Last year as we all know was the hottest on record, and this year seems to be continuing this trend unfortunately. This means that the upcoming summer will feature stifling temperatures and a strain on your budget in order to stay cool. What does this mean for your summer budgeting, probably a whole lot if you are not taking proper steps now to offset your energy costs. One ingenious way you can do this is by getting around to putting in a solar powered solutions mistbox using bio-mimicry to cut down your cooling costs.
The way this works is that the Mistbox addresses a costly key issue with your conventional air conditioning units; thus having to turn hot air into cool air. Your outdoor condenser units have the hardest job in the process, and using the sticky summer air to cool the re-fridge unit will make the air indoors cooler as well. The savings on your energy bill will be immense.
Through borrowing from our own biology and the way we sweat and the evaporation cools us down, so too does the mist box cool the systems it is coupled with. After an easy installation, the unit then uses solar power to produce the mist that goes around the unit cooling it down. This doesn’t seem like it will do very much on the surface, however, some estimate that this will result in a savings upwards of 20-40 percent to your energy bill. Not to mention users of these technologies will also be qualified for a federal tax credit because of its solar panels, making it even more cost effective. Another near feature about this is that it can track your savings in real time to a smart phone app, as well as track how it reacts in certain weather conditions in an attempt to make sure you are getting the right output from your machine.
Now all of this is great, but it won’t mean very much if you don’t take care of public enemy number one when it comes to cooling and heating costs and that is your insulation or lack there or. Insulation is the make or break of any home, and can leave you sitting pretty in the heat of it all, or it can leave you hemorrhaging money until its cold enough to turn off your heater, then you can wait until its cold enough that you are hemorrhaging money on your heating costs, either way any dollar you put into insulating your house is going to come back to you several times over during the time you own your home.
This is big not only for the average consumer but for the nation as a whole. Considering that homes now account for over 20% of the nation’s annual energy consumption. That is big time usage, so when it comes to big time savings its not only important for you but for the infrastructure of the nation as a whole. We are in a transitional phase right now and efficiency is king. If we are going to dramatically change our energy infrastructure we need to first change the homes where that energy goes to.
We often multitask in our high tech, high paced way of life, but when it comes to the kitchen we are like molasses on a cold winter day. We often don’t know what to do, or how to do it and thus get frustrated and avoid the kitchen all together. This can get pricey, and fast. luckily there are a few hacks that can help you the most out of your kitchen. These range from the seemingly obvious to the seemingly impractical, but trust us these techniques can help make your pesto, the besto. From using your freezer to wash your cloths, to using the microwave to help you squeeze OJ there is money in that kitchen, you just gotta know how to get it.
There are some things to consider before you start to hack your kitchen appliances, mainly that it is risky. Also that anything that breaks as a result of your tampering with, or disabling the regular operation of the machine would effectively render your warranty moot, so just some food for thought.
“people can certain get more out of their appliances but they need to be very careful when doing so, a warranty can sometimes be voided if an appliance was used for a purpose other than what it’s designed for. Moreover, the odds of an appliance breaking is much higher when using it for a different purpose, so its best to assess if the outcome is really worth the risk.” says Doug Rodgers
Up first if you Dishwasher. The dishwasher is an extremely versatile device that has applications well outside its design specifications. The reason being that minus the detergent there are a lot of things you can do that fall into the realm of cooking and food preparation.
To poach salmon with your dishwasher, simply place your salmon in aluminum to make sure its as water proof as possible, and add whatever seasonings you want. The dishwasher reaches a high enough internal temperature that it will actually cook up your fish in a nice even way. When it comes to clean up down worry, the dishwasher can also clean itself up.
Also clean and cook potatoes in your dishwasher by placing them spuds on the top rack and turn on the rinse only cycle. will come out nice and cooked and soft and ready for mashing, honest.
You can also get the most out of your gross old dirty rags and sponges. Lots of the time you just don’t wanna put them in the laundry, but you also are torn when it comes to trowing them away because that can seriously add up. So by just running a load with the ones you were planing on getting rid of anyways will get a little more life span out of your job and you will taste the savings in a jiffy. Another way you can get the most out of old tools you were thinking were getting a bit to gnarly such as your hand gardening tools is to give them a run in the old dishwasher and boom, good as new.
