Keeping Your Plants Alive During A Drought

Posted by on April 6, 2016 in Blog, Home & Garden | Comments Off on Keeping Your Plants Alive During A Drought

Living through drought conditions is challenging, particularly when the water shortage goes on for months and years, such as it currently has in California and other parts of the Southwest. Although saving water for essential uses should be the priority, you can still work to keep your plants alive without violating any water restrictions. Gray Water Gray water is water that you have used but that is not significantly contaminated. For instance, your bathwater and laundry water are considered gray water. You can plug up your drain during showers and not drain the tub after a bath. Then use your buckets and water pails to collect the water to use on your houseplants and outdoor varieties. You will not be using more than your share of water while preserving your well-loved plants. Don’t let your gray water go down the drain. Watering Schedule Experts recommend that your plants, including garden plants, get at least an inch of water each week. You should, however, water them once a week or once every two weeks rather than several times a week since smaller amounts of water given more frequently do not have the same effect. When your plants get water less often, they put down deeper roots, which helps them find more water and stay firmly planted. Also, less water evaporates, meaning your plants get the use of more water. Prioritize You may need to choose which plants to keep alive. Obviously, you love having a green lawn, but you may need to let your lawn go in order to keep your flowers, shrubs, and trees alive. If you rely on your garden to help stock the family pantry, then aim much of the available water at your vegetables. Obviously, if you have some prized trees, you will want to save them. Fortunately, they can usually get by with several “deep” waterings each year. Pick the plants that are dearest to your heart and the ones that are most practical and spend your efforts on saving them. Fertilize You should only fertilize during active growing periods, so when your lawn is in the midst of a drought, you should not attempt to feed it. However, once drought conditions ease and the grass begins to grow once more, it is vital that you help your lawn recover by preparing it during the dormant season and regularly administering lawn fertilization during its first post-drought growing period.  Surviving a drought puts a great deal of stress on you, but it stresses your plant life even more. You can fight to save at least some of your plants during drought conditions, but you need to formulate a plan and execute water conservation. Use your gray water and follow a watering schedule.  If you focus on your prized plant life, you will minimize your...

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3 Tips For Choosing Draperies For Your Home

Posted by on March 3, 2016 in Blog, Home & Garden | Comments Off on 3 Tips For Choosing Draperies For Your Home

The right drapery can add a touch of style to your home instantly. Choosing drapery is more than just selecting a color that you like. Here are some tips for finding drapery that complements your home’s style. Consider the Weight of the Fabric When a curtain is too heavy, it usually does not fold crisply when it is drawn. If the fabric is too light, it might not fall well and may make a less-than-favorable impression. To avoid picking curtains that are too heavy or light, you need to test them out while shopping. An easy way to do this is to hold the curtain up to a window. You can even hold it up in the store’s window. Before holding it up, pleat the top part of it and pinch it at the top. If the curtain flares out when it is pleated and held up, it is not going to look nice when the curtains are drawn. Remember the Sun No matter the quality of the curtains you select, the sunlight will eventually cause some fading. The fading is more noticeable in certain colors, though. Bright colors tend to show signs of fading faster. If you want curtains that will last longer, look for those in a more neutral color. Neutral colors do fade, but they still blend with the rest of the room’s d├ęcor. Determine the Placement of the Curtains Another decision you need to make before buying curtains is deciding where you plan to place them. The position of the curtains determines the length. If you want to make the room seem as if it has higher ceilings than it actually has, you need to hang the curtains a few inches above the windows. If you want a more traditional look, you can opt to add on a few inches to the curtains’ measurements so that they have a slight puddle at the bottom. You can also opt for the curtain to fall exactly at floor level if you want a contemporary look. When measuring, you also need to account for the width of your window. To get a fuller look from your curtains, consider adding a few inches to the width. The curtains will hang better and when drawn, the glass will not be blocked. There are other considerations you need to make when buying draperies. Consult with a retailer to learn other tips you can use to ensure that you get the right look for your...

