Garage Heating & Plumbing

A typical two car garage represents approximately 20% of the usable space in an average home.  In addition, there are currently over 40 million single family residential garages in the U.S.  But the fact is, garages are simply the most under-utilized spaces of the home, especially during the winter months.  Why?  There may be any number of reasons, but one of the most obvious is that garages are typically left cold during the winter, making them uncomfortable to use for any other purpose than parking cars and storing tools.

Within the past 10 years that negative view of the garage has changed dramatically.  Climatizing the garage has become much more than an afterthought.  In fact, Insulating and providing some type of heat source in the garage has become a priority for many homeowners.

“There is a push among residential building contractors to offer their customers the option of providing garage heat to the new homebuyer”, says Matt Workman, of Infra-Red Products Supply, Inc., located in Draper, Utah.  “In fact, when given the option by the builder, the homebuyer will almost always choose to have the contractor insulate the garage along with the rest of the home during the construction phase.   In addition, when given the option, the homebuyer will at least opt for a gas line connection and/or the necessary electrical connections to handle a heating appliance  – with the idea of having a heater installed later on.  Now more often than ever, a garage heater is installed during the final stages of home construction.  It’s an amenity homeowners want and an extra profit incentive for the builder.”

“There are numerous practical reasons for heating the garage” states Mr. Workman, ” including mechanical maintenance, freeze control, hobby, recreation (table tennis or excercise), pet comfort, wood working or simply to be able to climb inside a warm car on a bitter cold day.  For men more than women, the garage is a sanctuary – a place to get away, tinker around and do minor repairs.  For women and stay at home moms, it can be a haven for excercise or simply a place to send the kids to bounce a ball or play games.”  Many homeowners even go to great lengths to make the garage feel like the dwelling space of the home by installing recessed lighting, closed cabinet storage and even a sink.  Painting the walls and floors and adding a little decorating touch can also make the garage a more inviting – a place where anyone would want to spent more time.

For existing homeowners as well, there seems to be an increased interest in upgrading and improving the “livability” of the garage.  One reason is that home prices have risen sharply across the nation, making a move into a larger home impratical or unobtainable for many families.  Rather than moving up to larger homes, many choose to stay put and maximize the use of the space in their existing home.  In these cases, a small investment in upgrades to the garage is quite practical, especially when considering the cost of a new mortgage and associated costs of relocating.  A heated, climatized garage can provide just that little extra room to spread out and make the garage useful year-round.

One of the major concerns people might have with heating their garage is cost.  The good news is there are numerous ways to heat a garage to fit almost any budget.  Options include gas forced air (unit heaters), electric forced air, direct vent wall heaters, infra-red tube heaters and vent free heaters.  Prices can range from $450.00 to $2,500.00(installed), depending upon garage size and the type of heating appliance.  (The author of this article strongly recommends an appliance that is CSA approved for residential use.  Portable propane or kerosene heaters in an attached garage are not safe, especially in the presence of gasoline cans, solvents and other products that may pose a fire hazard should there be a spill on the garage floor.  A permanent heater mounted high on the wall or suspended from the ceiling offers the best safety and places the heater out of the way of vehicles and people passing through).

One of the most affordable and popular heaters on the market is the Heatstar H25N vent free garage heater by Enerco.  This is an infra-red radiant heater designed specifically for residential garages and small shops.  It is vent free, safe, and requires no electricity.  Simply hang the heater and run the gas line and you’re done.  Other heaters are more expensive and require additional labor.  These include forced air in both gas and electric.  Gas forced air heaters (also called unit heaters) are ceiling suspended and require a flue to the outside and 110V electrical power, while electric forced air heaters require no venting at all, yet require 240V electrical hook-up.

Larger detached garages or shops may best be suited to a gas infra-red tube heater, which also requires an outside flue.  Unlike forced air heaters, however, vented tube heaters operate on the principle of infra-red (radiant) energy and are much quieter and more efficient to operate.  And because tube heaters do not blow air, drafts are virtually eliminated, creating a more comfortable environment.

As for operational cost, the most practical thing the homeowner can do is insulate.  Insulate well!  That’s easier to do prior to sheet rocking the walls, but even glued on foam or blue board can make a dramatic difference in cutting down heat loss.  In addition, an inexpensive door seal (available from most garage door suppliers) can cut down on infiltration of cold air from the outside around the perimeter of the overhead garage door.  Also, any leaks from man doors and windows to the outside should be sealed.  A well insulated garage can cut heat loss by at least 90% compared to an uninsulated garage.  This means that your heater will not need to run all that often to maintain comfort and the cost to operate can be just pennies a day.

Regardless of one’s reasons for adding heat to the garage, there are now a host of practical and affordable heating solutions to do it.  There are several companys in the U.S. who specialize in garage heating.  They can be very helpful in sizing and recommending a system suited to the homeowners specific requirements.

This article was submitted to OP CAREA PROGRAM by San Francisco Discount Plumbers.


