Landscape Improvements

3 Small Landscape Upgrades that Make a Big Statement

If you’ve been wlandscapingaiting all year to upgrade your yard but don’t have a lot of time or money to spend on a large project, a few small changes may be all you need. Here are 3 small landscape upgrades that make a big statement in your yard.

Curbing

Curbing 1 around your garden, trees, or even along your driveway adds a certain clean appeal to any yard. Curbing also makes it easier to mow your lawn with its edges to guide you, and gives your home a simple upgrade that is noticeable. If you want to give your property greater definition, consider curbing as your solution. A landscaper can refer you to a curbing expert.

Stump Removal

Stumps that are left in your yard take up an ample amount of space. They are also unsightly. You can hire a landscaper to remove your tree stumps for you and level out your ground so you can have a nice, even landscape. If you have trees that you want to get rid of as well, your landscaper can help you decide which ones to thin out and which ones to keep. After Removing stumps , a wood chipper rental may be great for recycling

Shrubbery

Shrubs are perfect for any landscape to give a property a less rigid and bare look. You can make your entrance more alluring with juniper shrubs, and you can use shrubs in your backyard along your fence line to add privacy or to hide an older fence. If you want to add shrubbery in your yard, plant in early spring so they have begun to sprout by summer.

There are many ways you can upgrade your yard without putting in a lot of effort or money into the process. Whether you want to soften your property with shrubs or give it a cleaner look with curbing, you can improve your landscape easily with just a few small upgrades.

What are the Types of Plumbing Fixtures?

Every residential building has several plumbing systems that work to supply water and remove waste. Residential plumbing systems have components that draw out water from municipal water supplies or private wells and drain water to the municipal sewers or private sewage system. Aside from the waterworks within the home, these systems often have gas supply lines and exterior water systems that include landscape irrigation and drainage.

What are the Types of Plumbing Fixtures?

Interior Water Supply System

Interior water supply systems work to deliver water to the interior plumbing fixtures which include sinks, toilets, tubs, and showers. In general, they draw out water from various water sources, such as private wells and local water supplies. While private wells require pumping and pressurized equipment, local water supplies have pumps and pressurized equipment from the utility company. It is important to note, however, that neither private wells nor municipal supplies guarantee potable water. The plumbing materials usually used to deliver water are copper plumbing pipes, plastic pipes, and cross-linked polyethylene (PEX), depending on the area’s local code.

What are the Types of Plumbing Fixtures?

Exterior Residential Plumbing

There are two most common types of exterior residential plumbing systems being used today; these are the landscape irrigation systems and drainage systems. Landscape irrigation systems are those that employ series of plastic water supply pipes or drip irrigation tubes that deliver water to several sprinklers and faucets outside the house. Exterior drainage system includes gutters and buried drain pipes which prevent flooding and possible structural damage.

What are the Types of Plumbing Fixtures?

Drain, Waste, and Vent System

Drain, waste, and vent plumbing systems help remove wastewater from the house and vent the drain pipes to provide safe and proper drainage. Although this system performs multiple tasks, it appears as on central unit and are commonly made up of cast-iron drain pipes or plastic drain pipes known as ABS. Drain pipes are connected to plumbing fixture drains including that of sinks, toilets, and showers. Vent pipes, on the other hand, branch from the drain lines and protrude from the roof; allowing air to enter the system. Drain, waste, and vent drain lines will then deliver safe water or gray water, as well as sewage or black water to either private septic tanks or the local sewer systems.

Gas Plumbing

Most of us think that plumbers only work with fixtures that involve water. However, they also do installation of pipes for the delivery of gas fuels which include natural gas and profane. Gas plumbing systems are primarily made up of black iron pipes. Compared to the soldered copper water supply lines and glued ABS drain lines, black iron gas pipes connect using threaded fittings. This plumbing system supply gas to several household appliances including ovens, stoves, as well as clothes dryer machines.

