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Desert Living: A Way of Life

FAQ About Wood Burning Fireplaces

Posted by on Nov 23, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on FAQ About Wood Burning Fireplaces

Do you enjoy the look and coziness of a wood burning fireplace? If you have not made up your mind as to whether or not you want a fireplace, you might want to move forward with the investment. A wood burning fireplace can actually provide several benefits that you can enjoy. This article covers a few of the questions that you might need answers to before buying a fireplace. Does a Fireplace Improve Energy Efficiency? Whether or not a wood burning fireplace will improve the energy efficiency of your house depends on several things. For instance, if you don’t have energy efficient windows, it can affect the heat coming from the fireplace. However, if your house is insulated well enough, a fireplace can actually save you money on energy costs. Rather than having to run your central heater a lot on cold days, you can access natural heat from the fireplace. An enclosed wood burning fireplace is the best option for obtaining a satisfactory amount of heat. Will the Fireplace Be Hard to Keep Clean? The amount of work that is required for keeping a wood burning fireplace clean depends on how often it is used. Make sure you buy a set of supplies that can be used for handling the wood and cleaning the fireplace out. The main thing that will have to be cleaned is substance known as creosote. It is wise to clean creosote on a regular basis if the fireplace is used a lot, as it can harden after accumulating for a long time. What Kind of Repairs Might Be Necessary? The type of repairs that you might come across will depend on the type of fireplace that you opt for. For instance, if you opt for an enclosed wood burning fireplace, you might need to repair the glass enclosure if it becomes loose after it has been installed for a long time. Although there are fireplaces that are constructed out of stones, many of them are constructed using bricks. The bricks can begin to spall when they get old, but the damaged bricks can easily be replaced. Fresh mortar might need to be applied in the long run as well. Will a Chimney Need to Be Constructed? You will not need a chimney in order to enjoy wood burning fireplace in your house. A chimney will be necessary if you opt for a traditional open hearth fireplace. So opt for an enclosed fireplace if you don’t want to spend money on getting a chimney constructed. For more information, check out a company like Fireplace and Grill...

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Three Reasons You Have Water In Your Basement

Posted by on Oct 27, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Three Reasons You Have Water In Your Basement

When you said you wanted an in-ground pool, you likely weren’t talking about a pool of water in your basement. Basement flooding is costly and can cause significant damage throughout your home. Finding the source of the water is the first step to resolving the issue; here are a few places you may have overlooked. Leaking Mortar Joints If your foundation is constructed from concrete, you don’t have to worry about a mortar leak. However, for a brick, stone, or cinder block foundation, this is a significant concern. Over time, the mortar joints that help secure each block in place can start to deteriorate. As the mortar breaks down, water can start to pass through and collect in your basement. As more moisture builds up inside the mortar joints, the material starts to breakdown even more, allowing more water to pass through, and in periods of heavy rain or snow, this can lead to a flood. Honeycomb Leakage Honeycomb leakage is a fancy term for air pockets that form on the interior or exterior wall of a concrete foundation. These pockets are typically the result of concrete that was poured incorrectly when the foundation was first installed. While this can be categorized as an installation error, a significant period of time can pass before these pockets form so this isn’t a problem restricted to newly constructed homes. The primary problem with these pockets is that water can also make its way through the open cavities. Even worse, as more water passes through the pockets, they only get larger, allowing more water to pass through.    Floor Cracks Floor cracks are the result of hydrostatic pressure, which occurs as weight from the water naturally found in the ground presses up against your home. As the foundation floor starts to crack, water is able to easily pass through the open spaces and eventually flood your basement. Although hydrostatic pressure is a natural occurrence, it’s damage to your home can be minimized by ensuring that the water in the ground around your home is able to drain away and minimize pressure. In addition to flooding, you will see an increase in critters making their way into your home. Combating The Problem When it comes to eliminating these problems in your home, it’s important to understand that this is a two-step process. First, address the concern that is allowing water to get inside your home. Secondly, it’s time to waterproof the basement. Exterior excavation, crack injections, and waterproofing paints and primers are just a handful of the options a contractor can apply to eliminate these problems and keep your basement dry. For more information, contact local professionals like Safe-Guard...