Septage disposal requirements have come a long way since the days when haulers could simply discharge their loads into an open pit at a sewage treatment plant or off-load them into a field or lagoon. This process was often neither regulated nor monitored. Haulers submitted their own estimates of what and how much they dumped for billing purposes. This practice created a very real threat of ground water, lake and stream contamination.

The EPA issued strict new guidelines (under 40 CFR part 503) concerning septage land disposal. Haulers were given the choice of meeting the agency’s land disposal standards or utilizing the overextended services of existing sewage treatment plants.


Septage receiving can be tough on a treatment plant’s operation. Septage is 6 to 80 times more concentrated than municipal wastewater. It typically also contains significant levels of grease, scum, grit, rocks, rags, hair, plastics and other debris. If not treated properly, these solids can disrupt the treatment process. Many plants started receiving septage by simply allowing haulers to dump in a manhole upstream of the plant headworks, often with just a coarse manual bar rake for protection from heavy debris. This solution proved maintenance intensive. Plant biological processes can be disrupted by sudden surging of highly concentrated organics. The solids loading on the plant could cause significant ragging and subsequent downtime of pumps and other downstream equipment. The current challenge for many municipalities is to create enough septage disposal capacity to meet more stringent EPA regulations while not overtaxing their treatment processes.

Solenoid Valves & Parts

The specific type of media that is controlled directly by a solenoid valve enters the valve through something called an inlet port.  The media then needs to flow directly through an orifice before it then continues into another outlet port.  The orifice is then mechanically closed and opened by what is called a plunger.

Normally-closed direct acting solenoid valves will use a mechanically engineered spring that will press on the plunger tip against the opening of the orifice.

The material that seals the tip of the plunger keeps any media from going into the orifice, until the plunger is fully lifted up by the electromagnetic force engineered by the coil.

Below, we have included a video which shows the step by step guide of the sequence of operations for a fully engineered direct-acting solenoid valve.

Building a Medical Clinic – One Brick At A Time

James meant everything that he said when he swore the Hippocratic Oath. Everybody knew his dedication to human kind and his intentions to help those who needed his professional skills. Immediately after his internship, he left for Africa. Nobody was surprised when he decided that he was to go to Africa because he had it in him to help people. Africa was the best place for him. He wanted to go to Somalia where people died of preventable diseases, but Somalia was too volatile for any meaningful activity. He opted for Kenya.

The Trip

James’ flight landed in Nairobi on a cold July morning. It was his first day in Africa. He smelled the pure air of the city and took a generous gulp of the morning fresh air. It was drizzling and people complained of the cold weather. He wondered what they would say if they experienced winter. James took his breakfast in a modern shop within the airport and updated his twitter feed. He was waiting for Shaka who was to take him to Garissaa.

The Place

Garissa is a small town close to the border of Kenya and Somalia. James had done his survey and decided to start his medical practice in Garissa. The town is one of the alienated towns in Kenya. Women can barely access proper maternal facilities. Life is unbearable in this town. The lack of water and proper transport system has paralyzed the provision of medical care. The government has been criticized for neglecting the people of Garissa.

James took a connecting flight from Nairobi to Garissa. His guide Shaka took him through the town to assess the medical situation. James realized that what he needed more was a hospital. The situation in Kenya is beyond simply offering professional skills but a facility that can bring together the nomadic community. James realized that the people of Garissa needed a central place where they would come to when they needed professional medical help.

The Deed

James decided to build a hospital. The local administration offered to give him the land that he needed to build the hospital, the locals offered free labor. The locals knew what they needed and the value that James would bring them. James needed the funds to buy the building materials and employ the professionals to work on the project. He needed money to get the medical equipment and other necessary equipment’s.

James started a cause that he did not anticipate would end up being successful. The community donated their labor, his friend abroad donated medical equipment and promise to offer assistance to the project, the local hardware promised to donate some construction materials, and the local government offered to give periodic funds to the project. James was astonished at the help that was coming his way. He offered to train the locals on how to handle medical procedures.

The Kenyan clinic has now teamed up with a practice in Manchester for advice and support

The construction of the hospital went smoothly and within a year, everything was set. The hospital was launched and the new medical trainees enlisted. What started as a small one man project brought together whole community together. The Garissa medical centre had its first beneficiary a day after its launch. It was a normal delivery and the child was named James.


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To Renovate Or Not To Renovate

Every individual in today’s world wants a good looking exterior and interior of the house. According to a top Bournemouth estate agents renovation to the house not only makes it look attractive but maintains the quality look too – the housing market will increase the value of the home.Sunrooms add in new brick to the wall of home improvement. Sunrooms are very much common in friends’ houses and in the several neighborhoods. Other than providing a wonderful outlook to the house sunrooms help in the times of parties and occasions. Remodeling of home not only keeps the house presentable but up to date too. It is important that the house should go under appealing replacements like remodeling of windows and vinyl sidings. Furniture and other accessories should be chosen in such a way that they stay durable and cost survey. The decision regarding renovated home of choosing the right window and sidings should be carried out in such a manner so that increases out the value of a home of an individual. Home is place where people relax after heavy work pressure throughout the day, so that is the place that should be calm and pleasant. The wall colors, arrangement of furniture all should be according to the individual’s choice. Studies have proven that homes that are more open to air and sunlight is actually healthy in nature.


