Facts on Purchasing an Above-Ground Pool

An above-ground swimming pool provides an easy-access spot to cool off in the warm summer months. While above-ground pools are generally less costly than an in-ground pool, they’re still a significant investment of money and time. Before you plunge in, do a little research to find out just how much effort — and money — it’s going to take you to purchase and take care of the pool.

Water Supply

Above-ground pools typically call for a lot of water. A cubic foot of water includes 7.5 gallons. A pool that’s 6 feet deep, wide and long requires at least 1,600 gallons of water. The homeowner must provide this water, so your pool has to be installed close enough to a water source to accomplish this. Water evaporates over time, so you must top off the water levels occasionally, as well.

Price and Installation

It is best to hire a professional who is familiar with local building codes and bylaws and who is experienced in troubleshooting and resolving possible problems, such as sloped landscapes, to install your pool, and this can increase your prices. Once installed, all of pools need upkeep, and this involves the use of equipment and chemicals that increase the long-term expenses. Another element that can increase prices is the liner. Above-ground pool liners, which fit within the pool to hold the water and stop it from spilling over the sides, can be damaged through routine use. These have to be repaired or replaced, depending on the degree of the damage. This can add to long-term expenses.

The Legalities

Towns and cities commonly call for a construction permit for the installation of any type of pool, and every one has its own requirements for placement and setup. California law says that all pools installed after January 1, 2007, are required to possess at least one of seven required safety features, including a wall or fence around the pool using a gate that’s self-closing, self-latching and equipped to be secured, or a pool alarm, which sounds when the pool is accessed. This law says that above-ground pools need to have a fence that’s at least 60 inches tall, with spaces between the fence slats that are less than 4 inches wide, and there must be no protrusions or other physical structures close to the fence that would enable a child below the age of 5 to climb over it. The distance between the base of the fence and the ground has to be no more than 2 inches high, and gate latches cannot be less than 60 inches in the ground.

Cleaning and Maintenance

It is typical to spend at least six to eight hours weekly on pool maintenance, including checking the pH balance of the water at least once a week and checking the amount of chemicals such as potassium and chlorine at least once a month. Maintaining the pH of the pool helps prevent the formation of bacteria and algae. Maintaining the calcium level helps decrease corrosion or scale buildup in your pool components and relieves skin and eye irritation. You also have to skim debris from the water and clean the skimmer baskets each day and clean the walls and bottom of the pool every week using pool cleaners, brushes and brushes recommended by your pool manufacturer.

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White Chia vs. Black Chia Seed

Chia seeds have been recognized as a superb food because they are packed with beneficial things like vitamins, minerals and amino acids. While a lot of men and women know of the health benefits of chia seeds, there’s some confusion about white and black seeds. Simply put, there isn’t any difference, besides color, between white and black chia seeds.

The Chia Plant

Chia seeds are picked from Salvia hispanica plantsthat are from the mint family (Lamiaceae). This is an annual herb that’s a portion of the Salvia genus, including antioxidant plants. Chia plants normally grow to about 3 feet tall and comprise opposite, serrated leaves that are 1 1/2 to 3 inches long and 1 to 2 inches across. Clusters of blue to purple to white flowers look on spikes in late summer.

The Seeds

Chia seeds are used as food supply for thousands of years. They were once considered a perfect food supply and were cultivated by the Aztecs to be consumed as a grain, ground to flour and pressed to create petroleum. Chis seeds are small and oval, may be found in dark, creamy white or gray, and usually have darker markings or specks. These may be available separately or as a combination of all four types. When growing chia plants from seeds, the method is the same regardless of what color you are planting.

Chia Culture

Chia plants prefer a light purple to medium loamy soil that’s well drained. This plant may grow in acid, neutral and alkaline soils, but doesn’t do well in shaded locations, so select a warm, sunny place for growing your seeds. Chia plants thrive in warmer temperatures, so if you are growing this plant outdoors, it does best in the warmer climates of U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 to 12.

Planting the Seeds

In temperate regions, planting can be done outdoors in the fall. Inside, or in areas that experience cold weather in the autumn and winter, seeds may be planted indoors in flats or containers in the spring. Sprinkle the seeds over the surface of a light, porous soil, like garden loam and compost mixed in equal parts. Rake the seeds gently into the ground and cover them with a thin layer of soil that’s no thicker than twice the diameter of the seed. Lightly press the surface to ensure the seed contacts the surrounding ground. After sowing, water the soil lightly. Move your seeds to a place where they get lots of light, and keep the soil evenly moist until the seeds germinate. When the seedlings emerge, you can cut back watering to only giving moisture once the soil is dry to the touch.