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Three Signs You Need A Water Softener

Posted by on February 2, 2016 in Blog, Home & Garden | Comments Off on Three Signs You Need A Water Softener

Hard water is a fairly common problem for homeowners who have their own wells instead of using city water. Water softening can make your water supply more drinkable and more usable in such a situation. But how do you know if you need water softening? Here are three signs of hard water that will help you detect the need for a water softening treatment for your water supply. 1. Discoloration Hard water is full of minerals, and these often include iron. The iron in the water can form deposits inside your bathtub, and because of oxidizing (basically the iron deposits are rusty), these deposits are generally orange in color. These stains may also appear in sinks, showers, and dishwashers. Cleaning the affected areas with vinegar or lemon juice is a popular way to rid yourself of these unsightly stains, but if you don’t treat your water supply with a water softener, the stains will recur. 2. Water heater sounds Your water heater is rather sensitive to the minerals in your water, because these tend to build up inside the tank and form sediment. Sediment build-up isn’t an emergency, but it does need to be cleared out by flushing the tank once or twice a year (for water with normal or slightly high mineral levels). If you have very hard water, you may need to flush the tank more frequently or get your water softened. If this is the case, you may hear the popping or rumbling sounds that indicate sediment buildup just a few months after you last flushed the tank. 3. Dishes The dishes in your dishwasher can also be affected and damaged by hard water. They may not develop orange stains like your bathtub, but they may become scratched or pitted from the minerals in the water. Dishes made of glass are the most likely to be affected by this. You may also notice the glass dishes take on a cloudy appearance due to slight mineral deposits. If your dishes are cloudy, try using vinegar to remove the film. If it works, the cloudiness is likely caused by hard water rather than by scratching. These three signs, especially if they occur together, are clear indicators that you probably have a problem with hard water. Slight mineral content isn’t usually a problem, but if your water is hard enough that you’re noticing these three issues, you should probably invest in water softening to save yourself the extra cleaning, water heater flushing, and damaged dishes that hard water can cost you. For more information, talk with water softener suppliers or visit websites...

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The Dos And Don’ts Of Selecting A Self-Storage Unit

Posted by on January 8, 2016 in Blog, Home & Garden | Comments Off on The Dos And Don’ts Of Selecting A Self-Storage Unit

If you are planning on renting a self-storage unit for boxes, furniture, and other belongings, there are a few things you should do first. It is important that you don’t just choose the first storage facility you find as they are not created equal. The following tips can help you select the right self-storage unit and storage facility to fit your needs.  Dos: One of the most important aspects of a storage facility is security. Look into the security of the facility itself and each self-storage unit. Ask the facility if they offer surveillance and whether the cameras are only at the entrance and exit, or also near the units. Find out if they have a history of break-ins if it is possible for someone to get in without a code, and what extra measures they take in the middle of the night. Also, ask about offering high-security locks for the unit, or if you have to get a lock yourself. When you choose a storage facility and begin looking at the individual units, ask about climate-controlled units. Many facilities will either offer climate control in all units or select units and charge a higher rate. This is definitely worth it as climate control can reduce pests, keep the moisture down, and help to protect your belongings. You don’t want to store items like electronics or vintage wood furniture without being able to control the climate. Don’ts: Don’t just choose a unit without looking inside, not just at the size, but the condition. Take some time inspecting the property of the storage facility and the storage unit you are thinking about getting. Do you see any signs of pests in the unit? Look for small mouse or rat droppings, or pests like cockroaches, ants, or spiders. Don’t just for these signs inside your unit, but outside in the facility as well. Also, pay attention to the size of the unit you are considering and see if your belongings will fit. Don’t just go with what a standard size unit will hold; you will be surprised by how quickly the smaller units fill up and you run out of space. Also, don’t ignore red flags when you contact different storage facilities to decide which one is best for you. A facility that isn’t aware of the type of security they have, is constantly trying to sell you a certain type of size or unit even if you have expressed interest in another one, or who fails to answer all your questions, is not a good facility to go with. Contact a local provider, such as Magnum Self Storage, for further...

