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General Article

Kitchen Remedies – Tarragon

Kitchen Remedies – Tarragon

Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus) is mostly known for its use in Bearnaise sauce, vinegar and French cooking. Most modern herbalists don’t give it much credence as a healing herb.

Chewing Tarragon leaves will numb your mouth and is great for toothache. Tarragon has eugenol which is an antiseptic and is used in dental paste used for temporary fillings.

According to James A. Duke, PhD and an authority on herbal medicine, Tarragon has Caffeic acid which is a cancer fighting chemical. Tarragon may help cleanse the body of free radicals. This means that it is a cancer preventative.

Tarragon also may help your heart. The chemical Rutin found in the oil helps prevent plaque deposits in your arteries. Plaque buildup is a leading cause of heart disease and strokes.

To make tarragon tea, use 2 teaspoons in a cup of boiling water and let steep for 15 minutes. Drink up to 3 cups per day. Another way to use Tarragon is to make a Lemon Balm Tea with 1 teaspoon of Tarragon added, let steep for 15 minutes. When you make tea in this manner, you can put the tea bag directly on cold sores for healing.

One problem with Tarragon is that when you dry it, you lose most of the value, so it should be used fresh, frozen or preserved in vinegar.

Cooking with Tarragon adds flavor to eggs, chowders, soups, sauces, vegetables, fish and chicken for just a sample of its uses.

There are two varieties of Tarragon, Russian and French, you should go for the French. Divide roots in spring and plant 1 inch pieces of tips or use cuttings in the summer. You should thin plants to 2 foot spacing. Tarragon rarely flowers, but if it does the fruits are sterile.

Tarragon bruises easily, so harvest the leaves carefully in the summer. Use it fresh, freeze the leaves or preserve them in vinegar.…

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General Article

Spring for Solar Shades

Spring for Solar Shades

Windows have the lowest insulation value of any element in a building: 50% of solar heat enters a room through windows while 40% escapes through it. In an otherwise well-insulated wall, windows retain solar heat during the summer and let in cold drafts in the winter. While installing newly designed energy-efficient windows that use two to three layers of glass is an option, it is a very expensive and quite daunting one. Indoor solar shades, on the other hand, are an effective and relatively inexpensive way to fix the problem while maintaining the open feeling of a window.

According to the Smart Energy Window Alliance, single-pane windows generally have the lowest efficiency rating for thermal resistance: an R-value rating of just 1. However, adding solar shades can increase the efficiency of the window opening to as high as R-6, which the Smart Energy Window Alliance translates into an energy savings of up to 60 percent. With the warm weather quickly approaching, it is important to note that inefficient windows in hot climates are responsible for up to 75 percent of total air conditioning energy costs. Solar shades can block up to 98% of the sun’s heat and UV rays to actually reject heat in the summer and help decrease your energy bills.

If chosen correctly, solar shades will reflect out the heat in the summer and re-radiate the furnace heat in the winter. But not all solar shades have the same efficiency. There are so many to choose from. How do you know the correct one for your needs? Filtering out the sunlight will reduce solar heat but for the most heat rejection, white is the best. If you put your hand on a white car and a black car the white car is cooler. White solar shades actually stop 30% more heat than black which is significant. But white can be like looking through gauze. Darker colored solar shades give sharper outward visibility and better glare reduction. Do you need to forfeit practicality? The answer is not any more.

The most effective solar shades have a layer of aluminum on the outside facing side to reduce heat in the summer and re-radiate the room’s heat in the winter. Verosol Silver Screen is one of these brands. It allows you the freedom to use dark colors without compromising heat reduction in the summer. It also keeps the room warmer in the winter.

There are also less expensive versions of shades with aluminum. These are called film shades, such as the Kool Vue Economic Shades. Not all need to have a mirrored outside facing side. They come in different tints and are truly like dark sunglasses on your window.…

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Renovation Contractor

Home Improvement Loan Rates

Home improvement loan rates are fundamentals that you have to understand if you are thinking of venturing into these kinds of investments. You need to finance your home. This is quite pricey if you are going to constantly improve it when the situation calls for it. By improving your home, you increase its value. Who knows what will happen in the future.
You might eventually sell this. At least with all the investment you’ve been putting into it, you can get ten times your money back if ever you do decide to sell it. All actions that you do in your home can increase its value. That’s why you need to understand home improvement loan rates. At least you are in the loop of the value of your home. This may vary from kitchen repair to bathroom extension, from constructions of swimming pools to building fences.
Regardless, all these improvements in your home can be seen as some kind of investment that you are making in the future. There are different types of home improvement loan rates. It really depends on the kind of mortgage that you signed up for. To give you an idea, there are first mortgage and second mortgage loans. The refinancing solutions really depend on the unsecured loans that you have. In order for you to accurately calculate your home improvement loan rates, you need to have a detailed plan of the changes you want to do in your home.
You need to estimate the costs and check what your budget is. You can canvass and compare so that you can have the best deal by getting the appropriate rate which is in accordance with your lifestyle. Here are a couple of questions you can ask yourself whenever you are canvassing for home improvement loan rates. First and foremost, you need to check whether the improvements that you want to do in your home can certainly increase the value of your home.
If it can, then the loan you applied for is definitely a profit that you can maximize in the long run. The second concern you should look at is how much the monthly payments would cost. If this is something you can afford, then go for it. Just make sure that you don’t miss the payment because it will be harder to pay the bill if it amounts too much. You also have to double check the tax implications. If there are possible tax deductions then make sure that the calculation is correct.…

