Friday, December 29, 2006

Gardening With Ferns

Homeowners with wooded backyards choose ferns for their attractive undergrowth. There are many assortments to choose from. Thousands of varieties of ferns can be found all over the globe. Sizes range from a few inches to as much as 60-feet-tall.

Fern plants thrive and grow in woodlands all over the United States. These eye-catching plants are just as comfortable in the shaded areas of the splendor in the yard. You can place them in areas of little or even no direct sunlight, where little else will cultivate and grow.

It’s mostly up to you when it comes to flower garden design. It’s definitely important to do your best job in soil preparation as you carefully match certain plants to the location. Ignoring these principles will only result in a disheartening, time-consuming experience.

The aesthetics are simply of a personal preference. A formal appearance, for example, with plants in orderly garden planting and straight edged beds of fern may be your cup of tea. Maybe you’d be more content with an even more natural appearance with uneven plant clumps and extensive curves.

Established fern plants are simple to cultivate. They are versatile, as well—you can plant them singly or in clusters. You can use them as border edgings, along wooded regions, alongside the front of your house and in rock gardens. You can even try them in containers and use them as indoor houseplants.

While there may be thousands of assortments of ferns, several are on their way to becoming endangered species.

Some ferns are poisonous, so unless you know the variety you have is absolutely safe, it’s advisable to keep children and pets away from these ferns.

Ferns, not unlike mushrooms, produce spores. Spores develop on the underside of the leaves, as millions are produced. Only a few successfully land in a place that’s suitable to nurture, take root and cultivate. Ferns also grow by scattering their underground roots.

Ferns plants grow rather slowly. Established plants live for years, as most people buy ferns from garden nurseries or even on the Internet.

You can select a location with partial to full shade. Ferns like soil that is fertile in organic matter. You can add plenty compost at time of planting. It’s suggested that you keep the soil moist at all times.

Established fern plants should bloom for years with little or no attention. It’s wise to mulch around the plants each spring season to help preserve moisture, and to reload organic matter around the plant. Finally, let the plant cultivate naturally, once you remove dead or wilted fronds.

About The Author
Jena Luthowski writes about, Alive coupons and

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

New Year's Eve in Budapest

If you plan to celebrate New Years in Budapest you won't be bored. There'll be plenty of programs to entertain you from an upscale ball to local house parties. Let's not forget the spectacular fireworks at midnight.

Hungarians are very good at partying. We're people who look for every occasion to eat and drink well. One of these special occasions is the last day of the year, Szilveszter in our language. People start preparing for New Year's Eve several weeks before. In some popular entertainment places you have to book your New Years Programme months before.

New Years in Budapest - Restaurants, Bars, Cafés

Most people in Budapest head for a restaurant, bar, café or pub to carouse on 31st December. You have to book well in advance, especially in popular places.

If you have no reservation, go early and you might get in with some luck. There's usually a substantial dinner that includes special dishes. A glass of champagne is usually included in the price to clink glasses at midnight.

The New Year starts with more eating: frankfurter sausages with horseradish and mustard, lentil soup, roast pig and other traditional Hungarian New Year dishes are served after 24.00. You can dance away this entire calorie intake.

Prices are 40-240 €, depending on how popular and upscale the place is.

Our tip: Liszt Ferenc Square on Andrássy Avenue offers many trendy cafés and bars. Pick a place here and you'll be close to the outdoor fesitivities on Nyugati tér and Oktogon.

New Years in Budapest for Free- Celebration in the Streets

Three major places are the focal point of outdoor festivities.

* on Vörösmarty Square a three-day celebration awaits you, on 30th-31st December and on 1st January.
Live bands from different countries will perform.

* Nyugati Square (M3 metro line, trams No 4, 6).
Hungarian pop-rock bands will entertain people.

* Oktogon (trams No 4, 6)
Disco till dawn with popular Hungarian DJs.

Spectacular fireworks welcome the New Year on all three places.

Don't forget to put on warm clothes, because last days of December tend to be chilly in Budapest.

You'll find many people in the streets, especially around midnight. Even those who've been carousing in a restaurant or bar, pour out onto the streets and welcome the New Year with singing, dancing and blowing paper horns.

Luckily the government has banned the use of firecrackers this year, so celebrating will be safer in the crowded streets, than it was in previous years.