Other than bedroom, living room, kitchen and etc, bathroom is also an important area of a home. It has to be clean, hygienic and presentable. There is no good reason that you can put forward for a bathroom to be white. Although it is simple but brings in too formal look. Bathroom tiles help in creating good textures and give in good presentable outlook to the bathroom. A good unique bathroom is the best stuff to show off. Bathroom tiles are both applicable for bathroom wall and floor. There are several kinds of bathroom tiles that is today available I the market. All the types of modern, classic and traditional tiles are available so that a person can choose according to the interior of the house. While choosing the remodeling of the bathroom with tiles a person has to select glass tiles or mosaics. There are many good guiding companies in the market that is there to help out in inspiring good ideas regarding remodeling. At renovate local it is very much possible to get variety if tiles and design that adds in beauty and sophistication to your bathroom. Border and scored tiles are also available to add in a classy appearance to the bathroom.

Bathroom tiles are not only the sole material to home improvement and change the bathroom appearance but plumbers also take a role in it. They add in excellent plumbing so that the supplies become smooth and running. Ceramic and porcelain tiles are also in use now days for renovation. To give a touch of perfection to the renovation, one has to choose the tile of right color and size and type from the portfolio that suits the most. It is after the product and its perfection that adds in beauty to the renovation.




Helpful Tips For Home Fire Safety

Several thousand people die each year in home fires, which is still a rather staggering number when you think about it. A fire can be absolutely devastating and within just a few short minutes, your entire life can change. The number one way you can make a difference is to get together with your family and discuss fire safety procedures. A good portion of home fires could’ve been prevented had the family been a bit more educated about fire hazards. The Fire Risk Assessment Network have recently released advice on fire safety and fire risk assessing, below we highlight the most helpful tips that for home fire safety.

Smoke Alarms

Fire safety starts with a good smoke alarm that’s properly working. Don’t buy the cheapest alarm that you can find because it may end up malfunctioning when you need it the most. The way to get the most out of your fire alarms is to install them on every level in your home as well as near sleeping areas.

It has been a proven fact that you can reduce the risk of death by fire in your home up to 50 percent when you install smoke alarms. They really don’t cost a lot of money, so you really have no excuse not to buy them. Also keep in mind that if you have insurance on your property, the company won’t pay if your home was destroyed by a fire but there were no working smoke alarms installed.

Teach Your Children Safety

You probably already know that young children enjoy playing with things that they shouldn’t even be touching. Among the dozens of harmful things they could be playing with, matches and working lighters rank on top. Your child may inadvertently start a home fire and the results could be catastrophic and expensive.

Start your battle against fires by educating your children. Let them know that matches and lighters are off limits, and to drive your point home, put these products in a safe place where they can’t be reached.

Fire Escape Plan

No one plans on a fire destroying their home, but if a fire does occur for one of a myriad reasons, you need to be able to spring into action and evacuate your family and pets if you have any. As a family, brainstorm escape routes and try to plan for different home fire scenarios to ensure you always have an exit.

The most important aspect of your escape plan should be never arriving at a place where you could be trapped. For example, not every bathroom has a window you could use as an exit, so for this reason it is best to avoid getting trapped in that bathroom.

Blow Out Candles

Never under any circumstances leave a burning candle in your home unattended. Candles are another culprit for starting home fires, so use them with caution. Also keep in mind that you should only place candles in a spot where you can keep a close eye on them. Avoid any spots near the window where curtains can catch fire or a breeze can cause the flames to catch hold of other flammable items.

Kitchen Common Sense

Safety in the kitchen is also important in making sure your home isn’t destroyed by a fire. Teach your children and reinforce smart safety tips in your family members on how not to conduct themselves in the kitchen. For example, never have too many appliances in use at the same time and avoid throwing a towel on the burning stove.

When you take the time to educate your family on how to prevent and stay safe during a home fire, you can make sure everyone gets out alive. Just employ some common sense and you will be safe!

Watch the Fire Risk Assessment promotional video below.

Moisture Will Ruin Your Basement – Unless It’s Waterproof

Your basement is surrounded by water.  The soil around your basement retains moisture.  It’s not usually a problem until the ground becomes saturated, like during spring runoff or heavy rains.  Then, there is so much water in the soil, it cannot drain properly and starts looking for other places to go like through leaks in your basement walls.

Unfortunately, the best material for building basements and foundations is concrete, it’s great for holding up your house, but terrible for waterproofing your basement.  All concrete will crack eventually, and if your basement walls have not developed cracks already, they will.  Even hairline cracks can allow moisture into your basement.

