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Keep Your Pool in Tip Top Condition all Year Around

Taking care of your pool is vital, not just to keep it looking good, but also to make sure it's safe to swim in. To do that, you'll need a variety of pool supplies. You can choose from the absolute bare minimum for pool maintenance, right through a high-level maintenance system. Either way, there are a wide variety of products to suit. You can even add in some extras such as a pool cover, ladder or slide.

The main priority is to keep the pool clean. The first step is to focus on the pool water. Generally, something like chlorine, which acts as an oxidizer and sanitizer, is more than sufficient. It keeps the water clean by burning up any organic material that's present, and this also helps to reduce the load for the pool filters. You also need to keep an eye on the pH balance of the water, as well as a level of alkalinity. A basic water testing kit can do this for you. It's also worth looking for calcium hardness and stability. If you find a problem using a testing kit, you can fix it immediately.

Swimming pools have interior walls and floors, and over time these will get dirty and slimy if you don't keep them clean. It's possible to buy a manual swimming pool vacuum system, which will do a perfectly good job as long as you're willing to put in the time to clean the pool. Nowadays, however, it makes sense to invest in an automatic pool cleaner, as they've become a great deal more affordable. Plus it means you can spend your leisure hours enjoying the pool, rather than vacuuming it!

Choosing the right pump for your pool is important, because if it's the wrong size, you'll either waste a lot of energy or it won't work properly. Generally, you should choose a pump capable of pumping the entire capacity of your swimming pool in about eight hours. You also need to choose a filtration system. The three main types are sand, cartridge and D.E. Talk to a swimming pool expert to find out more about the pros and cons of each one, or else get online and do your research there so that you can decide which one is right for you.

Most people want to heat their pool, so some extra pool supplies will be needed for that to happen. Pool heaters have become a lot more energy efficient, dependable and durable over the years. They've even become more high-tech, with some including advanced features like a freeze protector or an integrated timer.

A pool cover isn't an essential, but it's still a good idea. Even if you only use it in winter, it can be worthwhile. That's particularly the case if small children can gain access to the pool. If that's likely to happen, you should probably choose a pool cover that's quick and easy to put in place at any time.

When you first install a pool, it can feel you're spending a lot of money on pool supplies to get started. The good news is that things get much cheaper once you settle into a pattern of ongoing maintenance. If you choose wisely, however, your pool supplies will last a long time and give you a clean pool to enjoy for many years to come.


How to beautify the Concrete Floors in your Home?

Concrete is the foundation of every home building project. Its durability has made it crucial for constructing a home. But, if you do not like the plain, grey concrete floors in your home, there is help.

How to Beautify the Concrete Floors in your Home?

Concrete material has great functional value. However, when you compare it to other materials such as stone and paver, it has less decorative value. If you want your home to look beautiful, you can contact an experienced concrete contractor and choose any of the following choices for beautifying the concrete floors in your home:

Resurfaced Concrete

If you opt for resurfaced concrete, the concrete contractor will fix the cracks in the floor. Once the floor is repaired, he will use a polymer concrete resurfacing material and apply it on the existing floor of your basement, patio, driveway, etc. Choose an experienced contractor because he will be able to create different patterns such as flagstone, brick, wooden planks, etc., and beautify the concrete floors efficiently.

The technique of concrete resurfacing is useful only if the concrete floor is not damaged. If there are large cracks in the floor, the overlaying material will not remain robust for a long time.

Stained Concrete

If you choose to stain a concrete floor, you can transform a boring floor to a beautiful piece of art. The concrete contractor will stain a cured concrete floor with an array of different colors. Following are the most common types of stains used by the contractor:

Acid Stain - It is the most common type of stain used for staining a concrete floor. The acid reacts with the concrete material and gives a unique color to the floor.

Water-Based Acrylic Stain- If the floor has defects, you must opt for water-based acrylic stain because it can hide the cracks effectively.

Dyes - It offers variety of colors and enables you to customize the floor successfully.

Stamped Concrete

If you opt for stamping the concrete, it can help you to decorate the concrete floor beautifully. The concrete can be stamped to remind you of different patterns such as brick, tile, wood, etc. It is an effective way of imitating the beauty of pavers and stone at a reduced cost. Also, if you want to stamp innovative designs and logos on the floor, a concrete contractor can help you with it.

Usually, stamped concrete is ideal for a freshly poured concrete. If you need to stamp an existing concrete floor, do not worry. The contractor will have to add a layer of concrete or overlay mixture to the existing concrete floor before stamping it.

Engraved Concrete

It is a simpler way of adding style to an existing concrete floor. If you opt for it, the concrete contractor will etch patterns into the floor. It is an inexpensive method of adding beauty to a concrete floor. Also, the designs are permanent and don't wear away after years of use.

Concrete material is durable for building a home but its dull grey exterior can be an eyesore for you. If you want to increase its decorative value, you must contact a concrete contractor and discuss the possible choices for beautifying the concrete floors in your home.


Utilize Garden Decor To Change Your Garden From Blah To Stunning

Once you plant a garden, you're transforming a clear parcel of land into an oasis of beauty. To be able to experience the wonder of nature combined with comforts of home, the spirit's longing for grace and beauty is fed by gardens. Trees and plants can make a garden charming on their own, but including garden decor will enhance the landscape. The numerous types of garden decoration each provide a unique function.

Making use of structures such as pillars, gazebos, and arbors can change your garden and make it seem to be significantly larger than it really is. When utilizing these components, you can create the look of a classic garden by growing climbing plants that will cling to the structures. Breeze sculptures and statuaries can insert a look of visibility to your landscape, and also strength or sturdiness. To bring in animals to your garden simply add simple bird feeders or even bird baths. Bringing in birds to your garden will certainly enhance the ambience. Different architectural structures using trees and shrubs helps you to maintain a nice balance. Nature gets to be more friendly and welcoming when together with man made structures.

Using trellises and obelisks will help eliminate those unappealing views and objects that are often prevalent. Obviously, obstructions are unable to usually be averted so a totally perfect view is impossible. However, you could potentially, at least, hide irritating eyesores with a few of these structures. Develop a place to relax with the addition of fountains or ponds. Fountains can make an ideal atmosphere in which to perform meditation. According to your finances, you may want a simple rock fountain at a low-cost, or something sophisticated and grand.

A garden can be experienced anytime of day, particularly when you use some landscape lighting. These types of lights can be set up temporarily on trees or plants to produce whatever atmosphere suits your mood. You may also want to use using lanterns or Christmas lights to light up your garden. Using these lighting fixtures are able to keep your garden safer from strangers. You'll value your garden a lot more if you have some outdoor garden furniture. You'll need a little furniture that you simply enjoy relaxing in so you will want to spend time in your garden. The furniture can also serve as picnic furniture for outdoor barbecues.

Garden decoration is available in enough diverse styles that you can make your own choices to enhance your garden experience your own way. It is possible to obtain it from a garden supply store in your neighborhood or from a landscaping site online. Determine how much money you can invest, pick out the things that suit your needs, and then create a beautiful garden.


Remember The Exterior Of Your Home When You Decorate

The majority of folks like to make their residence a comfortable place to be, especially with the beautifying of the inside. However,you shouldn't just decorate the inside rather than let your personality shine through in your home's exterior too. Just as your kitchen stands out as the center of the inside of your house, finding ways to add your personal mark to your garden and porch are also important. Based on where you live, the outside decor can be more demanding, because of the weather. Give some thought to the way you would like to decorate your courtyard and your outside porch area.

Don't you delight in being with people, like with a barbeque or get-togethers around a pool? Or perhaps you would rather sit quietly in your backyard and enjoy the sounds of nature. You might not possess a pool but more than likely you have an outdoor grill that you can plan everything else around. Outdoor furniture has many options nowadays, and many are weatherproof, so you won't need to be too concerned with them on bad weather days. With such an amazing array to choose from when it comes to outdoor furniture, you should easily be able to get the perfect choice for you.

Despite the fact that an electrical installer had to install outdoor lights in years past, now it is much easier to brighten your outside. A particularly very cost effective method is to utilize solar lights that you can place in different locations so that they will likely be exposed to sunlight which charges them. According to the time of year, brightness, and so forth, they might not last all night, but they do work for many needs. Choosing plant life to use in your landscaping is one of the more typical considerations when you choose your outdoor decorating scheme. Certainly, it's not possible to go wrong with a verdant green lawn, but if you want to add some of your own personality you will want to find some colorful plants. The plants that are picked out can be placed in pots or in the ground. You can utilize attractive planting pots to grow flowers and include them into the actual design.

Maintaining available seating provides a nice touch to your backyard so you may want to consider installing a stone seat. It will be durable, and integrate with the natural parts of your yard. For yet another touch, you may want to to set up a statue. Something that is incredibly soothing, and also quite popular is a fountain. A solar-powered fountain can be an low-cost useful alternative. This is often something as elementary as water going from a container resulting in a simulated waterfall. There is nothing quite so calming as to sit in your yard enjoying the sounds of water which block out other neighborhood sounds.

When you decorate your home's interior, make sure that you also consider the outside appearance. The first place people become aware of when they see your house is the outside. What they see externally can give them a preview of what they'll see once they cross the threshold.


How to Properly Care for Your Bed Linen

For those of us who get the average 8 hours of sleep every night and naps in between the day, it would be logical to conclude that in total, we spend almost half of our lives curled up in our sheets. Some even spend entire days in the irresistible comforts of their bed, and who can blame them? Beds, quilt covers, pillows and other bed linens are specifically designed for maximum comfort, so it's only natural to want to spend a lot of time in them.

Time spent on sheets though means dirt and oils will accumulate on them, and the longer you leave them unclean, the harder it will be to get them back to their original, clean and comfy condition. To make sure your bed linens stay in soft and spotless condition, it is important to know the proper ways to keep them clean.

Cleaning Your Bed Linens

At the rate that they are being used, bed linens ought to be washed at least once every other week, and more often if you live in a hot and humid area. It takes only a few steps to clean bed linen, and even the most stubborn stains can be removed with a bit of effort. Below is a step-by-step procedure for carefully cleaning your linens.