New Years in Budapest - Partying In a Hotel

Most Budapest Hotels offer Special Packages for the New Year's Eve period. Usually you have to stay for at least 2-3 nights. A festive dinner and entertaining programs are included. Choose a hotel in the city centre and you'll find many places of entertainment within walking distance. You can join the happy crowd in the streets and enjoy the fireworks as well.

Prices: approximately 80-250 €

Upscale Celebration of New Years in Budapest-Ball In the Opera House

The New Year's Eve ball in Budapest's beautiful Opera House is an exclusive party where you have to dress up and wear a mask. The program starts with a Gala Concert performed by singers, ballet of the Opera House and the Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra. Afterwards you can fill your stomach with delicious dishes and dance till dawn.

Prices start from 288 €, but make sure you book early.

New Years in Budapest on Boat

Operetta Boat

Say farewell to the old year from a boat on the Danube. Talented singers, dancers and musicians of the Hungarian State Opera House and the Operetta House will perform classical masterpieces. Programs also include belly dancing, step dance and Hungarian folk dances. Fine dinner and beautiful vista of illuminated Budapest make the night unforgettable.

This is another classy way of celebrating the New Years in Budapest.

Price: about 160 €, includes a cocktail, substantial dinner with wide selection of cold and hot dishes, desserts, a glass of champagne, coffee, mineral water

New Years in Budapest - Home Parties

If the above programmes don't appeal to you, stroll in Budapest on New Year's Day afternoon and someone might invite you to a home party. Hungarians are famous for their hospitality and we tend to be even more welcoming on New Year's Eve. Drink local bubbly, beer or wine, have some homemade snacks and make new friends.

Some Hungarian New Year's Traditions

Most Hungarian New Years traditions are related to food. Having lentil or bean dishes on New Year's Day makes you wealthy. Pigs root out your fortune, while poultry scrapes it away. Eat roast pork on New Year's Eve and you'll be lucky throughout the year.

For hangover we eat a special soup (korhely leves) made from sour cabbage and sour cream.

Washing and hanging out the washing is forbidden, because someone will die. According to common belief, the whole year will be like the way you behave on 1st January.

You'd better be happy to drive away gloominess in the New Year!

Why celebrate New Years in Budapest?

You have many options where to say good bye to the old year in the Hungarian capital. From an exclusive ball to classy hotels, trendy restaurants and bars, or a boat on the Danube. Make sure you book early!

The best place to make friends and see how Hungarians welcome the New Year go to a homeparty. Hungarians are very friendly and hospitable.

Champagne is cheap here, about 2-2,5 €, and illuminated Budapest is beautiful at night.

I hope you will come and have a good time!

Happy New Year or Boldog Új Évet in Hungarian!

About The Author
Erzsebet Dobos
© Copyright All Rights Reserved
Erzsebet lives in Budapest with her husband and son. She loves the Hungarian capital very much. Erzsebet's goal is to share her insider knowledge about Budapest with tourists visiting the city. On her website, she provides up-to-date information to help travelers to get the most of their visit to Budapest.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Commercial Furniture for Any Property Owner

Whether furnishing a hotel, restaurant, resort, or apartments, building owners need an inexpensive and hassle free way to furnish property. Commercial furniture is available to suit any type of property ranging from casual food service, to luxury resort suites. Commercial furniture is also available to meet any size or style of property, as well as meet any range of budgets.

Food service, to luxury resort. Many different types of property have many different furnishing needs. Several factors include what type of property, how much area needs to be furnished, and also it depends on what the property owner wants for furniture. A full service hotel needs a variety of furniture, ranging from upholstered furniture for rooms, food service furniture for restaurants, as well as patio furniture. An apartment building may only need to be furnished with indoor furniture, such as sofas, chairs, and case goods. In some cases, apartment owners will furnish patios and pools if available.

Ordering in quantity, Volume discounts. As seen, a large number of different commercial patio furniture types may be needed to furnish any property. To make large orders economically feasible, commercial furniture is available at volume discounts just for such property owners. When purchased in large volumes, commercial furniture is available for a fraction of the price of retail furniture. The larger the property and the more that needs to be furnished, the greater the discount.

