5 Ways To Make Your Conservatory Functional Year-Round

Conservatories are a difficult room to work with; somewhere between indoors and outdoors and never fully committed to either. In summer, they are often far too warm, and in winter they become damp and cold spaces that are neglected until the first glimpse of spring. Conservatories originated in the 16th century as a way to cultivate citrus fruits in the colder months or harsh climates of Northern Europe. It wasn’t until the 1970s that architects began employing the same Victorian stylings of 19th Century orangery structures into domestic extensions. In the 70s and 80s, building a conservatory was one of the most popular ways to add value to a home, so now homeowners are left dealing with that difficult room.

If you want to make sure your conservatory is truly functional year-round, there are a few steps you will need to take to create a cool and airy room in summer and a warm and cosy space in winter. Conservatories make ideal second family rooms, reading nooks, dining rooms, home offices and playrooms. Once you’ve decided how you’d like to reclaim your conservatory, try these tips for creating a functional room for year-round use.

Install fitted blinds

If the sun is a problem in summer, installing modern fitted blinds will help you to make the most of this room and regain some privacy. This will be particularly important if you’re thinking about creating an extra bedroom. Specialist blinds will also provide much-needed insulation in the winter months which will make your home much more eco-friendly. Fitted blinds are available in a variety of shades and patterns so you can make a bold statement with the decor.

Deal with damp

If damp is a problem in your conservatory, you will need to identify the problem and solve it before decorating or adding any new furnishings. Sometimes the seals around windows may be damaged, the ground surrounding the conservatory might be waterlogged, or there may be poor air circulation to the room. To keep excess moisture at bay in winter, try using a dehumidifier to keep the air fresh.

Renew the furniture

Buying bespoke conservatory furniture is an ideal way to create the perfect cosy space that will be functional year-round. Wicker and rattan furniture is enjoying a revival at the moment as people have started to recognise the endless benefits of this durable, stylish and functional furniture.

Consider a new roof

If your glass roof just isn’t working for you, you can convert your extension into a normal room by replacing the roof with lightweight tiles. This will insulate the room and help keep it warm in winter, while the rest of the windows will still allow light to come streaming in. Any conversions of this kind will need to be carried out by a professional builder and you may need planning permission to convert your extension in this way.

Add personal touches

Often, all that is needed to make a house a home is a few finishing touches. Adding some potted plants, ornaments, a new rug, throw pillows or framed pictures can be all you need to update your conservatory and make it a more homely. If you worry that your conservatory will be too warm in summer and too cold in winter, try using specialist rattan furniture which will be cool in summer and can be layered up with blankets and throws in winter.

from Home My Heaven: Home Improvement Blog UK http://www.homemyheaven.co.uk/2016/08/5-ways-to-make-your-conservatory.html

10 Outdoor Items I Couldn’t Live Without

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There’s a reason mankind invented tools. We can’t survive in the great outdoors all on our own — at least I can’t.

I couldn’t survive a camping trip without a backpack containing the essentials and then a couple of comforts from home. And I have no idea how yards were maintained in the days before the lawnmower was invented.

I get asked all the time for advice about lawn and gardening tools, camping equipment and devices, or what have you. Here 10 of my favorite items to use when I step out to say hi to Mother Nature:

Headlamp

I, like most human beings, could be considered legally blind in a dark forest. Armed with that knowledge, I never go on a camping trip without my trusty headlamp.

The headlamp is basically a flashlight I can strap to my head. It gives me the advantage of being able to use both my hands and see where I’m going at all times.

Pole Saw

Despite my best efforts, I’m not very tall. Unfortunately, certain branches scratching my windows are very tall, and while I won’t admit to being afraid of heights, I will very adamantly proclaim my hesitance at climbing up a ladder with a pair of sharp clippers.

Instead of endangering myself, I just use my pole saw, which is exactly what it sounds like — a saw at the end of a long pole.

It may be super simple invention, but this device is a life saver. It allows me to cut down branches that seem miles above my head — all from the safety of having my two feet planted firmly on the ground.

Mosquito Trap

If mosquitoes serve a positive function for this world, I haven’t been able to figure it out. Easily the most annoying creatures on the planet, I would shed no tears if I woke up tomorrow to a mosquito-less world.