1. Read the labels. Labels on linens are very important, as they will tell you how best to clean your linens. Instructions on these labels will differ depending on the fabric used. If your bed linen is made up of silk or other specialty fabrics, it is especially important to read and follow the washing instructions to retain the quality of your linen.

2. Remove stubborn spots.Before washing your bed linen, address stubborn spots and stains first. Spray or blot those spots with a spot remover or solution of vinegar and water before washing.

3. Separate colours. Just like regular clothing, bed linen that has dark colours may bleed in the wash, so better keep your whites safe by separating them.

4. Wash your linen. Hot water is advisable when washing bed linens in order to remove stubborn dirt and kill germs and dust mites as well. When it comes to detergents, you don't need to use expensive ones, just use the most reliable one you can find. Make sure to use gentle and safe detergents when washing bedding for baby, and use only the amount needed. Wash using only the gentle cycle and for stubborn stains, allow the linen to soak for a few minutes before starting the cycle. Avoid using bleach as this can easily break down the fabric fibres.

5. Dry the natural way. As much as possible hang your bed linen out to dry, as the sun will act as its natural disinfectant and bleaching agent. If it really isn't possible to hang your linen to dry, then tumble dry your linen as usual with a sheet of fabric softener. If you have a problem with yellowing on your sheets though, better skip the softener as it will only make the yellowing worse.

Keeping Your Bed Linen

Once your bed linens are clean and dry, fold and store them in a cool and dry closet to prevent musty odours. To ensure that your bed linens don't get overused, have at least three sets for each bed, so even if one is in the wash, you still have another in storage and another one to use.


Modern Bathroom Renovations: Follow the KISS Formula

Are you ashamed of the condition of the bathroom? Do you think it looks old and worn out in comparison to other parts of your home? Well, if you are interested in a bathroom makeover, consider giving it a modern look.

A modern bathroom involves creating a clean living space. Homeowners prefer a modern bathroom because it ensures less clutter and decreases the chances of accidents. Usually, a bathroom renovation contractor will suggest you to incorporate geometric features in the design instead of traditional antique themes. If you want a modern bathroom, you will have to choose modern frames for the walls and buy sleek furniture that looks trendy and stylish.

The KISS Formula

When you are spending money in upgrading the bathroom and creating a modern living space, you must remember the KISS formula. It means Keep It Simply Simple. Keep the renovation ideas simple because a modern bathroom is simple and it doesn't involve heavy furniture and garish colors. Take a look at a few simple modern bathroom renovation tips to make the bathroom the apple of your eye:

Get rid of Outdated Fixtures

If your home is more than 10 years old, you will find that most of the bathroom fixtures are old and outdated. Get rid of broken door handles and cabinet doors. Also, replace the antique claw foot bathtub with a modern freestanding tub. Usually, old bathtubs are oval in shape. But, you can choose a rectangular tub to give the bathroom a modern appeal. Alternatively, you can buy trendy pedestal tubs to give a fresh feel to the area.

Keep it Clean

Homeowners consider that a beautiful bathroom means one with lots of cabinets. They want to install a couple of frames as well paint quotations on the walls to personalize the area. But, if you are interested in creating a modern living space, you must refrain from cluttering it. Restrict the visibility of toiletries and keep knickknacks out of the bathroom.

Affordable Ideas

If you do not want to opt for a complete overhaul, you can consider the following affordable ideas:

1. Create an illusion of space by opting for ceiling-to-floor mirror.

2. Choose neutral shades such as white and grey to give the bathroom a sophisticated look.

3. Choose a modern piece of furniture that will be the focal point of the bathroom.

4. Choose geometric shapes, simplistic designs for the picture frames.

5. Make ample use of natural lighting in the room. You can opt for skylights.

6. Choose sleek lighting fixtures instead of vintage fixtures.

7. You can also add a small indoor plant to the bathroom.

When you undertake the work of creating a modern bathroom space in the home, remember to keep it simple. Avoid accessorizing the room. But, in the end, it is your bathroom and you should be comfortable with the renovation work. So, do not think twice of experimenting with new ideas and choose things that give you satisfaction.


How To Live A More Self Sufficient Life

Self-sufficiency has been seen as a metaphor for a lower standard of living, going without the modern conveniences. In fact the opposite is true; to be self-sufficient is to aim for a higher standard of living by reducing our dependence on "the system" for our basic needs such as food, water and power.

Considering that the average city contains only sufficient food reserves for three days, it makes a great deal of sense to put yourself in a position to be able to supply most, if not all, your food needs. Similarly, as the cost of power continues to rise, the attraction of being power self-sufficient becomes increasingly obvious.

So how can we achieve this ideal?

A surprising variety of herbs and vegetables can be grown indoors, provided they receive adequate light and nutrients; if you choose compact varieties, they won't take up too much space.

Even if you rely on an outdoor garden, by harvesting and storing your crops you can have homegrown produce all year round. Many vegetables can be blanched and frozen, while herbs can be dried. Another alternative is to pickle or use preserving jars for your excess crop.

A small backyard can also be home to a few chickens to supply you with fresh eggs, provided you supply them with adequate shelter and protection from predators such as dogs or cats. A home-produced fresh egg, on toast made from home-baked bread, makes a wonderful start to the day. Chicken manure is excellent for your garden and your chickens will enjoy feasting on your leftover food scraps.

Even as the cost of power through the national grid increases, alternative power sources are becoming more affordable. Solar hot water panels to capture power from the sun can accommodate much of our hot water needs, even during winter time and this hot water can also be used for taking care of some of our heating needs.

While solar electricity is expensive to install, once the initial costs have been overcome, the system will provide virtually free power. Using solar electricity, supplemented by perhaps a wind generator and using low voltage lighting and appliances, it is possible to live in comfort, free from electricity bills.

Reduce your reliance on piped water by collecting rainwater from your roof; you may wish to include a filtration system before using this water for drinking or cooking. There is no harm in using collected rainwater directly for the garden or in toilets, however.

Want to know more about self-sufficient living? Choose from several excellent books available, for example, "The Self Sufficient Life and How to Live It" by John Seymour, to gather more information and ideas.


Bedroom Cushions for Smart Kids and Fun Times

Calculating the square root of pi or taking on a challenging crossword puzzle might not be on your child's agenda this week but they can be next week. And they can be fun!

With these uber clever cushions from Gallop Lifestyle, that is. Neutral in colour but with so much to say, these cushions are sublime for any kid's bedroom. They're just a jumble of letters and numbers at first glance but look closer and there's lots to be discovered and deciphered.

The 'Numbers' pillow features the square root of pi. It's 3.14, for those who can't remember their high school maths, and these numbers are bolded throughout the square root and hence throughout the pillow. Way cool! The 'Old MacDonald' cushion (my fave) is just so brilliant. It features the nursery rhyme 'Old MacDonald' in its entirety and with no spaces. So it looks like a whole lot of random letters until you see the Old MacDonald has been highlighted and you pick up certain words like 'moo' and 'oink.' That's when it clicked for me and I started singing the song from the cushion. I imagine my daughter would love this pillow to bits and we'd have a fabulous time singing together!

As you can see, I'm totally bowled over by these sensational cushions. They're such a spectacular way to help children learn and grow their thinking and problem solving skills - right in their beds or on the sofa. They're also handmade in Nepal through Womanpower (a co-operative of Women's Entrepreneurs Assoc. of Nepal) using renewable paper fibres which are extra strong, durable and 'tree-free.'

Make your way to Gallop Lifestyle to purchase. Expect to pay $79 for a small cushion or $115 for large, plus postage. The easiest way to order from them is through their website. Alternately, they're more than happy to take your orders via phone or email if preferred.


Like Prepping Steak? - Find Out More About The Below Weber 721001 Guide

Weber makes superior charcoal smokers, and the Weber 721001 Smokey Mountain Cooker is no exception. This model has just about everything, including enough room to simultaneously cook two entire meats (like a whole chicken or turkey, and a whole ham), its own thermometer, drip pan, and fine porcelain enamel casing.

The design makes smoking food a simple matter of keeping the coals hot, adding water and regulating the temperature. The cylinder based shape of the cooker creates 481 square inches of cooking space and includes a nylon cool handle allows you to pop the lid to check on the fish or meat while avoiding getting a burn.

When the portability of the cooker is achieved with sturdy legs and no-wobble casters that can roll the machine away when not in use. The device excels in delivering moist meats through use of a 2 gallon water pan, that can be easily refilled through a access door on the side of the unit. This makes the Weber 721001 Smokey Mountain cooker a "water smoker" that will smoke and moisten the food for the best case possible. The four adjustable vents on each side help maintain the right temperature required to smoke without burning the meat, and the charcoal grating has been upgraded to keep pieces from falling through.

This particular model of Weber smoker is 43 pounds, but accordingly delivers heavyweight results (given its great set of features) to provide smokehouse flavor and really well cooked meats without sacrificing convenience. It's a slow barbecue cooker that enables you to make smoked ribs, beef brisket, and other delights without much hassle at all. This is where a cooking extravaganza can now take off. The large size and versatility of the smoker permits one to now cook a variety of meats simultaneously with minimum complications. Chicken and turkey cooked together should work exceptionally well, as should ribs and beef in combination.

The size factor also allows one to choose between using charcoal or wood to heat the grill, which opens up a lot of experimentation with various flavors. As a famous chef would say, "kick it up a notch" by tossing in some cider or wine either directly on the meats, or in the water pan to produce a different taste sensation. Because the foundation of steamed meats with perfect smokehouse flavor is virtually built into the foods cooked on the smoker, this permits wide latitude in trying out variations with aromas and condiments.

While the Weber 721001 smoker is almost idiot proof, it still does require one to make some choices as to where and when to use it. For many who enjoy cooking outdoors, it's ideal for camping trips or other wide open spaces. One also should choose whether you want to purely smoked meats or to grill them, since there are some differences in each process. Weber provides a cooking book with suggested recipes and meat combinations. Even if you're not camping and already know how to handle a slow barbecue grill, you will truly enjoy the ease at which cooking can soar with a Smokey Mountain smoker.


