Determining And Fixing Plumbing Noises In Your Home

To diagnose noisy plumbing, it is important to determine first whether the unwanted sounds occur on the system's inlet side-in other words, when water is turned on-or on the drain side. Noises on the inlet side have varied causes: excessive water pressure, worn valve and faucet parts, improperly connected pumps or other appliances, incorrectly placed pipe fasteners, and plumbing runs containing too many tight bends or other restrictions. Noises on the drain side usually stem from poor location or, as with some inlet side noise, a layout containing tight bends.


Hissing noise that occurs when a faucet is opened slightly generally signals excessive water pressure. Consult your local water company if you suspect this problem; it will be able to tell you the water pressure in your area and can install a pressurereducing valve on the incoming water supply pipe if necessary.


Thudding noise, often accompanied by shuddering pipes, when a faucet or appliance valve is turned off is a condition called water hammer. The noise and vibration are caused by the reverberating wave of pressure in the water, which suddenly has no place to go. Sometimes opening a valve that discharges water quickly into a section of piping containing a restriction, elbow, or tee fitting can produce the same condition.

Water hammer can usually be cured by installing fittings called air chambers or shock absorbers in the plumbing to which the problem valves or faucets are connected. These devices allow the shock wave created by the halted flow of water to dissipate in the air they contain, which (unlike water) is compressible.

Older plumbing systems may have short vertical sections of capped pipe behind walls on faucet runs for the same purpose; these can eventually fill with water, reducing or destroying their effectiveness. The cure is to drain the water system completely by shutting off the main water supply valve and opening all faucets. Then open the main supply valve and close the faucets one at a time, starting with the faucet nearest the valve and ending with the one farthest away.

Chattering or Screeching

Intense chattering or screeching that occurs when a valve or faucet is turned on, and that usually disappears when the fitting is opened fully, signals loose or defective internal parts. The solution is to replace the valve or faucet with a new one.

Pumps and appliances such as washing machines and dishwashers can transfer motor noise to pipes if they are improperly connected. Link such items to plumbing with plastic or rubber hoses-never rigid pipe-to isolate them.

Other Inlet Side Noises

Creaking, squeaking, scratching, snapping, and tapping usually are caused by the expansion or contraction of pipes, generally copper ones supplying hot water. The sounds occur as the pipes slide against loose fasteners or strike nearby house framing. You can often pinpoint the location of the problem if the pipes are exposed; just follow the sound when the pipes are making noise. Most likely you will discover a loose pipe hanger or an area where pipes lie so close to floor joists or other framing pieces that they clatter against them. Attaching foam pipe insulation around the pipes at the point of contact should remedy the problem. Be sure straps and hangers are secure and provide adequate support. Where possible, pipe fasteners should be attached to massive structural elements such as foundation walls instead of to framing; doing so lessens the transmission of vibrations from plumbing to surfaces that can amplify and transfer them. If attaching fasteners to framing is unavoidable, wrap pipes with insulation or other resilient material where they contact fasteners, and sandwich the ends of new fasteners between rubber washers when installing them.

Correcting plumbing runs that suffer from flow-restricting tight or numerous bends is a last resort that should be undertaken only after consulting a skilled plumbing contractor. Unfortunately, this situation is fairly common in older houses that may not have been built with indoor plumbing or that have seen several remodels, especially by amateurs.

Drainpipe Noise

On the drain side of plumbing, the chief goals are to eliminate surfaces that can be struck by falling or rushing water and to insulate pipes to contain unavoidable sounds.

In new construction, bathtubs, shower stalls, toilets, and wallmounted sinks and basins should be set on or against resilient underlayments to reduce the transmission of sound through them. Water-saving toilets and faucets are less noisy than conventional models; install them instead of older types even if codes in your area still permit using older fixtures.

Drainpipes that do not run vertically to the basement or that branch into horizontal pipe runs supported at floor joists or other framing present particularly troublesome noise problems. Such pipes are large enough to radiate considerable vibration; they also carry significant amounts of water, which makes the situation worse. In new construction, specify cast-iron soil pipes (the large pipes that drain toilets) if you can afford them. Their massiveness contains much of the noise made by water passing through them. Also, avoid routing drainpipes in walls shared with bedrooms and rooms where people gather. Walls containing drainpipes should be soundproofed as was described earlier, using double panels of sound-insulating fiberboard and wallboard. Pipes themselves can be wrapped with special fiberglass insulation made for the purpose; such pipes have an impervious vinyl skin (sometimes containing lead). Results are not always satisfactory.

Composite Decking and Cedar Siding – Value and Appearance

If you’re thinking of adding new siding or decking to your home this year, one of the key decisions you’ll need to make is your choice of wood, synthetic material, or other material. You’ve probably heard your friends speak about cedar as their preferred building product for decks, fences, and siding. It’s the way they speak about cedar that tells you that cedar wood is special. This year, improve your home with cedar siding and add a new deck using composite decking.

You may believe that cedar siding is more suited to quaint cottages, however there are a number of finishes that can be applied to cedar siding products that match any style of home architecture.

The truth is, that cedar siding offers tremendous benefits for the homeowner who wants the best combination of appearance, insulation, and weather resistance. No other wood compares to cedar for its natural beauty, durability and functionality.  It suppresses noise better due to its cellular structure. This wood's cellular structure also offers better heat insulation value. Most respectable builders and contractors know and will advise on using cedar siding because of its lasting value and attractiveness, but the energy saving benefits are worth noting.


Homeowners today want to extend their living space into the yard to be closer to nature and to have more room for backyard barbecues, pool parties, relaxing and leisurely Al Fresco dinners, and evenings spent leisurely reading or chatting with family and friends. Decking provides a versatile living space however it is heavily trafficked and can suffer wear and tear. While cedar is a nice decking material, it may need yearly maintenance. Some homeowners don’t mind and enjoy sanding and applying a new coat of finish every few years. For someone who wants less maintenance and more living, a better alternative is composite decking. These engineered products have the appearance of real wood, yet are more durable, weather resistant, and require less maintenance. Composite decking is the choice of today’s homeowners.

Composite Decking

There are a variety of building materials you can construct your deck with. Pressure-treated pine is inexpensive but comes with a variety of problems such as rotting, warping, breakage, moisture retention, insect damage, and drying out. This leads to deck deterioration. Cedar and other woods such as Red Meranti are wonderful woods for decking, but some have to be sealed or stained every few years. Composite decking on the other hand is very durable and can withstand the harshest winter conditions. Maintenance is easy. As temperatures rise and fall and as moisture freezes and then thaws, it is composite decks that will better maintain their original appearance and condition.

Western Red Cedar Siding

There’s nothing like Western Red Cedar siding. It is in strong demand.

Cedar wood types are white cedar, red cedar, and yellow cedar. The advantage of red cedar is tight grain and high oil content. Red cedar is more porous and you can apply a wider variety of paints and stains to it. The most plentiful supplies of cedar are Western Red Cedar from the Western Pacific regions of the US and Canada. Manufacturers such as Interfor (International Forest Products) are producing an array of superior quality, primed cedar products that deliver the great value of cedar and which can be finished in the color of your choice to match all modern home decors.

Vinyl Siding

Vinyl siding products on the other hand are available in a limited amount of colors and the grain and texture in vinyl siding doesn’t compare to cedar siding. Cedar’s grain and texture is difficult to duplicate artificially. These primed and prefinished cedar products are developed under ideal temperature and humidity conditions, with the cedar substrate dried to the proper moisture content for superior paint adhesion.

Studies show that 70% of the cost of home siding is recouped when selling the home. However, cheaper vinyl siding will not contribute to the resale value as well as finished cedar siding products will. Your investment in cedar siding may be fully recovered when you sell your home.
Vinyl siding products account for a large share of all siding products sold in the Eastern US, however they are purchased because of perceived lower cost and maintenance. The average homeowner often makes the decision to buy siding only when an emergency situation arises such as severe deterioration, plans to sell the home, or damaging moisture or water penetration is occurring. The choice is to use an inexpensive building product in the hope that it will impress and serve the short term need.

Few homeowners can afford to buy new siding every 5 years so they’re stuck with their vinyl siding product for years to come. Vinyl siding also has the tendency to break under very cold temperatures and another drawback is its appearance. Few dream homes utilize vinyl siding, and that should tell you all you need to know about the value of appearance. When you consider value, appearance and durability, it is difficult to beat cedar siding. Since you make this investment in your home so infrequently, why not consider cedar siding for your home?

Other Home Finishing Products
Some cedar wood product distributors carry a line of cedar building products for uses on patio railings, deck railings, mouldings, and exterior trim. 

New Home Developers
If you’re a builder of exclusive residential communities, cedar products can stimulate sales and build enthusiasm during open house events. Buyers of high end homes are sensitive to quality and nothing says class and elegance the way cedar does. Today’s cedar siding products are manufactured and designed to suit any home architecture. The prestige of cedar wood products is worth noting and creates real sales-generating value for your new home development.

UPVC Door Lock Can Be Broken In 5 Seconds - 22 Million UK Homes At Risk

You may have seen recent reports on television news or in the newspapers of a weakness in the locks on PVCu doors. The weakness is currently being exploited by burglars in some areas of the UK, notably the West Yorkshire Police area. To our knowledge, such attacks are not yet common place in the Hampshire, West Sussex and Dorset areas.

