Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Make These Two Small Changes And Save Big On Energy

     Colder months typically bring increased concerns about energy costs, which can vary widely depending on your heating source. The good news? There are two small things you can do to help prevent energy leaks, meaning you'll rack up noticeable savings on your energy bills.

The first? Install thermal shades. These are a great tool, especially if you can't afford to replace your home's existing insulation. Plus, thermal shades are helpful year-round. They block the sun in the summer, keeping your home cool, while also retaining heat in the winter so that you can keep your home comfy and cozy without spending a ton of money. Thermal shades vary in price and can be found at many sources. You'll be able to find thermal shades that suit your window type and home decor. Yep, that's right -- thermal shades are functional and they look nice, too. Think of it as an energy-saving win-win!

Ready for the second tip? Install a draft guard along your home's exterior doors. You can opt for several types of draft guards, including neutral-colored guards that slip underneath your door and remain in place as the door opens and closes. Or, if you're feeling crafty (or know someone else who is), you can make a door draft guard by sewing a tube of fabric and filling it with beans. Of course, you'll have to rearrange the guard every time the door is open, but this is an inexpensive alternative. Plus, these remind me of my grandma's house, and that makes me happy. A store-bought draft guard will set you back about $10-$12 for two, so you should be able to outfit your home's doors for less than the price of two evening movie tickets. And by using draft guards and thermal shades, you'll keep your home warm and toasty while preventing unnecessary air leaks through some of your home's most leak-prone areas. Now's the time to think about keeping your home warm and your energy bills as low as possible.

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Photo: ExcitingWindows.com
Article by: www.CharlesandHudson.com

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Five Options For Green Wall Insulation

Insulation may be on your mind now that the temperatures are dropping. Keeping your home well-insulated isn't only key in preserving your home's climate control, but can also help reduce energy costs by preventing energy leaks. Traditional insulation, however, isn't the most eco-friendly of materials. 

*Cellulose, made of shredded newspapers and fire retardant. Cellulose is applied while damp and, when dry, works just as well as fiberglass.
*Cotton, which is an ideal insulation for floors and walls. Cotton insulation can be made from a variety of materials, including denim and other recycled cotton.
*Sheep's wool, a great natural alternative for insulation. According to This Old House, the sheep wool is fluffed and treated with pest control additives before being applied as insulation.
*Cement, an effective solution and is naturally pest- and mold-resistant. Cement is mixed with water and frothed with air before being applied as insulation. It's also incredibly fire-resistant, which may give you added peace of mind.
*Mineral wool, which is not only fire-resistant, but also sound absorbent. Mineral wool insulation is created from basalt rock and recycled slag.
Do you use eco-friendly insulation in your home? If so, what kind?

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Article by: www.CharlesandHudson.com

Friday, January 20, 2012

Battery Powered Chainsaw by Stihl

Earlier this year we visited Husqvarna and they were working on some top secret battery powered chainsaws. Well it looks like Stihl has beat them to the punch and launched the first real entry into the battery powered chainsaw market.


There are other battery powered chainsaws available but the Stihl MSA-160 is the first to offer the lithium-ion battery power and life and coming from a company that specializes in chainsaws this is the model to get if you are concerned about environmental issues and want a clean burning chainsaw.
Here are some of the stand out features:
Environmentally responsible chain saw powered by a high performance, advanced STIHL Lithium-Ion battery
Toolless Quick Chain Adjuster for fast and easy chain adjustment
Lightweight and easy to use - no fuel, no filters, no power cords
Low noise for quiet applications
Run time up to 60 minutes w/AP 160 and up to 35 minutes w/AP 80

Written by:  CharlesandHudson.com

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sanding & Finishing Your Own Woodworking Job

You can choose from several different methods to sand & smooth your wood. But there are three major methods:
A. Sandpaper – you will most likely make use of sandpaper to smooth your piece of wood. Sandpaper has different grades based on the grain size on the paper. With higher numbers you get smaller grains and you will achieve finer finish as the grains get smaller. When dealing with a task, ensure that the sandpaper you use is of the right grade. Usually you have to begin with a grade that’s coarse to clean the really bad marks, before you move on to a grade that’s finer.

B. Wire Wool – sometimes Wire Wool is referred to as steel wool and it is mainly employed when you want a finish that is finer than is possible with even a sandpaper of the finest grade. Wire wool can be very good with some kinds of oily wood; because you will get such a really smooth surface that you will not need to use any additional polish or varnish.

C. Cabinet Scraper – this apparatus is not as popular as the first two, but a woodworker will find it really useful. The typical cabinet scraper is a rectangular piece of pliable tempered steel. As their name suggests they are used at the start of the finishing procedure to graze down the surfaces of the furniture pieces to get rid of blotches or little tears on the wood. You can also get them in curved shapes which can be used to easily finish curved surfaces like mouldings.

After sanding and smoothing the surfaces of the wood, the last thing you have to do to make a wonderful looking wood is to apply the finish. When selecting your finish you should be aware that the look of the wood will be altered by the finish, and it may not be possible for you to evaluate the extent of that alteration by observing the tin. Therefore it is a good idea to first test the polish, wax or varnish that you plan to use on any waste wood before proceeding. You may try 2 or 3 different colors to be certain that the best look is what you’ll get.