10 Quirky Air Conditioning Facts That Will Blow Your Mind

Your home’s air conditioner has a lot more history than you may think. It’s a modern luxury that we often forget we are privileged to have until it goes out on us in the peak heat of summer. When you have an emergency 24 hour electricians Melbourne, you should never attempt to correct the problem on your own.

Air conditioning has changed a lot over the course of history. Here are 10 trivia facts about AC that will definitely spark great dinner conversation.

1. The First Places to Use AC?: Movie Theaters

Surprised? Us too. Movie theaters were among the first public places to have air conditioning, as a ploy to try to get everyone to come to the movies.

Theaters would release big pictures in the summer, hence the term “summer blockbuster.”

2. What Relies on Air Conditioning to Survive?: Medications

Air conditioners allow many of the medications you take each day to be studied and developed. Researchers require cool and less-humid air in their labs to accurately study these groundbreaking necessities.

3. The U.S. Uses the Same Amount of Energy to Power AC Systems as Which Continent?: Africa

The U.S. is one of the biggest consumers of air conditioning in the world. We use so much of it, that our energy consumption for them is equal to the amount of energy Africa uses every year to power the entire continent.

4. Before BTU’s, How Were Air Conditioner Output Ratings Judged?: Ice

Prior to the invention of the air conditioner, people used to keep cool with large blocks of ice. So, when air conditioners were first introduced in 1902, their output ratings were judged based on how much ice you would need to get the same cooling power.

5. What Was the Driving Factor Behind the Invention of the Air Conditioner?: Newspapers

In 1902, Willis Carrier came up with the idea when working at a publishing company. He needed a way to keep his paper from expanding and the ink from running. Viola!

6. Air Conditioners Are Responsible for Changing What in Humans?: Our Heat Tolerance

Scientific studies have shown that the introduction of air conditioning has actually lowered the natural human tolerance for heat. Meaning a hot summer’s day seems much more amplified than it did to people generations ago.

7. Who Created The First Pseudo Air Conditioner?: The Chinese

In 180 AD, a Chinese artisan invented a 10-foot wide rotary fan that had seven connected wheels. It could cool an entire hall of people just by turning a crank.

8. Who Is Considered the Father of Air Conditioning & Refrigeration?: John Gorrie

Gorrie was a Floridian doctor, and in 1842 he developed a machine that made ice in order to cool the air for his patients. He was granted a patent to create a similar machine for homes and buildings, but died before he could create it.

9. What U.S. Landmark Building was Among the First Ever to Use Air Conditioning?: The New York Stock Exchange

The New York Stock Exchange Building was one of the first buildings to use air conditioning in 1903.

10. The Invention of the Air Conditioner Changed What Other Industry? Architecture

Before air conditioners, architects used to design homes and buildings with high ceilings, porches, breezeways, and landscaping that provided shade in order to keep occupants cool.

Heating and Cooling Myths You Probably Believe

In the spirit of sharing things you didn’t know, we thought we’d share these heating and cooling myths you probably were taught to believe.

Whether it’s common sense that doesn’t actually make sense, or because of technological updates, there are tricks you probably use each day that are actually costing you money instead of saving it.

Read on to see if you’re guilty of believing these common misconceptions.

Ceiling Fans Cool Your Home

Fans move air, and moving air feels cooler on the skin. So, if a room is feeling warm, fans are a great way to cool it down – as long as someone is in the room. While fans create wind, they don’t change the temperature.

When fans are left on in an empty room, they’re not dropping the temperature, but they can help keep the air from feeling or smelling stagnant when you get there.

Close the Register if You Don’t Use the Room

While it makes sense on the surface, this myth is actually outdated. Sure, in the past, heating systems benefited when they only had to heat a small space. When modern systems are installed, each room is considered and factored into the system and closing rooms off displaces pressure for your heater.

Today, closing the register creates an imbalance for your heating system and closing too many can even cause a breakdown.

Fireplaces Mean Less Work for Your Heating System

There’s something about a fireplace – that soft crackling sound and flickering light is totally unique. But if you’re using your fireplace to lessen the work for your heating system, you’re fooling yourself.

The fact of the matter is that a fireplace is a great big hole in your ceiling, and since heat rises, it escapes through that hole. Take note and add in the fact that most people purchase firewood, and you’re spending far more than you’re saving.

Looking to keep your home more comfortable? Consider a humidifier – for a myriad of different reasons.

Duct Tape Is Great for Sealing Ducts

Not so much. Duct tape is good at a lot of things, but sealing ducts is definitely not one of them. When duct tape is used to patch up duct work, it consistently fails, usually within the year. If you’re looking to seal up your ducts, you’ll be far better served by mastic or foil tape.

We hope this information helps you make better heating and cooling decisions regarding your home as well as helps to save you money on your heating and cooling bills.

If you’d like more information on making your home more efficient with a new furnace, air conditioner, or geothermal system, We have plenty of options available for new Lennox systems and rebates are usually available.

Dealing With & Treating Swimming Pool Algae, Mustard Algae, Black Algae, Algaecide & Green Alga

Algae is a common problem in swimming pools. What is it; what are the different types & how is it successfully prevented and treated. First of all, algae is a single-celled plant form. Some are aquatic (live in water), some are not. Algae utilizes the process of photosynthesis to manufacture its own food. Algae comes in very wide variety of colors and forms making it adaptable to almost any condition. Although some forms are virulent – especially Black or Mustard algae -, most are harmless and pose no more than a nuisance to most pool owners. Due to algae’s microscopic size, it takes literally millions of these plants to accumulate to be noticed by the naked eye! By that time it may be too late and very costly to correct. Prevention of algae blooms is the best solution. Pool removal cost Sydney for removing the structure and fill in the open space is not always a concern.

Green Algae: The most common form of algae that we deal with in swimming pools is “green” algae. Green algae (varies in color from blue-green to yellow-green to dark-green) can be free floating in the water (turning the water a hazy-green) or can be wall-clinging (patches of green). Wall-clinging varieties range in severity from small patches on pool walls and bottoms to virtually covering the entire pool surface. Green algae has the ability to clog filters and may even cause surface damage if left untreated. Green algae can be treated fairly simply and quickly with a proper, aggressive shocking & algaecide.

