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Jan 06 2015

Hazardous contaminants are becoming increasingly common in tap water. They can be chemical elements like lead, arsenic, radon, nitrites, or organic, like E. Coli bacteria. An alternative to tap water is bottled water, which although advertised as “natural” and “safe” is actually less regulated by the Department of Water then the municipal tap water supply. What is more, some of the new pollutants are not regulated and can be “legally” present in your drinking water.

Home water filtering technologies have been around for some time now, and they are constantly improving, removing more and more contaminants with each generation. They have become easy to install and simple to maintain. Removing chemicals and sediments from your tap water became convenient as turning the tap on. They range from simple and inexpensive pitchers to whole-house systems. They have also become fitted with sensors that indicate malfunction or signal for replacement of the cartridge.

Choosing It Right

Before choosing the right water filter option for your family needs, it’s important to determine what contaminants are polluting your water supply so you can tackle the problem in the most efficient way. Manufacturers list the contaminants that their product removes, and usually those which they do not, so read the manuals and ratings carefully. Buy only product that are certified by official water testing agency. Consider your need. Try to weigh how much water you spend and how much effort are you ready to put into the water filtering. For example, if your household uses several gallons a day, a pitcher-style filter would need constant refilling, etc. 


They are usually equipped with carbon filter that removes lead and chlorine, mercury, and disinfection byproducts, but also improving the taste. They are convenient, as they can be kept in refrigerators and come in various styles and sizes. There is a wide range of models, so choose wisely, and the price is usually determined by the quality. On the other hand, depending on a model, these might require frequent cartridge changes. And as a result, if the cartridges are changed regularly these filters may turn the annual cost of faucet-mounted filters, which are considered better and faster options. Pitcher-style filter is ideal for one or two people.

Faucet-Mounted filters

Relatively inexpensive and easy to install, these filters are ideal for filtering cooking and drinking water. Another convenient feature is that they can be pivoted to an “on” or “off” position, allowing to switch between filtered and non-filtered water. This type typically uses an activated carbon filters which successfully remove wide range of contaminants including volatile organic compounds (VOCs), but less effectively components like arsenic, fluoride, hexavalent chromium, nitrate and perchlorate. The downside is the slower water flow and that they don’t fit all the faucets. Filter cartridges must be changed more often than with countertop or under-sink filters.

Countertop Filters

Sitting on a counter with a line connecting it to the faucet. Like faucet-mounted types, they allow for switching between filtered and non-filtered water, and are ideal for kitchen applications. They can filter large amount s of water without plumbing modifications and need relatively infrequent cartridge changes. These models use a wide array of filtering technologies, including activated carbon and reverse osmosis. However they can be much more expensive than pitchers and faucet-mounted filters.

Under-Sink Filters

Unlike countertop systems, these require fixed installation and sometimes plumbing modifications. The good sides are that they don’t cramp the counter area, being hidden under the sink, and like countertops, they can also filter large amounts of water and don’t require a lot of maintenance. These models use a wide array of filtering technologies, including activated carbon and reverse osmosis. They are ideal for kitchen use.

Whole-House Filters

These systems require plumbing changes, but not at the sink or faucet. They are inexpensive way to remove sediments, rust and chlorine, but not typically other contaminants like cysts, metals and volatile organic compounds. They have a long cartridge life. 

Water Filtering Technologies

Distillers are the least practical and least effective water improving methods. They consume a lot of electricity, generate excess heat and need regular cleaning. Basically, they heat water in order to vaporize it and collect the condensed steam. They remove heavy metals, sediments, bacteria and viruses, fluoride, but cannot remove chlorine, trihalomethanes or volatile organic compounds.

Reverse-osmosis units push consist of a semipermeable membrane that filters particles larger than water molecules. This process can remove many impurities not removed by activated carbon, like arsenic, fluoride, hexavalent chromium, nitrates and perchlorate. In a recent conversation with highly-rated suppliers of reverse osmosis filter systems, I discovered that many units include an activated carbon component that removes the other contaminants. Price/quality considered, these compound systems are the most effective water filters for house application. However, it’s advised that they are used for drinking and cooking water only, as they waste 4 or 9 times more water than they produce. 

Carbon filters utilize activated carbon which bonds with contaminants in the water, neutralizing them in the process. Their effectively remove lead, PCBs, chlorine byproducts (chloramines and trihalomethanes), certain parasites, radon, pesticides and herbicides, the gasoline additive MTBE, the dry-cleaning solvent trichloroethylene, some volatile organic compounds, some levels of bacteria (such as Cryptosporidium and Giardia) and a small number of pharmaceuticals. Their effectiveness can vary, depending on the type and how fast water flows through the filter. The subtypes are carbon block filters and granulated active carbon filters.

