Friday, July 20, 2018

5 Home Efficiency Terms You Need to Know

A home efficiency rating tells you how much bang you're getting for your energy buck. There are quite a few factors experts consider when setting these scores, including where you live. To better understand how well your HVAC equipment uses power, it's wise to know something about the lingo. Read on to learn the five home efficiency acronyms you need to know.
Image via Flickr by Photo-Flare
R-values is one of those terms you frequently hear tossed around the home improvement store. It describes an insulating material's resistance to heat flow. The higher the R-value, the more insulating properties a substance offers. The R-value of traditional fiberglass batt is 3.1 to 3.4, while a closed cell spray foam rates up to 6.5. Your home's ideal thermal resistance or R-value depends on your climate.
You may have heard your HVAC technician mention SEER levels. Seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) is a figure used to measure an HVAC unit's efficiency. SEER ratings range between 10 and 18, with 18 being the highest energy conserving option that offers homeowner's the best savings over time. Heating and cooling units with a SEER of 12 or higher use as little energy as possible  — as much as 20 percent less than a 10 SEER unit.
To get a better understanding of the productivity rating for your HVAC unit, it's helpful to know its annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE). AFUE measures how efficiently your appliance converts energy into heat over a typical year. If your HVAC system scores an AFUE of 90 percent, that means that most of the fuel is burned to become heat or AC, while the other 10 percent escapes up the chimney or leaks through your windows and doors.
Air leakage (AL) is the amount of air that passes through a window or door frame. It's calculated using cubic feet per minute, per square foot of the open's area. The standard building code for air leakage is 0.3, and the lower the number, the more airtight your house.
Air leakage changes as materials expand or warp over the years. The best time to compare AL measurements is when you're in the market for new windows or doors. Most new products include a label with its AL rating so that you can choose the best windows and doors for each room.
Solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) refers to the solar radiation a window allows inside. The score ranges between 0 and 1, and windows with a SHGC of 0.3 or less may be eligible for a tax credit.
The best choice of SHGC value depends on where you live. If your home is in a warm climate, choose the lowest possible rating to minimize air conditioning costs, so you don't bust your summer budget. If you live in a cold area, consider windows with an SHGC up to 0.55, and take advantage of the sun's warmth to help heat your home.
It's easy to get confused by energy-rating acronyms. With this handy decoder, you'll know how to decipher these top five terms.

Unique Ideas to Celebrate Friendship Day with Best Friends

Friendship is the mutual understanding of two or more people. It becomes stronger with great care and affection. The real association can be judged on the different levels of life. A true friendship is a pure and selfless relationship. There is no space to give and take commitments in the friendship. The best thing about friendship is the availability to help their best buddies in any situation in life. Such friends set a great example in the friendship.
The sweet memories play an essential role in the bonding of friendship. There are many things required to celebrate the special moments with friends. Everyone loves to spend some memorable moments with their best friends. The friendship day is also the best time to remember the time of reunion with friends. Celebrating the friendship with best buddies is the special time for everyone. The memorable day of friendship is time for the gathering and enjoy the moments. There are different ways to celebrate the bond with which you can make great fun together. The friendship day celebration helps to build strong friendship bonding with best friends.
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Here are some unique ideas to enjoy the friendship day with your lovely friends.
Make an outdoor trip:
Everyone feels happy by remembering the best moments spent with friends in the past. You can refresh those memories with your best friends going for an outdoor trip. Select the place which you all love to visit at that time. It can be great fun with your childhood friends. You can also go to a historical site to make this day memorable for everyone. The best moments of the trip can give you unique moments of the day. There you can also enjoy the best food of that location.

Decorate the place for celebration:
The other exciting idea is to choose a unique venue for a party on the friendship day. You can also select any friends home for this remarkable day. Then collect money from all the friends to buy the required items for the friendship day celebration. You can decorate the party place with fresh flowers and colorful balloons. You can make a friendship theme decoration for this memorable day. It is the best time to show your creativity to make this day special for everyone present at the party.

Have a fun time with friends:
The friendship day is a right time to have some funny moments with best friends. You can organize some fun activities for the enjoyment on this day. Give unique act to each person to perform on the stage. It can help to create a cheerful environment at the party place.

Design a friendship day cake:
A delicious cake is also the main attraction of the celebration. Take the suggestion from every friend about the design of a friendship day cake. You can order the cake in banaglore of majority friends choice for the party. Choose the healthy ingredients and fresh flavors for the preparation of the cake. Make a theme cake for the grand celebration of this friendship day. You can also decorate the delicious cake with chocolates and candies. It can be nutritious cake for the party on reunion day of all friends.

