6 Ways to Save Energy During Spring

The weather is getting warmer; it’s time to pull out the grill, call the pool cleaner back, and get those gardening tools out of the basement. It’s spring! But spring also means it’s time to look at how you can save the most energy and the most money.

Many Ways to Save

A lot of people can tolerate cold weather better than hot weather, which means, as the weather gets warmer and warmer, it will become increasingly difficult to fight the impulse to turn on the air conditioning and leave it on for hours. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to help keep your home cool without running up your energy bill.

  1. Take it easy on the thermostat:
    • Set the temperature as high as you can while still being comfortable. The smaller the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your bill will be.
    • Keep the house warmer than usual when you are away, cool when you get home. Set “Away” and “Home” temperatures easily with a programmable thermostat.
    • Keep in mind: Your house will not cool any faster if you set the thermostat to a colder temperature than usual. In fact, this will likely result in unnecessary expense and excessive strain on the cooling system.
  2. Make the most out of your windows:
    • Prevent heat from getting in through the windows by installing window coverings such as blinds (interior and/or exterior), awnings, high-reflective films, draperies, shades, insulated panels, and shutters.
    • If you live in an area where it cools off at night, turn of your air conditioning and open your windows while you sleep. When you wake up, shut the windows and blinds to keep the cool air in, unless there’s still a cool breeze. You can still get some good cool air into the house in the early morning before the sun starts hitting your house/yard.
  3. Turn on those ceiling fans:
    • By using your ceiling fans in combination with air conditioning, you can actually set the thermostat four degrees higher but remember that fans cool people, not rooms. If you leave a room, turn off the fan.
    • Turn on your bathroom fan when taking a shower or bath to remove the humidity and heat.
  4. Drop the water temperature:
    • Your water heater uses 18 percent of your home’s energy-use. Turn the temperature down to 120 degrees F.
  5. Minimize appliance-use and artificial lighting:
    • Using the oven on hot days will make the house warmer and subsequently more difficult to cool. Stick to the stove, microwave, or grill outside.
    • Minimize using a computer or TV, running the dishwasher, or using hot devices like hair dryers.
    • Install efficient lighting that doesn’t release much heat.
  6. Seal leaks to keep the hot air out:
    • Seal cracks to keep warm out from leaking into the house.
    • Add weatherstripping or caulk to seal leaky windows and doors.

How To Make Your Concrete Floors A Work Of Art

Concrete foundations are essential for almost every type of building. There are several different types of slabs which can be used to make the foundation of your building. Fortunately, these do not have to be dull and boring. Much like polished concrete, with a splash of color here and there, you can easily turn your own floors into a work of art.

Read on to find out everything you need to know about coloring concrete foundations.

Preparation

Before you attempt to add color or make patterns on your cement flooring, it is extremely important to know whether your project will be able to withstand the changes which you intend to make. This means that your concrete slab needs to be intact before you can start designing it.

Since seams and crevices in your flooring can practically destroy the design, it is necessary to repair your cement flooring before you try to personalize it. It is also important to know that you cannot paint a concrete surface unless it is cured. Therefore, if you have a cement slab which was recently built and installed, it is necessary to wait at least four weeks before you can start painting it.

New concrete structures should also be left to dry out naturally without the use of any curing chemicals. Since the addition of chemicals and other drying agents can cause problems during staining, if you wish to design and personalize your home, it is best to leave the concrete surface to dry naturally even if it takes a little longer than four weeks. Once the concrete has dried, acrylic fillers should be used to fill any cracks in the cement slab.

Once the concrete has dried and has been repaired, the next step is to thoroughly clean the entire surface before you paint it. Since it is very easy and common for dirt and other contaminants to get stuck into it, you should use a power washer for exterior surfaces. An additional cleaning agent might be required for the interior.

Painting

The roller which you will be using to paint it, needs to be cleaned to ensure that the end result does not have any blemishes or other contaminants like grime. When you start painting it, a paint brush should be used to paint the grooves of the concrete. Initially, it might seem like a lot of paint is required to paint your surface, but this is only because much of the paint will be absorbed by the concrete.