Create Your Very Own Home Cinema

Not everyone can afford the time and money to go to the cinema on a regular basis, however there is an alternative that can perhaps offer you a similar experience in your own home.

True, the best way to watch a movie is in a movie house with its booming sound and wide screen; still you can get pretty close by creating your very own home cinema. Those chatting, paper rustling, coughing strangers that always seem to sit right behind you in the cinema can now be avoided.

There are a number of factors to consider before you head out to the shops for the latest equipment.

The key element is the room you propose to use for your home cinema. The essential idea of a home cinema is to get as close as you can to the whole cinematic experience. That includes the room layout, seating, lighting and décor.

Consider how many people you may have in the room at any given time. Everyone should have a good view of the screen. Make sure the seating is comfortable and can easily be cleaned, especially if you have kids! A good option would be to visit showrooms and to visualize the set up in your own room.

Now let's look at the equipment. One of the most important pieces of equipment is the visual display. You will need to decide if you are going for a projector and screen or a large TV. A projector will enable the largest picture, often around 100 inches diagonally at a distance of between 10 and 20 feet, with high definition. However an LCD or plasma TV is usually less expensive.

Remember that a home cinema will give you not only a large screen but also a more exciting gaming experience when used with systems such as Nintendo Wii, Microsoft Xbox or Sony Playstation.

A good sound system will complete the set-up. The 5.1 channel system is popular being considerably cheaper, but the top of the range 7.1 channel system is the way of the future. Combine a good quality Blu-Ray player with a 7.1 channel surround system and you'll get pretty close to that wonderful cinema sound.

To make the experience of your home theatre as realistic as possible, consider enhancing the room's ambience with cinema posters and why not install dimmer switches for the lighting. As a final touch, add a popcorn machine close to the room entrance, then sit back, relax and enjoy the experience.


DeClutter Fast: Discover How To Organize Your House The Right Way

How many times were you hesitant to open the door when the doorbell rang due to the fact your house was a mess? Are you self-conscious for your friends to visit because there is stuff all over your house? Do you want your children to clean up their own spaces, but to make them do it, you know that you will have to do the same thing with the rest of the house?

There is a guide out to assist you, and it is called Declutter Fast, by Mimi Tanner. For under thirty dollars, you can easily have the ebook downloaded on your personal computer in a few minutes, and on your way to a clutter-free house. You'll find that a large number of people have issues of hoarding and it has no relationship to their income. You'll be able to not just declutter your home or office right away, but you can probably get it done in a day or two.

Don't be concerned in the event the traditional four-box strategy is not effective for you, just do your best to make decluttering fast and stress-free. If perhaps procrastination is what's preventing you from decluttering, there is a five-minute solution to help you stop. This will give you the incentive to organize all of your life's paperwork, along with organizing your clothes to the place where you will wear what you love. You will find 17 essential things that need a place in your house and the book clearly explains them. Nearly anything in your living space will fit into one of those categories.

However, if messy home weren't a difficulty, then there would not be so many programs helping people to get organized. There are those whose full time career is assisting people with their clutter. The author, Mimi Tanner had serious clutter issues which prompted her to create Declutter Fast. This lady experimented with many strategies before coming up with what worked for her. Most people do not have the time or the interest to go through a lot of books, experimenting to find the right solution. She has achieved that, and now has it written down in an easy to read format, so you can benefit from what she has learned. If you don't want to endure all of the trial and error yourself, this book is a good way to learn what someone else has found that works.

You will see once your house is free from clutter, that you will enjoy a glowing feeling when you see your house in order. It's extremely energy-draining to be living in a space filled with clutter. Especially any time it is so bad that finding a path to the bathroom is difficult. It is not the best way to live and it should never have to be this way for anyone.


What To Look For When Buying Kitchen Appliances

Everyone loves a great deal - everyone loves to come home from shopping and brag about something that they bought that they got on sale at half price. There are items that you can buy on sale without worrying about. Things like food, (as long as you check the expiry date!) books, shoes, some furniture, etc. There are other items, however, that you should be careful and wary to buy on sale. These items include furniture, electronics and appliances.

This does not mean that you can't or shouldn't buy your appliances on sale. In fact, I would suggest looking around for the best deal when it comes time to make these kinds of purchases. However, be wary of deals that are too good to be true. You know what they say - if it is too good to be true, it probably is! The same is true for home appliances. The reason to be careful when shopping for your home appliances is because the "new" appliance you think you are getting at such a good deal may actually be a pre-owned appliance. Not all appliance stores will do this, but some will, so be sure to ask some good questions when you see an appliance marked down a lot.

Another reason to be wary of big markdowns on home appliances is because the appliance may have something wrong with it. Sometimes stores will mark an appliance down because of a scratch or small dent in the exterior, and most people won't mind these things. However, if you see an appliance marked down and you cannot find anything wrong with it, make sure to ask the store exactly what is wrong with the appliance. There could be something broken inside the mechanism, or the warranty on the appliance could be void.

Some other tips for buying a home appliance would be to prepare before you go shopping. Take a few minutes and measure the spaces inside of your home where you would like the appliances to go. Many people go shopping without doing this and then get excited about finding a great deal on a home appliance. They bring the appliance home and are very disappointed to find out that it won't fit where they need it. This is a waste of time and money, so be sure to measure before shopping!

Before you start your appliance shopping, you should also do your research. Sometimes people just buy the cheapest appliance they can find, but the cheapest is not always the best. The internet is a great tool of research, and you can look up well-known brand names and compare and contrast until you find the right one for you and your home. Another great way to do research about home appliances is to ask around. Many people have had experience buying appliances for their homes, and would be glad to share some of their experiences and advice with you. Also, take interior design into account. If you have a really dark kitchen and enjoy that look, it would be very incongruous to buy white appliances. It's important to keep design in mind. And finally, remember to research, measure and ask lots of questions.


How to Grow a Successful Organic Garden

On the face of it learning how to grow an organic garden is actually quite easy. The basic rule is to make sure you use 100% organic products. These are products that are chemical and pesticide free.

Most of us have tried growing a garden at one point or another and you've probably had mixed success. If it's not working out you many want to first test the soil to determine how healthy it is and what it's balance is. You should take a sample of the soil where you intend planting your organic garden. You'll want to find the best soil possible to plant your organic garden.

Everyone has different reasons for growing a garden, especially an organic garden. Perhaps you want to supplement your family with food that you grow yourself because organic food from the store is quite expensive. Or, perhaps you live in a place that is remote and difficult to get access to good produce so it is easier for you to grow an organic garden. Or perhaps it's just for fun of it! It can be really satisfying to grow and eat your own organic vegetables.

Whatever your reason might be, an organic garden is the best way for you to go. But, you might be wondering, how do you grow an organic garden and get the best out of it? Of course the type of garden you choose to plant is entirely up to you, but you should plan for your garden just the same.

Making Your Organic Garden a Success

There are actually many ways to grow an organic garden. The only thing that makes it an organic garden is that absolutely no chemicals can be used when it comes to growing the food. You have to use only natural products and this includes fertilizers and bug repellent as well. With the growing popularity of organic produce, it's easy to find organic fertilizers and bug repellent at your local nursery or plant store.

One of the best things that you can before growing an organic garden is to make sure that you have done your research. First, you should determine the kind of environment that you live in and what things you are going to have to protect your garden against. Then, you will need to know what products you can use to grow an organic garden and the difference in the variety and availability of all-natural products. Finally you should find out what products grow best for your climate and especially in your soil. If you have poor soil, you can still grow good produce in planter boxes, where you have more control over the growing environment.

Time to Plant your Organic Garden

Once you have determined the things you need to be aware of and you've figured out what you can do to prevent your garden from having any problems, you are ready to begin. Simply choose the foods that you want to grow and be sure that you are planting them correctly. Follow all of the directions that came with the plant, including it's sunlight exposure, how deep it should be planted and how much space it needs to grow.

You should choose a place to plant where you have never used chemicals, as chemicals stay in the soil for a long time. It might be necessary for you to bring in top soil to use, especially in poor soil or clay soil areas.

Caring For Your Organic Garden

Regular maintenance is necessary for the best results. Following the directions for your plants and finding out how to look after them are good things to do. Learning how to care for an organic garden is very important. There are many resources available on the internet as well as your local store to help you.

You should weed your garden whenever weeds appear. This will keep the weed down, reduce, (or eliminate), the need for weed killer and help the plants to grow at their best. Regular watering is also needed and regular organic fertilization will help your plants grow big and strong.

Also you should protect the organic garden from run offs and from other chemicals that might be used nearby. Once you have done this, you can feel secure in the fact that you are doing your part to help not only the environment, but your health as well.

Learning how to grow an organic garden is easy, with a few tips your garden will blossom in no time!


Latest Trends in 220 Volt Kitchen Appliances

If you are building or redesigning your kitchen, it is worth checking out the latest trends in 220 volt kitchen appliances online. Well-known brands manufacture many of these appliances,, and they are high-quality and stylish devices that can simplify and hasten your food preparation, cooking, and baking needs. You can browse a wide array of 220 volt kitchen appliances in online stores that specialize in carrying them. It's easy to find deals and discounts on these appliances online, too. Some products may be hard to find in 220 volt regions themselves, but they are still available at lower prices in a US-based store.

You can explore the latest trends in 220 volt kitchen appliances as soon as you have decided on your kitchen's interior design and your budget. Alternatively, you can start browsing designs and different types of kitchen appliances to help you find inspiration and get ideas for your kitchen's design. Colorful designs are among the leading trends in 220 volt kitchen appliances. They make your kitchen look bright, pleasant, laid-back, and conducive for entertaining. Whirlpool is among the companies that are known for making colorful kitchen appliances.

Most of us are familiar with stainless kitchen appliances because they have been the norm for decades. They used to have no color and are only available in traditional colors like silver and white, but you can now find them in brighter and stylish hues to add a pop of color into your monochromatic or minimalist kitchen. Black stainless steel appliances are minimalist, yet they provide a sleek and solid look to a modern kitchen. Plain stainless steel is still in style and can go with different interior designs, whether traditional or modern. Stainless steel styles can easily go well with a wide range of wood or metal kitchen furniture and fixtures.

