Choosing the Right Water Filter for Your Home

choosing the right water filter for your home

How can home water filtering technologies be of value to us today? Tap water has become contaminated with various chemical elements such as radon, arsenic, and nitrites. Organic elements such as Echerichia Coli bacteria has also become increasingly common. On the other hand, there is bottled water as an alternative which is advertised as “safe” and “natural”, but is less regulated than the tap water supply. By using home water filters, you can filter out and remove sediments and chemicals from tap water, and make it healthy to consume.

Initial Considerations

First, you need to think about your household and family needs. For tackling the pollutant problem the right way, you will have to determine all the types of chemicals your tap water is water filtercontaminated with. You should buy water filters that are certified by an official water testing agency, and pay attention to the list of contaminants that those filters remove. Weigh down how much effort and time you are ready to put into water filtering and how much water you spend on a daily basis.

Pitchers & Faucet Mounted Filters

Pitchers can remove disinfection products, mercury, chlorine, lead, and also improve the taste of water. There is a wide range of models available that come in various sizes and styles. They will require regular cartridge changes, depending on the filter model. In a recent chat with Sydney-based retailers of water filters, I learned that pitcher filters are convenient for one or two people, because frequent cartridge changes may turn the annual cost of a faucet-mounted filter.

Faucet-mounted filters are an ideal solution for filtering drinking and cooking water, because they are easy to install and relatively inexpensive. Like pitchers, they are equipped with carbonated filters that remove a wide variety of pollutants. They also require frequent filter changes, and may slow down the water flow.

Countertop & Under-Sink Filters

Countertop filters are situated on a counter and connected to the faucet with a line. Large amounts of water can be filtered with a countertop filter, without the need for making any choosing the right water filterplumbing notifications and frequent cartridge changes. They are usually more expensive than faucet-mounted filters and pitchers. However, fixed installation and plumbing modifications are required for under-sink filters. They do not require a lot of maintenance and do not cramp the counter area. Ideal for kitchen use, they include carbon and reverse osmosis, among other filtering technologies.

Water-purifying Technologies

The best water filtering technologies used today include: distillers, reverse osmosis, carbon filters and ultraviolet light. Distillers are the least effective and practical, generate excess heat and consume a lot of electricity. Reverse osmosis filters can remove many water impurities that cannot be removed by activated carbon (nitrates, fluoride, hexavalent chromium and arsenic). However, they waste a lot more water than they produce, thus they are advised for house application.

Carbon filters use activated carbon. They neutralize water contaminants by bonding them with activated carbon, and are best for removing chlorine byproducts, herbicides and pesticides, lead, MTBE (the gasoline additive), small number of pharmaceuticals and certain parasites. Ultraviolet light is used for killing microorganisms and bacteria, but cannot remove chemical contaminants, so it cannot be considered a filtering method. UV technology is most effective when used in conjunction with carbon filters.

Whole-House Filters

These filters are good for removing rust, sediments, and chlorine, but not for pollutants like metals, volatile organic compounds, and cysts. They require plumbing changes and have a long cartridge life.

Conclusion

The list of hazardous contaminants in our tap water is constantly growing and there is no water filter that can remove all contaminants. That is why it is important to determine those hazardous substances that prevail in your water, and choose your water filter unit accordingly.

 

Simple Projects You Can Do In A Weekend To Improve Indoor Air Quality In Your Home

cleaning your home

If you’ve ever thought about improving the air quality in your home, you may be surprised to find out that your project can be achieved in very little time. In fact, you can try some of these simple projects to ensure that you can breathe a little easier at home:

Clean Your Home

When it comes to dust and allergens, there’s no better way to get them out of the air than to have a strict cleaning regimen. When cleaning your home, you should not only vacuum the pet hair out of your carpet, you should also try to keep your pets as clean as possible. If you have any pet supplies like toy baskets, litter boxes or food bowls near your vents, you need to move them because of the propensity for vents to blow airborne irritants around your home.