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What to Expect Out of a Modern HVAC Unit

An HVAC, or heat, ventilation and air-conditioning unit is a major investment in your house that directly influences your comfort and ability to relax and enjoy your home. If your previous unit is more than seven to ten years old, then a modern system may offer convenience and savings your previous one cannot.

Energy Sipper

As a result of new technology, new HVAC units are more energy efficient than those built just seven years ago. In fact, modern units utilize so much less electricity the U.S. Department of Energy advocates getting your HVAC system evaluated for possible replacement if it’s more than 10 years old. New units are 20 to 60 percent more efficient than older ones, and that improvement is good for the environment as well as your finances.

Extra Comfort

Many brand new HVAC units incorporate moisture controls, advanced zoom and filtering control options. In the winter, the heat unit can be set to release moisture along with warm air to keep your house comfortable. Multiple and high-performance filters remove dust, pollen and other particulates that trigger allergies and breathing issues. Some units enable you to divide your house into heat and cooling zones so you are able to keep some places warmer or cooler than others, making an perfect balance between energy savings and keeping the rooms you use most at a comfortable temperature.

Air Recovery

Many new models concentrate not just on moving heated or cooled air in your house, but also on moving the incorrect air out. For example, in the summertime the HVAC system will extract warm air from your house and move it outside. In the winter, it will draw on heat in the ground underneath the house so as to move out cold air.

Up and Coming

Smart HVAC controls, which learn the needs of the particular home punctually, are beginning to be incorporated into new units. These controls utilize a combination of outdoor weather conditions, indoor temperatures along with your preferred settings to automatically adjust to keep your house comfortable. These automatic adjustments result in energy savings without any extra effort on your part.

Leaky, Leaky

The advantages of a new HVAC system could be quickly discarded if it’s attached to older, leaky ducts. No matter how efficient the unit itself isalso, the savings could be lost if cold or hot air is leaking out of joints or meeting resistance at improper bends and elbows. Before installing a new system, have your duct work inspected, repaired or even replaced if required so the new unit may function as intended.

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Are Front-Load Washers Cost Effective?

Front-loading washing machines use less electricity and water to wash clothes than a standard top-loading drier. This results in lower operational expenses, but whether the savings is enough to create such a machine cost effective depends upon several elements. Regardless of cost, front-loading machines are easier on the environment.

Energy Savings

A front-loading drier uses between 40 and 50 percent less electricity compared to the usual top-loading machine. For an average family, this implies it costs about $18 per year in electricity to operate the machine. This is about $30 less per year compared to the usual top-loading model. If the washing machine has a lifespan of 10 decades, this is a entire energy savings of $300. The last amount may be less or more, depending on electricity prices in your area and the exact energy usage of your model.

Water Savings

Many front-loading washers use about 40 percent less water than the usual top-loading unit. This results in a savings of about 7,000 gallons per year. Cost-wise, this is really a savings similar to electricity, at around $30 per year, or $300 within a 10-year lifespan. Savings could be higher if water rates are high, or even the front loader is particularly efficient.

Repair Costs

Repairs to front-loading washing machines often are more expensive than for top-loading models. Parts such as drums and electronics cost more, in addition to the labor to install some components. It is impossible to know whether your washer will need expensive repairs or function with only regular maintenance for its anticipated life span. Repairs may quickly eat into any cost savings realized by power and water efficiency.

Other Factors

It may look like the ideal way to maximize savings using a front-loading drier is to purchase a less expensive model. Lower-end models, however, are not as energy efficient as more expensive ones. Utilize the energy-guide tag to evaluate efficiency and operating costs between models. It may be more cost effective to buy a unit that is somewhat cheaper but much more efficient. Additionally, when comparing prices, consider the age and efficiency of your current machine. Newer machines are far more efficient than older machines, and savings can be greater than those listed for machines at the same era.

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The way to Refurbish High Back Seats

As a do-it-yourself fan, you can save the cost of new seats by refurbishing antique or contemporary wooden high-back seats which have seen better days. Furniture polish or furniture oil may restore some seats. But over time, these might not conceal blemishes in the wood. With a little more effort, you are able to shred rundown seats and have them looking like new. The best place for your job is really a garage, a covered terrace which has great ventilation.

