Energy Savings Tips to Prepare Your Home for Solar Power

When you invest in solar panels for your home, you are making a commitment to reduce your carbon footprint while saving money on your monthly energy usage. In order to get the most out of your solar panels, you will want to take a few steps to reduce your overall energy usage every month. Following these simple steps will help you to create a more energy efficient home, allowing you to get the maximum benefit from your solar panels.

Replace Your Old Light Bulbs

Compact fluorescent light bulbs use less energy, making them a great alternative to traditional light bulbs. On average, CFL units last up to eight times as long as your existing light bulbs, so you can save money on replacements and electricity usage at the same time. Use these energy-savers wherever you can in your home to reduce the amount of electricity used when you flip your light switches.

Weatherproof Your Home

Heat can escape from older windows and doors, which can increase the amount of energy needed to heat your home. Replacing your single-pane windows with more efficient units can help to reduce your overall energy usage. Weather stripping and door seals should also be checked and replaced to prevent drafts from coming into your home.

Replace Older Appliances

Appliances made twenty years ago are not as efficient as those made today, and they can use a considerable amount of energy. By replacing these old units with more efficient models, you can instantly reduce your energy consumption while modernizing your home.

Use Strip Surge Protectors

Power strips, or strip surge protectors, can help you to reduce the energy your home electronics consume. With the flip of one switch, you can turn off the power going to each of these energy-draining devices. This allows you to keep all of the programmed functions on your devices to stay in place while still saving energy. Be sure to turn the power off before bed each night and when these items are not in use during the day.

Use Your Appliances More Efficiently

Even with new models, washing machines, dishwashers, and refrigerators can use a lot of electricity. There are some simple things you can do to improve the energy usage for these major appliances. Washing clothes in cold water uses less electricity than using warm or hot water. Running your dishwasher during the day when your solar panels are working at maximum capacity gives you better usage rates than running it at night when you may have to use power from the grid.
Keeping your refrigerator or freezer set to the highest safe food storage temperature helps save money and energy while still keeping your food preserved.

Check Your Heating Ductwork

For homes that have central heating and cooling systems, checking your ductwork is a key to saving energy. Clogged or leaking ducts can make your system work overtime, which consumes more energy and leads to less efficient heating and cooling. If you are unsure how to do this yourself, you can hire a licensed contractor to take this task on for you.

Solar panels allow you to begin saving money on your monthly utility costs while having a better impact on the environment. You will need to change your energy consumption habits, but each of these simple steps are designed to allow you to change your habits with minimal impact on how you lead your daily life. When you are ready to install solar panels for your home, be sure to take these tips into account to maximize your energy and monetary savings.

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Hardwood Flooring

Hattons Hardwood Flooring provides complete hardwood flooring services to Calgary . We specialize in dustless hardwood floors and hardwood wood flooring . >

We offer proficient assistance for your entire floor covering needs, including hardwood and ceramic tiles . We specialize in the sale and installation of Hardwood, Laminate, Ceramic, Vinyl, and Carpet Floor coverings. We also provide sanding and refinishing services for existing hardwood floors .

Hardwood floors are timeless. While many other floor coverings can become obsolete over time, hardwood’s beauty is superior with age and typically increases the value of a home. What’s more, hardwood flooring is more long-lasting than most other floor coverings. Today’s technology and nearly immeasurable choices of stains, finishes, styles and designs make hardwood flooring one of the most realistic, simple and flexible floor coverings available. Hardwood Flooring Calgary

Hattons Hardwood Floors is a leading flooring stores for full-service hardwood flooring in Calgary , specializing in high-quality wood flooring products and reputable brand names. We proudly offer the widest range of hardwood flooring in Calgary , and with a quarter century in the Calgary hardwood flooring business we are very well versed in all facets of the industry. This includes the entire range of hardwood floor applications and products as well as installation, cleaning and maintenance techniques. Wood Flooring Calgary

For nearly 13 years we have been supplying and installing quality wood flooring in Calgary area.

Hattons Hardwood Floors is a collection of finely crafted engineered and solid wood floors. We specialize in quality products with a fashion focus that meet the changing requirements of designers and consumers.

