Best Ideas To Make Your Home Eco-Friendly In 2020

People all around the world are becoming more eco-conscious. Everyone from large corporations to the average Joe is looking to reduce their carbon footprint and help conserve our environment. Most homeowners nowadays are looking to make their homes eco-friendlier, while also saving a bit of money along the way. There are lots of ways to go about this, so you should familiarize yourself with the basics.

Try some water-saving measures

Sustainability isn’t just about keeping energy expenditures low. Electricity isn’t the only thing we spend a little too much of. There’s also the problem of unsustainable water consumption. Most of us use a little too much water in our everyday lives. Not all of it is exclusively our fault, though. There are a lot of folks that are unaware of how much water some of their fixtures waste.

If you want to get serious about your water expenditure, it might be time to make some slight adjustments. To make concrete changes, you might want to install a low-flow toilet and showerhead. They can save tens of thousands of litres of water every single year. It makes for some very noticeable savings when it adds up. At the same time, ensure that you don’t waste a lot of water whilst brushing your teeth or lathering up during a shower. Individual efforts are just as important as implementing efficient fixtures.

Install energy-efficient lighting

Very few homeowners pay much attention to the efficiency of their home lighting systems. It doesn’t seem like much of a problem when you look at individual bulbs. Even incandescent bulbs don’t use a lot of power, but hardly anyone has their home running on a single lightbulb. It’s a lot more likely that they have dozens of them throughout their house.

Installing LED lightbulbs would save you quite a bit of power. Switching to LEDs might be a bit costly at first, but it’s an investment that is well worth the cost. After a while, the power savings add up. Not to mention, LED lights are famous for lasting years longer than their incandescent and fluorescent counterparts.

If you really want to keep your lighting efficiency up, make sure you utilize your windows throughout the day. Natural lighting is the best way to light your home, and it costs you nothing at all.

Get good with solar

Any modern eco-friendly home would not be complete without solar panels. They’re the single most efficient and environmentally-friendly installation you can add to your home. It’s not difficult to understand why they’re so advantageous, either.

Every home needs to be powered by electricity. If your home’s source is the power grid, it’s inevitable that it will increase its carbon footprint. Even the most progressive countries can only produce so much eco-friendly power from renewable sources for their populations. Some of that power will be sourced from burning fossil fuels and coal. This is because it’s difficult to gauge the overall need of the population for power using solar or wind alone.

Individual efforts for renewable power are a lot simpler, though. Especially when it comes to using solar. All you need is someone to do solar quotes for your home, install power panels, and you have yourself an eco-friendly source of power for the whole household. There’s no need to connect to the grid for most of the year, as the sun’s power will be plentiful, even on cloudy days.

Embrace natural cleaning

Cleaning your home is a regular chore we all have to deal with. You get your cleaning products, a brush, and start scrubbing away at all the dirt that accumulated throughout the week. What you might not know is that this kind of cleaning can harm the environment, depending on what you use to clean.

Various chemical cleaning products use substances that are less-than-ideal for the environment. No matter where you dump the water that’s left over from cleaning, it’s going to end up in the soil or natural water sources. Either it goes down the drain and to the nearest river downstream of sewage, or it drains through the lawn and ends up in underground water. It’s something that pollutes our environment and affects the natural ecosystems that surround us. To change this, you might need to get some natural cleaning products.

The good news is that this problem is relatively easy to solve with some DIY products. You just need some common household items. You would be surprised at how easy it is to clean with baking soda, vinegar, and a combination of both. Combine this with some natural soaps and you’ll have just about everything you need to clean most of your home. No harmful chemicals necessary.

Conclusion

It doesn’t take a lot of effort to make your home eco-friendlier. You just have to get familiar with some environmentally-friendly innovations and apply them. Every change you introduce to your home will make it much eco-friendlier and keep the environment around you safer. It’s well worth the trouble.

A Solution For The Pile Of Leaves

So, you rake up that huge pile of leaves. Now what to do. pick it up by hand? Shovel? Use part of an old tarp and rake the leaves onto the tarp. When you get a manageable amount of leaves on the tarp pick the corners of the tarp up and bring it to your trash to dump. Makes this task so much easier.

Home Improvements To Help You Get Through Winter

You may not like the bitter winter cold but for your house, this season is the hardest to survive. In fact, the biggest structural damage your home suffers occurs during winter as the snow and cold take their toll on the unprepared house. Luckily, there are home improvements that can help you get through winter without any major repairs. Regulating the temperature inside and insulating the walls are just some of the measures you can apply to winter out this snowy season.