A relative of regular green algae is “small-celled green algae” (SCGA). The difference is seen in these areas: 1. The water remains relatively clear. Many treat the problem (without proper analysis) as a copper or mineral problem, however the metal chelants will show no effect. 2. When treating with chlorine, chlorine seems to “disappear”. SCGA is very resistant to even high levels of chlorine.

Other mid-summer types of green algae noticed is “green spots” all around the pool, especially in shady areas. The water is almost always “very clear”. The water can have a “stinging” sensation. This is normal green algae, typically brought about by lack of homeowner care; i.e. not following a weekly maintenance routine such as the Once-a-Week 3 Step program combined with very low pH and very low Total Alkalinity.

Treatment: Have water properly analyzed. BALANCE THE POOL WATER. Pools treated with chlorine or bromine should aggressively shock with chlorine (BioGuard Burn Out® or Smart Shock®) and use a good quality algaecide such as Back Up®, Algae All 60®, or Banish® in extreme cases. Pools treated with SoftSwim or other Biguanides should top up their Bactericide level “B”, add a double dose of algaecide “A”, and add a double dosage of shock or “C”. Follow up either method with Optimizer Plus® (a borate product similar to ProTeam Supreme). Treating algae with Sodium Bromide should be discouraged (sodium bromide treatments, can, in time, cause a chlorine demand problem).

“Black Algae” (actually blue-green algae) forms in cracks and crevices on pool surfaces, especially plaster finishes. We normally find black algae growing in, but not limited to, shady areas of the pool. Black algae is more typically found in concrete or plaster finished pools; it is very uncommon to find it in vinyl liner pools. It is known for a heavy slime layer and “skeletal growths” that make it impervious to normal chlorine levels. When viewed in a swimming pool, the water remains relatively clear, however, almost all customers notice a high chlorine demand (use much more chlorine than normal). When brushed, “black algae” will be difficult to budge and even though it seems as if it has been removed, the black algae will most likely return to the exact same spots within 24 hours.

What we’re beginning to understand is that Black Algae is “aided” by swimming pool bio-films. As bio-films accumulate on pool surfaces, they act as a kind of “breeding bed” providing nutrients and a “soft” place to set down roots. Removal of the bio-film dramatically aids in the long term treatment of Black algae. The more that the bio-film is removed and continually removed, the less likely Black Algae will be able to set down.

Treatment: Have water properly analyzed. BALANCE THE POOL WATER. Prior to and during treatment, the algae MUST be thoroughly brushed in order to “break open” the slime layer that covers and protects the Black Algae cell. During treatment, the chlorine level MUST be maintained in excess of 3.0 ppm – this may require daily shocking of the pool – AND the affected areas MUST be thoroughly brushed 2 to 3 times per day to allow the chlorine treatment to penetrate the algae. TRUE Black Algae is very resistant to treatment and can be transferred from pool to pool via bathing suits and pool toys. Failure to do these critical steps will prevent the treatment from working. Pools treated with chlorine or bromine should aggressively shock with chlorine (Burn Out® or Smart Shock®) and use a good quality algaecide such as Back Up®, Algae All 60®, or Banish® in extreme cases. Pools treated with SoftSwim or other Biguanides should top up their Bactericide level “B”, add a double dose of algaecide “A”, and add a double dosage of shock or “C”. Follow up either method with Optimizer Plus®. Treating algae with Sodium Bromide should be discouraged as mentioned above.

“Mustard Algae” is probably the MOST misdiagnosed form of algae. Mustard algae is a chlorine-resistant form of green algae (yellow-green to brown in color) typically found in sunbelt areas. It often resembles dirt or sand on the bottom or sides of a pool. In our market area (Fairfield county CT), the number of TRUE Mustard Algae cases that we treat can be counted on ONE HAND in most seasons. Mustard Algae is prevalent in Sunbelt areas. Mustard Algae has certain characteristics: It can be brushed away very easily, but returns quickly to the same location.

Keep in mind that the “algae” may be returning to the same place due to a dead spot in the pool. Be sure that you have good circulation through out the entire pool.

Although it usually creates a large Chlorine demand, it has been known to survive in high levels of Chlorine – over 3.0 ppm. It is extremely important to remove mustard algae growth from equipment (including the back of underwater lights & ladders) and bathing suits to avoid cross or recontamination of other pools. Pool equipment can be left in the pool during product application or cleaned separately with a mild cleaning solution. Rinse thoroughly if equipment is used in a SoftSwim® pool. Bathing suits should be washed with detergent as directed on garment label.

Treatment: Have water properly analyzed. BALANCE THE POOL WATER. Prior to and during treatment, the algae MUST be thoroughly brushed in order to “break open” the slime layer – such as with Black Algae. Failure to do this critical step will prevent the treatment from working. Pools treated with chlorine or bromine should aggressively shock with chlorine shocks such as BioGuard Burn Out® or Smart Shock® and use a good quality algaecide such as Back Up®, Algae All 60®, or Banish® in extreme cases. Pools treated with SoftSwim or other Biguanides should top up their Bactericide level “B”, add a double dose of algaecide “A”, and add a double dosage of shock or “C”. Follow up either method with Optimizer Plus®. Treating algae with Sodium Bromide should be discouraged as mentioned above.

The best way to prevent and control algae is to maintain good pool care. Good pool care means following the 5 Keys to pool care (look for our published articles on theses subjects): 1. Have and maintain good circulation of the water to all parts of the pool. 2. Filter the pool a minimum 8 to 12 hours daily. 3. Clean the pool regularly by vacuuming and brushing all surfaces. 4. Test the Water at least 2 times each week. Testing tells you what is going on with the water. Make adjustments immediately when necessary. 5. Maintain good Water Chemistry. Chlorine or other sanitizer in their correct ranges, pH 7.4 – 7.6, Total Alkalinity 100 – 150 ppm, Calcium Hardness 200 – 300 ppm. On a weekly basis (every week all season long): Shock the pool with the appropriate shock treatment and add a maintenance dose of a good quality algaecide (please don’t use the gallon jug algaecide – they’re mainly colored water).

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/1261708

Pool Opening – Get the Most From Doing It Right

Spring is blooming across the country and the pool is on that “to do” list of outdoor chores. Why not lessen the chore and make life a bit simpler this year? Removing your swimming pool can reduce hazards and liability so leave it with your pool removal Sydney.