Basement waterproofing is a great way to make sure water does not enter your basement and create problems.  Without waterproofing your house, you leave yourself open to all the problems that can happen because of basement leaks:
- Standing water can develop unpleasant odors.
- Mold and Mildew are just looking for a little bit of moisture to germinate and grow.  Mold and mildew can aggravate allergies and cause breathing problems throughout your home
- Rot moisture from a basement leak will weaken and damage wood structural supports and paneling.
- Dirt and Insects water from the soil outside your basement brings with it dirt, debris and insects through cracks in your basement walls.
- Furniture Damage Your furniture and belongings can be damaged when your basement leaks.

If you are planning to finish your basement, you should definitely carry out any needed basement and foundation wall repairs and then waterproof your basement.  Foundation and basement waterproofing will avoid costly water damage to your finished basement.  If you don’t waterproof your basement before finishing it, you may not know you have a moisture problem until it’s too late.

You need to make sure you water proof your basement properly to take care of all existing and potential leaks in your basement or foundation walls.  Using the services of a professional basement waterproofing service is the best way for you to be sure you have done everything you can to make sure your house is waterproof.

This article was submitted to us by Royal Flush Drain Cleaners.


Check out the video below for more information.


Protect Your Family And Vehicle From Unscrupulous Thieves

Anyone who has had a car or truck stolen knows the anxiety, helplessness and inconvenience that one goes through. If you are on vacation and have your vehicle stolen it can be even more damaging because you may not have other family and friends to help you get through the initial shock of it.

Not all vehicles that have been stolen come back in the same shape you last left it in. It can be trashed inside and out. After all, the people that have taken your vehicle have no respect whatsoever for your hard earned dollars that purchased the vehicle in the first place. And that is what a criminal is, someone who takes but does not give. There is no valid exchange that has occurred and they really don’t care.

So how do you protect yourself and loved ones? Here are a few tips to help keep you and your vehicle safe:

1) Never leave your car running while you run in to get something from a gas station or convenience store. A high percentage of theft occurs there. Thieves love this easy in easy out method.

2) Always lock your car. Almost half of all theft occurs in unlocked cars.

3) Never leave your keys in the ignition. It’s the same easy in and out method thieves love. Don’t give them that opportunity.

4) Don’t put that spare key hidden under your car. Thieves are well versed on that and will find them quick and easy.

5) Don’t leave your title or registration in your vehicle. Thieves can easily use this to dispose of your car.

6) If you live in a hot climate you may be tempted to leave the windows open a bit while parked. Don’t! You don’t want to give thieves any opportunity whatsoever to get in your vehicle.

7) Leaving valuables in sight attracts thieves.

8) Before getting out of your car, scan the area quickly to see if anything is out of the ordinary. Often thieves work in twos or threes. If you see any unusual loitering you may want to go somewhere else.

9) When you go inside somewhere do a quick scan for the same reason.

10) Make it a habit that wherever you go whether it is a restaurant, theater etc. that you do a quick scan of where the exits are. Knowing ahead of time where they are may help you in an emergency situation.

11) If you are in a restaurant make it a point that one of you (usually the man) sit facing the entrance so you can observe potential danger.

12) With your family devise an emergency plan. Drill it until you all know what your role is so that you can act instantly if danger does arise.

The bottom line is that criminals look for the quick and easy steal and individuals that are not prepared. They count on using that element of surprise to get to you or your car. You can avoid being a victim by using your common sense and having a plan. A little preparation ahead of time and learning to be aware of what’s around you at all times can significantly reduce you chances of being a victim.

Mobile Dent Repair in Pittsburgh submitted this article to us.  Their website is located here.

Energizing A Bedroom With Good Bedroom Furniture

indexHaving a great set of elaborately designed furniture can dictate the look and ambiance in the room.  The bedroom need not be big or well painted to look good. Having well-staged furniture, carefully selected and mixed with other accessories in the room, can spell so much difference in the exteriors of the bedroom.

For starters, get a comfy and sturdy bed. The bed is fundamentally the most important bedroom furniture. It sets the tone for the bedroom – how it should be designed and what other accessories can complement its look. It does not matter if you go for a queen sized bed, or a single bed if you are not sharing the room with another person. What’s more important is that you are comfortable with the size of the bed.  The bed should be of the right size- not too small for you and your partner, and not too big either that could take a lot of space in the room.

You might also want to put in a headboard in your bed to accentuate the look  If you’re a bit on the short side, a footboard may be of help, but if you are taller then it may not be practical since it will only take space on the bottom part of the bed.  From here you can also accentuate the look of the bed by putting in your desired fabric. Match the color of the fabric on the wallpaper for a touch of elegance.

Most people take a clue from the look of the bed in adding complementary bedroom furniture like cabinets, drawers, and night stands.  Some would like to achieve a traditional look for their bedroom by putting in accessories made of stone, leather, and iron that complement wood furniture. Variety can also be achieved by mixing nightstands and upholstered chairs and seats.

