Although outdoor wiring practices are very similar to indoor wiring practices, there are a few important differences. When wiring outdoors, you must take special precautions to protect all wiring and devices from water or even dampness. Some of this is done indoors, especially in bathrooms in kitchens, but it is required everywhere outdoors. Outdoor wiring must also be protected from lawnmowers, shovels and other things that can lead to a short circuit. Whether you are building a shed, a landscape lighting system or an outdoor living room, make sure you follow these guidelines to stay as safe as possible.
Line-Voltage vs. Low-Voltage
Line-voltage is a term used to describe the standard 120-volt circuitry that we have in our homes. This type of circuitry is used to power everything in our home, 240v appliances excepted. Outdoor lighting uses this type of voltage to power electrical outlets and standard light fixtures. You should use low-voltage wiring on landscape lighting systems. Although these systems will plug into a standard voltage receptacle, they make use of a special transformer to step down the voltage to the wires that actually supply the lights with their power.
Wiring Near The House
If you are installing an outdoor living space on an attached deck or patio, you may only need an additional outdoor outlet or two, some lighting and a couple other small things. Under these circumstances, it is typically OK to add on to an existing indoor circuit. If there is no available circuit, or if you run the risk of overloading the circuit, then you will have to install a new circuit in your electrical panel.
The fun of owning outdoor furniture is changing up the look from time to time. Whether the owner needs to replace weather-worn cushions or just wants to brighten up the setting, an outdoor replacement cushion will bring a fresh look to deserving furniture. It does not matter whether the furniture is made of wood, wicker or metal, outdoor seating replacement cushions will extend the life of the chairs, benches and settees.
A wide range of styles are available at online retailers. Some of these furniture distributors have sections for outdoor décor and accessories where shoppers will find an array of sizes to choose from. From a rocker replacement cushion to one for an ottoman, the array of designs and patterns is eye-catching and inviting. Choosing among the varied selection may prove the biggest challenge of all.
In deciding on outdoor rocker replacement cushions or those meant for benches or steamer chairs, for example, personal taste comes first. Celedon or light blue Spa may appeal to some people. Others will go for more traditional neutrals such as Cloud White or Antique Beige. Neutrals tend to pull into the background and may invite guests’ eyes to focus on the landscaping or pool.
Bolder colors such as Forest Green or Navy are more eye-popping. They attract attention to themselves and draw guests’ eyes their way, highlighting an outdoor room. Going either direction is fine; there are no mistakes in decorating one’s outdoor room. Choices just depend on the kind of look the host wants to present to friends and family.
Many people buy outdoor covers for their table, chairs, sofa and other pieces of furniture, but they neglect to buy them for other décor pieces in their outdoor living space. When you shop for patio furniture covers, do not forget to also buy some for your fireplace or fire pit, fountain and umbrella. These are not items that are meant to be exposed to constant environmental elements. Sure, the fountain you will only cover during the cold season, but the other things can be covered when they are not in use.
Umbrellas are some of the most neglected pieces of patio décor. Many people end up replacing their umbrella at the end of every season because it looks faded, or it became broken during a windy storm. Sometimes, people simply throw them away because a wasp nest has suddenly been built when it wasn’t opened for a few days. Umbrellas should not need to be replaced every season, nor should they look years old after one summer. When you shop for patio furniture covers, pick up one for your umbrella, and see how long it lasts.
As you likely already know, fountains must be emptied, dried and covered during the winter. If you do not do this, snow and rain in the fountain will go through a vicious cycle of freezing and thawing. Of course, liquid expands and contracts when this happens, which can cause cracks and compromise the structure of the fountain. You need to buy outdoor covers for your fountains that are waterproof, and it helps if they have air vents to prevent condensation and wind-lofting.
Fireplaces and Pits
It does not matter if you have a gel, biofuel or gas outdoor fireplace, it should be protected from the elements, when it is not being used. Now, believe it or not, this also goes for wood-burning fire pits and bowls as well. Most people assume that because these items are durable enough to stand up against fire that they are indestructible. Well, even though they are pretty heavy-duty, there is no point leaving them exposed when they can accumulate debris or get filled with water when it rains. It is nice to be able to light a fire, even after a passing rain shower, without dealing with soggy wood, ash and soot. Just take the cover off, and you are ready to enjoy it.
