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Kitchen Renovation

Septic Systems: 5 Tips for Taking Care of Your Septic Tank

Many residents of rural areas don’t have connected water and sewer systems, but wells and septic systems. These systems aren’t difficult to take care of, thanks to upgrades present in modern technologies. By following basic instructions and these tips, you can ensure your septic system operates properly for years to come.
Watch rainwater
A soggy and wet septic drainfield won’t properly handle liquid waste, leaving it unabsorbed and not neutralized. You’ll need to plan things like landscaping, gutters and drains to divert away water from the drainfield.
Don’t overload
One of the biggest reasons for septic system repairs is an overloaded system. Make sure your system and drainfield aren’t overloaded by checking regularly for leaks from toilets and faucets, and making necessary repairs. Aerators and flow-reduction nozzles on faucets and showers will help lower water consumption, as will reduce water levels for small laundry loads. Other ways to keep the system from overloading is to run the dishwasher only when you have a full load and to use a displacer to decrease the water needed to flush.
Keep trees away
Another reason to call for repairs is root damage from trees. Tree roots are notorious for damaging septic tanks, which can mean costly repairs. Keeping trees at least 100 feet away from your septic system will discourage these costly damages. Willow and other similar trees have very aggressive roots, so they should be kept even farther from the system and drainfield.
Be careful of what you dispose
Your toilet is not a garbage disposal. You shouldn’t flush (even if you are connected to a municipal sewer system) cat litter, diapers, sanitary items, coffee grounds, cigarette butts and other items, as they can quickly clog your tank. Do not overuse heavy cleaners, as they will kill beneficial bacterium that break down solids. Grease can also clog the drainfield, and make it impossible for the soil to absorb liquids. When that happens, you’ll need a new drainfield. Hazardous chemicals like varnish, gasoline and oils can ruin your system and are a hazard to groundwater sources.
Maintain regularly
If you want your system to work properly, the solids will eventually have to be pumped. The rule of thumb for a family of four with a 1,000-gallon tank is to have it pumped every three to five years. And while you might think it easy to take care of it yourself, never open a septic tank as it contains harmful materials and gases. Always have a professional handle the job.…

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Kitchen Renovation

Repairing Gouges in Terrazzo or Polished Concrete Floors

There are a few tips and tricks that you can follow in order to repair any minor marks or gouges in your polished concrete or terrazzo floors.
Cracks in flooring:
There are a few methods depending on the size of the crack in your polished concrete. If you have a pneumatic needle scaler for cleaning up small cracks with a little dust it can be beneficial to help repairing cracks in your polished concrete floors. Another method is with your own do it yourself “sand” formula.
For small cracks
A� aluminum oxide
A� local fine washed river sand
For larger cracks
1/3 aluminum oxide
1/3 local river sand
1/3 local fracture rock
Gouges:
Repairing gouges in your concrete flooring is really pretty easy. However you want to make sure the old concrete bonds to the new concrete or your repair could last you less than a year. There are a few necessary steps to follow in order to repair gouged concrete flooring.
Make sure you clean out the noticeable gouge. This means you will want to remove all the dust, stones, and dirt. You will need to do a good portion of this by hand. Once you have the larger stuff out you can use a bristle brush to clear out the remaining.
Mix up concrete paint. This is really considered to be watered down concrete. Mix a tiny portion of concrete in a 5 gallon bucket. Usually you will keep adding in water until it is very thin.
Make sure the surface is lightly damp. Paint the inner portion of the gouge and the area that is located around it with water. Just get it damp, don’t try to soak it.
Paint the inside of the gouge and around the outer edge with the concrete paint. This will create something for it to attach to.
Mix up your concrete using the 5 gallon bucket. You will want to add in water and stir it up.
Fill in the gouge with the concrete. The concrete mix will stick onto the concrete paint which creates a firm seal between the new and old. Spread it evenly with the original concrete.
You can see that the entire process of repairing gouges within polished concrete is really fairly easy and can be done with a few ingredients and tools. Polished concrete flooring is really beneficial all around, and requires little to no upkeep.…