Small, compact, and lightweight designs are also trendy when it comes to 220 volt kitchen appliances. Compact and small kitchen appliances are ideal for modern living spaces, especially if you reside in an apartment or condo. They are ideal for small kitchens because they do not take up a lot of space. Most of them are easy to store in cupboards or on countertops, too. Lightweight kitchen appliances are easier to set up and bring with you almost anywhere, especially if you intend to buy 220 volt appliances and take them with you when you migrate to another country.


Stay Safe With An Affordable Alarm System

Imagine the horror of coming home and finding your belongings have been rifled through. Your good jewelry is gone. The door has been smashed in, your sense of security shattered. Or, picture yourself waking up in the middle of the night to flames rapidly engulfing your home. These are the nightmares that drive people to invest in good home security and alarm system monitoring. But will these things really help? The answer is yes, especially if a good system has been purchased.

Getting an alarm system without monitoring can be like buying a car without the wheels. The whole idea behind a good system is to have fast access to people who can help when you need it the most. And even to have access to those who can "watch over" your home or business when you're not there.

Security systems that are monitored can be pretty simplistic or very elaborate, depending on what a homeowner or business owner requires. Systems can include such things as:

* Door and window sensors. These trigger a system's alarm if the doors or windows that have sensors on them are opened while the alarm is on. Basic systems, without actual monitoring, will simply trigger an "alarm" sound. Those that are monitored by an outside company will send a signal to the company that there is something amiss at your home or business.

* Motion detectors. These can set off an alarm, and a subsequent call to a monitoring company, if something moves in the house after the alarm's been turned on. These are effective in homes where family members stay out of particular areas when the alarm's on, but they don't work so well when pets set them off. Carefully consider this feature based on your needs and lifestyle.

* Multiple call/key button pads. A typical alarm system will have a master keypad that enables the system to be turned off or on at a set location. Good systems sometimes also come with "panic" pads to have installed in other parts of the home. These pads let a person quickly notify the alarm monitoring company, police or fire if there is an emergency without having to fumble down a hall or the stairs to the main alarm panel.

* Fire/smoke detectors. These aren't always standard in a system, but they're a good idea for obvious reasons.

* Carbon monoxide detectors. This gas is a colorless, odorless killer. Many modern alarm systems include CO detection devices as well.

* Battery back up. This is always a good idea.

Monitoring companies themselves also often sell alarms. They sometimes offer packages that include the system for free if monitoring is purchased for a set period, or they offer discounted monitoring with the purchase of a system.

Having an alarm in and of itself can deter criminals and help serve as an early warning system for you. But, if the alarm goes off and no one notifies the police or fire department, it doesn't good much good. This is where a good alarm system monitoring company comes into play.


Robotic Vacuums Are Ideal For Pet Owners

Whether you own birds, cats, dogs, small animals, or any other type of pets, you know how hard it is to keep your floors clean. This is true of hard surface floors such as linoleum, laminate and hardwood as well as carpets.

Unless you have time to sweep and vacuum daily (or even more often in some instances), your floors probably show the signs of pet ownership. Pet hair, cat litter, feathers, bird seed, bedding and other debris continually accumulates on the floors of pet owners, almost regardless of their best efforts.

Robotic vacuums are convenient for anyone who has difficulty operating a regular vacuum cleaner, and they are great for anyone looking to save time on housecleaning. But they seem to be almost tailor made for pet owners - those who need daily vacuuming to keep their home clean and in some cases allergen free.

The main advantage a robotic vacuum provides pet owners is convenience. These cleaners are so advanced today, you can literally just schedule your cleaning sessions and forget about your robot. The only thing you will need to do is remember to empty the debris pan, and most robotic cleaners will remind you to do that, too!

Many people wonder if robotic vacuum cleaners are really effective, or if they're just another gadget that really isn't worth the bother. The answer is, they will do a very good but not perfect job of keeping your carpets and floors free of pet-related dust and debris.

The key is to buy a quality robot vacuum with enough power to handle your messes. The more power your robot has, advanced cleaning features and other new capabilities mean today's robots are very effective.

Robot vacuums can be set to operate any time of the day you like. When it is time to clean, they will leave their docking station fully charged, perform their cleaning duties, and return to the station to recharge themselves.

During cleaning, your robot will avoid stairs and other hazards and depending on the model, use a variety of cleaning patterns and several brushes to sweep up dirt and debris. Most robotic vacuums can slide easily under furniture such as beds and even some couches to thoroughly clean hard to reach areas.

Some robotic vacuums come with setups that enable you to create virtual walls to block off an area for cleaning. This can be very helpful if your pets are frightened or upset by your robotic vacuum. You may choose to clean your living room while your pet is confined to another part of your home for example. You can then use the robot to clean that area when you are home to supervise.

Robot cleaners will do a surprisingly good job at removing pet hair and picking up cat litter and feathers, but they do have limitations.

You will not be able to clean your stairs or furniture with a robotic cleaner, for instance, and occasionally your machine may miss an item or two. But overall, considering the time it takes to vacuum and sweep once or twice a day, pet owners are likely to find a robotic cleaner is an investment that's more than worthwhile.


How to Choose the Best Water Filter for Your Family

Whether have recently moved into a new home, or you have simply decided to take a good look at what is going on when it comes to your water supply, there is a good chance that you will want to think about what your family needs when it comes to finding a good water filter for your family. By familiarizing yourself with water filters and what makes each make and style different, you will soon realize that there is a lot information that you can use in order to make your clean and healthy for everyone.

When you are considering a water filtration system, one of the first things that you need to consider is what you need it for. Are you considering getting a water filter that will take care of simple and straightforward drinking and cooking needs, or do you want to think about getting one that will take care of your shower and bath water as well? When you are considering this, think about what bothers you the most about your water supply and whether you have the resources to fix it.

Remember that of the first and best things that you can do to figure out what the best water filter for you is to think about what you want when it comes to what you want to keep out. For example, some people are very sensitive to chlorine in their water, and given that chlorine is actually put into the water to kill living things like bacteria, it can easily be seen why living things like people might hae problems with it. Further more, you'll find that when a water system uses chlorine, it will also use chloramines, which are also used to disinfect your water. Because of this, a water filter that is designed and certified to remove chlorine and carcinogens that are a byproduct of chlorination will be your best bet.

Another thing to consider is the expense and the replaceable nature of the filter itself. Remember that a water filter is only as good as its filter, and these filters do wear out and break. When you are considering the purchase of a water filter, keep in mind the fact that some filters will simply last longer than others. Keep in mind that the most basic filters will see you through 2000 gallons of water, while the more high end ones will keep you going through 16,000 gallons and more.

These are a few of the factors that you should consider when you are thinking about choosing the best water filters for your family. Take some time and make sure that the one you choose is going to be right for your needs and your purposes.


Lower Landscaping Costs With A Stumpgrinder

Homeowners and business owners who deal with trees, and a lot of them, can often find themselves in need of a stump grinder. But considering it's such a specialized piece of machinery, many don't know how to go about picking one out. Nor, do they realize the value of searching for a used stump grinder to do the job.

Generally, those who need stump grinders for commercial purposes go for large machines that must also be towed. They are meant to quickly burn through wood and enable the fast removal of trees and stumps. Whether it's a single-tree job or an entire construction site that needs clearing, getting rid of the stump is important to create a level ground to work on later. This is where a stump grinder comes in handy.

Small landscaping companies, too, can benefit from having grinders along with their mowers and edging equipment, but here a more portable version might come into play. Landscapers that work in states where trees can be an issue during storm seasons can sometimes even boost their business by having a grinder around to help them do a little more than the typical cut and trim.

For the homeowner, a small, more portable version of a stump grinder will generally serve the purpose well. These can be as effective as their large commercial counterparts and are sometimes even used by the pros as well. The advantage to the smaller grinders is the fact they don't require towing, which can save a lot of transport money. Plus, they are a bit easier to handle, coming in at under 100 pounds typically.

Looking for a used stump grinder is a good way for a big company to supplement its machinery or even for a homeowner with a lot of trees to tackle an occasional job without having to hire out a pro. The catch is finding a good grinder, for a fair price and making sure it works, too.

Here's where a little common sense and smart shopping come into play. When looking for a used grinder, know first the kind you need. If the idea is to augment a commercial line up of machines, you probably are already familiar with makes and models. The homeowner, however, might want to do some studying up. Typically, a homeowner will not require anything more than a portable grinder, but knowing what's out there and what pros consider a good machine can ease the search.

After checking into some names, searching for a used grinder can, of course, be done in industry publications or classified ads, but the Internet is often one of the best places to go. What you'll want to look for are the machine's you're interested in, listed at decent prices from current owners who are willing to answer questions about the machine and even allow an inspection prior to purchase.

If pre-inspecting, ask to see a demonstration of the model. Make sure it does the job efficiently and is easy enough for you to handle. If it's too big, or doesn't perform as it should, it's probably not a good buy.

A stump grinder can be a great addition to a yard work arsenal and it can serve businesses well, but a good machine can cost a lot of money. This is where a good used stump grinder can come in handy.


Portable Air Conditioners Offer Comfort and Convenience

A portable air conditioner has the great advantage that you can move it from one room to another. This is of course much more convenient than the standard air conditioner unit, because it gives you the option of mobile cooling.

And by portable I really mean portable. You can easily move it around the house, or there wouldn't be very much point in designing it, would it? Regarding the differences between the portable air conditioner and the standard one, they are as follows:


The portable air conditioner relieves you from having to make a hole in your apartment. This is a serious issue for people who take very seriously the design of their apartment and can't suffer scenery spoilers.

Then, you are not forced to buy a separate air conditioner for each wall, as this one can be moved from room to room. This could very well save you from a few additional headaches.

Finally, and many people would agree that this is the most important issue, it is far cheaper than a central air conditioner unit (in the long run). For people who raise their eyebrows when seeing the cost of standard air conditioners, this could be just the thing.