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Until The Police Arrive: Surviving An Invasion

Posted by on December 14, 2015 in Blog | Comments Off on Until The Police Arrive: Surviving An Invasion

During a home invasion, your burglar alarm will likely be triggered, informing you of the invasion. If your alarm system is monitored, the police will also come to investigate the burglary. However, if the burglar is not deterred by the alarm, there will be a period before the police arrive when you will have to respond to the home invasion. Don’t Open The Door Some intruders try to trick you. For example, they may ask you to let them use a phone or they may claim to be a delivery man. If you are not expecting a package, do not open the door. Also, if you do talk to the individual, give the impression that you are not alone. Consider yelling “I’ll get it.” Call The Police Contact the police regardless of whether your alarm is monitored. Use an automatic phone dialer so that you can contact the authorities more quickly. This ensures that the police will be contacted even if something goes wrong with your alarm system. You do not need to speak with the police because all 911 hang-up calls are supposed to be investigated because of these situations. Create A Safe Room Have a safe room your family can immediately go to. The safe room should have a deadbolt lock. Make sure all of your family members are inside this room and shut and lock it. You may also want to keep a weapon inside. Place a piece of furniture inside the safe room that can be slid to block the door. Place 4x4s next to the furniture to prevent it from being moved when someone tries to force the door open. Train Your Children Train your children on how to react to a home invasion. Teach your child to call 911, touch a panic button or how to escape and head to a neighbors house if there is a home invasion. Attach A Key To A Glow Stick Attach a spare key for your house to a key chain with a glow stick. Then, if the police arrive and need to enter your home, you may be able to toss the keys out of the window so they can enter your home quickly and more quietly. Decide Whether You Should Fight The Intruder If you encounter the intruder and you don’t believe you can defend yourself, act as if you are having breathing troubles and try not to look at the intruder. Make sure to follow instructions and to allow the intruder to take whatever he or she wants. For example, if the intruder asks you to open a safe, be sure to do so. To learn more, contact a burglar alarm company like Alliance Appliance Of Rockland & Authentic...

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Understanding The Common Signs Of Septic System Failures

Posted by on November 19, 2015 in Blog, Home & Garden | Comments Off on Understanding The Common Signs Of Septic System Failures

There are a few common signs that your septic system is in need of repair or service, but it’s not always clear what the nature or root cause of a problem actually is. Looking for a few key indicators can help you determine a little more about what’s wrong and where the problem is likely to be located. Not only will this help expedite repairs, but in some cases it can help you avoid calling the wrong contractor, or calling a contractor with a broad area of expertise but limited availability. Mysterious Puddles Standing water on your lawn is often an indication of an issue with drainage of some kind, but finding standing water long after the last rain storm is a sign of a problem with your waste water system. Identifying the source and nature of that problem can often be done simply based on its location in relation to various components of your septic system. Once you’ve determined where the water is likely to be coming from, you’ll know a lot more about the problem itself. Standing water between your home and your septic tank is often a sign of a burst wastewater pipe, and can be confirmed by flushing a toilet or filling a sink and letting it drain all at once. If the water surges or rises suddenly then what you really need is a plumber, as not all septic tank companies handle this issue and plumbers often have greater scheduling availability. The area around your drain pipes will need to be excavated and the pipe will need to be replaced. Call a Septic Company If you find standing water near or around your septic tank is normally a sign that the tank is full or clogged, which can be resolved simply by having it pumped out. In some cases this may also be a sign that the tank has ruptured, either due to poor maintenance practices or extreme cold, causing the liquid waste to freeze and expand. In the latter case there’s nothing to be done but replace the tank completely. Standing water near or around the location of your drainage field is an indication that the underlying soil strata has become oversaturated. While calling a septic company will help resolve this issue, it’s also important that you look for potential causes, such as overgrown shrubbery, soil compaction or simply poor drainage. You can prevent future drainage issues by aerating your lawn and cutting back overgrown plants to clear the area around the drain field. Repairing your septic system often shouldn’t be necessary, but when it is, you should be able to tell immediately so you’re not wasting time waiting on a contractor. Knowing your specific problem will also help ensure that when a contractor like Sullivan Septic arrives they’ll be prepared to address...