If you’re thinking, “Ron, you’ve got to be kidding!”, then let me put it this way: taking it step by step a little at a time starting a month or more before “officially” opening the pool DOES make pool opening simpler. Following a few easy to follow steps makes it manageable with less stress and overall better success.

First things first. After a long, cold winter just get out there and take a look. You may not want to! Seeing all those accumulated leaves on the cover, not to mention the water may just cause you to stop right there. Instead, hook up your cover pump and start getting that excess water off of the top of the cover. Remember that wherever the water level is on TOP of the cover, that’s where the overall water level itself is.

If the water is fairly clear, don’t worry too much about pumping that water that’s on top, back underneath and into the pool. Especially if the water is cold and clear. The purpose of doing that is to take advantage of the free water. At the same time add a bottle of a good quality (40% strength or greater) algicide into the water right at the point where the top water is going in. Even though the filter or pump may not be hooked up, the water and algicide will flow around the pool.

If you have a white plaster or marble dust finished pool, DO NOT add any type of algicide containing copper at this point. You always want to have the filter system operating to properly circulate the product containing copper. If you don’t, you risk staining the pool surfaces.

Why algicide at this point? An early addition of algicide will begin to combat and prevent early algae growth. This is especially true if you have a mesh style winter or safety cover that allows sunlight to penetrate into the water. Ideally, the best thing to do is to remove the cover from the corners of the pool, take your leaf net and simply swish the water around for a couple of minutes. That will be adequate after adding the algicide.

What else should you consider adding?

If you know that you are prone to metal staining due to heavy metals such as iron, copper or manganese being present in the tap water (this is why you use some of the cleaner water from the top of the cover), prevent staining by adding a good quality metal and stain preventative. If scaling (due to high calcium levels) is a problem during the season, you can add a scale inhibitor at the same time. Remember that calcium is a mineral that dissolves better at colder water temperatures (under 80 degrees F). As the water warms, and gets very warm or is heated, scale can form and dramatically reduce heating efficiency; even if you are using a solar heater (those small tubes are just waiting for scale build-up).

One of the most often neglected products to use at spring pool start up is a good quality enzyme. Enzymes are excellent in prepping your pool’s water for opening and spring start up. Enzymes consume certain organic wastes and build-ups before you get started. Enzymes are best used when you have attached the pump and motor and have started the system.

Starting the filter system while the winter cover is still on is an absolutely terrific idea! You get the water moving and filtered. You get the preventive chemicals circulating. You get the water warming up faster. I began doing this over the past couple of years. I have several trees that don’t finish shedding their early flowers or seeds until late May. The cover stays on and the water remains clean. When the cover comes off, it’s almost ready to swim in.

One chemical that you should NEVER add while the cover is on is any type of shock treatment. Regardless of whether it’s a chlorine or non-chlorine shock ALWAYS have the cover OFF of the pool for a minimum of 4 to 6 hours. Why? The job of the shock treatment is to oxidize or burn off wastes (including ammonia compounds) from the water. As the shock does this oxidation work, those impurities have to “gas-off”. If the cover is on, those gases simply hit the underside of the cover and fall back into the water to re-form as chloramines. Now when you open the pool, you’ll have even more chloramines to deal with which could lead to a serious chlorine demand problem that will be difficult – and expensive – to resolve.

A couple of more Do’s and Don’ts when starting the pool:

DO – Remove excess leaves and debris before removing the winter cover. You definitely DO NOT want that stuff going into your pool.
DO – Balance the pH, total alkalinity, and calcium hardness. Balance it according to mid-summer parameters taking water temperature into consideration.
DO – Consider using a biofilm removal product when first starting. Biofilms are the source of many water problems including white water mold and pink slime, never mind scaling issues, and often times algae. A new products named AquaFinesse Pool Water Care Tablets are easy to use and are an excellent choice.
DO – Shock the pool well. We recommend 3 to 4 times the normal amount for best results. Many pool owners have problems in the middle of the summer because they didn’t adequately shock the pool (or continue doing this step) at start up.
DO – Start with fresh water testing reagents or test strips.
DO – Allow the water to circulate 2 – 3 days continuously before testing. Many chemical components need to be circulated for a proper test.
DO – Chemically clean the filter about one week after opening.
DO – A manual vacuuming and brushing as the first cleaning of the new season. Brushing and vacuuming helps to remove organic build-up from the pool’s interior surfaces and helps to circulate spring opening chemicals.
DO – Chemically clean the solar blanket before using it for the first time of the season.
DON’T – Randomly add water balancing chemicals. Just because you needed or added 25 pounds of total alkalinity increaser last year, doesn’t mean you’ll need the same this year. You many need more or you may need less. Always test first.
DON’T – Add cyanuric acid (also known as CYA, stabilizer, conditioner, sun shield, etc) until after a proper test. Once CYA has been added to the pool, it doesn’t come out of the water unless backwashed out or other wise diluted. It stays in the water from year to year. Excess CYA is an unnecessary expense and can add to a high Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) problem.
DON’T – Use muriatic acid to clean your filter. Muriatic acid will set greases and oils into DE or Cartridge filter fabrics.
DON’T – Use your automatic pool cleaner until after the initial vacuuming and brushing.
DON’T – Put on the solar blanket until after the water is balanced and has been shocked.

Even opening your own pool shouldn’t take longer than 2 to 3 hours for the average residential inground or aboveground pool. Happy Swimming! Use and enjoy your pool.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/6142896

8 Signs You May Have a Problem with Your Electrical Wiring

Electrical malfunctions cause more than 50,000 house fires each year, according to Electrical Safety Foundation International. The majority can be prevented. 24 hour electrician Melbourne focus not only fixing your electrical problems but also making your home safe from any fire.

To protect your own home, start by checking your fuse box or breaker panel for the date of your last inspection. Most municipalities require an inspection only when a system is modified during a renovation or an addition. However, the Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends having a pro look things over every 10 years. Beyond that, be aware of these potential sources and causes of electrical fires.

Related: Quiz: Are You Prepared For a House Fire?

1. Too many extension cords. Aesthetics aside, there’s a reason electric wires are buried within walls. “An undisturbed wiring system will more or less work forever,” says William Burke, division manager of electrical engineering for the National Fire Protection Association. “But when it’s disturbed or altered, there’s potential for trouble.” Running an extension cord creates additional points where cords can kink, short out or get pinched, leading to tripped breakers, damaged outlets or even a fire. Use extension cords sparingly and for short periods of time — during the holidays, for example. If you consistently need more outlets, have an electrician install them.

