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Home Improvement Advice That Is Easy To Understand

No matter your level of expertise, there are always tips to make a home improvement project safe and enjoyable. You just need the right knowledge to help you carry out your envisioned plans. Read the following home improvement advice.

As you plan a home renovation, think about the difference in value between something you personally like and something that will appeal to potential future buyers. Highly customized projects may not be a potential buyer’s taste and may even detract from your home’s value.

Before you start on any serious improvement to your home, think about what style fits you. The decorating style that you choose should serve as the catalyst for your project. If you do not plan ahead, you can easily end up mixing various styles without even realizing it. Mistakes like this one can result in you having to backtrack and are also a waste of money.

Think about adding insulation during your next round of home improvements. Use weather-stripping on all windows and doors. You can cut costs when you prevent air from escaping and coming in your home. That will also lower your energy bill.

Paint stripes on your old walls before installing paneling! Bits of the old wall will show even if the paneling is installed properly. To help camouflage this effect and keep this from being distracting, measure out where each panel will meet before your installation. Cover that area with a strip of paint that matches the paneling, so it will be virtually invisible.

If you want a simple home improvement, go buy some paint. That newly applied paint job can breathe fresh life into a dated and faded-looking interior or exterior. A fresh coat of paint is also attractive to new buyers if you think you may sell your home any time soon.

Take advantage of your outdoor space. The living space of your home can be extended into your backyard. This area would be great for entertaining, barbecuing or just relaxing.

When making improvements, take a second to focus on your porch. Your porch makes the first impression on any guest who is visiting your home. Make sure it is all neatly organized and, if possible, add a little style with outdoor decorations, such as flowers, varnish, lights, or furniture. Overall, a good looking porch will increase your home’s value.

When renovating, a smart homewoner will spend his money on good quality materials and fixtures instead of expensive decor and furniture. The reason for this is truly straightforward, when a homeowner moves, their decor and furnishings leave as well. In contrast, the market value of a home is greatly enhanced by quality fixtures that remain with the house after it’s sold.

Now, with a better understanding of some of the information involved, you are that much closer to a completed home improvement dream. The tips that you just read will allow you to tackle your home improvement project with the confidence that you will carry it out correctly.

Backyard Playground Safety – Part 2 Selecting The Best Protective Playground Surface

The protective playground surface is the most frequently overlooked component of home playground safety. While approximately 80% of public playgrounds have some type of shock-absorbing protective surfacing under playground equipment, only 9% of home backyard playgrounds do, according to a 2001 playground injury study performed by the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC). The study found that, of the approximately 50,000 injuries per year associated with home backyard playground equipment, 69% of the injuries were a result of falls to a non-protective surface below the equipment.

Perhaps the most familiar backyard playground surface options are grass and dirt, but neither surface adequately protects children against serious injury due to falls, even falls that occur from 30 inches or less above the ground. Fractures of the arms and hands, and cuts and bruises of the head and face are the most often reported injuries that result from a child falling from playground equipment to a non-protective playground surface such as grass or dirt, as reported by the CPSC.

The good news is that a variety of protective surfaces exist that can fulfill a homeowner’s need for playground safety. Not surprisingly, playground surface options range in cost from reasonable to pricey, and each option has its own list advantages and disadvantages. Considering the advantages and disadvantages of each type of playground surface material, as presented in this article, should provide you with enough information to choose the most appropriate playground surface for your backyard playground.

The first and most vital piece of information to know before selecting a material to use for your protective playground surface is the critical height of the playground equipment. Critical height refers to the “maximum fall height from which a life-threatening head injury would not be expected to occur.” The critical height of your playground equipment equals the height (in feet) of the uppermost portion of your backyard playground equipment that is accessible to children. The protective playground surface you decide on for your backyard playground should be installed with a depth that is appropriate for your equipment’s critical height.

The following information details the critical height (in feet) for each of the loose-fill surface materials described in this article “when tested in an uncompressed state at depths of 6, 9, and 12 inches. The [information] also shows the critical height when a 9 inch depth of each material was tested in a compressed state.” For instance, if the critical height of your backyard playground equipment is 8 feet, then your options for protective loose-fill surface materials, according to the information below, would be 9 inches of compressed or uncompressed wood chips, 9 inches of uncompressed shredded bark mulch, 12 inches of uncompressed play sand, 12 inches of uncompressed pea gravel, or 6 inches of uncompressed recycled rubber mulch.