One can also add a bedside table.  This bedroom furniture can come in handy for those who like to put some items an arm’s away from them, like books, cellular phones, and the remote control of the TV. If the owner is the type who likes to clutter his table with unnecessary items, then the table should have a drawer.  This way the owner can store his essential items inside the drawer, and not clutter the table.

Bedroom furniture like cabinets can also be valuable specially in handling items like DVDs, audio CDs, photos, and similar items. A TV cabinet on the other hand can specifically hold the TV set and other audio and video apparatus. While these items can be a bit expensive there’s no doubt that having these items adds a touch of flair to any plain looking bedroom.

While bedroom furniture can spell the difference between a poorly designed and stylish bedroom, you also have to consider the factors in getting a good set of furniture. The bed, for example, should be sturdy and durable enough to last a long time. You may want to check on the background of the supplier you are dealing with. Most of the time having a reputable furniture shop can give you peace of mind especially when it comes to buying furniture.  The same goes with other bedroom furniture like cabinets. The material used should also be checked, especially if the material used is of high quality. You don’t want to invest on a poor quality wood or metal for your bedroom furniture.

Owing to the fact that a bedroom can be the most intimate and private part of the house, a lot of house owners are investing heavily on getting the best furniture for their household.  Looking for furniture however is no longer much of a task, what with the Internet offering a good medium for potential buyers to browse the kind of furniture they need for their bedrooms. One can also get ideas on the kind of furniture they need for their bedrooms.   Shopping for bedroom furniture is thus one task that house owners should enjoy.

Easy and safe bathroom planning

In the modern world not only every body take their bath in private, but also like to take bath in a more elegant and stylish bathroom for an opulent bath. Bathrooms pour a sense in you to be ready to face all-daylong tough challenges. To be spirited daylong bathroom plays a vital and active roll.

Usually a bathroom consists of whirlpool baths, steam showers, sitting areas, vanities and skylights. Today the taste of people has been changing rapidly towards most modern and sophisticated bathrooms and bath accessories.

There are lots of online bathroom stores are there where people can get their desirous bathroom products and free bathroom flour planner easily at their home. Online bathroom store like provide the free bathroom planner, so that you can design your bathroom very easily.

A success full bathroom decoration and modeling require a diligent planning. Bathroom planning and design ensures the layout of your bathrooms according to the space area of your bathrooms. By the help of bathroom floor planner you can design a beautiful bathroom layout of your choice, for which no technical knowledge is required.

Your bathroom is a sanctuary and it should be designed and constructed according to your need and preferences that will depict your lifestyle and as a person you are. In the modern and competitive world every body wants their bathroom glowing and designing in a most orderly manner

Your bathroom should be safe and the purpose of a bathroom is to provide optimum relaxation and safety. For a safety bath you should use slip resistance mat.   Lights and heater should be installed with permanent connection to avoid plugs and wall sockets.

Ventilation of bathroom should be taken care of actively. Proper ventilation is required to keep your bathroom more hygienic and odor free by using  extractor fans

10 Tips To Home Organization

If you are looking for the perfect home organization plan, consider starting small and working your way up to the larger bathroom or kitchen projects. A few simple tips will get you on the way to home organization at its finest.

Tip 1:
Use a flatware tray for utensils and place it neatly in a kitchen drawer. This will keep every utensil separate and will make it easy to find the one you want in a matter of seconds.

Tip 2:
Organize your favorite recipes in alphabetical order for quick reference. This can be done using note cards and a note card box or a binder with alphabetical separators.

Tip 3:
If you have a large number of VHS or DVD movies, consider a media unit to neatly store your collection. If feasible, select a wooden unit for strength and a pleasant appearance as opposed to inexpensive, plastic units.

Tip 4:
When storing away your seasonal clothes, don’t just hang them in the closet until next year. Instead, purchase a large plastic lidded storage tub and place your seasonal clothes neatly inside. Rather than folding, try rolling your clothes as this will reduce wrinkles and fold lines. In addition, it will save a lot of space. Place the storage tub in the floor of your closet and label the tub according to the clothing inside.

Tip 5:
Are you always losing pens and/or pencils? If so, consider using a coffee mug for neat and easy storage of your pens and/or pencils. Everyone has a coffee mug and this is a much more whimsy way of storing your writing utensils rather than a typical pen/pencil holder.

Tip 6:
Be sure to throw out any old magazines and/or newspapers. The best way to store them is a handled basket next to the sofa. However, this unit needs to be cleaned regularly in order to avoid any unsightly clutter.

Tip 7:
It is a good idea to keep all important papers, including deeds, titles and tax papers in a fireproof protective box. This box should also feature a lock & key and can be placed anywhere in the house. Most individuals place this underneath their bed.

Tip 8:
If you have any items that you no longer want, consider donating them to a local non-profit agency. This will save space and you will be doing a good deed.

