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3 Tips For Doing Your Laundry After Installing A Water Softener

Hard water can take a toll on your home. Not only does hard water leave behind a film on the surfaces it comes into contact with, but hard water can also reduce the life of your water-using fixtures. Installing a water softener will eliminate the minerals that make hard water destructive. If you are considering a water softener, it’s important to understand how your laundry routine will need to change once installation is complete.

Here are three tips you can use to more successfully do your laundry after you have a water softener installed.

1. Cut back on your detergent use.

Adding detergent to your washing machine is a great way to ensure your clothes are clean and fresh. While you might be used to adding a certain amount of detergent to your washer, it’s important to recognize that you will need to cut back on your detergent use once you start using soft water to clean your clothes.

Your detergent will be able to work more efficiently in soft water because it can lather properly. Using too much detergent after making the switch to soft water could cause your machine to flood, so remembering to limit detergent use will help you avoid disaster.

2. Don’t add extra salt.

Many homeowners add a pinch of salt to their washing machine to prevent colors from bleeding during the wash cycle. While this can be a great practice when you are washing your clothes in hard water, you can forego the addition of extra salt after making the switch to soft water.

A water softener relies on salt to function properly, so the water filtered through your new water softener will already contain the additional salt needed to keep your colorful clothes vibrant.

3. Reduce your water temperature.

While you might be used to washing your clothing in hot water in order to get garments as clean as possible, you can reduce your water temperature once a water softener has been installed.

Hard water minerals can adhere to the surface of your clothing during the wash cycle, and these deposits are more easily washed away in hot water. Since a water softener eliminates mineral buildup, you don’t need to additional heat to help your clothing feel clean. 

The addition of a water softener to your home can be beneficial. Be sure that your laundry habits help you optimize your new soft water’s benefits by using less detergent, relying on the salt in the water to keep colors vibrant, and reducing the temperature of your wash water. For more information about water softener installation, talk to a company like Anderson Water Systems.

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Three Ideas to Give Your Home Maintenance-Free Landscaping That Is Always Green

Are you tired of mowing your lawn on a weekly basis or tired of the costs of keeping your grass green? You may want to consider maintenance-free solutions to give you attractive landscaping with little effort. If you want to have a lawn that is always green, you can include artificial grass or a moss garden in your landscaping. Using native hardy plants like azaleas can also help to add color to your landscaping with little effort. Here are some of the ideas that you may want to consider for a maintenance-free landscaping that is always green.

1. Using Artificial Grass for a Lawn That Is Always Green and Attractive

Mowing your lawn is something that can take time and can be a problem if you have areas where grass seems to not want to grow. With artificial grass, you can have the perfect lawn that never needs to be mowed, seeded, fertilized, or aerated. Artificial grasses that are available today also look very similar to real grasses. The only care that your lawn will need is an occasional cleaning to remove debris.

2. Moss and Rock Gardens for Effortless Landscaping and Plants for Shade

Moss can be another improvement that you may want to consider for areas where grass will not grow. If you have a home that has a lot of shade, moss gardens can give you a green-lawn look. The only care that it will need is an occasional watering when the weather is too dry. Rock gardens can also be a good addition to the moss areas, and you can propagate the moss on rocks to create unique and interesting features in your landscaping design.

3. Native Plants for Features That Are Hardy and Need Less Care

With the improvements to your lawn using artificial grass and rocks, you may want to have more life in your landscaping design. There is a simple solution for adding plants and reducing the need for maintenance: use native plants. There are many attractive native plants like azaleas that are native to many areas of North America, hardy, have beautiful blooms, and require little maintenance. To ensure low maintenance, choose native plant life that has a slower growth rate.

These are some of the options that you may want to consider for a maintenance-free lawn that is always green. If you are ready to put an end to your lawn-care headaches, contact a landscape contractor such as Campbell’s Nurseries & Garden Centers Inc and talk with them about implementing some of these solutions to make your home look great without extensive maintenance. 

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Two Tips to Help You Get Affordable Metal Yard Art

Adding metal art to your yard is a great way to enhance the look of your house and bolster curb appeal. You can create beautiful themes by incorporating pieces such as windmills or farm animals to add a touch of rustic charm to your lawn. You may be looking to add a few pieces to your own yard, but one thing may be standing in your way: limited funds. You might think that you just can’t afford metal yard art at this time. However, there are things you can do to get budget-friendly pieces. Use this information to learn about two tips that can help you get the affordable metal yard art that you’ve been looking for.

Recycled Metal Art May Be Within Reach

Recycled metal art is a great way for you to get bargain prices on the pieces you want. You may be pleasantly surprised at the unique metal yard art that you come across when you go the recycled route.

Metal is highly recyclable, and there are a number of environmentally-friendly artists who will only work with recycled metals. These artists create versatile yard art that can fit into virtually any theme that you want.