WOOD CHIPS*
– Six inch depth, uncompressed = 7 feet
– Nine inch depth, uncompressed = 10 feet
– Twelve inch depth, uncompressed = 11 feet
– Nine inch depth, compressed = 10 feet

*This product may also be referred to as Wood Mulch, but the term Wood Chips more accurately describes the product.

SHREDDED BARK MULCH
– Six inch depth, uncompressed = 6 feet
– Nine inch depth, uncompressed = 10 feet
– Twelve inch depth, uncompressed = 11 feet
– Nine inch depth, compressed = 7 feet

ENGINEERED WOOD FIBERS**
– Six inch depth, uncompressed = 6 feet
– Nine inch depth, uncompressed = 7 feet
– Twelve inch depth, uncompressed = >12 feet
– Nine inch depth, compressed = 6 feet

**This may also be referred to as Uniform Wood Chips, but, in the playground industry, the product is more commonly known as Engineered Wood Fibers.

FINE SAND
– Six inch depth, uncompressed = 5 feet
– Nine inch depth, uncompressed = 5 feet
– Twelve inch depth, uncompressed = 9 feet
– Nine inch depth, compressed = 5 feet

COURSE SAND
– Six inch depth, uncompressed = 5 feet
– Nine inch depth, uncompressed = 5 feet
– Twelve inch depth, uncompressed = 6 feet
– Nine inch depth, compressed = 4 feet

FINE GRAVEL
– Six inch depth, uncompressed = 6 feet
– Nine inch depth, uncompressed = 7 feet
– Twelve inch depth, uncompressed = 10 feet
– Nine inch depth, compressed = >6 feet

MEDIUM GRAVEL
– Six inch depth, uncompressed = 5 feet
– Nine inch depth, uncompressed = 5 feet
– Twelve inch depth, uncompressed = 6 feet
– Nine inch depth, compressed = 5 feet

SHREDDED TIRES***
– Six inch depth, uncompressed = 10-12 feet
– Nine inch depth, uncompressed = N/A
– Twelve inch depth, uncompressed = N/A
– Nine inch depth, compressed = N/A

***This data is from tests conducted by independent testing laboratories on a 6 inch depth of uncompressed shredded tire samples produced by four manufacturers. The test results reported critical heights which varied from 10 feet to greater than 12 feet. It is recommended that persons seeking to install shredded tires as a protective surface request test data from the supplier showing the critical heights of the material when it was tested in accordance with ASTM F1292.

Alternatives to loose-fill surface materials are rubber playground tiles, rubber mats, and poured-in-place playground surfaces. These choices are available from a number of manufacturers who may use a variety of shock-absorbing materials. The manufacturers should be able to provide you with test data that shows the critical height for the protective surfaces they offer.

Knowing some of the advantages and disadvantages of loose-fill surface materials will assist you in narrowing the choices to meet your particular needs. In general, loose-fill playground surface materials like wood chips, shredded bark mulch, pea gravel, play sand, and recycled rubber mulch are most often chosen for backyard playgrounds because they are inexpensive and readily available from a local garden center or home improvement warehouse. Recycled rubber mulch can also be found in a variety of colors and sizes through internet suppliers.

LOOSE-FILL MATERIALS – GENERAL GUIDELINES

A retaining barrier of some kind is necessary to keep the surface materials from becoming displaced as a result of active play or weather conditions. In addition, loose-fill materials should never be installed on top of hard surfaces like concrete or asphalt. Lastly, good drainage beneath the protective surface is crucial.

Overall Advantages:

– The initial cost of installing a loose-fill playground surface under your backyard playground equipment is generally low because the materials are easy to find and are relatively inexpensive.

Overall Disadvantages:

– Over time, loose-fill materials can become compressed, thus lowering their protective capabilities.
– Recommended depths become compromised when active play or windy conditions displace the loose-fill materials.
– Debris such as broken glass, nails, and other sharp objects which can cause injury can be easily hidden by loose-fill materials.
– Continuous maintenance is required to maintain proper depth and to remove debris. Maintenance can include raking, sifting, grading, and leveling.
– Periodic renewal or replacement of loose-fill materials is necessary, which can require more time and money than expected. The exception to this is recycled rubber mulches – see below for further details.