We are starting to transition to IoT upgrades for our home and businesses but the technology is no doubt in its infancy. But more and more products flood the market every week, and it will soon be the case that the distinction of things and IoT products will be an arbitrary distinction. There are already things that allow you to remotely control systems in your home such as your lighting, thermostat, and even the crock pot in your kitchen, which is making our lives easier and more efficient in many ways. Everywhere you turn, efficiency is key.
In the United States alone households are penetrating the technology on the small home frontier more quickly than any other demographic. In 2016 there was a market presence of 5.8% and by the year 2020 we are expected to hit 18.6%. So consider if you’re not part of this 5.83% and are most likely on the fence and plan on getting around to it. You are probably wondering where do you even begin with a market that large and what products will give you the biggest bang for your buck. We have combined a list of several reasons how and where you should make the change in your home.
The first reason and way that IoT can affect our life is in the efficiency of time as well as energy. It is a common occurrence that we are get a notification from the post office or Amazon only to realize we are not there and cannot sign for the package. Thus we have a wasted half day when we have to go to the post office and physical retrieve this parcel, along with a myriad of paper work to verify your ownership of the parcel. Or had a motion sensor go off only to have you rush home and find that there is no apparent problem.
This is why the August Smart Lock is the first of our must have IoT products. It provides secure and safe keyless access to your home wth iOS and Android smartphones, and its extremely sleek. It weighs in at just under 1lbs and 3.3×3.3×2.2 inches.
Another reason to go smart with your home if you are a home owner or care taker is that smart homes sell much faster on the open market. According to a 2016 poll by a top real estate brokerage firm, Coldwell Banker they are 54% of homeowners in the market who plan to sell their home would like to transition to a smart home. In fact, 65% of this group surveyed also said that they would be willing to pay $1,500 more to do so. Simply put, it pays to go smart.
Right now it seems a minor segment of the market has or even wants this, moreover, it doesn’t really feel warm or like a home when this is extremely present. In my own case it often feels kind of too much like a Sci-Fi claustrophobic nightmare. This is one thing that will most likely pass when we get out of the infancy of the market and where it is likely to go.
When people are making crucial decisions regarding what appliances and counters to put in their kitchen, it can be easy to be distracted and overwhelmed by the variety of decisions and options there are to make. It’s important to keep in mind that your particular dream kitchen may not be your best friend’s, mother’s, sister’s or Oprah’s dream kitchen. That’s ok though, because the kitchen you’re planning is for you, and you’re going to be happiest with something that incorporates your specific needs into the design, not something that necessarily answers to current trends.
The best way to figure out what direction you want to move in is to reflect on where you’re coming from. What do you appreciate about your current kitchen? What don’t you like about your current set up? These are the first of many questions you must consider in order to find your ideal set up, so take the questions seriously.
Once you have a more fundamental understanding of what you’re after in a kitchen, you have to figure out how to acquire as much as possible of your ideal kitchen given the limitations that you also encounter- these limitations might involve space, money, and a variety of other factors that you need to be realistic about in order to get the kitchen that works for you as opposed to half of the kitchen you want for twice as much as you should have spent on it.
In order to be the savviest spender you can be, and make sure to identify the essentials first. You’re going to want to spend money on top-grade design services rather than on upgrading your materials, for example. If you invest in a design that nails the floor plan and important appliance placement, you’re probably going to end up with a more attractive kitchen than one that started out on the wrong foot style-wise and is now covered in luxury surfacing as an attempt to cover it up. Your kitchen says something about you, so make sure that message is a positive and thoughtful one.
Another crucial factor to keep in mind for gracefully bringing together a kitchen that meets your needs- how do you actually live? The best kitchen is one which is functional for the person who uses it, so take your particular needs seriously throughout this process. You don’t need a kitchen that Martha Stuart would be filmed in- you need one that has all the appliances (like toasters) that your children can use during their do-it-yourself phase.
These personal elements can be found through answering a variety of questions: How many people live in your household? How old are they and do any of them have any specific needs or allergies? Are you a wine-o that needs a wine storage, do you want to make room for two cooks at a time? What’s your budget in terms of food and what appliances are you truly going to need to fit those desires assuming you only make certain kinds of meals?