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Kitchen Renovation

Green Home Plans Save Money and the Environment

Join the latest trend in construction with green home plans that are good for the environment, better for your health, and easy on your pocketbook. With an increase in demand for eco-friendly and energy efficient homes, more builders are becoming educated in this area and offering a variety of green options that will help you do your part in preserving the planet without compromising quality or style. Recycled and environmentally friendly products are more aesthetically pleasing than ever before so it is easy to build your dream home while also saving money, conserving natural resources, achieving energy independence, and ensuring a safer and healthier world for future generations.
Whether you are building a new house or renovating an existing one, green home plans offer many benefits that make them a wise, responsible, and stylish choice.
1. Energy cost savings.
Build your house with energy efficient windows that are made from recycled glass and tinted to help regulate indoor temperatures in every season. Also, incorporating the use of active or passive solar concepts will decrease energy costs by using the sun to reduce dependence on costly and toxic fuels. Passive, or climatic design is a natural way of generating energy and allows the residence to store heat in the winter and release it in the summer so you can use the weather to your advantage and enjoy maximum cost savings. You can even purchase appliances that operate on solar generated energy, lowering electricity bills while protecting the environment.
2. Conservation.
Green homes are usually built with sustainable design in mind, using materials that are non-toxic, recycled, or quickly renewable. Also, systems can be installed to prevent soil erosion and focus on water conservation. Installing low-flow fixtures, collecting rainwater, and using filtration systems that allow water to be reused for non-drinking purposes such as laundry and cleaning are features that can be included in your green home plan and will help you save money as well as the environment.
3. Health benefits.
Our homes are often filled with toxic materials, chemically treated or finished wood, products that contain formaldehyde or other dangerous substances, and heating and cooling systems that emit unhealthy by-products. Wouldn’t you like to know that you are protecting yourself and your family by providing a healthy environment that uses natural energy, non-toxic materials, and ventilation and purification systems that ensure pure water and good air quality? Look into the options and find out how green homes can make you happier and healthier.
4. Mortgage savings.
Many banks and lending companies are now offering “Green Mortgages” for homes that are built or improved using energy efficient or environmentally friendly products and systems. Such things as solar panels, wind turbines, water conservation features, and high quality windows can translate into greater borrowing power or a discount on rates. Some areas even offer tax incentives for eco-friendly construction. Building a green home can offer better resale value, reduced utility bills, and lower mortgage payments while also giving you the peace of mind of knowing that you are helping to make the world a better place to live.
Green homes make environmental and economic sense. They offer features that will save you money, improve your health, and help you do your part to preserve our planet. And with so many new options available, environmentally friendly has become contemporary and stylish, allowing you to build a house that is both beautiful and smart.…

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Kitchen Renovation

How To Design A 21st Century Kitchen

The demographic
The first thing an outstanding designer does when putting pen to paper on a home design is find out exactly who is going to live in that home–the exact demographic of the inhabitant. This is specially true about the kitchen which is often the most lived-in space in the house and around which many more activities occur any more nowadays than just cooking. Luckily, today’s demographic in the kitchen ‘mass market’ is easy to define–it is mostly ‘baby boomers’ aged 55-65, followed by ‘leading edge GenX’ers’ aged 45-55 years old. These two demographics between them make up the bulk of the folks looking to design a kitchen as opposed to simply taking what comes with a new house. People older than 65, the ‘seniors’, are no longer the dominant home owning demographic and don’t spend as much time in the kitchen while those younger than 45 are considered entry-level homeowners and are also not as numerous as the first two.
Activities in and around the kitchen
A baby boomer’s kitchen is very likely to have a large flat screen TV as part of it that is easily visible from several activity areas surrounding it. The kitchen is no longer a ‘room’ but a space around which a lot of family activity revolves. This activity could be video games, watching the news, searching for data and even doing homework with access to outdoor grilling and a deck just a step or two away. The common factor is that it all revolves around the kitchen. This often manifests in a ‘living room’ or ‘family room’ area complete with sitting or lounging furniture joined to the kitchen with an informal ‘dining’ area, both divided and united by a cabinetwork peninsula, perhaps with a sink and cooktop on one side and an open area on the other with tall stools for the kids to do their homework on or simply help make dinner.
Baby boomers are no longer willing to risk a back injury by bending down to open an oven door and will likely have wall ovens installed at a carefully measured height. Similarly, the efficiency-demanding boomer will insist on having the pantry close at hand at most 3 or 4 steps away, not in another room and certainly not behind another door. This can manifest as another ‘area’ adjacent to the cooking areas, perhaps with a dividing wall of overhead cabinets and counter spaces open to both areas.
The GenX’er is even more tech savvy and may have several appliances hooked up to the internet with sensors and alarms to remind and warn of upcoming events, like a “cake is ready” message flashing on TV screens all over the house. She may switch on the oven with her phone on her way back from work and set the temperature for baked fish when she is 10 minutes away. Her priority is “get it done quick” and therefore all appliances will likely be electric with a few being dual fuel, all with touch control panels that work just like her phone screen, perhaps with the same operating system (iOS, Android, webOS or some other new OS).
All of this is exciting stuff for kitchen design and there is no question that something like this will become the de facto standard if it is not already.…

