Four Things You Will Want to Know about Installing Solar Water Heaters on Your Home

If you want to have more efficiency with the water heater in your home, solar energy can help provide you with lower energy costs. It is something that can be integrated into your current heating systems, and easily be done when you are having repairs or replacements done for your current water heater. You can have storage tanks installed or connect the systems to what you already have. Here are some of the things you may want to know about solar water heaters before you have one installed on your home:

1. Integrating Solar into Current Hot Water Systems

If you already have a water heater in your home, you may be able to integrate solar technology to improve its performance. During the day, solar panels can heat water and provide your water heater with hot water. This can be an open circuit that directly delivers the water or it can be a closed circuit that acts as a heat exchanger and has antifreeze in it to protect it from freezing in colder climates.

2. Installing an Additional Storage Tank for Hot Water

You may also want to consider adding an additional storage tank for your needs. This tank can provide water to your conventional water heater, as well as provide water for other heating systems like a boiler or furnace to heat your home. This is a way that you can get better performance out of your solar energy systems and reduce the need for gas or electricity for heating needs.

3. Using a Panel Collector for an Affordable Solution

Panel collectors are one of the most affordable type of solar water heaters available. They consist of a panel with a circuit of pipes that heats water, which is then delivered to your water heater or storage tanks. It is not as efficient as an evacuated tube system, but will cost a lot less and can be combined with a conventional water heater to reduce your energy consumption.

4. Evaporative Tube Collectors for Better Performance in Colder Climates

If you want to have a reliable solar water heater for your home, an evaporative tube system is one of the best choices. This system uses tubes to insulate copper piping that heats the water. If you live in a colder climate, this is an ideal type of system that will even perform in below-freezing temperatures, as well as on days with an overcast.

These are some of the things that you may want to know about having a solar water heater installed on your home. If you are ready to reduce your energy consumption with water heater improvements, contact a repair contractor like Two Men And A Snake and ask them about integrating solar energy into your systems.

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Learn How To Have The Ultimate Playroom Created For Your Little One

Creating the ultimate playroom for your little one may be easier to do than you think. There are many parents who simply do not know how to make the most of the space that is available to them. If you want to transform a room into the ultimate playroom, use the following guide to learn a few ideas to get you on the right track.

Make the Space Functional

You want to be sure that you make the most of the space that is available to you. Do not make the mistake of thinking that tables and desks need to be located in the room. They take up a lot of space and restrict the flow of creativity in the room. Instead, have the contractor build a collapsible table that can fold up against the wall and be let down when the children want to draw or color. The table will fold into itself and a small hook or clasp will hold it flush against the wall until you need to use it.

Have Storage Space Created

Window seats can be a great storage option to consider. The window seat will create a great place for children to sit when they want to look outside or relax while reading a great book. The contractor to create a window seat that has a seat that folds up to allow items to be stored in the open space under the cushions. The cushioned seat on the window seat will have hinges attached to it to allow it to be easily opened and closed as needed.

Create Spaces to Spark Creativity

Be sure that you take the time to have the contractor create some custom spaces that will spark your child’s creativity. A stage can easily be built in the corner of the room to allow your child to perform for you whenever he or she chooses. In another corner of the room, small shelves can be built against the wall to use as shelves to display items as if the child had a store to shop or sell things at. The possibilities are endless if you think creatively about different ways to spark your child’s creativity.

Hiring a contractor to create these simple renovations to the room will make the process go a lot smoother. The contractor will have experience with the tools and materials that are needed to get the job done. They will also know how to make sure that everything is built to code and that everything is as safe as it can be for your little one.

To learn more, contact a company like Taylor Construction Co. with any questions you have.

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Need Heating And Cooling In Your Cottage? Geothermal Heat Pumps Save Money

If you are thinking of getting a new furnace and air conditioning unit for your summer cottage, for the cool nights and smoldering hot days, think about a geothermal heat pump. Talk with a heating and cooling professional about how this will benefit the cottage and your wallet.

The heat pump is a great option because not only can you use it for heat when the night’s and mornings are cool in the spring and fall, but it can also be used as an air conditioning unit all summer long. Here are a few reasons this is a great consideration:

Get Two Appliance in One

The geothermal heat pump is going to help pull the moisture and heat out of the cottage during the hot summer temperatures to make the cottage cooler without an air conditioning unit. As the temperatures drop, the pump is going to pull atmospheric heat, most commonly from the ground, and use it to bring warmth in the space. You can serve two purposes with one appliance.