This is a problem which is growing around the country; various methods are used by the burglars using simple everyday tools, allowing them to exploit an inherent flaw in the design of these Euro Profile Cylinders. The cylinders can be overcome in a matter of seconds and although we know the methods used we will not disclose these methods in any detail, as a precaution against “copy-cat” burglaries.

The lock in question is not of any particular make, but is the type of lock fitted to the majority of UPVC, PVCu and some wooden doors throughout the world, it is commonly known as a Euro Profile Cylinder. It is the part which provides the key operation to the multi-point locking mechanism fitted to the door. No matter how secure or elaborate the multi-point locking mechanism is, if the cylinder is compromised the multi-point lock can be opened in seconds without difficulty.

All major Lock Manufacturers are now working hard to find solutions to the problem.

Currently there are limited products on the market to combat this form of attack. Two major lock manufacturers notably Mul-T-Lock and Squire have produced a new design of cylinder which ensures the cylinder snaps at a predetermined position leaving the door still secured and requiring the use of the correct key to unlock the door. Mul-T-Locks range of anti snapping cylinders are called ‘Break Secure’ and Squire’s range are called ‘Snapsafe’

Although this design of cylinder is still not 100% guaranteed to prevent all the methods of attack used on PVCu doors. It will prevent the most common methods slowing down the burglars attempts and making it considerably more difficult, therefore increasing the chance of him giving up.

In addition to these cylinders some manufacturers notably Squire and ERA are producing cylinder enhancers or cylinder security devices. Various designs are available to suit PVCu and composite doors these consist of a metal surround which is secured to the existing cylinder underneath the door handle. ERA’s range is possibly the most secure, with the designs securing through the door to sandwich the cylinder in place making it virtually impossible to remove the ‘snapped’ cylinder. These devices used in conjunction with a Break Secure or SnapSafe cylinder will ensure the methods currently being used are ineffective.

The risk of forced entry via the methods used is reduced if the cylinder fitted is of the correct size and properly fitted. However often when cylinders have been replaced in the past it is found that an incorrect size has been used leaving the door vulnerable. It is recommended that the euro profile cylinder should not protrude outside of the door furniture any more than 2-3mm.

Remember burglars always choose the easy option!

In order to ensure you do not become one of the many victims of this type of forced entry review your current door cylinders now and consider upgrading your cylinders to the newly available ‘Break Secure’ or SnapSafe ranges currently available or fit an additional Cylinder Security Device or Enhancer to your existing cylinder.

In the meantime, ensure you DEADLOCK your doors whenever your home is unattended. We also advise that a door chain be fitted and used on the main entrance door when the house is occupied and if PVCu doors are fitted to other areas consider fitting additional internal secondary bolts as an alternative to replacing the cylinders.

Other sensible precautions include ensuring that any keys (particularly car keys) are not left where they can be found by burglars. (The most common method of car theft is by breaking into homes and stealing the keys). Other portable valuables should also be removed from vulnerable areas.

A safe will compliment any form of security to the property by reducing the risk of sentimental and valuable items being taken should a burglar gain entry. Securing small valuables can save a great deal of inconvenience and upset and it is recommended that you keep spare keys, passports, jewellery, cameras etc. locked in a safe.

For guidance and advice from reputable qualified locksmith’s only choose a locksmith that is a member of the Master Locksmith Association whose members would be pleased to offer advice and guidance, without obligation on any aspects of your properties physical security.

By using an MLA approved company you are assured that the locksmith you employ is of the highest standard of Integrity and that the work undertaken will be carried out to very high standards. All Master Locksmiths have undertaken and passed an independently assessed BLI examination to ensure they are qualified and competent to carry out all aspects of the Locksmith trade. And every Approved Company undergoes stringent, regular inspections, thus ensuring that it maintains high standards in workmanship and administration. Additionally members are expected to conform to legal requirements and follow a customer charter to service customer satisfaction.

The Master Locksmith Association has a freephone call line allowing people to locate and authenticate locksmiths claiming to be members. Tel: 0800 783 1498 or visit their website @

How To Care For Crystal Gifts, China And Flatware

Here is a summary for the care of crystal and crystal gifts for quick and easy reading. It is simple but accurate, quick to digest.


Because fine crystal and glassware require the gentlest of care to maintain their brilliance and integrity for years to come, we strongly recommend the following:

Wash your fine crystal and glassware by hand in moderately hot water with a mild lemon detergent and 1/4 cup ammonia (to prevent spotting). Rinse in clean water and air dry on a rack. Cleaning the crystal in an automatic dishwasher may cause the crystal to lose brilliance; we recommend you avoid this. However, if the fine crystal and glassware must be machine washed, please follow these precautions:

Do not machine wash metal-accented crystal.

Use your dishwasher's "fine crystal and china" setting.

Because even the mildest brands of automatic dishwashing detergent are abrasive, use only half the recommended amount.

Lower the top dishwasher rack, if possible, to accommodate the height of your crystal, paying special attention to your stemware.

Make certain to space your crystal stemware on the rack so the pieces do not touch one another, since vibration during the washing and rinsing cycles can chip or crack the crystal.

For dishwashers without a "fine crystal and china" setting, turn on the "air-dry only" cycle and open the door to allow your crystal to air dry.

Remember that fine crystal and glassware can crack or break when subjected to extremes of hot and cold. Before putting very warm food or liquid into a crystal container, we recommend you preheat the crystal with moderately hot tap water. Do not pour cold beverages into a pitcher or bowl that's just been washed with hot water. Likewise, do not wash a crystal piece that's just come out of the refrigerator; allow it to warm to room temperature first.

Clean vases and decanters by filling them half-full with moderately hot water, a small amount of mild detergent, two tablespoons of white vinegar or ammonia and 1/2 cup uncooked rice. Swirl the rice around for a few minutes to remove residue. Rinse well with moderately hot water and air dry, upside down, on a rack.

Remove more stubborn stains by filling the container with warm water and dropping in a denture-cleaning tablet; let it sit until the stain disappears.

Do not clean your fine crystal and glassware with scouring pads or abrasive cleaners.

Always store your stemware upright to help prevent chipping.


These hand-detailed masterpieces have a family tradition of longevity when treated with loving care. Hard glazes give your china durability by design and relieve you of the need for excessive caution. They are, however, vulnerable to scratching by equally hard surfaces. Just as a diamond can be scratched and damaged by another diamond, so it is with fine bone china dinnerware. So be sure, when stacking plates, to separate them from one another by a soft cloth, pad or paper napkin that protects the entire surface, especially the rim. That small bit of insurance will keep the bottom of one plate from scratching the surface of another.

It is safe to wash your Waterford Fine Bone China in an automatic dishwasher as long as you load it with dishes fully secured and placed so that they do not touch each other. Do not wash at temperatures higher than 149 degrees Fahrenheit and use the "short wash" or "china and crystal" cycles. The rinse cycle should follow immediately to flush away detergent deposits that could form a film if they remain on the dishes too long. Recommended liquid dish detergents are Regular and Lemon Scented Palmolive.TM Standard safe powers are CascadeTM and Dishwasher All.TM

In hard water areas, deposits may form on your china if water is allowed to dry naturally on the plates. Such deposits can be readily removed with a vinegar solution or mild, acidic cleansing agent.

Since it is so lavishly embellished with gold or platinum, you must not place your Waterford Fine China in a microwave oven, where the intense heat will damage its high concentrations of precious metal.


Waterford Fine Stainless Flatware is dishwasher safe. We recommend using a gentle dishwasher detergent (avoid using lemon-scented products). If possible, set your dishwasher on the fine china setting to insure gentle cleansing. Wash stainless separately from aluminum, sterling or silverplate items, as pitting can occur.

Place spoons and forks into baskets with handles facing downward. Knives should be inserted with the blade facing down.

Water shedding or drying additives can be used to minimize water spots. Should water spots or stains occur, we recommend using Hagerty stainless steel polish. Also, rubbing alcohol or salad oil can be used to remove stubborn water spots. Shine flatware using a sponge doused in white vinegar.

While stainless steel is designed to resist most common stains, corrosion and/or discoloration may be caused due to prolonged contact with chloride rich foods, such as salt, mayonnaise, mustard and eggs.

Remove flatware prior to the drying cycles. This decreases the amount of time the flatware spends in a hot, moist atmosphere, and permits the flatware to dry in cool, drier air.

Hand drying is also advised. Rinse and dry thoroughly with a soft towel while flatware is still warm. The hand-buffing action helps maintain a lustrous finish and discourages film buildup. Do not rinse and stack.

We recommend hand washing gold-accented stainless steel flatware.

Thank you for reading this article. We hope that it has helped you, and that you were able to find, through our research, the answers you were seeking.

Thermostats and Your Safety – Dryer Maintenance

Have you ever thought about how hot your dryer gets? Thermostats and thermal fuses are put in dryers for your safety and if you don't maintain them, you could be putting yourself, your house, and your family at risk.

Your dryer uses of a combination of heat and airflow to dry your clothes. The heat generated in your dryer is produced by a heating element controlled by a series of thermostats. If any of your dryer's thermostats are defective, the results can be disastrous.

