Month: January 2020

Is Running Cental Air Cheaper Than Running Three Wall Air Conditioners?

Air conditioning makes the most popular summer days more satisfying, but rising energy prices and the growing awareness of energy conservation and resource depletion requires you cool your house as cheaply and energy efficiently as possible. Deciding which cooling system will save you the most — three window air conditioners or a central air unit — depends on a few factors. Cooling your home with the proper system saves you money and power, and keeps you completely comfortable regardless of the temperature outside.

Comparing Energy Usage

Considering that the average house uses more power for heat than for any other appliance or accessory, if you want to save money on your utility bill, carefully consider your cooling options. A central air unit consumes more energy to cool your property. As Mr. Electricity says, a window unit consumes anywhere from 500 to 1440 watts to run, while a 2.5 ton central unit (about the size for a typical 1,500- to 2,000-square-foot house) uses roughly 3,500 watts. It’s not simply about the magnitude of place cooled, but the fact that central air requires the furnace, also. The air doesn’t flow to the rest of the home with no furnace blower — so more running parts equal a larger power draw.

Price of Unit Installation

It’s simple to see a central unit consumes more electricity than a window unit, but there’s more to your cost than only the power draw. As soon as you factor in the price and cost of installation, your cost per use may rise substantially. Dividing the whole cost and installation labor cost by the weeks you use it dramatically illustrates the true cost of only using the air conditioner, without figuring in the utility bill. Window units sell for a good deal less than central units, and also the installation generally is do-it-yourself.

It’s Not All About the Unit

Another factor when determining that heat unit is best for your circumstances is the state of your existing HVAC system. No matter how efficient your central air unit, even if the ducts that the cool air moves through are filled with holes, or poorly insulated and exposed to temperature extremes, the efficacy of the entire system goes down — and the cost goes up. If you decide to run a central air unit, insulating your ducts, and inspecting and maintaining the entire system is important, even though it adds to the cost. Compared with window units, which blow right into the room and need little but occasional cleaning unless they move out, a central unit again costs more.


Although it costs more to purchase and install a central unit — and responsible owners also spend more on annual service calls for maintenance and inspection — if you intend to trendy three or more rooms, the cheapest and energy-efficient alternative is your central unit. A central unit has higher resale value, which means you recoup more of the investment if you sell your property. The weightiest factor, however, is that three window units typically use more electricity than a single central unit. Also look at that three rooms likely is a large part of the house, and each time you travel between heat zones using a window unit, you are leaking cool air, making your unit work harder. But neither unit will get the job done efficiently and save money unless it’s correctly sized. Always research your choices before purchasing.

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Palo Azul Herb Plant

Palo azul (Eysenhardtia orthocarpa or even Eysenhardtia polystachya) is a large shrub or small tree native to Mexico and portions of the southwestern United States. This plant, also referred to as kidneywood, palo santo and palo dulce, works nicely in landscapes, particularly in warm, dry regions.


Palo azul can be grown as either a tree or a small tree, reaching heights of between 6 and 24 feet. In young plants, the branches are covered with tiny hairs. The leaves are divided into many small fronds and have a feathery form. The palo azul plant produces clusters of fragrant white blooms that later produce light brown pod-shaped fruit


Palo azul plants require relatively warm, dry climates and grow best in United States Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 7 through 11. Obviously, this plant grows as part of desert scrub or tropical deciduous woods, but it’s also frequently cultivated in gardens. The plant can survive short periods of cold weather, withstanding temperatures as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit in some cases. In the warmer parts of its range, the plant is an evergreen, but it will become deciduous in colder areas or when water levels are low.


Palo azul is native mainly to Mexico, especially the Chihuahua Desert. In addition, it grows naturally in parts of Arizona and New Mexico. This small shrub works well when planted as an ornamental throughout the Southwest, especially in drier parts of Texas and southern California.