Insulating the unusual spots

You probably know all about the importance of insulating the walls of your house. However, it is equally important to invest in insulating the less probably areas of your home. For instance, insulating the basement is not a waste of money since a cold basement will literally drain all the heat from the rooms above.

Furthermore, the hot water pipes that run through the basement can benefit from insulation as well. The last thing you need is lukewarm water reaching your heating bodies when the temperature outside plummets below minus 20 degrees Centigrade. Metal is not very good insulation so even a thin layer of foam around the hot water pipes can help reduce waste of energy.

Finally, insulating the attic is also a great move. You don’t of this space as an energy-inefficient area because the roof is slanted. However, a roof without proper insulation underneath will give out warm air that is generated below. This will cool down the house, especially the upper floor where the nursery and the bedrooms are located.

Disconnecting the garden tap

Just like the hot water pipes in the basement, every meter of piping that is not going to be used during winter and that lacks proper insulation should not be used. This is easier said than done, as homeowners forget to disconnect the garden tap, for instance. They turn it off in September or October and completely about it until springtime comes. However, as temperatures hit their yearly low, the water inside freezes over, increasing the risk of a pipe bursting.

Instead of closing off the garden tap, be sure to disconnect it all together so there is no water inside the pipes underground. The same should be done with other outdoor water features, like a provisional kitchen. As far as swimming pools and splash pads are concerned, they should only be fully emptied but covered with a plastic sheet to prevent the show from accumulating inside them.

Cement rendering the walls

Having mentioned the swimming pool, it is worth noting that its inner walls are much more reliant to cold than the walls of your house. The main reason for this is that cavity insulation can only provide protection against cold air to a certain point.

A much better solution is rendering the walls with cement. This method will not only weatherproof the walls (subzero temperatures included,) but it will increase the overall aesthetic appeal of the house. If you have already used this method to treat your walls, then perform the necessary cement rendering repairs before the onset of winter.

Helping Santa

If your children ask you if the chimney stack is clear for Santa to come down, don’t take this question as a joke. In the best Christmas spirit, be sure to actually look up the chimney. Namely, it needs to be cleaned because you are going to fire up the hearth once again and if there is anything stuck inside the shaft, all sorts of problems can occur. Even if the chimney is unobstructed, it still needs to be cleaned for the inside so call the local chimney sweeper to the rescue. Finally, check the kitchen hood and all the other air vents, as they should all be ready for the winter season.

Inspect the house for openings

In the end, one final checkup will get you ready for the holiday season. Get outside and walk around the house inspecting it in the process for holes, cracks, and openings. You might find out that there is a draft coming from under the windows or that the corner roof tile is missing. These are easy fixes but if you fail to perform them, you could be in trouble after the first snowfall.

If you notice a chilly breeze sweeping through the house but you have ruled out the window area as the likely culprit, turn to the front door. Its bottom section is often disproportion to the size of the frame so a gap several millimeters wide can appear. You could never tell it existed during summer but in winter you’ll need to get a rubber gasket to cover this minuscule opening that cold winds can still get through.

Getting through winter is not easy as it’s the most challenging season of the year for your home. However, a couple of home improvements listed here will help turn the tide around and ensure you spend the snowy January in the comfort of your warm home.

 

Ultimate Home Maintenance Checklist to get Your Ready for Autumn

As much as we enjoy summer and wish it would never end, autumn always comes around. For some, it’s even their favorite season. What’s not to like about pumpkins and colourful leaves? The problem is that autumn also brings with itself a host of problems. It’s important that you take precautions to make sure that the autumn weather won’t cause damage to your home. Here are some examples you should watch out for.

1.     Keep the gutters free

They might not look the part, but your home’s gutters serve a very important role in protecting your house from the elements. They help divert water from your roof and spread it evenly across your garden and backyard. At the same time, they also keep a lot of the debris from staying on the roof or damaging the walls beneath them.

During most of the year, cleaning the gutters isn’t much of a problem. You rid them of leaves and debris every once in a while, and they remain clean. However, autumn is a bit different in this regard. You have to give them a thorough clean and de-clutter them a lot more often. The combination of heavy rains and a bunch of leaves falling will inevitably clog the gutters. This will cause the water to pile up on your roof and it can easily spring a leak. Because of this, you need to make sure that the gutters are regularly cleaned and maintained before the start of autumn.