Once the first coat has dried, you can then add subsequent coats of stain depending on your required color and finish. In case you want to apply textured paint to it, you will have to use a primer before you can start applying to stain. If a primer is not used beforehand when applying textured paint, it is very likely that the end result will not be as good as expected. With the new surface, concrete foundations commonly mimic the modern look of natural …

RV Spring Preparation Checklist

Your RV has been sitting idle over the winter. Now the early signs of spring are here and it’s time to take it out of storage and prepare the coach and chassis for this years camping season. If you’re like me, you want to have some type of logical sequence to follow rather then haphazardly checking the unit out. I made a simple checklist to use so that nothing is overlooked. I prefer to do the majority of spring preparation myself. If you’re more comfortable having someone else do it you can schedule an appointment with a reputable RV service center to have it done.

* Depending on how your unit was winterized it will need to be de-winterized. If you used non-toxic RV antifreeze you need to run fresh water through the entire system until all traces of antifreeze are gone. To remove it from the 12-volt water pump add water to the fresh water-holding tank, turn the pump on and open all water faucets. When the antifreeze is out of the system turn the pump off and take the water heater out of the by-pass mode (if applicable). Re-install any water filter cartridges you removed for storage.

* At this point I like to sanitize the water system. Make sure all of the drains are closed and drain plugs are installed. Take a quarter cup of household bleach for every fifteen gallons of water your fresh water tank holds. Mix the bleach with water into a one-gallon container and pour it into the fresh water holding tank. Fill the fresh water holding tank completely full of water. Turn the water pump on and open all faucets, run water until you smell the bleach. Close the faucets and let it sit for at least twelve hours. Drain all of the water and re-fill the tank with fresh water. Turn the pump on and open all faucets until you no longer smell bleach. It may be necessary to repeat this process to eliminate all signs of the bleach.

* With the water system under pressure inspect for water leaks. Check the operation of the toilet.

* Wash the unit thoroughly. This is a good time to inspect the roof and body seams, and window sealants for cracking that would allow water to get in. Consult a dealer for sealants compatible with these materials.

* Inspect the operation of the awning and clean the awning fabric as required.

* Inspect the tires for signs of dry rot. Inflate all tires to the recommended COLD tire pressure.

* Lubricate all hinges and locks with spray lubricant.

* Remove any tape or protective covering you may have put over LP gas vents to keep insects and rodents out. Check any mousetraps you may have put out. Open all doors and compartments and check for rodent intrusion and water damage.

* Inspect and clean the interior.

* Plug in any appliances that you unplugged for storage and replace any dry cell batteries you may …

Networking Do’s And Don’ts

Networking is a crucial marketing tool, it is a great way to develop mutually beneficial relationships with like minded professionals. Networking can occur in a variety of settings: from face-to-face business conferences, to luncheons, coffee, or afterwork drinks meetings. There are also several online networking platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIm, Houzz and more. Networking is extremely important to interior design professionals as it has the ability to open doors to new opportunities. Interacting with the right people can earn you referrals, advise, and even create awareness of your company. It is a great way to gain credibility, trust and professional reputation. So what are the Do’s and Don’ts of networking? Find them below:

DO’S

  • Get familiar – Familiarize yourself with the event and the companies who will be attending.
  • Name Tag – Wear it on your right side, as it is naturally the first place the viewer will look.
  • Set Objectives – Such as how many people you would like to approach, what kind of information you’d like to learn or obtain, as well as the points you’d like to convey about yourself and the company.
  • Wear your best attitude – Don’t be afraid to say hello to people around you, everyone is on the same boat. Be approachable and engaging.
  • Prepare and use an “Elevator Pitch” – Be accurate, concise and to the point, you want to make sure you engage your listener from the get-go and keep them interested all along.
  • Business cards – Bring more than enough with you as they are a great way to exchange contact information. If possible, write a brief note on the back about where and when you met as a reminder.
  • Listen and learn – There is much we can learn from other’s experiences, this is a valuable lesson in life and in business.
  • Be Patient – Networking is developing strong, long-standing business relationships.
  • Be prepared – Anticipate the kind of people you are likely to meet and have in mind questions to ask them related to the information you’d like to obtain.
  • Follow up – Create a mailing list and make contact with the people you’ve met on a monthly basis.

