don’t have a natural pond on the property, now is the time to have one dug that you can stock with fish at a later date. For more information, talk to a professional like Gerard Excavation...

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How To Avoid Damaging Your Custom Home

Posted by on Sep 27, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on How To Avoid Damaging Your Custom Home

After spending so much time designing your custom home to perfection, the last thing you want to do is cause damage to your home that you will then have to deal with. With careful preparation, you can move your belongings into your new home safely. Have A Floor Plan Create a floor plan that includes where each piece of furniture will go. Then, you can immediately move your furniture into the appropriate room efficiently, reducing the odds that you will bump into and damage something. Prepare For Moving Large Furniture Large pieces of furniture are the most likely to cause damage to your home. These include couches, beds, and dining room tables. Before moving these belongings, make sure to measure doorways and hallways to make sure that they will fit through. Move slowly when you are transporting these pieces of furniture through doorways. Make sure you have a lot of friends or family members to volunteer to help when moving these large items because they will sometimes be awkward and heavy, increasing the chances that your furniture will collide with something else and cause damage. If possible, dismantle large objects both so they are not so heavy and so they are easier to fit through doorways. Use Blankets And Cardboard An easy way to move furniture is to slide it across the floor. However, a problem with this approach is that sliding furniture across the floor can cause it to become scratched. Placing blankets underneath your furniture can help you avoid damaging both the furniture and the floor and will also make it easier to move your furniture. If you have extra blankets, drape them over bannisters and other exposed, hard objects that your furniture might bump into. Cardboard is another alternative for protecting the floor. Perfectly Pack Your Boxes Make sure that all moving boxes are perfectly packed. Even if a box seems harmless, if it suddenly comes open, your belongings might spill onto the floor and damage it. Make sure that you use an adequate amount of tape to hold your boxes closed. Use enough padding within the box because this not only protects your belongings, but also protects the floor if the box is dropped onto the floor. Many of your belongings, if they become damaged in the move, can easily be replaced. However, some damage that you may have done to your custom home can be expensive to repair, so make sure to follow these...

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Concerned About The Rising Cost Of Groceries? Edible Landscaping To The Rescue!

Posted by on Sep 2, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Concerned About The Rising Cost Of Groceries? Edible Landscaping To The Rescue!

If you shop for groceries on a regular basis, you have no doubt noticed that food prices are rising. In fact, according to data from the Consumer Price Index (CPI), food prices have risen 31.5% nationally in the ten year span between 2005 and 2015, and the trend is continuing. In an attempt to hold the line on family food budgets, many consumers have begun to take advantage of sales and bulk pricing to stock up on staple foods while continuing to struggle with the rising cost of fresh foods, such as vegetables, berries and fruit. If you are one of these families, adding edible plants to the landscaping in your yard can be a great way to offset these costs while enjoying more healthy, delicious produce. Here’s what you need to do to get started. Design a plan that fits your space Edible landscaping is a great option for most households and especially for those who lack the space or time needed to till, plant and care for a traditional garden plot. To get started, first look at your existing landscaping and determine the amounts of sunlight and shade for each area and what plants you might want to remove to make more room for food-producing ones. Using graph paper to make a rough drawing of your yard and both your current landscaping and the plants you want to grow is a great way to help you determine where to plant and what changes might need to be made before you begin planting. Choose the right plants for your space and your family In order to succeed with turning your current landscaping into edible landscaping, it is best to start with a modest number of plants and add a few additional ones each year. Choose a mix of plants that are both easy to grow from seed each year (like greens, radishes, beans, squashes and melons) and plants that will continue to produce delicious food year after year from a single planting (like berry bushes, grape vines, apple trees, Egyptian onions, herbs and edible greens such as dandelion). When planning the location for each type of plant, remember to use the information you collected while studying the amount of sun and shade your yard gets in order to locate them where they will grow best. And always remember to focus on planting the vegetables, fruits and berries that your family likes instead of wasting precious space on those that may be pretty or easy to grow but will not be eaten. Find ways to add even more food value to your landscaping If you are having trouble deciding on which edible landscaping plants to grow or how to locate them correctly in your yard, it may be time to contact a landscaping professional for advice. They can help you make necessary changes to address problem areas and help you understand how to group certain plant species together to make them more productive in your...