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Kitchen Renovation

Saving Energy – It’s All About the Heat

First, some basic science:
A. Heat naturally flows from warmer areas to cooler areas. Its speed of movement depends upon how much a difference there is between these two temperatures. The greater the difference, the faster the flow.
B. Heat flow can be reduced by insulation.
C. Heat can be artificially made to travel in the opposite direction – from cold to hot. This is done by any device that “pumps” heat. Air conditioners pump heat out of the home. Pumping heat costs about one third the cost to create heat.
D. When heat enters your home, during the summertime, it must be removed by the air conditioning system.
E. Radiative heat, from the sun, can easily flow through glass. It heats up whatever it lands upon. Because of certain physical characteristics (called “black-body” radiation) that heat can’t pass back through glass. It is effectively trapped. This is called the “greenhouse” effect.
F. When you install or provide something which operates without need for additional energy, this is called a passive operation.
Okay – so based upon these simple rules, here are 10 basic actions that will improve a home’s energy efficiency which will save you money. I’ll mention the rule and then what you can do:
1. Rule B – Insulation is likely one of the best investments you can make. There are few actions that can give you a better cost to benefit ratio. This is passive in that it takes no energy to operate (rule F).
2. Rules D and E – Increasing the size of your eaves and other overhangs will reduce sunlight entering your home which just has to be removed by your air conditioner (costing money). This is also passive (rule F).
3. Rules D and E – Windows on the west side tend to bring in the most heat from the sun. It is best to limit western exposure either by design or by blocking the windows with shrubbery. This is a passive action (rule F)
4. Rule E – Using reflective glass can be extremely helpful. Curtains and shades do not work because by the time the sun light hits them it has already entered the home (remember greenhouse). Any time something heats up in your home your air conditioner will have to remove that heat. Sunlight must be stopped before it goes through the glass. This is a also a passive method and will save both energy and money during the summer.
5. Rule A – Place foil on the bottom of the plywood roof sheathing of your home. This is easiest to do while building a new home. If your home exists, then consider a radiation barrier in the attic. This will keep the attic cooler. This is also passive (rule F)
6. Rule A – Ventilate the attic. This can be passive or active. It reduces the attic temperature which slows the flow of heat into your home. The active, but effective, way is with a powered fan system which operates only at high attic temperatures. An advantage is that this will not operate in the winter when you DO want heat flow into your home. The passive method of ventilation is by effective venting that operates when the wind blows. This is excellent in the hotter states. This requires good air flow both into the attic and out of the attic.
7. Rules A and B – Your air conditioning ductwork is exposed to attic heat which flows into the cool air that flows through them. Placing these ducts inside the air conditioned space of the home will significantly reduce heat flowing into the ducts. Another way is to place good insulation over top of the ducts to help isolate them from the attic heat. This is also passive (rule F).
8. Rule D – Water heaters should be outside of any air conditioned space. They leak heat. If they leak heat into the home then the air conditioner has to remove it. This action is passive.
9. Rule D – Dryers, ideally, should be outside air conditioned space for the same reason as water heaters. This action is passive (rule F)
10. Rule C – Water heaters heat their water with heating coils. This is the creation of heat and is relatively expensive. Alternatively one can take advantage of the savings of pumping heat by installing a system which takes the waste heat that is being pumped to the outside by the air conditioner and routing it into the water. This allows for the heat to be pumped into the water (which is cheaper) though, actually, during operation, it is totally free since the AC is pumping heat to the outdoors anyway. This is an excellent way to save energy and money.
Once you understand the basic …

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Kitchen Renovation

Australian Cypress Flooring Is A Great Choice For Your Home!