Ultraviolet light (UV), like distillation, cannot be considered a filtering method. What it does is disinfecting water by using UV light to kill bacteria and other microorganisms. As they cannot remove chemical contaminants, experts advise using them in conjunction with activated carbon filters. They usually come as countertop units.

No water filtering system cam remove all contaminants, as the list of potentially hazardous chemicals is growing. I have tried to summarize the most common filter types, technologies they use and contaminants they are designed to absorb.  Not every filter of the same type will be as efficient as another, but I hope that you can make a difference and consider good and bad sides for every system. The most important thing is that you know your water and choose the filter unit accordingly.   

Jan 06 2015

Every day we find ways to be just a little bit more clever with our efforts to improve our sustainability. Once upon a time, a totally “green” house was one in which the family recycled and turned off the water while they were brushing their teeth. Today, things are much different. Recycling and turning off the water is the least you can do. If one of your goals is to get your home up-to-date in terms of its sustainability and carbon footprint reduction, here are some of the things you can do.

Rain Barrels

With all of that perfectly good water falling right out of the sky, why are you relying so much on the water supplied to you through your municipal connection? Collecting rain water (both in free standing barrels and in containers you hook up to your home’s gutter system) is a fantastic way to reduce your reliance on the municipal water supply as well as protecting the land surrounding your home from excessive flooding and erosion. You can’t (well, you shouldn’t--at least not without a filter) drink it, but you can use it to water plants, wash windows and cars, clean off your driveway, etc. If you want to take everything to the next level, consider installing a water filter and you can even drink it.

Update Your Lighting

A few years ago CFL bulbs were the “up to the minute” technology in green lighting. While CFLs do last longer than fluorescent or incandescent lights, they also contain mercury which can be very dangerous. A better and more up-to-date option is to use LED lighting. LED light bulbs come in all shapes and sizes. You can even get LED energy saving products from AM Conservation Group for your garage and any commercial spaces you own--and they last longer while using less energy than CFLs. Plus, in addition to being mercury-free, they are also bright right away. No more waiting for the bulb to “warm up” to its advertised wattage!

Install Solar Panels

Solar panels are no longer the giant and unsightly monsters you remember. Newer solar panels use less silicon, are lighter weight and are more flexible. They are also easier to afford. Solar roof panels (or those stand up panels you could install out in the yard) aren’t the only way to harvest solar energy anymore but they are still really efficient and the backbone of a truly eco-friendly home.
We should also add that there are window panes that harvest solar energy while also protecting the inhabitants of your house from the heat and UV rays of the sun. These windows are great for temperature regulation and a reduction in energy consumption.

Security Systems

Most people use security systems to protect their homes against burglars and vandals. It’s also possible to use a security system to monitor your home’s energy consumption. Newer security systems can “sense” when someone is in a room or not. They can “learn” your family’s habits and then apply those habits to your home’s energy supply. For example, during the day when everyone is typically at work or school, the security system will cut off power to all of the parts that don’t absolutely need it (so, basically, only your fridge and the system continue to consume energy). This eliminates “ghost energy” that drives up your power bill. They can also be programmed to adjust temperatures at certain times and to turn off lights and heat in rooms that aren’t being used (which helps if you have kids who forget to turn off the lights when they leave a room). At the end of the year you end up with more money in your pocket and you do help the environment.

Energy Efficient Appliances

It is not at all difficult to find appliances that meet Energy Star requirements and that automatically bring down electricity bills. What you need to do is research the models that are available on the market based on the manufacturer. You can find great deals on refrigerators or dishwashers on the internet.

Since we are talking about energy efficiency, look out for various modifications that can be done and that can bring in the power bill. There are more options available than what was just mentioned above. If possible, see if there are alternatives to the AC unit that you would want to install. Sometimes a ceiling fan is all you need.

Recirculating Water Pumps

You cannot have an eco-friendly home without being aware of how much water is wasted every single day. A recirculating water pump is a great addition to any house. It is installed right under the sink and will deliver your hot water instantly. You do not need to wait for it to get hot and can save around 3 to 5 gallons on each use. This is something that does add up a lot as the year passes. At the same time, consider installing a low-flow toilet that only uses up to 1.6 gallons on every single flush. Add an aerating showerhead that can save thousands of gallons per year and you can save a lot of water as the year goes buy.