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About The Perks Of An Automatic Irrigation System

Posted by on Sep 30, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on About The Perks Of An Automatic Irrigation System

Does your yard always look bad because you never have time to water it? If you don’t want your yard to bring down the value and appeal of your house, you might want to invest in taking care of it. You can actually get an automatic irrigation system installed to make sure all of your plants and grass are receiving a sufficient amount of water. In this article, you will find out why getting an automatic irrigation system installed is not a bad idea. A Small Amount of Water Will Be Used An automatic irrigation system is beneficial because it will not require the use of much water. For instance, if you were to hire a landscaper to keep your grass and plants watered, he or she would have to use a large amount of water. Each area of your yard would have to be watered at a separate time. With an automatic irrigation system in place, the entire yard can receive water at the same time. The water can also come out of the sprinklers in the form of a mist, which reduces the amount being used. The Curb Appeal of Your House Will Be Improved One of the perks of an automatic irrigation system is that it can add curb appeal to your house. The system will give your yard a more sophisticated look, which is better than having sprinklers sitting around connected to a garden hose. The timer on the system will also allow you to give your plants and grass the right amount of water to keep them healthy. Your yard will look appealing, which can bring out the overall beauty of your home. You Will Not Have to Do Any Manual Watering With an automatic irrigation, you will never have to do any manual watering if you don’t desire to do so. However, the extent of your yard and plants that will be watered by the system depends on where the sprinklers are installed. If you don’t intend on manually watering the plants, make sure that you invest in enough sprinklers to cover the entire yard. The Value of Your House Will Be Higher An automatic irrigation system will add value to your house. If you decide to sell one day, potential homebuyers will view the system as an added feature to have and will be willing to pay more. Get an automatic irrigation installed as soon as you are ready to bring life back to your yard. Click for more...

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Four Things You Need to Know About Passalora Needle Blight

Posted by on Sep 7, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Four Things You Need to Know About Passalora Needle Blight

Passalora needle blight, also called Cercospora needle blight, is a fungal disease that can affect your evergreen trees. Here are four things you need to know about Passalora needle blight. What are the signs of Passalora needle blight? Like other needle-blight diseases, Passalora needle blight manifests itself in a browning of the needles. The needles in the lower crown will turn brown and fall off first, and as time goes on, the disease will move up the tree, and you’ll notice the needles further up the tree are dying. Eventually, the only unaffected needles will be at the very top of the tree. On the dead foliage, you will be able to see small, hairy-looking structures. These structures produce spores that will help spread the fungal infection to other trees in the area. Can Passalora needle blight kill your trees? The risk to your tree depends on its species. Highly-susceptible trees, like Rocky Mountain junipers, can be killed in as little as three years. Trees with greater resistance to the fungi may only lose their lower branches. This will still pose aesthetic problems for your yard, but you won’t lose the trees. How can you treat Passalora needle blight? If you think your trees are infected, contact a tree service. Before any treatment can began, the disease needs to be specifically identified; this is essential because different fungal diseases respond to different treatments. If your trees are diagnosed with Passalora needle blight, they can be treated with appropriate fungicides. The tree should be sprayed with copper-containing fungicides every 10 days. This regimen should begin when the buds break and should continue until the new needle growth has matured. How can you prevent Passalora needle blight? To prevent problems in the future, try to plant evergreen species that are resistant to this disease. Eastern red cedars are an excellent choice, as are Chinese junipers. Your tree service can recommend additional disease-resistant trees that are suitable for your area. To help your trees stay strong and healthy, don’t plant them too close together. Planting trees too close together can impair their air circulation, and this puts them at risk of disease. When you prune your trees, take care to disinfect the shears before moving to the next tree. The fungi can stick to the shears and then be transferred to uninfected trees. If you’re worried that your trees have Passalora needle blight or are at risk of getting it, contact a tree service such as Southbury Tree...