Types of Water Softener Systems

Water softener system is primarily used to remove minerals from the water, particularly the magnesium and calcium. Hard water that contains a number of mineral ions makes it difficult for the soap to dissolve and may clog water pipes, as well as cause lime scale on the pipes. Today, there are various water softening system available that will help remove these mineral ions from the water.

Types of Water Softener Systems

Ion Exchange Softeners

Ion exchange softeners make use of salts for the removal of the mineral irons from the water. The sodium ions present in salt are coated in an exchange medium. When calcium or magnesium ions are present, they switch places with the sodium ions and are ultimately removed from the water. This type of water softening system helps prolong the life span of many water-based home appliances, such as the dishwasher, because you will need to use less amounts of soap and detergent.

The water softening system will also reduce water spotting, thereby producing much cleaner items. However, it is important to note that this system is not recommended for drinking water and watering the plants and the lawn due to its sodium content; making it dangerous for those who need to restrict their sodium intake. If there are too many calcium or magnesium ions inside the ion exchange chamber, it will cease working; therefore, you need to remove the ions for it to start working again.

Types of Water Softener Systems

Magnetic Softening

Magnetic softening water softener system makes use of magnets and carbonated salts to take out mineral ions. Although it is not yet proven whether the magnets can actually take out minerals from the hard water, but it prevents lime scale from accumulating on the pipes. The precipitate minerals are carried along in the water and can be collected on the filter.

Reverse Osmosis

Water softener system that utilizes reverse osmosis uses semi permeable membranes that remove ions and impurities form the water. Pressure is used to push the hard water through these membranes to block minerals and impurities. The major advantage of this water softening system is that it actually removes approximately 98% of the mineral ions in the water; removing calcium, magnesium, heavy metals, and other solids. However, it also removes the minerals that are essential for humans, cooking, and plants. Furthermore, only 5 to 15% of the water runs through; thus, the rest of the water will go through waste. It is also the slowest way to soften water and the most expensive among the types of systems.

Types of Water Softener Systems

Salt-Free Softeners

Salt-free water softeners make use of nanotechnology for the removal of the mineral ions from the water. The atoms are arranged in a certain manner which creates active sites to bind the minerals. The newly bound form of minerals cannot attach to any surface, preventing the formation of the lime scale. This system is highly recommended for those who need to restrict their salt intake. Compared to ion exchange softeners, you won’t need to use much soap or detergent when washing and the system prevents the formation of the lime scale. This is also an eco-friendly method of softening water. However, if you water the hardness level which is above 75 grains per gallon then the salt-free system may not be able to effectively soften the water.

The Life Span of Water Heaters

The water heating system is very essential for those who are living in places that have seasonal cold weathers. And because it is already a basic requirement or necessity at home, it is most likely taken for granted and pushed beyond its limited life span. Knowing when it would last will not only prevent you from taking icy showers, but will also help you save money.

The Life Span of Water Heaters

How Do Water Heaters Work?

The conventional electric and gas-fired tank-style water heaters are cylindrical appliances which warm and store a certain amount of water, usually 40 to 80 gallons. According to the US Department of Energy, their expected life span is approximately 10 to 15 years. However, it is important to note that the life span depends upon the water source, maintenance, and other factors. Tank-less water heaters, on the other hand, are different from the tank-style heaters since it does not store water. Instead, it has a series of pipes which are entirely surrounded with heating equipment. This types of water heaters are often more costly than the conventional ones; however, they can last up to approximately 30 years.

The Life Span of Water Heaters

Time Frame

During the entire lifetime of a water heater, the minerals that are being dissolved into the water source will collect on one portion of the tank which can gradually damage the tank over time. Minerals, such as calcium and lime, actually react when they are heated and bound to the inside portion of the tank. Hard water, that contains high levels of calcium and lime, will reduce the life span of water heaters by more than 2 years. In addition, other sources of water, such as springs and wells, may pull up the sediments and deposit sand and mud from the water into the water heater; thereby, reducing its effectiveness more quickly than that of the minerals. It is important to note that water heaters that are using hard water or well water should be drained or flushed at least once a year to prolong the life of the tank.

