Expert Tips for Proper Pool Closing

Posted by Héctor H. Zorrilla On 9.29.2009 0 comments

(NewsUSA) - You might not think about your pool too much after the end of summer, but what you do at the end of swimming season will determine your workload come spring. Properly winterizing your pool will make opening it easier, not to mention help prevent damage.

Poorly winterized pools may sustain freeze-thaw damage, broken equipment, underground drain damage and poor water quality in the spring. Every year, Americans spend thousands of dollars repairing pools that were not closed properly.

Winter pool
BioGuard, a company that supplies water treatment products for recreational and industrial use, offers the following tips for pool owners looking to properly close their pools:

* Conduct a final pool water test. Bring a water sample to your local BioGuard dealer to receive a quick, computerized water analysis. The water analysis will ensure that the water in your pool is balanced. After the dealer tests your water, he or she can recommend and provide the exact materials you need to close your pool for the winter, including information on protecting your pool surfaces and equipment.

* Brush the walls and floor of your pool and vacuum it thoroughly. Clean the skimmer basket and lint trap.

* Use a special filter cleaner to thoroughly clean the filter. A dirty filter can cake and harden over the winter, leaving a messy and difficult clean-up job.

* With the pump and filter on, add the appropriate amount of winter shock around the edges of the pool. Wait an hour, then add winter algaecide. Keep the pump and filter on for another hour.

* If you completely cover and close your pool, drain it to just below the return water lines. Also, drain your equipment and then add pool-winterizing anti-freeze to pipes and equipment. In colder climates, it may be advisable to remove the pump and filter, and store them in an enclosed structure. Consult your local BioGuard dealer for specific instructions.

* Finally, cover your pool to protect from winter winds, leaves, dirt and debris.

For more information, visit or visit your local BioGuard dealer.

Accessorize Your Bathroom on a Budget

Posted by Héctor H. Zorrilla On 9.24.2009 0 comments

(NewsUSA) - Decorating a bathroom on a budget is a lot like updating a wardrobe on a budget. Work with what you have, and use accessories to update and add the "wow" factor.

In the bathroom, accessorizing can even include bathroom sink faucets. "With a pre-assembled drain assembly such as Speed Connect, a new faucet is easier to add than a new coat of paint," says Gray Uhl, design director for American Standard. "Even better, top performing lifetime finishes and drip-free, solid brass faucets start as low as $100."

Trend No. 1: Warmer Finishes. Special finishes in warmer tones such as satin nickel, oil-rubbed bronze and blackened bronze are currently popular in hardware and faucets, coordinating well with creams and browns in linens and wall décor. "Matte black finish is the proverbial height of fashion for faucets and accessories right now," says Leslie Clagett on her blog,

Trend No. 2: American Minimalism. "Styles such as the Moments, Copeland and Princeton faucet collections echo the same geometric lines and styling familiar in European contemporary design, but warmer and softer," says Uhl. "American minimalist faucets and accessories look best when paired with warmer tones and rich wood surfaces in cabinets and bathroom furniture." Uhl notes that an easy way to get the look is with a design-matched collection such as Tropic, which includes furniture, faucets and fixtures.

Trend No. 3: Escape. Turn even a small bathroom into a spa experience with a serene, monochromatic look and plant oils that create a soothing aroma. Asian-inspired design such as the Green Tea bathroom sink faucet completes the look, with the added benefit of a discrete pull-out spout, which makes it easy to rinse the sink or wash delicate clothing items or one's hair.

Trend No. 4: The Responsible Bathroom. Look for the WaterSense label on new bathroom faucets. The WaterSense label is an assurance that water use will be reduced by 30 percent or more, without sacrificing performance. Replacing three older faucets with three WaterSense-labeled faucets can save almost $500 and 74,000 gallons of water per year.

Style Trend No. 5: You. Most importantly, don't be afraid to be yourself. Bathrooms are personal spaces, so personal statements work well, including tasteful humor. After all, if you can't be yourself in the bathroom, where can you be yourself?

Mastering the Alaska Home Heating Test

Posted by Héctor H. Zorrilla On 9.17.2009 0 comments

(NewsUSA) - If a wall-hung boiler can heat a home in Alaska problem-free for 10 winters, then it can heat a home anywhere, according to mechanical contractor Mike La Fay.

La Fay, owner of Meadow Lakes Supply in Wasilla, Alaska, installed his first Baxi Luna modulating wall-hung boiler in early 2000. Since then, he has installed more than 100 of these high efficiency, eco-friendly heating appliances in homes throughout Matanuska Susitna County, which is a 50-minute drive north-east from Anchorage.

Alaska winter
"It can be 30 below zero here for three weeks straight, so a reliable heating appliance is essential for both home comfort and survival," La Fay says. "I have not experienced any significant problem with Baxi Luna performance. With Gensco, the exclusive Baxi distributor in Alaska stocking parts and accessories, I am really looking forward to my second decade as a Baxi contractor."