That’s where a Mosquito Magnet trap comes into play. These nifty devices simulate human breath to lure mosquitos into a container, where they drown or die of dehydration.

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My backyard is free of mosquitos, and my fear of grilling while a gazillion tiny vampires suck my blood is no more! Now my hands are always free to play games and eat food, instead of high-fiving mosquitos.

Glow-In-The-Dark Frisbee

Sometimes, I just don’t feel like doing much in the middle of the day, even though my friends are begging me to join their game of ultimate Frisbee. It’s so hot! The only other option is to play closer to nighttime, when it’s much cooler.

It’s times like those that I’m glad I have a glow-in-the-dark Frisbee. Now all I have to worry about is running into another person. If only they made glow-in-the-dark friends.

Hammock

I only had to sleep on the ground in a sleeping bag once before I decided it was time for an upgrade. My hammock keeps my back from feeling like it’s on fire, folds up neatly and fits right in my backpack — and it helps me along to the best naps ever.

Who doesn’t want to feel like they’re sleeping on a cloud?

Folding End Table

My mind was blown when I found out someone had the genius idea of inventing a lawn end table. The lawn chair had already been invented — why not complete the ensemble?

I love this item in particular because it provides so much more storage space than a regular lawn chair, but it only takes up the amount of space as a second folded up lawn chair.

Portable Water Purifier

I learned the hard way that drinking water out of streams in the woods isn’t always the best idea. No one has quite figured out how to get fish and animals (and hippies) from doing their business in them.

Rather than carry around the weight of 80 ounces of water in my backpack, I just bring along my portable water purifier. This amazing invention uses a filter press to purify the water in my bottle as I press it down.

The water I drink is crystal clear, and I only have to have the one bottle in my pack!

Weed Torch

As a man, I like to burn things, which is why I use my weed torch instead of a regular weed eater. That’s right — I said weed torch.

It’s exactly what the name implies, and believe me, being able to watch those infectious weeds shrivel up in a small cloud of smoke is very satisfying.

Dry Bag

I enjoy the occasional canoe trip, but I definitely don’t enjoy getting my phone, wallet, and watch soaking wet. I used to cram everything I had into Ziploc bags like a chump, but after a while, I decided it was better that I actually look like I have my life together.

I was introduced to the dry bag, an amazing pack that utilizes laminated fabric and welded seams [5] to keep water away and my possessions dry.

Cooling Bucket Hat

My biggest fear is dying of heat exhaustion. No really, it is, it’s a terrible way to go. After reading the symptoms, I went and invested in the best piece of clothing ever.

This awesome hat provides two essential cooling functions— it keeps the sun away from my face and neck, and cools instantly when I get it wet, I just wring it out and snap it into place.

The post 10 Outdoor Items I Couldn’t Live Without appeared first on Homey Improvements.

from Homey Improvements http://homeyimprovements.com/10-outdoor-items-couldnt-live-without/

Stay Cool Without A Pool

We’re currently in the midst of the hottest month of the entire year, even by summer standards. August is generally known for being blistering with its heat index, and some people simply don’t know how to handle such extreme weather without any way to cool off throughout the day. Some people are lucky enough to have their own pool – whether it be inground or above-ground – and can take a dip whenever they feel a bit of sweat coming on. Others, unfortunately, don’t have that luxury and need to get really creative when it comes to remaining chill.

Air Conditioning

Air conditioning is one of the most obvious ways to keep your home cool and relax during the extreme heat of summer. A single well-placed air conditioner is capable of cooling an entire home if positioned in the correct window. Depending on how powerful the air conditioner is, you could have a completely cooled room or entire house within the hour, which is more than can be said of some other options. We’re looking at you ice pops!

Ice Pops

Taking some time to make homemade ice pops, especially with the kids, can be a rewarding experience for all involved. The only downside here is the wait time after putting the pops in the freezer. It takes time for them to be ready, so during the wait you can sit in front of the air conditioner and relax.
Ice pops have the unique ability to come in a variety of flavors. With access to a blender, you can easily make a mixed berry flavor, strawberry-banana, or perhaps even a chocolate pudding ice pop for those with more of a sweet tooth. Be sure to leave some small chunks of fruit for a bit of extra texture and flavor, though.

