Browse Month

August 2019

Benefits of Smart LEDs

  • Low Carbon Emission: One of the biggest contributors to the carbon emission in the environment is the home lighting systems. This impact can be completely negated by switching to use smart LED lights, which emit almost negligible carbon into the atmosphere. The incandescent bulbs create as much as 4,500 lbs. of CO2 per year and CFLs create a little less 1,051 lbs. of carbon emissions per year whereas the smart LED lights only create 451 lbs. of CO2 per year. The difference is vast in nature. It was found in a study, that replacing only one light bulb in every house with an LED bulb would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 9 billion pounds.
  • Chemical free disposal: The smart LED lights are not only eco-friendly as far as usage is concerned, but also when it comes to disposal of the bulb. The LED lights do not emit any nuclear or Sulfur dioxide waste and neither do they contain any toxic mercury like the fluorescent bulbs, therefore, their disposal has no impact on landfill. Disposal of LEDs is safer on the environment.
  • Cold Temperature Operation: LEDs love to remain cool, unlike its other counterparts which tend to heat up on consumption of energy. For the same reason, these smart LEDs don’t release any heat into the environment and contributes to curbing global warming. No extra energy is wasted in the heating process.
  • No emission of Ultra-Violet rays: Unlike other traditional lamps, these smart LED lamps do not emit any Ultraviolet rays. This makes it a healthier as well as safer source of lighting. They do not produce any infra-red lights, making them suitable for use in places where there are highly heat sensitive materials.

While you may ask that the normal LED bulbs come with the same set of attributes and what is the point of investing in smart LEDs? Smart LED bulbs come with a control system, which gives you an option of either turning in off when not in use with the help of a timer or to make it dim when you do not need full light. So, you won’t be wasting any extra energy when not required. They can also be used in conjunction with motion sensors for outdoor lighting so they turn on or off only when someone walks through. This ensures availability of light when required and saving when not.

These LEDs are eco-friendly and hence can be easily made in use by as many organizations, schools, hospitals etc. The only concern why this has not been achieved yet is the expensive price tag that may be intimidating at the outset.

Only if we look at this price as an investment, as one LED lasts way longer than the traditional bulbs, we would readily be able to make the switch towards a safer environment.

Removing Old Aluminum Windows

Many sliding windows have rollers on the top as well as the bottom. The top rollers don’t actually do anything, they are there more as spares to replace the bottom rollers when they wear out. But many times the window installer will adjust these top rollers to prevent anyone from lifting out the panel. If this is the case with your windows, there will be a screw at the top of each side rail. If you loosen these screws, then lift up on the panel, it should come out. Another obstacle involves a little piece of rubber that the manufacturer places in the top track. This rubber piece has the same effect as adjusting the top rollers. It prevents you from lifting out the panel because it’s wedged between the top of the window panel and the top of the upper track. If you can see that the window panel isn’t lifting all the way up in the top track, and the top rollers are not the reason, then you have to dig out that rubber piece. It’s usually at the point in the center, where the sliding panel and fixed panel overlap when the window is closed. Reach in there with a long, thin screwdriver, and try to pry it out.

Once you have the slider out, take out the screen. You can just pull it out. No need to be gentle since you’re throwing it away anyway. The last step is the fixed panel removal. There are a few different applications here. All of them will have a center vertical bar. It’s usually there to accept the locking mechanism on the slider, but not always. Look for screws holding this center bar in place. They will either be on the outside top and bottom, or you might find them on the side channel where the screen would go. Check the top and bottom corners.

Assuming you found the screws and removed them, you now need to take the center bar off. Take a screw driver and a hammer and tap the center bar at the very bottom. Tap it off the fixed panel frame. Now, pull the fixed panel away from the side where it rests in the side channel. What you are trying to do is slide the fixed panel open the same way that you did the sliding panel. Then, you can lift the fixed panel up and out. Sometimes, the fixed panel won’t want to slide open because it has gotten stuck in the side track. You can put a screw driver into the side channel and pry the fixed panel away from the side. It doesn’t matter if you bend the frame that’s still attached to the house, because we are going to hide all of that anyway.