You can find recycled yard art in a number of places. The Internet is teeming with websites that offer recycled metal yard art. Using the search engine of your choice, enter a query such as “recycled metal yard art.” You’ll find websites where you can purchases the pieces you desire. Also, if you’re looking to buy locally, enter the same query, but put the name of your city or town at the end of the phrase.  

Visit Local Estate Sales

Another way you can get good prices on metal yard art is to visit local estate sales. When people need to leave their homes in a hurry, they often offer bargain prices on their wares.

The key is to know which estate sales to go to. Keep an eye out in newspapers and online city boards for estate and yard sales that are occurring in areas where people have large lawns. These people are more likely to have the kind of pieces that you’ll fancy.

Getting affordable metal yard art doesn’t have to be difficult if you know what to do. Start using these tips right away so you can outfit your yard with metal art work that gets noticed.

For more information about metal yard art, talk to companies such as Star Imports Wholesale

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How Seamless Rain Gutters Can Be The Best Option For Your Home

If you need to purchase new rain gutters for your home, you might want to consider the seamless version. To help you understand why the seamless gutters may be the best option for your home, you will want to read through the following benefits.

Less Mess To Clean

It is vital that homeowners are taking the time to make sure that their rain gutters are kept nice and clean by removing all of the debris that builds up over time. Some of the debris that can build up in a traditional rain gutter includes leaves, twigs, and nests that are built by rodents. However, with the seamless rain gutters, this is not something that you are going to have to worry about because there are no seams along the gutter for such debris to get trapped in. Therefore, you will not have to worry about climbing up on the ladder a couple times a year to clear all of the junk out. It will simply wash away down the gutter and drainpipe all on its own.

Will Not Cause Foundation Damage

Without the seamless rain gutters, debris can build up near the connecting joints. This can cause water to collect in one place and there ends up being a lot of weight just sitting in one section of your gutters. It may not take too much additional weight and the seams can begin to break apart and then the water will fall directly below the gutters and land in front of the foundation of your home. Even if the seams stay in tact, the debris and water can build up until it causes the side of the gutter to bend and the water will be released towards your foundation that way. Since the entire purpose of a gutter system is to catch water and lead it away from your home in order to prevent foundation problems, this is not an issue that you are going to want to deal with.

More Aesthetically Pleasing

The seamless rain gutters do not have any unsightly seams to look at. The only place where one gutter connects to another is when the gutter on one side of the building has to connect to the gutter that runs along the other side or when it connects to the downspout. They also come in a variety of colors and can be custom ordered to match the color of your home. This way, they blend in a little better.

As you can see, there are some great reasons as to why someone would want seamless rain gutters for their home. All you need to do now is to find a reputable company that sells and can install your new rain gutters for you.

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3 Ways To Upgrade A Home’s Entrance Without Breaking The Bank

The home’s entryway is the gateway to the rest of the home. A dark and cramped entryway can reduce the appeal of a home, even if the rest of it is well designed and airy. For homeowners trying to sell their home, a poorly designed entrance can make many potential buyers leave without even taking a look at the rest of the home. Many are tempted to demolish the space and start over. However this can get get expensive. Here are 3 ways to upgrade an entryway without going over budget. 

Upgrade The Railings

In a two story home, the stairs often take up a large portion of the entryway. For those with large budgets, fully replacing the staircase with an updated model is something that can drastically change the entire look of the space. For those looking for a less costly solution, just changing out the railings can make a huge difference in the look of the staircase. Ornamental railings will be cheaper than an entire staircase and can elevate the look of the room. Wrought iron and glass railings are a great way to add interest to the space. Ornamental iron or glass inserts can also be used with existing railings in order to save money. 

Paint

The easiest and often the cheapest way to change the look of any room is by painting it. The average cost of painting a room as a do-it-yourself project is around $200 to $300. Lighter color paint can automatically open up a dark space and make it seem larger. Painting is also a great way to get rid of builder’s grade white walls and to make a space feel more lived in. For those who do not have the funds to upgrade to decorative railings, paint can also be used to change the look of the staircase. Painting stair railings a different color can make the staircase pop.

Light And Mirrors

For those who are unable to spend even a couple of hundred dollars, there are ways to improve the look of the entryway with things that may already be in the house. Mirrors placed on the walls are a great way to open up the space. They reflect light and add a decorative element to the space. Many homeowners also often have a few extra mirrors laying around. Extra light is also another way to improve the look of the space. Floor lamps and table lamps can be brought in to brighten up the space.

Upgrading any room in a home can be a challenge for any homeowner without a large budget. Entryways are often low on the priority list when it comes to home improvements. The good news is that there are plenty of economical ways to improve the way they look including upgrading the railings, painting the space, as well as adding extra lighting and mirrors. 

For more information, contact Tampa Bay Hand Railings or a similar company.