WOOD CHIPS AND SHREDDED BARK MULCH

Advantages:

– Wood chips and shredded bark mulch are not as abrasive as play sand.
– Animals are less likely to contaminate wood chips and shredded bark mulch.
– Wood chips and shredded bark mulch are attractive.

Disadvantages:

– The protective ability of wood chips and shredded bark mulch is reduced in rainy, humid, and freezing weather conditions.
– Over a period of time, wood chips and shredded bark mulch will become crushed, compacted, and will decompose.
– Wood chips and shredded bark mulch can grow fungus and mold when wet or moist.
– Insects are drawn to wood chips and shredded bark mulch.

PEA GRAVEL

Advantages:

– Pea gravel will not become crushed and decompose.
– Mold and fungus growth is not generally an issue.
– Animals and insects are less attracted to pea gravel.

Disadvantages:

– Pea gravel can be hard to walk on.
– The protective ability of pea gravel is reduced in rainy, humid, and freezing weather conditions.
– Pea gravel can be a falling hazard if displaced from the playground area to a nearby hard surface (sidewalk, decking, or patio, for example).

PLAY SAND

Advantages:

– Play sand will not become ground down and decompose.
– Mold and fungus growth is not generally a problem.

Disadvantages:

– Play sand can be difficult to walk on.
– The protective ability of play sand is reduced in rainy and humid weather conditions.
– Animals are attracted to sand unless it can be covered when not in use.
– Play sand adheres easily to shoes, clothing, and skin.
– Play sand can scratch floor surfaces if tracked inside.

RECYCLED RUBBER MULCH

Advantages:

– Recycled rubber mulch does not generally need to be replaced or renewed each year. Many manufacturers claim that rubber mulch can last approximately 50 years without requiring replacement. Check with recycled rubber mulch suppliers for any guarantees or warrantees that may be available.
– Rubber mulch tends to be cleaner and less likely than other loose-fill materials to produce dirty clothing, hands, and shoes during active play.
– Does not cause scrapes, scratches, or splinters from falls.
– Animals and insects are not attracted to rubber mulch.
– Mold and fungus growth is not an issue.

Disadvantages:

– Recycled rubber mulch may need to be raked periodically to maintain appropriate depths in high traffic areas.
– Colors on recycled rubber mulch may fade over time.

OTHER PROTECTIVE PLAYGROUND SURFACE OPTIONS

Rubber tiles, rubber mats, and poured-in-place surfaces are initially more expensive surface options than loose-fill materials, but they usually need little maintenance over time. To determine whether one of these options would be more cost effective than a loose-fill material, consider how many children might potentially use your backyard playground equipment and for how many years. Larger families, for example, may prefer to pay more at first for a surface that will be easier and much less expensive to maintain over many years of active use.

Advantages:

– No means of containment is usually necessary.
– Surfaces are wheelchair accessible and easy to walk on.
– Displacement of materials is not an issue, so the protective ability of these surfaces remains consistent even in high traffic areas.
– Surfaces require very little maintenance over time and are easy to clean.
– Debris such as broken glass and other sharp objects which can cause injury are not easily hidden in these surfaces.
– Animals and insects are not attracted to the surface materials.
– Mold and fungus growth is not an issue.

Disadvantages:

– The area under the surface usually requires special preparation. Contact the manufacturer or supplier for details.
– Surfaces may require professional installation.
– Rubber tiles may curl and cause tripping if not installed correctly.
– Some surfaces may be damaged by frost.

In summary, no protective playground surface of any type or depth can prevent all injuries. Nonetheless, installing a protective playground surface as the foundation for your backyard playground equipment is an important step in improving playground safety. The best playground surface for your needs is up to you, but whatever choice you make will be a significant step toward protecting the children who use your playground equipment from serious injuries due to falls to the surface.

Sources:

CPSC Document 323. “Home Playground Safety Tips.”
CPSC Document 324 “Outdoor Home Playground Safety Handbook.” 2005.
CPSC Document 1005. “Playground Surfacing Materials.”
CPSC Report. “Home Playground Equipment-Related Deaths and Injuries.” July 2001.
CPSC Report. “Special Study: Injuries and Deaths Associated with Children’s
Playground Equipment.” April 2001.