These are just some of the adjustments you can make to your home to improve your sustainability and bring your home into the new millenium with regards to energy savings and consumption tools. They don’t however, negate the need for the “old fashioned” stuff. So! Keep recycling. Keep composting. Strip old paint and up up a new, low VOC paint. Use energy efficient appliances. Only wash full loads and dry your clothes on a line. You know the drill!

It is our responsibility to protect nature as much as we can. All the upgrades mentioned above can end up costing a lot at first but nobody says that you should add them all at once. Just take it one step at a time and turn your house into a completely eco-friendly home. It is a lot easier than you may believe and new helpful products appear every single month.

Jan 05 2015

Roman blinds have been on the market for many years, but until now, only a few people know about the benefits that you can get by using them. Well, most people opt for the common curtain styles because they want to play safe. Common curtains can easily match the interior of your house so they is a popular choice, but roman blinds can offer you a more elegant finish.

Most of us are probably dumbfounded that many people are successfully using roman blinds in creating an elegant finish for their interiors, but they don’t know that roman blinds are not really difficult to use. If you are still in doubt on the benefits of using roman blinds, here are a few things that you need to know about them.

Massive Range of Styles and Colours

Like many other types of curtains, roman blinds also have a wide range of styles and colours, which is something that most people don’t know. They believe that roman blinds are so simple that you cannot find a wide range of styles to fit your interior. As a matter of fact, the styles and colours of roman blinds can fit any style of interior so they are the best option for most home owners. They can provide elegance and style to your house through the styles and colours that they have.


Kurtinz has been offering the most affordable roman blinds on the market. Well, some say that roman blinds are very expensive, but this term is not applicable for Kurtinz. Whether you are looking for different kinds of roman blinds or you are looking for a different type of curtain, Kurtinz will definitely give you a more affordable option.

Many people around the globe have been buying curtains and roman blinds from Kurtinz because they offer affordable curtains. Originally, designer curtains and roman blinds were extremely expensive, but Kurtinz will make them affordable through the discounts and great deals that they are offering.

Creation of Instant Elegance

We all know that many people are buying roman blinds because they can create a more elegant aura in your house. Other curtains can offer the same ambiance, but roman blinds do it better.

By choosing the right styles and colours for your interior, roman blinds can provide an instant elegant look for your interior. This is the main reason why a lot of people are looking at roman blinds if they wish to have an elegant finish for their interior.

Ready-Made and Made to Measure Roman Blinds

Like other curtains, you can order ready-made roman blinds or made to measure roman blinds depending on your preference. If you feel that you cannot create your own style or colour combination, you can just browse the ready-made roman blinds in Kurtinz. They offer a wide selection of designer roman blinds so you won’t have a difficult time looking for the style that you want.

Kurtinz also offer made to measure roman blinds, which can be extremely beneficial if you want to create your own style. However, you have to make sure that you know what you are doing because Kurtinz will create the roman blinds that you want based on the inputs that you provide.

Roman Blinds are Very Simple

Roman blinds are very simple in nature so they are not too hard to use. Some people think that roman blinds are very hard to use because their appearance is different than traditional curtains, but it is now easier to use these blinds because more and more people are sharing their knowledge on how to effectively use them. If you can research about the proper usage of roman blinds, it will surely match any interior design.

Easy Maintenance

It is very easy to maintain roman blinds and they are not too difficult to clean as well. Unlike traditional curtains, you do not have to spend a lot of time cleaning and removing dirt from roman blinds. You can just vacuum the roman blinds if you want or you can wash them if you are using fabric blinds. Basically, the cleaning of your roman blinds depends solely on the type of fabric used on your blinds so you need to take note of the materials before you clean it.

Large Amount of Privacy

We all wanted to have privacy in our house because this is the original intention of curtains. Most of the other curtains are transparent so light is passing through and the inside of the house is seen from the outside. This is the usual concern of some home owners. If you think that you need a large amount of privacy for your home, roman blinds can offer this.

Roman blinds can provide a huge amount of privacy for your house because they are not transparent like most of the other curtains. You can opt for a transparent type of blind, but usually, this kind of curtain is made specifically to provide a high amount of privacy to home owners.

As you can see, roman blinds can be the ultimate choice when it comes to curtains, especially if you want something that will bring out the best of your home. In terms of design and elegance, roman blinds will definitely be the best choice, but before you decide to use roman blinds, you should remember that finding the best place to buy them is very important.

