If you want to create a backyard oasis, consider using wood. This renewable resource is a timeless and durable material that’s well-suited for building patios, decks, pergolas, and other structures that can enhance an outdoor space.
With so many varieties on the market, there’s a type of wood for every budget. The most affordable options include treated wood, such as pine, which is often used to construct decks. However, more expensive choices like cedar, ipe, and torrefied wood will hold up better against the elements and add character to your landscaping.
Although it requires regular maintenance, wood is one of the most widely used landscaping materials. This is because it can be matched with nearly any design style. In addition to being ideally suited for a rustic or Scandinavian backyard esthetic, wood provides warmth and balance to modern and contemporary spaces.
To ensure you select the right wood for your next outdoor project, consult a professional. Landscapers and experts at your local home improvement store can help you create a beautiful yard.
3 types of home insulation
Insulation protects your residence against both heat and cold, depending on the season. It also creates an acoustic barrier. Whether you’re planning major renovations or constructing a new home, don’t let your insulation become an afterthought. Here are three types of insulation materials to consider for your home.
1. Synthetic. While economical and efficient, this type of insulation is harmful to the environment and isn’t recyclable. It won’t decay naturally and can be flammable. Therefore, it must be installed with fire-resistant materials. Polystyrene and polyurethane are among the most common synthetic insulations.
2. Mineral-based. Made with raw and partially recycled materials, this type of insulation is incombustible and won’t decay. It can, however, attract insects that may nest within your walls. For this reason, you must replace this type of insulation every ten years. Rock wool, fiberglass, and cellular glass are well-known mineral insulators.
3. Natural insulators. Plant-based insulations are recyclable and don’t require much energy to produce. They also help keep your home cooler for longer during the summer months. However, since natural insulators aren’t great at managing humidity, they require careful installation. Cellulose, hemp, and cotton are some of the most popular natural insulators you can use.
Depending on the type of insulation you choose, you may be able to install it with a spray applicator or in pre-cut sections. Moreover, some insulation comes in large rolls or foam cubes. Some methods are more advisable than others, depending on the accessibility and size of the area to be insulated.
Avoid mistakes by relying on a contractor specializing in insulation to handle your installation.
Why it’s important to call an exterminator
Have wasps, ants, cockroaches, mice, or bedbugs taken up residence in your home or business? Instead of dealing with the infestation yourself, hire an exterminator to get rid of the nasty pests. Here are four reasons to call a professional.
• They can intervene effectively. Expert exterminators know exactly which specialized products to use against particularly persistent pests. They’ll prevent you from losing time on trial and error, and you can rest assured your infestation will be swiftly eradicated.
• They can safeguard your health. Many pest control products can be harmful to the health of your family and your pets if misused. Moreover, some pests can transmit diseases to humans. If you try to deal with an infestation yourself, you may accidentally get bitten or expose yourself to contaminated secretions and debris.
• They can help protect the planet. Pest management companies use environmentally friendly solutions, unlike some over-the-counter products.
• They can prevent a recurrence. Applying a pest-control product doesn’t always get rid of the problem. If you want to prevent pests from coming back, it’s crucial to find the source of the issue and make the necessary adjustments. A professional exterminator can provide expert advice to prevent a recurrence.
Lastly, trying to manage a pest infestation yourself is risky. Call an expert to remedy the situation quickly, effectively, and sustainably.
Are you a tenant in a multi-unit building with a pest infestation? Notify your landlord and talk to your neighbors at the first sign of infestation. It may be necessary to search their units to find the source and ensure it’s completely eradicated.
5 things you should never throw in the recycling bin
Today, many people want to help curb climate change and do as much as possible to limit their waste. Recycling is a big part of that process. However, did you know that many common household products can’t be recycled? Keep these items in mind the next time you’re shopping.
1. Aerosol cans. Although made of metal, aerosol cans are considered hazardous waste if any amount of liquid remains inside.