Now, let’s go back to the vertical center bar and assume you didn’t find any screws to remove it. That means the fixed piece of glass doesn’t have a frame around it. It’s glazed in with either silicone, caulk, or double foam tape. You have to take out the glass, then cut the center bar out using a reciprocating saw. Usually, there will be “stops” on the outside to help keep the fixed piece of glass in place. There will be 4 of them, one on top, bottom, and each side. You should be able to just pry them out with a screw driver. Then, you can go inside and cut away the adhesive holding the glass in the frame. Use a utility knife and cut between the glass and frame. Wear gloves, and be careful not to put your hand through the glass. Put a sheet or tarp outside and let the glass fall into it. You could also have a helper stand on a ladder above the glass and try grabbing the top edge as you cut it away from the frame. Have your helper also wear gloves. The reason for the ladder is that you want to be above the glass in case it has a little crack that you can’t see. As soon as you grab the glass, the crack will run across to the opposite edge, and suddenly you will find yourself trying to hold multiple pieces of glass at the same time. Being on the ladder, if the glass “runs”, you let go. After the glass is out, cut the bottom portion of the center bar flush with the bottom track. Then, you can wiggle the bar back and forth to break the top screw free. You can apply this removal process to picture windows that have no sliding panel. Just treat it like you did the fixed portion, without having to remove a center bar.

Effective Small Bedroom Configurations

  • Start with the Bed- As it will define the entire configuration. Bear in mind the profile of the room before shopping beds. Avoid plain styles as they serve a meager purpose. Look for a versatile bed which can overcome space limitations. Murphy beds, Trundle beds, and Bunk beds are the prominent space savers.
  • Murphy beds are second to none in terms of utility. They can be arranged vertically or horizontally depending on the dimensions of the room. On the flip side, it requires the restructuring of the wall.
  • Trundle beds feature a pull out drawer beneath the bed where one can place blankets or bed sheets. You have to be a bit careful regarding the wall clearance.
  • Bunk beds are ideal for limited spaces. They come in different sizes and designs. Functional Bunk beds are taking center stage in many contemporary bedrooms. They add value to space.
  • If you are a Bookworm, then look for a Bookshelf that fits behind the bed. It would mimic a headboard with a bookcase. It occupies 10 to 12 inches of the space. If you have a low clearance space behind the bed, then look for a bed which features Bookshelves at the foot end of the bed. Even small crates of the shelve can be filled with blankets.
  • Choose Nightstands that occupies minuscule space. A narrow and tall Nightstand offers more storage space compared to normal ones. The saved space can be used to place a reading chair.
  • As every inch in the small bedroom matters, don’t leave the space beneath the dresser empty. You can place storage baskets or catchall baskets.
  • Why go for a Vanity set if you have a Chest of Drawers? Add a mirror to the wall to which the dresser is placed against it. It’s a simple creation with a great value.
  • If you want space to decorate the bedroom, then look for a Wall mounted Shelve that can showcase your prized possessions.

Declutter the bedroom by organizing things. Though it takes time, it will reward you in a good way.

Plan Ideas for a Contemporary

In the early stages of the planning and design process, it is important to consider the type of features that you wish to have featured. Make a point to include the latest technologies and get the architect to fit those in. A lot of the latest advancements relate to making a property highly energy-efficient. If designed to a high standard, an energy-efficient home has the potential to be at least 10% to 20% more effective and saves on energy consumption, resources, and offers lower utility bills of the long-term.

If looking to create a home that is truly energy-efficient then you can look at having rooftop solar panels installed, which when you consider the government offered incentives (rebates, tax credits, net-metering), does cost too much. Also look to make the property technology proof by ensuring that sufficient cabling and power outlets are installed for wireless and broadband technologies.

After considering the major construction features, it also helps to devise an up-to-date floor plan to accommodate the lifestyle of modern families. Look for interesting interiors to suit the entire family, in a lot of modern homes the more formal rooms, such as the living and dining rooms are done away with, and in their place are large, open plan communal areas. Luxury houses are often designed with an open kitchen space which is often positioned next to the main family room. A home-office set-up is also incorporated as more and more people work at home. Bedroom ideas should also be looked at, although the bedroom spaces should just be designed for there required use and no more.

