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How Will The International Expansion Of Alternative Energy Affect Utility Prices?

Posted by on Dec 29, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Although the United States has been harnessing solar energy for decades, this alternative power source has only recently made its way abroad. During the next few years, India plans to build a solar power plant that will produce more energy than the total sum of solar energy produced across the US in a full calendar year. What will this international transition to alternative energy mean for utility prices in the U.S.? And what can you do to capture profit from this tidal wave? Read on to learn more about the global effects of the rise of renewable energy. What will India’s new power plant mean for the United States? In India, most energy is produced by burning coal or natural gas. However, the coal available in India is of lesser quality than much of the coal produced in the U.S., and is therefore much less efficient (and produces more harmful environmental waste). By expanding the amount of solar power available, India can reduce its dependence on these sources of energy while extending electricity to more and more citizens. Many rural areas of India are still completely without electricity or internet access. Long-term, this is likely to be an economic boon to the U.S. As more Indian citizens gain access to electricity at reduced prices, Indian wages will rise (making Indian workers more financially competitive with U.S. workers and driving up U.S. wages). As the country’s air quality improves, health will improve as well. What can you do to benefit from this expansion of solar power across the globe? India isn’t the only country with big solar energy plans. One European corporation plans to create a solar installation in the Sahara desert, which could ultimately provide up to 15 percent of the energy consumption of all of Europe. In fact, the continent of Africa receives enough annual sunlight to provide the entire planet with electricity. Although all humans should benefit from this transition to alternative energy, there are some additional ways you may be able to take advantage of this trend. Invest in solar energy stocks A decline in the up-front cost of solar installations has multiplied the number of publicly-traded companies dealing in the expansion of solar energy. Investing some of your long-term savings in one (or more) of these companies can provide you with a steady stream of income (via dividends) later in life. Choosing a specific company in which to invest can be risky. However, there are a number of index funds available that specifically focus on renewable energy. These index funds carry slightly less risk — the funds create a “sandwich” of solar energy stocks, so if a single company files for bankruptcy or dissolves, the total effect on the fund is minimized. Investigate the cost of converting your home to solar The primary drive behind this energy expansion is not a desire to reduce the amount of non-renewable resources used for energy consumption, but a dramatic decrease in the cost of solar installation. You can take advantage of this price drop in your own household by investigating the cost of installing solar panels. In some cases, you may be able to entirely convert your home to solar electricity with the help of companies like DPW Solar Electric. However, most of the country doesn’t receive enough...

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What To Do After A Hurricane: 3 Methods To Keep The Mold Away

Posted by on Dec 29, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

With all of the big hurricanes that have been in the news in the past decade, you may be wondering what to do if a destructive one hits your area and damages your home. If you live on or near a coastline, serious damage from a hurricane is a legitimate concern. Your roof may be torn off and your windows shattered. Expect to see trees downed in your yard and around your neighborhood, and be prepared to be without power for a while (sometimes weeks at a time). These are all big concerns and obviously need to be fixed as soon as possible. However, your biggest concern after a hurricane should be mold. Mold forms in wet and damp areas. If your house gets water in it at all during the hurricane, which is likely with roof and window damage (and a sure thing if you live in an area that floods), the chances of mold developing is very high. Mold can cause severe health problems if left untreated. Some types of mold, like black mold, can even kill those with compromised immune systems or other health issues. You’ve got to get on the task of preventing mold right away, because mold abatement gets more difficult the longer the mold is allowed to stand. Don’t let mold drive you out of your home after a hurricane. Here are three things you can do to help prevent it forming in the first place. 1. Pull Up the Carpet If your house was flooded, even if you only got a few inches of water inside, your carpet will be saturated with water. You can put fans or dehumidifiers on it to dry it, but mold can start forming right away on those wet fibers. The best thing to do is to pull up the carpet entirely and throw it away. You can always put down new carpet later. If the floor underneath the carpet is concrete, you’re probably safe from mold as soon as the carpet is removed. If it’s wood, you will need to thoroughly dry the wood as soon as possible using fans, towels, and whatever else you have on hand. Mold grows easily on wood, but fortunately, drying the wood is easy. 2. Replace Damaged Drywall Your drywall is another place where mold will grow easily in wet conditions. You will notice drywall that is water damaged very easily. It will either crumble away under your touch, or it will develop brown water stains. By the time stains start to form, there is probably already mold in the drywall, so it’s better to remove and replace it while it’s still wet. This will ensure mold doesn’t have a chance to take hold in your home. 3. Clean Up the Basement Basements get flooded during hurricanes. Because this area of your home is dark by nature, it makes the perfect area for mold to grow. Mold loves the dark almost as much as it loves the wet. Use a shop-vac or companies like http://www.smrestoreutah.com to get the water off of the floor. Then, remove everything from your basement and dry your things out in the sun. Discard damp boxes and replace them with new ones. Shine bright sun lamps into both areas while running strong, industrial strength fans (rent them...