Cold One

For the adults, popping up an ice cold beer is a wonderful way to both relax and refresh yourself on a warm day. Pulling your favorite brand from a cooler filled with ice is one of life’s small pleasures.
For kids, however, a cup of juice, water, iced tea, or lemonade with a couple cubes of ice is perfect for cooling the body down and keeping them playing for long periods of time. By the time night rolls around, most kids will fall asleep where they stand, allowing for some much-needed peace and quiet.

Lego Boats

For those with children in the house, filling the bathtub with cool water and a couple of toys can be a wonderful experience for the kids. Building boats made entirely of legos, which won’t be damaged in the water, can make for hours of fun for everyone in the family.

Cool Shower

As a last resort, hopping into a cool shower can drastically change your outlook on the current heat situation. Cold water may feel like a bit too much at first, but sitting under the cool spray from the shower head and remove the heat from your body and leave you feeling awake and refreshed. Heat has the tendency to make most of us tired, unfortunately.

Despite the sometimes overwhelming heat, there are plenty of options to remain cool in the hot summer months. Some are more elaborate than others, of course, but they are still available to most families today.
Charlie Teschner started MESA Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling in 1982. Charlie has a journeyman and master plumber’s license. He was raised with a strong work ethic and he now applies those values to tasks such as Longmont, CO heating repair.

from Home My Heaven: Home Improvement Blog UK http://www.homemyheaven.co.uk/2016/08/stay-cool-without-pool.html

How to be Safe When Renovating Your Home

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Home renovations can be a nightmare when the contractor you’ve hired suddenly realizes that uncovering a wall also uncovered decades of dust and dirt. Or pulling up the carpet revealed more than what you were expecting to see. Contractors know the hazards in major home renovations and know how to work safely.  But when you are the one doing the work, you need to know how you can be safe as well.  Here are some DIY safety tips for when you are doing the work yourself.

DIY Safety

The basic safety equipment for DIY home projects and repairs involves making sure that what you see, breathe, or handle will not injure you or others.

Head: While it may sound like a no-brainer, wearing some kind of protection on your head will prevent any injury to your head. Hard hats are the best protection from bumping your head, or if something falls during your renovation.

Eyes: Protecting your eyes is essential to any DIY home project or repair. Wood chips, dust, insulation fibers, and even mold can fly into your eyes while working on your home. Your eyes can be easily scratched or injured to the extent that you may wind up losing all or part of your vision. Safety glasses are inexpensive but priceless for what they protect.  Find ones that fit well and protect your eyes even from the sides. And, no, your normal glasses won’t do to protect your eyes!

Lungs: One thing that is easily forgotten until it is too late is protecting your lungs from what you may inhale while renovating your home. Using a saw to cut wood creates a lot of wood shavings, and whether you are taking down or putting up drywall, there will be quite a bit of plaster dust in the air.

“Dust that is inhaled from asbestos or fiberglass is another matter entirely,” says Jim Jones, CEO of Mr. Maid Residential and Commercial Cleaning. “In this case, a trip to the hospital is imperative and without delay.  Unfortunately, there is no cure for asbestos being inhaled but doctors may prescribe breathing treatments and medication to help with the symptoms.”

“This is why companies exist where employees have the equipment and training to remove these materials safely,” Jones continued. “Working with wood and drywall can be dangerous because of the dust these material can create. Always wear a dust mask to prevent dust inhalation.  Extended periods of breathing in the dust will potentially cause lung problems.” ~ Taken from Quora.

While a disposable mask that covers your nose and mouth will protect you from particles of dust and mold, you will want to wear a respirator if you will be working with dangerous chemicals. Even some cleaning agents can be dangerous when combined, such as bleach and an ammonia product.

Ears: Your ears are quite sensitive and continuous loud noise from pneumatic nail guns, saws, or other tools and equipment you may use in your renovations could cause hearing loss. Wearing soft, disposable ear plugs will help to prevent damage to your hearing.