The best house design is often styled with smooth surfaces and clean lines, with the decoration tone down and painted in light colors. For the flooring, this is often kept quite straightforward and functional; with common materials used include hardwood and laminate. Modern kitchen and bathrooms are quite easy to choose now, and due to the extensive range, it shouldn’t be a problem to find a set-up to suit your individual tastes. The main features of a contemporary home are often clean and simple, and from this almost blank canvas it is possible to add a touch of personality by adding in colorful fabrics, furnishings and art work.

Renovating The Basement

  • Planning
    Plan the theme of your basement. Determine its main purpose and decide if you want to separate the room into different areas. For example, you can use one side as a playroom for children and the other as a relaxation area. Learn how to use the space effectively by installing different furniture and fixtures. Have an idea who is going to use it to incorporate their preferences into the design.
  • Ceiling
    Avoid installing suspended ceilings, as these can make the area look restricted. Use tray ceilings, instead. They might be costly, but they look better than the typical basement designs. Make it look lively by painting and decorating it with glow-in-the-dark stickers.
  • Staircase
    Use an open staircase and install banisters for safety. This way, the basement would look like a beautiful extension of your home. Avoid using rounded staircases, however, because it limits the space for people and the items they can bring.
  • Doorways
    Install doorways to separate different areas in your basement. This depends on the privacy that the frequent user wants. It is ideal for home offices to have enclosed rooms because people need time and space to think on their own. Glass doors and curtain doors are good for recreation areas because it still connects to other parts. For activities that involve loud noises, however, it is better to make the room soundproof to avoid distracting the household and your neighbors.
  • Flooring
    Flooring for basements have different materials, including deluxe rolled carpet, carpet tiles, or vinyl click and lock. They should be anti-microbial, stain resistant, washable, and mold resistant to keep the floor from harmful chemicals. It should not accumulate dirt and dust because it can cause health risks to your family.
  • Windows
    The basement needs all the natural light it can get because of its hidden location. This way, you illuminate the area without using artificial lighting. It also saves you money because you have fewer instances to switch on the lights. Use neutral-colored curtains or blinds if you want more privacy.
  • Walls
    The walls can make the basement look big or small. It could also affect the mood and temperature because of its color and design. Paint the walls according to theme and learn the proper color patterns. Use bright colors, such as blue, green, yellow, and orange, to energize the room and add texture. Choose the right tones, however, because darker shades can lead to a depressing mood. Install mirrors to create an optical illusion. This makes the light bounce off, creating bigger space in a person’s vision.

Left High and Dry by the Tradesmen

An average person today is a graduate and is employed who has order and discipline that is enforced in his work place and expects the same in other profession, however there is no order or discipline now with the tradesmen. The equation of supply and demand comes into play when you look at the solutions in hand. There has been a great drive for education in the last decade in this country (thankfully) that has produced so many graduates in the last decade and has also fuelled the rocket speed growth of the IT industry. The growth in the IT industry has also driven the salaries more upward than any other profession in the country and hence the there has been a large number of parents and children alike who aspired to take up these jobs and with the fuelling growth most of them did get these jobs that they aspired. This has led to the children of the tradesmen not taking up the profession that their parents and grand parents did for ages.

Had it not been for the IT industry and education drive most of the younger generation would have followed in their parents footsteps. Additionally the tradesmen job until recently was not well paid due to the excess in supply of these tradesmen. However with the next generation shifting careers and also the existing force falling prey to Alcohol, the only remainder is only the ones who are semi-skilled and also drink little or not so often. There are only a very rare percentage of people who do not have the alcohol habit. The small minority are isolated by the large drinking majority. With the shortage comes lifestyle change (alcohol habit) which they can otherwise do with. There are not too many alcohol de-addiction centres in proportion to the TASMAC shops that have been open in the country, nor is there an initiative from the government and NGOs to address this pressing matter. This however has ruined their lives, reputation and has dragged the poor homebuilder along with them.

The issue with the types of arrangements with the tradesmen is that there is no formal agreement or a written document as to the scope and terms of work which bind them in that relationship. The document even if prepared is not executed as there is a reluctance to sign as there is a fear of what may be in the document that is detrimental to them. Perhaps, an education of the terms in simple language (local language) would help stem the rot. Also, there is no commitment met in terms of time and also work quality is not assured. The work quality does not have a standard at the moment and hence benchmarking becomes almost impossible. ISI works on several items for quality assurance there may well be standards that are not visible, which organizations and associations can work on to create more awareness. The delay factor (caused by tradesmen due to absence, poor time and project management) causes additional costs from the increase in cost of materials to the interest charges that add on the home loan that only adds fuel to existing misery.