Gensco is a leading wholesale distributor of heating supplies and equipment, selling only to qualified contractors trade in Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana since 1947. More recently, Gensco supplied 250 Baxi Luna boilers for an award-winning community redevelopment of Seattle Housing Authority, which reported 37 percent energy use savings over another hydronic heating system.

"My neighborhood just got natural gas recently, so I now have a Baxi Luna heating our family home and my shop. Our former oil fuel bill was up to $500 a month, and now we are spending around $150 for gas," La Fay notes. "You simply can't get better than that -- saving lots of money while knowing your heating system will withstand the coldest challenges of our winter."

Baxi is one of Europe's largest heating products manufacturer and has been making leading wall-hung boilers since the late 1960s. The firm's Bassano, Italy, plant has been producing Baxi Luna wallhung heating since it opened in 1978 and now makes 4,000 boilers a day for export to 70 countries, including the United States. Baxi heat exchangers are stainless steel and bear the ASME H-Stamp.

"I can recommend this appliance to homeowners with confidence, knowing it has a proven Alaska track record for quality, safety and environmental performance," says La Fay, who does ongoing maintenance of his installations and remains committed to learning more about the product. "I have learned a lot from a Baxi Luna training and contractor-certification CD-ROM. It is a great tool for a contractor located in Alaska."

To learn more about proven Baxi energy-efficient, eco-friendly heating solutions, including modulating, condensing or near-condensing boilers (in either combination central heating and domestic hot water mode, or heating-only), visit

Heated Stairs Step Up Safety, Convenience

Posted by Héctor H. Zorrilla On 9.15.2009 0 comments

(NewsUSA) - Anyone who has lived with snow knows that stairs present a unique challenge. They ice up quickly, becoming slippery and dangerous. Outdoor stairs, which often come in irregular sizes, can be difficult to shovel, especially for senior citizens.

And even if you remove snow, your stairs may still ice up. Melting snow from the roof often falls on stairs leading up to a doorstep, creating dangerous ice layers. Using sand or rock salt is hardly an ideal situation. Many Americans are not physically able to carry heavy bags. When the salt dissolves, it poses a threat to local flora and fauna.

Heated stair
Companies and schools with large facilities have taken a unique approach to ensuring safer stairs in wintery weather -- instead of trying to remove snow after it falls, they're using a product that melts snow before it has a chance to build up.

At age 15, Hillel Glazer decided he no longer wanted to shovel snow, so he disassembled a heating pad and combined it with a doormat, promptly shorting out the electricity in his parents' home. As an adult -- and with the help of engineers -- Glazer returned to his original snow-melting mat idea.

Today, Glazer's company, HeatTrak, makes heated mats that keep walkways clear of snow. Long used by large commercial facilities, HeatTrak's Stair Mats are now available to homeowners.

Built with weatherproof, ribbed carpet, HeatTrak Residential Stair Mats are durable enough to be left outside for the entire winter. The mats plug into standard outlets and generate enough heat to melt snow at a rate of two inches per hour. If homeowners turn the mats on when snow first begins to fall, snowflakes will dissolve as soon as they hit the mats, leaving slip-free stairs.

HeatTrak Stair Mats are safe to own and operate. Each mat has a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) that instantly shuts off the mat when it senses a current leak. HeatTrak products are sold throughout the United States, Canada and Europe.

For more information, visit

If Mahogany Entry Doors Could Talk

Posted by Héctor H. Zorrilla On 9.07.2009 0 comments

If only my doors could talk, I wonder what they would suggest I do to them. My house is currently under renovation and everything that needs to be done has been ironed out except the door aspect.
See, the root of this renovation project happens to be my termite infested custom made entry doors. I don’t know if I’m the one at fault or the company that installed these doors five years ago; yes, so recent that’s why I’m so distraught with the idea of having to spend again on new doors.

Mahogany door
Anyway, my mother suggested Mahogany double entry doors are the perfect choice and the reason of which I really don’t know. She said properly finished Mahogany exterior doors will keep the termites away. Does that mean the company that made my first custom doors did not apply the proper finishing? Somehow mom’s statement made me feel vindicated as I realized I’m not to be blamed for what had befell my doors, but then again I’m the one spending for the Mahogany entry doors so there’s no reason to celebrate.

‘Why, there is, dear! You have every reason to celebrate,” mom said upon hearing my murmur. She went on to say that a friend of hers runs a company that offers fabulous custom made American Red Oak doors, exterior French panel doors, exterior iron insulated doors, and mesmerizing Mahogany interior doors that exude that quaint appeal of Victorian architecture.

Mom speaks to me in vague language all the time. What do I know about architecture and I have zero knowledge about Victoria or is it Victory? Right now, all I want are affordable new entry doors regardless if they’re Mahogany or from Mrs. Victoria’s architecture. Mom said she’ll talk to her friend who offers huge discounts on regular clients and amigas so she’s positive she can get me a great deal.