Safety Warning: Before performing any tests or repairs on your dryer disconnect the power source to eliminate the risk of electric shock. You can do this by unplugging the dryer, removing the related fuse from the fuse box, or flipping the appropriate switch on the breaker panel.

A dryer thermostat is usually oval shaped and about an inch and a half in length. The thermostat contains a bimetal that opens and closes a pair of contacts depending on the temperature inside the dryer.

The bimetal inside the thermostat is designed to bend at specific temperatures. When the bimetal bends, it pushes an actuator. The actuator then pushes on a contact, opening the electrical circuit and breaking the electrical connection to the related component. When the thermostat cools, the bimetal returns to its original shape and the contacts close, allowing the current to flow through the circuit.

Here's how it works: The dryer is turned on and heat begins to radiate from the heating element into the dryer's drum. The air in the drum passes by a thermostat. As the thermostat reaches its maximum temperature, the bimetal bends, cutting the power to the heating element. The circuit stays open until the bimetal cools. Because the heating element isn't providing additional heat, the dryer's temperature gradually falls. The bimetal returns to its original shape and the electric current flows to start the heating element again. This process happens many times throughout your dryer's cycle.

There are at least two thermostats in your dryer: cycling (operating)thermostat and hi-limit safety)thermostat. The difference between these two thermostats is their opening and closing temperatures.

The cycling thermostat is typically found in the path of the air leaving the drum. A cycling thermostat is usually found on the fan housing or just under the lint filter area, on the blower wheel housing or inside the venting/exhaust system.

Some dryers may have as many as five thermostats - one for each of the different heat cycles. The temperature setting or cycle selected determines which thermostat is used to control the heat. If your dryer is malfunctioning on the low heat setting, the thermostat for that particular setting is probably defective.

The thermostats for the high and medium temperature selections are not the problem. However, if the dryer isn't working properly for most of the heat settings, it's probably a problem with your vent rather than the thermostats.

The <b>hi-limit thermostat</b> protects your dryer from overheating. This thermostat is usually found on the heating element, housing, or cage assembly. If the airflow in the dryer becomes obstructed by a plugged or improperly installed vent, bad drum seals, or a defective blower, the high-limit thermostat cuts power to the heating element. This means there are other problems with your dryer.

In conjunction with thermostats, dryers use thermal fuses as a safety device. Some dryer models may have two thermal fuses to detect extreme heat. If the hi-limit thermostat fails to cut power to the heating element and the element gets too hot, the thermal fuse blows and cuts all power to the dryer. This could mean that a thermostat is defective or something is wrong with your venting duct, filters, seals, or blower. You cannot reset thermal fuses so once they blow they must be replaced. Get the proper replacement fuse for your model and replace the hi-limit thermostat as well. Never bypass a thermal fuse.

Have a look at your dryer's manual for the locations of its thermostats. It's unusual for a dryer's thermostat to continue operating at a different temperature than originally intended and the only way to test for this would be by checking the temperature of the exhaust. You can do this by placing a pocket thermometer inside the exhaust vent. This test is done with the dryer running, so be extremely careful.

Checking continuity is another way to test your thermostat. There's a wire leading to each of the thermostat's terminals. The wires are connected by metal slip-on connectors. Label the wires before you remove them so that you're able to correctly reconnect them later. To remove the wires use needle nose pliers to pull on the connectors - don't pull on the wires themselves.

Set your multimeter to the RX1 setting. With the thermostat at room temperature, touch one meter probe to one terminal and touch the other meter probe to the other terminal. You should receive a reading of zero. If a thermostat is tested when it's heated to its limit, a reading of infinity should be produced. You should replace your thermostat if it fails either of these tests.

The thermostat is attached to the dryer with two screws. Remove both screws and discard the faulty thermostat. Install a new thermostat, securing it in place with two screws. Reconnect the two wires, put your dryer back together, and restore power to the dryer. Run your dryer through a cycle to make sure it's working properly. 

Protect your family and protect yourself - maintain your dryer regularly. But if you can't do it yourself, make sure you contact a service technician to do it for you.

Toronto Heating And Air Conditioning

Ask anyone from any part of the world if he/she can survive the chill of the winter months without furnaces or fireplaces or if they can spend the scorching summer afternoons, without switching on the air conditions. If the answer is a big ‘No’, then we can easily say that having air conditions and furnaces in the room is indeed not a luxury - it is a necessity. In every part of the world, domestic air conditioning is a common feature, especially in the heat of the summer. The demand of the air conditions is especially high in areas where most of the people live in small high rise flats. 

Toronto is located in the southern part and in close proximity to Lake Ontario. This makes the climate of Toronto is little bit moderate from the rest parts of Canada. Toronto enjoys a humid continental climate, which means hot and humid summers and chilly winters.  Thus, it is understood that Toronto people need air conditioning to maintain the indoor air quality in summer and fireplaces and furnaces in winter to survive the cold.

In the cooler months, fireplaces are almost the central feature of every household. It is certainly a much needed part of the survival strategy in the extended winter. Still in the age of electric room heater, the traditional wood fireplace has an exceptional appeal with the sensuous direct heat and the flickers. Fireplaces have a remarkable place in the traditional culture of Toronto and also in places like Vaughan, Richmond Hill, Markham, Thornhill, and Brampton and other parts. There is no comfort that can be compared to a family conversation surrounding a fireplace in a winter evening.

Fireplaces were also much popularized in the past, when the then President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's "fireside chats", a weekly radio addresses became popular during the great depression. It was meant for the family gathering around the fireplace. Fireplace is obviously not just a structure occupying some places. The mantels are the places to be decorated. If these places are decorated properly, the fireplaces and the accessories add an aesthetic appeal to the interior of a household. The decoration often carries its own statement that adds a unique charm to the room.

One of the widely used fireplace accessory is the fireplace screen. These screens are used in all the Toronto households in winter to prevent the burning embers from spoiling the rugs or carpets or injuring someone around when it pops out. A clean and finely structured screen can change the complete ambience of the room. No matter you are using one or not, the screen is a must for fireplace. In order to maintain the new look of the screen it is important that the ashes and the smoke marks are removed from it regularly. Fireplace accessories are mainly made for the wood fireplaces including poker to move the logs, tongs to pick the burning logs, shovel and broom to clean the ashes and racks to hold the logs. There are some others like, grates, chimney caps, and fireplace candles. A fireplace blower is another important accessory for fireplace. It is necessary to increase the heat the fire produce and to spread it through the room. With the accessory, the heat does not go into the chimney or in the bricks only, but it spreads heat equally through out the room and gives warmth in the chilly night.

Fireplace accessories are available in several materials and numerous fashions. But the most fashionable and most popular are the ones that are made of cast iron. These are long lasting, and are available within an affordable price range. Some other materials are nickel, brass, chrome, and pewter. You can select anything that is best for your requirement. 

In the homes of Toronto two types of air conditions are used mainly – window and split. Split ACs is comparatively new additions to the domestic households. But this kind of air conditioner is more expensive than the other types. Window air conditioners are based in a window as the heat enters the room and it cools the heat wave in the room. It can make the air cool and comfortable only in the room where it is located. More expensive and more powerful system can cool the room surrounding it. Spilt air conditioners are to be put on the walls of a room. It does not need any wall to be placed. Window models are common feature of old households.

The office buildings and some new households have central air conditioning system. Central air conditioning system cools the air of the whole area concerned though the actual cooling unit is located somewhere outside the construction. There is a thermostat to check and control the temperature in the house. In the older model the temperature is adjusted manually whereas in the latest models the temperature is programmed to change at different times of the day. It helps to save the electricity bill and also make the house comfortable with a balanced temperature between hot and cold. It keeps the house warm when the house is empty. Though this system is thought to consume more electricity among the three mentioned here, the central air conditioning system is more energy efficient than the other two.

One can find air conditioning in the car as well today. This keeps the interior of a car comfortable, especially when you are on a long drive. People often try to get the comforts with rolling down the glass. But it is not at as much comfortable as air condition. Often the wind outside is noisy that can spoil your concentration while you are driving. If you are driving through a colder zone, rolling down the window will not be a wise idea. The air condition inside can offer you much warmer surrounding than the chilly outside.

Sometimes the air condition may not work properly. At such times, it is better to go for the repairing work when the damage is low. If the problem becomes grave it means more hazards and more expensive repair and replacement at times.

The Truth About Roofs

You can't have too many roofs in your inventory without dealing with leaks.  If you rehab, you EXPECT to find ceiling stains, the tell tale sign of a leaky roof, in almost every project.  I find projects without signs of past or present leaks the exception to the norm!

Sometimes shingles are just going to need replaced.  There is no getting around it.  Curled shingles, and numerous leaks are a pretty good indication that it would be cheaper to replace the roof rather than repair.  Just factor that into the repairs and accept it.  It's one thing you won't have to worry about if you are keeping the property, and it ups the value whether you keep it or sell it on the retail market after the rehab. 

If the shingles still have some life on them, but there is some leakage to repair, finding the real source of the problem can take multiple tries.  It can get pretty aggravating as you sometimes try and fail to fix a leaky roof.  Naturally, you want to try to fix this without calling out an expensive professional roofer.  Sometimes you can, sometimes you can't.  Here are some tips for diagnosing roof leaks.