How Can You Benefit From Solar Panels Photovoltaic

Solar panels photovoltaic are becoming increasingly popular because they enable you to save big on electricity bills by making the best use natural resources. Whether you are a business owner or home maker, you can greatly benefit from installing solar panels in your property and in this article, we will tell you how.

The biggest motivation comes from the various state-government run programs that offer attractive incentive and rebates to those who have installed the solar panels in their homes or offices. Thus, you not only save on the monthly electricity bills but also qualify for attractive tax benefits from the government.

Increases the value of your property:

When you install the solar panels photovoltaic in your Laguna Niguel house, it greatly enhances the overall property. Installing these panels means that those living in the house will be able to use the suns natural and renewable energy to illuminate their homes, and this energy is also used for the heating and cooling systems. The electrical equipments and gadgets also use this renewable energy, thus you do not need electricity for your day to day activities,

There are some homes that choose a hybrid system, which means that they use the stored suns energy for heating and cooling purposes, and electrical energy for other activities. And there are other houses that choose to turn green completely and this implies that all electrical needs are fulfilled by the energy produced by the photovoltaic cells in the solar panels installed.

Having solar panels installed in your house will greatly enhance the value of your property and if you consider selling your home, you will get a much better deal for it. These attractive incentives, perks and benefits have encouraged the house owners in California to opt for the installation of solar panels in their property.

Raises the visibility of your brand:

Going green is the new buzz word in the industry and almost all companies today are trying their best to reduce the carbon footprints and gain visibility as an organization that is sensitive towards the environment.

When you install solar panels to reduce the consumption of energy in your manufacturing unit or corporate house, it instantly adds value to you brand as you are identified as an ideal corporate figure that is environment conscious and makes effort to reduce any adverse effects on it. Thus, you not only save in energy consumption but also boost the value of your brand.

Outdoor Living Store products available at Home Improvement Store Online

Home is where the heart is. Home dcor is a priority but shopping worries are pacified with a single shop that houses all home improvement requirements. Discounts, variety, latest designs seem to be selling point at Home Improvement store. The best thing is that purchases can be made online and they are shipped to your residence. Easy delivery system allows you to sign on a tag that allows delivery and hence you are not bound to be at home during the delivery time of the product.

Ranging from lighting, kitchen and courtyard dcor, home improvement store is an answer to all your needs for decorating a home. The products can be visited on the website. All products go through a systematic Quality control and the quality is hence assured. This Outdoor living store also allows you exchange of the item within 30 days which is another plus point. Alternatively the money back guarantee system at home improvement store puts all our queries to rest.

Storage items relate to closet storage, bathroom storage items, office storage and the range is amazing for outdoor living products. Choose a canopy, lawn equipments, garden tools at outdoor living store to meet all your needs for outdoor living products. Coffee and beverage machines for your office, kitchen ranges, ovens and much more is available for all kinds of needs for your home at the home improvement store. Whether it is a new house or improving the home needs this is the best choice.

Select track lights, recessed lights or beautify your courtyard with landscape lighting in the best dcor available online to your at outdoor living store collection. Remodeling your kitchen is easy with cabinets. Add new cutlery to spruce up the kitchen dcor by shopping here. Outdoor living store items include pet items, electrical fixtures, flashlights, fire alarms and other security items. If you wish to shop for plumbing items select hose pipes, sealants, irrigation machinery and other related things for setting up your bath or kitchen sink.

Shopping by the click of a button for Outdoor Living Products is now easy especially when the quality is good and viewing the cart gives you an idea of the variety and range of products available. It is also easy to draw a list and shop for items light bulbs and batteries too especially if you are renovating your house. Right from masonry items to pet food supplies, the home improvement store is a comprehensive shop for your home needs.

Other interesting products include sports goods including hunting equipments, racquets and also fishing or camping sets. Shop for cables, ropes, door knobs, screws online and this is helpful for people who have newly moved house. The testimonials section takes you through the quotes of satisfied customers which are true mark of quality and variety found at his store. Affordable sale price, good customer service and best shipping policy are also the reason for choosing this super store. Whether for Outdoor Living Products or pet products this is one-stop-shop for all your needs.