Stayed at mom’s house for a month and then I returned home to see what has become of my place. As I pulled up in the driveway, I had my eyes fixed on the entry doors which Mom labeled Murano Brazilian Mahogany. Whatever that meant, it was beautiful and very classy. I told mom I’ll go check inside the house but she told me to stop and say hello to the doors first because if only they could talk, they’d offer me a grand welcome.

For additional information, click this site on Mahogany interior doors.

Wood Stove Heating Basics

Posted by Héctor H. Zorrilla On 0 comments

Wood stoves are commonly use in almost all American households. 

It is utilized for generating heat and it gives comfort. It is also commonly used for cooking food. The concept of the wood stove was patterned from the fireplace. During the old days, most American households make use of the fireplace to provide heat to their homes.

It was also widely used in the preparation and cooking of meals. With the help of the famous Benjamin Franklin, the first stove was invented. It was made up of cast iron.

It had two doors with a pot belly that is large. It operates by burning wood which was inserted in the pot belly of the stove. With the help of the two doors the fire and also the draft can be controlled.

These stoves are very efficient but at the same time it possesses some risk. The usage of these stoves can cause harm to its users and at the same time very dangerous to the health. The utilization of chemically treated wood for burning releases carcinogens to the air.

Old wood stove
These carcinogens are very harmful are very dangerous to the immune system especially when inhaled. This will also result to respiratory problems and can also cause eye irritation to its users.

(NewsUSA) - What a difference a door makes -- that's what homeowners are discovering when shopping for new laundry appliances. Before deciding among different makes and models, the first decision for many shoppers is the choice between a top-load and a front-load washer.

Top-Load Laundry

Long the standard in American homes, top-load washers are still much like the original electric powered machines introduced in the 1920s in that they feature an agitator. Top-loaders submerge clothes in a full tub of water and rely on the agitator to twist and pull clothes through the soapy water. These two features are also the biggest drawbacks. Since the top-loader's basin must completely fill with water, it can use up to 45 gallons of water per load. The agitator's rough, jerking motion subjects clothes to added wear, tear and potential damage.

The end result: top-loaders are cheaper to purchase, but cost more money to operate.

Front-Load Laundry

Instead of an agitator, front-load washing machines use sophisticated systems to gently flip and spin clothes through a shallow pool of water. This gentle tumbling motion helps lengthen the life of often-washed items and allows many models to safely clean silk, wool and other hand-washables.

While front-load washers tend to cost more initially, their energy and water savings over the life of the machine will save more money over time. Even with the reduced water levels, front-loading machines are able to wash the same amount of laundry per load, if not more, due to the absence of a bulky agitator.

Vision, the ENERGY STAR-qualified full-size front-load washer from Bosch, uses only 13 gallons of water for an average-sized load. Advanced energy-saving technology like EcoSmart uses a network of sensors and intelligent controls that continually analyze how full the load is and the suds level in the water. By automatically adjusting the water temperature, water level and rinse cycles, Vision minimizes the amount of water and energy to get clothes absolutely clean. In fact, Bosch is the most energy- and water-efficient brand of full-size front-load washers in the U.S. Front-load washers are known to reduce energy consumption by more than 40 percent but with features such as EcoAction, Vision's energy usage is cut by an additional 20 percent.

The end result: front-loaders are perfect for families looking to save on energy and water bills while machine washing a broad variety of laundry.

Tips to Live Large in a Smaller Space

Posted by Héctor H. Zorrilla On 0 comments

(NewsUSA) - Today's economic reality has changed the spaces that Americans call "home." Some have downsized, moving into smaller and more affordable homes. Other families have expanded, bringing grandparents and older children under the same roof.

But moving into a smaller space -- or having to make the same space accommodate more people -- presents challenges. Where are you going to put everything? How are you going to make rooms feel comfortable, not crowded?

Small space
The experts at, a company that specializes in designing shelving systems to fit any space, offer the following tips to find more room in your smaller space:

- "Edit" your belongings. If you're moving into a significantly smaller space, you will need to get rid of some items. Make a list of the pieces your new home needs, like beds, sofas and dining room tables. Look at the pieces you own, and determine what will work in your new space. If you don't like a piece, don't use it often or don't think it fits the decor of your new space, it's time to donate or sell.

- Eliminate clutter. Life is too busy to have clutter. Don't shove too much stuff in one space. Use all of the space you have to get rid of clutter. Creative storage solutions prove both functional and decorative. Consider chrome wire shelves, which are economical, keep stored items ventilated and eliminate the need to dust. While buying wire shelves at a big discount store can prove problematic -- you might have trouble finding shelves to fit your space -- specialized companies like offer a wide variety of sizes and styles.

- Let the light in. Contrary to popular belief, painting a room white doesn't make it look larger, just cold and uninviting. Choose soft pastels to warm up rooms. Make sure that light comes in from the windows by choosing light drapes in quality fabrics. Not only do drapes make a room feel homier, they can also add an illusion of height. If a room's dark, add extra lighting with sconces and uplighting, not hanging lights, which can make the ceiling look low. Decorate with mirrors to redirect light, making spaces feel more open.

For more information, visit or

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