Tip 9:
In order to avoid clutter, it may be necessary to throw away certain types of mail. This may include credit card offers, but don’t just throw them out without first shredding the letters. Identity theft is a huge problem and using a paper shredder on any bills or credit card offers will prevent anyone from ever gaining access to your private financial information.

Tip 10:
Make sure that your kitchen is neatly organized with all appliances close to an electrical outlet. You don’t want to have power cords running across the countertop and you will find that the microwave, toaster and coffee maker all in one location will be very convenient.

Home Improving while Budgeting

As we all know, budgeting and home improvement does not always go together but this article will give you information that could help improve your home and still save a little money.

Home improvement projects regularly scare people off, because many judge that they will pay thousands of dollars to alter one room, because they do not have the skills to do the job them self. They may also feel that the job is costly because supplies and tools are needed.

To the contrary, home improvement does not have to be costly at all. Of course, if you hire a subcontractor or contractor to do the job, you will pay a fortune, but if you have patience and the ability to read and stick to the directions, then you can renovate an whole room in your home for fewer than a hundred dollars. Of course, you will need to change and correlate materials.

Before starting the procedure of improving your home, you will need to system of funds and a schedule to get started. You will need to ponder various notions when considering and preparing home improvement. For example, do you plan to paint your home? Do you plan to tile your home? Do you want carpet in your home?

Going through the final part of this article, you will see just how important budgeting and home improvement can be done which will help save you money and improve your home.

Asking questions is part of analyzing and preparing for home improvement. One of the best tools to have when considering home improvement is calculating what you like and calculating what you want. When I improve my home the first thing I do is explore my mind searching for favorites and what excites and appeals to me. Thus, when I go to the home improvement warehouses, I already have in my brain what I am ready to purchase, therefore this relaxes my quest to improving my home.

If you are short of funds to improve your home, then setting up a financial plan will help you get what you want as well as put away some cash for a rainy day. You may even think about purchasing equipment and tools for home improvement at the companies that propose lower prices and/or purchases with no payments until a particular date. This notion will give you time to get your home better while putting away the currency to purchase the improvement equipment and tools.

Unfortunately, many people go for another home loan to enhance their home.  Receiving loans from lenders regularly lead to debt, and home loans for improvement only leads to paying off your home twice. Thus, elude high interest rates and loan payments and learn to plan your finances to improve your home.

Let me give you a general view of what one area could cost you for repairs. Say you want to paint a specific room in your home. You will need plaster, sealers, primer, paints, paint thinners, scrapers, screwdriver, paint opening (often come with paint purchases), patches, paintbrushes, tray, and so forth. Now you may think this will cost you a lot of money to improve your home, but to the contrary, you are wrong.

The paint and tools will cost you the most, while the other items will be priced less; thus, primer, sealers and plaster be priced around fifteen dollars if you go to the correct store.

Paint thinners, trays, brushes and screwdriver will cost around fifteen dollars if you go to the right store. Thus, the patches should be purchased with a plaster kit, which will salvage you a few pennies. The paint will cost around twenty dollars per can, depending on the kind of paint purchased. Therefore, for around a hundred bucks you could alter a room in your home lacking hiring anybody to do the job providing you stick to the instructions.

What about the bathroom, can you alter the room on a financial plan? It depends on the range of the area, but if you are yearning to tile your bathroom and paint the walls you could get the job done for around a hundred bucks give or take. If you go to the correct home improvement store and know what you are doing, you could remodel a small bathroom or average bathroom for around fifty bucks.

Learning to create a financial plan and prepare for home improvements can help you to remodel your whole home (if the home is in good standings) for a few hundred dollars. Furthermore, completing the work yourself, you will recoup you thousands of dollars.

Contractor Match has submitted this article because they like to give information on how to select a contractor and how to budget for one.

Home Improvement – New Solar Technology

Solar panel systems have always been criticized as bulky and unattractive. New solar technology is beginning to make such criticisms a thing of the past.

Solar Advancement

While everyone agrees solar energy is a clean, cost-effective energy source, there has always been one problem. The solar panel systems tended to be large and rather bulky. Frankly, they don’t add to the beauty of a home. While solar panel designs have improved over the years, a new development involving shingles is getting a lot of attention.

Photovoltaic shingles are a major design breakthrough for those who have a distaste for large solar panel systems. These shingles are, well, shingles. The replace the shingles on a roof, but have the physical appearance of a regular roof. Although they are black, they do not standout from the roof in the manner of panels. Instead, the they simply look like a regular roof and many people cannot tell the difference. Obviously, this seamless design is much better than the bulky designs of panel systems.

The technological breakthrough that makes this new technology possible is the invention of thin film photovoltaic cells. Known as “amorphous silicon thin alloy technology”, the designers essentially stepped back from traditional solar panel designs and did some thinking. What they realized is the materials used in panels were not the only ones that could be used. Without getting overly technical, the design team came up with a solution where more efficient cells could be built on a steel substrate. Each super thin cell was tailored to capture different spectrums of the sunlight. When layered on top of each other, they became extremely efficient at producing power.