Dealing With Hot Spots In Your Home

When the weather heats up, hot spots in your home are a lot more noticeable. If youre one of the unlucky people trying to sleep in a room where your HVAC system has seemingly chosen to neglect, hot spots can go from uncomfortable to unbearable overnight. What most people dont realize is that this can be fixed either by you, the homeowner, or with a quick ac repair call to your local air conditioning company. You dont have to suffer through sleeping in sauna-like temperatures. There are things that both you and your air conditioning company can do to fix this.

How much are your windows contributing to the heat in your room? Old, inefficient windows let heat right in (or cold air right out). If your windows arent sealed properly or dressed with sun blocking curtains and blinds, youll notice a dramatic temperature difference between your room and rooms that are mindful of their windows.

Are your air ducts properly sized and sealed? Air ducts are responsible for transporting cool, conditioned air to each room in the house. If there is a major tear or leak in your air ducts, one or more rooms may lose their cold air to the attic. A few easy signs that you have an air duct leak are:

Inexplicably high energy bills

Dust on the tops and in the grooves of your doors

Hot (and cold) spots in your home

A cold attic in summer and hot attic in the winter

Little or no insulation around your air ducts

DIY air duct repairs are easily botched. For example, most people dont realize that, despite the name, you should never use duct tape to seal your air ducts. (Use a metal or mastic tape.) If you can easily access your attic, take a peak around. If there are noticeable tears or broken seals, you can try to patch them yourself or leave it to the pros. If youre tackling the project yourself, dont forget to insulate your air ducts well. Good insulation not only blocks thermal transfer, it can stop vapor transfer and even quiet the noise from vibrating ducts.

For a full air duct evaluation and professional repairs, call your local air conditioning company. The technicians there can ensure that your homes air ducts are sized, sealed and insulated correctly. Dont forget to check out the energy rebates offered to those who choose to repair, maintain and replace their inefficient air ducts! When your air ducts are performing properly, youll save money, energy and enjoy living more comfortably.

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All about Your Gas Equipments and Requirements

Most countries use LPG or liquefied petroleum gas for cooking. It is also used for heating or as fuel and even for refrigeration along with cooking. Most of us are aware of and require gas for cooking purposes. Gas is also used for outdoor cooking by many who have a patio or a backyard. People who go for camping also use gas for their various requirements of cooking and generating heat. With so much importance being attached to this form of fuel, it is very important that all the various requirements and equipments needed for it be available to us at all times; and if these are available online, then that is the best case scenario.

Outdoor requirements

Outdoor cooking can be undertaken by people who have a backyard or a patio. Otherwise, people who do not have a definite kitchen area, such as backpackers and campers also resort to outdoor cooking. Using special outdoor gas stoves, cooking, roasting or direct heating is undertaken in the outdoors. Many people also install outdoor fireplaces that help them keep warm even outdoors, during winter. A firebox or a chimney is all they need for these purposes. Some people even go for more permanent set ups that are made of brick enclosures and are more elaborate. Camping requirements

Outdoor gas stoves also come handy when camping or going backpacking. For the purpose of camping, portable gas stoves are needed. These portable stoves or camping gas stoves are lightweight and can be carried with you anywhere you wish. Available in various sizes and shapes, they are designed for outdoor use. They work just as well as your kitchen stoves. For the camping stoves that used LPG as fuel, there are canisters available to be refilled as needed and they also have storage and stowage covers available for easier and better transportation. Boiling rings and burners

Gas burners and gas stoves are different from each other in that burners are primarily used where heat needs to be directed in one particular place, say for example in soldering; while a gas stove is primarily used for cooking and hence heating up the vessel containing food to be cooked that is kept on top of it. Gas boiling rings are something totally different from both the stoves and the burners. Particularly used in commercial or outdoor cooking, boiling rings has parts and functions similar to that of the gas stove. It consists of regulators and an LPG hose and can use LPG, butane or propane as fuel.

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Ideas To Improve The Ambiance Of Your Work Area

Being able to have a home office is a great way to beat commuting, bad weather, crowds and annoying co workers. But in order for you to be successful at it, the first thing you need to do is design an appropriate space.

The most important part of having a work space is finding the best desk. This is the cornerstone of how your home office will be set up.