Spread a cloth dropcloth on the ground and position the chair on its side on the cloth. Determine how any chair cushion or back cushion are secured in place. Remove screws or clips using a screwdriver and remove the cushions. Alternatively, cut pieces of thin plastic dropcloth with scissors and secure them in the edges of the cushions using masking tape.

Expand the remaining portion of the plastic dropcloth on the cloth cloth and set the chair on the plastic. Put on latex gloves and a dust mask.

Apply a coat of paint stripper on all wooden surfaces of this chair, using a utility paintbrush. Tilt the chair forward and balance it on the upper edge of the high back to employ stripper in the rear and upper ends of their legs. Permit the stripping agent to take effect for 20 minutes or until it stops bubbling up paint or masonry.

Remove the stripper in the wood with rags. Remove stripper in bows and crevices with steel wool at the direction of the wood grain. Wipe down the wood surfaces, crevices and grooves with a sponge and clean water. Rinse the sponge as you go to make sure all the stripper is eliminated. Permit the wood to dry.

Cut strips that the 200-grit sandpaper to match on a sanding block. Sand with the grain of this wood using extended, uniform strokes to reach uniformity. Cut 6-inch square bits of 200-grit sandpaper, fold the pieces in half and sand all of crevices and grooves. Thoroughly remove irregular sanding debris from all of wood surfaces, grooves and crevices using a clean rag and dry paintbrush.

Determine the kind of finish for the wood, like paint or stain and a clear coat. To get a paint finish, shake a can of epoxy spray paint vigorously for one minute and remove the cap. Hold the can six inches in the wood and utilize sweeping strokes to spray on a uniform coat onto the wood. Allow the paint to dry for one hour and apply a second coat.

Stain the sanded wood surfaces one at a time, using a paintbrush. Use generous amounts of stain every time you dip the brush at the stain. Combine the stain into a uniform finish and lightly wipe the stain at the direction of the wood grain using a rag. Use a small amount of stain in crevices and grooves for the best results. Allow the stain to dry immediately.

Apply a coat of clear urethane spray on the stained hardwood. Hold the can six inches in the wood and utilize uniform strokes to prevent buildups. Permit the coat to dry and apply a second coat. Allow it to dry before removing the vinyl safety and masking tape or re-attaching the cushions.

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How to Plant Companion Vegetables with Broccoli

The list of problems known to assault broccoli plants is sufficient to give even experienced gardeners pause. Cabbage worms and cabbage moths are particular enemies of broccoli, while thrips, aphids and cutworms are notorious equal-opportunity destroyers. Rather than splitting from the chemical sprays, think about giving broccoli plants companions that result in disease- and pest-resistance, while also attracting beneficial insects as well as improving flavor. In Mediterranean areas, broccoli seedlings go into the ground in early spring and in late summer, if desired.

Set broccoli seedlings to your garden bed 24 inches apart from one another in rows which are 36 to 48 inches apart. Applying this maximum spacing permits you to interplant companions both involving individual broccoli plants and between rows of broccoli.

Seed nasturtium flowers at the bottom of the broccoli plants in each row. The low-growing, vining plants work as a living mulch for broccoli and its companions. Moreover, the plants are considered a “super companion” since they assist plants in many ways, such as flavor development and as a broad-spectrum pest pest repellent. In addition, it functions as a “trap crop” for insects like aphids, meaning that these pests feed to the nasturtiums while ignoring your valuable edibles. Harvest the flowers and leaves of nasturtiums to add to salads.

Plant onions involving the broccoli plants. Onions have narrow foliage and fit conveniently between spreading plants like broccoli. Onions improve the taste of broccoli while also masking the scent of neighboring plants against predatory pests.

Grow herbs and vegetables in alternate rows involving the broccoli rows. Fantastic vegetable companies include beets, bush beans, celery, potatoes and lettuce. Herb choices include thyme, basil, dill, rosemary and sage, which not only are culinary herbs but are also thought to repel pests like thrips, cabbage worms and cabbage moths. Dill also attracts beneficial insects.

Establish pots of peppermint, catnip or hyssop on paths close to the broccoli bed. Although these perennial mint-family herbs are too invasive to include in an annual vegetable garden, they are invaluable allies for both repelling broccoli insect insects and encouraging beneficial insects.