2. Dimming or flickering lights. Because light fixtures typically draw only a small amount of power, dimming or flickering is rarely caused by a problem with the fixture itself. More likely the issue is with energy hogs like major appliances or space heaters that are wired to the same circuit. “Appliances that heat or cool tend to draw a lot of power,” says Burke. So dimming could be caused by a washing machine drawing current to heat water. Consult an electrician about moving lights to different circuits or installing dedicated lines for major appliances.

3. Funny odors. A new appliance may produce an off-odor the first few times it’s powered up. But if you detect an odd smell coming from an outlet, turn off and unplug anything connected to it. Don’t use it again until you’ve had a qualified electrician check it out. If your fuse box or breaker panel has a weird odor, call an electrician right away.

4. Sparking. This is never a good sign. How you deal with it depends on where it’s coming from. If a breaker panel, fuse box or outlet is sparking, get an electrician in ASAP. But a sparking appliance may mean that the fixture itself is damaged, in which case you should call an appliance repairperson. He can test the appliance and usually the outlet that powers it as well. A service call from a repairperson is likely to be cheaper than one from a licensed electrician. Plus, if the appliance is new, it may even be repaired under the warranty.

5. Hot outlets or switch plates. “Even when an appliance is meant to produce heat (like a toaster or space heater), the outlet that powers it should never become hot,” says Burke. Electric current may make a switch plate slightly warm to the touch, but if the outlet is uncomfortably hot, turn off whatever is plugged in and try it in another outlet. If the outlet grows hot even without anything plugged in, it may be wired incorrectly. Consult an electrician, who may advise you to flip the breaker or remove the fuse for that outlet until your system can be serviced.

Related: How to Use a Space Heater Without Causing a Fire

6. Frequently blown fuses or tripped breakers. Circuit breakers and fuses are designed to fail as a way to prevent overloading. If a vacuum cleaner or hair dryer routinely trips a breaker regardless of where you plug it in, the appliance is the likely culprit. But if using a single outlet causes you to blow the same fuse repeatedly, the circuit is probably overloaded. Call in a pro to discuss upgrading the circuit or adding a new line.

7. Buzzing. What does electricity sound like? When things are working properly, nothing. Generally electricity flows smoothly and quietly between connections. But loose prongs, outlets or fraying wire can all cause the current to jump, producing a buzzing sound in the process. If you’re sure a sound is originating at an outlet, stop using it and call an electrician.

8. The wrong outlets in the kitchen or bathroom. Because water is an excellent conductor of electricity, kitchens and bathrooms both require special shock-resistant outlets called ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). GFCIs typically have two small buttons at the center. If outlets in your kitchen or bathroom outlets look no different from those in your family room or bedroom, swap them out with GFCIs to add an extra layer of shock protection around water.

Can You Help Your Home Increase Its Look Through Landscaping

Does your home appear dull and tired? A small amount of landscaping can truly change the way your garden looks. Read the following article for your landscaping advice. Concrete driveway costs are low maintenance, attractive, and relatively inexpensive additions to your property.

Make the most of your yard look beautiful all year by growing a garden that incorporates all seasons. Select plants that offer visual appeal in summer, with some blooming in each season, according to the region in which you live. You can also pick trees with nice foliage or evergreens which make your yard looking lively all year long.

You want to use plants that need lots of sunlight in a shady area. You wouldn’t want to plant trees in small growth areas. Take time to do adequate planning to ensure that your plants do well where they can thrive.

Consult a professional for advice before you plant the first flower or shrub in your landscaping project.While it won’t be necessary to actually hire them to work on your yard, you can use their experience and knowledge to get the look you want. This step is especially important if you are inexperienced in landscaping.

This will just ends up costing you large amounts of money. You may want to consult with a landscaper, and pay them for the service, but doing the work yourself will save you a lot of money.

Buy on the Internet to get great discounts and enjoy a bigger selection while also saving money. There are lots of websites that sell well-made products at affordable prices. Make sure you check out customer reviews about products to ensure proper packaging is used when transported.

Measure the area you plan to make changes in before you start buying plants or other supplies. This will allow you to accurately determine how much stuff you need. This simple step can ensure you not buy too much or too little of materials.

Stop thinking that spending less on every item. If you always choose the cheapest material, they may not be of a high quality.If you are new to landscaping, a specialty store, while a little more expensive, and your supplies will be guaranteed.

It is often prudent to go cheaper with certain items. When dealing with mulch, containers and regular perennials, you will notice that there is not much of a difference between the pricier and less expensive versions. It is very important that you be sure to look over the plants.Plants that are sold at a deep discount may not have been given the water or care that they require.

It can be hard to grow flowers around a large shade trees you may have in your yard for shade. Instead of placing flowers you should consider a cover for the ground. This will add a lot of visual appeal and it’s very simple to care of as well. Some options for ground cover under trees include hosta and sweet woodruff.

Try using curved edges when you’re landscaping your yard. These rounded borders are more pleasing to the eye. When people look at your property from the sidewalk, they will see a softer design that stands in pleasant contrast to the sharper lines of the home itself.

Always keep your climate in mind when you will be using. You may have your heart set on a particular plant, but if it is not suited for your environment, that plant will never grow. Also take the amount of sun you get, your local wind conditions, and average rainfall when selecting plants.

Get some good advice from a professional guidance before you launch a serious landscaping project. It may cost you a little bit of money, and quite possibly a lot of effort, misery and money in the long run. A quick hour with a professional will get off right.

Complete your lawn or yard in segments. You can start with different sections or focus on different types of plantings.

Educate yourself on the techniques involved in landscaping design techniques. For example, use anchor plants to give your yard a flowing, to create a look of continuity. The texture of plants are also important variation and contrast to your design. There are quite a few books out there and websites that will help you to learn more about this.

Do not make changes.Plants look different during certain times of the year, and what may look ugly in the winter might prove to be extremely attractive in the spring or summer.

Don’t give up on landscaping just because you can’t do it all at once. You may find that a few well-chosen additions create a more appealing look than you had expected.

If you’re thinking about selling your home anytime soon, it is important that you update your landscaping to add curb appeal to the front of the home.