Less expensive options. Whether the budget is small or very high end, there is something to suit all property owners. If the resort is a luxury themed resort, commercial furniture can be custom made to coordinate. Custom made commercial furniture is a great way to enhance the elegance of a resort. For smaller budgets, quality commercial furniture is available. There is a great variety of commercial patio furniture, upholstered furniture, and case goods at the lower end that will not break the budget.

Purchasing commercial furniture does not have to be painful. By reviewing a few simple tips and doing a little shopping around, any property owner can find the perfect commercial furniture collection.

About The Author
This article was written by Michael Hargrove for PatioStuff is a full service provider of commercial patio furniture and accessories for hotels, restaurants, condos, and more. Visit the site for a full selection of discounted commercial furniture at

Friday, December 22, 2006

Niagara Falls: 3 Tips To Having The Best Vacation

Is Niagara Falls your dream destination? Don’t be afraid to admit it. For a lot of people, it is. Niagara Falls is always at the top of the “places I want to runaway and get married” list. Well, Niagara Falls might not be giving Vegas a run for it’s money these days, but it’s still holding strong in a lot of people’s minds as a place that they dream of for a variety of reasons. Japanese, American, and European tourists constantly rate it one of the best attractions in North America. I’ve compiled a list of three of my top tips to getting the most of a great Niagara Falls vacation.

1) IMAX. Don’t overlook the power of technology at a natural attraction. IMAX can add a great 3rd party viewpoint to any attraction. In fact, a lot of times, I’ll go see an IMAX production before seeing the real thing to get an idea of what to look for. There might be all sorts of history attached to an attraction that you won’t know without someone telling you. Niagara Falls has an IMAX production that you should definitely watch.

2) Go to the Aquarium of Niagara Falls. Across the border, in Canada, you can find one of the best bargains in the area. Last we checked, they were only charging $7 for adults and $5 for children. While this might have changed since this article’s writing, it’s still a good deal at any price.There are tons of cool fish and animals available for your viewing pleasure. I’m sure you will enjoy it, and it’s a nice break from the rapids themselves.

3) Surf the shoulder seasons. This is really a great tip that someone gave me (sadly, I cannot take credit for it). Niagara Falls is best seen during the summer months. Much like Europe, the big crowds in Niagara Falls come during June through August. However, the weather is still really nice during late May and early September. Just because the rest of the world goes home during the last week in August, doesn’t mean you have to. September is an especially beautiful time of year at Niagara Falls. Use it to your advantage and make your trip special without dealing with long lines and unmanageable crowds.

About The Author
Tim Jeffries
Thinking about a trip to Niagara Falls? Learn all about Niagara Falls attractions at Tim Jeffries is a contributing author at

Thursday, December 21, 2006

New Deck Railings Ideas

Ideas For Deck Railing – Only Limitation Is imagination

The article gives imaginative solutions for decking in your house and surroundings. The only limitation in the design is the imagination and the spending power of the owner.

Your decking is a place for your social functions, BBQ parties, a place where you can enjoy nature, and an open space for you where you can be romantic. Depending on the space you have for decking, you can have flowing lines without any acute angles. The general ideas that you will have to remember in such cases are,

Ensure that the space is as open as possible, and without the gaps. A large continuous space is more inviting than two separate spaces even though they total the same area in square feet.

The deck should have a number of accesses points nearly every 20 to 25 feet. An open space with access at limited spaces feels like a congested place even if the area is large.

The deck railing of modern houses have to be flowing and without sharp corners and acute angles. An acute angle is acts like a break in the flowing lines. Decking railing meting at an acute angle is just not acceptable unless space requirement demands it.

Modern Materials Of Construction For Deck Railing

Any material that has shine and luster, and requires minimum maintenance (like painting or polishing) is the material for modern decking. That leaves the wood in its raw form as the modern material for deck railing. The wood being prone to deterioration to forces of nature is not an ideal material for decking railing. Wood also is not a material that takes flowing form without requiring large human input. Stainless steel, Powder coated steel, anodizes aluminum, or steel coated with PVC fill this requirement perfectly. Depending the money at the disposal of owner, the choices can be exercised.

Care For Handicapped – Install Special Railings

While installing the deck railing, it is always necessary to care for the handicapped, irrespective of the extent of the handicap.This would mean that the approaches to all the platforms shall be gradual and the side deck railings should be such that the persons with special needs can come to the deck and exit the deck without help from others and they can do it safely. That means that the deck railing in the area of approach and exit should be designed for persons with special needs.