Upgrade Your Bathroom Vent Fans

Your bathroom can eventually develop poor air quality because of mold and mildew. Therefore, you should make sure you remove excess moisture from this area by installing quality vent bathroomfans in every bathroom of your home. Newer models of bathroom vent fans come with humidity sensors, which make them far more effective than their predecessors.

Test for Radon

It doesn’t really matter if your home is old or new, you should always test for radon. Since radon is colorless and odorless, there’s only one way to find out if it’s inside your home. Over time, it may affect your health, so getting this checked is important.

Add Spot Ventilation

Many times, closets and closed in spaces get musty odors. If you want to combat these potential irritants, try installing a recessed light fixture and vent fan combination. These nifty devices are also useful for ventilating humid air from laundry rooms.

Get your Heating System Checked

A malfunctioning heating system can contribute to poor air quality, so be sure to get your heating filter changed and get your heating system checked. It’s important to replace faulty and older units that aren’t working well, and professionals can help make sure it’s replaced or repaired properly. You can also consider other indoor air quality products like UV lights to help improve the air you breathe in your home.

Your family’s health can be greatly affected by the air quality in your home, so it’s important to take necessary steps to make improvements. These tips will help you get started to making your home air quality better.

Informational credit to One Hour Air Conditioning & Heating.

 

 

Synergy of architecture and gardening – living walls and roofs

green architecture

Houses whose walls are covered in green, with only windows sticking out, are definite eye turners wherever they exist. The same goes for those establishments whose roofs resemble a green garden and make you wonder what lies beneath. Are those merely aesthetical contributions or is there something else that inspired their owners to have them? Here is what this is all about.

Green walls are in fact sets of plant panels vertically growing on free-standing or structures attached to the walls. They are sustainable and very durable. Apart for aesthetic contribution, green walls are a great way to improve the quality of living.  They provide great thermal and acoustic isolation and represent a very successful air cleaner, especially the interior ones, and pollution barrier. Everything stated applies to green roofs as well. Now, important facts about their installment.

Green walls

green wallThere is much more to green wall systems behind the design. The most durable ones consist of a frame, waterproof panels, automatic irrigation system and optional extras, such as lights for example and plants, of course. The frame is attached to the walls on several secured points, without damaging the structure and leaving air between them to reinforce the insulation and prevent moisture. This is additionally secured by using waterproof panels, which hold the entire structure together. The most successful green walls are soilless, which makes them easier to maintain, more efficient and economic when it comes to irrigation and lighter, thus easier and safer to install. The choice of plants that can be used is practically infinite and this makes them highly customizable and allows creation of unique designs and patterns.

Green roofs

So, you put a lot of soil canisters on top of your house, plant different greenery in it, and let the rain and the Sun take care of everythinggreen roof else? Of course not. Installing a green roof, that is a successful one, is a complex task. If you think you will not be able to rise to the challenge, the best way to go is to let the professionals do it and here is why. First of all, the roof needs to be prepared and to have a pitch of at least one quarter of an inch for every foot it runs. This is something that flat roof homeowners should pay special attention to. Next, you need to be sure that your roof will be able to support the load, which can amount to 30 pounds of extra load per square foot.  If it needs strengthening, do not do anything else before you finish this. The next step is to isolate the roof surface, usually with rubber or some other waterproof material. Now you are ready for positioning of one by two foot planted trays and arranging them to cover the whole roof area. The trays are placed in rows starting from the bottom all the way to the top. They are connected to each other for stability and irrigation and raised above the roof surface, to allow runoffs. Finally, exterior grade screws are used to reinforce the whole and it is watered to allow the soil to settle down.  Unless there is a four week period of draught, you will not need to water it ever again.

Obviously, this synergy of architecture and gardening will not only make your house aesthetically appealing, but you will have a healthier and more pleasant living environment and a bigger home budget. A win-win situation.

 

What You Need to Know about Your Septic System

If you have a septic system, chances are you don’t think about it often. For the most part, as long as it’s doing what it’s supposed to be doing, you may not even really care about it.