Don’t forget that you should have paths and walkways within your landscaping. An unattractive concrete sidewalk is a boring and ugly look. Change this up by using stepping stone patterned paths to make your landscape more attractive. These come in a variety of types and colors and are about the same cost as concrete.

You can save money on any plant purchases by buying plants through catalogs and websites. It is possible to order rare specimens more cheaply through the Internet than to shop at a nursery nearby. It is also very convenient to shop this way because the plants since they will be shipped to your house. Do not forget to include the cost of shipping when determining whether your purchase is a good buy.

Now that you’re familiar with a few tips on landscaping, your home won’t have to be dull-looking anymore. You can have a vibrant looking home that seems as if it were something out of a movie. Using these tips, your property can be reinvigorated, so use them wisely.

Buying a house with a fuse panel? Here’s what you should know

Why are people scared of fuses? Many people think that fuses are unsafe, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. A properly installed fuse is just as safe as a circuit breaker, but there are many reasons why fused homes can have problems, and I’ll discuss a few of the most common problems. We will give you instructions for safe, simple steps you can take while you are waiting for our qualified urgent electrician Melbourne to arrive to rectify the problem.

To start, how can I say that a properly installed fuse is as safe as a circuit breaker? A fuse will only handle the amount of amperage that it is rated for. If a fuse is rated for 15 amps and more than 15 amps passes through the fuse, a thin strip of carefully calibrated metal will vaporize, which opens the circuit (in other words, kills the power). A fuse will never allow more current to pass through than what it is rated for. Circuit breakers are designed to trip when too much current passes through for too long a period of time. Circuit breakers can be reset after they trip, which is a huge advantage over fuses, but they don’t add any level of safety.

Today, circuit breakers are used in homes instead of fuses. The main reason is because a circuit breaker can be re-used. Once a fuse blows, it has to be replaced. Old electric services will have fuses, and old electric services can have problems. This is why people get scared of fuses. A typical 60 amp fuse box might have one 240 volt circuit for an air conditioner or electric range, plus four more fuses for the rest of the wiring in the home. Compared to the minimum number of circuits required today, this is totally insufficient.

In a new home, a kitchen will typically have one circuit for the dishwasher, one for the disposer, two for the countertop outlets, one for the lights, and another for the microwave and fridge. This is a minimal installation, and many electricians will also put the fridge on its own circuit, and have another 240 volt circuit for an electric range. This adds up to nine spaces in an electric panel. The example I gave for an old 60 amp panel only has six spaces available for the entire house.

With today’s demand for electricity, old services are usually inadequate. To make up for this, occupants will often use fuses that are too large for the wires, which will keep fuses from blowing, but also creates a fire hazard. The photo below shows a wire that is only rated for 15 amps connected to a 30 amp fuse.

Oftentimes, several wires will be connected to a single fuse lug, but each fuse is supposed to have one wire. This is often referred to double tapping, or double lugging. This is a common defect for both fuse panels and breaker panels in Minneapolis and Saint Paul, and the repair is usually quite simple at a breaker panel, but not so for an overloaded fuse panel. When a fuse panel is overloaded, it probably needs to be replaced.

Double Tapping

Because of all the problems that can be found with fuse panels, insurance companies will often charge a premium for homes with fused services, or they’ll refuse to insure the home. If you’re buying a home with a fused electric service, you would do well to have the service upgraded. A typical service upgrade from a fuse panel to a breaker panel will be in the $1500 – $2000 range. The price will continue to go up if new circuits are added to the home, or other wiring upgrades are performed.

The bottom line is that there is nothing inherently wrong with fuses, but most old fuse panels have enough problems to warrant replacement.

Pool Equipment: Choosing an Automatic Swimming Pool Cleaner

An automatic swimming pool cleaner is absolutely the best piece of swimming pool equipment a pool owner can invest in. Manually cleaning a swimming pool is very time consuming and few pool owners enjoy this tedious task. An automatic swimming pool cleaner allows you to spend less time maintaining your swimming pool, and more time relaxing and enjoying your pool! There is a wide selection of automatic pool cleaners available for any budget, and every size In-Ground or Above-Ground swimming pool. There are three different types of automatic pool cleaners for In Ground pools and Above Ground pools, and they are classified by the way they collect debris and move around the pool. “Suction Side” automatic pool cleaners are connected to your pool skimmer and “Pressure Side” automatic pool cleaners connect to a return line fitting of your pool. “Robotic” pool cleaners work independently from your pool filtration system, and are powered by electricity. When you first installed your swimming pool, you probably never thought about the day when you would have to remove it, actually it is easy to get rid of it by using pool removal Sydney.

Suction Side automatic pool cleaners use the suction power created by your filtration system to propel a pool cleaner around your swimming pool, and pick up debris from the pool floor. Suction side automatic pool cleaners are connected to the skimmer of the pool, and dirt and debris collected from the pool is deposited directly into your filtration system. Suction side automatic pool cleaners are very easy to connect to your swimming pool and to use. These pool cleaners may have an advantage over pressure side pool cleaners, because very little or no adjustments or additional parts are typically needed to adapt a suction side pool cleaner to your swimming pool. Examples of popular suction side automatic pool cleaners are the Hayward Pool Vac or Kreepy Krauly.

Pressure Side automatic pool cleaners connect to the return line fitting in the wall of your swimming pool. Pressure side automatic pool cleaners use a powerful jet of water to move around your swimming pool, and a jet of water is used to draw debris up from the pool surface into a special filter bag connected to the pool cleaner. Pressure side pool cleaners may have an advantage over suction side cleaners because they are typically more powerful and can climb the walls of an inground swimming pool. Because pressure side automatic pool cleaners are connected to the return line fitting of the swimming pool, the pool skimmer is left open to draw dirty water and debris from the surface of the pool. These pool cleaners act as a roving return line, and help eliminate “dead spots” in the swimming pool which are not reached by the circulating action of the main filter system. These pool cleaners deposit debris into a special filter bag instead of inside your pool filter system. Some pressure side pool cleaners feature their own “booster pump”, which works independently from your main pool filter system to create the extra water pressure needed for these powerful cleaners. Examples of popular pressure side automatic pool cleaners are most Polaris and most Letro brand pool cleaners.

