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Posted by on Jul 22, 2016 in Uncategorized |

Pros And Cons Of 2 Different HVAC Air Control Systems

The purpose of an HVAC system is to push out cool or heated air to make your interior temperatures comfortable compared to the outside air. This simple definition becomes more complicated when you start looking at air conditioning models since there are a couple of key different air control systems available. Each system has its own pros and cons that can help you determine what type of heating and cooling system would best work in your home or building.

Constant Volume Strategy

A constant volume or constant air volume system operates at a consistent rate of airflow but varies the temperature of that air to achieve a comfortable temperature inside your home. The system doesn’t have a fan-only setting that can allow you to simply move existing air around your home. A constant volume system is either fully on or fully off.

The air conditioning unit for a constant volume system is fairly simple, low cost, and low maintenance. But the unit can also prove impractical for larger buildings or homes due to its constant functionality, which can drive up utility costs. Multi-zone constant volume units can work in mid-sized buildings but will involve higher costs to properly setup the system to disperse air throughout the building.

There are two main versions of the constant volume system: terminal reheat or mixed air. The terminal system ensures that your home reaches the maximum heating or minimum cooling temperature you indicated and then shuts the system off. The mixed air system runs both the hot air and cold air at the same time to mix and reach the optimal temperature before shutting off, which does a better job at achieving your desired temperature but doesn’t do wonders for controlling humidity.

Variable Volume Strategy

Home central air conditioners are usually variable volume systems, which vary the rate of the airflow while the temperature of that air stays at a constant. The variable volume system has several advantages including more precision in temperature controls, the ability to run in fan-only mode, and energy savings associated with both of those qualities.

A constant volume system is better at controlling humidity and servicing various building sizes. The main disadvantages compared to a constant volume system are the higher initial price for the unit, the more complex parts and maintenance, and the fact that the system might be too expansive for smaller buildings with very simple heating and cooling needs. Contact a contractor, like HomeSmart From Xcel Energy, for more help.

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Posted by on Jun 27, 2016 in Uncategorized |

How To Give Your Water Softener A Second Life

If your water softener is no longer working, and you don’t want to shell out the money to purchase a new water softener right now, you may be able to refurbish your old water softener and get some additional life out of it. 


You will need to purchase a bag of resin beads that is as large as the size of your resin tank. If you are not sure of the size of your resin tank, check your manual for your water softener. You will also need 90% waterproof silicone grease, a flat-headed screwdriver, and a water hose. 

Turn Off The Water Supply To The Unit

The first thing you need to do is turn off your water softener. You will need to turn the bypass valve or valves on your water softener to the off position; if you are not sure where the bypass valve(s) are located, consult your owner’s manual. To be extra safe, you can turn off the water to your house by turning the main handle for your water supply to the off position as well.

Turn Off The Power Supply To The Unit

Second, flip the breaker switch for the water softener on the power box to the off position. Then, unplug the unit. 

Disconnect The Unit

If your unit is still connected to any plumbing fixtures, you are going to want to disconnect it. This should involve unscrewing the pipe that connects the water softener to your water supply. Your owner’s manual should provide details on how to complete this step for your particular unit.

After the unit is disconnected, move it out so that you can work on it. You are going to want to pull out the water reservoir assembly portion of the unit and take it outside; you may want assistance with lifting it.

Drain The Water

Once you have removed the water reservoir, take it outside. The area where the water is held should already be exposed; it should fill up one side of the reservoir Carefully lean the reservoir over and drain out the water. You’ll want to drain the water away far away from any plants or grass; the high concentration of salt inside of the reservoir will kill your grass and any nearby plants.

Access The Resin Side Of The Reservoir

There should be a lid on top of the other side of the reservoir where the resin beads are located. Once you have poured out the water you are going to need to remove this lid. You should be able to pry off the lid with the assistance of a flathead screwdriver; just gently put the flathead screwdriver under the edge of the lid and pry it open, working your way around the top until it pops off. 

Once the lid is removed, you should encounter a screen. You should be able to easily remove the screen by hand or with the assistance of your flathead screwdriver. There should be a tube, called the riser tube, in the middle of the container that you will need to pull out. 

Remove Water & Resin Beads

Carefully tilt the reservoir on its side in order to drain the water from the resin side of it. When the water level starts to get low, and you see the resin, stop pouring. The resin, at this point in time, may look like a thick, goopy substance. 

Pour the remainder of the water and the resin into a container that you can dispose of, or into trash bags. The resin is not toxic to the environment; you can simply throw it away in your trash can. 

Clean The Reservoir Tank

Now, take your hose and rinse out both sides of the reservoir tank. If there is build up inside of your tank, you may want to scrub that away with a scrub brush. Rinse the tank until it is clean and there is no resin residue left inside of the tank. Make sure that you also clean the riser tube as well.