Restaurant And Kitchen Exhaust Hood Cleaning Frequency

Many new restaurant owners or commercial kitchen managers struggle to know how often their exhaust hood fans and ducts should be cleaned. Cleaning the exhaust hoods, ducts, fans and filters are not only important but are required by the law under fire code NFPA 96. Failing to properly maintain the kitchen exhaust hood system can result in fires, unpleasant odors, premature breakdown and catastrophic loss. The grease that builds up in the system provides ample fuel for a fire that can burn at an incredible heat. Most exhaust systems have a fire suppression system within the hood and at the mouth of the vertical duct, but fire suppression systems do not provide protection in the vertical and horizontal ductwork or the fan on the roof.

So how often should a restaurant have their exhaust system cleaned? The frequency of cleaning is something that is highly dependent on the volume of cooking and the type of cooking that you perform. Obviously, higher volume cooking locations require more frequent cleaning. However, what most restaurant owners do not realize is that the type of food their kitchen prepares also plays an important role in how often the exhaust system should be serviced.

For instance, preparing foods that are high in fats and oils (such as cooking burgers, char broil cooking, foods cooked in a wok, cooking with solid fuels (wood) or open vat fryers) deposit much more grease into the exhaust system than traditional cooking. So if you are preparing burgers on a daily basis at a high volume your kitchen exhaust hoods will need to be serviced regularly (quarterly at a minimum) to prevent fires and unacceptable grease buildup.

Determining the optimal level of exhaust hood cleaning that your kitchen or restaurant requires takes years of experience. It is often best to consult with a reputable and certified kitchen exhaust hood inspector who can evaluate your system and cooking habits to provide a recommendation on a cleaning and maintenance schedule. Some commercial kitchen and restaurant hood cleaners provide exhaust hood inspection services for free, and some will even provide pictures of the internal ductwork.

As a rule of thumb no commercial kitchen exhaust system in regular use should go over six months without a thorough cleaning. However, if you are cooking a high volume of foods that are high in fats and oils a thorough cleaning might be required as often as twice a month. This is where the expertise of a certified kitchen exhaust system inspector can help you determine how often your exhaust system needs to be cleaned. Once you have a cleaning and maintenance schedule in place reevaluate the schedule every year to ensure that changes in cooking load or menu options have not increased grease buildup between services.

Kitchen Interior Design – The Importance of Getting it Right

If there is one room in the house that is very important when it comes to design, it is the kitchen. This room is often times the heart, or the center, of the home. This is where most families spend a great deal of their time together. The interior design of the kitchen needs to not only be reflective of your family’s taste and personality, it also needs to be highly functional.

No one likes to try and prepare a meal in a kitchen that is not as functional and up to date as it should be. For this reason it is highly important that if you are considering a kitchen redesign, that you take your time and research all of the different designs that are out there for you to choose from.

While you are searching for information, there are many places that you may want to go to find it. many people choose to do a hands on search at a local home improvement store. This is a great way to just see what all is available and at what price. However, the best way to get information is to simply start online. The internet has a plethora of information on just about anything that you want to know. When it comes to kitchen designs, this is one of the best tools that you can use.

Not only will you be able to see what all is available and how much, you will even get to see all of the different interior kitchen designs that other people are using. There are even companies that operate online only, who will help you come up with a new design. They do this by working with you and learning what it is that you are interested in and what your personal tastes are. This is a wonderful way to get a plan for what exactly it is that you are trying to achieve.

All in all, a newly redesigned kitchen can change the look and feel of your entire house. That is if it is done correctly. This can only happen if you take the time that is necessary to research all of your options. Remember that hasty decisions can often times result in a design that does not fit in your home or with your style ideas. Therefore, take your time, use the right tools of research, and get the kitchen design that you have always wanted for your home.

Weekend Warriors Top 5 Home Improvement Projects

If youre like most of us you love to watch those home improvement shows on TV, they make it look so easy to change the appearance of your home by doing some simple home improvements. And if youre like most of us and have to work Monday thru Friday any home improvement projects have to be done on the weekend. So for all you weekend warriors here are my top 5 weekend projects:

Bathroom or Kitchen facelift- Im not talking about a major remodel here just a simple facelift can totally change the look of a kitchen or bathroom. Refinishing the kitchen cabinets, new paint and wallpaper, replacing a toilet, or maybe even replacing that old bathroom or kitchen facet can greatly improve and update the look of any home.