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4 Tips For Troubleshooting Your Furnace

Posted by on October 23, 2015 in Blog | Comments Off on 4 Tips For Troubleshooting Your Furnace

There’s never a good time to have issues with your furnace. If possible, it’s always a good idea to test it out before the really cold weather hits. Sometimes, though, everything is working fine and then suddenly it isn’t. Here are some of the things you can look for to correct the problem sooner rather than later. Check the Really Simple Stuff The first step when doing any troubleshooting is to make sure that you don’t overlook the rudimentary problems. The reason for that is to make sure that any of that super simple stuff is actually set properly. Is the thermostat set for heat, rather than air? That makes a big difference. Speaking of the thermostat, does it need and have batteries? Is the breaker switch turned off? Is the filter clean? All of that is the basic groundwork for your furnace working properly. Check the Other Switch Many furnaces have a “furnace switch.” It can be on the furnace itself or it can be on the wall near the furnace. It often looks like a regular light switch, and it probably doesn’t have any nifty labels that say, “Your furnace won’t work right if I’m not turned to ‘on’.” Locate that switch and make sure that it’s turned on, then try the furnace again. Check the Pilot Light and the Gas Valve Older furnaces and gas furnaces likely have a pilot light. If it isn’t lit, then your furnace isn’t going to function properly. Light the pilot light if necessary. Also, if you have more than one gas appliance, are the rest of them working? If so, your gas is turned on and functioning so the problem is likely with the furnace itself. If they aren’t working, you need to make sure that your gas is on at the source. Call an Expert When all else fails, it’s time to call in an expert. The furnace repair expert can troubleshoot all of the inner workings of the furnace to root out the problem. Although there are only a few working parts within the furnace, some of them may have given out, particularly if it’s an older furnace. Whether a smaller part needs replacing or the entire furnace does, at least you’ll know the problem. When you’re having issues with your furnace, it’s time to get help. Contact a local furnace company like HomeSmart From Xcel Energy to get the full picture about what you...

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Simple Tricks That Increase The Appearance Of Yard Size

Posted by on September 30, 2015 in Blog, Home & Garden | Comments Off on Simple Tricks That Increase The Appearance Of Yard Size

If your home is situated on a small plot of land, you may have wondered if there were some improvements you could make to the area to make it appear larger. Using some of the following tips can alter the look of your land to make it feel like you have more property. Try one or a combination of the following suggestions in your own yard. Draw Eyes Upward If your land is relatively flat, the eyes tend to take it in quickly, dismissing it as a small area. If you add height to some portions of your yard, people looking at the space will spend more time taking it all in as their eyes need to gaze upward and then back down again. Adding areas of height will greatly increase the amount of space it appears you have in your yard. Consider adding a retaining wall or a rock structure to your yard to give it an interesting distraction from plain, flat ground. Add Some Pathways Add appeal to your yard with walkways. Place a stone path through the middle of your yard to break up the monotony of a plain lawn. To make your yard appear even bigger, stagger the stones rather than place them in a straight line. This tricks the brain into thinking the area is bigger simply by staying away from perpendicular and parallel lines on the ground. Designate Stations Break up your plot of land by constructing activity stations within. Set up one portion of your property with tables and chairs to be enjoyed for relaxing or a quick meal. Set up another area with yard games. Make another area into an area of solitude complete with a running fountain and stone bench. Separating these activities will help keep your yard orderly instead of appearing as if it is jumbled with furniture and personal items. Use Color Place bright-colored flowers in your yard to help with space troubles. Warm colors like red, orange and yellow give a homey feel. They also attract attention, making items around these colors the focal point of the yard. Place flowers in areas you want people to appreciate, such as around a fish pond or across the front of your home.  Stay On Scale Take the size of the structure of your house into consideration when making improvements to your landscaping. If you have a tiny house, using large items in your yard will make both your yard and your house appear smaller. To make the area look bigger, stick with smaller trees and plants, as well as small-scale furniture or ornaments. For more information, talk to a company like Superior Lawn and...