Robotic automatic pool cleaners feature a built in filtration system, and operate independently from your main pool filter system. No cumbersome hoses or tedious adjustments are required. These self-contained automatic pool cleaners use on board electric motors to move around your pool and create the suction necessary to pick up debris from the pool surface. As these robotic pool cleaners move about cleaning the pool surface, they constantly circulate and filter your swimming pool water. A robotic pool cleaner will pick up debris from the pool floor, and can also climb the walls and steps of an inground swimming pool. These pool cleaners are designed to scrub the water line of the swimming pool, and regular use of a robotic swimming pool cleaner will eliminate the water line stain found on most outdoor pools.

Robotic pool cleaners save a great deal of money in operating costs, because these pool cleaners do not require your pool pump and filtration system to be running for the pool cleaner to work. This also means you do not have to clean your filtration system after each use, using more electricity and losing chemically treated water through the filter backwash cycle. Robotic pool cleaners are available in many sizes and models designed for average size above ground swimming pools, up to the largest commercial facilities and water parks. Many robotic pool cleaners feature a hand held remote control, giving the pool owner complete control over the movements of the pool cleaner. This allows very quick and easy spot cleaning. The most common robotic swimming pool cleaner on the market today is the Aquabot pool cleaner.

Please visit http://www.InTheSwim.com for a complete selection of inground and above ground pool cleaners.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Brian_Barker/18714

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/115614

Do It Yourself Kitchen Renovation: Planning for Function and Beauty

The best looking kitchens in the world can’t make up for poor planning. If the guiding principle of the “work triangle”–meaning the close proximity of the refrigerator, sink, and range–is broken, then the kitchen will always feel and look awkward. Functionality has to lead the plan, and a connection to the outdoors and nature can lead a great design. While a small window over the kitchen sink used to be the kitchen highlight, now large windows and glass doors leading onto the deck or patio is the norm.

If you are redesigning your kitchen within its existing footprint, then plan wide walkways. The pathways throughout should be at least 36 inches wide. Paths around the cooking zone should be 42 inches wide for a one-cook kitchen and 48 inches wide if two people are cooking.

Place the refrigerator in a location accessible to both kitchen guests and the one or two cooks actually working in the cooking and cleanup areas. Also, keep the cook-top out of traffic areas so guests or children don’t accidentally catch handles and cause spills when walking through.

Keep the refrigerator, dishwashers, oven ranges away from the kitchen corners. You don’t want the doors banging into each other if they need to be opened at the same time. Also, to make kitchen cabinets fully functional, plan space for the door’s clearance and the best swing direction in your kitchen design.

If you can create a separate walk-in pantry, it frees up space in the kitchen that may be used for wider doors and windows that can look out at the rear garden view. This is especially helpful as at least one wall is lost to windows and a door and there’s less space for cabinets. One handy tip, if you do build a walk-in pantry room, include an additional stand-alone freezer. It allows you to keep your grocery budget in check by buying and storing lower-priced bulk items.

And, if you can, open up the ceiling and expand the kitchen upward. It adds a sense of spaciousness and can also provide upper cabinets for long term storage of rarely used items, such as large bowls and baskets.

Kitchen Islands

Peninsulas and kitchen islands do look wonderful and provide an awesome place to gather friends and family while cooking–or even a great informal place to eat. However, plan the wide pathways accordingly. You need at least 42 inches between the island and the surrounding cabinets and appliances to maintain traffic flow, according to the National Kitchen and Bath Association, and your local building codes. While the island might be one of the most desired items, if it’s not appropriate to the scale of the room, it won’t work for you or for your home’s value.

Additional cabinet space and a prep sink increase an island’s function, but think hard about adding a cook-top. The splatters, mess and smells it creates are a nuisance. And consider the ventilation, which is dependent upon the layout. Experts have tested and found under-cabinet and wall-chimney hoods, the type commonly used over ranges, are much better at capturing smoke and steam than the downdraft systems frequently put in islands.

The Open Floor Plan

Trends will continue for kitchen designs to open their floor plans to include an informal family living space, formerly called the “den.” It is now called the “great room” and is considered to be the most likely room to be included in new homes built in 2015, according to the National Association of Home Builders’ survey.

If you can afford to expand your kitchen renovation, then break down a wall or two and integrate the kitchen with an adjacent room or family living space to create your must-have great room feature. Therefore, when it comes to your design focus of connecting with the outdoors via large windows and glass doors to the deck, patio, garden or backyard, then let the idea expand to the design of the great room as well. However, while you are letting in the light and the view, it’s necessary to keep heated and cooled air from leaking out. Pay the added expense for windows and doors with extra insulating features like heat-reflecting low-E coatings or argon gas between glass panes.

Be Practical

Find the correct height and location for a microwave oven as it may vary from the standard depending on the height of the chef or the kids in the household. For adults, the standard is at least 15 inches above the counter-top level. For kids, a below the counter-top shelf setup might be more suitable. Also, consider how and where you use items as you plan the pantries and cabinets so you can eliminate wasted steps, like locating flatware drawers near the dishwasher for ease of unloading.

Be smart and don’t sacrifice functionality for one hold-back feature that you think you can’t live without when it could lower the market value of your home significantly. Keep to your principle of functionality plus beauty. As long as your “work triangle” is accommodated and you have created an open feeling of connecting to nature and the outdoors, with easy pathways and views to a patio or deck, you will have planned and achieved the best kitchen possible.

(c) 2012 Elizabeth McMillian

Elizabeth McMillian enjoys writing about her personal interests, including travel, exercise and cycling. She is an architectural historian, a former editor at Architectural Digest and the author of five books and numerous articles. Know more about high quality products at discount prices that might work in your kitchen renovation at [http://www.cheap-kitchen-appliances.com/] and [http://www.discount-bottom-freezer-refrigerators.com/]

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Elizabeth_McMillian/1261868

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/6915102

What to Do in an Electrical Emergency

Electrical appliances are staples of modern convenience. Where would we be without electric ovens to prepare our food, washers and dryers to handle our clothes and lights to illuminate our way in the dark? Electricity is an absolute must in the modern world, but with it comes numerous risks and potential hazards. Anything from a frayed cord to an overloaded circuit can cause a short or a spark, resulting in an electrical emergency. Our highly qualified electrician Brisbane 24 hours provide complete and totally dependable electrical services Australia-wide.

Though you’re better protected from electrical emergencies when you regularly maintain your home’s electrical systems and appliances, electrical emergencies can happen. Everything from an electrical fire to electric shock may put you or your family at risk, so it’s important to have a plan in place and understand what to do in the event of an electrical emergency. To that end, we’ve provided some basic electrical emergency procedures to help you and your family understand and create an electrical emergency response plan in the event of an electrical fire, shock or fallen power line.