Landscape Use

Palo azul does best in dry landscapes with no extreme artificial cedar. According to the Desert Botanical Garden website, it should be implanted as a blooming tree. Despite its hardiness in dry conditions, palo azul needs reliable moisture levels and should be watered immediately after planting and once or twice weekly thereafter to a thickness of about a foot. Expect flowers to appear sporadically during the growing season, especially in response to rain.

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Fruits & Vegetables That Grow Well Indoors

With a little creativity, you can grow fresh fruits and vegetables even if you reside in an apartment or home without outside space. Container gardening allows you to move plants to a sunny indoor spot — and when you know what to grow and the way to do it, you should begin munching on fresh biscuits or producing fruit smoothies just like any other gardener.


To ensure strong, healthy plants, choose a container with good drainage. Line the bottom with stones or marbles before filling it with a commercially available combination of peat moss, perlite and vermiculite, not potting soil or garden soil. You can set the pot in a stylish container or set it on a drainage tray. Choose a spot with between 10 and 18 hours of sunlight every day, based on the plant’s needs. A south-facing window works nicely in the southern and western parts of the nation, but should you move to other places, you probably will need some artificial lighting.


Select small, compact varieties of vegetables, including lettuce, radishes, carrots, peppers and strawberries. Plants grown indoors require less feeding with fertilizer than the outside garden, but they’ll grow more gradually; peppers and strawberries probably will need additional light to support fruiting. Toss in some herbs, which grow well in indoor containers, including chives, parsley and cilantro, to give convenient and fresh flavoring for your cooking.


A few small, potted fruit trees or shrubs grow well and produce fruit in a sunny, indoor spot, including a sunroom or enclosed porch. In case you have some outside space, then put the trees outdoors for the summer, but they are able to thrive inside, too. Provide a grass at least 1 foot in diameter and one foot deep for little fruit trees and bushes. Some types to attempt include peaches, apricots, mulberries and figs. Strawberries also do well inside, and even grapes will function if they’ve a trellis to climb. Also think about citrus trees, such as dwarf varieties of orange, lime and lemon, though you should consider a soil test before planting because citrus has strict pH requirements.

Proper Care

Gardening of any type requires proper lighting, feeding, watering and maintenance, and indoor container gardening is no exception. Avoid the indoor air from becoming overly dry by placing containers in a tray filled with stones and a few inches of water. Many plants, particularly in tiny containers, will need watering once or twice every day. Check occasionally for insects, though indoor gardening poses much fewer pest problems than outdoor planting.

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A Spray for Apples With Brown Rot

Brown rot is a minor disease on apples from the United States. It is caused by the fungus Monilinia fructicola, and if discovered on apples, it’s normally connected with nearby infected stone fruits that are more vulnerable to the illness. The brown rot fungus survives the winter inside dead fruit or regions of dead timber, called cankers. In spring, the fungus produces spores, which are spread by rain and wind. The spores can infect the blossoms and young fruit on stone fruit trees, but apple infection generally occurs when the spores enter through through breaks in the skin of maturing fruit. This fungus can be controlled with fungicide sprays and dirt around the infected trees.


The most common fungicide spray for apple juice rots is captan. Captan is a contact fungicide that stays on the surface of the apple and stops energy production in the fungus. It has low toxicity at normal levels and rapidly degrades in water. Apply a fine spray that covers the fruit, leaves, and branches. Heavier sprays will not increase or prolong the effectiveness since, even if dry, captan’s half-life on fruit is significantly less than 13 days and it easily washes off with rain. Captan sprays can begin 10 days after petals have fallen and continue in 10-day periods through May, then at 14 day intervals throughout August.


Captan can also used in conjunction with thiophanate-methyl for more comprehensive protection. Thiophanate-methyl is a xylem-mobile fungicide that penetrates into the apple tree and travels through the tree liquid-transport system. Similar to captan, apply a fine spray that covers the fruit, leaves, and branches. Thiophanate-methyl travels upwards from the apple tree, so it’s necessary to adequately cover the lower portions of the tree. This spray can begin 10 days after petals have fallen and continue at 10 day periods during May, then at 14 day periods during August.