What is a septic system? How big are they? What does it cost to replace one? Arm yourself with the knowledge of what a septic tank is and how to maintain one, in case something goes wrong.

What is a Septic Tank?

septic tankA septic tank is one part of the overall septic system. As a homeowner, you should know where your septic tank is and how old it is. Generally, septic tanks last about 20 years but they need regular pumping to remove buildup, sludge and scum. Residential septic tanks are required in neighborhoods where there is no connection to the city’s main sewage pipes.

About 25 percent of the homes in the United States rely on septic systems. Most septic systems have four components: a pipe leading from the home, a septic tank, a drainage field or leach field, and soil. Microbes in the soil are responsible for removing many of the contaminants from the wastewater you produce before it hits the groundwater. The septic tank itself is a watertight container made out of concrete, fiberglass or polyethylene and is buried underground to hold wastewater. From this wastewater, solids settle to form sludge, and oils come to the surface, known as scum. Special compartments and screens keep the sludge and scum from entering the drainfield.

Tips to Protect Your Septic System

To keep your septic system in good working order, it’s necessary to have it pumped out regularly. How often you do this depends on many factors, including family size, tank size and the volume of solids. For example, if you have a 900 gallon-tank for a family of four, you’ll need to pump it every two years. If you’ve got a 1500-gallon tank, you can get away with every four years. Also, if you have a garbage disposal, you’re dumping more solids into your tank than someone without a disposal — 50 percent more in fact.

Maintaining your septic system not only contributes to the life span of the unit, it also protects the investment in your home. If you don’t have it pumped regularly, it can back up and malfunction, contaminating the groundwater and thus the drinking water. It can also cost thousands of dollars to replace the tank. You could become legally responsible if you have a malfunctioning septic tank or one that’s not in use or in disrepair, which could make your property value plummet.

Pumping your system every couple of years at between $100 and $300 pales in comparison with the average cost of replacing a septic tank, which could run you between $3,000 and $10,000. Get in a regular maintenance plan with a company in your area so you are always on top of your pumping schedule. If you let it go too long, you will be met with some unpleasant signs your tank is overflowing, from an awful smell to backed up toilets. Some of the newer systems feature convenient alert systems when the tank is approaching full capacity.

You have to be careful with your septic system, as its capacity to handle bulky items is much less than a city sewage system. For instance, never flush dental floss, cotton swabs, feminine hygiene products, condoms, diapers, cat litter or paper towels, as they could damage the septic system. Likewise, if you flush chemicals, oil, pesticides, antifreeze or paint down the toilet, these harmful substances can harm the system’s biological treatment process and accumulate in the groundwater. Taking proper care of your septic tank and related system is important to keeping it in tip-top shape.

This article was provided by Matt Jeffries, on-site contract manager and all-around handy man. If you need an extra hand with your plumbing, Matt recommends Doug Turner Plumbing.

 

How to Choose the Right Dehumidifier for Your Home

What HumidifierEvery home needs a little breathing space and a dehumidifier can be the ideal investment for homes that experience high moisture levels and its damaging effects.

High humidity can cause a number of concerns for both your home and your health. Damp, mould, mildew and condensation can all make a property an unpleasant place to live and work but, by using a dehumidifier, you can improve your home or business property’s atmosphere for good. Check out this buyer’s guide from leading dehumidification company, Airandwatercentre.com, and source the right dehumidifier for your property and your budget.

Know your dehumidifier models

There are three main types of dehumidifier available, each has its pros and cons, and may suit one property more than another. The refrigerant dehumidifier uses a similar method to your home refrigerator to condense the air and collect moisture. These are generally more useful in warmer months and tend not to be used all year round.

The desiccant dehumidifier actually absorbs water and can operate at much lower temperatures than the refrigerant dehumidifier. The peltier dehumidifiers are much more suited to commercial use due to their low capacity and high energy cost.