 - I find that in the course of a rehab, it's always "good" to have an extended period of heavy rains.  That way, any and all leaks become evident.  If you have a property that is not occupied, or that is not being actively rehabbed after a period of extended rains, go visit and check for signs of leaks.  If you can stop by while it's still raining, that's the number one, best time to investigate leaks from inside the attic. 

 - Get a mini flashlight that goes into a small belt holster and make that part of your normal clothing.  You will use it all the time…for more than looking in attics!  It's great for plumbing, under cabinets, etc.  Make it part of the "uniform."

 - The garden hose - a rehabber's friend.  In a recent project of mine, the roof was relatively new yet I had a ceiling stain in the kitchen.  We'd thought it was all taken care of in two tries, so we patched the ceiling, applied stain block, and textured over the spot.  Then came the rains, and the circular and symmetrical spot was back!  I'd had just about enough so I climbed onto the roof, garden hose in hand, and stationed my handyman in the attic.  In less than a minute of hosing down the roof we found the very tiny hole that was the culprit.  A dab of tar below and above the shingle and viola!  Problem solved.  The tiny hole was causing water to drip directly onto the ceiling drywall, hence the circular stain.

 - Watch for stain patterns.  The pattern can offer you hints.  When you come across a circular ceiling stain, there's a good chance the leak is dripping directly onto the ceiling dry wall from above.  Put a nail in the center of the stain and get into the attic and look directly above the nail and you might just find the problem.  If you do this in bright daylight, a spec of light might be visible, which would make the repair a little easier.  Even if you find a hole, I still recommend the garden hose trick to see if there are other problems to fix.

If the stain is small and circular, it usually means the amount of water is small…lucky you.  If the stain region is larger, it may still be an easy fix especially if it is a single hole.  If there is enough rain making onto the ceiling drywall, it will pool and soak in.  This will make it look like a massive leak, when it might be a one-shingle repair (plus some new ceiling drywall).  The garden hose trick will quickly tell you if the problem is a single hole, or your roof is like Swiss cheese.

Stains that appear along a line may indicate that water is draining along a rafter or truss.  Inspect that rafter starting from the top looking for signs of water. The source may be a single hole that is sending water down the rafter making multiple stains show up in a line.

 - Isolating the leak.  Be aware of the ridgeline.  When you are inspecting a property, be aware of the direction the roof ridgeline runs as you inspect the interior.  If you come across a ceiling stain toward the middle of the house near where the ridgeline is above you, the source of the water is easier to isolate.  Water doesn't flow up!  So, the suspect area extends from roughly the stain area, up to the ridgeline.  In many cases, that's a lot less roof to investigate.

On the other hand when stains are out near the roof edges, they are the trickiest to diagnose.  Why?  The source of the water could be from higher in the roof than where the stain is.  The water could be getting under a shingle near the peak, draining down between the shingles and ply, and finally leaking at the point you are seeing the stain.  It's just hard to tell upon initial inspection.  Get into the roof and check out the rafters around that area for signs of water stains?  If you're lucky you'll see light and a hole.  If you're not that lucky, it's time to get on the roof and see what you can find.  If you don't find anything obvious, it's time to call a roofer…that is, unless you decide to replace the whole roof.

 - Valleys are often the culprit when it comes to leaky roofs.  I especially find this in property that has been neglected or vacant for long periods of time.   Very often the problem is caused because leaves have accumulated in the valley.  These leaves hold moisture which rots the shingles and underlying ply over time.  Depending on the extent of the rot, the repair can range from replacing ply and shingles to cleaning off the leaves and letting it dry.  Be aware of your roof valleys and keep them clear!

With roof leaks, there are no short cuts.  It's easier and cheaper in the long run to aggressively diagnose the leak problem and seek hidden leaks that just haven't soaked through the ceiling drywall yet.  Don't assume that once you find one hole in the roof, or a cracked shingle that the problem is fixed.  Get that hose out and confirm it!  There is something about climbing in an attic and on a roof that isn't fun to re-do.

Quality Composite Decking

Thinking of buying new home decking? You should be aware there are new, attractive alternatives to wood decks. These deck building products provide increased durability as well as extremely low maintenance. You’ll appreciate the new styles and colors which are a break from the humdrum, common deck materials that homeowners are tired of seeing. Consumers are looking for something different this year.

Today’s deck deck building manufacturers are producing a wide array of new synthetic, plastic, and composite decking materials. New composite products are actually combining the best qualities of wood with the strength and durability of synthetic materials.

Composite Decks

Composite decks (sometimes referred to as an engineered product) are manufactured using a variety of combinations of components such as wood fibers, fillers, and binders. These components of composite decking are heated and compressed into the base composite decking boards.  They offer a very durable exterior surface that is difficult to discolor and scratch, and which is easy to clean. Composite decks also resist shrinking and swelling better than natural wood decking products.

Composite decking has more advantages over pressure treated pine decking. The material is harder and won’t dent, and they are approved for fire-rated construction. Wood products will burn and plastic-based products will melt or warp when exposed to a significant heat source. Over a ten year period, your house decking will take a great deal of punishing use and weather. This physical beating which includes people walking and jumping on it, intense sunshine, barbecue grease burns, and rain with high winds, will wear down even the strongest of wood deck materials. Composite decks keep their beautiful appearance for many years to come with minimal maintenance. A simple pressure washing once a year is all that’s required.

Wood decking products have a unique set of limitations that might make you think twice about purchasing it for your home. Wood can rot; invite bug infestations, shrink, and swell when subjected to rain, then hot dry weather, thus loosening fasteners that hold it securely. That’s when squeaky, loose boards become an annoying feature of your deck, along with nails that stick up and present a real safety and health hazard. LP Weatherbest Decks from Boston Cedar holds fasteners strongly and securely.

Installation of composite decking is a breeze. These products were designed to enable easy cutting for the deck installers. Composite’s strength presents innumerably creative options that aren’t possible with expensive wood decks. This is contributing to the creative deck design boom in homes across America. Large decks would require extensive refinishing through the years and hiring a deck refinisher every year is not something most people would consider. If you’re thinking of building a multilevel or other creative type of deck, composite decking is the right choice.

LP Weatherbest Decking sold by Boston Cedar uses reversible deck boards which offer a choice of woodgrain or rough sawn faces. They are low maintenance and come with an excellent warranty. Composite Decking becomes much more affordable for today's deck projects when you consider the extra long life and the low maintenance features. Large wood decks require extensive refinishing over the years which will add to the overall cost.

Composite Decking comes in a number of different colors that can match or complement any home's decor and style. In the case of Boston Cedar, they sell LP Weatherbest Decking products in four different colors...Driftwood Grey, Pacific Cedar, Redwood and Tuscan Walnut. Each deck board is reversible with a woodgrain face on one side and a rough sawn face on the other without any grain.

Choosing Decking

Your choice of decking will influence the overall appearance of your home and ultimately, its resale value.  Homeowners today are a different breed than those of the past. Very few people live in their homes forever.  Most move to new locations to take advantage of job opportunities or need a new home to suit their suit their ever-changing family situation. Consumers today have also become bored with treated pine.

At some point, homeowners will sell their home. The quality and appearance of the decking and its suitability for their home, property and geographical location will affect the resale value of the home. The home buyer will not want to be faced with a series of expensive home improvements. With composite materials, homeowners can afford to build a bigger deck, and one with more creative designs. The scarcity of expensive woods is not a problem when you’re building composite decks.

LP Weatherbest Decking from Boston Cedar

A Massachusetts-based composite decking distributor named Boston Cedar provides a quality line of composite deck boards.  Boston Cedar's LP Weatherbest Decking is a superior product that combines the appearance of natural wood with the strength and durability of an engineered material.  LP Weatherbest Decking from Boston Cedar is the first choice for quality New England lumberyards serving deck building companies and deck designers.

Outback Decking

If wood decking is still the only type for you, Boston Cedar also has the amazing Outback Decking product. This beautiful deck material is made from Red Meranti, a type of wood that has rot and mildew resistant qualities that are normally only found in woods such as cedar. Outback decking is a premier deck product. It is a sealed deck material that reduces moisture related deck problems, splits, and face checks. It can be refinished with virtually any refinishing product in the years to come.

Boston Cedar is the key distributor for LP Weatherbest products in the Eastern United States region. Check out for more information on the best composite decking. They also carry a line of exterior trim and deck railing stock that can add to your home’s décor. They are about more than just decks.

Fireplace Terms Don't Need to Confuse

We hope you find this glossary of fireplace terms helpful in your search for the perfect fireplace. If you have further questions, feel free to call us toll free at 877-669-4669.

BTUs -- British Thermal Unit, the primary heat measurement unit used by the hearth industry. It is the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of 1 lb. of water by 1 degree F. at sea level.

B-Vent -- A gas-burning appliance that takes in combustion air from the home and vents products of combustion outside the home. B-Vent is also commonly known as natural vent.

Builder Series -- Fireplaces specially designed for builders and contractors, featuring a beautiful blend of elegance, efficiency and economy.