Dedicate gifts to Friends:
The other exciting idea is giving something unique gifts to your best friends. Everyone can plan their best collection of gifts dedicated to each person. Creating the best memories of the friendship day can be helpful for your future. You can also prepare some personalized gifts which can be exceptional items for them.

All these unique ideas are helpful to spend the best moments with your best buddies on this memorable friendship day.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Galleria in Houston

A post shared by Dhemz Apdian - Dias (@mrsd2083) on

Coming from the home of three of the world's 10 largest malls, the Philippines...I was clearly not impressed with the Galleria in Houston even though it is the largest mall in Texas and 7th-largest in the United States.

I thought the Galleria is a very upscale mall with plethora of moderate and ultra expensive high end stores. Strolled around for hours and walked out empty! If you happen to visit this mall, please bring the bank with you just in case!

Monday, July 16, 2018

5 Home Technologies That Could Change Your Life

Technology has the ability to make life easier for homeowners. And who doesn't like spending less time on chores and repairs and more time enjoying the comforts of home? We are living in a world with more smart options for the home than ever. From kitchen appliances to HVAC and watering systems, here are some ways to keep cool and carry on.
1. Smart Sprinkler Controller
Image via Flickr by ElectroSawHQ
Nothing says home like a nice yard, and backyard barbecues are what having a home is all about. Now you can have a green yard without having a green thumb, thanks to automated systems and connected apps. Their up-to-date weather and plant care information take the guesswork out of gardening. After the initial installation of the sprinkler system, all you have to do is set up the controller and connect the app. Unlike old-school sprinkler timers, these controllers can monitor for leaks, saving water and money.
2. Automatic Pet Feeders
How many times have you been at a party and had to say, “Sorry, I can't stay, I have to feed my cats”? Automated pet feeders make it easy to ensure your furry friend is fed on time wherever you are, eliminating the need for pet-sitters on an evening out. Many automatic feeders even include a pet camera that allows you to check in via Wi-Fi. More advanced models feature medication and treat dispensing services. 
3. In-App Ovens
Have you ever wanted to text your oven to have dinner ready when you got home? While that's not quite possible, you can connect to a smart oven with an app on your phone to have it preheated and ready to go when you step through the door. Other useful in-app features include remote temperature and timing control and integration with recipe apps for the perfect oven settings.
4. Smart Thermostats
Smart thermostats allow you to control your home's heating and cooling from the convenience of your smartphone. They include more adjustments than traditional thermostats, such as cooling individual rooms and detecting motion to automatically adjust rooms with activity. With an easy install by a professional, your HVAC system will make waking up overheated a thing of the past. With an app on your phone, home management is painless and precise.
5. Wi-Fi Coffee Makers
Do you need coffee to wake up enough to make your coffee? We've all been there. You can now start your cup of joe from anywhere with a tap on your phone. Or you can set it on a morning timer so you can wake up to the smell of a fresh brew. And with Wi-Fi integration, you can specify water temperature and brew strength without leaving the bedroom.
The marriage between apps and appliances is a happy pairing. It's a great example of how technology helps improve our quality of life and makes home care and service easy. Spend more time with family and friends and less time adjusting your in-home environment, because technology can do that for you.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park

⬅️⬅️⬅️We've been to Houston quiet a few times already but never really pay attention to this hidden gem. This genourmous waterwall is located adjacent to Williams Tower near the Houston Galleria. We were impressed with how tall this waterfall was. Definitely a sure stop on your trip to Houston. Oh, and it doesn’t cost’s free! .
"The Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park, located at 2800 Post Oak Boulevard, is 2.77 acres and features a 64-foot semi-circular architectural fountain that re-circulates 11,000 gallons of water per minute as it cascades down the water wall structure’s inner and outer walls. The Hines Waterwall Park, surrounded by 186 live oak trees, has been and will continue to be the community centerpiece for Uptown Houston, the nation’s 14th largest mixed use business center."