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Understanding The Key Components Of A Condensing Furnace

Posted by on Aug 16, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Understanding The Key Components Of A Condensing Furnace

When you set out to buy a furnace, you need to make sure that you choose the most efficient model that you can buy. This is the only way to make sure that you save as much money as possible on your monthly heating bills. When it comes to choosing the most efficient furnace that money can buy, it helps to know what components to look for.  The Variable-Speed Blower A traditional furnace has a fan motor with one setting—full blast. This means that your furnace comes on at full capacity and pumps air into your home until it achieves the target furnace setting, at which point it turns off. This is akin to racing your car through stop-and-go traffic; to put in plainly, you waste a lot of electricity gunning the motor. A highly efficient furnace will have a variable speed motor which allows it to come on at full capacity when necessary but to then run at a lower setting to maintain the temperature in your home. Just as motoring along at a consistent, low speed is the best way to save money on motor fuel, it is always the best way to lower your electricity bills.  A Second Heat Exchanger The second key that you should look for is a unit with two heat exchangers. This is important because even modern mid-efficiency furnaces will only have one heat exchanger and will have the need to vent fumes out of your house through a vent pipe. Thus, the heat exchanger is designed to leave just enough heat in the exhaust created by burning a fuel to allow that exhaust to rise out of a vent pipe. The heat left in the exhaust is simply wasted. A second exchanger allows a condensing furnace to condense the water vapor created by burning fuel so that the other gases can dissolve into the water. The exhaust can then drain out of your furnace through a drain tube and a drain cut into your floor. This design allows a condensing furnace to achieve efficiency levels of up to 98%.  When choosing a furnace, it is important to remember that it must use both electricity and fuel efficiently. Not every furnace with a variable-speed motor will also be a condensing furnace, and the reverse is also true. Thus, it is important to sit down with a heating contractor and make sure that you are actually getting a furnace that will help you save on electricity bills as well as natural gas...

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3 Reasons To Sealcoat Your Driveway

Posted by on Jul 28, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 3 Reasons To Sealcoat Your Driveway

Investing in a new driveway is an expense that many homeowners are unable to bear. Unfortunately, a driveway that isn’t pristine can negatively affect the curb appeal of your home. If you feel that your driveway needs some attention, but you can’t afford to invest in new asphalt, then sealcoating could be a great option. Here are three reasons to sealcoat your driveway in the future. 1. Sealcoating can extend the life of your driveway. The asphalt used to pave your driveway can begin to crack over time. When water gets into these cracks, serious damage can occur. Water expands when frozen, so any water inside small cracks in your driveway will begin to enlarge these cracks. By making the choice to have a sealcoating applied to your driveway, you introduce a waterproof barrier to your asphalt. Preventing water from seeping into the cracks of your driveway will help extend the life of your asphalt well into the future. 2. Sealcoating can prevent contamination. The same waterproof barrier that allows sealcoating to keep water out of the cracks in your asphalt can also be beneficial in reducing the amount of contamination to the soil beneath your driveway. Fluids like antifreeze, gasoline, and motor oil can leak out of your car and onto the surface of your driveway. Without a protective coating, the asphalt of your driveway is porous. Contaminants from spilled liquids can seep through the pores of the asphalt and into the soil beneath your driveway. Making the choice to have your driveway sealcoated will eliminate potential contamination in the future. 3. Sealcoating minimizes maintenance. Rainstorms, high winds, or melting snow can leave your driveway looking dingy. Applying a sealcoat to the surface of your driveway’s asphalt can provide you with an easy way to keep your driveway clean in the future. Since sealcoating creates a smooth surface, running water can easily wash away dirt and debris from your driveway. Without a sealcoat, the porous surface of the asphalt can cause dirt and debris to accumulate on your driveway, requiring you to manually remove it. If you are looking for a simple way to reduce the amount of maintenance required to keep your driveway looking nice, invest in sealcoating, Taking advantage of the benefits that sealcoating can provide will help your breathe new life into your driveway without incurring the expense of installing new asphalt. Sealcoating will extend the life of your driveway, prevent contamination, and reduce the amount of maintenance required to keep your home’s curb appeal intact. For more information, consider contacting companies like LSC Construction Services,...