Cabinet -- A fireplace cabinet is usually a wooden finishing option for direct vent or vent-free fireplaces which are installed on the floor of the room and vented through the wall. They encase the entire fireplace and can be made for walls or corners. They range from 13 to 28 inches deep.

Catalytic Combustor -- A device used on some wood burning stoves to reduce the temperature at which smoke is ignited.

Catalytic or Non-Catalytic -- Catalytic wood stoves and fireplace inserts have ceramic honeycombed chambers coated with a metal catalyst (usually platinum or palladium) that works to increase the rate of combustion. The catalytic combustor burns away gases and particulates normally emitted into the air. Catalytic wood stoves allow people to burn wood at lower temperatures for longer periods of time. With Non-Catalytic wood stoves, combustion occurs in the firebox. These stoves are generally less expensive than catalytic wood stoves and require less maintenance.

Chase -- A structure built around, and enclosing, portions of the chimney and in some cases, housing the appliance.

Circulating Firebox -- Has louvers at the top and bottom so that a fan can be installed. Louvers cannot be covered.

Clearance -- The distance required by building and fire codes between stove, smoke pipe or chimney and combustible materials such as wood furniture or carpets.

Clearances must be observed even if noncombustible plaster or other masonry materials protect the combustible materials, such as wood furniture or carpets.

Direct Vent -- An appliance that draws combustion air from outdoors and exhausts it's combustion products to the outdoors eliminating the need for a standard chimney system. A glass panel in direct vent units is critical to keeping the combustion system sealed from the home, maintaining high efficiency and indoor air quality.

Electronic Ignition -- Requires electricity to start the unit either 110 volt or battery.

EPA Regulations -- Government regulations of wood burning appliances mandating that products sold after July 1, 1992 emit no more than 4.1 grams of particulate matter per hour for catalytic-equipped units and no more than 7.5 grams for non-catalytic-equipped units.

Firebox -- That portion of the solid fuel appliance where the fuel is located and where primary combustion occurs.

Hearth -- The floor of the firebox, most commonly used in reference to fireplaces. More generally, the foundation upon which fires for aesthetic and heating purposes are built. Differs from floor protection.

High-Efficiency Wood-Burning Fireplace -- EPA-approved fireplaces offering a balance of elegance and energy efficiency.

Inserts -- Heating units that retrofit into an existing fireplace (masonry or factory-built). They burn wood, gas or pellets and offer superior efficiency.

Mantel (Flush Mantel) -- Another finishing option for direct vent and ventless fireplaces. They can be wood, marble or stone. The mantels do not encase the entire fireplace, but frame it. Therefore they are only 1 3/4 to 2 1/2 inches deep. Mantels are used when the fireplace is installed inside the wall or on the outside wall of the house.

Manually Controlled -- Control the height of the flame at the unit only.

Mid-Efficient, Heat-Circulating, Wood-Burning Fireplace -- Security's HE43 fireplace adds style and warmth to any home with 50% efficiency and a panoramic view of the fire.

ODS -- Oxygen Depletion Sensor - A safety device that activates the fire’s flame monitoring device in case excessive levels of CO² (deadly carbon monoxide), are detected. This would reduce the levels of oxygen, causing the pilot flame to become unstable and lift off the thermocouple tip. The fire then turns off automatically before the situation becomes dangerous.

Pellet Burning -- Made of 100% wood sawdust with no additives. The sawdust in pellets is a manufacturing byproduct otherwise destined for landfills.

Radiant Fireboxes -- Also known as flush face. The facing (Stone, Tile, Brick) can cover above and below the fireplace opening.

Remote Ready -- Able to turn the unit on and off remotely via a wired or wireless remote. Remote is sold separately. The height of the flame cannot be adjusted remotely. Not recommended for vented gas logs.

Surround -- For this site we will define a fireplace surround as a marble or tile frame between the fireplace itself and the wooden mantel. Cabinets seldom use surrounds. However, some manufacturers do call a wooden cabinet a "cabinet surround."

Thermostatically Controlled -- Senses the temperature at the unit not of the room. Not as versatile as a remote ready with a thermostat.

Variable Flame Height -- Via the remote, you can increase and decrease the height of the flame and turn the unit on and off. Also available in thermostatically controlled.

Vent-Free -- Gas appliance that has no need for a flue. Although vent-free units offer high efficiency, some areas may not permit their use. Please check with your local building official.

Zero Clearance Fireplace -- A factory-built fireplace that is constructed so that it can be placed, safely, close to combustible material.

Feng Shui In Your Home For The Placement Of Furniture

Feng Shui for the placement of furniture is becoming more popular in the Western world as people seek to bring balance into their hectic, modern lives. Feng Shui involves placing objects such as furniture in a space so that good energy is allowed to flow through unencumbered. When decorating your home and placing furniture, you can follow some of Feng Shui’s basic principles to capture positive energy and keep negative energy away.

In each room of your home, there are rules you can follow to ensure furniture, and other objects, are placed in prime locations. First of all, you should position furniture according to comfort and convenience, making sure that no object blocks external and internal doorways (a symbol for blocked opportunities). As you arrange a room, keep high traffic areas open and unobstructed as well.

The most common rule of Feng Shui, as it applies to furniture placement, is to place main pieces, such as bedroom furniture or desks, in the “command position.” This is simply the space facing the door, and off to the side. Without knowing anything about Feng Shui, most people have an innate sense of the good energy of this position. In a meeting, for example, most people try to grab the seats in this area of the room.

Placing important furniture in the command position has many benefits. If you place your office desk and chair in this position, you might see an improvement in your career prospects and increase your productivity. For those in business for themselves, the flow of good energy can lead to an increase in customer phone calls (and therefore business), more respect in your chosen industry, and opportunity for continued success. As long as your chair does not back into a window, the command position is one of the first things to consider when applying the basic principles of Feng Shui to your own home.

Because sleep is such an important aspect of our lives and contributes to good health, placing your bed in the command position is crucial. Keep in mind, the worst place for the bed is right in front of the door with your feet facing toward it. Labeled the “coffin position,” because the dead tend to be moved feet first, placing your bed in such a manner promotes the wrong type of energy. Keep the head of the bed away from a window as well, as this allows personal energy (chi) to escape outside.

Feng Shui is applicable in every room of the house, including the kitchen. It may be difficult to move existing appliances to cater to Feng Shui positions, but if you plan to redesign your kitchen, you may want to keep some of these tips in mind:

The stove needs to be placed so that anyone using the stove does not have his/her back facing the kitchen door. If you really can’t rearrange the placement of your stove, there is a trick – put a mirror behind the stove. A handy way to deal with this issue, a mirror above the stove also lets the cook see who enters the kitchen, without having to turn away from the food. The mirror also doubles, symbolically, the number of burners on the stove, which represents prosperity.

If you can, make sure the refrigerator and sink are not beside the stove. As Water element appliances, they should not be placed directly next to a Fire appliance. As you might guess, Water douses Fire, so keeping the two away from each other will only serve to contribute to our family’s health, happiness, and prosperity.

In addition to using furniture placement to promote good chi in your home, it can also be used as a means of redirecting the flow of chi. In family and living rooms, especially larger ones, make use of the space by creating conversation areas with the furniture. This will help direct the flow of energy in a harmonious manner throughout the space, rather than letting it enter the front of the house and rush straight through, and out the back. Think of this energy as air circulating through your home, cultivating good vibes. Another way to encourage this type of energy flow is to set up screens and dividers to ensure there are no straight paths from doors to windows.

In houses where the living room and dining room meld into a single L-shaped space, the large area can be difficult to tame. Guests and family members feel less comfortable and have trouble enjoying intimate conversations in such an environment. As mentioned above, grouping furniture so that smaller conversation areas are created is the best way to deal with such a situation, but you can also divide the area into two separate rooms to provide more privacy and comfort in each space.

In a dining room, which usually features a double door entryway facing a window, it’s quite difficult to keep the energy flowing well. It’s no wonder these rooms are seldom used. What you can do to make guests feel more comfortable, when you do use this room, is to try and place each seat so that it faces a wall and protects the people sitting down.

Keeping spaces free of clutter is also key to good chi. Although cozy spaces are required to maintain a good flow of energy, an overstuffed abode will only foster a sense of chaos and confusion. Don’t use too much furniture – just enough as necessary without ridding the entire room of open spaces. Breathing room allows positive energy to circulate in every space of the room, without facing obstacles. To hamper chi from settling in corners, you can put furniture in corners of the room.

Feng Shui is a great way to spruce up your home and invite good feelings into your personal space. Although furniture placement may differ depending on the framework of your own home, once you start to sense how chi flows well in your dwelling, you’ll be able to see what works best. If something doesn’t seem to be working, change things around until you find the best furniture placement for you.

Wood Flooring - Everything You Need To Know.

The elegant look of a hardwood floor can add warmth and character to any room in a home. The natural characteristics of wood add depth and a visual appearance that many other types of floors try to duplicate. With the demand for hardwood flooring growing manufacturer's are enhancing their ranges to meet this demand, with better quality finishes and superior construction techniques.