About The Author
Adam Peters adds articles regularly to An online DIY magazine that carries reviews on decks and porches. Adam publishes designs and ideas for succesful deck railing plans. You can reach further articles on these ideas at

Monday, December 18, 2006

London Zoo

No matter what you hearts desire, there’s a good chance amongst its thirty six acres and over five thousand animals the London zoo will have it. The London zoo has an extensive collection of birds, small mammals, bears and hippos, and apes and monkeys. Everyone is bound to fall in love with at least one of the many animals they are likely to encounter while walking through the zoo’s extensive gardens, tunnels and bridges.

First opened in 1828, the London Zoo was the world first scientific zoo housing a variety of exotic animals that were studied by the day’s scientists, and were closed off from public view. In 1847, the zoo finally opened its doors to the public Not only did the zoo become a part f the public eye, but it also quickly became the most famous zoo in the world.

The London zoo along with its numerous animals has a variety of programs each day designed for travelers to the zoo. If you plan a trip to the zoo, stop by the zoos information center to see what types of programs are available for your viewing pleasure during your stay. One of the more popular programs to visit is feeding times for some if the animals. Children young and old can delight in watching the predatory birds dive for their prey, or watch the penguins swallow their fish dinner in one huge gulp. Occasionally you can even get up close in the bughouse to zoo’s bird eating spiders.

The London zoo is home to over one hundred species that are currently listed as threatened. For these species and other, the London zoo participates in breeding programs that are designed to help reproduce the species, and help prevent it from becoming extinct. The London zoo is not concerned merely with having the animals there as an attraction for today’s zoo visitors, it is concerned with the preservation of the animals species, and the ability for that animal to be here for generations in the future.

The London zoo embraces group visits, and encourages people of all ages to visit the zoo and see the animals. The zoo offers free admittance to school groups from London schools, and offers the zoo as a conference venue for business groups, or for those planning special parties or occasions such as weddings. No matter what your group event, the zoo more than likely has a venue appropriate for your particular gathering. The zoo also offers catering for some special events, so you group can enjoy a meal, or some hors d’ouvres while enjoying the animals and your gathering.

For those who particularly enjoy the zoo, you might want to consider purchasing a zoo membership. A zoo membership is primarily designed as a way for you to give money to the zoo, to help in the zoo’s maintenance, and enable it to offer additional programs in the future, and keep providing the animals with tremendous care. In exchange for your financial gift to the zoo through a zoo membership, the zoo will give you free admittance into the zoo year round, and invitations to special embers only events, as well as discounts on parking and in the gift shop.

The London Zoo has earned its name, as one of the world’s most wonderful zoos. No trip to London could be complete without a trip through the zoo to visit the fantastical creatures within. Whether you are going to be in London for a few days, or are spending a few weeks make a point to make a trip to the London zoo, and experience the magic of seeing animals that you can’t see together anywhere else in the world.

Copyright 2005 S Wander
About The Author
S Wander
Smooth Hound offers affordable hotel and guest house accommodation throughout the world.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Roomba Vac: Fast And Easy Household Cleaning

Roomba Vac comes in handy for moms who don’t want to be burdened with tedious household chores. Inside a roomba vac is a meticulously designed system that amazingly does all cleaning jobs in no time. Being able to cover the entire floor in cleaning is not the only benefit you’ll get. It also detects dirtier areas and responds by increasing the intensity of its cleaning prowess. This is accomplished through the help of two sensors that are located immediately above the brushes. What happens is that when dirt hits these sensors, Roomba vac will right away turn towards the dirty area, cleaning it harder.

All it takes is for you to press a button to signal the size of the room it needs to clean. After setting it up, the handy and cordless a Roomba vac starts its job by navigating around obstacles while it is being protected by its non-marring bumper and infrared sensors guide it.

Amazingly, after the room is cleaned or by the end of the cleaning cycle or for instance the battery is running low, it has the ability to return to home base to recharge. Let me give you an idea on how it works. Located at the front of Roomba vac’s bumper is an infrared receiver which sees the signal given off by the home base. As it approaches the end of every cleaning cycle, Romba vac starts searching for the signal and goes back to home base to recharge for its next cleaning adventure.