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Solar Shingles: A New Way To Harness The Power Of Sunlight

Posted by on Jul 12, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Solar Shingles: A New Way To Harness The Power Of Sunlight

Are you looking for a way to reduce your electricity bills while also being more kind to the environment? Solar panels are an option, but an even better option for many homeowners is solar shingles. Here’s a closer look at these shingles and the benefits they offer. What are solar shingles? Solar shingles are similar to solar panels, but instead of being mounted on large stands, they are incorporated into your roof in place of regular shingles. They are flat and have a slight sheen to them. From close up, you can tell that they’re not regular asphalt shingles, but from a distance, you’d have to really be paying attention to tell the difference. How do solar shingles work? Simply put, solar shingles harness the sun’s energy and convert it into electricity. This electricity is fed back into the electric grid. In most cases, your electric company will keep track of how much electricity your solar shingles feed into the grid and also how much electricity you use. If you use more than your solar shingles produce, you’ll receive a bill. If you produce more than you use, you’ll get a check from the electric company instead. Some homeowners decide to go completely off-grid, detaching their homes from the electric company’s lines and only relying on their solar shingles for power. This may be a viable option if you live in an area that’s sunny and warm year-long, but it’s not feasible if you have a cold, cloudy season. What are the benefits of solar shingles over solar panels? Though alternative energy is becoming more prominent, solar panels are still not common among homeowners. On most streets, if you mount solar panels on your home, your home will become instantly known as “the home with solar panels.” You’ll stick out – and that’s not a good thing in some neighborhoods. Solar shingles, on the other hand, are less obvious. People may notice that your roof looks a bit different, but your home won’t really stand out, so your neighbors won’t be likely to complain that your home’s odd appearance is harming their property value. Solar panels are also quite heavy, which means they’re not an option for most older homes with roof supports that aren’t as strong as they could be. Solar shingles weigh about the same as regular shingles, so they’re safe to put on most any roof. To learn more, talk with a roofing contractor from a company like Bosworth...

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5 Ways To Get Greater Energy Efficiency From A Central Air Conditioner

Posted by on Jun 27, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 5 Ways To Get Greater Energy Efficiency From A Central Air Conditioner

Do you avoid using your central air conditioning system as much as possible because it always causes your energy bill to skyrocket? If you are ready to start enjoying your central air conditioner with better energy efficiency, there are several things that you can do. Take a look at the list of tips that are in this article to learn how you can get more energy efficiency from your central air conditioning system. 1. Get the Air Ducts Cleaned Clean air ducts are crucial when it comes to having an energy-efficient central air conditioning system. No matter how good of shape the other parts of the system are, energy efficiency will be low if air is unable to fully flow through the ducts. You must get the ducts cleaned for dirt, mold, and possibly even rodent removal. 2. Prevent the Sun from Shining Through Windows If there are shades, blinds or curtains hanging at your windows, make sure that they are closed during the times that the central air conditioner is running. It is ok to leave the window treatments open if the sun is covered by clouds. Just make sure the sun does not shine inside of your house, as it creates heat that interferes with the coldness of the air conditioner.   3. Get the Blower Fan Inspected The blower fan to your central air conditioning system is important because it sends air through the air ducts. You might want to get the blower fan inspected to find out if it fully functions to produce a sufficient amount of air. A problematic blower fan can be repaired or replaced. 4. Make Sure Your Home Windows Are in Good Shape It is wise to invest in new home windows if the ones that you have are not in good shape. You want to make sure the windows are able to fully close, and that there are no cracks in the glass that allows air to seep in or out. Getting energy efficient windows installed can help with saving money when your central air conditioner is on. Opt for multiple panes of glass and argon gas for the best level of efficiency. 5. Get the Evaporator Coil Cleaned You must understand that the evaporator coil is the area of your central air conditioning system that creates cold air. However, the air can stay warm if the evaporator coil is dirty. The reason the coil must be cleaned is because warm air has to touch the metal in order for cooling to take place, but dirt creates a barrier. Hire a contractor to inspect your central air conditioning system and find out if any repairs are necessary. For air conditioning repairs, contact a company such as Aggressive Mechanical...

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