Add New Resin Beads

Use a funnel to add new resin beads to the resin side of the tank until you have filled it to the marked fill line inside of the tank. Once you have filled the tank to the appropriate level, put the riser tube back in place. You may have to apply a little pressure when putting the riser tube back in place in order to push through the resin beads. You may want to shake the cylinder if you have issues getting the tube back in place to move around the beads.

Put The Reservoir Back Together

Place the screen back on top of the resin section of the reservoir. Make sure that it is firmly in place. Reattach the lid to the resin side of the reservoir. Take the reservoir back inside. Apply the waterproof silicone grease to the o-rings where the reservoir attaches to the water softener than put the water softener back in place.

If you had to detach the plumbing, put it back in place. Then put the by-pass valve back to the on position, turn the water supply to your house back on, plug in the unit and turn the electricity to the unit back on. You may hear water rushing back into the unit, but you should not see water spraying or leaking everywhere; if you do see water spraying or leaking, turn off the water supply and re-seal and connect the area where the water was coming from. 

Activate The New Resin

In order to activate the new resin, you’ll want to turn on one or two water faucets inside of your house to about medium capacity. This will rinse the new resin beads. At first, the water coming out of your faucets may be slightly discolored; run the water until it looks clear and normal again. 

You can check and make sure that your water softener is working effectively by running a load of dishes through your dishwasher and making sure that there are not any hard water spots on them when they are done cleaning. If they are hard-water spot free, you have successfully extended the life of your water softener. 

If that doesn’t fix the problem, talk to a professional like Metro Water Conditioning Inc.

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Posted by on Jun 1, 2016 in Uncategorized |

Load Covering Options For Landscapers

As a garden maintenance and landscape business owner, chances are you spend a lot of time hauling yard debris, wood chips, and other loose items. An uncovered load is a dangerous load, and in some states it is even illegal. The following can help you determine the best method for securing your load.

Blue” tarps

The traditional blue tarp is inexpensive and readily available in many sizes. Although it is often thought of as a blue tarp, it is also available in other colors, including green and brown.

The main drawback to this method is that the tarps can be difficult to work with. They aren’t well-fitted, so creative use of tie downs and grommets is required to keep them from flapping in the wind. Although UV resistant, repeated use does make them eventually become brittle. Holes are also common except for in the thickest tarps.

Truck tarps

Trucks tarps come in a range of options. The beauty of these is that they are fitted to the size of your truck’s bed or your utility trailer so that they can actually wrap around the sides and fit snugly. Tie-downs, which are heavily reinforced, are also placed to fit your vehicle more closely. You can even purchase completely custom tarp systems. These include a tie-down kit that is fitted to your vehicle so that securing the tarp is literally a snap.

As an added benefit, you have more options that can work better with landscaping-specific needs. For example, traditional tarps can become prone to mildew when they are constantly covering plant debris loads on hot days. This is because moisture becomes trapped beneath the tarp. A mesh or breathable truck tarp can solve this problem.

Cord system

Cord systems are primarily useful if you need to tie down an awkward load that doesn’t need full coverage, such as a stack of landscaping timbers. They aren’t for loose loads, like bark mulch. The simplest system uses just ropes and the tie downs built into your cargo space. If you haul large or awkward items regularly, you should consider having a custom tie down kit installed.

These tie downs are installed inside the bed or on the deck of the trailer. They are designed to be used with a ratcheting strap system, so they are sure to be secure. As an added benefit, you can combine them with the tie downs used for a custom tarp system so that you get dual use from your investment.

Contact a tarp or cargo covering specialist in your area for more information.

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Posted by on May 3, 2016 in Uncategorized |

Light Control For Blinds: FAQs

There are plenty of reasons to buy new blinds for your home. Aesthetic concerns, attempts to make your home more modern, and controlling the lighting situation in your home are all noble reasons to change up your window blinds situation. When it comes to controlling the lighting situation in your home, there might be a number of questions you have about this phenomenon. This brief guide will serve to answer just a few of those questions.

Why Should You Use Blinds For Light Control?

Perhaps the primary reason you should invest in blinds as a form of light control is just that: it is an investment. Utilizing blinds as a form of light control is energy-efficient. Not only are you helping the environment by curtailing your use of electricity as a form of lighting source, but you’re also cutting down on your monthly utility bills. One of the most efficient types of using blinds as a source of light control is referred to as “daylight harvesting.” This process revolves around how and when you will employ the use of your blinds to bring in the optimal amount of light that you prefer into your home.

Where You Should You Locate The Blinds?

The answer to this question depends largely on the contingencies of your home and what sort of lighting configuration is even possible. For example, apartments in a densely-populated urban area that have south-facing light sources aren’t able to harvest the amount of light that an open ranch house is able to. For those houses with an optimal lighting situation, like the aforementioned ranch house, it is recommended that you keep blinds on both the easterly and westerly windows to block the sun when it rises, and you can raise the blinds accordingly through the day; or, if you wish, simply open them first thing in the morning to allow the maximal amount of light enter your home.