2. Batteries. Batteries contain toxic heavy metals. Therefore, you can’t throw them in with your regular trash or toss them in the recycling bin. You must send old batteries to a facility that can safely process them.
3. Brightly colored paper. You may think all paper is recyclable. However, the brilliantly colored paper contains dyes that can contaminate the recycling process and taint the color of new paper products. Instead, put colored paper in your compost bin.
4. Pizza boxes. Cardboard is recyclable as it is. However, if it’s covered in oil, grease, and melted cheese, you can’t put it in the recycling bin.
5. Pottery and ceramics. Old coffee mugs, dishware, and flowerpots are different from glass items and can’t be readily recycled. If you have unwanted, unbroken ceramic items, donate them to your local thrift shop.
Always check the rules and regulations of your local recycling program to ensure it accepts what you put in your bin.
How to choose the right ceiling fan for your home
The ceiling fan is a simple and economical solution for cooling a room in the summertime, circulating the air in winter, and possibly even providing lighting. Here are a few tips to help you choose the most suitable model for your space.
The greater the angle of incline, the more powerful the device’s motor will be. The diameter of the fan blades also impacts its efficiency. Consequently, the length of the fan blades must correspond to the size of the room. It’s less important how many blades there are on the fan; it’s more important that their size is compatible with the space in your room.
Ensure the distance between the fan and the floor is about seven or eight feet. If your ceiling is more than nine-feet high, you must choose a fan with a longer downrod so you can set the blades to an appropriate height from the floor.
You can choose from several control options to adjust the fan’s speed. For example, if you choose a wall switch, you must install an electrical connection. However, you can also find models that come with a remote control or manual chain that hangs from the device.
This decision depends entirely on your taste. However, make sure the fan you choose matches other elements and materials in the room, like the metal on the door handles and light fixtures. Keep in mind that lacquered blades are easy to clean, which you’ll appreciate if you’re installing the fan in the kitchen.
You can also integrate your lighting directly into your fan and replace the bulbs as needed. If you choose this option, make your selection according to the types of bulbs you prefer.
Installing a ceiling fan or light fixture is subject to regional regulations and may require a permit. Therefore, it’s best to trust a licensed electrician to safely install your fan in compliance with building standards.
Credit reporting changes in July
Anyone who has struggled to pay off medical bills will get a boost this July as medical credit reporting changes.
Among the changes announced by all three major credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, Transunion):
- Old medical bills that have been paid will no longer appear on credit reports. Medical debt is currently reported for seven years after it is paid off.
- Unpaid medical bills will appear on a credit report only if they remain unpaid for 12 months. Right now there is a six-month grace period.
- Medical debt in a collection that is less than $500 will not appear on credit reports. This move is expected to clear 70 percent of medical collections from credit reports.
- Credit reports are designed to give lenders, in particular, an idea of whether a person will pay their debts. But 66 percent of medical debts are one-time unexpected and unpaid medical bills.
The credit agencies say the medical debts don’t provide an accurate picture of whether a person regularly pays his or her bills.
News from home: One easy way to get mosquitoes gone
The mosquito is probably the most reviled pest in the world, spreading disease and leaving itchy bites, but here is a cheap idea for getting them out of your space: Use a fan.
Mosquitoes are weak fliers who just can’t compete with wind. If you don’t want to worry about chemical vapors or open flames, buy a big fan to blow the mosquitoes off course. It really works, plus you get a nice, cooling breeze — a perfect solution for a hot, humid summer evening.
If you are moving around, though, insect repellent works well. Active ingredients like DEET and picaridin are the gold standard for keeping mosquitoes at bay and work for about 10 hours at a time. Essential oil-based bug sprays — like those containing oil of lemon eucalyptus — also deter pests, but not quite as well or for as long, so be prepared to reapply as directed.
Citronella candles look nice, but as a mosquito repellent, their performance is modest at best, with a small effective radius.
Bug zappers are not effective against mosquitoes and can kill valuable pollinators.