Determine your desired capacity

When it comes to finding the right type of dehumidifier for your property, getting the capacity correct is your first objective. There are many models on the market, all of which have varying capacities. These capacities are based on a term called ‘relative humidity’ or RH, which provides a projection on the amount of moisture a particular model can remove from the air.

The RH, however, is based on its operation in a room with very high humidity, so the amount of moisture extracted from a room with a medium to high humidity level may vary. Using a hygrometer to take a precise reading of your home humidity levels can quickly identify which capacity dehumidifier you require and can pinpoint rooms that need help ridding excess moisture and those that don’t.

Calculating CFM

The air flow volume of a dehumidifier can also determine whether it is a suitable size and type for your dehumidification needs. The air flow of a unit is measured using ‘cubic feet per minute’, also known a CFM, and can make or break the effectiveness of your battle against high humidity.

The size of the room determines how much air will have to pass through the dehumidifier, whilst higher humidity levels require the moisture to pass through the unit more often. By determining the percentage of humidity within the air (again using your hygrometer) and taking into account the size of your room in cubic feet, you can find the right capacity and air flow volume to fully dehumidify your home and get rooms back to the recommended 40% to 60% humidity level.

Choose an ‘all year round’ model

Many dehumidifiers can be used all year round, however protecting the internal components of an appliance in particularly cold weather can be tricky. Choose a model with built-in frost protection if you intend to use this in the winter and summer months. These defrost any cooling coils and keep your dehumidifier working in plummeting temperatures.

Automation and dehumidifier noise

Dehumidifiers aren’t the quietest home appliance and can often be a disruptive addition to any busy family home or office. Choosing a model with adjustable speed settings can minimise noise, whilst quieter dehumidifiers are available on the market. The majority of dehumidifiers also switch off automatically when the tank is at capacity, whilst a number of newer models give homeowners the option to switch on the appliance when humidity reaches a certain point courtesy of a built-in humidistat.

There are a number of dehumidifiers available, however with this essential guide we are certain you can buy with confidence on your upcoming shopping trip!

 

4 Steps to a Clutter and Pest Free Basement

A cluttered and disorganized basement can be a particularly frustrating prospect for any homeowner and there are a number of problem pests that are all too willing to take advantage of these unkempt conditions. Nevertheless, it is all too easy for rubbish to pile up and attract unwanted guests, but by using these four steps you can make your cluttered property clean and tidy once more…

Understand the Benefits of a Clutter-Free Space

ratThe first step to salvation is understanding why your home’s condition is a problem. As we mentioned, one of the major issues found in many cluttered properties is pests which can turn a once happy home into an unhealthy place to live. Pests like rodents, cockroaches and insects carry disease and can cause respiratory problems and other health complaints if infested areas are left untreated. Decluttering and disinfecting these affected areas can dramatically reduce pest problems.

In addition to pests, there are other health effects of living in a cluttered home. Cluttered basements tend to put you and other family members at risk of falls, whilst the excessive clutter and heightened levels of dust and dust mites can exacerbate respiratory problems, especially if you suffer from allergies or asthma. Decluttering your home will also reduce stress levels, creating a clear space for you to enjoy with friends and family members for years to come.

Focus on the End-Result

Letting go of years of clutter can be a particularly traumatic experience, especially if you are a compulsive hoarder. However, focusing on the end-result and what you can achieve in your new, decluttered basement will ensure you start off your clear out with extra vigor and full commitment. Remember that your home needs to be functional as well as risk and pest free for you to truly enjoy it. For many people, it helps to put pen to paper before starting the decluttering mission; this will enable you to acknowledge the challenge your basement or any other room within your home presents.

Decluttering just in time for Christmas is also highly recommended and will make light work of finding those decorations and other festive treats that become hidden under the remnants of last year.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

Asking for help from a professional is always recommended if you are dealing with a particularly large mountain of mess within your home. Salvage experts can be a real help, whilst enlisting a qualified pest controller to handle any pest problems you may have head on is essential to getting your home back to a clutter and pest free condition.