It is noisier. Did you hear what I just said? Noisier, yes. For persons who can do nothing without their peace and quiet moments, stay away! Also, the hot air is vented outside via a pipe or the door.

As far as the energy consumption goes, the systems are both around the same values, but you can get more energy efficiency values. Generally speaking, if you pay more for a portable air conditioner, it will significantly drop the amount of your bills, so it could prove to be a very successful deal in the end.

Portable air conditioners also offer other features, like washable filters, carbon filters, digital timers, remote controls, etc. When you decide to buy one, a representative from your local company will make you a visit and recommend you one product or another.

Finally, it also depends on the area you are living in. For example, think about the number of days/year in which you have to go through scorching heats outside. If that number is big, then you are probably better off with a standard air conditioner. But if, for example, you are living in a temperate climate area, a portable air conditioner might just be the best option for you.


Which Is Best An 120Vac Or Central Vacuum for New and Remodeled Houses?

There are items to take into consideration when one is procuring a central vacuum system. One of the key considerations is whether to buy a vacuuming system requiring 120 volt power or a system requiring 220 volts. The truth is we should narrow the field even farther. For example there is a 220 Vac vacuuming system and 240 Vac central vacuum system . So it is essencial to comprehend what you are asking of your local central vacuum installer.

Motor Differences Between 110 and 220 Models

The motors are not alike in the 220 and 110 variations of central vacuum systems. The power units are wound differently, the transformer is different, the mini-breakers are different, and the cord and wiring are different. As you can see it is meaningful to specify with your contractor expressly which motor you want.

Differences Between 110/120 And 220/240 Volts A/C

Occationally 120 volts is referred to as 110 volts or 115 volts. Moreover, 240 volts is referred to as 220 volts or 230 volts. Central vacuum manufacturers create motors in all those ranges. The selections are the 120 and 240 volt power units, not the 110 or 220 volt motors.

The 120 and 240 power units will not be harmfully affected if used with lower voltages. The 120 volt motor will be alright on 110 volts. And a 240 volt power unit will be fine on 220 or 230 volts. The other way around will adversely affect the motors. A 220 volt unit would be "damaged" if utilized for extended periods of time on a 240 volt circuit. And the same can be said for a 110 volt power unit running on 120 volts. The bulky voltage motors run very well in any variation of 50-60Hz.

Which is Better?

The reply to that question depends on the manufacturer. For example, MD Manufacturing reveals these facts about their production units. For the most part, their power units have very comparable performance stats between the voltages. Their 120 volt Silent Master S5, for instance has 139 water lift and 191 CFM with a high of 905 Air Watts. The 240 volt version has 136.4 water lift and 190 CFM with a peak of 866 Air Watts. These stats are especially close.

Operating Cost

The operational cost of a 240 volt vacuum unit can undoubtedly be less than its 120 volt counterpart because legs of the power are being used simultaneously. However, the 120 volt unit may not be wasting much power if the opposite circuit is being utilized by lights or other appliances simultaneously. In the worst case scenario, the 120 volt version might cost 12 cents per hour extra to operate. Yes, there is a divergence here, but one must add-up several other factors.

Cost Of The Electrician

As you presumably know electricians charge a set fee for each 110-120 dulex they install. Typically it is based on a flat fee of around $40 to $60 per outlet depending on the area in which one lives. Wiring in a 220-240 outlet requires tying both 110Vac electrical legs together and special NEPA® plugs. Obviously wiring your central vacuum system for 220-240 Vac will incur additional expense. Far more 120 volt units are sold inasmuch as they largely plug into any 20 amp electrical outlets and have lots of vacuuming power.

Power Unit Life Expectancy

They report that the 120 volt versions of the vacuum power unit will last longer. They contain a higher amount of copper and thus the heat has a greater ability to dissipate. In addition, 120 volt motors are also much easier to find replacements for as they are popular motors in the industry. The 240 volt version power units are not used very often and vacuum shops aross America do not typically stock them. They would almost always stock 120 volt motors.

Plugged Into The Incorrect Outlet?

What takes place when a 240 volt power unit is mistakenly plugged into 110 and 110 into 240? If you connect a 120 volt unit into a 240 volt circuit and immediately turn the unit on it will run with a humongous amount of suction. The motor will be running very fast! If it is operating very long the power unit may fly apart. The transformer will potentially burn out before that happens. When the transformer burns out the motor will shut off. If one basically replaces the transformer the system will be restored back to regular operation.

If you departed the jobsite without testing the vacuuming system and later found that the new vacuum did not work, then it is likely the electrician powered it up with 240 volts. Just sitting in the off position the power unit will burn out the transformer in 3-5 minutes or less.

Plugging a 240 Volt Motor Into 120 Circuit

If you plug a 240 volt unit into a 120 volt duplex, it will not run properly. The great news is that neither the transformer nor the motor will be demolished. It will only be running at less than full speed.

Plan of Action

I would like to offer my many years of experience as a Security / Low-Voltage Contractor and hand you a very plausible plan of action. If you install the system yourself you will save thousands of dollars. To install your own central vacuum you will first need to grasp exactly what components are necessary. What are the top two or three brands to consider? Where is the best location to procure your pipe? What type of wiring needs to be installed in the walls of your home? You are going to need a guide to lead you through the installation process.

Installing Multiple Systems

It has been my experience that when consumers are considering one system for their new or remodeled home, they are likely considering other technologies as well.. It would be in your best interest to have installation eBooks on each system you would like to include in your house. Read them all then procure your components, special tools, and cable so that they are all on the job ahead of your proposed start date.


Wind Energy: Affordable Solutions for Homeowners

From sailing the seven seas to gathering water for the mill, wind has always been an important energy source. It has helped with food production, water irrigation, trade and commerce and morphed into aiding mankind in producing electricity for their residences and workplaces.

Wind turbines first showed up in the 19th century, and in the 20th century America's first wind farm was built in Vermont and powered many areas during World War II. With the advancement of technology, it is possible for wind energy to be an affordable solution for homeowners to power their own homes.

You can both save money and reduce your carbon footprint by using wind energy. It is cost effective to put together for your home, and a humongous wind turbine like you see on a wind farm is not necessary for residential use.

You can purchase and install goods for a grid-connected or stand-alone system for your home. When you are still connected to the grid, wind energy can produce extra power, saving your need to use the utility company's electricity with the company picking up any slack in your total production. When you go off-grid, you actually have the ability to sell money back to the power company.

Stand-alone systems are great for those households that are far away from the grid system, saving you money for energy transfers to your area. The average air speed for either system should be around 10 mph. You will need to have a measure of the wind speed in your area and one place you can obtain that if from the National Climatic Data Center.

The types of equipment you sill need to provide your home with affordable wind energy include a wind turbine, a tower, wiring, controllers, and inverters or batteries. The rotor and generator will be mounted on the tail of the frame of the turbine.

A general rule of thumb when figuring on what type of wattage you will be needing to produce is: 1.5 kW turbines fit the requirements of a 300 kWh monthly usage wherein the average wind speed is 14 mph. Off-grid systems would need to be three times as powerful. When the wind blows high the turbine usually has an automatic speed governing system to keep it in check so it doesn't spin too hard or too fast.

When you purchase your system there is a self-supporting, free standing tower and the more popular guyed lattice tower. The latter is cheaper and is supported by cables and earth anchors. Stand alones take batteries to store the extra power generated so that you can still have electricity when the winds are calm.

An inverter will be needed to convert this energy from the battery into AC (household) current. You even have the opportunity to purchase a stand-alone system that is piggy-backed with a solar cell. Local governmental agencies actually offer incentives such as rebates and discounts when you install and use these systems.

Many manufacturers produce wind turbines for the home. Keep an eye out for three and five blade turbines, the kwH produced - make sure you have enough for what you need to power, materials such as plastic or nylon synthetic materials. Some are more aerodynamic than others and the way in which your turbine is mounted to the tower.

Each manufacturer will have listed the specs for their equipment, so don't be intimidated into thinking you need a physics degree to understand wind energy. It is affordable for homeowners now, so there's no need to wait. Help save the planet and save your wallet with affordable wind energy for the home. You'll be amazed at what you can do!


A Fireplace Plug Helps To Save You Money

As much as thirty percent of the energy you use to heat or cool your house escapes by way of your fireplace. This isn't the heat that is lost because you're burning a fire in the hearth, it's the energy you are making use of for your principal source of heat when there is no fire in the hearth and the damper is closed. If you would prefer to plug that energy loss, get a hold of a fireplace plug.

A fireplace plug is an inflatable pillow that tightly seals the chimney of your fireplace so that there is no heat loss through it. Even though the pillow looks much like an inflatable bath pillow, it is manufactured from a fabric that is resistant to the acids that are a component of wood soot, so that it's going to last for a long time.

To use the plug, your hearth needs to be cold and the opening clear of any sharp objects which could tear the cushion. You should use a scraper or brush to get rid of any soot or creosote in the area leading up to the damper. Inflate the pillow and raise it into the opening of the flue. The handle adjusts to keep the pillow in place.

You have now started to save thirty percent off the cost of cooling or heating your home.

When you would like to burn a fire, you merely take away the fireplace plug and open the damper. After the flames have been extinguished and the fireplace is cool once more, shut the damper and insert the fireplace plug back into the opening. With your fireplace screen or doors closed, the handle that holds the plug in position is barely apparent.

The amount of cash you save on just a single month's cooling or heating costs can essentially pay for the price of the fireplace plug. As well as saving money, though, you will also find that this device makes your home more comfortable. Even when the damper is closed on the hearth and the windows are closed in the home, the natural chimney effect draws warm air out of the house and cold air in by way of the cracks in the windows. This makes your home drafty and there's cool air leaking in that can give you a chill.

When you seal the windows adequately, the chimney effect produces a vacuum in your house that eventually reaches the point where it needs to be filled. If a door hasn't been opened, the vacuum is filled by a down draft via the flue. This practice continues night and day right throughout the winter.


Shopping for a Home Fire Alarm

Your foremost concern is keeping your family safe. Probably the most fundamental way to see to their safety is to own some sort of residential fire alarm system. Systems can range from a single smoke detector to an elaborate system monitored by a company.