Save on Utility Bills

The heat pump can be 45 percent more efficient at heating and cooling than a furnace or an air conditioner. It also doesn’t require any gas, so you shouldn’t have gas expenses for heating.

Get Money Back

You can actually get money back if you decide to spend the money on an energy saving appliance. There is a federal tax rebate you can earn for installing a geothermal heat pump, which can help you recover some of what you paid for the unit and installation.

No Ducts

If you are getting a ductless heat pump for your cottage, you can save time and money for the project. It can be hard finding a location for ducts in a small cottage that hasn’t had heating or air conditioning, and the labor and materials can be very expensive. This could also be an eye sore in the space if the ducts can’t all run between the walls.

If you think that you have gone long enough in your cottage without heat and air conditioning, but you want something that is going to be ecologically and economically beneficial, a geothermal heat pump is a great option. Talk with the heating and cooling contractors in the area to get different quotes for your project, and to see what type of geothermal unit is going to be ideal for your home.

To learn more, contact a company like Metro Air with any questions or concerns you have.

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Garage Door Problems Are Often Due To Sensor Failure

All newer garage doors contain sensors, which are designed as a safety feature. These sensors prevent the door from closing when there is something in the way that might get crushed; however, these sensors can also cause problems if they are not functioning properly. If you are having trouble with your garage door opener, one of the first things a garage door repair company may check is the sensors.

How sensors work

The sensors for a garage door are located near the floor on both sides of the garage door. These sensors shoot colored beams across to each other, and the beams are designed to detect if anything is in the way. If the beams detect something, the garage door will not shut when the button is pressed.

If your garage door will not shut, there is a good chance that there is something in the way, or that the sensors are faulty in some way.

Problems sensors can have

There are a number of things that can prevent the sensors for your garage door from working properly. One common cause of sensor failure is from misalignment of the sensors. When the sensors are installed, they are placed strategically near the doors. They are properly aligned, and a garage door company will make sure they work before leaving the job.

Because of the location of these sensors, it is easy for them to become misaligned. Someone may accidentally hit them as they walk past, or you may knock them as you are carrying something out of your garage. If they are misaligned, they will not allow the door to close.

Other things can also prevent the sensors from working properly, including dirt and debris. If the sensors become too dirty, they will not work because they will not be able to send light signals back and forth.

Ways to fix the sensors

Once a garage door repairman finds the problem, it is usually easy to fix. It may require realigning the sensors to make sure they are angled properly, or the repair company may simply need to clean them.

If these options do not work to fix the problem, the sensors may need to be replaced, but this is generally not the case.

If you are having trouble with your garage door opener, it could be due to a problem with the sensors. Call a garage door opener repair company such as American Eagle Garage Door Services and let them investigate and fix the issue.

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Window Wars: Comparing Vinyl And Aluminum Windows

Vinyl and aluminum windows are two of the most common types of window frames available, and offer a number of different types of advantages over each other. Knowing the differences between the two types of windows can allow you to figure out which one best fits your needs.

Vinyl Windows

Vinyl windows are much less expensive than aluminum windows, but are not necessarily of lower quality. Vinyl windows are made out of PVC, which is simply a less expensive material than aluminum. Vinyl windows do not need to be painted, and can be easily cleaned with just soap and water. Vinyl cannot be painted, but can be made to be a certain color, so it can still match with the aesthetic of your house without having to worry about repainting every few years. Vinyl is very durable, and will resist scratches, dents, cuts, and corrosion when exposed to weather conditions. They are also very energy efficient and are great for reducing your energy bills.

However, vinyl windows are not as environmentally efficient, as they cannot be recycled very easily. Additionally, vinyl windows will not add as much resale value to your home due to their lower cost. They are also poor at reducing noise, which can be a problem if you live in an area with a lot of traffic. Finally, vinyl windows can also discolor very easily if exposed to extreme heat, which means that they have to replaced, as they cannot be painted. This makes vinyl windows less than ideal for hot climates.

Aluminum Windows

Aluminum windows are very environmentally efficient, and can be easily and efficiently recycled. Additionally, they are extremely durable, and will withstand weather exposure for a very long period of time. This means that in intense winds, they will hold up much better than vinyl windows. They are also lightweight, making them much easier to install than vinyl windows. Aluminum windows can be painted, which makes it easy to exactly match the aesthetic of your house. They also provide a much better sound barrier than vinyl windows do.

However, aluminum windows are more expensive than vinyl windows, and will need to be repainted over time due to weather exposure. Also, they are still susceptible to dents, which vinyl windows are not. Furthermore, as they are made out of metal, they can corrode over time, which means that they will insulate your home less efficiently and will need to be replaced. They are also not as efficient as vinyl windows at insulating your home, as they conduct temperature very easily, bringing in the weather outside.