The tradesmen have their respective associations who stand guard for them even in the instance of the wrong doing being on the part of the tradesman. The wrongdoing is very hard to establish there is no written document that clearly states the scope of work assigned along with the time frame. The advances that are paid (most cases demanded) on the work in most cases exceed the reasonable limits (>10-15% of the balance work). This means that the poor house builder will have to pay more than the work completed and also continuously put up with the delay and poor quality as the money has already been paid and there is almost no way to recover the money. As the problem compounds when there are more than 1 person in this approach, starting from the mason to the fabricator, the problem becomes so complex that some people go to great extents such as selling the gold in the family, liquidating any insurance policies and also any advance cashment of any retirement funds.

Upon doing all of these activities, it is still not assured that the work will be completed on time. Where there are tight laws for apartment builders, these tradesmen hide under the labour worker blanket and abuse the poor man who builds a simple house. The methods of measurement of work completion is new to the home builder and is exploited by the greedy tradesmen in many instances that further compounds the cost and problem. The tradesmen also has a habit of changing the mode of the oral contract from labour only to labour + material. This causes more agony as the tradesmen receive a handsome commission from the retail hardware shops who encourage this practice for repeat business. There is also theft in some cases that make the pain even more unbearable. The wages that these people earn are far higher than the average office going person and yet they do not file income tax, nor is there a push from the Income Tax department to cover this line of trade. Perhaps, there can be This practice has gone on for far too long without any help for the poor builder from any corner.

Whilst there are several protections for a simple sale transaction such as a sale of a pen or a soft drink, there is almost no protection for someone who is building a house (mostly once in a lifetime) with all the financial resources that he possesses. This is such a shame for the consumer movement who let this rot to continue; instead drastic steps need to be taken up to penalize both the builder and tradesmen when there is a breach of contract. The active steps that need to be taken can be a simple registration that a home builder can do at an association (home builders association) office such as the shareholders association that take up the interests of the shareholders. These offices should have an office in every town so that distance does not become a deterrent for seeking very important help and assistance. This office can help resolve many issues and greatly save money, effort and time for the home builder.

There are instances where the home builder is also at fault where payments are not met on time and also materials and details not provided on time. Perhaps a project coordinator from the association can be made available at a nominal cost based on the building cost and also insurance available for any losses that arise in this work. There can be other consulting services that the association can provide and also a feedback rating system for the tradesmen, suppliers and materials in the local area so that the home builders can plan and engage the right personnel in building their dream house and have some financial resources left over for other commitments in their life. The tradesmen and supplier associations can be consulted and sought for inputs in drafting a solution that will end this uncertainty and agony for the builder. There may be many ways to address this issue, however the consumer association at every town should pioneer this cause and provide an immediate solution before the rats and leaches suck the blood of the poor home builder.

Window Treatment Basics

Privacy protection

Privacy is obviously important, especially for windows in the front of your home that probably face a street or other public throughway’s. Windows facing more private areas of a fenced yard, on the other hand might not need to provide much in the way of privacy.

Several window treatment designs can provide privacy. Blinds or thick curtains most notably, but privacy can also be attained with use of window frostings or diffusers. These will however obstruct your view of the great outdoors.

Light control

Sunlight and glare needs to be controlled in the bedroom if sleeping comfort is interrupted by light entering through the windows. In a room where sunlight will interfere with TV watching or computer use needs window treatments that are effective in light control too.

Any room with items that can be damaged by the suns UV rays need window treatments that are good at controlling light. Any kind of artwork, antiques, or photographs can benefit from this protection. Even carpeting and hardwood flooring can be damaged by the suns UV rays. Consider this when deciding on a window treatment type for any particular window.

Window tinting can be very effective at blocking UV rays. Other than that, window treatments that open and close easily are preferred – blinds, curtains etc. excel here.

Complementing the rooms decor

The decor of window treatments in any given room is more important to some of us than to others. If decor is not an issue for you, then some simple window blinds are inexpensive and effective at the other two criteria.