The Life Span of Water Heaters

Anode Rods

Most tank-style water heaters make use of anode rods that are made up of aluminum, magnesium or zinc alloy. These anode rods extend down to the tank cavity and attract highly corrosive elements in the water; thereby preventing these elements from damaging the tank. Note that if you are using hard water, it is highly recommended that you should replace the anode rod of the tank every 5 years. Its replacement is actually easy that you can do it on your own; you only have to partially drain the tank, unscrew the anode rod, and pull it out. However if there is only little overhead space, you may just have to cut the rod as you remove it and replace it with collapsible ones which are made up of loosely linked portions. Check the manufacturer’s instructions to learn more about how to replace the rods. Note that its replacement may actually void the warranty.

The Life Span of Water Heaters

Size

The size of water heaters may affect its life span. Water heaters that are too small for the entire household may constantly heat large amounts of water which may damage the lining of the water heater; thereby, wearing out the heating elements quicker, causing several electrical problems. Thus, they need to be replaced earlier than average. Meanwhile, water heaters that are too large may waste energy because it keeps a large volume of water to be heated at all times even though there aren’t any demands for it.

Benefits of Water Heaters

No matter what type of water heater you use, maintaining it regularly will prolong its life span. Consulting heating and plumbing specialists will help you detect potential problems, recommend necessary filtration systems, as well as take measures as to the prevention of premature breakdown of water heaters. Its manufacturer may specify requirements for regular maintenance; thus, you may have to consult their manual before you call the plumber.

Ideas for Shower Remodeling

Remodeling your shower has a lot of advantages; these include increasing the value of your home, as well as the comfort of life. There are many ways and ideas that you need to consider for you to jumpstart your shower improvement project. Choose something that would work best for your taste, as well as your budget.

Tile

Consider getting a customized tile shower. Tile showers typically last longer than those that are made up of plastic and porcelain. This option for remodeling enables tile arrangements in different designs and colors. However, its installation will take longer than usual and you won’t be able to use it for a few days since you need to wait until for the adhesive and the grout to dry.

Ideas for Shower Remodeling

Fixture

Consider adding new shower fixture to brighten up the design of an old shower or add flare to a newly upgraded shower stall. You might want to change the shower head to a detachable one so that you can direct the water flow to particular parts of your body and the shower walls. You may also change your shower head to that of the rainfall type which hangs directly just like that of a traditional shower. There are also many options available for faucet knobs and handles. Try to match them to the theme of your bathroom or look for designs that would add beauty to your upgraded shower.

Ideas for Shower Remodeling

Bench

A highly functional and very convenient idea for remodeling involves placing a bench inside the shower. It may be placed as part of the shower or something that is removable depending upon the user’s preference. Placing a bench within the shower will provide a place for placing shower items and toiletries such as shampoos and soaps. It will also serve as a seat for those who are having problems in standing for long periods of time, as well as a great tool for shaving your legs. Most pre-made plastic, fiberglass, and porcelain shower often has this feature. For tile showers, on the other hand, you will need to build the bench on your own as they are installed.

Ideas for Shower Remodeling

Doors

Replacing shower and curtain doors will also add value to your bathroom. Note that the doors actually look more elegant and prevent more water from spilling out on the floor compared to curtains. Shower doors are actually available as sliding models or single pane with hinges that open. Basically, they are made up of frosted or translucent glass or even strong plastics.

Comparison of PVC and Copper Plumbing System

Copper and PVCs are two of the most popular materials used in creating water pipes and fittings. Copper has been the material of choice over the past few decades; however, PVCs are challenging its dominance for 15 years now. The increasing cost of copper has been contributing to the PVC’s increasing popularity today. Both of which are effective and can last for decades if maintained properly. However, both come with advantages and disadvantages.