Organic Spray

Dilute solutions of copper fungicide mixed with liquid lime-sulfur can help to control infection, but does not completely eradicate brown decay. Sulfur products do not control apple rots and high levels of copper will harm the fruit. Many sulfur and copper products are not labeled for use after petal fall, when most of the brown rot in apples occurs. Though approved for use in organic apple production, these fungicides have to be combined with careful sanitary measures.

Sanitary Control

Other spray options exist for stone fruit trees, however they’re not all approved for use on apples. Use sanitary controls, alongside these sprays, to boost their effectiveness. Infected fruit can remain on the tree and will harbor the fungus until the following calendar year. Remove all infected branches and fruit with cankers in the tree, then bury or burn them to isolate and destroy the fungus. Do not allow dropped apples to remain under the tree since injuries suffered in the autumn can allow infection. After you have picked the apples, block the development of brown decay by rapidly storing the apples in a refrigerator.

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How to Get Rust Out of a Sink

Rust stains in your sink may be brought on by standing water in which it comes from contact with metal items or by a split in the sink in which water seeps in. These red-orange stains may occur in a stainless steel or porcelain cast-iron sink, but you may use the same cleaning methods on any type of sink. Keep the sink dry if it’s not being used and avoid putting metal objects directly in or on the sink to stop new rust stains.

Dampen the rusty areas of the sink with water.

Sprinkle the rust stains using a light layer of baking soda. Apply several drops of vinegar into the boiling soda. Scrub the stains with a damp cloth or nonabrasive scrubbing sponge to remove the rust.

Wash the sink thoroughly to remove any cleaning residue.

Sprinkle a light layer of oxalic acid-based cleaning powder into some remaining rust stains. Wipe the stains with a damp cloth to remove them.

Wash the sink with water and dry it with a towel.

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Painting Over Tongue & Groove Paneling

Tongue-and-groove paneling consists of sections of timber held together by a locking mechanism. Paneled walls add visual interest, but they could also cause a room to appear dated. A coat of paint on your paneling can quickly brighten the space and give it a more contemporary feel. Painting above tongue-and-groove paneling isn’t difficult, but it takes a few more steps than you’d typically use when painting over a level surface like drywall.


Tongue-and-groove paneling typically has a finish coat of paint or sealer that protects the timber. This has to be roughed up with fine-grit sandpaper so that paint will adhere properly. When sanding the walls, then be certain you sand the surface of the timber completely. Wash your paneling using a damp cloth to remove sanding dust and other dirt. Gouges, holes and other flaws in the paneling may be filled with wood-filler and sanded smooth before priming and painting, however, the grooves of the tongue-and-groove paneling do not require filling. Wood shrinks and expands the varying humidity levels each season. Should you fill the flux with caulk or wood filler, the patches will crack and fall out, leaving an unsightly mess that will be hard to repair.


Painting tongue-and-groove paneling is more challenging than conventional drywall or plaster because where each bit of timber joins there are grooves that collect excess paint from the brush. When priming and painting the paneling, remove the excess paint that accumulates in the grooves of this timber with your paintbrush as you cut in along the edges of the room. When you’ve finished cutting in, start at the top of the wall and paint the flux. Load your brush gently and prevent drips by passing the tip of the brush above the flux, feathering the paint as you go. Follow by rolling the primer and paint on the wall in 3-foot sections, starting at the very top of one corner and working your way across the room. As you complete each 3-foot part, pause to feather any extra paint out of the grooves along with your own brush. Paint each part in columns, from ceiling to floor and bend each move marginally for a uniform finish.


Oil-based or pigmented shellac primers are excellent stain blockers and will block the resins in the wood that might bleed through a latex product. These primers will also adhere to surfaces that aren’t perfectly clean. Should you prefer to use a latex product, then pick a stain-blocking urethane-modified acrylic, which is a good stain-blocking primer that will block resins. The paneling, however, must be entirely clean before painting to ensure proper adhesion.