Hands, Fingers, Body: Wearing gloves that are suited to the type of work you are doing is also important for protecting you from cuts, burns, metal shavings, chemicals or solvents. If you are also going to be removing asbestos insulation, flooring, or siding you should also consider protective clothing. Especially if you will be crawling around in an old attic or basement.

DIY home projects and repairs should always include DIY safety.

The post How to be Safe When Renovating Your Home appeared first on Homey Improvements.

from Homey Improvements http://homeyimprovements.com/safe-renovating-home/

Upgrades To Make Your Home More Eco- Friendly

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We all know the importance of saving the environment and reducing our carbon footprint. And there’s plenty you can do to live a more eco-friendly life, right from the comfort of your own home. Not only will these things help the environment, but you’ll save money on your energy bills too. Planning to live a more eco-friendly existence? Consider adding these upgrades to your home!

Solar Panels
While you have to pay a fairly large cost up front to have solar panels installed, with the money you’re able to save on bills they pay for themselves completely within a few years. And not only do you save money, but you’re also helping the planet too. Unlike the fossil fuels burned to power your home in the traditional way, solar energy is clean and renewable. You can be happy in the knowledge that powering your home is causing no pollution or damage to the environment.

Private Water Source
Water boreholes provide you with your own private supply of water from your land. This not only saves you money on your water bills but gives you clean water, and also means you don’t have to adhere to water restrictions and hosepipe bans either. Adding a private water source will reduce your carbon emissions, as water companies burn fossil fuels during the cleaning process. Your own private water source from a borehole or spring does not come into contact with any surface water or contamination, so is already safe to drink. It’s not just large rural properties that can tap into this, even townhouses in busy cities with tiny gardens are able to reap the benefits. So get a private water supply if you want to make your home more eco friendly.

Insulate Your Loft and walls / Install Double Glazing
These two kind of go hand in hand, they’re all about reducing the amount of heat that is lost in your home. It comes back to burning fossil fuels again, these are what are burned to heat your home and the more heat that is lost the more you need to use. Not only does this mean your heating bill is through the roof but it means you are using up more of the earth’s resources. Double glazing with good quality upvc frames will prevent heat escaping from around the windows, and cavity wall and loft insulation will prevent it from escaping everywhere else.
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Compost and Recycle
Even without huge home renovations, you can make your home as eco friendly as possible by these kinds of small things. Every day the things we throw away pollutes the earth, but by recycling wherever possible and composting biodegradable waste it reduces the amount sent to landfill. Don’t ever feel like your actions are too small to make a difference as every bit matters. Hopefully in time more people will come around to the idea, and will be more mindful with what they throw away

Switch to Energy Saving Bulbs
Energy saving bulbs generally use anything from twenty five to eighty percent less energy than traditional light bulbs- incredible! They also last anything from three to twenty five times longer too, so not only are you spending less on energy but you’re spending less buying the actual bulbs too. Using less energy again equates to less fossil fuels burned which is kinder on the environment. Again these are the small things you can do in your home which don’t require a lot of money up front or any building works to take place.
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Whatever steps you take to make your home eco friendly will all make a difference to the environment as well as make your bills less expensive. Even if you can’t afford to spend a lot, just do the best you can with what you have.

from Home My Heaven: Home Improvement Blog UK http://www.homemyheaven.co.uk/2016/08/upgrades-to-make-your-home-more-eco.html

The Most Common Issues With Windows And What You Can Do To Get Them Sorted

Getting Stuck

If your window is hard to open or close it could be that the frame is expanding or shrinking due to the weather. Heat will make wooden frames expand, making is harder to get them open in the summer. While the cold usually make them shrink, if they are porous and have soaked up any moisture, and that freezes, the ice can also make the wood expand and the window stick.

To fix this, you can use brute force, wait until the temperature changes, or use use the thin blade of a putty knife and jimmy the window open. Be very careful not to damage the frame, though!

Leaks

You need to be very wary of leaks around a window and where they are coming from. If it is the window itself, then plug them if possible or replace them if you have to. Be careful that the leak isn’t coming from the areas, though. Check that the signs that you can see are not from rising damp or a crack in the water sealant on the outside of the wall.