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5 Garden Features To Create For Mindful Meditation

Posted by on Aug 11, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 5 Garden Features To Create For Mindful Meditation

Mindful meditation, or mindfulness, is a simple meditation meant to help the practitioner become aware of the present moment through calm breathing and focus. While mindfulness can be practiced anywhere, a beautiful, calming garden only serves to heighten the experience. There are many features that you can add to your existing garden space to enhance mindful meditation while creating a beautiful space. 1. Wind Chimes: Many people use calming music to guide their meditation, but wind chimes are also a lovely addition. The soothing tones provided as the wind moves through the hanging chimes can be relaxing and the perfect accompaniment to a quiet meditation in the outdoors.  2. Rain Chain: While its original purpose of collecting rain water for household use was utilitarian in nature, rain chains can create a melodic sound during a storm, as the water runs down the length of the chain and into a pot. Both the linked chain and the cup versions provide a cheerful trickle during mindful meditation in the rain and are still enjoyed to this day. For more information, contact Monarch Rain Chains or a similar company. 3. Labyrinth: Simple, circular paths are ideal for walking meditation and are a lovely addition to any garden. A circular labyrinth forces the walker to slow down while winding his or her way to the middle. While many people are familiar with the story in Greek mythology of the Minotaur, this type of labyrinth has been used at Chartres Cathedral by pilgrims since 1220. 4. Karesansui: The literal translation of this Japanese word means ‘dry mountains and water,’ but most Americans would refer to this garden feature by many terms, including a dry landscape garden, Japanese rock garden, or Zen garden. The idea that gravel and sand are raked into undulating patterns that spread out from boulders placed in the landscape, like the ripples in a pond, began in the 1400s and is still appreciated for its calm-inducing qualities today. 5. Koi Pond: If your budget is ample, adding a koi pond is the ultimate way to create a peaceful garden for mindfulness. The sound of bubbling water is relaxing, and watching the colorful fish dart back and forth under the rippling water can be hypnotic. The fact that there are YouTube videos of koi ponds with over 100,000 views each is further testament to the calming nature of koi ponds. Plus, the fish can be trained to eat out of your...

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Self-Storage: Your Answer To Photo Studio Space On A Budget

Posted by on Jul 20, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Self-Storage: Your Answer To Photo Studio Space On A Budget

If you’ve been struggling to get your new photography business off the ground, one of the best things you can do is to secure studio space. For new photographers, studio space can be costly, so it’s in your best interest to consider some less-common alternatives. One unique option for creating studio space for product or portrait photography is to rent a storage unit. Here are a few of the benefits of using self-storage space for a photography studio. You Can Control Your Commute When you rent a self-storage unit for your studio space, you can control how far your commute is. If you want to stay close to your home, you can choose a storage facility that’s near your neighborhood. This makes it easier to maintain the balance between your scheduled photo shoots and your home life. You Can Control The Light One of the great things about storage units is the height of the ceiling. In many storage units, the ceiling is taller than a typical building. That means that any lights you hang from the ceiling will disperse the light further. In addition, the rolling door on the storage unit makes it easier for you to control the lighting in the unit. After all, if you’re looking for widespread light, you can just roll the door up and let the outside natural light in. If you’re shooting film and you need dark space to develop, you can close the door. Just make sure that you confirm with the property managers that  it’s okay to keep those chemicals in the unit before you try to use the space for a darkroom. You Can Maintain Your Setup When you’re shooting with a studio setup that you have to put up and break down between shoots, it’s hard to get everything positioned right every time. Since so much of photography is dependent on lighting, this can have a significant effect on your picture quality. In addition, it can lead to a lot of wear and tear on the gear. When you have a space where you can leave your gear set up, it means you won’t have to worry about losing that tiny adjustment that gave you the perfect lighting for those product pictures. You won’t need to be concerned with additional wear on your lighting covers or other equipment, either. As you can see, storage units make a great place for various types of photography. If you’re looking to set up studio space without investing in a commercial structure, consider a unit from your local self-storage...