The ultimate result is a system that can sit directly on the roof of a home or building, is more efficient than regular solar panels and far more appealing from a visual perspective. If you’re excuse for not using solar in the past was the bulky system, you need to rethink solar.

Will this new technology become the breakthrough we have been waiting for in solar power? It already is if you consider just the following:

1. The United States Army is building a solar powered community using it.

2. Museums in Beijing, China are converting to it.

3. Habitat for Humanity is using the system on many of the homes it builds.

4. Lockheed Martin is experimenting with the technology as a power source for high altitude flights.

In the opinion of many experts, this new technology represent a major breakthrough in solar energy. With energy prices exploding, solar represents the best solution to decreasing our dependence on limited oil and natural gas resources. Fortunately, the sun will be providing free power for the foreseeable future.

Are Sun Rooms Safe?

Most Americans prefer having a roof deck in their New Jersey homes just so they can have their private tanning sessions. Others opt for sun rooms or solariums to get that sought-after tan.

The concept of a solarium or sun room has changed over the years, from the rooftop solarium of a house as it is known in Rome to the castle roof solarium as it was known during the medieval period. During the olden times, solariums were typically located at the upper floor of the house, usually with large windows surrounding the room to welcome sunlight.

Solariums were not really made for tanning then, because medieval women used the solariums as their nook where they spend hours gossiping and exchanging pleasantries.

During the modern times, the sun rooms became more extravagant and elegant. Today, sun rooms are built surrounded by window glasses. Some sun rooms are even built with walls made of glass. Sun rooms today are also used by the family members as a relaxation area where they can entertain visitors or host parties. Today, sun rooms are also built to serve as greenhouses where exotic plants are kept and grown.

The concept of using sun rooms as tanning rooms is relatively new but it has attracted homeowners who find the idea practical. Instead of going to tanning shops or spas, there are home owners who buy use the sun rooms for personal tanning sessions.

Solariums or sun rooms are more popular during summer when the whole household can avail of in-house tanning services.  Some get their own portable beds and stay in their sun rooms the rest of the day.

Having your own sub room can be practical and cost effective. It can save you time and money in going to tanning salons. However, people who use sun rooms for tanning purposes should be aware of the dangers of too much exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays.

Even if you are just in you sun room, you have to make sure you are protected by wide-brimmed hats. To be more practical about it, use sun protecting creams or sunscreens with higher protection level. The common belief is that a person does not need sunscreen if he is jus tin the confines of his home. Of course, a sun room is just within your home but you are getting more sun exposure there so you have to protect your skin and your eyes.

You can enjoy your sun rooms but do not endanger your health by enjoying your sun rooms without proper protection.

Finishing your wooden windows and doors

Protecting your investment after you have chosen to install quality wooden windows and doors or any wood products in your house is very important. Failing to finish your products properly and in a short space of time after receiving them may make the manufacturer’s warranty or guarantee null and void. The steps you need to take are:

1.Decide on the finish from all the options available to you.
2. Preparation of the wood surface
3. Cleaning of glass.
4. Installation and

1.Decide on the Finish.
Your local finish/paint store expert can give you advice to meet your needs. He will consider which finishes perform best in your area and take into account the temperature and humidity conditions, whether you need an interior or exterior product and how best to combine products for best effect or any other considerations he thinks necessary.

A deep penetrating, oil or wax based sealer that provides a durable finish  to exterior timber is recommended and one that gives a silky smooth   finish.

A wide range of wood colours is normally available. You may need to over coat the finish with a solvent based varnish to give enhanced durability and appearance. UV absorbers will give prolonged durability. Enamel paints can be used over this type of sealer but not PVA.

All joins, end grain and all exposed wood must be covered to protect the wood from cracking, warping or rotting. The sealer should contain anti-fungal to stop “blue mould” and mildew formation. When choosing paint make sure it has good blocking resistance – the ability of the paint to resist sticking. You don’t want the window to stick shut.

For an interior finish choose a wood primer and paint that are compatible. When applying the finish sanding may be required between coats of paint. Allow time for the paint to cure completely before closing doors or windows.

2. Prepare the wood surface.
Firstly, light sanding may be required to remove any roughness from surfaces or to remove any construction residue that has been put on the surface during storage or construction. It is preferable to use 180-grit or finer sandpaper and sand with the grain to avoid unsightly marks in the wood, and then remove all sanding dust with a cloth. Never use steel wool. If glass has been installed be careful not to touch the glass with sandpaper. Use a sanding block or edger to protect the glass from scratches. If glass has not been installed remove the beading and prepare the wood surface for finishing. Always use protective equipment when sanding to avoid inhaling the sawdust and getting it in your eyes.

3. Clean the glass.
Remove any sawdust, grease or any other material from the glass with mineral spirits. Wash the glass with a good quality glass and surface cleaner using a soft, lint-free towel (paper or cloth).