After the primer is dry, paint the walls with a standard 1/2-inch nap roller. A thick roller is not necessary as you’ll have painted the flux when cutting in. The excess paint a thicker remainder holds doesn’t remove the requirement to fill in the flux first. It will only gather in the grooves and cause runs and drips. Use either latex or oil-based goods, but pick a finish that suits the space. As an instance, tongue-and-groove paneling in a kitchen will need washing, so a flat paint isn’t perfect. A semigloss, however, may highlight blemishes from the wood. A satin finish provides a happy medium between a semigloss and a level finish. Apply at least 2 coats of paint for a uniform finish.

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How to Install Drainage in a Cinder Block Retaining Wall

A retaining wall prevents erosion, keeping a hill in area behind a house, or it may serve as a basement wall, depending on the property’s construction. Among the problems of constructing a retaining wall is ensuring that water drains away from it, otherwise the resultant moisture can damage the wall over time or leak into your home. Among the best methods to ensure adequate drainage is to set up a French drain behind the wall.

Examine the Land

Before you construct a cinder block retaining wall, then you must analyze the territory when it rains to view how the rainwater flows. This can help you to develop a water drainage drawing to ensure that water doesn’t slip behind the retaining wall, as well as ensuring a place for the water behind the wall to go after you put in the drain. For instance, after installing the drainage, then you may need to integrate runoff ditches to ensure the water goes where you want it to.

Excavate Behind the Wall

A cinder block retaining wall holds back a great deal of pressure. When it rains, the water in the hill behind the wall has to be drained away from the wall to keep the wall from being compromised. Before establishing the foundation for the cinder block wall, then ensure you have at least 1 to 2 feet of functioning room behind the wall that lets you put in a drain atop a gravel foundation.

Construct the Wall

Construct the wall to a flat base. Throughout construction, the local construction authority will occasionally inspect the wall to ensure it complies with local building codes. When the wall is totally built, you can lay in the needed drains and gravel. At either end of this wall, create a path for the water to flow into a drainage ditch or pipe, to transfer it away from the wall and house.

Gravel and Drain

Compact the bottom of the pit behind the retaining wall to have it flat. Pour 1- to 2-inch washed drainage stone into the hole and the foundation of this wall approximately 4 to 6 inches deep. Put a drainpipe with perforations that operate along its top over the gravel, using the solid side facing the bottom of the drainage ditch. The perforations in the top allow the water to seep into the pipe, which carries it off to both sides. After installing the perforated pipe, cover it and fill the hole using 3/4-inch washed gravel to within 6 inches of the surface of the wall. Insert dirt above the gravel for the rest 6 inches, and compact it lightly.

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Tips to Clean Fiberglass Tubs and Shower Stalls

Fiberglass tubs and shower stalls are created from a gel with tiny interwoven strings of glass that are molded right into a tough surface. This material is used in residential bathrooms as an attractive and economical alternative to conventional porcelain bathtubs and ceramic tile shower stalls. You can keep your fiberglass tubs and shower stalls in optimal shape by following a couple of maintenance tips.

Utilize Non-Abrasive Cleaners

Fiberglass isn’t quite as hard as porcelain or ceramic tile, therefore care has to be taken to prevent scratching the surface. Select non-abrasive cleaners such as dishwashing or liquid laundry detergents or an all-purpose household or toilet cleaner that’s made especially for cleaning fiberglass. Apply the product with a soft sponge or a non-abrasive brush or applicator made of nylon, polyester or polyethylene. Abrasive cleaners, scrubbers and sponges will degrade fiberglass and lead to staining and discoloration.

Remove Soap Scum and Stains

For hard water stains, soap scum and iron deposits, then use a mineral deposits removal merchandise such as Lime-A-Way, CLR or Zud. For places with black grime or algae, then use a combination of equal parts of household bleach and water. Saturate the stained areas and permit the cleanser to sit down for a hour or so before thoroughly rinsing the unit with cold water. Avoid the temptation to use scouring powders, pads or steel wool; instead, use a non-abrasive sponge or microfiber cloth to gently rub stubborn stains.