A Few More Tips for Conquering the Clutter

When it comes to controlling your cluttered home, always start slow to ensure you handle every room as effectively as the next. Sticking to the mantra of throwing items out that you haven’t used in the last year is also advisable when curbing your hoarding obsession. Reserve a small box for items that you are really unsure about whether to throw out or not; revisit this in six months and if you still haven’t used this, let it go without any regrets at all!

This post was written by Brittany Thorley from Cheshire Demolition UK, one of the nation’s leading salvage and reclamation companies. They assist hundreds of homes every year in their decluttering mission!

Do you need help with your basement?  If you live in the lower Westchester, NY region, we can help you get more organized by renovating your basement and adding walls to create new storage areas.  Be sure to give us a call at 914-576-2572 to schedule your free in home estimate. – Gary B.

Feng Shui for the Home

When we’re in the process of renovating a room or our entire house, the motivation is usually aesthetics and function. However, another thought that might be worth pondering when you’re improving on a room is how will these changes make me feel and how will it affect my life outside my home. The idea that our immediate surroundings are connected to our human experiences is the center principle on which Feng Shui is based on.

Feng Shui which literally translates to “wind-water”, originated over 3,500 years in China. It was originally used to designate the placement and orientation of predominantly spiritually significant objects, like tombs. Since then, millions of people all over the world have used the principles from Feng Shui to organize their home and work space in a way that is designed to invite more positive and prosperous energy into your life.

With a practice that is as old as Feng Shui is, it can be a bit overwhelming for beginners.Thankfully, this infographic below by Soothing Company, offers a helpful blueprint for employing this Western style of Feng Shui, which does not rely on compass directions. All you have to do to use the chart below, is to align the lower portion of the plan with the wall of the front door of your house. Check it out below!

Creating the perfect sleep environment this spring

creating the perfect sleep environmentEveryone, including moms and doctors, can agree that a good night of sleep is necessary for good health, high energy, and an individual’s overall well-being. Not getting enough good sleep – or rapid eye movement sleep – can affect the mind and body’s ability to react appropriately to outside factors, the National Sleep Foundation reports.

Creating the perfect sleep environment is the first step toward ensuring a good night of sleep. March, the first month of spring, is also National Sleep Awareness Month, and it aims to remind everyone why a good night of zzz’s is so important. One in four adults in the United States experience occasional sleepiness, difficulty falling asleep, or waking up feeling un-refreshed at least a few times per week, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

Fortunately, you can implement these tips this spring, and create a comfortable sleeping environment in your home for both you and your family.

* Eliminate distractions – Electronics. Noises. Lights. Many items, such as laptops, TVs and cellphones, commonly found in bedrooms can cause distractions and prevent a person from entering REM sleep. Remove these items from the room. Also, consider running a fan or white noise machine to create a soft sound barrier, which will help muffle unexpected sounds like a person flushing the toilet or an engine rumbling loudly on the street outside.

* Establish comfort – Creating a sleep-conducive environment is an important factor in making the most out of every minute you sleep. Cuddle up each night with soft linens and create a calming atmosphere in the bedroom.

* Be routine – The human body reacts favorably to familiar and repeated movements. So consider following a routine every night, whether it’s taking a warm bath, reading a chapter in a book or journaling. The National Sleep Foundation advises against watching TV or using electronics as part of this routine because electronics can hinder quality sleep.

* Stay active – Sleep is needed to give the body energy to get through its daily activities. Conversely, daily activities are needed to tire the body out for a good night of sleep. Consider adding physical activities into your daily schedule so you can settle into bed between the covers each night, tired and ready for a good night of sleep.

Nobody enjoys walking around in a mental fog or having no energy during the day, so be sure to create the perfect sleep environment in your home for you and your family this spring. It will help you get the most out of every minute of your zzz’s.