If you're not sure of what is the best system for your family, then you should look into the different types of home fire alarms. Then you will be able to make an informed decision about the kind that will provide the most protection and work in your budget.

Every Home Must Have a Smoke Detector

At the very minimum, your home fire alarm system should include one or more smoke detectors, depending on the size of the house. Smoke detectors are a small alarm that's mounted on the ceiling. When the machine detects smoke, the alarm goes off. Many small apartments have only one, but the safest way is to have one to each room.

Smoke detector options include an interconnected system of smoke alarms, in which if one goes off, all the others do as well, and smoke detectors with built in carbon monoxide detectors. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, deadly gas that can be produced by an improperly working furnace.

Although it seems like a good idea to have a smoke alarm in the kitchen, because that is where the majority of home fires start, in reality it is not recommended. This is because smoke can be a usual product of food preparation, burned toast for example, and it is inconvenient to have to respond to these false alarms. The smoke detector placed in the next room will sound if there is a real fire in the kitchen.

Many home smoke detectors use battery power. With battery powered smoke alarms a general rule of thumb is change the battery once a year without fail. One way to remember is to do it on the day we turn the clocks back in fall.

Other smoke detectors are 'hardwired', that is connected to the electricity in the house; however, electric smoke alarms do not work when the power is out, just when your family may need them. Another popular option is an electrical smoke alarm with battery back-up, in which case you must still change the battery every year.

Automatic Sprinklers

Many cities and states have laws requiring automatic fire sprinklers in new residential buildings, usually in high density communities. If you are building or remodeling your home, take automatic fire sprinklers into consideration. The cost can certainly be steep, but the savings can be enormous, the lives of your family members and your home and precious keepsakes.

Automatic sprinklers are plumbed into the water system of the house, and will release a forceful spray of water when the temperature at the ceiling reaches a certain level. They can be recessed into the ceiling using white, black or neutral fittings, and will pop out in use.

Fire Extinguishers

It is a good idea for every home to have one or more fire extinguishers within easy reach. That way, when the fire alarm does go off, quick action may prevent a small, contained fire from becoming a large destructive one.

The best kind of fire extinguisher for home use is one that is relatively small (for easier use) and contains a fire extinguishing chemical that can be used on the largest variety of fire types (grease, wood, textiles, etc.). Make sure the instructions are clear and easy to read, and have your extinguisher checked by a certified agency once a year.

Monitored Fire Alarm Systems

The very top of the line is a monitored residential fire alarm system. This is usually installed along with a burglar alarm system. These systems will include remote monitoring from a company that will contact fire and medical authorities in the event of an emergency. A monitored fire alarm system will contain a central control panel that hooks up to several smoke alarms and heat detectors.

Heat detectors are usually more reliable than smoke detectors alone, since they contain more sophisticated mechanics. These all inclusive systems have the additional advantage of being run off the house power with battery backup in the event of a power outage.

The disadvantage to this system is the cost of installation, and the monitoring service does require a small monthly fee. However, if you can make room in the budget for it, the ability to put more sophisticated detectors in some places, such as the kitchen, and the enhanced reliability of outside monitoring are good reasons to purchase such a system.

A Fire Alarm for Deaf People

If you are deaf, or someone in your family is, you know that the world can be a tricky place. There are many situations in which you are not able to hear something like the doorbell or the telephone. One thing that might be over looked, but is very important, is having a fire alarm for the deaf.

The most common kind of fire alarm for the deaf is one that has a very bright flashing strobe that goes off when the fire alarm goes off. When this happens, even if the person is sleeping, the light should wake them up. It needs to be a very bright strobe, and it needs to be located in a place where it will be noticed when it goes off. This can be necessary if you have deaf family members or even friends who visit often.

But whether you go for the less expensive home fire alarm system or for something with extra features, it is vital that you have some sort of residential fire alarm system in the house for the safety of your most precious belongings, your family.


Building a Greenhouse for Sustainable Living

Greenhouses have been used in the past as a medium for hobbyists for their garden greenhouses but commercial greenhouses are becoming more and more prevalent as the world becomes more "green conscious" and energy efficient.

Universities and Agricultural departments have built greenhouses for educational purposes but elementary and pre-schools were also building greenhouses to teach children about life, the earth, nature, as well as good eating habits and organic growing.

Hydroponics has been used more and more recently in greenhouse structures to transport the nutrients directly to the plant roots thus saving the earth's soil that is growing increasingly scarce.

Acreage can no longer go out so we must consider going up. With a large greenhouse structure, growing up, or "eco-building" is the idea of planting in large glass towers and keeping the glass greenhouse structures growing year round and in places that would normally be unavailable. This would create crop for countries in places where land is not available, either because of climate or because of space. It would also allow growing year round and quite possibly put a stop to much of the hunger crisis. Supplying healthy food through greenhouse structures or supplying crops that would help our oil crisis would be a complete sustainable process.

The other day I was reading an article regarding the desire to create better food products by farming with organic fertilizers. This can be accomplished by attracting insects with particular plants that kill other insects that bring disease to the crop or plants. This quickly brought to mind how the generations throughout my life have always had a wave of "naturalists" that always wanted to get back to nature. Like myself, I have wonderful intentions. Now, it is time to do something about it.

We are all learning so much about the earth, the economy and about green sustainable living. Greenhouse plantations would conquer a lot of these issues very quickly. Building greenhouses could be the answer.


The Power Of Candles

For centuries, the humble candle has found varied, enduring uses, from the practical to the esoteric. The arrival of the electric bulb in the nineteenth century spelt a decline in its use. Recent times have witnessed a resurgence of interest in this ancient source of light. Candles are valued as symbols of romance and celebration, while candle-making is a popular hobby. The warm, soothing glow of candles, then and now, remains unmatched.

Candles as mood setters

Candles are an effective and inexpensive way to define the atmosphere of a room. Tall tapers in a living or dining area spell formality. Floating candles convey tranquillity. A squat, cylindrical or square shape conveys a homely ambience. In the bedroom, candles create a sensual, intimate setting. A ho-hum bathroom dons the luxurious look of a spa where you can relax after a tough day; all it takes are a few lighted candles surrounding the tub!

Scented candles containing essential oils are thought to influence moods although the quantity used is too small to induce any lasting psychological effects. Jasmine, lavender and orange scents help in calming anger. Patchouli, chamomile, sandalwood and rose relieve anxiety. Vanilla and ylang-ylang reduce stress while peppermint, clove, pine and lemon dispel fatigue.

You can even encourage positive moods with scented candles! Try cinnamon for creativity, lemon, rose and honeysuckle for peace and happiness, eucalyptus for good concentration and orange for optimism.

Colours and meanings

Just as wall colours influence a room's dominant mood, so too with candle colours. In esoteric and spiritual practices, candles are selected according to the properties or emotions associated with different colours:

White - spirituality and peace

Red - strength, vigour and energy

Pink - romance and friendship

Green - fertility, plenitude and harmony

Blue - healing, inspiration and good health

Yellow - cheerfulness and devotion

Candles and décor

Candles offer endless options for you to exercise your creativity while decorating your home.

Pillar candles effectively accent coffee tables, cluster them in a bowl or plate or place them in separate holders. Perk up kitchen and dining tables choosing from votive candles, spherical candles, tapers or tea lights.

Focus attention on an isolated fireplace with a few candles placed in tall candle holders. A kitchen cabinet will look interesting with a candle surrounded by artificial fruits. Silk flowers, seashells, pebbles, dried berries, nuts and crystals are just some candle accompaniments with which you can play around with for various effects.

Bring home some candles today and discover their magical effects!


Yard Vegetable Gardens Can Be Very Advantageous

Is your backyard a waste of space right now? Is there a piece of land that's just sitting there being squandered? Couldn't it be great to have your own personal vegetable garden? During the next little bit, you can see why vegetable gardens can be a great investment.

Veggies harvested from gardens taste a lot better than those you buy in stores, or at least that's what most gardeners say. Odds are this case is true and it doesn't matter what the vegetables were used for. Maybe the home-grown green veggies have been supplied more love and care, or maybe they were just picked at the right time. Assuming that the vegetables please your taste buds and those around you is all that matters. You will understand that your veggies are welcoming to eat and not harmed by chemicals or preservatives because you take the time grow it organically and naturally.

A lot of the farmers and corporations nowadays use pesticides on their vegetables for several reasons. Based on the places you get the vegetables from, it's going to have been transported a far distance from where they grew. To prevent them from getting ruined on the trip, they are picked too early, and they need preservatives. If they are coated with preservatives and bug killers, the nutrition that they deliver are often stripped away. Developmental and reproductive results are various nasty side effects if you are exposed to pesticides for a long period of time. It now appears that eating vegetables growing up might be bad for their health. Chemicals in an adult aren't nearly as harmful as they are in a child.

Growing a vegetable garden is a superb way to get exercise, instead of going to the gym. Thirty minutes every day in the backyard garden is a big measure for weight loss and you will notice it. It is possible to present every muscle group in the body a major workout. Your back, glutes, arms, and lower limbs will be effectively toned after you have done it for awhile. Flexibility can come more easily after you have spent some time stretching doing various tasks in the garden. As soon as you begin to see vegetables and crops sprout, your body may well be more fit and healthier.

The more people purchase, the more the corporations make. Chemical compounds and preservatives in our food are going to decrease if a large number of people chooses not to buy it. If a sufficient amount of people possessed a sufficiently big garden in their back yard, the need for commercial farming would diminish.


Energy-Efficient Water Heaters - Save Lots of Money By Purchasing One

Life is constantly changing, and if you are part of the older generation, you can recall when the money you paid for rent or for your house payment was less money than your energy bill is nowadays. The cost of heating your house or driving your automobile is becoming too much to afford, for many of us, while gas prices just seem to keep rising. Virtually all people are very aware of the energy problem, and a usual subject of conversations nowadays is how to use energy more efficiently and save money on energy.