Moldy

Moldy windows are unsightly and unhygienic. They can cause health issues, especially breathing problems. Mould occurs around window frames and sills mostly due to condensation. This is when moisture in the air is turned back into liquid when it hits the glass of your window. You can prevent this by making sure your home is aired out. Open the windows or use a dehumidifier. Make sure that you always put the extractor on after a bath or a shower to get rid of any excess moisture in the air.

Drafts

Drafty windows are not a good idea. Not only is it unpleasant to live in a drafty home, but they are also costing you money too. If you have a draft, then air can get in, that means the hot air that you are paying for can also get out. Drafty windows are not energy efficient because it takes more energy to get the room to the same temperature as the heat is escaping. If possible block small drafts with caulking. If there are bigs gaps, it means the window no longer fits properly, and it’s time to invest in some quality double glazing.

You are always cleaning them

Cleaning the windows is a big chore, so reducing the amount that we have to do this, is a good thing. But how can you clean your wonders less without getting stuck in a dark and dingey room?

The secret is to minimise the amount of dirt that they come into contact with. Of course, you can stand outside your home with a leaf blower distracting any stray speck of dust away from your precious windows. But people may think you have lost it, and you’ll never get anything done.

Instead keep to these easy rules. Don’t burn candles or your BBQ near to your windows as the door will stick to them. Also, make sure that if you are using the oven in the kitchen that you have the extractor on. It’s so easy for grease to stick to your windows which will in turn act like a magnet for any other dirt or dust in the house!

from Home My Heaven: Home Improvement Blog UK http://www.homemyheaven.co.uk/2016/08/the-most-common-issues-with-windows-and.html

Simple Secrets For Lowering Your Home Energy Bills

If you groan when the electricity or gas bill lands on the doorstep, then you are not alone. Our utilities are essentials for sure, but they aren’t the most fun thing to spend our money on are they? So are there any ways to lower our bills and save some money? Keeping reading to find out.

Slow cooker

Firstly a hearty warm family meal is never a bad thing, right? But what if you could make it cheaper and easier to cook one all in one go? Well, you can. The way to do this is to get yourself a slow cooker.

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Instead of running your oven on full blast when it’s dinner time, to get the food ready for the hungry masses, use a slow cooker. It uses a small amount of energy throughout the day to cook. Just prep your ingredients and bung them in for a tasty and convenient one-pot meal. Easy and delicious.

Wash on eco or at night

There are ways to save on your water and electricity bill when doing the family’s laundry too. You can do your washes on the eco setting. Or if your electricity provider offers better rates at night, make sure your loads go on just before you go to bed each day. Then they will be ready to hand out to dry in the morning too, which is very convenient.  It is also possible to wash at a lower temperature which saves electricity because you use using less to heat the water. However, make sure that you get the right washing liquid for this as lower temps aren’t always as effective in getting out stains and smells.
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Common sense

There are some pretty easy things that you can do to save on your utility bills. They aren’t secrets, more common sense. But people still act like they’ve never heard of them! Try things like wearing socks, slipper and jumpers if it’s cold, rather than running around the house in a t-shirt with the heating up full blast. Limit loads of laundry to one or two per person a week. Hang your wet laundry outside in the summer to save on the cost of running a tumble dryer.

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Double glazing and insulating

Another key aspect of lowering your utility bill is to get quality double glazing to minimise the heat lost through your windows and doors. They also insulate against outside noise like busy roads and they can be more secure and act as a deterrent to burglars.  

Some people even goes as far as to add more insulation to their walls with products like cavity wall insulation. This traps more of the heat in and makes their home much more energy efficient and eco friendly. Remember the more energy efficient your home is then less it will cost you on utility bills

Get a meter

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Lastly, a splendid way of lowering your energy bills, so you have more money to do other stuff, is to get a meter installed. In this way, you can keep an eye on how much you are using. This will encourage you to minimise unnecessary usage and save water, gas and electricity and so your cash too.

from Home My Heaven: Home Improvement Blog UK http://www.homemyheaven.co.uk/2016/08/simple-secrets-for-lowering-your-home.html