Should You Use Filters Or Black Out Light?

Black-out light blinds work by simply blocking as much light as they possibly can when they are pulled down. Sometimes, an attachable dark fabric can be placed onto blinds in order to give them a black out effect. Blinds that filter lights, on the other hand, are much less stringent about the amount of light they allow into your home when pulled. With some light-filter blinds, you can adjust them to allow the amount of light you desire into your home. Check out the site for more info.

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Posted by on Apr 12, 2016 in Uncategorized |

Potentially Fatal Tree Diseases for Your Tuliptree

The tuliptree has contrasting small, tulip-like flowers that grow on a massive, furrowed tree. Glossy leaves that highlight the flowers turn bright golden in fall, which makes the tuliptree a beautiful addition to any property regardless of season. Proper tuliptree care requires monitoring the tree for potentially hazardous tree diseases and calling in a tree care service for help.

Verticillium Wilt

Verticillium wilt symptoms begin in late fall and resemble rapid dieback throughout the tree. The leaves can look scorched around the edges before browning and falling from the tree. Branches can also wither and die off. If left untreated, the fungus behind the wilt disease can cause the tree to have slower regrowth during the next spring season.

Severe wilt will continue to spread throughout the tree, systematically killing off leaves and branches. Eventually, the tree’s regrowth in the spring will stall and the tree will no longer be salvageable. You would have to call in a tree removal service, such as is offered at, to ensure that the tree and any trace of disease are fully removed.

Call in a tree care service early in the wilt infection for the best chance of saving the tree. The tree care service can use a soil fumigant around the tree to prevent the fungus from thriving there and spreading up into the tree. Make sure the tree remains properly fertilized and hydrated. This combination approach can help the tree fight off the wilt.

Canker Disease

Canker disease actually refers to several types of fungal or bacterial infections that can strike a tuliptree with similar symptoms. The defining feature is deep, open wounds in the bark that resemble a canker sore on a human. The center of the canker is typically far darker than the rest of the bark and can start to ooze a smelly, sap-like substance.

The canker diseases tend to be worst on trees that have prior damage or are unhealthy due to poor watering or fertilization. If the cankers are restricted to certain branches, a tree trimming service can cut away the affected branches and potentially stop the spread. In some cases, a fungicide can be used to help control the canker disease.

Make sure you call in a tree care service for proper diagnosis rather than trying to treat the problem yourself. Different types of canker can look extremely similar but have vastly different origins and treatment requirements. For example, treating a bacterial canker with fungicide isn’t going to get you very far towards saving your tree.

Cankers that have greatly infected the trunk can prove fatal to the tree as the heartwood continues to deteriorate. A tree removal service will need to remove the tree to prevent the disease from spreading to other trees on your property.

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Posted by on Mar 9, 2016 in Uncategorized |

Removing Pesky Rust Stains From Concrete

Rust is a common occurrence when you’re dealing with things like tools, vehicles, and lawn equipment getting wet. Over time, this rust can stain and even penetrate concrete surfaces such as the floor of your garage, driveway, and sidewalks. It might appear as if the rust is here to stay, but there are some things you can do to remove it and return your property back to its original glory.   

Prep The Surface

An integral step to removing rust is to loosen as much of it as you can before you clean. Use a metal-bristled brush to scrub away as much rust as you can. The rust particles should loosen and you can sweep or vacuum them away. This will make the cleaning process a lot easier. You should also rake or sweep away any leaves and debris before you clean. Make sure the area is clear and dry before you begin the cleaning process.

Natural Options

If you prefer not to use store-bought chemicals specially designed to combat rust, there are some all natural alternatives you can try. Depending on the severity of the rust stain, these solutions do a good job of getting the surface clean. Try applying pure lemon juice or vinegar directly to the stain. These items are highly acidic and will help dissolve the rust away. Let it sit on the stain for a few minutes and then scrub it away. Rinse the surface with cold water, and you should now have a rust-free surface. Pay close attention to nearby plants so you don’t expose them to the lemon juice or vinegar since it can be harmful to plant life.

Chemical Cleaners

If the rust stain on your concrete is especially large or stubborn, you may need to resort to a more powerful cleaning solution. These types of cleaners contain a solution called oxalic acid, which can help loosen and remove the rust quite effectively. When using a chemical-based cleaner, be sure to wear heavy duty gloves and face protection so you don’t breathe in the fumes that this type of material produces. Make sure you work in a well-ventilated area and keep children and pets away while you work. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully so that you can be sure the rust will be removed properly. No matter which method of cleaning your concrete you choose, with a bit of effort and some elbow grease, you can return your concrete surfaces to their original condition.  For further assistance, contact local professionals, such as those from UnRust.

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