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3 Essential Spring Repairs To Get Your House Ready For Summer

Posted by on Dec 23, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Is the cold and snow damaging your house? The harsh conditions of winter can cause many houses to take a real beating. By the time spring rolls around, you will have discovered damage in places you didn’t notice when things were frozen over. If you live in an area that gets really frigid, you’ve probably seen this many times before. The spring thaw is a time for not only cleaning your house, but for repairing it from the damage of winter. Once the repairs are made, you can sit back and enjoy the summer in comfort, knowing your house is running perfectly and everything is in tip-top shape. Some things are more likely to get damaged by the cold and ice than others. Here are the top three essential spring repairs most houses will need to have a comfortable summer and fall. 1. Your Plumbing Plumbing often get damaged during the winter. So much of it is exposed directly to the elements, or is in areas of your house that are not insulated. When the metal of the pipes expands and contracts with quickly changing temperatures, it can cause serious problems. Burst and frozen pipes are one of the most common plumbing issues caused by winter. Of course, this is something you will need to get fixed right away to avoid flooding your house or yard. Plumbing damage doesn’t have to be an emergency, though. You may find when the spring comes that small cracks have developed in your pipes, which are causing leaks. The leaks can be anywhere in your house or yard. Left untouched, leaks can lead to mold and rotten wood, and can also raise your water bill. It may not always be apparent where leaks have developed over the winter. Therefore, it is a good idea to get a plumber to come out and inspect your house once things thaw. Any cracks in the plumbing can be addressed then, before they cause bigger problems in your house. 2. Your Roof According to HomeAdvisor.com, snow, ice, and icicles can all damage your roof over the winter. Heavy snow can cause your roof to cave in if it piles up too high. Even if this doesn’t occur, the weight of snow can crack your shingles. Expansion and contraction of roofing materials from frigid temperatures can create holes in your roof. Ice that gets into the tiny spaces in mortar on your chimney can loosen it from its foundation on your roof, making it susceptible to falling off once the ice melts. A roof inspection is a must once the weather is warm enough. You want to get any issues left over from winter fixed before it starts to rain. If your chimney is damaged, it needs to be shored up before it falls off of your house (and possibly injures someone). 3. Your HVAC Unit Your central heating and cooling unit is located outside, and is subject to a lot of climate abuse all year long. This abuse is greatest in the winter, when snow can drift in and bring all kinds of debris with it. Ice that forms in or on the unit can cause delicate parts to become damaged, or even break. If it gets damaged or clogged with debris, it won’t do its job...

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Landscaping Techniques To Assist With Basement Waterproofing

Posted by on Dec 22, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

If water commonly floods your basement, then it may be in your best interest to contact a basement waterproofing specialist. Contractors can install indoor and outdoor drainage systems and they can also close gaps in your foundation. If your yard remains wet outside your home, then waterproofing methods may not be as effective as they should be. Your basement then may continue to flood. You can reduce this concern by landscaping your yard at the same time that the basement waterproofing is completed. Consider the tips below to dry out your property. Use Plants to Absorb Water The grass that grows across your yard is capable of soaking up some of the water that pools on your property. Grass blades will only absorb so much water though, and they will allow fluid to pool near your home afterwards. When this happens, the grass roots will eventually start to rot and some of your grass will die. This can worsen your wet lawn and basement flooding issue. You can spread grass seeds across your property to grow new grass that will soak up more water. St. Augustine, Bermuda, and centipede grasses all need a moderate amount of water to survive. If you decide to add new grass to your property, the spread a good amount of slow release fertilizer across your lawn when you place the seeds. This type of fertilizer will provide nutrition for a longer period of time so that roots are more apt to grow deep in the soil. Add Wet Plants If you want to add color to your property or if you do not want to add new grass to your entire yard, then consider adding plants near your home that thrive in wet conditions. These plants will soak up water when there is an abundance of fluid, and root structures will not rot when the soil becomes drenched. Swamp azaleas, hibiscus, sweet spire, sedge, and cardinal flowers are all good choices for wet soil. If an area of your yard stays wet for an extended period of time, then consider adding cattails, water irises, blue flag, or water canna to the area. Bushes and shrubs planted near your house are a good idea as well. Bushes are hardy and they will pull a decent amount of water away from your foundation. Add a Slope Around Your House Another good way to keep water away from your home to help with waterproofing methods is to build a slope that runs away from your home. Before you do this, discover whether or not the ground is flat or sloped poorly near your house. Place a flat piece of lumber near the edge of your house and allow the length of the wood to sit away from your foundation. Set a level on the wood. If the air bubble in the level shifts towards your house or sits in the middle of the device, then you need to add soil around your foundation so the earth slopes downward away from your foundation. This will help to pull rainwater away from your home. Securing Soil To add a slope to your home, purchase a large amount of topsoil that contains clay materials. The clay will help to secure the dirt in place and it will also prevent water from absorbing deep into...

