Throwing Shade: Go Low-Tech But Stay Cool

If you know all too well how unbearable it can be once summer hits you’ll already be looking at ways to keep your bills down and your air supply up! Depending on where you live, temperatures can quickly reach 90 Degrees Fahrenheit and it’s much harder to concentrate, sleep and eat when the sun’s at its zenith. One of the best ways to keep cool during the summer months is to stay hydrated. You should also always make sure you carry sunglasses, as even on cloudy days the sun can be powerful, and our eyes are incredibly sensitive.

It may also be worth keeping your curtains open at night, that way the cold air will alleviate the stuffiness in your house once the sun’s gone down. Try to get as much fresh air blowing through your home as possible by opening windows, doors, using fans to circulate and blasting the AC for a few hours so the filters to trap any dirt and debris that may be floating around. You may also have noticed a greater abundance of insects appearing, summer is often where you see the most wasps, bees, flies and beetles. Take precautions by putting up fly screens even if you don’t live in a rural area and check food is never allowed to sit out in the heat, not only will this spoil the flavor and texture but it could make you quite ill. While bees and wasps may look pretty buzzing around your flowerbeds, they have a nasty sting so always know where your tweezers, antiseptic insect bite cream and plasters are!

Brown Woven Umbrella

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Take Cover

Parasols are great but if you want to make a real difference to the temperature in your home why not buy yourself an awning? The Department of Energy has stated awnings, or shaded covers can reduce heat by 30% simply because the sun rises and the linen cover takes the brunt of the heat while rays bounce off. While awnings aren’t as fashionable as they used to be; they do add a certain charm to your property as well as allowing you to sit outside comfortably. Before buying an awning always check to see if your property is suitable, maintain both the mechanism and fabric to stop cracks or holes appearing and never let children pull or raise awnings themselves as they could get their fingers trapped. Avoid any accidents by using an awning pole, a device similar to a loft pole which attaches to the hook on the underside and lets you pull down the striped sail from a safe distance.

Vacant Swing Near Grey and Green Tree

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Get Planting!

If you’re very lucky, you’ll live somewhere with lots of trees which isn’t just good for your health because trees take in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen, but they also act as a natural barrier and so quite often the temperature in the shade is at least ten degrees cooler than out in the open! However, lots of us believe that as long as there are trees somewhere nearby, we’ll automatically stay much cooler! Sadly, that’s not always the case as depending on where those trees are placed, that’ll decide how much shade you get. If you have no trees close to the house, it may be worth thinking about planting some young saplings now. Choose trees that grow quite quickly like poplars, maples, birches, and willows as well as those that are famed for their leafy, green appearance, so they’ll give you plenty of shade.

To save a significant amount of energy, or at least figure that’ll be noticeable on your next bill plant trees on the south and west-facing sides of your property. Everyone knows that south facing gardens tend to get the most sun, so by creating a tree line there you’ll reduce the heat dramatically. Remember, trees are a natural way to cool down your entire home as well as encouraging wildlife into the neighborhood. When planting always check the property boundaries before you start digging and as long as you don’t cross over onto your neighbor’s land you’re fine.

However, we do suggest being courteous as not only do you not want to start a turf war but it means if you block their beautiful view now they could do the same thing to you later on.

bed, bedroom, chair

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Have A Ceiling Fan

It may seem a bit old-fashioned, almost colonial, but high ceiling fans do a fantastic job of keeping the air moving while cooling down rooms you spend the most time in. In fact, the more people you put somewhere small the hotter the overall room temperature gets. This is because we each have our own perfect temperature! Some people feel much colder than others but in a big group heat becomes the dominant force and as it rises things then get fairly uncomfortable quite quickly as people begin to sweat.

Ceiling fans aren’t as ugly as they used to be and now come in a variety of shapes and sizes they’re also quieter than you’d expect. Remember, these fans are designed to keep you from melting so if you’re going out turn the fan off! If you really need your AC on, and let’s face it in mid-summer plenty of us see it as a lifesaver try to look for one that’s as silent as possible. There are also some great quiet ac units out there that won’t make you feel like you’re standing in the middle of an airfield instead of your living room every time you turn on the remote control!

art, brush, color

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White Out!