Today in residential construction we usually follow a single line of framing execution, and that is the light timber pop up framing. This is the first distinctly American building practice and embodies the pioneering spirit in that it takes much less people to execute the raising of a wall. The problem is, this technique was developed for traveling prospector, not to the homeowner of today. So we need to rethink how to construct homes in general considering improvements in both performance and materials used. In this way the most promising development we have had in the past century has been the development of geodesic math and geodesic engineering for commercial purposes. Developed by visionary builder R Buckminister Fuller geodesics can be defined as line segmented sphere that triangulates a network to form a rigid dome structure that evenly distributed the weight in a kind of stable distribution of tension and compression. Here are a few of the reasons why Geodesic home framing is superior to traditional practices.
- They are cheaper to build than traditional homes
You are going to save on not only materials of the project but the big one is time. Labor is always the largest expenditure on any work site so with a Geodesic framed home what is massively important is that you are allow to do most of the work off site in a shop which allows for much better quality control as well as a much speedier and smooth building experience. By taking weather and the fatigue of the sun out of the project coupled with the speed and rapidity that is inherent in geodesic building you are bound to experiencing immense savings.
2. Energy Efficiency
Given the spherical nature of the geodesic dome it is naturally the most efficient shape in covering the most living area with the least amount of ground surface space. When we compare this to similarly sized rectangular houses the geodesic dome will on average yield about 30% more living space per square foot per home. This also accounts for a 33% saving in lumber usage. When you consider you central appliances such as heating and air the dome is well ahead of the curve given that it is essentially an open air system. You do not need to pipe it across room to room in a corridor with ducts that are prone to clog and waste. You merely need a central point of air to equally and evenly distribute the heat. Not to mention that the circulation.
3. Disaster Insurance
Given the strength inherent to a geodome they are more stable against any kind of natural disaster than traditional timber framing. If you consider high winds in a traditional home with a large wall the wind would use it like a sail and compromise the shape. Snow is incapable of piling on the and collapsing roofs because there is no roof. Finally with something that compromises the foundation, such as an earth quack the weight is evenly transferred thus protecting against wracking of the frame.
There are a lot of different dryers on the market, all with slightly different designs and slightly different services to offer. Some are more energy efficient than others, and those are generally more expensive but also will cost you less on your utilities bill every month.
The existence of energy efficient products isn’t itself such a foreign idea, but have you ever wondered exactly what it is about those products, in this case dryers, that makes them more energy efficient? The secret is in certain small adjustments to the design. This article will act as a basic introduction to what engineers have done to make dryers offer the same heating service while using less energy input.
In general, a clothes dryer heats wet clothes as it tumbles them. It does this by pulling outside air into the machine, having it pass over heating elements similar to those of a toaster, and then sending that hot air into the dryer drum where the clothes are spinning. The reason it makes sense to tumble clothes is that it separates wet surfaces, allowing the dryer to divide and conquer wet spots as warm air circulates through your clothing and converts water to steam. The steam that is generated throughout this process is then blown out of the dryer through the drying vent. The tumbling motion also fluffs up your clothes, which is why clothes are so much softer out of the dryer than off a clothes line.
A conventional dryer uses about 1,000 kilowatts of energy a year, which comes out to costs around $85. They’re comparative energy hogs and unfortunately they all operate so similarly that Energy Star hasn’t seen fit to rate them. By the way, if you’re wondering what qualifies a machine for an Energy Star rating, it only has to operate using 10% less energy than the standard appliance.
That said, there are dryer features that allow them to become more energy efficient, so if you’re looking for a more resource-scrupulous machine, you can seek the ones with the following options:
A drying machine with a moisture sensor can operate with more energy efficiency because it will turn itself off after overall moisture rates drop past a certain level; timed dries tend to waste energy by running after they’ve already completed the job.
Cool-down features can also allow for dryers to function with less waste. They make the dryer continue to tumble clothes but without heating outside air towards the end of the cycle; this way your clothes can make it to dry using residual heat instead of unnecessary extra heat.
Some dryers have top-loading designs and switch the direction of the tumbler, making it harder for clothes to ball up and create pockets of moisture protected from the heat.
Even if you don’t buy a dryer with these features, there are ways you can use conventional dryers to save energy. Spin your clothes as much as possible before loading them, don’t over load your clothes, separate clothes by weight or fabric type, clean your lint screen, keep your vent hose clear, and pre-dry heavier items on clothes lines.
Ever seen an outlet that has a reset button on it and wondered what was going on there? You’re looking at a ground-fault circuit interrupter and it’s there to protect people from being electrically shocked.