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Get Screened: Creating An Old-Fashioned Screened Porch May Be The Best Prescription For Preventing Stress In A Busy World

Before air conditioning became popular, screened porches were a fixture of summer life in many homes. The warm temperatures inside the house drove family members to the screened porch for a respite from the heat. The porch was the perfect place for a mid-afternoon nap, visiting with neighbors, or relaxing with a glass of iced tea.

When air conditioning arrived on the scene, many homeowners viewed screened porches as outdated and enclosed them. However, screened porches are making a comeback, as people are longing for a simpler way of life.

Screened porch pros

A screened porch lets you experience the great outdoors while at the same time providing privacy and benefits similar to an indoor room. Simply lock the screen door if you want to nap on the porch while enjoying a summer breeze. Feel like staying in your night clothes all morning? No problem. A screened porch is more private than other outdoor spaces.

When you have a screened porch, rainy days won’t keep you stuck inside. What could be more refreshing than listening to the sound of rain while relaxing with a good book or resting in a hammock?

Enjoy bug-free living without worrying about applying insect repellent. A screened porch makes it possible to enjoy sultry summer evenings outdoors without being eaten alive by mosquitoes and other unwanted insects.

Screened porch essentials

Install a ceiling fan or have portable fans available to use on days when the summer wind isn’t blowing. Fans allow you to enjoy the fresh air and the smell of the great outdoors on days when mother nature fails to provide a breeze.

No old-fashioned porch would be complete without a porch swing. Don’t oil the chain if it squeaks. Squeaky porch swings add nostalgia. The same holds true for the screen door on the porch.

A lounge chair or hammock is essential for relaxing or napping. Don’t forget to add a rocking chair or two. Make sure to use indoor/outdoor cushions that will hold up well in moist and humid environments.

A table and chairs makes the screened porch the best place to enjoy any meal of the day outdoors without the need to swish the flies away. It’s also a great place to enjoy your morning coffee, work on homework, or put a puzzle together.

Traditional furniture, such as wood, rattan, and wicker is best for your screened porch. No matching needed. Mix colors, textures, and style to achieve an old-time look.

Screened porch accessories

No screened porch is complete without a few plants. A metal plant stand is perfect for keeping plants organized and makes a practical addition to a screened porch. Boston ferns and orchids are good plant choices for screened porches, as they tend to thrive well with indirect lighting.

A metal plant stand is also useful for growing an herb garden if placed in a sunny area of the porch. It can also be used to hold books, magazines, games, or a radio. You may also want to use it for storing eating essentials, such as dinner plates, napkins, and silverware. Place the dinner items in a basket with a lid and the plant stand can be used as a makeshift cupboard.

Install shades if desired to control the sunlight on the porch. A few candle lanterns will provide soothing ambiance on summer evenings.

Creating your own screened porch can take you back to a time when life was less hectic, and summer living happened on the screened porch. A well-designed screened porch is inviting and enticing. You’re likely to find it is your new favorite place to pause and rest during a busy and stressful day.  

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Types Of Natural Stone Pavers

Stone pavers are an elegant building material that can be used to create luxurious pathways, walkways, and driveways. There are a number of different types of stone pavers, which, besides having different appearances, also carry a number of distinctive advantages and disadvantages. Understanding what stone pavers have to offer can help you choose the ones that best fit your needs.

Travertine

Travertine is a type of rock that provides a natural aesthetic, as it is naturally scored with small holes and divots, adding texture to the smooth surface of the rock. Travertine pavers are able to withstand general wear and tear fairly well, but the main draw of travertine pavers is their affordability – they are able to fit into any homeowner’s budget. However, travertine tiles do have a more limited color and shade selection when compared to other types of pavers, as they tend to only come in lighter shades, which can make it harder to match the aesthetic of your walkway to the rest of your yard.

Slate

Slate provides a truly unique appearance to your yard. Slate pavers are quarry cut, which means that every paver will be unique in coloring and pattern. Colors are much more wide ranging than travertine, including darker shades. This allows for a greater degree of customization when it comes to designing your walkway or driveway, but it also means that no other homeowner will have a path installed that looks exactly like yours does. Furthermore, slate is naturally slip resistant, as the surface of each paver has enough texture on it to provide grip even while the paver is wet. This is an important safety consideration, especially for elderly homeowners or homeowners with children.

Granite

Granite is an incredibly durable rock that has a crystalline structure, giving it a unique shimmery appearance that other types of pavers do not have. It has a wider range of colors, coming in dark blacks and rich reds as well as the more traditional lighter colors. However, as already stated, the main draw of granite is its superior durability when compared to other types of pavers, as it is able to withstand wear and tear without becoming visibly worn for an extremely long period of time. However, the increased durability of granite comes with a higher initial price tag. Though a tougher paver will translate into a longer lifespan and savings in the long run, a large initial investment prevents granite from being the ideal choice for homeowners with a budget. For more information about stone, visit a stone dealer such as Old World Stone.

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