Electrical Fire

Sometimes a short in a circuit causes it, other times it’s a frayed cord placed near some curtains. No matter how they end up happening, electrical fires can be dangerous to deal with. Establishing emergency response procedures for electrical fires in your home is essential to maintaining the health and safety of your entire family.

Emergency response procedures for an electrical fire include:

Cut the Power: The first thing you should do in any electrical fire is cut the power to the electrical system causing the problem. You can do this by flipping the switch on your home’s breaker box. Simply unplugging the appliance or flipping the switch still poses a risk, especially if the cause is a frayed wire or overheated appliance. If the fire has not yet fully started, this should be enough to stop the fire before it starts. This step is also important because it reduces the risk for electric shock for anyone handling the fire and allows you to use more resources while trying to stop the flame.
Use a Fire Extinguisher: If you have one in your home, everyone should know how to put out an electrical fire with a fire extinguisher. If you were unable to cut the power to the source of the fire, you should only use a Class C-rated fire extinguisher. These use carbon dioxide or dry chemical extinguishers. If the power was cut, you should use a Class A extinguisher, which is water-based. Pull the pin depressing the handle and point the horn at the base of the fire before holding down the handle. Continue dispersing the chemical until the fire is fully extinguished. If you are not sure of your fire-extinguisher’s class, have it checked — Class A and Class C extinguishers are not interchangeable and should only be used in the described circumstances.
Smother the Fire: If you do not have a fire extinguisher on hand, you should know how to put out an electrical fire without a fire extinguisher. If the power to the area is off, you can use either a fire blanket or water to extinguish the fire. However, if you cannot turn off the power or if you are not sure whether the power is off, do not use water and do not approach the fire, or else you risk electric shock.
Practice Fire Safety: If you cannot control the fire, exit the building as quickly and calmly as possible before calling authorities. Remember to keep close to the ground to avoid smoke inhalation and stop, drop and roll if your clothing catches on fire.
Call 911 and Exit: Always call 911 in the event of a fire, even if the fire is out. Smoldering objects are still able to reignite, especially if you were unable to cut power to the source of the fire.

One thing many homeowners are unaware of is that up to 90% of breaker panels are labeled incorrectly. Test your panels to make sure they are labeled correctly, and that you are able to shut off power effectively in an emergency.

Though it’s a good idea to know what to do in the event of an electrical fire, taking steps to prevent such fires is even more important. Avoid electrical fires by keeping flammable materials away from outlets, especially outlets currently in use. If you are using a power strip, be sure not to overload the strip or connect a string of strips together. You may also consider using surge protectors to help protect your electronics from overheating due to a power surge.

Electrical Shock

Contact with electricity sometimes happens, especially when electrical outlets and cords go without maintenance or if electrical appliances are placed near water. These cases can be particularly frightening, but it’s crucial to have electric shock emergency procedures in place in your home in the event of an accident. Here are a few things to keep in mind for your emergency response plan for an electrical shock:

Do Not Touch: If someone comes in contact with electricity, do not, under any circumstances, touch them directly. If you contact that person while they are still connected to the electrical current, you will also get shocked or electrocuted. Stay calm and stay away.
Keep Your Distance: If the cause of electrocution is a high voltage wire, stay at least 20 feet away from the wire. If the wire is jumping and sparking, stand even further away if possible.
Turn off Power: As soon as you are aware of the contact with electricity, if you are close to the circuit breaker, turn off power to that part of the house. Do this as quickly as you can.
Remove the Person: If it will take too long to get to the breaker, try to cut contact between the person and the electrical source using an insulated object. A wooden rod, PVC pipe or other material would work well in this case. Never, under any circumstances, use a wet or damp object. Use your best judgement to determine whether to remove the person from the shock or get to the breaker — the longer the person is in contact with the shock, the more likely the shock will be fatal. Once the person is removed from immediate danger, do not attempt to move them any further.
Call for Help: Once you have turned off the power or have otherwise removed the person from the source of the shock, immediately call 911 for help. If you have first aid or CPR training, administer it to the victim. If you do not have training, the 911 operator can give you directions until a responder arrives. Do this even if the victim says they feel fine — electric shock can have strange effects on a person’s health that may not be immediately visible or noticeable, even to the victim.

Preventing electric shocks is the most important part of your electric shock emergency plan. If you have small children, cover all outlets with protectors and educate them on electrical safety as soon as they are old enough to understand. When doing electrical repairs around the house, consult or hire an electrician for any duties where you are unsure of what to do. Additionally, you may want to consider installing a safety switch in your home. It will monitor the flow of electricity through a circuit and immediately shut off the circuit if it detects a problem, turning off the power within 0.03 seconds. This can help prevent electrocution, as well as electrical fires.

Power Outage

Probably the most common emergency on this list, power failures and blackouts can occur for a variety of reasons. Whether it’s due to a storm, downed power line, energy shortage or a problem in your home’s power lines, blackouts can be a headache and can be dangerous for your home appliances. In the event of a power failure, take the following steps to protect your home and family:

Check the Source: Sometimes, the cause of a blackout in your home is simply a short-circuit or tripped breaker. Check and reset your circuit breakers to ensure this isn’t the cause of your blackout.
Be Prepared: Whether your area is prone to power outages or you’re simply expecting a bad storm, being prepared for a power outage brings you extra peace of mind. Keep a power outage emergency kit in an easily accessible location, equipped with alternative lighting options, like candles, alternative cooking and heating options, a battery-powered radio and fresh water supplies. You may also want to keep a battery-powered mobile phone charging station so you can keep your lines of communication open.
Turn off Power toAppliances: As soon as a power outage occurs, turn off power to all heating and cooling appliances, such as cooking appliances, irons, heaters and air conditioners, and any electronics, via the circuit breaker. Turn off the branch circuits first, then the main breaker. Alternatively, ensure all of your electronics are plugged in to surge protectors so they are protected when the energy turns back on. You will also want to keep your food freezers and refrigerators closed to keep the food inside preserved as long as possible.
Contact Your Distributor: Using your mobile phone, contact your distributor as soon as possible to notify them of your outage. They can give you an idea of what happened, what they are doing to fix the problem and how long the outage will last. This is a particularly important step if you have any special needs due to specialized medical devices and are signed up for an uninterrupted supply of power.
Reset Safely: When power returns to your building, wait a few minutes before turning on your lights and appliances. The energy returning to the grid could be inconsistent, resulting in damage to your electronics if you turn them back on too quickly. Make sure to turn the main breaker back on first, then turn on the branch circuits.