Remind you of a fuse? They’re somewhat similar, but not exactly. The main purpose of a fuse is to protect a larger electrical system (like a home) from undergoing a dangerous fault that sets off an electrical fire. A fuse uses a small wire to carry current so that if the current exceeds a certain amperage that surpasses the amperage for which the system was built and begins to heat the wire past a particular point, the wire will melt and the overheating circuit will break before any electrical fires can happen. That’s very helpful, because mundane household activities like vacuuming and hanging pictures can damage a circuit in such a way that huge amounts of current being to flow in places that aren’t built to withstand it, and that means the wires holding that current will start to heat up like the wires in your toaster. The fuse heats up faster than the wire and burns out before the wire can start a fire.
So that’s the point of the fuse, but a GFCI (which stands for ground-fault circuit interrupter) is slightly different. It’s more subtle and is built right into the standard American 120-volt outlet, which if you remember, has two vertical slots and then a round hole centered below them. The slightly larger left slot is called “neutral” and the slightly smaller right slot is called “hot” and the hole in the bottom center is called the “ground”. A properly functioning appliance will cause electricity to flow from the hot slot to the neutral slot.
The ground-fault circuit interruptor monitors the amount of current flowing from hot to neutral for imbalance and trips the circuit if something isn’t going the way it should be. It’s able to sense an imbalance as small as one between 4 to 5 milliamps and reacts within one-thirtieth of a second.
This makes using appliances much safer. Say you’re using your power drill on a cold, wet day and you are standing on the wet ground outside your house. The drill is a little wet, making it possible for there to be a path from the hot wire inside the drill through you to ground. You don’t want the electricity to flow from the hot to ground through you because that could really mess you up; luckily the GFCI can sense the current flowing through you because not all of the current is flowing from hot to neutral, as would be expected. Once it senses that a second circuit is causing there to be less electricity flowing to neutral than expected, it trips the circuit and cuts off the electricity.
So say this happens while you’re using your hair dryer or something and you identify the unsafe aspect of what you were doing and fix it; how do you go back to using that outlet? Just reset it with the other button, it will reconnect the circuit and make it possible for you to use appliances plugged into that outlet again.
In the flurry of life, it’s easy to forget to be curious about what we see; when’s the last time you wondered about who built your desk, or in what nation your blender was created? A similar question could be asked about your floors; how exactly are they constructed? This article will tell you a little more about that.
Before you can create the floor of a house (let’s assume it’s the first floor), contractors have to ready the site by removing any trees or foliage adorning the land and leveling the ground to the best of their ability.
Then the builders must create the foundation of the building. This could be done in a number of fashions and is generally done as is customary in whatever the region where the house is being constructed. The three most common foundations created are the basement, the slab, and the crawl space.
If the crew opts into the slab, the floor is basically already created. Most of the time concrete floors are then covered up by the more comfortable and temperature-insulated materials, but the basic shape is there.
If they make a basement or a crawl space, they’ll need to build a floor on top of the area they’ve dug out and supplied concrete floors, walls, and supports to. Often this involves creating a sill-plate made of pressure-treated lumber that makes direct contact with the bricks or cement of the crawlspace or basement wall. Sometimes these sills are not even connected to the foundation in any way which apparently doesn’t create problems.
The floor is then crated on top of the sill using 2 x 10 lumber or something of the like. Long beams must be supported that run down the center of the house, so there’s generally some aspect of the foundation there to hold them up. These center beams are generally also constructed from 2 x 10 lumber ad tend to be three pieces thick.
The 2 x 10s in the floor are called joists, and they all meet at this large center beam. Once the floor framing has been completed, it is covered with 1/2 or 5/8-inch plywood OSB. OSB stands or oriented strand board.
At that point, you’ve got the bare necessity for a floor; you can stand on the plywood and it will hold your weight securely. However, you may have noticed that most houses don’t have plywood floors (or concrete, for that matter). That’s because it’s nice to insulate a house by adding another layer of material, and it generally looks cleaner and more homey to do so.
You may opt into getting hardwood floors installed, which just means putting thin strips of wood across the plywood. Carpet can also be glued or stapled down. Many home owners opt for both. Tile and linoleum are more common floor materials in American homes and work well in laundry rooms and bathrooms.
It may not seem so complicated, but it’s good to see how things get to be the way they are in this world and understand how the house you take for granted actually came to be.