Hardwood floors come in a wide variety of wood species, colours and widths. Besides the classic hardwoods (like red oak, white oak, maple and ash) many manufacturers now offer exotic hardwood species from all over the World. Exotic hardwoods give homeowners the chance to better express their own personal decorating tastes with a more unique looking floor. With so many different types of hardwood flooring now available it is sometime hard to choice which is best suited to you.

Different Types of Wood Flooring

Solid wooden floors are one solid piece of wood that have tongue and groove sides and come in either pre-finished or unfinished styles. Solid wood floors are sensitive to moisture and it is not recommended to install these floors below ground level, or directly over a concrete slab. These floors are for nail-down installations only. You can refinish, or recoat solid wood floors several times, which adds to their appeal and to their long life. There are solid floors that are over 100 years old and are still in good condition.

All solid wood floors will react to the presence of moisture. In the winter heating months, moisture leaves the wood causing the floor to contract which leaves unsightly gaps between each plank. In the summer months when the humidity is higher the wood will expand and the gaps will disappear. If there is too much moisture it may cause the wood planks to cup, or buckle. This is why it is important when installing a solid strip floor to leave the proper expansion area around the perimeter and to acclimatize the wood prior to installation.

Engineered wood floors - These floors are constructed from several wood plies that are glued together. The centre core is generally a softer wood material and is used to make the tongue and groove. A hardwood finish layer is glued on top of the centre core and another softer wood ply is attached underneath the core. This top ply is also called the finish layer and can be constructed of almost any wood specie.

Wood always wants to expand in a certain direction. In the presence of moisture solid wood planks will always expand across the width of the planks, rather than down the length of the boards. To avoid this problem, manufacturers of engineered planks place each ply in the opposite direction of each other. This is called cross-ply construction. Once the wood layers are glued together the plies will counteract each other which will stop the plank from growing or shrinking with changes in the humidity. Engineered wood floors are designed for the floating installation and can be glued together or some now come with a click system.

Veneer wood floors are very similar to laminate floors. The only difference is that with a veneer flooring to top wear layer is a thin piece or real hardwood instead of a photographic image as in laminates. Veneer flooring is usually around 8mm in thickness with the top hardwood layer being around 0.7mm. Advantages of a veneer floors are that they are fast and easy to install and you have a real hardwood floor.

Factory Pre-finished Wood Flooring

Most factory finished hardwood floors have several coats of finish applied to the wood's surface. As example, many wood floor companies are applying 6-10 coats of a ultra-violet (UV) cured urethane. This would be extremely difficult for someone to duplicate on a job site finish, not to mention how many days it would take. This is one of the reasons why many flooring mechanics, flooring retailers, and builders are pushing pre-finished hardwood floors. Instead of taking several days to install and finish a new hardwood floor a pre-finished hardwood floor is generally done in one day.

The most common finishes are:

UV-cured – Factory finishes that are cured with Ultra Violet lights versus heat.

Polyurethane – A clear, tough and durable finish that is applied as a wear layer.

Acrylic-urethane – A slightly different chemical make up than Polyurethane with the same benefits.

Aluminium Oxide – Added to the urethane finish for increased abrasion resistance of the wear layer, which is becoming extremely popular on the better grade wood floors.

Acrylic Impregnated – Acrylic monomers are injected into the cell structure of the wood to give increased hardness and then finished with a wear layer over the wood.

Unfinished Wood Flooring

If you want a custom stained hardwood floor, or a wood floor to match existing trim than a unfinished hardwood floor is your answer. Unfinished means you start with a bare hardwood floor and than the floor is sanded, stained, and finished in the home. This can be quite a mess and the process does take several days, but your floor will have a finish to you requirements.

Installation Options

Nail Down – Secret nails are used with a wood flooring nailer and mallet to attach the flooring to the sub floor. Solid Strip floors or Plank floors can only be installed on wooden sub-floors or on batons.

Glue Down – Engineered wood floors and parquets can be glued down. This is when you spread the recommended glue all over the sub floor and lay the flooring into the glue.

Floating – This is when a thin underlay is placed between the wood flooring and the sub floor. A recommended wood glue is then applied in the tongue and groove of each plank to hold the planks together. Engineered & Veneer floors can be floated. This is a very fast, easy and clean method of installation.

Please consult the manufacturer installation instructions before installing any flooring.

Fine Window Blinds Are A Versatile Decoration For Today's Home

Blinds can be very utilitarian, even industrial as a window treatment. Among the reasons that they have been popular as window decoration in office and industrial setting is because they are durable, easy to clean, filter sunlight effectively and provide privacy. For all of these same reasons they are also popular as window decorations in homes. The trick was to make them attractive.

Types of windows blinds

Designers and home decorating companies have come up with a wide variety of materials and finishes for blinds. Decorators also use curtains and valences to give windows a much warmer feel. The result has been window treatments that are attractive, bright, airy and contemporary. The types of blinds commonly used in homes today include the following.

1.Venetian. These are still usually made from aluminium; however they may also be plastic. The slats may be 1, 2 or 3 inches wide and are slightly curved. The slats are connected by cords and twill tape. They can be opened, closed, opened at an angle or pulled up to the top of the window. These blinds are very versatile, can be used in any room and are available in many colours. The slats close tightly, providing privacy when desired.

2.Wood slat. Venetian blinds made from wood are also called wood slat blinds. The slats are thicker, and when pulled to the top of the window, will create a thicker stack. They may be stained or painted. Like other styles, the slats can be opened or closed to admit or filter sunlight.

3.Miniblind. These have become very popular in the past 20 years or so. The slats on these blinds are very narrow, either 1/2 or 1 inch wide. They may be aluminium or PVC and come in a wide array of colours. These are a type of Venetian and can be opened, closed or pulled to the top of the window. These are very popular because when closed, they give the window a very smooth appearance.

4.Vertical. Vertical blinds ( ) are very popular in both offices and in homes. They may be used for both windows and sliding glass doors where they can be open, closed or pulled to one side. The PVC or metal slats hang from a track across the top of the window or door. The slats may either be connected at the bottom with a chain or cord, or simply hung loose. Some models are electric blinds and can be opened and closed with a remote control unit.

5.Woven. Unlike the styles described above, woven blinds do not have slats that open or close. The slats are very narrow and woven together. Narrow spaces between the slats filter sunlight. More light is admitted by pulling a draw string and rolling the blind up toward the top of the window. Woven blinds do not offer quite as much privacy as Venetians.

Not only do blinds come in a variety of attractive styles, they are also available in a variety of materials. The combination of styles and materials give decorators tremendous versatility in putting together extremely attractive windows. This versatility results in windows that compliment and coordinate well with virtually every taste in room décor. Among the materials used in blinds are the following.


For years metal, especially aluminium, has been among the most popular materials for blind slats. Metal is durable, easy to clean and long-lasting. It comes in a variety of colours and the slats are available in widths from 1/2 inch to three inches.


Wood is a popular window dressing material because of the rich beauty and sense of strength it offers. Wood gives a room an aesthetic quality not found with any other material. Wood can be stained or painted a virtually infinite variety of colours. The slats in wooden blinds are generally one to two inches wide. Draw strings are pulled to open or close the slats, thus controlling the amount of light let into the room. Wood is used for both Venetian and woven blinds.


Cane is used in woven blinds. Cane may be either bamboo or rattan. The slats may be either whole or split pieces of cane. The slats do not open or close, but the small spaces between the pieces of cane admit filtered light into the room.


PVC. Vinyl is used in both Venetian and woven styles. It is easily substituted for metal or wood in Venetian or woven styles. Vinyl looks good for years, is easy to clean and is typically much less expensive than metal or wood.


Stiffened fabric is sometimes used as slats. This fabric may also be back with vinyl or metal. Fabric can be used to compliment or coordinate with other fabrics in the room.

Blinds can be used as the sole window treatment or in combination with drapes, curtains and valances. As the sole window treatment, they can make a room look larger and contemporary. Used in combination with curtains and valances, the room can be made to feel softer and smaller. The fabric of curtains or valances softens the hard, linear appearance created by blinds. The possibilities are almost limitless for the home decorator.

The décor in almost every room of the home can include blinds as part or the entire window treatment. A traditional styled living room, for example, looks comfortable and homey with light-coloured Venetians in the windows topped with a scalloped valance. A breakfast nook has a bright and airy feel with woven rattan blinds filtering out the full strength of the morning light. Bedrooms are private and attractive with rich-hued miniblinds softened by floor length double tied back and lined curtains. Small bathrooms seem larger with lightly-coloured Venetians providing privacy while admitting sunlight.

Blinds are colourful, functional and decorative. In combination with curtains and other window dressings they add style and a pleasing linear effect to any room. The blinds of today are a far cry from the sterile and antiseptic windows of my childhood physician's office.

Significance of Colors in Feng Shui practice

Have you ever wondered what feelings do you have when you look at bright red rose in the garden? Can you imagine if a garden that does not have colorful flowers but only the green foliage? Early in the morning when you see a newly opened flower in your garden, your heart is filled with joy and happiness. Each flower in the garden has a different color and hue that affects you differently. While the white lily touches your soul for its serenity, the red rose with its vibrant energy elicits a feeling of love and passion. The feeling is different because the flower is reflecting a different color and Feng Shui uses this natural magic of colors to transform your life.