Kurtinz is offering a wide range of roman blinds and other types of curtains. They offer different styles and colours so you will not have a hard time searching for the type of curtain that will fit the interior design of your house. Aside from this, Kurtinz offers affordable roman blinds that you can afford. If you are having problems with your budget, you will surely benefit from the discounts and great deals provided by Kurtinz. This is one of the reasons why a lot of people around the globe are looking at the curtains and roman blinds that Kurtinz is offering.

Jan 04 2015

If there is one area of home maintenance that poses a challenge to homeowners, it has to be electrical repairs. The fact that almost all your appliances use electricity means you will be required to deal with minor wiring problems that do not need the input of an electrician. One of these is of course wiring a plug.

The Electrical Plug in Brief

Inside an ordinary plug, you will find three terminals. The earth terminal takes the green and yellow wire. You should note that double insulated appliances do not have an earth wire. The brown live wire connects to the live terminal while the neutral blue wire connects to the terminal to the left of the plug.

Getting it Right

A correctly wired plug protects your electrical appliances while also making your home safer. What do you need for this project?

• A high quality three-point plug
• Flathead A screw driver
• Wire strippers
• Pliers to cut the wires

Steps in Wiring a Plug 

In most cases, you will be replacing an old plug and you have to unscrew it using the central screw. The back part will come off easily and you can then unscrew the other two screws on the old plug to unfasten the wire clamp inside.

Step 1
Unfasten the screws at the terminals while also noting which wire goes where. Most brands come with an informational cover showing where each wire goes.
Step 2
If the wires have damages, use the pliers to cut back the top layer of the cable to get a longer length of wire thus making it easier to fasten them.  While cutting, make sure you do not damage the wires inside.
Step 3
Get the new plug and start taking the casing off starting from the center screw. Loosen one of the bottom screws and release the second in order to unfasten the wire clamp completely. Make sure you do not lose any of these screws.
Step 4
Fit the cables into the new plug head and ensure there is adequate amount of sheath going inside the cable. At this point, you just want to confirm that the wires will fit inside without protruding outside the plug head. The green/yellow wire should be longer than the other two as it will go to the top terminal.
Step 5
Strip a small amount of insulation for each wire to expose thin copper wires underneath. These wires are loose and you have to twist them gently to ensure no loose endings inside the plug.
Step 6
Using a flathead screwdriver, loosen the terminals inside the plug. Fit in each of the wire endings inside the corresponding terminals and tighten the loose screws into position. Tighten each of the screws one more time just to be sure that they are tight.
Step 7
Secure the wire clamp into position by placing it over the flex and tightening it into position.
Step 8
Replace the back cover of the new plug and tighten the central screw to make sure your plug is now secure.

A Few Safety Measures to Consider

When wiring your plugs, it is important to be careful so as to avoid accidents and incidences that may be fatal or that may lead to injuries. There is primarily the danger of being electrocuted if you handle the process without care. Again, you might end up burning your house should you create a short circuit with your wiring.

Below are a few precautions and safety measures that you should consider during the wiring process:

1. Use Dry Hands

Ensure that your hands are completely dry when wiring your plugs. Wet hands may lead to electrocution as you wire the plugs. Again, if you leave your wired plugs being wet, chances are that the wetness may act as a circuit completion aid thus causing short circuits. At the same time, should you wet the screws and other metal parts within the plugs, chances are that they will rot, eventually becoming ineffective. This shortens the life span of your plugs meaning regular and painful replacements.

2. Switch off power

A rule of thumb is that any time you are working to repair any electrical gadget, always ensure that you have switched off the power. Most people assume that they have a good grip of physics and thus can work on such gadgets when power is still on. After all, as long as you do not bring in to contact the positive and negative cables, nothing can happen. Well, this is such a poor attitude and perception. Prevention is always better than cure. What if you were, for instance, God forbid, to get a heart attack while repairing your plugs when power is on? How fast things would deteriorate. Even a simple bug bite while working on your plugs wiring can quickly turn the odds against you. That sudden reaction can be the beginning of more electrical trouble. Just switch the power off!

3. Use the right tools

We are all ford of improvising. This extends even to when we are repairing sensitive items like the electrical plugs. It is important to note that as much as improvisation saves you on costs; it can turn in to a very expensive affair in some instances. For instance, if you decide not to use screw drivers, and instead use, say, a kitchen knife to unscrew your plug screws, you may end up damaging them such that they no longer fasten. This will mean you replacing the entire plug. What a costly mistake. Always have the right tools for the right job.