Desks are obviously essential and important, but they are useful because they remind us that we are working. Pick one that is big enough, and well designed for you to get the job done.

A chair is the second best thing to have in your home office. Get one that is good for your back and overall posture so that you will not be achy while you work.

Remember the key phrase office chair. Don’t get a stool or a rocking chair or a recliner. Go out and spend a little money on something that will be good for your body while helping you concentrate on work.

Having a desktop computer to work off of will make your working environment a lot more comfortable. There are a lot of reasons that these are better than laptops, but a couple big ones include having a larger screen to look at, as well as a better keyboard. In addition, they simply allow you to feel settled unlike a laptop, which is great for working on the go.

Now that we talked about what is necessary for your home office to work for you, we can bring up some optional ideas to complete the project such as a refrigerator and some plants.

The refrigerator isn’t just to be audacious, and it can be a really practical item to consider. You don’t have to get up and go in the kitchen when ever you get thirsty, and this can work wonders with regard to keeping yourself focused, which brings us to plants. They are great for giving off oxygen and freshening up the place, which again is really good for you.

The Timeless Beauty Of Hardwood Floors

There are many benefits to having hardwood floors in your property. For homeowners who want to install beautiful flooring that will retain its appeal for many years to come, there are few better options. Whether you already have wood flooring in your property that needs to be updated or you’re looking remove carpet or tile, installing this type of flooring is always a good investment.

While the aesthetics of wood floors are often their biggest selling point, there are other great attributes as well. Carpeting can be very difficult to clean, and stains that set in carpet are nearly impossible to get out. Instead of struggling to keep your carpeting free of imperfections, consider the benefits of wooden floors. It is much easier to clean and you won’t have to worry about stains setting in.

There are many types of hardwood flooring available to home and business owners. Some materials are available at relatively low prices, and you should be able to find a product within your price range. For those looking to make a big statement, consider how refurbished wood could affect the value and appeal of your property. Refurbished boards have a unique character that cannot be replicated, and they’re quite resistant to rot and decay.

Once your flooring is installed, you’ll want to make sure it’s well protected. By keeping your floors polished and clean, you’ll increase your property’s aesthetic appeal and ensure its long-term value remains high. For those looking to put a property on the market, it’s often a good idea to perform renovations to increase its overall appeal. By installing hardwood flooring in your home or commercial space, you’ll be sure to attract some potential investors.

Don’t let the state of your property’s floors bother you any longer. Hardwood floors are popular for a reason, and their appeal has yet to diminish. If you’re unsure of the best materials for your property, consult with a professional contractor who can advise you on your options and suggest the best way to carry out your renovation. These floors are highly customizable. In addition to choosing from a variety of beautiful woods, you can choose a finish that suits your property’s unique aesthetic.

Whether you want a bright, shiny, and cheery space or one that has a rustic, distinguished feel, you’ll be able to find the perfect complement for your home. Start by getting a price quote from a trusted flooring company. Many businesses offer financing options to help you afford the material and installation costs.

How to Keep Your Energy Costs Down During the Fall and Winter Months

The summer months mean high energy bills thanks to your running air conditioner, but the fall and winter months can become daunting just as quickly as temperatures plummet and your home becomes colder. While we can often ignore warmer temperatures, colder temperatures in the home can actually cause a lot of damage, especially to your pipes. Its important to keep your home at a constant temperature, no matter how cold it gets out side. Doing so may cost you quite a bit, but these tips will help you to minimize your increased cool weather energy costs.

Install a Programmable Thermostat

This is one of the most important things you can do. A shift of up to 10 degrees in your homes temperature, especially at night, can save you up to 20% off your bill each month. You can also set the temperature to be lower when youre at work or school, programming the thermostat to start warming the home not long before you come back. This is a lot more efficient than shutting the system off completely when you are gone because it allows your home to be at a cooler, constant temperature without allowing the temperatures to plummet.

Dress in Warm Clothing

Adding a sweat shirt and some warm winter socks to your wardrobe will keep you comfortable and will allow you to drop the temperature in your home another degree or two. Dropping the temperature by just a single degree – especially during the cooler hours of the day – will reduce your use of energy by a staggering 3%. That may not seem like much, but the dollar savings can add up quickly.