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Friday, July 13, 2018

4 Hazards of Homes That Are Too Hot

In the summer months, it's tempting to set back the AC and simply suffer the heat to avoid outrageous energy bills. While it's true that summer comfort can come at a price, it's often worth paying for. There are many potential hazards of high heat that go far beyond mild discomfort.
Sleep Disruptions
Image via Flickr by CocteauBoy
Modern lifestyles often disrupt the natural rhythms that help people stay healthy. Artificial light and climate management put you out of touch with what's happening naturally outside. This can throw off your body clock and disrupt your circadian rhythm, which helps you get a good night's sleep.
If you're having trouble sleeping, your home temperature could be the problem. Your body naturally expects cooler temperatures at night, as this is when the sun goes down. If you're setting your thermostat back to save money, you may end up tossing, turning, and sweltering all night. Switch to lighter pajamas and bedding, and try adding a fan to your bedroom to get a cooler night's sleep.
Mold and Mildew Growth
Hot air holds more moisture than cool air can. If your home is too warm, it is typically too humid as well. This excess moisture can settle almost anywhere, leading to hazardous mold and mildew growth. Some growths are obvious, but others can take root behind walls and ceilings, causing headaches and breathing problems long before they're discovered.
Take steps to keep your humidity low. Your air conditioner is a natural dehumidifier as it cools the air, making it incapable of holding as much water. If this isn't enough, installing a whole-home dehumidifier will help remove excess moisture. Running an exhaust fan while you cook or shower will help as well.
Warped Wood
High heat and humidity can do long-term damage to hardwood floors or wood furniture. When exposed to these conditions for long periods, your wood will warp and crack. Floors may become uneven, and tables can develop unsightly lines. Keeping your home cool and comfortable is the best solution. 
Use curtains or blinds to block direct sunlight during the hottest parts of the day. If you're keeping the air off because your air conditioner isn't delivering the energy efficiency you want, schedule a maintenance visit to make sure everything is in good shape. A quick tune-up can help you reduce your energy expenses so you can affordably enjoy cool comfort.
Heat-Related Illness
Heat-related illnesses include everything from heat stress to potentially fatal heat stroke. Individuals are at a higher risk for these conditions if they have heart problems, lung or kidney disease, high blood pressure, and other health issues. Stay hydrated when it's hot and make sure your home has good air circulation to minimize the heat. 
If your air conditioner isn't delivering the cooling you need to stay healthy and safe, contact an HVAC technician to determine where the problem is. Your AC system should deliver efficient, even cooling throughout the house. Don't put yourself in harm's way with a too-hot house. Take smart steps now to create a cooler, more comfortable space.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Educating Yourself Around Family Life

When you have a family to take care of, it’s easy to fall into the trap of considering yourself past the educational process. Sure, we may associate education with school leavers who have no responsibilities! But there are various ways that you can fit an education around your family home life. Here are just a few to consider.

Taking Online Degree Courses
If you’re looking for a more traditional acquisition of knowledge that comes with an official qualification at the end, you may want to consider online degree courses. Now, when we usually speak of traditional higher education, we think of on-campus lectures and seminars. But nowadays, institutes are being a whole lot more flexible with their modes of study. They can now offer lectures online with opportunities to engage with tutors entirely online. So, rather than worrying about having to dedicate set times to studying or moving closer to a college campus, you can do everything from the comfort of your own home (or wherever else you may be). Take a look at all of the options that are available out there for you. Subjects range from medicine - such as a dnp nm online - sciences to the humanities, politics, the arts.

Learning a Second Language
Now, it’s generally acknowledged that the easiest and fastest way to pick up a second language is to move to a country where it is the first language and completely immerse yourself in it. If you’re surrounded by conversation and day to day usage of the vocabulary and grammar, you’re bound to pick it up at a much faster pace. After all, you have no other option than to learn in order to communicate yourself. However, this isn’t an option for everyone. Many of us have homes and other responsibilities such as family, pets, and friends that need tending to. But the good news is that you can actually pick up a second language without so much as stepping foot outside of your personal property. Perhaps the most well known option is to purchase Rosetta Stone. This is a clever piece of computer software introduces new language and concepts in a sequence that allows you to pick up your language of choice without relying on mimicking and parroting. There are currently 24 languages available, including some of the most commonly spoken languages in the world such as Mandarin, Spanish, French, and Italian, so there’s bound to be something to suit you!

Playing Educational Games
If you’re looking to increase your wits but in a more relaxed and informal manner, why not try out educational games. These are pretty easily accessible. Most newspapers now have a sudoku puzzle within them and there are all sorts of crosswords and wordsearches in various magazines. Alternatively, if you have gaming devices, you could consider brain training software too!

These are just a few options that are open to you if you are interested in educating yourself from home! So, try them out. It’ll really expand your mind and horizons!