4. Hire a professional

Finally, if you are doubtful in any way about your ability to successfully wire your plugs, don’t risk it. Call in an expert electrician to handle this job for you. This may be your cheapest option. You will be assured of a professional job, safety and a peace of mind.

With electrician courses at Ableskills.co.uk you can become an expert in handling these wiring tasks at home or in office. You will not have to worry about electrical emergencies in the evening when your local electrician is unavailable.

Dec 31 2014

Looking for a house on rent! This topic has always been debatable. Conserving the requirements of the tenants and the home buyers, the article tries to explore some of the pros and cons of investing in renal homes, and sheds light on why you should own a property. Read on to find more!

Like everyone else, you certainly want to own a property, but indeed, it is a tough decision to make that where to invest in your money. Investing in a home certainly requires a big capital, so the choice is always between buying a home and taking one for rent. However, it has always been a point of discussion among the market experts and the buyers or tenants. Some say that giving away money on rent is just like throwing away your money, while the tenants argue over the point that staying in a rented accommodation offers flexibility to stay in a place and a home of your choice, may be near your workplace or somewhere close to the markets.

Initiating you house hunt

It is a common trend to hire a real estate agent who can help you in buying a property. However, if you wish to save bucks and find a property which best matches your requirements, experts suggest to look out for your own. The presence of an agent certainly creates an unnecessary pressure that you have to rent a place before you find a property of your choice. The most important thing being an unbiased approach which can help you to search for properties within your investing range.

The Gains

Location is the keyword for finding a home since ages and it will remain there in the time to come as well. You need to dig out the data of the market where you need to take a home on rent and find the most suitable homes. Here are some of the reasons why you should go for homes on rent.


If you are someone who is looking to stay in a place for no more than 3-6 years, then renting is the best deal. Consider this, suppose you opt for buying a home in a particular area and decide to sell out within a within a couple years, there are big chances that you will have to face price depreciation, say about 6-7%. This amount also includes money like transfer taxes and the commission.

Zero Maintenance

As a tenant, you are not liable to make any investments in the home if there are any wears and tears in the home. All you need to do is to pick up your phone and inform the landlord about the existing issue and it’s up to him/her to take care of the further proceedings.

No additional costs associated

You need not worry about the extra costs associated with buying a home, which include insurance and maintenance costs.

The Pains

No creative control

As a tenant, even if you wish to make some changes in the homes, like hanging some beautiful wall paintings (hammering some nails on the walls), buying heavy or voluminous furniture or even changing the color of the walls, you would need permission of the home owner for that.

Zero returns on investments

Being a tenant, you need to keep in this mind that you will have to give away a big amount of money on the rental homes. Do not expect a return on investment. We can say that with the starting of the month, it is the home owner who has all the reasons to smile!

Investing in the properties

In the long term, investing in properties provide the best results, since properties bring in significant gains, and generating monthly income than ever imagined get. While making real estate investments, it is recommended to evaluate various options (not to mention, the budget) before making a decision, taking into account its location, condition of the property, projection of the property in long term, liquidity of assets, and potential returns.

Why should you invest in properties?

Acquiring a property brings many benefits, among which are; the strengthening of family assets, gradual increase in the value of the property over the years, freedom to decorate your house without having to consult third parties and be sure to inherit at any given moment. One must also consider that owning a home brings some already discussed benefits, and some more, such as having a better credit history. Investing in a home should be considered a long term investment; also having a home will help keep your monthly expenses balanced as you do not have to pay a considerable amount month after month, that too for years! In the same way, as a homeowner you have the certainty and comfort of belonging to a neighborhood where you can set your livelihood beyond simple relationships.

If you are considering making an investment in residential properties, you can expect annual net returns between 5 and 9% of the value of this property. For commercial properties, the returns ranging between 6 and 7%, and for offices, returns amounting to 10% are obtained.

The concluding remark

Talks and whereabouts of property investments and homeownership should be grounded in reality. Buying a home is not a matter of a few days and is not a magic to decide over this important decision of life. Certainly if you have taken a home on rent, you lose a lot when it comes to flexibility and freedom which you had otherwise enjoyed. If your budget allows to buy a home, do so! As nothing can be better than living in your own home.

Investing in a home indeed brings a pride of ownership and a sense of stability. If you live on rent and have to change your home with your family every 2-3 years, it brings a lot of pain. Trust me, looking for a new home on rent from scratch is actually a harrowing task!

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