These days as people are trying to make their home a very valuable investment, many people are thinking about updating their flooring and making the switch to hardwood flooring! My husband and I purchased our first home a few years ago, and the number one requirement on our list was hardwood flooring. You may have purchased a home without this type of flooring, but installation is a snap, and today we will discuss a popular flooring choice that is a great investment – Australian Cypress Flooring!
Australian Cypress flooring is a unique looking wood that many people adore. This type of flooring will add a lot of value to a home is quite durable! Australian Cypress flooring is composed of stunning wood that has a variety of tones to it. This makes it very unique and in a category that is a bit above the rest. This is the type of flooring that will get noticed and you will find your friends and family will probably be quite envious of. This is also a great investment if you are planning on selling your home and you want to up the value of it.
The interesting thing about Australian Cypress flooring is the unique tones of which it is made up from. This is a very stunning wood with a variety of shades and hues, ranging from cream to honey brown. I have seen a few homes with this type of flooring and really love how the tones range from a rich creamy shade to the glorious honey brown that so many people love and adore. This makes for interesting contrast in colors and shades of the flooring.
The details of this type of wood flooring are mind-blowing. The intricate grain and beautiful dark knots make it a great choice when you want to create a homey and rustic feeling to your home or office. This is perfect if you are looking for a touch of cabin-class to your everyday home. It adds a warmth and dimension to the flooring that is truly an interesting feature to a home.
Finally another great feature to this type of flooring is its durability and hardness! This is the perfect choice for high-volume areas such as a living room or anywhere you get a lot of foot traffic. This is the type of wood that can stand up to the kids, the dogs, and whatever life throws at you!…

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Kitchen Renovation

Give Your Home Interior A Makeover With These Quick Tips

Do you like a nicely decorated home, but feel intimidated by interior design? Once you get into interior design you can truly make your home look good. Keep reading for great ideas that can help.

A nice tip for interior design is including various textures or patterns into the room you design. Different patterns and textures add detail and accent each other. If you are designing a room to look more contemporary, patterns and textures are a must.

Get creative when choosing counter-tops for your kitchen. You could go with granite, but other materials like cork, wood and concrete are also options. They can be less costly than other options and will give the kitchen a unique style of its very own.

Ensure that you are keeping track of all the latest trends. You wouldn’t want to appear to be stuck in the 1970’s with outdated decor. Therefore, you should search around and discover how others are renovating their homes nowadays.

Each room in your home should be decorated on the basis of its intended purpose. Ask yourself how many people will be in this room at the same time and what they will be doing. For instance, if you are improving your living room you should make sure their is seating for your family and potential visitors, but if you are working on a bedroom, you should make that room more personal.

Do not jump right into putting paint on the walls. Pick out a color scheme that you know you will love. Paint samples can help you figure out the perfect fit for your room. Take a look at how the paints look in various lighting throughout the day. Seeing a color on your own wall may change your overall opinion of the fit.

Hard surface flooring can cause a room to feel cold and hostile; to warm it up, use large area carpets or throw rugs. Make sure you turn your rugs every now and again so they stay evenly worn. Changing locations or a quick flip or spin can help extend your rug’s good looks.

Don’t be afraid to use your creativity if you are going to paint a room. The Internet is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to this topic. Trying new approaches with painting can lead to a boring looking room come alive in a very quick time.

Mirrors are a great way to open up small spaces. The mirrors will create the illusion of a bigger room and you can make your house look better. Invest in a beautiful mirror to facilitate your interior design project.

Round up a collection. Collections are groupings of like items placed together in a tasteful manner. For instance, three vases make a collection of vases. Three pictures also makes a collection. Group them together for a great display and get people talking!

Based on what you now know, you will be more aware of what works well within interior design. Now that you’re aware of what to do, get started on your home today. Include the tips you learned today into your own interior design projects and turn your once drab home into something amazing!…