Take Advantage of Sunlight

Even though its cold outside, the suns natural rays can do quite a bit to warm up your home. The sun will enter your home from the south during the day, so those are the windows you should keep uncovered during the daytime. Close the curtains at night to block some of the draft and cool air.

Winterize Your Homes Duct System

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, your home heating systems effectiveness can be decreased by up to 30% if your ductwork is leaking. Make sure your homes ductwork is sealed an insulated properly so that your entire heating system works optimally.

Winterize Your Homes Windows

Check your homes windows and make sure theyre winterized. If you have rooms that are rarely used, you can insulate them temporarily by taping clear sheets of plastic over top. The clear plastic will allow sunlight to naturally heat the room but will prevent cool air from entering through older, draftier windows. In rooms that you do use, check to make sure your windows are properly caulked and sealed. You can also find heavy drapes that will help to insulate the room during the hours you arent allowing natural sunlight in.

Service Your Heating System before the Weather is Frigid

Have a heating and cooling specialist visit your home before the weather is absolutely unbearable. Finding problems before the weather is really cold will help you to avoid the waste that happens when you run an ineffective system. It will also save you the extra fees an emergency call will create in the middle of a cold snap.

Check Your Fireplace

Finally, make sure you are properly closing your fireplace damper when your fireplace is not in use. Have a professional come out before the cold season starts to check your flue, plugs, seals, and grates. Make sure your grates are allowing warm air to flow back into the room so that your fireplace is not just pretty, but functional, too. Using your fireplace should allow you to drop your thermostat down a few degrees as well at least during the hours its in use.

The winter months, for most, automatically mean higher gas and electric bills. Take some time now to make sure your home is prepared and youll be able to save quite a bit of money when the real cold weather hits.

Painting And Decorating Enhancing The Beauty Of Your Home.

So youve decided. Your house needs a lick of paint. Now before you choose a colour have a good think about areas in your house that you want to make the most of. Have you got a room that feels just too small even for an office? Is your hallway tunnel like? Have you got that one room where there just isnt enough light?

We all have parts of our homes where we would like to change something but just dont know how Read along and you will find out just how to make the most of those parts of your house that you would rather forget they exist.

Create the illusion of more space.
No need for costly extensions and architects. Colour can be used to change the shape of the room. Of course were not saying the paint will magically move the walls but it will create the illusion of doing so and thats all you need.
A darker colour will make the walls appear closer to you and the lighter colours make the walls appear to be further away.
Having said that dont just go for all white. You can have a bit of fun with colours choosing off white colours and still keeping that room light and spacious.
Once youve painted it remember that less is more in small spaces, so dont put too much furniture and your box bedroom will change into light and breezy office.
If you struggling with making your hallway less claustrophobic try painting the end wall a darker shade than the side walls that will give it a look of space.

Make the most of little natural light.
In nearly every home you will find one room that just doesnt benefit from much natural light, whether its a bathroom or an office. Suppress the urge to paint it eye-wateringly white to make it brighter. Instead of creating the hospital look go for warm darker colours or even bold patterned wallpapers. That way you will create more intimate atmosphere. Add a nice warm light and your undesired downstairs bathroom is the talk of the neighbourhood.

Create a flow through your home.

When youre re-decorating your home you want to keep some sort of the scheme. Of course we are not saying keep all rooms the same colour. No, no, no! You do need some colour in your house so what we are suggesting is to choose colours that all have the same tonal weight. Its good to decorate floor by floor, so i.e. your ground floor hallway will be in Cornforth White and your first floor in Elephants Breath. (Farrow & Ball Paint Colours)

By using darker colours in a hallway you will make your rooms seem brighter.
Lastly if you are not afraid of change try painting walls light colours and woodwork darker. That way you will create light and space in your home, but only if youre going for neutral scheme.
Quite simply by using darker colours on skirting your walls will appear lighter in contrast.

Finding the right people for the job.

Fancy rolling your sleeves up and painting the entire house yourselves? Of course that is one way to do it, but if you really want your home to look great its best to get the professionals in. Were not saying you couldnt do it yourself but lets face it, re-decorating is a rather daunting DIY job. And another thing is that once you get the right painters and decorators in you will see how your home becomes the palace from your dreams. Its easy to simply paint the house, but to get that great finish you need the professional eye and the experience of someone who has been doing it for a while.