A rose is red because it reflects red color and Feng Shui makes use of this reflected energy to create a balance between yin and yang energies that suits your personality or your environment.

You may be aware of two types of energies (yin and yang) that the colors in Feng Shui represent. You can think of yin energy as like a plant growing from the earth. It comes from the soil, raising itself upward and moving toward the sky. As yin energy moves up to the sky it becomes diffused and dissipated. Yin energies have an element of dreaminess about them and the colors like blue, white, green and purple according to Feng Shui are believed to have yin energies.

If your home office is full of creative and dream-inducing objects or colors, Feng Shui may ask you to get rid of them (at least some of them) and introduce in their place more vibrant colors that will help you get in the right spirit to do some work and be enthusiastic.

Every association you have with a color contributes in some way to how you are. That is why colors play a meaningful role within the practice of Feng Shui. It is very essential for you to understand why toning down or playing up certain Feng Shui colors in your home will help you to achieve the goals you have set for yourself in your life.

The guiding principle in using Feng Shui Colors should be to achieve balance rather than excess. Whether you are planning the color scheme of your home, office, garden or personal appearance, the following characteristics of the colors in Feng Shui practice will give you an insight into how they can be used in Feng Shui design.

Yin Colors & Feng Shui

Yin colors according to Feng Shui are the colors which bring about healing and relaxation. The relation between colors and Feng Shui can be better understood by taking the example of some colors as given below.

Blue: Blue color according to Feng Shui has yin energy and it is calm and soothing. This color has great significance in Feng Shui as it reflects love as it heals and relaxes. Blue creates a feeling of peace and trust. Since it is the color of the sea and sky, Feng Shui associates it with adventure and exploration. Navy blue it the color of intellect and wisdom.

Black: Black color in Feng Shui symbolizes money and income, black is great for careers, especially when combined with metal. It is the Feng Shui color of emotional protection and power.

Purple: Purple, the color which lies at the end of the spectrum, has a great significance in spiritual Feng Shui. The color is excellent for physical and mental healing and Feng Shui associates it with spiritual awareness.

White: The color in Feng Shui represents poise, confidence and purity. Because of its yin energy, Feng Shui uses this color mostly in combination with gold or silver to generate an atmosphere The other yin colors of Feng Shui are pink and green which also have their individual properties that are used in Feng Shui practice.

Yang colors and Feng Shui

Yellow: Yellow color in Feng Shui is considered to be as auspicious as red. Yellow represents sunbeams, warmth, motion, cheerfulness and friendliness. However, according to a noted color Feng Shui consultant, prolonged exposure to large amounts of intense yellow can cause anxiety.

Orange: With a lot of yang energy the orange color has great significance for spiritual Feng Shui practice as it strengthens your concentration. You might use this color when your creative well runs dry. Orange color in Feng Shui is used to give you a sense of purpose. Orange is the color of organization.

The other yang colors of Feng Shui are Tan/Beige, Brown, Red, Mauve, Maroon and lavender and gold. Each color has its significance such as money, luck or romance. These colors can be used in different combinations with Feng Shui elements for balancing the chi of your Feng Shui home, Feng Shui bed room, or Feng Shui office.

Colors & Feng Shui also have a lot to do with the direction in which your home sits. There are different colors that Feng Shui defines for the use in exterior facades of your house. Exterior colors of your house in Feng Shui practice can be used for matching or enhancing the basic house type that you have.

For example if your house is facing towards the south, painting its exterior with white, grey or blue enhances the flow of chi in your home. For houses facing towards East, the colors in earth tones or metal tones are thought to be of much use for enhancing the positive energies of the house.

The above article has been written with the sole aim of introducing you to the significance of relationship between colors and Feng Shui. But in actual Feng Shui practice there are many other factors which need to be given importance, it is very essential for you to understand the core of Feng Shui.

Once you know what is Feng Shui, you are in better position to understand the significance of Feng Shui tips. Remember that opening your heart to universe is more important than knowing meaning of colors and Feng Shui practice, because it is from there that you allow the healing energies to flow in your heart and living environments. The book on The Spiritual Feng Shui has been specially written for Feng Shui study for beginners to bring home the significance of spiritualism for Feng Shui practice.



Home Seller - Make Needed Repairs

Before a buyer considers your home seriously, it must meet his needs in many ways. It must be a suitable neighborhood, commuting distance, size, layout, etc. If most of these needs are met, the buyer will move toward making an offer for your home. The purchase decision is an emotional and intellectual response, based on a level of trust in your home. So, it is logical that in preparing your home for sale your goal should be to enable the buyer to build trust in your home as quickly as possible. Your first step should be to address apparent and hidden repair issues. 

Make a Complete List

Keep in mind that potential buyers and their real estate agents do not have the fond personal memories and familiarity that you have with your home. They will view it with a critical and discerning eye. Anticipate their concerns before they ever see your home. You may look at the leaky faucet and think of a $10 part at Home Depot. To a buyer this is a $100 plumbing bill. Walk through each room and consider how buyers are going to react to what they see. Make a complete list of all needed repairs. It will be more efficient to have them all done at once. Use a handyman to fix the items quickly. If your house is  a fixer-upper, keep in mind that most buyers will expect to make a profit that is substantially above the cost of labor and materials. When a house needs obvious repairs, buyers will assume that there are more problems than meet the eye. Take care of  repairs before marketing your home. Your home will sell faster and for a higher price.

Get an Inspection

It is a good idea to have your home inspected by a professional before putting it on the market. Your may discover some issues that will come up later on the buyer's inspection report. You will be able to address the items on your own time, without the involvement of a prospective buyer. You do not have to repair every item that is written up.  For example, due to building code changes, you may not meet code for handrail height, spacing between balusters, stair dimensions, single glazed windows, and other items. You may choose to leave items such as these as they are. Just note on the inspection report which items you have repaired, and which are left as is.  Attach the report to your Seller's Disclosure, along with any repair receipts that you have. A professional inspection answers buyers questions early, reduces re-negotiations after contract, and creates a higher level of trust in your home.

Offer a Service Contract

A home service contract may be offered to the buyer for their first year of ownership. For a fee of  about $350 a third party warranty company will provide repair services for certain systems or components in the house for one year after the sale.  These policies help to reduce the number of disputes about the condition of the property after the sale. They protect the interests of both buyer and seller.

Should You Remodel?

Our clients often ask if they should remodel their house before marketing. I believe the answer to this is no - major improvements do not make sense just before selling a home. Studies show that remodeling projects do not return 100% of their cost in the sales price. Normally, it does not pay to replace cabinets, re-do kitchens, upgrade bathrooms, or add space prior to selling. There is a fine line between remodeling and making repairs. You will need to draw this line as you review your home.

Repair Decisions

Countertops are outdated: If other components of the house are up to date, the kitchen may be greatly improved by new, modern countertops. Although this is an upgrade, not a repair, it may be worth doing because the kitchen has a significant impact on the value of your home.

Carpet is worn or outdated: Carpet replacement almost always worth doing. Sellers often ask if they should offer an allowance for carpet, and let the buyer choose. Do not take this approach. Choose a neutral shade, and make the change yourself. New carpet makes everything in the house look better.

Wall texture is poor:  You may have an outdated texture style or acoustic ceiling. In most cases, it does not make sense to strip and re-texture the walls. Just repair any wall damage or minor texture problems.

Walls need paint: This is a must do! Freshly painted walls greatly improve the  perception of your home. Don’t forget the baseboards and trim. Use neutral colors, such as cream, sage green, beige/yellow, or gray/blue. Stark white, primary colors and dark colors do not appeal to a wide market, and may be a negative factor.

Bathroom caulking is dirty: Put this on the must do list. Cracked or stained caulking is a turn-off to buyers. It is easily replaced.  Make sure the tile grout does not have voids.

Drainage or leak problems:  Address any drainage issues or leaks in plumbing or roof.  Use professional help to correct the source of the problem and check for mold.  Fully disclose the repair on your sellers disclosure, but avoid giving a personal guarantee of the repair.

Structural and trim repairs:  Fix any sheetrock holes, damaged trim, torn vinyl, broken windows, rotten wood or rusty fixtures. Homes sell for more that show a reasonable level of maintenance.

Overgrown shrubs and weedy beds:  Repairs to the yard are some of the most cost effective changes you can make. Mow and edge the lawn. Add inexpensive mulch to flower beds. Cut back any shrubs that cover windows. Trim tree branches that rub against the roof. Buy new doormats. Replace dead plants.  Remove any trash.

Check HVAC, plumbing and electrical systems: These systems need routine maintenance. Have the heat/AC system serviced and filters changed. Check for plumbing leaks, toilets that rock, corroded water heater valves, and other plumbing problems. Replace burned out bulbs and electrical fixtures that do not work. Check your sprinkler system and pool equipment for problems.

Make Needed Repairs

If you are planning to sell your home, your first step should be to discover and make needed repairs. By making repairs you will answer buyers questions early, build trust in your home more quickly, and proceed through the closing process with fewer surprises. Your home will appeal to more buyers, sell faster, and bring a higher price.