Organize Your Home With Decluttering

Organize Your Home With DeclutteringDecluttering the home is a tough task for almost everyone because it involves parting with items we are used to and organizing the entire area in a better and more functional way. Effective decluttering has plenty of benefits – for our health, mood and the functionality of the home as a whole.  A decluttering project can make your home look much better and the results will be visible.  Decluttering doesn’t have to be a fast-paced process, but you have to be realistic about things and get rid of those that you never use.  Here are some of the rules of decluttering which will help you significantly:

1. Furniture:   You need to use your furniture pieces for what they are intended. If the kitchen table is used more for storage or a dumping area, you know you have a problem. It’s a place to cook and have a family meal, not store items. The kitchen is a focal area in every home and should be used accordingly. Make a habit of cleaning the kitchen table and only put items that add beauty to it – a bowl of fruit, a vase with flowers, a box with bread, etc.

2. Treasures:   If your home is cluttered it’s difficult to spot the actual treasured possessions. Take them out from Organize Your Home With Declutteringdrawers and declutter the shelves one by one. You don’t need that many things all over the place to have a beautiful home. In fact, a more minimalist design is always the better way to organize your possessions.

3. Time:  When the home is decluttered, you can clean and tidy up easily, which leaves you more time for other things like simply sitting down and relaxing. Moreover, it will make the rest of the family more inclined to help you after seeing the benefits of the decluttered area.

4. Guests:  With a clean and decluttered home it’s much easier to invite guests on a regular basis and not start with tidying up all over. This can even improve your social life.

5. Health:  One of the biggest benefits of decluttering the home is the much cleaner living environment, which is medically proven. These benefits on the health include: reduced stress, better sleep, less depression, less colds and flu, easier breathing, immune system that’s more resilient to illnesses, cleaner skin, more motivation, healthier plants and more. All of these benefits are enough to show you how important decluttering is for having a clean and healthy home.

Organize Your Home With DeclutteringDon’t postpone this task anymore and look for other storage options for all those items that keep lying around and cluttering the rooms. Once you organize your home properly, you will be astonished at how much better you feel at home and wonder why you haven’t done it earlier.

Guest Post By:

Bio: Ella Andrews is a content writer who has great flair for decoration and interior design. She is always searching for new challenges. Therefore her present article is focused on house maintenance related theme.

Fun with Fido: Tips for an active summer with your dog

Enjoy Summer activities with your pets!Pet parents know that the best way to put an extra wag in a dog’s tail and a spring in his step is to mention the word “walk” or “outside.” We’ve all seen it before. Pets automatically perk up at the opportunity for time outdoors. Additionally, an active lifestyle is just as beneficial for the pets as it is for the pet owners and promotes a healthy routine, while strengthening the loving bond.

It’s the perfect time of year to incorporate some extra activities into your pet’s schedule. The warmer weather and longer daylight hours offer additional time outside. When planning vacations, weekend getaways, or even weeknight outings, be sure to include activities that are pet-friendly. Try these tips and share in an active summer with your four-legged friends.

* Go for a hike. Getting out in the woods is a thrill for dogs – everywhere they turn, there’s something to sniff, look at or maybe even chase. Hit the trails with him for an active outing that’s refreshing, healthy and fun. It’s important to be well-supplied for hikes. Be sure to bring plenty of water as well as wholesome snacks.

* Explore new neighborhoods. Most people and pets have a well-worn path on their neighborhood walks, so why not switch up the scenery? Stray off the usual route, or drive somewhere different to go for a stroll. Try to find dog-friendly business districts that encourage visitors to bring pets along. In urban cities, dog-friendly parks are great places to spend time with your dog and even meet fellow pet parents. Make sure to pack treats to keep everyone refreshed and fueled, and be courteous by bringing baggies to pick up after your dog.

* Do good for charity. Supporting local and national charities that benefit dogs and other pets goes a long way toward giving animals in need the life they deserve. One way to participate is through fundraising walks that support charities such as animal shelters and animal welfare organizations. Charitable organizations that are also pet-friendly are the perfect way to participate in a great cause while being active with a pet.

Health and activity are closely linked for both people and pets. So what’s good for people is good for furry family members. Think creatively about how to do more together with your pet, and you’ll find plenty of ways to enjoy the season and each other.

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