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How To Spot Potential Plumbing Problems Before They Become Major Issues

Posted by on September 1, 2015 in Blog, Home & Garden | Comments Off on How To Spot Potential Plumbing Problems Before They Become Major Issues

Your home’s plumbing is one of the most important aspects of your house. If part of your home’s plumbing system fails, you could have issues with your sinks, toilets, washing machine, hot water heater, and dishwasher, as well as water damage from leaking pipes. So, it’s important for you to regularly inspect the plumbing in your house and know what to look for so that you can call a plumber before a small issue becomes a major problem. Water Pressure Level Low water pressure is one of the first things that you’ll probably notice if there is a plumbing issue in your house. Your pipes have to produce a substantial amount of pressure consistently in order to push water out of the faucets. However, if you have a leaky or corroded pipe, the pressure is escaping through the leak, which in turn lowers your water pressure. If a good amount of pressure is escaping, you might not have any water coming from the pipes at all. Leaky Pipes When you have a leaky pipe in your house, you probably won’t notice it right away, unless it happens to be one of the pipes directly under your sink or a pipe that’s running to an appliance. This is because the majority of your pipes are located underneath your house and inside your walls. Unfortunately, even small leaks can cause a lot of damage. So, if you see stained drywall, drips, random puddles on the floor, mold, mildew, or wet spots on your ceiling or walls, you need to call a plumber right away. A professional plumber will be able to trace the leak back to its point of origin so that the leaky pipe can be replaced or repaired. Rusty or Discolored Water If you turn on the faucet to find discolored or rusty water, there is probably a plumbing problem. If not, it’s a good sign that you may have a major plumbing problem in the near future. If discolored water comes out of your faucet when you run both the hot and cold water, it could indicate that you have excessive amounts of dirt in your water, which is typically caused by a clog in your home’s sewage system, or by corroded pipes that will need to be replaced. If you only see rusty or discolored water when you turn on the hot water, it could mean that it’s time to have your hot water heater replaced. Regardless, of whether you see discolored water from both faucet settings or just one, you need to call a plumber as soon as possible. No one enjoys coming home to discover a plumbing problem, but it happens from time to time. As long as you know what to look for, you should be able to spot an issue fairly quickly and schedule an appointment with a plumbing contractor like Rakeman Plumbing before any major damage is...

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3 Tips To Help You Choose The Perfect Pressure Washer

Posted by on August 11, 2015 in Blog, Home & Garden | Comments Off on 3 Tips To Help You Choose The Perfect Pressure Washer

Pressure washers make seasonal cleaning a breeze, and they can prove to be invaluable outdoor power tools when starting to prepare an area for a large, labor intensive project. That said, there’s also a dizzying variety of pressure washers, which makes a buyer’s decision all the more difficult. Read on below to discover three things you should keep in mind when you shop for a pressure washer online or at your local hardware store. Power Source The first thing you’ll want to consider when buying a pressure washer is the power source. All pressure washers are powered by either electricity or gas. Electric pressure washers are far lighter and more maneuverable than their gas powered cousins, which make them ideal for smaller projects, or projects in tight spaces. However, many electric pressure washers lack the power that gas washers bring to the table. If you’re looking to clean a driveway or big sections of vinyl siding, you’ll definitely want to opt for purchasing a gas powered pressure washer.  Detergent Compatibility In many instances, you’ll want to thoroughly clean a given surface using detergent before rinsing it with water. A dirty patio, concrete floor, or other surface that is being prepped to paint is far tougher to clean without detergent. That’s why you’ll want to keep an eye out for pressure washers that include detachable tanks and wands that can handle interjected detergent. Some washers will include a siphoning tube instead of a tank. Thinking that the average pressure washer is automatically capable of handling detergent solutions is to risk lower pressure streams at best and permanently clogging the machine at worst. Interchangeable Accessories One of the advantages of pressure washers is that they can often be customized to suit the needs of vastly different projects. For example, you may want to adjust the pressure of the water during the course of a cleaning session, but this isn’t always possible with a machine that lacks interchangeable wands and nozzles. The way in which the spray exits the nozzle can also be adjusted (jet vs. wide stream). Some machines feature a permanent wand or nozzle that includes various pressure and spray settings on the extension itself, but just as often this isn’t the case. Don’t assume that you can detach the wand or nozzle on your pressure washer. Be sure to completely understand its limitations and capabilities with all of the included accessories before making the decision to purchase.  Talk with a sales representative and your local hardware store that sells outdoor power equipment, such as Joe’s Tractor Sales Inc, for more information about the various types of pressure...

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