Browse Month: February 2020

Alternatives to Central Air

Although it might feel worth it on a blisteringly hot summer day, a central air conditioner can truly burn homeowners up in operating costs. Depending on the size and shape of the house, and on the finances of the homeowner, these convenient air-conditioning systems may not always be the ideal choice when it comes to home cooling. The frugal homeowner can rest assured that there are multiple money-saving alternatives to central AC units.

Window Units

Window unit air conditioners can be installed in any room with an accessible window. Instead of paying to cool an entire house, window air conditioners allow the homeowner to prioritize only those rooms that most require air conditioning. The power costs of cooling just one or two bedrooms, as opposed to a whole two-story house, are going to be more budget-friendly. To save more money, homeowners can purchase Energy Star-certified models. Window unit air conditioners using the Energy Star label use 15 percent less energy than traditional window unit air conditioners.

Natural Ventilation

Homeowners can prevent the high electrical costs associated with central air conditioning by completely doing away with conventional air conditioning and, instead, learning to capitalize on their home’s natural ventilation. Although optimal ventilation plan will vary from house to house, clever homeowners can cool their homes by simply opening and shutting the ideal windows in appropriate times daily. Generally speaking, opening windows at night will help cool air to circulate in the house. When the cool atmosphere is inside, windows must be shut as the new day starts, to keep the cool air in and the warm air out. Ceiling fans can also boost your comfort level during the daytime.

Heat Reduction

Sometimes a house could be cooled simply by the elimination or diminishing of internal heat sources. Constant usage of ovens, clothes dryers and other heat-generating appliances during the hottest times of the day should be diminished as much as possible. This will help prevent further buildup of heat in the house. Homeowners who would like to keep their homes as trendy as possible — sans air conditioners — must get into the habit of using their “hottest” appliances only during nights or mornings, once the house temperature is at its coolest.

Box Fans

Timeless box enthusiasts can act as a money-saving choice to both central air conditioners and window unit models. Like window AC units, box fans, that can help circulate the air by supplying a cooling breeze, could be placed in only the most important rooms of the house. Depending on the design of the house, box fans can be used in concert to make heat ventilation: One could be used to suck in air from a lower, cooler part of the house, with the other one placed to blow air from a warmer section of the house. Window box fans could be turned inward and placed within an open window, and then used at night to “suck in” as much cool night air as possible. That window could be closed during the day to keep the resulting cool air inside.

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The way to Get Nicotine Stains Off Wood Paneling

Whether you smoke, then live with a smoker or reside in a home formerly inhabited by a smoker, you may be faced with the task of removing allergens stains from wood paneling. If you plan to paint nicotine-stained paneling, you’ll want to remove the stains prior to applying primer, because they may show through the paint. Gentle acidic cleansers help remove smoke stains and come back wood paneling to its former shade.

Apply a few drops of dishwashing liquid to a damp sponge and scrub the paneling. Rinse the sponge as you move and wring it out well to avoid saturating the paneling using water.

Rinse the walls using clean water by dampening and wringing out the sponge. Scrub thoroughly to remove all the soap.

Dry the walls immediately after rinsing by wiping them down with a soft rag.

Open the windows or turn on a fan to ventilate the room. Wear a set of rubber gloves.

Pour undiluted white vinegar, lemon juice or wax on a soft rag or sponge.

Wipe the walls again, starting at the bottom and working upward in small sections to stop drips.

Rinse the walls using plain water.

Dry the walls using a soft rag. Duplicate the vinegar or ammonia cleansing if necessary before the nicotine stains are gone.

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Does an Old Furnace have to be Replaced?

Unless your furnace has discontinued completely and can’t be mended, deciding when to replace it’s a personal decision. Most furnaces have an anticipated lifespan of 16 to 25 years, depending on the model. There are some general guidelines that can help you determine if your furnace is ready to be replaced.

Barely Breathing

Obvious indicators that your furnace needs to be replaced are repairs that total more than half of the cost of replacement, or being unable to keeping your home comfortable. Other signs are era, efficacy, higher than normal utility invoices and frequent repairs. When your chimney is reaching the end of its anticipated lifespan, even if it’s still running with problems, it’s time to begin planning ahead for replacement so that you aren’t caught unprepared. Modern units are more efficient than old ones, yet to calculate whether you will save any money on ports, add up a winter’s worth of heat bills and multiply by 20 percent. This is the approximate amount you can expect to save each year with a new unit. Utility invoices that have suddenly increased can indicate that your heater isn’t functioning at proper efficacy and may need to be replaced. Small frequent repairs can add up and indicate that each of the components are aging and will need to be replaced. A gas furnace with malfunctioning or worn parts can release harmful carbon monoxide. This isn’t a definitive sign that the furnace ought to be replaced, but the cost and safety of the repairs is an important consideration.

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Heating & Furnace Systems

Furnaces serve as the most frequent dwelling heating system at the United States, as stated by the U.S. Department of Energy. These units heat air inside a central system, then use a series of ducts to distribute air through your home. Knowing the several things that influence heating and furnace systems, as well as the possible alternatives to your home furnace, will be able to help you determine whether that heating system is the best choice for your family.