Comparison of PVC and Copper Plumbing System

PVC

PVCs became much more common in the plumbing industry over the past few years; they are more commonly used in residential and commercial buildings. Compared to copper plumbing, PVC plumbing systems will obviously not oxidize and rust. If installed properly, it can last up to 75 years which is many times longer than its manufacturer’s warranty. They are also relatively easier to install than most copper plumbing since you need not solder it. In order to properly install it, the plumber needs a piping, PVC paste, PVC primer, PVC coupling, and a hacksaw to make sure that the length is correct.

Comparison of PVC and Copper Plumbing System

Some of the disadvantages of using PVC plumbing system are that the piping is made up of polyvinyl chloride. Polyvinyl chloride is a resin that will release toxic materials that are fatal in the event of fire. It is also not as durable as the copper since it may crack or become damaged when there is an earthquake or any structural damage that may happen to the building. It also has limited sizes available compared to copper plumbing.

Comparison of PVC and Copper Plumbing System

Copper

The copper plumbing system is tried and tested. It is long lasting and is widely accepted by all plumbing codes. Copper pipes are malleable enough to be bent and manipulated by plumbers into a snake pipe through a certain tight spot or curve. Aside from that, it also increases the value of the home. Copper plumbing system has a relatively smaller diameter than that of the PVC plumbing; thus it helps in conserving space in the entire plumbing system of the house.

Comparison of PVC and Copper Plumbing System

When using this type of plumbing system, water may sound loud as it may give out a “hammer” sound. When oxidation occurs, the drinking water may have a slightly metallic taste. Aside from that, it needs to be soldered; thus, it is difficult to install compared to PVCs. The high value for resale of copper plumbing also makes it a potential target for theft.

Price Difference of Copper and PVCs

As mentioned above, PVC plumbing is cheaper than that of copper plumbing systems. Since the value of copper fluctuates over time, the difference may be significant. Because the installation of copper plumbing systems may require great skill than that of PVCs, homeowners can save money with the use of PVCs.

Replacement of Bathtub Fixtures

Improving and remodeling old bathtub fixtures will help give the bathroom a modern, customized look that is just within the budget of the homeowner. When buying new bathtub fixtures, you need to look for fixtures that are of the same time, such as single-, double-, or triple- handed faucet. Using the same type of bathroom fixtures makes its replacement easier and it prevents the homeowner from having to change and repair the bathroom walls. It is important that fixtures should be replaced at the right time to prevent water from leaking from the faucet. Note that this task will only require basic plumbing skills; thus, you may not require plumbers if you have the knowledge to do so.