Install new lighting- Installing new lighting can not only brighten your home but give a room a totally different look. Whether installing a light kit on a ceiling fan or replacing that old outdated fluorescent light in the kitchen with some of the new kitchen lighting on the market, installing new lighting is a weekend project thats relatively easy and comes with a big return.

Install tile- whether a kitchen floor or backsplash or new tile in the bathroom, installing ceramic tile is easier than you think and is a great weekend project for weekend warriors. Most home improvement stores have everything you need for professional looking results, one tip: Be sure to rent a tile saw, it will save you a lot of time and is well worth the cost.

Changing the color of a room- Color is in! You will be surprised how a splash of color can totally change the look of any room. Many homes have either white or off-white walls but many homeowners have found adding color to a room can brighten and warm up a room and is a great weekend home improvement project for anyone. As with any painting project the time you spend in preparing before actually painting will speak volumes as to the results.

Staining Garage Floor or Patio- This is a great project for weekend warriors. Perhaps you have a garage with oil spots, old paint, and other unidentifiable stains on the floor. Staining your garage floor can bring new life to any garage and look great! Some of the new epoxy products on the market offer numerous color choices and colored flakes that you wont find in most home improvement superstores and will give your garage a unique and customized look.

Being a weekend warrior when it comes to home improvement projects can be fun and rewarding. Be sure to do your research about the best products and techniques before starting any home improvement project, but dont be scared to try something you have never done before. There is an abundance of information and how-to books on just about any project you decide to tackle, so go ahead and conquer that weekend project.

Furniture Shops A Place For Complete Furnishing

The whole job of giving your home a completely new look is now complete. Now you can see how beautiful the home is. It is now the right time to look at the beautiful bare walls and think of what to do to fill up the emptiness and give your home that special touch that speaks of your personality and originality. After the walls, the next thing is how to select the best furniture to improve the interior decor of your home. Do not ever walk into a furniture shop and begin to buy without a proper picture of what you really want to capture in your own home. If you want your furniture to be warm and very welcoming you can also go for the modern or contemporary look.

This furniture shop is able to offer very good value on products because of a business model where they find manufacturers who are producing below capacity, then offer to buy this extra product at a lower price agreeable to both parties. They also offer many home accessories and you can furnish your entire home with a trip to a furniture shop, if there is one near you. Do not include too many different types of furniture in one room because it will give a very clutter look or make it cold. It’s really important that everything matches up in a way that brings the entire space together.

Make sure that you arrange the furniture in such a way that the room looks inviting and warm. There is the all important issue of accessories that what add the special touch to a home. Most people think accessory only means the small odd pieces here and there but at the Furniture Shops you can get variety of things like a piano that is eye-catching can serve as a perfect piece, unique painting on the wall, a beautiful rug these are the other options.

For the large range of designer furniture, you will have to visit a home furniture shop that carries lines of furniture. There, you will find large range of bedroom furniture which can be bought as a set, with pieces of the same design. You can also get your dining and living room furniture in such stores. Sometimes you expect to pay more, but prices are set by individual stores and you may be able to find better deals if you shop around. One of the nice things about furniture shop is that you can browse their catalog and order things they don’t carry in stock, increasing your choices. For the people who have a tighter budget, deals may be found on certain items in stores like Kmart.

Such Furniture shops have a modest furniture selection, a lot of which might be of questionable quality, but there are always a few products that are reasonably well built. These are the only products you should really consider buying, as furniture should not be disposable.

The trick to finding outdoor furniture replacement cushions and outdoor patio furniture covers

If you go to rattan furniture stores, keep in mind not every store has the same type of outdoor patio furniture covers. You may find some stores that have furniture covers that snap and others that carry outdoor patio furniture covers that are fitted over rattan wicker chairs, much like vehicle covers. Which outdoor patio furniture covers should you choose to cover your replacement furniture cushions, so they are not ruined by harsh weather elements? You want to choose outdoor furniture covers which will fit over replacement outdoor furniture cushions or will still be able to snap correctly if you are using outdoor patio furniture covers to protect replacement outdoor furniture cushions bought in rattan furniture stores nationwide.