If you require an uninterrupted supply of power, or you want to ensure a blackout doesn’t affect you, there are options, especially if you use solar panels or other alternative energy sources in your home. Battery banks, backup generators and other power storage devices can all help you keep the lights on a little longer after the grid goes out. If you have special needs, such as life supporting medical equipment on-premises, you can also talk to your distributor about setting up an uninterrupted supply of power. In both cases, ensuring your electrical hookups are in proper working order is extremely important.

Fallen Power Lines

Downed power lines pose a threat to you outside the house and should be treated with extreme caution. When near a fallen power line, keep the following in mind:

Always Be Cautious: We tend to think of live lines as always sparking and letting off lights and sounds, but live power lines don’t always seem active. Even if you think the line is inactive, always treat it as an electricity hazard and stay a minimum of 40 feet away from the line. Be sure to check for any dangling power lines, fallen or dangling limbs, puddles, vehicles, metal fences and other conductive materials that could pose an electricity hazard.
Avoid Trees: Trees in contact with power lines pose a serious threat to people, as living wood contains water and can be conductive. Even if you are not sure whether a line is in contact with a tree, avoid touching the tree or coming in contact with any material touching or surrounding the tree.
Keep Others Away: When possible, ward people away from the downed power line until help arrives. If you are in a vehicle, turn on your hazard lights and park a good distance away from the area and remain in your vehicle until help arrives. If you are a pedestrian, stand away from the area in a safe spot off the road. If people stop and ask you what is going on, advise them that the line is down and help is on the way, but they should avoid the area and take a different route if possible.
Immediately Contact Authorities: When you notice a downed power line, you should immediately notify the local distribution company in charge of the line.

These are steps to take if you avoid coming in contact with the power line. However, if your car comes in contact with the line, follow these safety rules:

Stay Inside Your Car: Do not risk leaving your car. Even if you aren’t sure whether the line is live or not, do not risk coming into contact with the outside of your car. Only get out of your car when authorities tell you it is safe.
Warn Others: Roll your window down and tell people to stay away from the area. Anyone in contact with the equipment or ground could be seriously injured.
Call for Help: Call 911 as soon as possible. If you don’t have a phone, roll down your windows and sound the horn to call for help and explain the situation to passers-by.
In Case of Fire, Exit Safely: If your car or the surrounding area catches fire and poses an immediate threat to your life, exit the vehicle safely. Remove any loose items of clothing, such as baggy jackets or scarves, keep your hands at your sides and off the metal of your car and get away from your vehicle. Keep your feet close together, with both feet touching the ground at the same time, and shuffle away from the vehicle without picking up your feet until you are a good distance away from the vehicle

If the downed power line is on your property, you’ll likely need to hire an electrician to fix the problem. A properly certified emergency electrician is the best choice in this case.

Learn More About Electrical Safety

If you’re looking for home electric repair services in Westchester NY, look no further than Lippolis Electric, Inc. We’ve been serving as emergency home electricians in Westchester County, NY for over 30 years with quality, knowledgeable service from a team of licensed professionals.

If you have questions about electrical safety or are looking for someone to assess your systems and provide residential electrical repairs in Westchester, NY, contact us today.

What to Do If Your Circuit Breaker Trips

Circuit breakers are switches made to protect your electric circuits from being damaged by electrical overloads or short circuiting. Our electrician Melbourne CBD are expert electrical contractors, fully licensed to perform electrical service and data cabling installations for both commercial and residential premises.

Basically, electric current flows into your home into the breaker box (usually built in the garage or in the basement in the home) where it’s split into a number of circuits and sent throughout the house.

For rooms that only need electrical power for small things like lighting fixtures and televisions, you usually only need 15-amp circuits. For rooms with bigger appliances, such as the kitchen or bathroom, you’ll usually have 20-amp circuits. Certain appliances, like the oven or dryer, are so power consuming they need 30 – 50-amp circuits all to themselves! When it is said that a circuit breaker “trips,” it means that circuit has detected what’s known as a fault condition and has shut itself off to prevent the wiring from overheating and potentially igniting itself.

Resetting a tripped circuit breaker is generally pretty easy – you just need to go back to the electrical panel, find the circuit that’s not facing the same direction as the rest and flip it back to it’s original setting. If the breaker trips again right after you do this, that’s a problem – you’ll have to figure out the cause of the problem before you can fix it.

If your circuit breaker trips right after being reset, you could be facing one of three issues:

an overloaded circuit
a short circuit
a ground fault

Overloaded Circuit

An overloaded circuit is the most likely problem that would make your breakers trip. In simple terms, it means there is more current flowing through the circuit than it is made to carry, so it shuts off to stop any damage.

Remember earlier when we spoke about the different levels of current certain rooms in your home receives? When you are searching for an overloaded circuit, try finding any appliances on the overloaded circuit that would be using more electricity than the circuit would allow. Pay extra attention to objects such as space heaters, toasters, hair dryers straighteners, etc. – these things tend to consume the most power.

The solution for overloaded currents is pretty simple – just unplug things you’re not using! If this doesn’t solve the issue, call an electrician – you may have loose connections somewhere in the house, though this is pretty rare.
Short Circuit

If the problem is not being caused by an overloaded circuit, most likely a short circuit is be the issue. Short circuits are a slightly more serious problem than overloaded circuits, which happens when the hot (black) wire touches another hot wire or a neutral wire. The surest way to tell if you are having a short circuit is to first check your power cables for damage or a melted covering (make sure the appliance is unplugged first) and to check the power outlets or plugs for discoloration or a burning smell. If you can’t locate the problem, hire an electrician to take a look at it.
Ground Fault

If you’ve looked at the two other possibilities and checked for problems but you don’t think you have an overloaded or short circuit, you should check to see if a ground fault is causing your troubles. A ground fault exists when the hot (black) wire touches the ground (bare) wire or the walls of a metal outlet box. If you have a ground fault, it’s best to have an Vancouver electrician take care of the problem.