2.     Check the roof for damage

Every autumn, you can expect a lot of rain to grace your home’s roof. It might be designed to withstand rain and hailstorms, but that doesn’t mean your roof is completely impervious to damage. It’s not uncommon for the occasional shingle to crack or fall off after years of use. This small bit of damage might not harm your roof during most seasons, but it’s going to be hard to ignore when the autumn rains begin.

Leaks can cause a lot of damage to your home. Even if you disregard the loss of heat through the leak opening, you still have a lot of stuff to deal with. Mould can accumulate on your attic walls and damage them. Not to mention, mould can also cause health problems if it’s allowed to grow and spread.

3.     Drain the hoses

Garden hoses might seem like they should be fine on their own, but the weather can cause them some significant damage. There will always be a bit of leftover water in your hoses, even after you turn off the tap. When the weather turns cold, this water can freeze and cause the hoses to burst, possibly damaging them and the faucet.

There are a couple of ways to help keep them safe. For one, you need to make sure they’re completely drained from any excess water. All you have to do is press them from one end to the other. Afterwards, you should roll the hoses up and keep them inside your shed. This will prevent them from getting too cold when late autumn arrives.

4.     Make sure your plumbing is functional

The colder seasons put a lot of pressure on your plumbing. During autumn, the cold temperatures might cause water to expand in some of the external and internal piping, damaging them. This is further exacerbated by the fact that you’re going to start using more hot water than usual. Once the warm summer days are over, people are more likely to quit their cold shower routine, because it gets really cold.

Dealing with the pipes isn’t going to be easy. It’s not a job you can easily DIY. This is why a lot of people look for hot water heating experts to help them during the autumn. It’s a lot easier than opening up the walls and trying to check things out by yourself. Professionals have better tools and diagnostics that can figure out where a problem might manifest itself.

5.     Keep the lawn fed

Different seasons require different care products for your garden and lawn. During autumn, you should take great care in preparing your lawn for the upcoming harsh weather. Since the temperature is about to drop, have to make sure your garden is well-fed.

Autumn is the perfect time to add some fertilizer to your garden and lawn. Plants tend to suffer through the late autumn and winter, which is why they might need more nourishment than usual. Adding fertilizer twice during this season should be enough to keep the plants alive and healthy.

Conclusion

Autumn is a turning point of the year. The weather shifts to dramatically colder temperatures and you’re left with a host of problems if you aren’t prepared. Because of this, you need to know exactly what awaits you during autumn. Make sure you take all the necessary precautions to protect your home and you’re going to have smooth sailing from here on out.

 

Floor Cleaning Tips & Tricks

Regardless of how tidy you are, your floors, rugs, and carpets get dirty. Between the dirt you track in on your shoes, the accidental spills, and the inevitable accumulation of dust, your floors can get quite grimy. Here are a few cleaning tips and tricks for all types of flooring.

Natural Stone Floors
One of the most important rules when it comes to cleaning natural stone, is to steer clear of acidic products like vinegar, ammonia, or bleach, as they can ruin the stone. Your best bet is to use a pH-neutral cleaner that won’t react with the minerals in your stone floor.

Tile Floors
Tile is easy to clean. Simply combine ¼ cup of vinegar and one drop of dish soap in a spray bottle. Fill the rest with water and mix well. Spritz the mixture onto your tile surface and wipe it down with a microfiber cloth or mop. Steaming the tiles and grout will provide a deep cleaning.

Carpets
Unlike other flooring surfaces, carpets have their own set of rules. For a deep clean, it’s best to steam clean your carpets. For regular cleaning, using a vacuum should suffice.

Hardwood Floors
Wood floors need a lot of attention. Start by determining whether your floor is sealed or not. If it’s unsealed, avoid using water and instead try mineral oil and periodic coats of wax. If the floor is sealed, a simple mix of hot water and soap is a safe bet.

Linoleum
Start by sweeping or vacuuming the floor to get rid of dust, hair, and dirt. Then add about six drops of mild detergent or dish soap to a gallon of warm or hot water. Dampen a mop with the mixture and use it to clean the floor in sections. Avoid getting the mop too wet, and make sure to dry the floors with a towel when you’re done. Standing water can damage linoleum.