Do you recall your eighth-grade science lessons and how your teacher told you how snow reflects the heat instead of absorbing it due to it’s lighter color? The same principal applies to our roofs so if you want to lower the temperature below you should mix it up above! It’s often why you’ll find buildings and roofs painted white or yellow in hotter countries so that the encroaching heat doesn’t seep inside. Believe it or not, a report by Climate Change Research suggested that if all buildings and roads in the US were painted white the energy saved could run into millIons of dollars.

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DIY Home Decor For The Tentative Decorator

Want your home to look beautiful, but don’t have the funds to hire professional decorators? No need to fear, there’s plenty you can do yourself without breaking the bank! Here are a few points to bear in mind if you’re new to decorating and want to have a go.

Colours and Theme

Before diving in with your decorating, spend some time beforehand on the planning stages. This helps to keep everything looking cohesive, and you will get the best result at the end. Scour blogs and Pinterest for rooms you like the look of, picking out different colours, design features and other elements that catch your attention. Have an idea of the kind of colours and the overall look you want to achieve at the end, this saves you purchasing things that don’t look right and wasting your money. Opting for all neutral walls is your best bet if you are unsure. They will make the room look light, bright and airy and you can bring in colour with home accessories. Paint ceilings and woodwork such as skirting boards and doors in a brilliant white for a super fresh and clean look.

architecture, cabinets, carpet

[Photo courtesy of ATBO/pexels.com]

Painting

It’s always advisable to try out a few paint samples on the walls before investing in a big tin. The colour of the walls underneath and the light in the room will affect how it looks once it’s dry so don’t just take a chance. Once you’ve chosen a colour to get a few samples in different shades and paint them onto the wall so you can see which looks best. Start by ‘cutting in’ which is going around all of the edges of the room neatly with a paintbrush, and do the rest with a roller which is quick, easy and gives a smooth finish. Be sure to cover your flooring with old sheets or painters dust sheets to protect it, take your time and do a second or even a third coat if it needs it. Be sure to let each layer fully dry before moving onto the next.

Wallpaper

Adding some wallpaper to the feature wall in your room is a good way to bring in personality, and is good for those who are new to decorating since it’s a smaller area than a whole room. If you’ve never wallpapered before watch a tutorial online first. Follow the techniques carefully, and ideally have another pair of hands to help you. If you’re unsure, you could use repositionable wallpaper, that way if you make a mistake it’s easy to correct. And if you’re renting it’s easy to remove at the end of your tenancy. If you’ve painted the other walls in a light, neutral colour the wallpaper is where you can be a bit bolder. You could go for a bright or bold colour, a statement design or just keep it subtle if that’s more your style.

Do you do much decorating yourself at home, or do you usually call in the professionals?

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An Essential Guide To Saving Time When Completing DIY Projects

DIY projects can be extremely fun and at the same time, they give you the opportunity to save lots and lots of cash. Since the economic recession took its grip, a lot of people have been considering completing tasks in the home rather than employing a contractor. Here is your chance to save huge amounts of cash!

If you are considering doing any kind of DIY projects, you need to read this essential guide. This guide will help you save lots of time with each project, but will also ensure that each project is completed to the highest standard possible.

Plan

The first thing that you need to do before you begin is plan the project. This means ensuring you have the right tools, deciding when you will have time to complete the project and even sourcing materials.

If you plan in advance, you will save a lot of time. For instance, if you don’t have all the materials you might find that you are going from one DIY store to the next, just to pick up odd washers and valves. By ensuring that you have ordered all of these items online before hand, you could end up saving yourself a few hours.

Write, Plan, Business, Startup, Start-Up, Notebooks

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Organize

Once you have planned your project down to every single fine detail, you need to think about organising your work space in a methodical way. Before you begin get all the tools out that you need and place them where you will be using.