Replacement of Bathtub Fixtures

Steps in Replacing New bathtub Fixtures

  • For you to be able to access the bathtub faucet, you need to remove the access panel which is found at the back of the bathtub wall. Some access panels may pop out of place, while others may be kept in place with screws.
  • You need to turn off the hot and cold water supply to the bathtub faucet. If you see that there are no valves in the access panel, you need to shut off the main water supply in the entire house.
  • Using an adjustable wrench or slip-groove pliers, turn the showerhead counter clockwise in order to remove it. Remove the metal escutcheon plate by sliding it off the shower arm and removing the shower arm using the slip-groove pliers.
  • Remove the bathtub faucet by using a screwdriver or an Allen wrench. Allen screws or ordinary screws are usually found behind the hot and cold buttons that you can find on the handles.
  • Remove the stem collars and slide of the escutcheon plates. These plates are kept on using screws at the bottom portion of the plates; to remove the plates, you need to remove the screws as well.
  • Remove the old stems using an adjustable wrench.
  • The bathtub spout must be turned counter clockwise with the use of slip-groove pliers or loosen the screw on its underside to remove the spout. Some bathtub spouts can be screwed on and off; meanwhile, others would just slide off as soon as the supporting screw has been removed.
  • If you are planning to remove and replace the faucet, you may do this by loosening the hot and cold water pipes with plumber’s wrench.
  • With the use of a screwdriver, you need to remove the overflow cover plate screws.
  • Remove the drain plug and bathtub drain. This drain requires installation and removal tools which fastens and loosens the drain as the tool is turned.
  • Replace the old faucet with the new one. Use a plumber’s tape to wrap both ends of the water pipe unions. Tighten the nuts using a pipe wrench.
  • Using plumber’s grease, lube the new stems and install them into the faucet.
  • Install new stem collars and escutcheon plates.
  • Put the new faucet handles in place and tighten up the screws for installation. Refer to the manufacturer’s instruction to properly replace the faucet.
  • Use plumber’s tape to the new shower arm threads. Wrap it in a counter clockwise manner to prevent them from backing off the threads as you tighten the shower arm.
  • Install your new shower arm using the slip-groove pliers to secure it snugly. Place the new escutcheon plate over the shower arm and hold the new shower head in place with screws.
  • Place the new overflow cover plate according to the instructions of the manufacturer. Note that installation may vary from one manufacturer to another.
  • Use plumber’s tape to the new bathtub drain threads and screw it in place.
  • Caulk the bathtub spout and bathtub faucet in order to prevent water leakage. Allow it to dry.
  • Turn on the water supply to the faucet or the entire house and check if there are any leaks.

How to Change a Bathtub Faucet

Changing the faucet of your bathtub is one way of improving and upgrading your bathroom. Although you can pay a plumber to do it, doing so can be costly. Replacing a faucet can be done anyone; which is why doing it yourself will cut your costs. Using simple plumbing tools, you can now have a faucet mounted and running in no time.

How to Change a Bathtub Faucet

Steps in Changing the Bathtub Faucet

  • With the use of a grout puller, remove the silicon portion of the faucet that keeps it in place. Choose a nice brand of grout puller; do not settle for the plastic kind and choose something that is made out of metal. Note that this may take some time and work, try to do it properly so that it would be easier for you to pull the faucet out.
  • As soon as the grout has been removed, remove the screws and bolts that hold the faucet in place. Then, remove the faucet by twisting it counter clockwise. It is important to note that a number of faucets may have very thin screw patterns which you may need to turn a few times before you can pull it off. Also note that there might still be water in the crevices of the faucet head. After removing, place the old faucet on an old towel.
  • With the use of a flathead screwdriver, take off the washers that are on the faucet frame assembly. All you need to do is pry them up using the screwdriver and then roll the metal off.
  • Replace the washers that you have just removed with the washers that is included on your new faucet assembly set. Ensure that the washers are placed snugly and securely to prevent the water from leaking out of it.
  • Get your new faucet head and screw it on the frame assembly. Ensure that the head is not cross-threaded, and then screw it clockwise up until it is fully secured against the wall. Twist the faucet back until it is strait according to how or where you desire it to point.
  • Get your tube of silicon and spread a small amount on the edge of the faucet head. Do this with the use of your finger and try to make the seal look neat. Ensure that there are no holes or air bubbles in your seal.
  • Give the silicone a time to dry for at least six hours prior to using the faucet.

Factors to Consider in Choosing the Type of Kitchen Sink at Home

If you are planning to change the sink in the kitchen that you are remodeling, you should try to determine first whether you need a single or double basin sink. Whichever you choose, it is more likely that you can find either types in the material and the size that you need. Note that both can do the primary purpose of holding the dishes while you are actually washing them. However, you should also take into consideration how you are using the sink in a certain way. Thus, consider your preference before you decide.

Dishes

If you have a dishwasher in your kitchen, going for a single-basin type of sink is a practical choice. However, if you rarely use your dishwasher and you opt to wash your dishes by hand, then you might as well choose the double-basin type of sink. Double-basin sinks allow you to fill one basin with soap and water for dishwashing, and use the other basin for rinsing and stacking the newly cleaned dishes. Or, you can choose the single-basin sink to wash and rinse the dishes as long as you have a drainer on the counter. However, this would lose a valuable counter space and increases your risk of cluttering your newly improved kitchen.