Fuel expenses cannot be rid of totally, but there are ways that they can be decreased. In your place, several opportunities for saving energy exist. More or less the only thing you can do for your furnace is keep it serviced and functioning in an efficient manner. Besides that, to save energy you will have to keep the thermostat lower than you prefer. What can you do with your cooking stove so you can save money other than avoiding using it? Try to do just full loads with your washing machine, and try to use cold water more. Besides your furnace, the hot water heater utilizes the most fuel, and consumes the most fuel.

Water is heated for the wash, for cleaning dishes and for showering and bathing. With many kids, this can end up being a large expense. Families generally discover that they can only get to saving energy and money when they have some sort of strategy. The hot-water tank is the best item for getting started on your plan. If you require a new hot-water tank, don't merely buy the most inexpensive one that you can find. Though virtually all new hot-water tanks are energy-efficient, and that alone will help save you money, some are more efficient than others. You want to be sure your new hot-water heater has a greater energy efficiency, to avoid having to pay much more for your energy use than you could have.

Oftentimes you can save more over the long haul by increasing your inital investment. The most efficient water heater would evidently be best at helping to save money on energy. If you don't have the money for that one, then purchase the most efficient one that you are able to afford. Also see to it, with a new water heater, what the size needs to be for a household like yours. Remember that a household of five would likely utilize roughly 100 gallons each day.

The radiant heat loss rating of your water heater must be 15 at the most, and less if possible. The term radiant heat loss refers to the heat that the hot water loses during transit from the heater to where it' s actually utilized, such as at the dish washer. The less heat that is lost in this fashion the more efficient your new hot-water heater will be.


Natures Own Organic Fertilizers

Many people take pleasure in gardening. They put considerable time and energy into creating pleasant environments around their houses using the very simple elements of seeds, a spade, and fertilizer. A great many people prefer organic fertilizer to the artificial kinds that are manufactured from synthetically produced chemicals. Urea is a good example of such a fertilizer. It is commonly used to promote blooming in plants.

Natural organic fertilizers are so called for obvious reasons. All of the ingredients used to create a natural organic fertilizer actually come from nature. These ingredients include seaweed, manure, guano, fish extract, and composted materials. These types of fertilizers are usually applied to the soil in the form of tea. Advances in how the fertilizers are made means they can also be applied via spray canisters or by pouring them onto the soil. There are several natural organic fertilizers available in the form of liquids.

The most common kind of natural organic fertilizer in a liquid form is fish emulsion. This is made from finely ground fish parts and is very rich in the elements that help plants to grow. It includes several beneficial trace elements as well, including calcium, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, and boron. Some manufacturers add other ingredients to their specific brand of fish emulsion. The ingredients they use to enhance the fertilizer include amino acids, vitamins, enzymes, nitrogen, growth hormones, and additional micro and macro nutrients that are found naturally in fish, but that may be lost during synthesis.

Seaweed is very useful and beneficial product from the oceans that has potential as a source of natural organic fertilizer. Extract of seaweed represents a powerhouse of more than sixty amino acids and nutrients. It also contains gibberellins, auxims, and cytokinins. These are substances that encourage the growth and development of plants and improve the color and bloom of flowers.

Crab shells are another important source of natural organic fertilizer. This type of fertilizer is different from fish or seaweed extracts because it is applied in a dry form. Fertilizer made from crab shells has the added benefit of effectively controlling garden pests. Crab shells contain chitin, a source of food for the bacteria that kiss nematodes and fungus.

Home gardeners tend to favor natural organic fertilizers because of their environmental benefits as well. Because they are completely natural, they bring no risks of environmental pollution. In ideal circumstances, natural organic fertilizers will perform better than chemical fertilizers.


Broken Appliances: Repair or Replace?

There's so much to save when you protect household appliances. This is the gist of North Wales Chronicle's featured news article this week. It reported that "Breakdown repair services for domestic appliances have grown immensely ... This fast and effective service is highly reliable and gives households the protection they need. The breakdown services can cover all major household appliances, such as washing machines, hoovers, dishwashers, fridges, freezers, ovens and much more." These repair services are gaining popularity because households have become more cautious and conscious of their expenditures.

In another press release, a UK appliance repair company has also urged the public to consider the option of washing machine repair rather than a new purchase. In the Small Business Newswire (sbwire.com), a press release featured an appliance repair firm in Texas that reminded consumers of one way to save a considerable amount of money: Keep appliances in good working order. And in cases of faulty appliances, don't toss them away; rather, look for appliance repair specialists that can work on any major brands and prepare a quote that's within the budget.

Basic Appliance Care Tips

To avoid the dilemma of fixing or replacing appliances, you should know how to take care of your appliances. Proper care will keep major appliances working better and longer. If you're wondering how you could prevent fixing or replacing appliances, here are some appliance care tips from "Angie's List" featured in KSAT 12 - San Antonio's Money section:

* Refrigerator/Freezer
o Clean the condenser coils.
o Check the door seal if it's still tight.
* Dishwasher
o Clean the dishwasher's filter to remove particles and debris.
o Use the right amount and type of soap.
* Garbage Disposal
o Don't fill the disposal with food waste and then turn it on.
o Run cold water for 10 seconds before putting small bits of waste. Keep the water running while disposing waste and leave the water running 10 seconds after the waste disappears.
* Oven
o Check your oven's temperature gauge.
o Use the self-cleaner before important meals.
* Washing Machine
o Don't overload the machine by washing too many clothes in one spin.
o Set the water level at the appropriate setting for the amount of clothes being washed.
o Empty pockets and put lingerie or thin/small items in mesh bags before washing.
o Replace water fill hoses every five years.
* Clothes Dryer
o Clean the vent with every load.
o Have the outside vent dryad

Also, don't forget to read the user's manual of your appliances. A manual is provided for a reason - to know how to properly use the appliances. Following the factory-recommended preventive maintenance guidelines will make them functional and last for years.

But if the inevitable happens and you find your appliance broken down and yourself in a dilemma: replace or repair it. How would you know then whether to buy a new machine or hire an appliance repairs specialist? Here are some factors to help you decide:

* Age of the appliance
* Amount of maintenance received over its lifespan
* How long it's used
* How well it's performed

Whether you're looking into refrigerator or dishwasher repair, oven or washing machine repair, remember that if the repair cost will amount to more than half of buying a new one and your unit is more than five years old, then it's time to replace it.


Free Yourself Of Clutter - Enrich Your Life

Many homes in America have the same problem that comes with a simple solution. There's a chance you're selling your property, you might be moving into a smaller place, or you could just be exhausted by all the stuff. Every so often we need to de-clutter the stuff in our lives. How many times when people move, they want to get rid of everything they no longer need, and they even box it up, but somehow it manages to get transferred with everything else.

You must make the effort to look for stuff you don't really need and simply dump them. Do you ever wonder how come it is difficult to get organized or to do away with things? Is all of your chaos zapping the vitality away from your life? You might want to devote a day to de-clutter your life and see if a feeling of burden is lifted. You might start off by identifying your stuff by charitable donations, storage, garbage and recycle.

You take all your stuff and divide them dependent on how much you use them then put them into the appropriate boxes. If you just can't get rid of specific things, create a box called memories and place it in there. Place the box inside the garage, and take a look at it every now and then, until you decide that some things aren't that important. It's possible you could take a picture of the things in the box, and keep the photos, but get rid of everything else.

When you get things straightened out, be sure to pick-up everywhere you go. Convert it into a common practice to keep it neat, or the clutter will keep returning, and your house will again be a mess. Make the time to set things away right after using them. Tidying up a little bit each time will keep things from piling up and building a new mess. As a result of de-cluttering a few things each day, the disorder will not have a chance to start.

Use a short while every day to tidy up things, and to clean up as you put things away. A mess crops up because we make it easy for things to pile up. Although it is going to be challenging in the beginning, but you'll start enjoying the clean organized space. The clutter won't be in your way mentally and you will find yourself in good spirits. If this seems to be too big of a job, just focus on one room.


A Complete House Humidifier Helps To Make The Interior Of Your Home Enjoyable.

Every thing about your home, from the coverings covering the windows to the paint on the walls, is your choice. What air cooling system is perfect for your needs, may have been discussed, or even which furnace you should be using. Getting the best house humidifer installed will enhance the comfort level of your home's interior environment. Regulating the humidity is vital to ensuring that your house is comfortable.

There are lots of regions, in which the climates throughout at least three seasons of the year have a lot of humidity in the air. Over the winter months, which are usually cold and dry which makes breathing difficult and impairs sleep, people put table top humidifiers in the bedrooms of children to fix the problem. Climate conditions in some other locations are often such that the perfect humidity level, regarding comfort, is seldom experienced. Throughout these locations a full house humidifier might be needed, rather than one or two table top humidifiers. Putting in a whole house humidifier can be done with only a little understanding and very few tools.

Also you end up acquiring an air purifying system when you install a humidifier in your house. The humidity levels are controlled by gauges inside the humidifiers, much like a thermostat keeps track of the temperatures. While the assessed humidity level rises and falls, the device will be turned on and off as required. For any living area of about 2, 500 square feet, the appropriate humidifier would be the size of a television set, the large console type, and it would be placed in one of the rooms. When the entire house humidifier also includes a HEPA filter, there will be a further improvement in the humidity control, along with the filtering climate of your home.

When the air enters into the unit, the air particles end up trapped by the HEPA filters. The air is purified to strict standards related to manufacturing clean rooms, and particles as small 0.3 micron are filtered out. The air within the room or residence is recycled, by being drawn into the purifier where it is filtered and cleaned before being released back into the environment. HEPA filters can do a wonderful job in your home, being that they are designed to handle the much larger volumes of air in commercial buildings.

How the humidifier will affect your decor is not really a problem. It might seem like a nice piece of furniture, and it comes in dozens of sizes and styles. It can be located in a corner, out of the way, and further camouflaged with a few family pictures or a fruit bowl. It requires lots of space to move the air, so you need plenty of room when placed behind a chair or sofa.