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3 Ways To Turn Your Screened Patio Into An Oasis

Posted by on Dec 19, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Do you have a screened patio in the back of your house that’s just sitting there, unused? It’s a shame to have all that space and not go out and enjoy it. Maybe the weather is too hot most of the time, or the sun beats down too directly on it. Maybe there is just nothing of interest to you on your patio. The good news is that you can change this. In fact, you can easily turn your patio into an outdoor oasis of tranquility and enjoyment with just a few changes and additions. Start living life in the sun and enjoying to outdoors as nature intended, all while being protected from bugs by your screen. Here’s what to do. 1. Make the Area Liveable Bringing the indoors outside seems to be all the rage these days, with fully equipped outdoor kitchens taking the lead. So why not have a realistic outdoor living room, too? Your screened patio provides the perfect setting for one. If your patio has a screened roof, convert it to a covered one made out of wood or metal. Wire it for an overhead light and a ceiling fan, and install these things. Then, bring out the furniture. Use whatever makes a living room comfortable to you. Some suggestions include: A sofa Two or more plush chairs A loveseat A coffee table A couple of end tables with lamps A shag area rug One or more floor lamps A television You can group the furniture together to create a space for cozy conversation, or for gathering to watch a movie or TV program with your friends and family, all while enjoying the fresh air of the outdoors. The new, solid roof ensures you’re never rained out. With a patio living room, you’re limited only be available space and your imagination. 2. Sleep On It What better way to enjoy cool breezes on warm nights than with a porch you can sleep on? With a little redecorating, you can transform your patio into one that makes a safe, comfortable, and fun sleeping environment for kids and adults alike. Like with a living room patio, the roof should be a solid material to keep out the rain. Roll-away privacy blinds all around the screen walls will provide security if your neighbors have a good view of your patio. Add a ceiling fan, some pretty rugs, floor lamps, bedside tables with reading lamps, some potted plastic plants and a little bit of artwork to liven the place up. Your patio will then be ready for one or more beautifully made up beds. Use blankets and comforters of appropriate weight for the season, and you have a perfect place for children and teenager sleepovers, as well as a whimsical guest room. 3. Have a “Staycation” Any Day Whenever you feel like escaping to a tropical island, your patio can substitute for one quite well. If you have an old swimming pool you never use, get an in ground pool repair company like Pool Service Co. to fix it up for you. It should sparkle like new when the repairs are done. You should add an in ground hot tub with a water fountain while you’re at it, as it makes your patio more like an island hotel. If you...

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Why Does Your Toilet’s Water Suddenly Look Brown?