Do the same with any materials that you have purchased. If you don’t organise your work place before hand, the job will end up taking a lot longer. Of course, if you are doing things like painting or plastering, you will want to cover up all the windows and carpets to ensure that they don’t get damaged or dirty.

Complex Tasks

The next thing to consider is whether or not there are any individual complex tasks that are part of this project. This might include things such as pipe bending and soldering, carpet fitting or high level plastering.

If you can see any part of the job being extremely complex, it might be worth calling in an expert. Although it will cost money, it will save you lots of time. An expert is likely to take half the time to complete a task in comparison to you, simply because of their experience. They are also likely to complete jobs to a much higher standard.

Tool Belt, Roof, Belt, Tool, Construction, Work, Worker

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Tooling

You will need to buy or rent the correct tools for the job. Don’t try and complete a DIY project without the correct tools. If you do you are going to do one of two things; damage materials or take extremely long to complete the job.

There are some expensive tools that might make jobs run a lot more smoothly and a lot faster. For instance, if you are trying to fix a leak in a pipe that is underground, you can use GPR scanning to locate the leak rather than ripping up the floor.

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Time For You To Spring Into Action? Get Your Deep Clean Started Now

While the theory of a ‘spring clean’ seems, at first, quite old fashioned. In reality, there’s quite a lot of benefits to having a proper tidy up. Spring cleaning also means finally getting around to those more mundane household chores like giving your skirting boards, ceilings and even window sills a good wash!

Organize Kitchen Cabinets

[Photo courtesy of 148 Straith Street Staunton/flickr.com]

You’d be surprised how muck and grime can get into your kitchen cabinets over a few months, let alone an entire year. This is a somewhat arduous task so you may want to set aside an afternoon where you’ll be fairly undisturbed. First, either pile whatever was in the cupboard onto the clean worktop or put down newspaper on the kitchen floor. Next, use soap and water or, if you prefer, a cleaning spray to clean inside making sure you get right into the corners as that’s where dust and dirt accumulate. If you placed wallpaper, old DIY trick, down to protect the shelf you might need to replace it as over time it’ll fade and tear.

Go Through Your Closets

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Keeping clothes in pristine condition not only helps to preserve colour, shape and even fabric quality but it also stops them getting ripped or torn. Take the time to assess every, and we mean every item in you and your kid’s wardrobes for any alterations needed. Have each member of your family create three piles consisting of clothes they want to keep, donate and throw away as well as any old underwear and socks they wish to get rid of. For some reason children love to keep ripped, faded and buttonless clothes so don’t push too hard if they really can’t bear to part with something. Items that can’t be donated or recycled should be bagged up ready for collection by a same day rubbish removal service.

Defrost Your Fridge Freezer

[Photo courtesy of Julien Belli/flickr.com]

One of the more laborious household tasks that invariably leads to children asking for ice cream or popsicles is cleaning the freezer. Once a year it’s vital that your fridge / freezer enjoys a thorough deep clean to remove up any ice build up, maintain shelf cleanliness and toss away any spilt or loose food that’s fallen into the drawers. Defrosting and resetting your fridge also gives the system a chance to reboot, spot any temperature problems and highlight any faults with the ice machine. Don’t neglect surfaces, doors and seals plus cleaning those trays where you keep sauces and even the little light inside as it all attracts bacteria.

Clean Your Washing Machine

[Photo courtesy of Phil Long/flickr.com]

While most new washing machines perform admirably, as your trusty nine-kilo appliance gets a little older your clothes may start to smell slightly. Any musty, or mildew-like smells can mean your machine itself needs washing. An excellent way to give it a thorough clean is to pop some vinegar and bicarbonate of soda onto a cloth and give it a good scrub. Be careful that when you do not to damage door seals or the drum edge as they can be quite delicate. For an extra thorough clean select a hot wash cycle, add any cleaning agents and simply wait thirty to sixty minutes.

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