The trick (to protecting replacement outdoor furniture cushions) is simply buying covers that will protect furniture pieces bought in rattan furniture stores in the area. What should you look for before buying any coverings in rattan furniture stores?

Don’t allow covers to slouch over outdoor rattan sofas

If furniture covers are slouching over furniture pieces bought in rattan furniture stores, it isn’t protecting your furniture as it should. Slack in any coverings allows rain and snow to get underneath covers bought at rattan furniture stores and allows the elements to get furniture wet. This can cause rattan furniture to mold and suffer from mildew, because outdoor furniture replacement cushions have gotten wet.

In order to best protect furniture, Outdoor furniture replacement cushions should fit snugly around outdoor patio furniture. Whether the furniture covers snap or are pulled securely over outdoor furniture replacement cushions bought at Rattan furniture stores, the more secure the covers are, the better protection these coverings (gotten at rattan furniture stores), will provide against rainy and snowy weather.

Too much slack in any Outside patio furniture covers will allow rain and moisture to get underneath the covers and soak into replacement cushions placed on wicker furniture. But, having too tight of covers is just as detrimental. Too tight of covers may cause airflow to be blocked and not flow underneath the cover. This may cause wicker furniture to develop an odor from using new plastic covers. Having airflow around wicker furniture may get rid of that plastic smell of the new covers used over furniture that is bought in rattan furniture stores. If using new furniture covers, keep in mind not all covers are alike and may offer different levels of protection, depending on if the furniture covers are down filled, snaps, or stretch over outdoor wicker furniture.

Julianconstruction.com Increasing Energy Efficiency With Solar Panels

Solar panels make homes more energy efficient. The electricity that is generated by the panels is not only good for the environment, it can reduce your energy costs. The amount of money you can save by installing solar electrical systems is determined by how much electricity is used in your home.

Another benefit of installing solar panels is net metering, a term used to describe the policy of contributing any unused electricity back to the utility grid. Net metering was implemented to promote private investment in renewable energy. In California, it is a special billing arrangement that provides credits to customers with solar PV systems. How does net metering work? Solar panel systems generate most of their electricity during the middle of the day when the sun is shining. If your home produces more electricity than what is required, it goes back to the main utility grid. Homeowners receive credits at full retail rates for this excess electricity.

In addition to energy savings, installing a solar electric system helps reduce CO2, NOX and SO2 emissions. In a poll conducted by USA Today, 91% of survey respondents preferred solar power compared to other sources of power.

Solar panels do not make any noise and require very little maintenance. They can be installed when a home is being re-roofed and will add significant value to the property. The state and federal government also offers homeowners special tax benefits and rebates for using clean energy solutions. For example, California residents (and business owners) will receive cash back incentives under the states Go Solar program.

Do you want to know more about your current energy usage? The EPA has several tools that can help homeowners evaluate their energy usage and find out the best way to become more energy efficient. These EPA tools include the Home Energy Yardstick:
https://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=home_energy_yardstick.showgetstarted

and Home Energy Advisor:
http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=home_energy_advisor.showGetInput&__utma=172919287.1213405742.1380054400.1380054400.1380054400.1&__utmb=172919287.8.9.1380055517445&__utmc=172919287&__utmx=-&__utmz=172919287.1380054400.1.1.utmcsr=google|utmccn

The Home Energy Yardstick is an assessment of how much energy your home used during the past 12 months compared to similar types of homes. The data that is used to conduct the assessment comes from your utility bill. The tool uses an algorithm based on the size of your home, number of occupants and the weather in your area. Scoring is on a 1 to 10 scale. A home that scores 10 is performing well compared to other similar homes, while a home that scores 1 is performing poorly when compared to similar types of residences. To use the tool, you will need to provide your zip code, the square footage of your house, the number of occupants and utility bill data for the past 12 months.