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General Article

Importance of Exhaust Fans in Our Homes

Importance of Exhaust Fans in Our Homes

While most of us are used to the exhaust fans in our kitchens and bathroom, we don’t really understand the importance of an exhaust fan beyond its air refreshing function. We simple think kitchen exhaust fans help clear the smoke and steam from the kitchen and bathroom fan is used to keep it odorless.

But exhaust fans perform a lot of other underlying functions that are not so obvious. Take for instance the job of a kitchen exhaust fan. It clears the air of the stem and the smell of the food. If you were to accidentally burn something, it will also clear the smoke. Now imagine if you didn’t have a fan in kitchen to get rid of exhaust.

The steam will settle on the cupboards and walls, encouraging mold and mildew. The kitchen will continue to hold the old food smell and the smoke and the oil will start to stain the wall. Not a pretty picture is it? We also tend to keep potatoes, onions etc outside in the kitchen and they will start rotting fast due to the excess moisture in the air.

The bathroom exhaust fan plays a similar role. Apart from odor, bathrooms tend to have more humidity with constant water use. This humidity can travel throughout house damaging wood work and one might even see fungal and mildew growth here and there.

For this reason it’s very necessary that both bathroom and kitchen fans have ducts that finish out the house. If the ducts are blocked or terminate within the house, the moisture will pool in and damage the surrounding areas of construction. If the bathroom exhaust fan stop working, you probably will start to see signs like mold on the wall, peeling paint or wall paper, moisture marks on tiles and roof, frost on window, rust on shower head and other metal finishing in the bath.

The need for a garage exhaust fan is something people sometimes overlook as it’s not as frequently used as the bathroom and kitchen. However, garages are not always as well insulated as our homes and we tend to store multiple things in the garage along with our car- like fabrics and wood, both of which have a tendency to grab moisture and culture mold and other fungus like growths. And since the garage is essentially connected to your home, this pores will eventually drift into the air you breathe and cause health problems, even though your exhaust fans in kitchen and bathroom are working.

The garage exhaust fan, run occasionally will not only keep the moisture level low but also keep the foundation of the building strong, since in many houses, the garage is part of the main building. Any damage to the garage walls and roof in the form of damp can cost you thousands of dollars in reconstruction.

Moreover, mold, mildew, odor – all these can affect our health as well, especially causing asthma or allergies in children and can even cause serious fungal infections in adults. Mold may not easy to spot but you have peeling paint or wallpaper or cobwebs on the wall, it may be mold. If you suspect mold, you can take a sample and take it for testing to a lab. Install proper sized exhaust fans for most efficient ventilation, whether it’s your kitchen, bathroom or garage.…

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General Article

Tile Installation for Counter Top and Kitchen Projects

Tile Installation for Counter Top and Kitchen Projects

While there are many home improvement projects that can make a DIYer feel out of their depth, installing tile in your kitchen is a project that is actually far simpler than you would think when you see the beautiful results. It’s well-known that putting in a ceramic floor is one of the simplest tile projects you can take on. What many people do not realize is that, as long as you spend time preparing, make a plan, and have all of the necessary materials and tools on hand, laying tile in your kitchen or bath is an extremely easy project.

There are three basic tile installation projects that are popularly used in kitchens. Installing tile as a back splash behind the counter and around the room’s plumbing fixtures is one popular project.

Another is making a kitchen counter top with inset tile. Marble or granite slates are a more common counter top surface in modern homes. However, many owners of older houses have chosen to restore and update their home’s current style by replacing an existing tile counter. This is especially desirable in the restoration of art deco style homes.

Tile floors are a popular option for kitchens. Few would be surprised to learn that the kitchen is one of the most popular rooms in the house for a tile floor installation.

Kitchen Counter Tops and Back Splashes

A kitchen’s back splash generally runs behind the sink and/or the stove, but can actually appear anywhere in the room. Because of the small area that a tile back splash takes up, you will need to be sure that you have the correct tiles, measure carefully, and be scrupulous in your accuracy and neatness when cutting and trimming the tile. Work slowly and cautiously.