The Adirondack Chair - The Selection When It Comes To Patio Furniture

An exceptionally well-liked choice for outdoor seating certainly is the Adirondack. Throughout Canada, it is additionally referred to as the Muskola chair. It was developed with circular, fan-shaped sloping backside panels, in addition to widely set apart flat arms. Thomas Lee devised this chair, containing four legs, in the earliest part of the twentieth century in order to fulfill the need for more outdoor seating. This happened after his family turned out to be on holiday in the Adirondack Mountains of New York.

Featuring its ample seating area, it is possible to comfortably add a cushion. Much like a deck chair, the person's knees are higher than their hips when seated in the Adirondack chair. You will probably find the experience will be more pleasurable if you put the chair on a slope when you sit in it for long periods of time. They're handy chairs due to the wide arms with a large flat surface. It's a excellent place to locate something like your drink if you are resting in the chair.

Adirondack seats may also be fabricated into two-seated benches, swing seats, or rocking chairs. You'll find many of them at picnics and parties, being that they are the perfect summer chair. You may even try them to add charm to for your garden. Much like other outside seating, the Adirondack chairs are constructed from cedar wood. Consequently, they're able to easily be incorporated successfully with your existing garden furniture.

Numerous camping chairs tend to be designed similarly to the Adirondack. They've got cupholders, broad arm rests, and they are close to the ground. They work nicely whenever traveling, along with limited space. You will see that a lot of current products on the market have included the flexibility of the Adirondack chair into their design when you observe how their chairs are slanted. Some include the ample flat arms and are entirely flat.


Landscape Lighting: A Way to make your Home look the Best from the Rest

'First impression is the last impression.'

The saying manifests an important fact of life. A striking personality makes a lasting impression. As homeowners, we take great measures to add beauty to our homes. But, one aspect that remains highly neglected is the landscape lighting. Without proper lighting, the beauty of the entire landscape can go to waste.

Landscape lighting is a very broad area to explore. It can prove to be a little tricky without an expert's help. Instead of considering it as a DIY job, it is advisable to hire a professional electrical contractor who knows the job well. But, you can consider a few tips before hiring an expert.

1. Visualize

Consider different looks for your home. There are so many varieties of lighting fixtures available in the market. And each day, a new type of fixture is added to the list. Make clear decisions to avoid confusion in the future. Do not forget your main aim. It can be anything from illuminating an entire pathway to highlighting a particular part of the lawn. So, it is important to visualize what type of look you want for the exterior of your home.

2. Focus on the 'Must-Haves'

While listing all your lighting objectives, make sure that you have all the basic elements covered. It includes pathway, porch, garden boundary, staircase, water fountains driveway, etc. Consider all the basic elements because they not only accessorize the exterior of your home but also add to its curb appeal.

3. Take care of positioning the Lighting Fixtures

While positioning the lighting fixtures, take care of how they will look at night. Make sure that they do not cast any unwanted shadow. Be extra careful and ensure that the fixtures do not throw unwanted light-rays in any rooms that are supposed to have a soft appeal.

4. Inclusion of Technology

It is frustrating to turn on the lights every night and wake up early in the morning to turn them off. Instead, set the lighting fixtures to a particular time and opt for automatic operation. Nowadays, there are lighting fixtures that come with power-saving features. Ask the electrical contractor to make optimum use of modern technology in order to make the exterior of your home look beautiful with minimum effort.

5. Avoid Nuisance

Landscape lighting can be a major setback if it disturbs the surrounding areas in one way or the other. Light-rays must not create nuisance for your neighbors. It must not throw unwanted attention on the neighboring homes. A practical approach to the problem can be the use of shields or glare-guards.

Landscape lighting is a good idea to add an extra touch to the overall curb appeal of your home. Whether it is highlighting the small elements of your garden or adding an architectural effect to your home, an electrical contractor can work wonders with the help of landscape lighting. If you want your home to look the best, do not forget to incorporate landscape lighting in your ideas.


3 Furniture Buying Fundamentals

Before you venture on a furniture shopping quest, stop for a moment to consider these three furniture buying fundamentals

Know your style:

The first rule about buying furniture is this simple maxim (and if it is not, it should be): Don't be guided by fashion. Instead, allow your personality to guide you.

For there is nothing worse than a home permeated with that impersonal show-room look.

Your interior should be the mirror of your soul. So, look deep inside yourself and decide (no cheating now!) what kind of person you are: casual, modern, rustic, traditional, eclectic?

If unsure, the items that surround you should give you a clue. The car you drive. The magazines you buy. The clothes you wear. Especially the clothes you wear. If your wardrobe is monochromatic, you'll probably feel best in similarly coloured living room. If you like prints and bold colours in your wardrobe, find a place for them in your home too.

Know your measurements:

It sounds like a no-brainer, but it's simply unbelievable how often we buy sofas or cupboards that are either too big or too small for the space they are to reside in.

There are no two ways to go about this. You have to draw to scale (probably in 1:15 ratio) the floor area of the room to be refurnished, with all the windows and doors. On a separate piece of paper, and using the same ratio, draw the sofas, tables, etc. you want to put into that room. Cut out your furniture and position the cut outs onto the room plan. All will be clear to you at a glance!

Of course, you'll have to imagine the third dimension, that is, the height of the furniture. If you are a perfectionist, you may also draw a plan of your walls and proceed with the cut-outs in a similar fashion. This is highly recommended if you need to figure out where to position shelves, photographs, paintings or mirrors (do this before you start drilling).

One more thing, though. The above exercise will be useless if you have to tear down a wall in order to get that antique armoire into your living room. The moral being, take care that the furniture you buy can enter through the doorway you have.

Know your budget:

Skip this one if money is no object. The rest of us will want to budget carefully and prioritise. It is a good idea to buy the most important pieces first, and then build around them. Don't feel that you have to furnish the whole room (let alone the whole house) at once.

You will live happily for a long time with furniture and decorations that reflect your personality. However, do remember to leave room for change. Our circumstances, and our personality too, evolve with time. So should our homes!


Hot Tubs. What You Need to Know Before You Buy

Are you looking for a way to provide hours of enjoyment for your family and friends? Buy yourself a hot tub. They make a great addition to any home, and will certainly give your lifestyle a boost.

If you want to be completely traditional, then your hot tub would need to be built in the shape of a large barrel, including wooden staves. Traditionally the water in a hot tub is still, just like a swimming pool, and would only be circulated to heat and filter it. Chlorine and disinfectants are used to maintain the hot tub. You can even get high-tech and install an ozone generator. This reduces the need for manual or chemical treatment of the water.

A wooden deck is a perfect place for a hot tub, and generally they are located outdoors. However you could put a hot tub inside if you have a large enough entertaining area. The tub will have a wooden seat or bench running around the walls, so that it's easy for people to sit down and relax. You can heat the water in many ways, choosing from natural gas, electricity, propane, or even with a wood fire if you really want to be traditional.

Modern hot tubs are very different to the traditional variety. They're generally quite a bit shallower, and are made from modern materials such as fiberglass-reinforced plastic. The good thing is that this means there's a lot more flexibility in hot tub shapes, and you can choose from a wide variety of seating levels. Modern tubs also usually include hydrotherapy jets, making it possible to have a nice relaxing massage while soaking in the hot tub. The jets are generally adjustable, so that you can pinpoint the massage to the particular areas requiring attention. You can also aerate the jets or water flow if you choose.

Because of their flexible designs, modern hot tubs can be used in a multitude of settings. It can be recessed within a deck, free standing, or if it's moderately sized, it can even be portable. If your hot tub is freestanding, you will need to provide steps so that people can climb into the tub and step onto the seating area.

If you've considered buying a hot tub but were worried about all the special external plumbing you thought might be required, don't be. Nowadays most units are completely self-contained, and generally the only plumbing required is a hose to fill up the tub. There are usually a couple of different water circuits, with one heating and filtering the water, the other operating the hydrotherapy jets.

By the way, if you think a standard hot tub just isn't impressive enough, there are plenty innovations available for you to splurge on. How about a sound system, colored or even disco lighting, and for a really long soak, a flat-screen television with a DVD player. The way it's going, you might end up never leaving your hot tub, unless it's absolutely necessary!


Valuable 220 Volt KitchenAid Mixer

If you love baking, a kitchen mixer is an indispensable tool. KitchenAid is a well-known brand of kitchen appliances that has made life easier in the modern kitchen. Their range of 220 volt stand mixers is a boon for multi-tasking in the kitchen. Stand mixers allow a hands-free operation and come with various attachments and accessories that make mixing easy and even fun. There are accessories for peeling, spiralizing, coring fruits and vegetables, and even mix ice cream.

The KitchenAid 220 volt mixer has always been extremely popular because of its impressive features and robust and sturdy quality. If you have never owned a KitchenAid mixer, you are missing out on one of the most useful kitchen appliances that you could get your hands on. Here is a list of some of its best features.

* Silent Yet Powerful: One big problem that people complain about is the shrill noise of a mixer when it is operated. There are brands that claim to be silent but cannot match the efficiency of a good mixer. The KitchenAid range of 220 volt mixers produces very little noise too. Plus, their efficiency and power is unmatched.

* Powerful Motor: The 220 volt KitchenAid mixers have powerful motors that can mix even the hardest dough without a hitch. The powerful motor is matched with large bowls allowing you to mix in large quantities. KitchenAid mixers come with bowl sizes of 5 quarts and above. Whether you operate a bakery or need to make a double batch of cookies at home, a KitchenAid mixer will never let you down.

* Hands-Free Operation: When you use a mixer, you need to hold it for it to function properly. KitchenAid mixers have a hands-free operation. If you opt for a model with a covered bowl, you don't even need to check it periodically. Multi-tasking with these mixers is easy.

* Large Range of Accessories: The 220 volt mixer comes with many attachments like a whisk, dough hook, and a beater. Apart from these, more advanced accessories include spiralizers, juicers and sauce attachments, ice cream makers, pasta rollers and more.

* Tilt Head Design: KitchenAid mixers come with a tilt head design usually only found in commercial mixers.

A KitchenAid mixer allows you to bake cakes, cookies, bagels, bread, and more. You can also make pasta, salsa, sausages, juices, sauces and ice cream with the right attachments. If you love cooking, a KitchenAid mixer should be a part of your kitchen.


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