Furnace Fuels

Furnaces can be powered using a number of fuels. Over half of all U.S. homeowners rely on natural gas for home heating, while 25 percent switch to power to power furnaces and other heating systems, reports that the U.S. Department of Energy. The other 11 percent heat with oil, along with the remainder choose alternate fuels, such as wood, pellets, coal, liquid propane and biomass. Each furnace is generally rated to take only 1 type of fuel, with the exception of multifuel furnaces, that can be built to take care of wood, coal and biomass products like corn or peat.

Heating and Furnace System Prices

The price of getting a new door represents just a portion of the total cost of purchasing and operating a furnace to heat your home. Furnace operating costs are determined not only by the type of fuel used to power the unit but also by the efficiency of this unit. The annual fuel utilization efficiency reveals the efficacy by which every furnace operates, and the higher the AFUE, the more efficient the furnace. An AFUE of 90 percent means that 90 percent of their gas burned by the furnace is going to be transformed into heat while the remaining 10 percent is wasted via combustion or alternative processes. As stated by the U.S. Department of Energy, electric furnaces have a minimum AFUE of 78 percent, though most variety from 95 percent to 100 percent efficacy. Gas-powered units have a minimum AFUE of 80 percent, with the minimum AFUE for oil furnaces at 83 percent. Condensing units, which compress water vapors during their surgery, can have an efficiency rating around 10 percent greater than noncondensing units. While costs for various furnace fuels vary considerably by region and over time, gas, coal and wood represent three of their most economical fuel options as of November 2012, according to the U.S. Energy Information Association (EIA). Wood pellets and corn are the next most economical options, while heating oil and power represent the most expensive ways to power your furnace.


Normally, furnaces were sized according to square footage. This old square footage sizing resulted in furnaces that were much too big for most homes. To cut heating costs and save on equipment, ditch the square footage sizing and choose a trader that will carry out a heat load calculation that will help you size your furnace correctly. The Air Conditioning Contractors of America’s Manual J system reflects the industry standard for sizing heating and cooling units.

Alternative Heating Systems

While furnaces remain the most popular system for home heating, homeowners looking for alternate heating systems can look to boilers or heat pumps. Boilers heat, which is then distributed to baseboard or radiant floor systems to heat the home without using forced air. Like furnaces, they are used only for heating, thus a separate cooling system in required. Heat pumps can be used for heat and cooling, eliminating the need for another furnace and air conditioning system. Unlike furnaces, which heat air, heat pumps bring present heat out of the exterior air to heat the home. These units also operate much more efficiently than comparable electric heaters and can heat the home for less than half of the price of heating with an electric furnace, according to the EIA.

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How to Garden Flowers & Vegetables With

A lawn planted with each type of flower or vegetable separated might look well arranged, but splitting plants contributes to a reliance on herbicides and insecticides. Alternatively, you may plant vegetables and flowers together, using the flowers to attract beneficial insects and insects that will help maintain vegetable insects under control. This does not just mean planting some flowers among your vegetable garden. Many vegetable plants have attractive flowers and leaves, in addition to colorful vegetables that add interest when planted among your flowerbeds. If you fill in the vacant spaces between plants, then you reduce space for weeds to develop.

Match vegetables and flowers in accordance with their water and sunlight demands when selecting companion plants. Vegetables need full sunlight to develop, but this does not necessarily mean that you can only plant flowers that require full sun. Tall plants, like tomatoes, can provide shade for flowers that grow in partial sun or partial shade.

Plant corn in clusters of four short rows as opposed to one long, straight row. Plant morning glories (Ipomoea spp.) , nasturtiums (Tropaeolum majus) or other flowering vines between the corn stalks and train the vines to grow up the stalks.

Plant a path of cucumber and cucumber, picking a combination of green-leaf plants and varieties with red, pink or variegated leaves. Plant the cabbage or lettuce plants about six inches apart. Fill in the spaces between the vegetable plants with annual flowers that match the colors in the vegetable leaves. Petunias (Petunia x hybrida) and pinks (Dianthus plumarius) come in shades of purple and pink that bring out the color of the vegetable leaves. You might also plant a few white flowers that accent the white colors of a vegetable leaves and work as a backdrop to highlight the green, purple and pink vegetable leaves.

Plant kale in your ornamental beds in position of other large-leaf plants, like elephant ear. The large leaves add a sturdy structure to the backyard, however, the ruffled leaves add a delicacy that operates well among flowers.

Surround cucurbit vegetables, such as cantaloupe, watermelon, cucumbers, pumpkins and squash, with a huge array of annual flowers to draw insects into the planting area to ensure pollination and fruit development. These vegetables doesn’t fruit if the flowers are not pollinated. Pepper plants will produce peppers without pollination, but pollination considerably increases the return.

Plant snap peas in flowerbeds instead of decorative flowering vines. Snap peas feature delicate blossom flowers, attractive leaves and twining vines, with the additional advantage of producing edible pods.