Bay Windows Add Character And Space To A Home

It was the perfect spot. Our California ranch style house had a large picture window in the front room. The window extended from a few inches above the floor to only a few inches below the cathedral ceiling. The walls and ceiling were redwood stained knotty pine and the floor was a matching hardwood. The window looked out over a flower bed, shrubs and the expanse of front lawn. It was the perfect window to be replaced with a bay window.

The window was nearly square. It was 72 X 72 inches. We considered a bow window, but elected to install a bay window instead. We just felt that our particular house looked better with three panel bay window rather than the multiple panel bow windows. Our intent was to fill the seat board of the bay with potted plants we had sitting in front of the current picture window. The new arrangement would give us a little more space in the room and improve the overall appearance of the house. It was time to go shopping.

Scratch vs. Pre-built

When we first got the idea of installing the new window, I began gathering plans for building a bay window. Thumbing through books and magazines, and the Internet search engines, I found several plans for building a bay window from scratch. I also found that undertaking such a project was going to be unnecessary. Most of the major window manufacturers, such as Pella, Milgard and Anderson make both completely pre-assembled bay windows as well as pre-built components for bay windows.

These days very few contractors will take on the project of building a bay or bow window from scratch. It simply isn't practical when for the same or less money they can install a high quality pre-built window. If the contractors use pre-built windows or components for new house construction or renovation projects, then we could do the same for our remodeling project, we reasoned.

Installing a bay window can easily be a do-it-yourselfer project. Before you go the diy route, however, you may want to line up a contractor to help out if necessary. This is not going to be a job that you can complete during a Saturday afternoon. Chances are you are not going to finish it in a weekend, for that matter.

You are also going to want to line up some help. Bay windows and window components are heavy. At least they are too heavy for one person to manage.

Be sure and check out the weather forecast, including the long range forecast. Installing the window means opening a hole into your home. It can take a couple of days to get the new window in place and sealed. The last thing you want is for rain to come pouring in on your floor, walls or furniture.

Be sure and check your city or community construction codes. There may be special local requirements, such as having safety glass in low profile windows. You are probably going to need a building permit anyway, so that is also a good time to check the codes.

Tools and Materials Needed

The tools you will need for this project include a tape measure, a framing square that you can also use as a straight edge, a circular saw or miter saw, crow bars, drill and bits, level, stapler, utility knife, tin snips and a caulking gun.

The materials you will need include the bay window unit, the support brackets, nails, roofing paper, shingles, roofing nails, exterior grade silicone caulking and fiberglass insulation. You will also need 1X6 inch boards for the window skirting. If you are enlarging an existing window, or if you are installing the window in a space that was previously the wall, you will also need 2X4s for cripple studs and additional framing.

Basic Installation Steps

1.Establish window position in the wall. Remove the existing window. Measuring the bay window, mark on the exterior of the house the opening needed for the new window. Using your circular saw, cut the required opening.

2.Framing. Build the framing for the new window. This will likely include cutting through existing studs and putting in a new header, rough sill, jack studs and cripple studs.

3.Install the support braces. A window up to five feet wide will take a minimum of two support braces. A wider window will need three.

4.Set the window in place. Lift the bay window on the support braces and slide it into the rough opening. Shim as necessary to level the window. Anchor in place.

5.Build the window roof. Set the roof frame on top of the bay window unit and nail in place. Fill the space between the roof and the top of the bay window with insulation. Fasten the roof sheeting to the frame and cover with roofing paper. Install the drip edges and the flashing and then shingle.

6.Install the window skirting around the bottom of the window. Fill will insulation and then attach the skirt bottom to seal the underneath side of the window.

7.Seal the edges with silicone caulking.

This is a list of the basic installation steps and they have been abbreviated in the interests of simplicity and space. The window unit you buy will have complete installation steps. Take it from the voice of experience; it really makes the project go much more smoothly and it will be completed in much less time when you read and follow them.

In our case, I had two friends helping with the project. We have worked together on other projects and work together well. We had the old window out and the rough framing completed on Saturday afternoon. We buttoned up the hole with plywood overnight and went back to work the next day. By Sunday evening we had the new window installed and the roof and skirting completed. On Monday afternoon I finished sealing up the outside and completed the trim work for the inside.

And, we were right. It was the perfect spot for a bay window. It looked great from the outside. Inside, it became the focal point of the room and added a special charm to the house. The window gave the house added character and value.

When it came time to sell the house, it was one of the features that were particularly attractive to the buyers.

Curb Appeal 101: How to Enhance Your Home with Siding

The architectural landscape of American homes has dramatically changed in the last century. Wood shingles, clapboards, and gingerbread trim are becoming features of the past, as more and more homeowners opt for vinyl siding. Which raises the question: "Why are so many Americans choosing vinyl siding?"

As is often the case, cost is a determining factor. Vinyl siding looks like wood, but it is much less costly. In addition, ease of installation and breezy maintenance has made it popular with homeowners nationwide. All it takes is a bit of soapy water and the use of your everyday garden hose and voila – a clean and attractive facade!

Another benefit is durability. Vinyl siding is made from polyvinyl chloride, a material that is rigid, strong and resists damage. The color goes all the way through each piece, so if it chips or scratches, the damage is virtually undetectable. That is great news for homeowners, because vinyl siding never needs to be repainted.

Vinyl siding also allows you to add a bit of personality to your home. It is available in a wide array of colors and forms. Styles include scallops, shingles, and fish scales. Traditional or Dutch lap installations allow you to create the look of old-fashioned horizontal clapboard, or you can choose a vertical design for a more modern appearance.

It is important to do your homework when shopping for vinyl siding, as it is available in several different grades. This is one time you don't want the bargain basement cost. It is well worth the investment to select a higher grade. Cheap vinyl siding does not offer the attractive appearance of higher grades, but more importantly, it does not hold up as well in windstorms and temperature changes. Another benefit of opting for a higher grade is that all important lifetime warranty. Lower grades are usually only available with a five-year warranty. A final thought: low-grade vinyl siding costs the same to install!

Despite your frequent trips to Home Depot and regular viewing of Trading Spaces, vinyl siding installation is not a do-it-yourself job. For proper installation, you will need to hire licensed industry experts. Keep in mind that, vinyl siding reacts by shifting to changes in temperatures. If it is not properly installed, it will develop blisters and waves.

When consulting with an industry expert, be sure to have these facts on hand. Vinyl does not have the insulating properties that wood, steel and aluminum provide. It should not be installed over old cladding without addressing any water damage or rot underneath. If you don't fix those problems before installation, they will worsen over time. It is often better to remove old cladding, put down an insulation layer and then install your vinyl siding.

Despite the many benefits of vinyl siding, it is not the perfect choice for everyone. Wood remains a preference of architects and custom homebuilders, as well as those who own historic properties. Wood is considered more aesthetic, maintains the value of the home, and preserves the integrity of historic homes, while providing an insulation factor. In addition, people who are concerned about ecology prefer wood siding because vinyl siding is not biodegradable.

If you are considering wood, cedar and redwood shingles are beautiful choices. They are naturally resistant to insect and moisture damage and you can stain them in a variety of finishes. Just keep in mind that cedar shingles, in particular, are expensive to install because they have to be fastened individually.

You will also need to consider the maintenance involved with wood siding, as it will periodically require repainting. Before you repaint, you will need to wash and prime the surface. If you skip these steps or neglect taking the proper care of your wood siding, mold, insects, algae, and mildew, especially in a wet climate, could damage your house.

One additional problem with wood siding is that there is a shortage of wood in the United States. It is particularly hard to find suitable knot-free pieces. For this reason, many homeowners are turning to composite woods. Regardless of your choice, wood siding lasts for years and years and maintains a natural beauty.

Your siding options don't end there! For those who can't afford wood and don't prefer vinyl, you may want to take a closer look at fiber cement. Fiber Cement is an old material that is made up of 90% sand and cement and 10% cellulose fiber. A major selling point is the ability to paint fiber cement siding any color – pink, turquoise, lime green, or chocolate brown – this material will certainly allow you to express yourself! However, we are sure your neighbors will appreciate a nice neutral beige.

One final note regarding fiber cement is that it is expensive to install due to the difficultly transporting this heavy material, and because you must caulk at the joints. If fiber cement siding is not properly installed, it can break and crack off.

Metal siding, either steel or aluminum, rounds out your final siding options. Metal siding is more expensive than vinyl but less costly than wood products. When considering metal siding options, you will want to keep your local climate in mind.

Steel siding holds up well in severe cold weather, hail and high winds. It can bend and nick, but typically does not break off. However, it can be costly to repair those scratches and nicks. If you are fortunate enough to live seaside, you will want to consider aluminum siding, which holds up very well in the salty air.

Metal siding can be painted a variety of colors, just ensure that you choose a paint specially formulated for this type of siding. One final consideration: metal siding conducts heat, so you must careful when installing over wood. Rotting can occur when heat causes water condensation to form, under the metal siding in contact with wood materials. A licensed expert can discuss your viable options regarding the installation of metal siding.

To ensure that you choose materials that will bring out the natural beauty of your home and best enhance its architectural style, take the time to consult with an architect. An architect will provide you with a good overview of what will and won't work when re-cladding your home. Be sure to keep your porch, trim and windows in mind for an overall face-life, that you will enjoy for years! After all, its all about the details.

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