The term survival of the fittest not only applies to man or animals. This robotic vacuum distinguishes danger in the form of stairs and cliffs. It is infrared sensing that prevents it from falling. It emits an infrared signal and waits to see if it bounces back, if it does not bounce back, it quickly recognizes that it is approaching a cliff or stairs and safely turns away.

Roomba vac is like a pet that you could command its limits as to where it should stay. It is through a device that creates an invisible infrared “virtual wall” that keeps it from crossing open areas which is as wide as 20 feet. The infrared receiver is located on front of the bumper. This senses the signal of the virtual wall which it dares not to cross

A roomba vac includes a NiMH battery. Just charging this once provides enough power to clean up to three medium-size rooms or is equivalent up to 90 minutes of cleaning. Its measurement is 13 ¾” in diameter, 3 ¾” in height and weighs 7 ½ lbs. It has a 90-day warranty but you also have an optional three year warranty.

Dirt and dust retains dust mite that causes asthma and allergy which is imposing more danger on children. The regular use of a vacuum cleaner will wipe away those tiny dirt devils and thereby reduce their breeding cycle.

Based on the owner reviews of Roomba vac, its incredible usefulness and variety in colors make it an ideal gift and make them feel like having a pet around and an ever reliable good buddy. So, don’t be left behind, be part of an ever increasing proud and satisfied Roomba Vac owner and make your life a little bit easier.

About The Author
Thomas Champeval is a writer for, which sells all kind of robots, from the, to robot vacuum, robotic lawn mower and robot kits.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Stainless Steel and Copper Countertops

Only a few years ago the only place you would find stainless steel countertops would be in a restaurant. But today both stainless steel and it's more warm and rustic counterpart copper countertops are both popular in the home. So what does each have to offer?

Stainless provides a terrific look to a contemporary kitchen and the nice sleek lines are clean and smart looking and the antibacterial qualities make them the perfect place to prepare food.

The 10.5 percent chromium in stainless makes it resistant to corrosion and the nickel adds to its high temp performance. There are different grades of stainless on the market but for countertops you should use 304 stainless steel which is what is generally used for food prep areas.

Industrial counters are usually made from 12 or 14 gauge steel but home use usually uses 16 gauge. You can have stainless counters built to any shape or dimension. You should not have joints soldered.

Stainless can corrode if it is not properly cared for. Never use harsh products or products that have bleach in them and don't leave acidic products on the counter. To clean use warm water, rinse thoroughly, and dry.

Over time stainless will also age. Deeper dents and scratches can be difficult to remove but If you have a light scratch you can use a non abrasive pad to remove. If your stainless gets too marked up consider having the surface changed from polished to brushed. It's a great way to disguise years of use and abuse.

Stainless-steel counters cost from $50 to $90 a square foot plus installation. And of course you also have the cost of sinks, backsplashes, and cutouts. You or your contractor will need to take the necessary measurements so you know what you need. It's recommended that you have them professionally installed but if you are handy it is a project you might undertake yourself.

Metal countertops are not always stainless steel. In fact for many kitchens stainless just feels to distant or cool. Copper has always been popular for pots and pans and backsplashes and now it is increasingly finding a place in the kitchen counter. While copper countertops may not be mainstream it makes a wonderfully unusual statement and it is certainly warm and appealing. Copper is a much softer metal than stainless steel. Your countertops should be a minimum of .60 thick and .80 is preferred for better performance and strength.

Unlike stainless over time copper countertops change developing a beautiful patina. They shiny copper takes on a beautiful rosy brown color and scratches are considered part of the natural patina so they are not dealt with.

Copper is an excellent antibacterial material and all that's involved in cleaning is soap and water. Maintenance just requires beeswax applied to preserve the finish and help reduce fingerprints.

Copper isn't cheap so countertops are custom quoted. In general estimates usually run around $175 per square foot installed. Copper tends to warp more than stainless and it not recommended that you attempt to install it by yourself.

So which will it be stainless steel or copper countertops? Both will look great!