Fill spaces between plants or rows with Mexican marigolds, which are credited with controlling a number of problems, such as weeds, insect pests and even rabbits.

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The way to Gauge a Yard for Landscaping

The foundation of any fantastic landscape is a true landscape program. In the program you’ll be able to establish the positioning of landscape elements and calculate the materials you need. An accurate landscape plan begins with an accurate scale drawing of the boundaries, buildings and positioning of permanent landscape elements. Careful measurement and a little geometry can help find every one of these correctly.

Make a rough sketch of the form of this property and the place of the home, driveway and trees, walls, utility poles or other lasting elements. Utilize this sketch to list your measurements so you are clear what dimension the amount measures.

Measure the outside boundaries of this property. Measure each side of the home and place those measurements on the sketch. Round dimensions to the nearest inch; fractions of an inch aren’t vital.

Gauge the distance from the nearest property line to every corner of the home in line with the side of the home. If the property line and side of the home aren’t the corners of the home aren’t right angles, measure the distance from the property line into the middle of every side of the home.

Gauge the distance from every tree, pole or other lasting element into the land lines in two directions. Make the dimensions at right angles to one another. Assess the width, length and position of the driveway, paths, patios, planting beds, walls and outbuildings.

Use a compass to ascertain what direction is north. Make a arrow pointing north on your sketch.

Mark the north arrow on chart paper. Set the paper so the north arrow points up. Place your rough sketch beside the chart paper so north points up. Draw on the land boundaries on the chart paper which makes the dimensions to scale. For moderate yards, make one-quarter inch equivalent to 1 foot. For large yards, use a scale that lets you put the entire yard on a single piece of paper.

Place walkways, driveways, buildings, existing trees and planting beds and other permanent features on the drawing at the measured distances from the property line. Compare your completed drawing together with the yard for accuracy. Make any necessary corrections.

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How to Decide What Plants to Place in Paradise

A trip to the nursery may be all it takes to choose what plants to grow in your landscape, but nothing replaces a well-thought-out plan. It can save you money, it can save you time later spent in the garden, and it can create a landscape that blends nicely together and is attractive throughout the year. To help you select plants to your landscape, several parts should be considered. Once your selections are made, measure and execute your plan on paper so you can make changes prior to making any purchases.

Evaluate the investments and costs of the plants. Annuals are generally inexpensive, but they need to be replaced every year. Perennials are more costly but live for several years. Shrubs and trees are excellent investments as they can last for generations, though you need to dig a little deeper in your pockets to afford them, especially if they are big. Bulbous plants typically multiply in time, and you can plan to grow them in various places on your property as the years progress.

Narrow your list of plants down to the ones that grow well in your U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zone, which can be based on winter low temperatures. Use Sunset climate zones that will help you to find plants that also grow well throughout your summers. If you live in a coastal region, choose plants that tolerate salt spray, if necessary. In high-wind places, select plants that could tolerate such problems. The total amount of direct sunlight in your landscape also influences plant selection, because plants require different amounts of sunlight to thrive.

Take note on when distinct plants bloom and what colors, so you can grow a colorful landscape for as many months as possible. Notice which trees and shrubs are deciduous. The leaves of a few trees and shrubs take on a bronze or red color during cooler weather, and winter berries can brighten the landscape during what can be a drab time of year, especially in cooler zones. The height of plants should also be considered so you can plan to grow your taller plants near the rear of a garden area and the smaller ones in front.

Consider how much care the plants need to thrive. Drought-tolerant plants require little boating, as do plants native to your region. Native plants also require little, if any, fertilizing because they already boom in the natural environment near your house. Many annuals require deadheading to bloom proficiently, and many shrubs require regular prunings. If you do not want to spend a lot of time in the garden, then these types of plants are likely not a fantastic selection.

Picture the landscape in full adulthood. You have to provide enough space for trees, shrubs and other plants to grow and flourish. Some can be pruned to keep the size down, but others cannot. Consider any overhead wires, in addition to some other structures. Limbs and roots can sometimes wreak havoc on permanent structures. Planting a large tree beside the house right beneath electrical wires is not a wise idea. Trees may finally block a window of your house, which may or may not be want you want.

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Difference Between Snowball Bush & Hydrangea

Common plant names produce confusion from the botanical world. Various plants might share the exact same common name while having their very own botanical name. Snowball bush is just a term that some use for hydrangeas (Hydrangea spp.) and viburnums (Viburnum spp.) . Although they share the title snowball bush because of their large, white flower heads, hydrangeas and viburnums are distinctively different.