The Home Energy Advisor is an online service that gives you free advice on improvements that can increase the energy efficiency of your home. To receive your recommendations, you will need to provide your zip code, data on how your home is cooled and heated, and information on the type of water heater that you use.

If you want to decrease energy costs and are considering installing solar panels, general contractors with experience in solar panel installations should be contacted to discuss your specific needs and options.

Toronto Landscaping Regarding Improving The Path Appeal Of A House

Every realtor will tell the homeowner that a possible buyer is undoubtedly attracted to a home because of the look and feel from the street, suggests terra stone landscaping. Certain facets of the front yard are unchangeable like the distance from the street, placement of the driveway and proximity to other houses. Innovative landscapers are aware that the beauty of the house could be elevated with some modifications. Toronto landscape designs firms can perform the main duties if the task is beyond the homeowners physical capability.

In order of importance, a number of actions can be taken to increase the beauty of any residence through the help of Toronto landscaping experts.

Style the entranceway: A visitor really should be drawn to the front doorway as the total landscape draws him. A contrasting shade on the door sets the entrance aside from the wall color. Take some time to look strongly at the doorway from the most common parking garage in front of the home. Obscure front doorways are not appealing. Many house owners prefer this approach if the sidewalk is a main walkway for a shopping area or school.

Add some pieces of furniture: According to the area, a table and 2 chairs seated close to the doorway may convey a warm feeling of welcome. In other areas, this idea would look out of place. Certain streets in a town might beckon the neighbors to be outside after a hard day of work. Modifications to the front of the house can include extending an entry step to include additional seating.

Increase the plants: Plants and flowers have limited life spans that will require attention. A tired landscaping could be energized with the removing of overgrown bushes and perennials. Dividing perennials is the most economical way to generate thicker planting areas in other places around the yard. Keep away from making hiding areas nearby the house for security reasons.

Light the exterior: Proper illumination can change the style of your home. Lights in trees and on the front of the house create focal points of interest. Low-voltage lighting is easy to install and consumes little power. Many different types of lighting are available. Security experts suggest using exterior lighting to reduce the incidents of crime in any neighborhood.

Place in a statue or water feature: With sufficient space, the front yard becomes an interesting landmark in the neighborhood. A little fountain, water garden or even figurine contributes curiosity for passersby and nearby neighbors. Consult with Toronto landscape designs professionals terra stone landscaping for the plans as well as equipment needed to make the feature a low-maintenance addition to the front lawn.

Boosting the overall look of the front yard does not need thousands of dollars as well as skilled consultation such as Toronto landscaping. The cold winter months are the perfect time to check out some library books and dream about the possibilities.

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What is Landscaping Gardening

By definition, landscape gardening, or garden landscaping is the design of public and outdoor environments to meet specific requirements or objectives. These objectives may involve, in the instance of a public park for example, the landscaping of an area to include seating for park users, lighting, and a playground for children. Landscape gardening is also known as landscape architecture, which is perhaps a more descriptive term, since landscape gardeners will typically design, plan, construct, and oversee the development of an area of landscape that they have been contracted to work on. Many additional services are often offered by landscapers due to the nature of the work, which can include construction, carpentry, tree surgery, fencing, and ground working.
The history of landscape gardening unsurprisingly derives from the design, planning and management of large estates, manors, royal palaces and residencies. During the 18th and 19th centuries, demand grew for the design of increasingly lavish and decadent gardens among the royal palaces and noble residencies. It is thanks to these commissions that we can now enjoy such delights as the gardens of the Palace of Versailles in France, designed by the famous Andr Le Ntre, and the beautiful gardens of Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, England.
Throughout the 19th century, the need for urban planning grew with the rapid development and growth of many cities. The term -landscape architect’ first began to be used by professionals in 1863 when Frederick Law Olmsted adopted the term. Olmsted was in fact responsible for defining many early practises of American landscape architecture in some of his great commissions, which include the famous Central Park in New York City.
Today in the UK, the Landscape Institute (LI) is responsible for promoting and regulating the profession of landscape gardening and landscape architecture. It currently has approximately 6,000 members.
RVDM Landscaping offers a comprehensive range of expert landscape gardening services including ground working and construction services.