For more help making your decision, contact a local window installation company. 

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How To Prevent And Fix Cracked Landscape Pavers

Pavers, whether made of concrete, stone or brick, provide an attractive alternative to concrete or asphalt paving. They are often used for patios and sidewalks, but you can also use them for driveways. Pavers can last a lifetime when installed correctly. If you have issues with cracked pavers, you must first determine the reason before you fix the problem.

Main Reasons for Cracking

There are three main reasons pavers crack:

  • They aren’t laid on a level surface or tamped firmly in place.
  • Poor drainage has caused the ground to settle, resulting in cracking.
  • Frost heave, which is typically caused by poor drainage or inadequate base preparation, lifts the soil and the pavers.

Wear and tear can also lead to chips, usually around the edges of a paved walkway or patio, but this is less common than the above causes. In rare cases, weeds may grow between the pavers and result in a crack, but usually the weeds take root first in a small crack resulting from one of the main three causes. The weed doesn’t cause the crack, it just widens it.

Prevention Tips

The easiest way to ensure your pavers don’t crack is to make sure the base is prepared properly. For most paver projects, the base consists of a level of crushed gravel topped with 1 or 2 inches of sand. The depth of the gravel base depends on the historical frost line in your area. It should extend a couple inches below the depth of the frost line to prevent frost heave. This also provides better drainage.

The gravel must be firmly tamped down and leveled before the sand is placed on top. The sand also requires tamping and leveling. Finally, the pavers are placed. Once the pavers are completely level, they are tamped into the sand layer and additional sand is swept into the joints to fill them.

If drainage or a high water table is a concern in the area, you may need to install French drains around the perimeter of the paved area to route moisture away from the pavers. You will also need to sweep fresh sand into the paver joints once or twice yearly to keep the pavers from shifting.

Replacement Method

One of the best things about pavers is you don’t have to replace an entire sidewalk or patio slab if a crack does occur. A single crack doesn’t mean you have a problem with the base, so you usually don’t have to worry about full replacement. Instead, you can simply lift out the broken paver, level and tamp the base, and install a new paver.

If there is a problem with the base, you can remove all the pavers and reinstall the base. Any pavers that aren’t cracked can be reused in the new paving, which saves money. If you need an entirely new base installed, it can be worthwhile to bring in a professional paver or landscaper to ensure it’s done correctly.

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5 Great Ways To Improve The Look Of Your Home

Most people want to improve the value of their home. However, when it comes to doing so, many often think about costly renovations. Changing kitchen or bathroom fixtures and performing other massive renovations can be expensive. However, there are still little things you can do that do not cost a lot which can help boost the value of your home and give it a fresh look. Here are five easy and affordable ways you can give your home an instant facelift.

Make Small Changes to Your Kitchen

Even if your kitchen will eventually need a complete renovation, you can do small things to make it more attractive until you can completely remodel it. Try resurfacing your counter tops or painting your cupboard. These are easy inexpensive ways to spruce up your kitchen quickly.

Use Semi-Gloss Paint

Repaint your walls with some semi-gloss paint. Semi-gloss paint allows you to add a minor sheen to your walls that is not overwhelming. This can make a room that was previously bland come to life. Semi-gloss paint is also easy to clean should any markings occur on the walls or in case dirt begins to settle.

New Cover Outlets

Cracked, stained and discolored cover outlets for your light switches can cause your home to look shabby. One of the best things you can do to immediately make your home look more pristine is to change these. Changing cover outlets is an easy do-it-yourself job. You can purchase cover outlets at the hardware store. If you want to add even more spice to your walls, you can choose cover outlets with decorative designs.

Power Wash

Sometimes the only reason that an area in your home looks shabby is because it needs a good thorough cleaning. A good cleaning can often make surfaces that seem grimy and in need of expensive renovations appear as good as new. Good places to power wash are your decks and exterior sidings. If you do not own a power washer, you can purchase one at your local hardware store or hire a professional power washer to get deeply entrenched oil and dirt off your decks and exterior sidings.

Spruce Up or Change Your Doors

Doors are prominent fixtures in your home, and if they are not in pristine condition they can make your home look run down. Changing the doors, varnishing or painting them is a great way to instantly upgrade the look of your home.

Giving your home a fresh look need not be expensive, if you focus on improving small details that will make your home look brighter.

If you need to do a more involved renovation, contact Suburban Construction Inc. or a similar contractor.

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