Factors to Consider in Choosing the Type of Kitchen Sink at Home

Drains

The number of drains actually depends on the number of basins you have; they all connect to the main drainpipe which is found under the sink. Having separate drains will actually allow two people to work on separate tasks at the sink; thus, you can wash fruits and vegetables in one basin, while the other can rinse dishes on the other. Aside from that, they are also beneficial in the event that it will get clogged. In double sinks, you can continue using one basin while the other is still on the process of unclogging. For single basins, on the other hand, you won’t be able to use them when they are clogged.

Factors to Consider in Choosing the Type of Kitchen Sink at Home

Large Capacity

Sinks come in different shape and sizes. In fact with double sinks, they do not need to be of the same size. Without the divider in the middle, a single basin sink actually has a larger capacity than the double basin one. Thus, it is a great advantage especially when you are washing or soaking pots and pans. With double basin sinks, you can’t actually soak a large pot; so, you need to soak one side at a time.

Factors to Consider in Choosing the Type of Kitchen Sink at Home

Design

The design of one style may appeal to you more than that of the other. If you are the type that doesn’t cook much or doesn’t like to get all the dishes out, an empty single basin may give your kitchen a neat look. Meanwhile, if you are always doing the dishes and you do not like to see a lot of clutter on your counter, you might as well consider choosing the double sink.

Environment-Friendly Water Piping System

Being environmentally friendly applies to all aspects of our lives; from the food we eat to the clothes we use. However, we may not consider having water piping systems at home that are good for the environment. There are actually a number of eco-friendly piping materials that will surely make difference in many ways.

Environment-Friendly Water Piping System

Cast Iron

Cast iron is made up of 100% recycled metals which include re-melted pig iron combined with scrap metal and scrap steel; making it an eco-friendly choice for water piping. It is also recyclable and easy to install as it does not require any organic compound that is found in most adhesive used to secure plastic water piping. In addition, it is a durable and efficient piping because of its solidity and density.

Copper

Copper is also an eco-friendly choice for water piping system since it does not require solvent-based adhesives which has volatile compounds for installation; these compounds may add to the pollution and global warming and are considered dangerous to your health. It can also be recycled; hence, it is can be a renewable source since it doesn’t lose any chemical or physical properties. It is important to note that copper-based pipes should be disposed of properly primarily because it can exhaust natural resources and cause pollution and harmful emissions to the environment. With the high costs of copper, owners are more likely to recycle and sell the used ones which is also a big help to the environment.

Environment-Friendly Water Piping System

Galvanized Steel

Galvanized steel is also considered as one of the eco-friendly choice in water piping system since it can be melted and recycled. The galvanized portion of the steel which consists of 98% zinc makes the pipes very durable; thus, the galvanized coating itself can last for approximately 40 years. Because of its durability, it makes for a low-impact material since it only requires little to no maintenance for its entire lifetime.

Environment-Friendly Water Piping System

Pipe Insulation

If you do not have enough money to replace your old water pipe system immediately, you might want to reduce your environmental impact by placing pipe insulation; it is the simplest and most effective way of conserving energy. In addition, it also helps in reducing heat loss by up to 80% and helps in sweating on cold water pipes.

Polyethylene Tubing

Cross-linked polyethylene tubing (PEC) is similar to that of copper and cast iron as it doesn’t need to be soldered or secured with adhesives that are toxic; thus, it is also considered to be an eco-friendly choice. It is capable of handling temperatures until 200 degrees Fahrenheit. However, unlike the pipes mentioned above, it cannot be recycled which can be a disadvantage when you are trying to achieve an environment-friendly home.For any tools you may need , i have found lowe’s tool rental to be the best