4. Installation.
The long life of external joinery is dependent on proper installation. Follow manufacturer’s instructions and you have the best chance of the window lasting more than 30 years. Always check that the manufacturer’s handling and site care instructions are being followed correctly. The installer should be recognized by the manufacturer as being suitably qualified to do the job of glazing as well as installing.

5. Maintain your windows and doors
Windows and doors can reward you with decades of beauty and good performance if you take care to carry out maintenance at least once a year. Remove any debris and clean the window and door tracks with a brush. To help prevent sticking you can apply a wax or dry lubricant. Do not use an oil lubricant because it will attract grime and dust. Check for leaks and do repairs as necessary. If the surface shows deterioration you may need to restain or repaint from time to time.  Humidity and Condensation. There are many causes of condensation in the home. It is normally the result of excess humidity. It may be less of a problem in older homes where the air exchange between inside and outside is greater. However excessive condensation can damage any wooden product even wooden windows and doors. Proper ventilation will help to reduce condensation but it cannot be eliminated completely.

The advantage of wooden windows is that they help block heat transfer through the frames, they have superior U factors and they have a warmer frame surface which helps reduce symptoms of condensation.

Your main consideration should be to balance humidity levels to ensure your home is not too wet or too dry and prevent damage to your wood products.

This article was submitted to the OP Carea Construction & Remodeling program by Scaran Heating and Cooling.  Their website is located here:



Ceramic Tile Underlayments – The Basics

laufen_craterlake_bamboo_ceramic_tileCeramic tile material is rigid and relatively brittle, so a sturdy base is the most critical part of installing this type of tile. Unless you want to see cracked tiles, loose tiles, or loose grout, you need to select the proper underlayment. Underlayment being what the construction trade calls the layer that goes between your wood subfloor and your tiles.

You have several alternate ways to accomplish the strong underlayment required for ceramic tile installation.

Plywood- just a single layer of plywood isn’t rigid enough to stop floor deflection. It needs to be covered over with an additional layer of exterior-grade plywood to achieve a total thickness of at least 1 1/8 inch. You can either (A)- Cover the plywood with a cement backer board (more on these below) or (B) Cover the existing plywood with a second layer of exterior grade plywood. Under either of these, a thin-set mortar is applied to eliminate air gaps. Additionally, in bathrooms, it’s recommended to lay a “shower pan” over your wood subfloor. This refers to thin rubberized materials that protect the tile from floor expansion and contraction due to moisture, temperature and humidity.

Cement Backer Board – These are prefabricated, lightweight concrete sheets used to cover wood subfloors.  It has a dense Portland concrete core and fiberglass surfaces both sides and is able to withstand prolonged exposure to moisture. Brand names include DUROCK, UTILICRETE, WONDERBOARD and GLASCRETE.  Joints of the backer board sheets should be staggered such that they don’t fall directly over the wood subfloor joints.
Mortar Bed- Mud beds, or mortar beds, are used by professional tile contractors mostly. They’re composed of a layer of thick roofing felt, then wire mesh, followed by a layer of mortar.  The reason it is used mostly by the specialists is that it takes a high level of skill and practice to ensure the mortar bed produces a sufficiently level surface. The other reason is that it is the best foundation possible for a ceramic tile floor. Okay, but why? Because the mortar bed has a built-in reinforcement against floor deflections in the form of the wire mesh. Translation- less cracked tiles and loose grout, and longer-life flooring.
Concrete Slab-
You can lay your ceramic tile directly on concrete slab, but all cracks and holes need to be refurbished prior before the installation of a tile when it’s directly bonded to the concrete. Some concrete slab has been coated with curing compound to help the slab set without cracks. This compound should be removed before tile installation to ensure a long-lasting mortar bond, since the compound helps the concrete retain moisture and in some cases affects adhesiveness. It is also important that the slab be as level as possible, especially with the larger tile sizes in use today. Cleaning the concrete completely of debris and dust will also contribute to a higher quality installation. In short, preparation of the surface is key.

One other possibility is laying the tile over existing flooring. There are a few things to consider. Is your existing floor solid, flat and in good shape? Is it stuck well enough to the subfloor under it to provide support? Good. Is the existing floor linoleum or vinyl? Not so good. You need to strip it out or put a good subflooring on top of it. (And watch out for older vinyl flooring, which may contain asbestos fibers. You don’t want to strip this stuff out yourself. Instead, either cover it up with some plywood subfloor or have a contractor remove it. If you aren’t sure if your flooring has asbestos, call in a trained asbestos inspector.) If you have ceramic tile on the floor you can lay newer tile on top of it as long as it’s surface is level and not too smooth. You might need to sand the surface to let your bonding have a better chance.

In conclusion, a little planning and thought will go a long way toward making your tile installation project a valuable addition to your home, so take the time before you go in with “both guns blazing”.

If you need more information on anything in this article, look at in New Jersey.