Things have changed about the way we look at remodeling our homes. Green home remodeling has become the best way to improve the value of your home while reducing the cost of living overall. “Smart houses”, sustainable lifestyles” and “green building” are phrases that are appearing more and more in the housing and construction market.
Green is the new black as far as smart investments in home remodeling. We are keenly interested in keeping the cost of living down as well as making our homes “smarter” by redesigning the way they function. Alternate forms of energy like solar panels or wind turbines, energy saving appliances, windows that can take advantage of cross breezes instead of using air conditioning, using recycled building materials and even downsizing a home are all ways we can reduce our carbon footprint with green home remodeling. And, there is no better way to prepare a home for resale or to increase its value nowadays than by making it as “green” as possible.
Here are some green home remodeling tips to make any home more energy efficient and improve its value:
The design of your home remodel is crucial. Elements such as: room size, recycled or sustainable building materials, non-VOC paints, placement of windows and doors, insulation, and passive heating and cooling considerations are all factors that can make a difference in green home renovation.
Windows and Doors
Up to 35% of your home’s heating or cooling is lost through windows. This makes it essential that you increase the thermal performance of your windows. Placement of exterior windows and doors can be optimized to take advantage of natural light and heat and to open up air flow. Double glazing will reduce heat loss in the cold of winter and louvered windows can catch a breeze in the heat of summer.
The cost of electricity to run lights and electricity or using gas and oil has a huge impact on both the budget and the carbon footprint. Photovoltaic panels catch the sunlight and transform it into energy which can be used in place of traditional energy sources. Water heating can be one of the biggest heating expenses. By replacing an old water heating system with a more energy efficient system that employs the use of solar energy or a high efficiency tank your savings can be significant.
Rain and Grey Water
An exterior rainwater tank to harvest rainfall is one method of getting free water. This can be critical, especially in areas where water is scarce. Water collection tanks don’t have to be fancy. They can be as simple as those you find through agricultural outlets. A grey water system which recycles waste water into the garden or sewage system is also a valuable consideration.
Energy Efficient Appliances
Refrigerators, dishwashers and cooking appliances are among the biggest energy consumers in the home. Downsize and replace these with higher efficiency rated or smaller appliances to reduce consumption.
These green home design tips and green remodeling ideas are a step in the right direction for sustainably redesigning your home. If you find a good green builder and make a small investment in renovations you will find the value of your home will increase, you will save on energy expenditure and your impact on the environment will be gentler… and greener.
Today, there is no denying the impact that modern society is having on the environment. The propensity for an energy intensive lifestyle is reaping damage on a planetary scale. If you are genuinely concerned about your household’s energy usage, and are looking for affordable ways of creating a smaller carbon footprint, it can be of value to explore how you can better insulate your home with green material.
Most people are aware that home insulation is inherently green as it helps to save energy. Through minimizing heat transfer, there is less of a need to use heaters and AC units, thus reducing energy consumption. The problem with most materials used to insulate a home is that they can be potentially toxic and are very difficult to dispose of. Green home insulation involves the use of materials that are either non-toxic, made from natural sources, or recycled. There are a number of interesting and practical alternatives to regular insulation products.
Recycled denim may not immediately spring to mind when thinking about insulating your walls and attic space but it is a material that is used for this very purpose. Old jeans are not required, the material is actually scraps left over from the manufacturing process. It is a great way to find a use for what would otherwise have been discarded.
Wool is another option that is both renewable and natural. In fact. Wool has been used since time immemorial to insulate buildings. Though it is flame retardant, it can be prone to insect infestation. To help prevent this problem, wool should be treated with a substance that acts as a deterrent to insects.
Another interesting material that can be used is cellulose, and primarily in the form of recycled newspaper. Cellulose is a great option as it is available widely, is affordable, and has excellent insulating properties. If you are to use recycled newspaper, make sure that the material has been treated in such a way to make it fireproof.
When comparing green insulation materials, it is important to study the R-value of each option. This is a measurement of resistance to heat flow. Most material is rated from R-1 up to R-60, with the higher values being the most efficient. The R-value of fiberglass, wool, and cellulose are actually quite similar. If choosing a material with a low value, there would be a need to have a greater depth to achieve the desired results.