About The Author
Steve Galashaw has been a professional interior designer for more than 10 years who specializes in the renovation of the kitchen. If you are interested in changing the look of your kitchen, be sure to start at, Steve’s website on countertops as that is the centerpiece to a new and improved kitchen for your home.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Costa Rica Vacations: Amazing Adventures amid Exotic Landscapes

Escape to another world in exotic Costa Rica amidst verdant jungles, tropical beaches and fiery volcanoes. Visit this gorgeous country with its fantastic adventure vacations for one and all. With everything from mountain biking to white water rafting, jungle treks, canopy and rappelling tours, superb surf breaks, incredible snorkeling and fantastic underwater diving opportunities, Costa Rica sets the stage for the avid and fearless thrill seeking adventurer to truly have an unforgettable vacation!

For those looking for the ultimate adventure vacation whether it is by one’s self or with one’s family, look no further then the beautiful and exotic country of Costa Rica, with its golden sand beaches, active volcanoes, lush dense rain and cloud forests, and amazing vibrant seaside towns. With something for everyone, this tiny Central American country has today become one of the world’s hottest tourist destinations, with plenty to do and much to see.

Offering fantastic adventure vacations for one and all, Costa Rica combines a laidback lifestyle with stunning natural beauty and a friendly local Tico population to provide a truly memorable and unforgettable holiday. With an impressive wealth of national parks, which cover more than a quarter of the country’s land surface, Costa Rica provides adventure lover’s with a thrilling stage; hosting everything from mountain biking to white water rafting, and jungle treks to canopy and rappeling tours of the verdant forests here. For those who enjoy the ocean in all its glory, Costa Rica has some of the best surf breaks and swells in the world, with incredible snorkeling and underwater diving opportunities as well.

For those who enjoy endless meandering trials set amidst some of the most lush and magnificent forests, Costa Rica has some incredible hiking and trekking possibilities. Visit the beautiful Manuel Antonio National Park or take a hike in the wonderful Parque Nacional Rincon de la Vieja to become truly one with nature. However, if you prefer you can visit the secluded and remote jungles of the Corcovado National Park, which is home to the last remaining coastal Pacific rainforest.

White water river rafting and kayaking opportunities are also abound in Costa Rica. Kayak out in the open ocean or raft down the roaring rapids of the Rio’s Pacuare, Revenatzon and Naranjo for wild ride. But if surfing is your thing, then head on down to the fantastic beaches that Costa Rica has on offer. Visit the Salsa Brava, Ollie’s Point, Witches Rock, Pavones or Playa Hermosa in Puntarenas for some of the most superb surf breaks in the world.

To explore some of Costa Rica’s most gorgeous sceneries underwater, dive along the coast off Bahia Drake or Drake Bay or visit the lovely Isla del Caño, home to some of the most fabulous underwater and marine life in the country. Along the Guanacaste Coast of the Nicoya Peninsula excellent snorkeling opportunities can be found at Playas del Coco, Playa Ocotal and Playa Hermosa. And if all this is not enough, try rappeling down some of Costa Rica’s beautiful waterfalls around the areas of Puerto Jimenez and Cabo Matapalo.

As you can see Costa Rica’s versatility not only extends to its landscape, but its fantastic adventure opportunities as well. So come on down to this gorgeous tropical country to experience Pura Vida or the ‘Pure Life’ and have the adventure of a lifetime!

About The Author
Todd Sarouhan is dedicated to providing valuable travel information about Costa Rica through his website Go Visit Costa Rica is a Costa Rica Vacations & Travel website dedicated soley to Costa Rica as a travel destination

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Simple Home Improvement Idea: Vinyl Siding

If you've been looking for an easy way to completely transform the exterior of your home, look no further than vinyl siding. Vinyl Siding is an excellent way to spruce up your home's exterior, and this easy home improvement can dramatically increase the value of your home. There are many advantages to installing vinyl siding including saving you money and giving you a look you can be proud of for years to come.

Vinyl Siding is virtually maintenance-free due to its resilient nature. You don't even have to paint it -- a task most home owners dread! Vinyl siding sustains less environmental damage than wood or other siding alternatives, and it maintains a fresh look for years with very little cleaning.

If vinyl siding is installed properly with good insulation, it can mean lower heating bills in the following years. It is estimated that vinyl siding could save a homeowner hundreds of dollars in heating bills over the life of the product. Some manufacturers even guarantee savings up to 20 percent, which is an impressive reduction indeed.