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3 Substances That Keep Little Black Ants Coming Into Your Home

Posted by on Jun 23, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 3 Substances That Keep Little Black Ants Coming Into Your Home

Little black ants live outdoors in small mounds of dirt, but that does not stop them from breaching the perimeter of residences in search of food and water. If the ants find a source of their favorite substances inside your home, you will frequently discover a line of ants crawling through your kitchen or bathroom. At that point, you are likely stuck with the infestation until you call a pest control expert to handle the situation. You have the best chance at avoiding the problem in the first place by actively keeping the following elements contained as much as possible. Kibble Dry kibble for dogs and cats has a powerful scent that attracts little black ants into your home. If you let your pets free feed by leaving the kibble out all day, you will eventually end up with an ant infestation if any are living in close proximity to your home. Skip this hazard by establishing two to three set meal periods for your pets and put up the kibble after they eat. Make sure to sweep the floor for pieces of pet food your dogs or cats may have knocked out of the bowl while eating.   Medicine Liquid medication is often filled with sweeteners that the ants love to eat. Unfortunately, most over-the-counter medications will attract ants, but not kill them. You can keep the ants from gorging themselves on this sugary substance by immediately washing out the cup or spoon used to administer the medication. Also remember to wipe off the outside of the medication bottle to keep drips from feeding the ants’ sweet tooth. Water During the dry season, little black ants may come inside in a desperate attempt to find water. If ants find any moisture inside your home, they will continually come into your home to get their fill. Even a wet washcloth left on the counter or floor has enough water to sustain the ant colony for the day. Pet water bowls are not usually a risk since many of the ants will drown attempting to drink from that source. Eliminating Your Ant Infestation Unfortunately, once little black ants make way into your home, it is extremely difficult to eradicate the infestation on your own. You will likely need to call an exterminator to fully eliminate the ants. Your pest control professional will help you prevent future infestations by sealing up common entry points with caulk. You can also avoid leaving out the above substances to make sure the bugs do not have a reason to return to your living space. Contact a company like Ace Walco & Sons Termite & Pest Control for more...

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4 Mistakes To Avoid When Installing New Rain Gutters Yourself

Posted by on May 27, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 4 Mistakes To Avoid When Installing New Rain Gutters Yourself

If you are someone who likes to take on home improvement projects on your own, then you are probably considering replacing the rain gutters that surround the roof of your home on your own. Doing this on your own can definitely be effective, but you will want to avoid these four mistakes when you take on the task:  Buying the Wrong Gutters: The first thing you are going to have to do when you install new rain gutters is to actually purchase the new rain gutters. Many homeowners make the mistake of simply picking out the cheapest rain gutters available to them. The problem with this is that homes require a different size of gutters depending on the style of roof and size of the roof, as well. Be sure to talk to a contractor you are purchasing the rain gutters from to determine the standard. Also, if you reside in a rainy area, you are going to need to install more durable rain gutters since they will work harder.  Incorrectly Spacing the Mounting: When you install new rain gutters, the gutters are going to attach to the roof by being mounted. You need to be sure that you are mounting the gutters properly. This will ensure that the gutters have the correct amount of support. This means the mounting should only be 3 feet apart or less. This is going to prevent the gutters from sagging in the future.  Putting the Gutters in the Wrong Place: Many people assume that the gutters need to be installed right at the edge of the roof. The problem with this is that rain water often drips a couple inches underneath the roof’s edge because it’s drawn back slightly by the roofing material. This means that the gutters need to be installed slightly underneath the roof’s edge. If not, the gutters will be ineffective at drawing water away from your home. Not Hiring Professionals When You Need Them: Finally, if you find that the task of installing the rain gutters yourself is too dangerous or difficult, you should not hesitate to call in the professionals (click here for more info). They will be able to install the gutters safely and efficiently and correct any mistakes you may have made when you started the task on your own. When you avoid these four mistakes, installing new rain gutters yourself is definitely going to be more effective in the end....