If decor is more important to you, then you can have your work cut out for you depending on taste. Curtains are available in almost any pattern and color of material. A little sewing experience can make a DIY curtain project a breeze, or perhaps you know someone who is willing to sew curtains to your specifications, using our preferred material.

Benefits Of Sliding Screen Doors

Technically, a sliding screen door refers to a hinged door that covers a home’s exterior door or used as a divider from the patio area. It is made of steel frames and panels as well as neatly woven screen mesh used to keep insects in getting insider the house.

Aside from protection against flying insects that cause certain diseases, other benefits of the doors include:

  • Unique and classy appearance in your home. Today, more and more architectural designs involve the doors because its unique design can give the house a more sophisticated look.
  • A modern look that can suit your own taste when it comes to exterior designs. Since almost all establishments use the doors, your house can be included among those who are considered as “modern houses” if you have installed the doors.
  • It can brighten up the interior of your house because it brings natural light. This is very beneficial because you don’t have to install any artificial lighting inside your home.
  • Aside from beatifying your house using available light, the doors can also help you save some money because you don’t need additional lighting in your house that will consume electricity.
  • It can improve the air circulation inside your house. Because of the slits in the mesh, air can circulate from the outside to provide you home proper ventilation.
  • It minimizes the heat trapped inside the house especially during summer or when you are cooking. Because of the mesh incorporated in most doors, heat can be minimized because it will be absorbed by the air outside the house.

Choose Clay Pavers

They are considered to be one of the most hard wearing and reliable paving materials out there. Besides this fact though, why should you use them? You should use them because they have the following characteristics:

  • Beauty: Because they are made of natural products and are fired in the kiln to set, they have got an appearance that only nature can produce. Clay pavers are also made out of shales, which, when combined with other stones, can really work to bring out the Earth tones.
  • Strength: There is nothing that is equivalent to the strength of clay pavers. These are by far the best stones to have on your driveway. They will also maintain their appearance over time much better than any other stone type.
  • Fade resistant: Many people fear that the stones that they put on their driveways will fade in the sun. Clay pavers do not fade or lose their colour over time.
  • Low maintenance: Perhaps one of their best features is the fact that these stones are so easy to clean and maintain, which makes garden and outdoor care a breeze.
  • Safety: Clay pavers are the best choice for your driveway because they are so safe. They are completely slip-proof! This is a must-have, especially if you have young children who like to play outside.
  • Sleek look: The pavers tessallate easily, so they have got a great, well-finished look when they are laid down. You can make sure that you get nothing but the best looking driveway with these pavers.

Find the Kit Home Suppliers

The fact that buying these homes allows you personal involvement in the construction is a rewarding and profitable experience you cannot pass up. You don’t need as much manpower or have to pay for as much labor as you would with traditional home-building and what’s more, you can even build them in half the time it would take a cookie-cutter home to be built. That’s less materials and labor wasted and less money spent.

Building a kit home means you can build your own home in three ways: as an owner-builder, which requires you get an owner-builder permit, as an owner-manager, which means you manage the project from start to finish, overseeing all aspects or stages of construction, including the hiring of licensed tradespeople and as contract-builder which entails hiring a reputable builder to help you erect your home with minimal fuss or trouble.

However you want to build your kit homes, remember first and foremost that there will always be risks involved and that you can avoid these risks by employing certain safety measures and exercising careful thought and consideration. Of course, in addition to making sure you have the budget for it as well as a specific design in mind, you also need to make sure you know exactly what comes with your kit. Among the things that should be included are the following: Council plans and specifications. An engineer’s certification covering all structural aspects of the building. An owner-builder construction manual. Product warranties.

Of course, you also need to make sure you are dealing with the best kit home suppliers. In addition to selecting a company with a good reputation, you should also consider suppliers that know your local council rules and regulations like the back of their hands, one that is able to provide you with contact numbers of previous clients as reference and a company that is a member of well-known housing associations.

You should also make sure your supplier puts down everything you agreed upon in writing, and ones that will not demand excessive deposit amounts even before the materials have arrived on-site. While they are regulated as far as the deposit amounts they ask for as concerned, you should still be wary and careful when it comes to these situations. Other details that you should be concerned about include fees, delivery time frames and supplying of materials.