Posted by on Dec 18, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

If your toilet’s water suddenly looks brown or discolored, you may have a plumbing emergency on your hands. Discolored toilet water can be a sign of clogged sewer pipes. If you don’t remove the clogs right away, the plumbing pipes of your bathroom can burst or crack from the pressure inside the clogged pipes. In addition, hard water minerals can leave the blockages and develop inside your toilet’s tank. Here’s how the toilet’s water became brown and what you can do to clear it up until your plumber arrives. Where Do Hard Water Minerals Come From? Hard water minerals like magnesium, manganese, iron, and calcium generally come from the cleansers and chemicals you use to clean your bathtub, sink and toilet. But many brands of toilet bowl cleaners don’t leave the toilet completely once you flush it. Some chemical gel cleansers coat the surfaces of the toilet bowl for days. After many flushes, these chemicals eventually leave the bowl and travel into the sewer line attached to your toilet’s base. When the chemicals build up inside the sewer line, they create hard blockages or buildup. Blocked sewer lines can push waste water back up into your bathroom’s plumbing pipes, where it mixes with the clean water of your plumbing pipes. The mixed water travels through your toilet’s plumbing system until it reaches the tank. Once it reaches the tank, the minerals pull away from the water and stick to the surfaces of the tank. Why Is the Water Discolored? The color of the water inside the tank can vary from brown to reddish brown, depending on the type of mineral buildup. For example, magnesium and calcium turns the tank’s water brown when they mix with the oxygen inside the tank. Manganese makes the water appear dark because it turns black when exposed to air. In addition, minerals like iron can darken the water by: Rusting the metal fixtures and parts inside the tank Breaking apart and floating around the tank’s water Sticking to the bottom of the tank and forming a thick layer of buildup These minerals harden on the inner surfaces of the tank and can be tough to remove. However, there’s an easy way to do so. How Do You Get Rid of Hard Water Minerals? You can use a safe and effective natural cleaner to clean the toilet’s tank. You’ll need to get these supplies below first: One bottle of white vinegar, which contains acids that break down minerals One small cleaning brush with soft bristles One large scrubbing brush with hard bristles Remove the tank’s lid from the toilet and set it down on the floor. Now, turn off the toilet’s water valve, flush the toilet to empty the tank, and the check the tank’s parts to see if anything came loose. Sometimes, minerals can form around the small gaskets and bolts that hold the floater, flapper and chain in place. These parts can break off and fall through the flapper’s opening when you flush the toilet. If you see any missing parts, don’t clean the tank until you purchase replacement pieces. You will need to flush the toilet several times during the cleaning process, so the tank’s floater, flapper and chain must be in good working order. If you don’t see any missing parts, you can follow...

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Keeping Your Dog Safe Before Flood Water Cleanup Begins

Posted by on Dec 16, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

If a stream, river, or lake causes flood waters to rush into your home, then it is wise to contact water cleanup experts to take care of the extremely dirty water in your house. If the experts cannot provide services immediately, then it is important to keep yourself and your family safe. If your home is still livable, then you and your children should stay away from areas exposed to flood waters. It can be easy to control the movements of your family, but if you have a dog, then it may go places inside and outside your home where it should not. Follow the tips below to make sure your dog is as safe as possible. Get Rid Of Food and Water Bowls Water restoration and cleanup experts come into your home and dry out all areas of the house to make sure the structure of your home does not become damaged. If the professionals have not done this yet though, then your home will be both warm and moist. These conditions are perfect for mold growth, and mold spores travel through the air. These spores can attach themselves to the hair on your dog as well, and the spores can land in food and water dishes. Most mold spores are not dangerous, but some potentially harmful types of mold can start to grow in your home due to damp conditions.   If dangerous black mold spores are ingested or brought into the lungs, then your dog may form a serious respiratory infection. Black mold also contains toxic substances called mycotoxins that can cause heart and cardiovascular distress. To reduce the exposure to harmful molds, consider throwing out dog dishes and purchasing new ones. Using New Dishes Once you purchase new water and food dishes for your pet, you will need to provide food and water as carefully as possible until water restoration experts clean your home. This will help to reduce your dog’s exposure to mold spores. Empty water dishes three or four times a day and fill them with fresh water. Also, add kibble or food to bowls three times a day, and provide only the food your dog will eat during mealtime. Before your dog uses the bowls, wipe down the head with a wet cloth. This will keep mold spores that are attached to the fur from falling into the food and water. Wash the dishes every day as well to kill mold spores that have fallen into the bowls. Bleach is extremely effective at killing mold, so soak the dishes in your sink. Add one-quarter cup of bleach to a sink filled with water. Let the dishes soak for about 10 or 15 minutes and then rinse them thoroughly. Do Not Let Your Dog Potty Outside Your Home Water restoration experts commonly work on homes after flood waters recede, but portable pumps can be used outside the home if pooled water sits close to your home for too long. The water is transported to wooded areas that can better soak up the water or to sewage grates that line your street. If you let your dog go outside to use the bathroom before the water is removed though, then you will be exposing him to harmful microorganisms. Flood waters often pick up a great deal of fecal...

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