Plant Families

Taxonomists classify plants into families that share similar attributes. The snowball bush viburnum is a member of the Caprifoliaceae, or honeysuckle, family. Viburnum species which bear the familiar white, snowball blooms incorporate European of typical cedar bush (V. opulus) and also Chinese snowball bush (V. macrocephalum). Hydrangeas are comparable plants, which can be in the Hydrangeaceae familymembers. Many species of hydrangeas have the recognizable mophead flowers which bloom in shades of blue or pink depending on land pH. One hydrangea species, H. arborescens, has large, round, white blooms.


Depending on species, hydrangea blossoms might take round, lacecap or panicle shapes. “Annabelle” is the most common cultivar of H. arborescens, also called smooth hydrangea, in the nursery trade. It’s a small, deciduous shrub, reaching heights up to 5 feet and doing best in moist soil under shade. Growing in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 9, “Annabelle” has white, showy flowerheads that prompt some people to call it a snowball bush.

Snowball Viburnum

Both main viburnums called snowball bush common snowball bush and Chinese snowball bush. Although some viburnum species bear fruit, snowball bush is fruitless. Rather, its focal point are the large, round flower heads which open as lime green, however, change to white. Snowball bush is different from white-flowering hydrangeas in many ways. This is a bigger shrub that can reach heights of 20 feet and prefers sunny areas. It is not as cold-tolerant as hydrangea, growing in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 6 through 9.


Another significant distinction between snowball bush and hydrangea is when to prune them. Snowball bush blooms on the previous season’s old timber, which means you have to prune it immediately after flowering. Otherwise, pruning later in the season eliminates developing flower buds, which means it will not flower the following year. Smooth hydrangea blooms on the current season’s new wood. You can prune it from late winter to early spring and it is going to still blossom during the current season.

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How to Replace a Rung on a Chair

Among the most damaging forces on the surface of the earth is really a cute little pup. When they are teething, anything that they could reach with their mouth is decent game. The wood rungs on your preferred antique chair appear to get a special appeal to these creatures. Unfortunately, chair rungs are vulnerable to a number of different hazards. Age, accidents or heavy loads can damage or dislodge these significant structural members, turning a piece of furniture to a potential hazard. Replacing a broken rung is simple once you find a tightly matching replacement.

Remove any remaining portion of the aged rung. On old seats, in which the glue is dried and fractured, you may be able to twist the rung out of the socket by hand. If the rung is broken at the surface of the the adhesive is protected, you will need to catch some tools.

Cut the end of the rung about 1/4 inch over the surface of both chair legs. This small amount of space prevents damage to the legs from the tooth.

Pick a drill bit that is about three-fourths of the diameter of the rung and insert it to a drill. Employing a bit that is slightly smaller than the finished diameter of the hole prevents you from accidentally expanding the hole. This could hurt the leg or stop the replacement rung from fitting properly.

Drill the middle part of the rung out of the socket.

Remove the remaining fragments of the rung from the socket with a chisel. Utilize a small chisel to pare the remaining pieces out of the hole. Work carefully. Don’t hurt the walls of the socket.

Soften and remove any excess adhesive. Old glue provides an extremely poor bonding surface to get new adhesive. Removing old glue with sandpaper alone could be a lengthy, tedious process as it quickly loads and glazes the sandpaper. Pour hot water to each socket allow it to soak for a minimum of 10 minutes to soften the old adhesive.

Remove as much of the softened adhesive as possible with a chisel or small screwdriver.

Allow the sockets dry for at least 24 hours. Even hardwood will consume a little bit of water and swell when dampened. Allowing the outlets to dry and return to their original size provides a better, longer-lasting fit for the brand new rung.

Sand the inside of each socket with 100-grit sandpaper. This eliminates the remaining glue and also roughens the inside of the socket to provide a good gluing surface.

Sand each end of the replacement rung lightly. Sand only as much of the rung as will be concealed when it’s put in place.

Apply a light coat of glue to each end of the replacement rung.

Insert the ends of the rung completely into the leg sockets.

Wipe any excess adhesive off the brand new joints with a damp cloth.

Put a bar clamp to the outside of the legs to apply pressure at each end of the rung. Leave the clamp in place for at least 24 hours.

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