Nothing is more frustrating than losing your access to hot water… except probably losing all access to flowing water in general, which sounds like kind of a drag. Either way, if you’re used to it, you’re not going to like going without it. But say you turn the hot water on in your shower and only cold water comes out. How do you know if its a plumbing issue or an issue with your water heater specifically? To an untrained eye, these issues are difficult to navigate, but with a little help (which I hope this article will give you) you’ll be getting to the bottom of your hot-water problem in no time.
- In a situation in which no tap in your house will yield hot water, it could mean that the pilot light in your hot water heater has somehow been extinguished. This can happen due to weather, wind, a catch in the gas line that feeds the light, and a variety of other fluke-type causes. Check the pilot light and relight it if its out (should be as simple as lighting the light of your oven, but make sure to look up the directions in your owner’s manual just in case). If it looks like the model you have makes this process complicated or dangerous or in general you’re just not feeling confident about lighting the flame yourself, contact a professional company technician to do it for you.
- If your water heater is making odd noises that you don’t remember it generally making, you’re likely hearing minerals or hard-water scale that has accumulated within the tank and eventually broken off. Unfortunately if this is the case, you’ll need to drain the tank and clean out the sediment before you start seeing weird stuff come out your pipes. This is generally a good job to hand off to professionals.
- If a puddle has formed around your water heater, you’ve got a leak and water is seeping from your tank. The water could be coming from anything from a loose valve to a leaky pipe. If you can’t find any leaky pipes, see if you can tighten the valve in general. If the valve is loose, water could easily leak out of the heater. Otherwise you may just have a faulty valve, an obstructed vent or a defective heating element.
- If there is hot water but it’s not sufficiently hot, the first thing you can do is check out the thermostat to see if it’s set up the the temperature of your liking. If it is at the setting you originally chose but no longer yielding hot enough water, think about when the last time was that you flushed out your tank. The same minerals causing the weird noises may have built up in your tank and made it so it was more difficult to heat up the water properly. If your tank has been flushed recently, you may want to check out the heater’s dip tube to make sure it isn’t broken (which would cause the tank to not heat up properly). You can check the dip tube by removing the cold water supply line and taking the dip tube directly out of the tank.
Your toaster uses infrared radiation to crisp up your bread. When you see those toasty coils glow red, that’s the radiation. Infrared radiation is a type of electromagnetic radiation that sounds like it’s different from heat but it’s just heat. The coils provide a gentle drying and charring effect on the surface of your bread.
Most toasters use nichrome wire wrapped back and forth across a mica sheet to heat up yo bread. Nichrome is an alloy of nickel with chromium (and sometimes iron) commonly used in high-temperature applications such as electrical heating elements. Its electrical resistance allows for it to generate a lot of heat when currents are run through it. Nichrome is also useful because it does not oxidize when it is heated (like iron would, leading to rust). Mica is a shiny sillcate mineral with a layered structure generally found as minute scales in granite and other rocks, or as crystals. It’s used as a thermal or electrical insulator.
With a couple mica sheets wrapped in nichrome, you could get the toasty job done. However, things like bread crumb catchers and spring-loaded toast-announcing movements have come to be expected.
When you look deep into a toaster’s crevice, you’ll generally notice a metal holder rising up and down in the slots to raise and lower the bread as well as a pair of grates that line either side of both slots. When you push the holder down, metal springs at the bottom of either slot get compressed which in turn squeezes the grates inward, towards each other.
The handle is attached to the holders. When you push the handle down, a mechanism activates which holds the handle down until the toast is ready, electric current is sent through the nichrome wires, and a timer is initiated that counts down until the toast pops up.
Here’s how it happens: When you push the handle down, you complete a circuit that allows for electric current to flow through the nichrome wires. Another simple current made up of transistors, resistors and capacitors turns on and supplies power to the electromagnet. The electromagnet then attracts a piece of metal added to the handle, holding the bread down. Another simple circuit is responsible for acting as a timer. A capacitor charges through a resistor and when it reaches a certain voltage it cuts off the power to the electromagnet. Without the magnetic charge holding the piece of metal (and the toast) down, the springs at the bottom of the toaster release their tension and pop up the bread. The springs also push the plastic handle up, cutting off the power to the toaster all together.
A lot of toasters allow for toast darkness settings by using a variable resistor. Changing the resistance changes how fast the capacitor charges, which in turn affects how long it takes for the electromagnet to be cut off from the electricity that allows it to hold the piece of metal and the toast down into the toaster and maintain current flowing to the nichrome wires.