DONT’S

  • Don’t be late. It creates distraction from the entire event if you walk in late, and people may remember it and not in a positive way.
  • Don’t be shy Do not only talk to the people you already know. Networking is precisely to meet new people.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions – All questions are valid. Everyone is scared of appearing ignorant but there’s no need. The majority of people will be happy to share their knowledge and expertise, so take advantage and ask as many questions as you can.
  • Do not cross your arms – Body language can be very powerful. Crossing your arms makes you look unapproachable.
  • Avoid self-promotion – This method is more likely to be perceived as negative than build valuable relationships. Be humble and open.
  • Don’t forget to follow up

Mediterranean Interior Design Spells Warmth

The hardware tends to be heavy and often burnished, and the florals and greenery abundant in Mediterranean interior design. Walls are usually textured and the delightful and colorful mosaic tiles are often used as flooring or as backsplashes. That same mosaic pattern can be stenciled on the flooring, walls or furniture. The furniture influence is a combination of Spanish, Greek, Italian and French Country. Furniture may range in style from an informal simple look, to a very formal effect. Because Mediterranean interior design is a soothing, comfortable style of interior design, it comes as no surprise that it is one of the more popular styles today.

Your Own Decorating Project

Many people who have visited the Mediterranean, have fallen in love with the region. It’s not difficult then to bring a little of the Mediterranean interior design back home with you. With this style being so prominent in the design world today, it is a simple job to find accessories, furniture, paint and fabric to help you achieve this look. While it may prove a challenge to mimic the textured walls of a Mediterranean home, with the paint colors available today, there is no reason why you cannot achieve a Mediterranean interior design feel in your living room.

To succeed with this theme in your own home, begin with the paint choices. Depending on the size of your room, you may want to choose a rich terra-cotta color. If this is too dark, go with a golden yellow or perhaps a French blue. After deciding on wall color, the next step is furniture arrangement. Will the sofa stay or go? Usually, it stays. That means the search is on for the perfect fabric. After furniture and fabric is decided upon, look for accent pieces, such as tables and lamps. Coffee tables with black wrought iron legs will work perfectly and matching table lamps can go well together.

Do not omit functionality when choosing the lighting and placing the furniture. If mosaic tiles are out of your price range, consider stenciling a mosaic design on the fireplace or on the walls around door openings. Having a touch of the mosaic tiles in your room will help to achieve your Mediterranean interior design look. Try using a beautiful flower arrangement to pull together all of the colors in the room and add plenty of greenery to finish your mediterranean interior design look. It really is not a difficult task to complete. If a new upholstery project is not in your budget; let the paint and accessories do the work for you. Mediterranean interior design is a beautiful, relaxing style and fairly easy to accomplish if you have the time and the patience.…

Significant Factors In Choosing The Perfect Commercial Space For Lease

It is important to find a right space if you are planning to start a new business or trying to re-locate your current business address. In case you are planning to establish your business, there are several factors that need to be considered.

The first and the most important factor that need to be decided is that whether you would like to buy a new commercial space or take one on the lease. This depends largely on the amount of investment you are willing to make in order to start a new business or promote an already established one. However, most business owners find it far more convenient to take an office space for rent, rather than spend a lump sum amount on purchasing one. Once you decide on taking a commercial space for lease, there are certain aspects that you need to keep in mind.

  • The location of your office space is the most important thing influencing the success or failure of our business. You should always choose a location that has excellent public transport facilities, helping your employee and target customers reach the office with ease. It would be highly beneficial for your business if it is located near the airport. That makes business travels easy for you and your employees, and also enables your overseas clients to reach you conveniently. It should also preferably be located in a proper office area, to provide your business with a prestigious office address.
  • Budget and expenses are a significant aspect that demands attention and consideration. You should never choose an office space that would exceed your budget limits. It is never a wise idea to spend a large part of your money in renting a space when there are several other aspects related to the success of your business that might turn out to be expensive as well.
  • It is important that the office building is provided with sufficient parking spaces for your clients and employees. This is an important aspect that must be kept in mind while choosing the right commercial space for lease.
  • You should also consider the architecture and the interior of the office building before selecting one. Though it is not directly connected to your business in any way, it is definitely an effective way to motivate your employees to work better. A well-decorated work environment surely adds to the level of efficiency in the workers.
  • Check if all the rooms like the meeting room, conference room, executive room and others are fully equipped with internet connection and phone connections.
  • Before you choose the right commercial space for your business, consider the size of the space. In case you need a small space for your office, spending a great deal of money on a large space doesn’t actually make any sense. On the other hand, even if you don’t need a spacious office right now, but have plans of expanding your business in the near future, it is wise to invest in an office having a