The first step is to strip off the old tile, and determine the condition of the wall underneath the area. If the wall is in good condition, you may be able to just clean the area and install the new tiles without much further preparation. If there is damage to the wall beneath, it may be necessary to replace the drywall in the area before you are able to lay the tile. For an area that is near or behind the kitchen sink, you will want to install green drywall beneath the back splash. For other kitchen areas, standard drywall is fine.

Use an industrial strength cleaning agent to prep the area where you will be installing the new tile. Ensure that all debris and loose material is removed from the area.

You will need to measure the back splash’s area, buy the tiles that you want, cut them to fit using a rented wet saw tile cutter, and then arrange them in your desired pattern. Make a note of any serious gaps or overlaps, and make sure that you tiles are cut to fit. You will need to cut and trim to make everything fit perfectly.

Next, you will apply tile cement to the back of each of the tiles, and arrange them on the area according to your plan. Begin applying tiles in the bottom corner of one side of the area, and work upward and out as you apply new tiles. Remove and clean off any excess adhesive from the tiles as you install them in the area.

Once the tiles are attached, apply grout to the gaps between the tiles, and let dry for 24 hours.

Kitchen Floors

The process for laying a kitchen floor is not all that different. You will need to clean and prep the whole floor area, and you will work from the center of the room out, making sure that the tiles fit together securely as you install.…

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General Article

Bathroom Designs and Upgrades

Bathroom Designs and Upgrades

Are you looking for some ideas to beautify your bathroom by renovating it? Well, this article is just right for you. First thing to consider in renovating your bathroom is to know which areas in your bathroom you want to be renovated. It is also a good idea to discuss this matter with your interior designer before you start to work on them.

There are many available modern bathroom fixtures in which you can replace with your old ones. Replacing old bathroom fixtures like knobs, handles, faucets, and towel bars with new ones really give your bathroom a completely new look.

Adding beautifully designed suitable tiles and painting the walls also give your bathroom a new look. If you want, you can add some furniture and accessories that would really enhance the beauty of your bathroom. Adding shower curtains, rugs, new towels, and window treatments will give your bathroom a modern feel. The flooring of the bathroom should also be considered for it is one of the most important parts in a bathroom. For a bath tub with a classic look, choose the modern ones. There are different types of tubs that you can choose from which are available in the market. You can select the size of the tub you want to buy and you can compare it with your bathroom theme.

Upgrading your old shower is a very good idea. Currently, there are many available bath tubs with built-in showers. A steam shower is good to those people who want to have a spa relaxation experience right inside their bathrooms. Lastly, if you want to make your bathroom look bigger, you must properly install lights and mirrors.

Nowadays, bathrooms are used by people to release all their stress. So it is really important to spend a little time, effort and money to make it better.…

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General Article

Where I Would Buy Kitchens From

Where I Would Buy Kitchens From

The right kitchen manufacturer for you is a bit harder to detect than you may imagine. You will find it quite difficult to distinguish between the good and the bad ones as there is a lot of intelligent advertising designed to catch you off guard. There are a couple of main types of kitchen companies.

The best position to start is the more traditional manner of practicing things.

You will more than likely have seen these companies names about the local area for ages. You may not have used them before but you will recognize the name. The best method of getting a job at these companies is to be related to them as the boss usually upgrades a member of his family above an outsider. As they do not turn over as much as the big firms they have not got as large an marketing budget as them and outlaying a lot on promoting their kitchens will mean they will have to increase their prices to pay for it.

The latest style of kitchen companies.

These firms generally bring in all their kitchens from the far East. They market them into something they really are not and sell them for a large profit. Always remember that all the money these firms spend on their advertisements has to paid for by somebody and no doubt they will include this cost in their selling prices as they can’t be that phenomenal at the supposed 50% off they are offering. Surely most of us recognize this is not the case and is simply a ingenious advertising ploy. Why kitchen firms cannot just give you a costing is beyond me. Why bother to inflate the figure and then say a free washing machine is very trying. They must have a massive mark up on the cost price if they can constantly sell them at half price.

I would much rather deal with a firm that has been established for a long time. This is superb for their customers as they will still be trading if you have a problem with your kitchen after it is fitted. They normally employ their own installers. This means that one of them can pop in at the end of his day to fit you in without it being an issue. With kitchens from the larger firms they will do all they could to get out of anything in the future specially if it may cost them money.

General summary:

1) Go to a firm that someone you know has had a good experience with

2) Run the quote past friends and family

3) Deal with a firm that has been around for a while

I trust you to make the right choice for you and keep the smaller companies in business as they are the future of the kitchen industry.…