Strive Herbal Alternatives

Baking soda, hydrogen peroxide and vinegar may be used in place of chemical products. Combine 1 part hydrogen peroxide with 2 parts baking soda to produce a paste. Apply the glue with a sponge or a rubber brush and then leave it around for at least a half-hour to remove stains. For soap scum removal, mix white vinegar with equal parts of warm water and apply with a spray bottle or a sponge. Leave it on for 15 minutes and wipe away with a dry sponge or cloth.

State the Surface

Some fiberglass bathtub and shower manufacturers recommend conditioning the surface twice a year using a automotive polishing compound or cream wax. To buff a scratched or dulled surface and then restore a lustrous shine to a bathtub or shower stall, then apply a light coat of polish or wax with a clean cotton cloth and gently rub into the surface. Avoid treating the underside or bottom of this unit to prevent slips and falls. Check your manufacturer’s care guide before using wax products in your own unit.

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Do I Need Bone Meal to Fertilize Fruit Trees?

Despite the fact that you’ll find bone meal in most garden supply stores, you won’t necessarily require this natural fertilizer for optimum fruit tree growth and creation. Bone meal provides phosphorus to fruit trees. As one of the three important macronutrients for crops, phosphorus promotes early growth, root formation and fruit development. But many soils have a sufficient amount of potassium, therefore adding bone meal might be a waste of money.

Nutrients in Bone Meal

All fertilizer package labels have a three-number fluid level printed on them. The typical fertilizer grade for bone meal is 3-15-0. This implies bone meal comprises about 3 percent nitrogen, 15 percent phosphorus and no potassium. When used as a fertilizer, bone meal discharges the phosphorus and the small amount of nitrogen over a one- to 12-month period.

Fruit Tree Nutrient Requirements

Fruit trees are heavy metals of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. When the soil is deficient in one of these nutrients, it is possible to correct the deficiency by employing an appropriate fertilizer. You’ll need to apply a fertilizer with a high nitrogen content each year since many soils are deficient in nitrogen. Conversely, you probably wo not need to use a fertilizer like bone meal to give phosphorus because most soils contain sufficient potassium for fruit trees.

Recognizing a Phosphorus Deficiency

To determine if the soil is deficient in phosphorus, collect soil samples in the region around the tree. Utilize a home soil test kit to test the soil samples for phosphorus content. If a test isn’t available, look for signs of phosphorus deficiency in the fruit tree. You’ll see that a tree deficient in phosphorus grows slower than anticipated. The old leaves could have a lighter, abnormal color and the tree may produce few blooms.

Utilizing Bone Meal for a Fertilizer

In case a phosphorus deficiency is detected from the soil, you may use bone meal as a fertilizer for some soils. But before you apply bone meal, it’s important that you know the pH of the ground. Bone meal is alkaline and should just be applied to soil with a pH of over 7 days. Do not apply to soils with a pH greater than 7 since the phosphorus won’t be available to the trees. Utilize a home soil test kit or pH meter to find the soil pH of their soil near the tree. If the pH is less than 7, apply bone meal once in the time of planting. Place 3 pounds of bone meal in the base of each planting hole. Mix the Sea supper using a handful of soil and plant.

Other Sources of Phosphorus

Many other fertilizers also supplies potassium to fruit trees. The compound fertilizer superphosphate using a fertilizer grade of 0-45-0 provides a massive amount of phosphorus. Place 1 pound of superphosphate in the base of the planting hole before planting the tree. Balanced fertilizers, like those with a grade of 20-20-20, supply ample amounts of potassium and nitrogen in addition to phosphorus. Since many fruit trees require an application of nitrogen every year, you may use a balanced fertilizer to likewise provide phosphorus. Do not place the balanced fertilizer in the planting hole. Rather, spread the fertilizer within an 18- to 24-inch circle around the tree back in August or early September and water the tree as usual. Apply about 2 pounds of this balanced fertilizer to your little fruit tree and up to 5 pounds for a large, mature tree every year.

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