2011 Dodge Challenger

A very hot topic & popular question is what changes 2011 will bring to the Dodge Challenger. For the most part the styling of the car will be the same save for a few cosmetic changes:
New Front fascia (lower grill area is flipped upside down)
New Door Handles
Dual rear Exhaust (all models)
Redesigned front air dam (SRT)

Dodge will offer the Challenger in the same three existing trim levels that are available today (SE, RT, SRT). The new SE Challengers will come equipped with the Pentastar V6 engine which will push 300 horsepower and 290 lb-ft of torque (existing SE Challengers are at 250 hp & 250 TQ). The SRT8 Challengers will get the new 6.4L (392 cubic inch) V8 which will push an estimated 480 horsepower & 470 lb-ft of torque. Estimated MPG for the SRT8 is 13 city & 24 highway. The SRT8 will have the option of either the 6 speed TREMEC transmission or the 5 speed W5A580 automatic with AutoStick & MDS.

Some of the colors that are rumored to be available:
Brilliant Black
Blackberry Pearl
Billet Metallic
Bright White
Dark Charcoal Pearl
Mango Tango Pearl
Redline 3 Pearl
Green with Envy
Inferno Red Crystal Pearl Coat

On the 2011 Challenger with the SE or RT trim the steering will be Electric instead of the usual Hydraulic steering (SRT gets to keep it). According to allpar the electric steering cuts down on the number of moving parts, eliminates fuel leeks, and allows for easier integration of start / stop and hybrid systems.

Other Interior Changes:
New Steering wheel that's similar to the 2011 Charger's wheel
Illuminated Trunk Release button
Driver's seat quick release for rear seat access. …

How Long to Wait Before Applying Decals on Newly Painted Walls – Can Wall Decals Be Re-Applied?

Question: I just painted my walls. How long should I wait before applying my new decals?

Answer: First, it will depend on what type of paint you used. Latex paint takes up to 30 days to cure, although we’ve put wall decals on walls that have been painted less than a week. However, in our professional opinion, it would be better to wait 30 days.

If, on the other hand, you are using an oil-based paint (not common in most areas nowadays), you can apply vinyl graphics or decals or stickers within a week or so, as oil paints dry from the outside in.

When making signs using vinyl letters and logos, we always use oil-based paints as they last longer. But if you’re applying wall stickers to a wall in your home or business, it is unlikely in the modern era that you’ll be using oil-based paints.

So, while you may get away with installing vinyl wall stickers on your latex painted wall a week after it has been painted (yeah, we know it’s hard to wait!), it would be more ideal to wait a full 30 days.

Question: Can I reuse Wall Decals after I take them off the wall?

Answer: Wall Decals may not be reusable IF the vinyls used are very thin.

Using thin vinyl doesn’t mean that they are low quality, though. Do note that we don’t sell this brand of decal, but we’ll vouch for them that the thinner the vinyl, the better the quality is. Likely they are using “cast” vinyl, which doesn’t shrink like “calendared” vinyl will.

Most of the time if you remove a wall decal, you will stretch the material, thus decreasing the adhesion of the stretched material. If you put it on a textured wall, often it will lift paint flecks and plaster when you remove the sticker, also decreasing the adhesiveness of the vinyl.

On a general note, vinyl decals are rarely re-useable. If you get a removable decal or a static cling decal, these can be removed and re-used to some degree, although adhesion will tend to decline after the first usage.

Static cling decals particularly loose elasticity over time, and the thinner the static cling material, the sooner it will lose the ability to be re-applied. Static cling materials use plasticizers to maintain a soft and supple surface that will adhere to glass, acrylic, or very smooth painted surfaces. Over time, static cling material loses this suppleness and hence its re-usability as well.