Leaky walls can be a nightmare and can cause damage to your interior woodwork, possibly cause a health risk to your family in the form of growing mold and give your home a mildewy smell. Vinyl siding waterproofs the home and saves you the hassle of having to worry about water damage and checking for leaks.

Paint fades over time, leaving you no other option but to repaint often. But vinyl siding is fade resistant, requiring less maintenance on your part and an overall better look for your home. Vinyl siding also will not rot, peel, dent, or show scratches which means that you can enjoy a bright, clean-looking exterior every day for years. If it does get a bit dirty, you can power wash it with soap and water, a very easy and inexpensive process when compared to special treatments required for some other exteriors.

There are a huge variety of styles and colors to choose from in vinyl siding. Some sidings are bold and modern; others can make your home look authentically original with heritage designs that emulate old-style wood paneling. Siding also comes in as wide a range of colors as you can imagine, which means that you can give your home a totally new distinctive look, or simply restore some of its old charm.

Installing vinyl siding is a home improvement project that can really add value to your home. Because buyers need not worry about maintenance, cracking stucco, rotting wood, or any of the other hassles that come with alternative products, they are more likely to buy a home with vinyl siding. Many buyers specify that they want a home with vinyl siding when they are house-hunting, so installing vinyl siding can also give you an edge in the market.

Not only does vinyl siding bring with it all these benefits, but many manufacturers of vinyl siding will also offer a lifetime warranty on their product. Vinyl siding is so durable and easy to maintain, and manufacturers so sure of their product, that they offer replacements for any defects over the lifetime of the siding. This is an impressive commitment that shows the level of quality and performance you can expect from your vinyl siding.

When it comes to home improvement, vinyl siding is a great way to revamp old, tired exteriors without having to replace them board-by-board. It gives you a clean finish that works well with any style of home, whether modern or classic. You can save money, time and hassle over a lifetime with this simple switch. So put it on your home improvement to-do list, and enjoy the style and comfort that a home with vinyl siding provides.

About The Author
Michael Clem is Operations Manager of Creative Energy of Richmond, Virginia. Creative Energy is central Virginia’s home improvement experts specializing in vinyl siding. On the web at:

Monday, December 04, 2006

Swimming Pool Pump Energy Savings

When you bought your swimming pool, you knew the summer fun involved additional costs. First in line is the cost of the pool. Next there are the maintenance and pool chemicals. Then you received your summer electric bills.

You cannot eliminate the electric costs of running your pool, but you can minimize them. Swimming pool pumps consume a lot of electricity, second only to home air conditioning. Is your swimming pool pump sized correctly? The larger the pump the greater your maintenance costs will be. Most private residential pools require .75 horsepower pumps or less. Consider the following chart.

Hours .5 HP .75 HP 1 HP 1.5 HP 2 HP
4 70 105 133 184 239
6 105 157 200 276 358
8 140 209 267 368 477
10 174 262 334 460 597
12 209 314 400 552 716

kWh per month – multiply by your electric rate for dollar figure

Source: San Diego Gas & Electric Co.

Reducing the size of your next swimming pool pump by even .25 horsepower will have a significant impact on your electric use. But you say you need a large pump to circulate and filter the water frequently. Generally if your swimming pool water recycles once every 24 hours, it should be adequate.

Many pool owners run the pump much longer than necessary. Four to six hours a day is usually sufficient. Remember you don’t have to run the pump constantly for this 4-6 hour period. If you tend to get bugs collecting overnight, run the pump for a few hours at mid-morning then again for a few hours in the afternoon or early evening. In between your filtering, use your skimmer net for any surface debris that gets in.

Make sure to monitor and adjust chemical levels as required. If the water is properly balanced and is still cloudy with your reduced filtering, add filtering time in .5 hour increments until you reach an optimal filtering time. Any amount of filtering time reduced will save you money. It’s worth a little trial and error to find your lowest required recirculation time. Do the math, and then save some money.

If your current swimming pool pump is nearing replacement, consider a high efficiency, two speed pump at the correct horsepower rating. With a two speed pump you normally run the pump on low except for vacuuming and backwashing. The low speed is much quieter and consumes much less electricity. For more articles on swimming pools, visit Pool-Pockets Articles

About The Author
Gregory Fort is a partner in Pool-Pockets - Your Pool Toy Storage Solution