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Using Bug-Repelling Plants

Posted by on May 4, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Using Bug-Repelling Plants

When the weather is warm and the sun is shining, you just want to be outdoors enjoying nature. Of course, nature has a few unwanted elements for you in addition to all its bounty. Bugs are everywhere, often feasting on your delicate skin. Like many people, you may hate to use toxic chemicals to combat this problem. You can help your cause by planting certain bug-repelling plants.   Herbs In addition to providing you fresh ingredients for your cooking, planting the right herbs can help keep the insect population away from you and your family. Basil is delicious in salads and soups, but it also makes an effective fly and mosquito repellent. Lavender adds beauty to your yard or patio while helping to keep fleas, mosquitoes, moths, and flies out of your hair and off of your skin. Instead of using citronella to discourage the mosquito population, try planting lemongrass. In addition to being a decorative addition to your landscaping, It’s often used in with chicken and pork dishes as well. Flowers Chrysanthemums are a staple of flower gardens and borders. Certain chrysanthemums can help control Japanese beetles and nematodes. You can also use these flowers to make your own natural pesticide.  Another lovely flower, dahlias, are also quite effective at discouraging nematodes. Various varieties of marigolds are offensive to whiteflies and deadly for nematodes. If you have a rabbit problem in your yard or garden, planting this variety of flower may help reduce this plague. Sunflowers, in addition to being a striking addition to your yard, also attracts aphids, helping to protect your other plants from this menace. They also attract the ants in the area. Sunflowers are able to thrive even while they are infected with these pests. Other Plants Although catnip is known for its intoxicating effect on felines, it repels a number of other creatures, including aphids, Japanese beetles, weevils, ants, and more. You can also use dried catnip in your house to drive off an ant invasion. Borage discourages cabbage worms and hornworms. You can do your own research in finding even more helpful pest-repellent plants. The beauty of using plants to fight off pests is that you add beauty to your yard and garden at the same time. You can plan a diverse and aesthetically pleasing landscape uniquely able to drive away the pests that can take away some of the joy of spring and summer. Consult with a local landscaper (such as one from Mr Green Thumb) for help in creating your bug-repelling backyard....

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Live On A Property With Lots Of Trees? Consider Investing In Gutter Guards

Posted by on Apr 8, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Live On A Property With Lots Of Trees? Consider Investing In Gutter Guards

As a homeowner, you should constantly try to find ways to make it easier to enjoy time at home. Having to take care of extensive cleaning, maintenance, and repairs will keep you from accomplishing this goal. It is best to strive for features that not only save you money in the long run, but give you peace of mind. Investing in gutter guards is a smart decision, especially when you live on a property with lots of trees. Keep Leaves from Getting Stuck Inside the Gutter The most important reason to add these guards is to protect leaves from getting inside the gutter. It is not uncommon for these leaves to harbor insects, which can begin to reside in the gutter and on your roof. Unfortunately, certain insects can cause damage to your property, which you should aim to avoid. Gutter guards will prevent leaves from getting stuck and concentrated in a single area. Reduce the Chance of Blockages When enough leaves are able to gather up, you will likely experience some blockages. If you are not adamant with checking up on the gutters, especially after heavy storms, you could run into major issues. For instance, excessive buildup could lead to water overflow directly on and around the foundation. Since one of the primary reasons for foundation cracking is excessive moisture, you do not want this problem. Minimize the Need for Professional Gutter Cleaning It may not seem like a big deal to get gutter cleaning services every once in a while, but why bother with continuous service when you can enjoy a solution that minimizes the need for such a frequent service? Gutter cleaning can cost anywhere from $70 to $200 for a single cleaning, but it depends on the home’s size. Having several trees on your property will shorten the intervals in which you need to get your gutters cleaned, so finding a long-term solution is perfect for saving money in the long run. Contact a company like Conifer Gutter Service to have your gutters cleaned professionally. Although it is certainly easier to let a professional take care of gutter cleaning, you can have plenty of success by doing it on your own, especially with gutter guards installed. These guards will prevent your gutters from experiencing so much wear and tear, which is perfect for the longevity of your home. Professional gutter cleaning costs can add up quickly and cleaning on your own can be a time-consuming task, so it makes sense to drastically reduce the cleaning requirement by getting gutter...

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