On the other hand, repositionable decal adhesives are also available. The degree of removability varies from 6 months to 3 years. Some decal materials are employed only for interior use, and some for both. Obviously, any decal that can be used out-of-doors can also be used indoors.…

Engineering Continuing Education – What Is the Future of Engineering?

With the current down turn in the economy many engineers have loss their jobs or worried that they maybe losing their job soon. Budget constraints both in the public and private sector are forcing to think about how secure the jobs really are. But as we all know this recession will not last forever. Sooner or later the promised recovery will begin. The question is what engineering will benefit from the renewed economy and which ones will not fair so well? There is no real crystal ball, but there are clear indicators that every engineer should be aware of and make preparations accordingly.

Engineers will need to continue their education to stay up with the latest technologies to offer their clients the best solutions. Most of the State Licensing Boards require Professional Engineers to renew their professional licenses periodically with a minimum number of continuing education units. These units are usually Professional Development Hours (PDH) or Continuing Education Units (CEU). One PDH is equivalent to one hour of course education, and one CEU is equivalent to ten PDH or ten hours of course education. Some may find that their profession is not growing or trailing behind may need to change careers or strength their technical knowledge.

One of the best indicators of upcoming markets is to know what the baby boomer generation needs and wants. The baby boomers, the individuals born between 1945 and 1964, are now approaching retirement age. Many will be retiring and will require some medical and health assistance. They will also want medication to appear young as long as possible. Obviously fields that support this industry will do very well. The most likely profession to benefit is Biomedical Engineers. They are necessary to improve new medical devices and equipment. In addition, new facilities will be required for the aging population. Independent Living Facilities and senior communities will rise in demand. This will definitely improve prospects for Civil and Mechanical Engineers.

Another field that will continue to have a high demand for engineers is the environmental fields, which includes new green products, renewable energy, water resources, and waste-water management. The United States will continue to encourage renewable energy including wind and solar power with government grants and other types of funding. These projects will generate numerous jobs for many different professions. As the population continues to expand a greater demand will be placed on housing and our water resources and waste-water management. These increased demands will increase jobs for Electrical, Mechanical, Civil and Environmental Engineers.

Due to the increasing population and aging facilities, the government will also need to expand and improve the country’s infrastructure. Roads, bridges, dams, railways, airports, and utilities throughout the country will need greater attention. These improvements will also increase the demand for Civil Engineers.

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Occupational Outlook Handbook”, 2010-11 Edition, over the next decade, 2008 to 2018, the engineering field should grow by 11%. In 2008 engineers held 1.6 million jobs in the United …

Important Things to Consider When Replacing Exterior Doors

Are you planning to replace your exterior doors? If so, probability you will come across numerous options for replacing your home or office doors. Replacing the entries and exports of your home or office will not just make your space look and feel better, but may also increase the value of your property. However, before buying a new door for your office or home, it is a good idea to do your research for ensuring you get the best price and best quality. There are basically several things to consider when buying one, either online or directly from a dealer.

The entrance to an office or home is the thing that someone sees for the first time. Therefore, it is quite imperative to have a good looking exterior door. On the other hand, if you have a new home, you will most likely find a standard type door on the exterior as well as interior. Upgrading your front door is a good idea to add an appeal of your home. There are several types of doors to choose from that you can add in the exterior portion of your home. Moreover, you will also have a huge selection of materials that ranges from wood, fiberglass or steel. Wood is considered as more traditional, whereas fiberglass as well as steel is more energy efficient.

When you look for these doors, you should consider the right area that you are installing it. For instance, if you want to replace the patio doors, you should look for door designs and materials that are mainly designed for that purpose. A hinged door is a great option for replacing your patio door. A gliding door, which will usually be in glass, is another best option for a patio door. On the other hand, if you need maximum safety in the home or office, there are doors designed that come with extra security measures. This type of doors is usually made of steel and is designed to be tamper resistant.

Replacement of the exterior doors in an office or home offers several options. Therefore, when you are installing these doors, select the right one that suits your needs and budget. …