Plant a number of marigolds (Tagetes spp.) Throughout any vegetable garden to discourage unwelcome insects that can destroy plants. In frost-free areas, you can develop perennial marigolds for permanent pest control across your vegetables. Canyon marigold (T. campanulata), mystic marigold (T. nelsonii) along with Mexican marigold (T. lemmonii) are typical perennial marigolds. Colors include various shades of orange and yellow, while some blooms might be variegated with various shades of the same color.

Employ a 3- to 4-inch layer of shredded bark mulch around all vegetables and flowers in the garden to minimize weeds. Planting flowers close together between vegetables considerably lowers the amount of weeds, but there remain empty spaces between plants in which weeds can develop. Don’t push the mulch directly against the plant stems and prevent covering the leaves with mulch since this may cause decay.

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The way to Write an Apartment Condition Checklist Guide

When you’re renting out an apartment, then damage most likely will happen, as well as issues from normal wear and tear. Developing a state checklist can help you determine who’s to blame for any issues and who have to cover the repairs — the renter. The best practice is to produce a checklist guide that spells out just what the security deposit is and what damage it will insure, if needed.

Set up two columns on your checklist: one to work with until the tenant moves in and one for after all the tenant’s belongings are moved outside. Leave room for detailed descriptions of every product. Some items might just require a check mark, meaning that they are in tip-top state, while some may require some explanation. Holes in the wall in an earlier tenant’s artwork ought to be noted, for instance, as if worn flooring places in high-traffic places.

List cosmetic items that have to be in tip-top condition when the tenant moves out. This includes the walls in each room, making certain they are free of holes and scrapes; no stains or excessive wear on the carpet or flooring; no broken blinds; and no outside damage to appliances.

Insert livability issues, like that every room needs to be washed — and specify that it means swept, mopped, vacuumed, dusted and also the interior of cupboards and appliances scrubbed — and livable. Add notes to look for exposed wires from where the tenant may have rigged up a new entertainment system or installed new cable lines himself. The apartment shouldn’t have an unpleasant odor, like lingering cigarette smoke or pet odor.

Include conditions about working fixtures and appliances, including kitchen appliances, all faucets and lights, and the heat and air system. These things sometimes malfunction, but it is the tenant’s duty to contact you immediately when he discovers a problem. If the problem exists when you’re performing your move-out checklist, part of the repair may be his duty, based on the wording in your rental.

Examine any outdoor space and add items to your checklist that reflect the tenant’s duty. For instance, balcony railings should be protected with no flaking paint and wooded areas must be well preserved.

Place a basic description of tenant obligations on the checklist. The detailed list ought to be in your rental, but putting information on the checklist provides you an additional layer of security when it is time to maintain his security deposit to cover damage. Give a timeline, like the file has to be completed in just three days of move in and move out. Say that the renter is responsible to keep all areas clean and to notify you immediately of non-working appliances or damage to the apartment. Be aware that the tenant must leave the utilities on till the final walk-through is completed. Not after those rules can result in you maintaining the entire deposit.

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Do Cranberries Grow on a Bush or a Tree?

When you see video of cranberries being harvested, you see individuals in high-waders walking through large, water-filled bogs of floating berries. These berries did not come from a tree or a bush. Instead, they came off a cranberry vine that spreads across the ground in runners throughout the growing season.

American Cranberry

The American cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon) is the type of berry that is grown commercially; once you see cranberries in the store, you’re looking at American cranberries. These grow on plants sometimes called lowbushes, which can be actually woody, perennial vines that send out runners reaching feet. In the spring, vertical stems called uprights sprout up in the runners. These uprights produce flowers, subsequently cranberries in the autumn.

Highbush Cranberry

Frequently mistaken for true cranberries, the highbush cranberry (Viburnum trilobum) is a landscape bush that develops edible fruit in the autumn. This fruit looks and tastes somewhat like a cranberry, but it is not precisely the exact same thing. Additionally, the highbush cranberry plant takes five years or more to bear fruit, unlike the common lowbush variety that takes two years. This makes the lowbush better for commercial production.


Lingonberries (Vaccinium vitis-idaea) are often mistaken for cranberries, but they grow on a bush and taste much more like a cross between blueberries and cranberries. They mature quicker, producing a crop of berries in early summer and another in the autumn.


Cranberries destined for the fresh fruit aisle of your grocery store are harvested much like other fruit, with a picking machine in dry conditions. However, the more dramatic pictures you see of bushels of cranberries addressing the very top of what appears to be a pond is known as wet harvesting, utilized when picking cranberries yearning for sauce, juice, jellies or other recipes. The farmers flooding the cranberry areas with less than a foot water, usually, and run a particular picking machine during the disciplines. A spinning wheel loosens the berries from the vines, and a scooping tool slides along the vines as well as finishes releasing the grasses, which float to the top of the water. This makes them easier to direct to a holding location and transferred into containers to head to food processing plants for sorting and final preparation. Although photos make it appear like there’s deep water covering cranberry bushes, there’s usually only enough to cover the vine’s runners — about 8 to 10 inches.

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