Water, Sunlight and Sheds, Oh My!
Water, Sunlight, and Sheds are a few easy places to improve your house quickly!
Got Hard Water?
If you’ve ever dealt with a dry scalp or itchy skin, hard water might be to blame. “Hard water forms when groundwater comes in contact with naturally occurring minerals such as limestone and gypsum.” Over a period of time calcium and magnesium leaches into the water creating what we refer to as hard water. According to the United States Geological Survey, hard water exists in approximately 85% of the water in the country.”
This means that no matter what kind of shampoo, conditioner, or moisturizer you’re using if your water is hard, you’re probably going to have problems down the line. “Over time, hard water can damage hair and ski. “Hair can become dull, brittle, and frizzy. Skin becomes dry and irritable, and can even be more prone to rashes.” Unsure about the state of your own water?
Learn the common signs that your home has hard water.
One surefire way to know if your water is too hard? Finding spots and residue on items you’ve washed at home. “If you have hard water, you may notice a film of residue on your dishes, shower, or clothing, your hair and skin may feel more dry and brittle. This could also shorten the lifespan of items in the laundry, such as clothes and towels, too.”
Pay attention to how your appliances are running.
In addition to water stains, if your water is too hard, you’re likely to discover particles inside your home’s water-dependent appliances, as well. “Hard water can lead to clogged pipes, scaling, and staining on surfaces such as shower doors and water fixtures. “It can also decrease the efficiency and lifespan of water-using appliances, including dishwashers, washing machines, and water heaters. If deposits build up, it can greatly damage their performance—which will increase your heating costs while the efficiency of your appliance plummets.”
Have your water tested.
To determine if you have hard water in your home, have your water tested,: “A local Water Expert can conduct a free in-home water test.” If you prefer to test your water without the help of a professional, water hardness test kits are widely available for purchase, so you can regularly test the hardness (or softness) of your home’s water supply on your own.
Add water softener accordingly.
If you discover your home has hard water, don’t worry– softening it is easy and beneficial for a lot of reasons. “Water softeners come in a variety of options to fit your home and budget, “Water softening technology removes hardness from your water utilizing the process of ion exchange. Unlike hard water, soft water is free of the minerals that can damage your home and your body. In other words, it is gentler on both your body and home.” So, whether you call a professional to install a state-of-the-art system or simply invest in a freestanding style, ensuring you have soft water at home can positively impact many aspects of your health and home life.
Storage Shed Buying Guide
Is the garage so packed that you have to park in the driveway? Or is the attic so full that the ceiling is sagging? Outdoor sheds — or garden sheds — provide the extra space you need. Whether you want to build it yourself or have it installed for you, we’ll help you find the right storage building.
Steel sheds are economical storage buildings. They’re available in a variety of colors and feature vinyl-coated steel or galvanized steel with an enamel finish to resist scratches and rust. Metal sheds come in a variety of colors and offer years of maintenance-free service.
Vinyl sheds and resin sheds are made of different types of plastic and are the easiest sheds to assemble. They’re also easy to clean and resist rust, insects, mold, and rot. Double-wall panels create solid construction. Many vinyl/resin sheds come with steel-reinforced doors for extra security and long service life. You can also find models with windows and skylights to help illuminate the interior. These sheds can endure practically all weather extremes, are easy to clean and virtually maintenance-free.
Wood storage sheds are sturdy and stylish. Lumber framing provides strength to withstand loads from wind and snow and can support multiple shelves and hangers. Engineered wood siding resists termites and rot. You can paint these sheds to match your home or to blend in with your landscape and customize them to create an attractive building. Many models include windows. Do-it-yourself kits may not come with roofing materials, such as shingles, underlayment, and drip edges, but if the installation is available, it may include the materials. Wooden sheds require maintenance. You’ll need to repaint or re–stain them regularly and keep the roof, siding, etc., in good repair.
Before you choose a shed, check requirements for your area, such as zoning ordinances, building codes, and homeowners’ association covenants. Some areas may not allow certain types of sheds, and building a shed may require a permit and inspections. There may be restrictions on size, foundation type, distance to property lines and structures, etc.
Sheds come in a variety of sizes to accommodate your needs. Refer to the diagram to see which one would work best for you.
Small sheds are anything under 80 square feet. These outdoor units are good for hanging tools, and storing lawn and garden supplies, including a push mower, pots, bags of fertilizer, and gas cans.
These sheds are approximately 90 to 120 square feet in size. They can hold larger garden equipment, such as riding mowers, snow blowers and bulky equipment.
These sheds typically range from 144 to 288 square feet. Large sheds can handle anything from large pieces of lawn equipment to recreational vehicles. If you’re feeling creative, turn your shed into a workshop or hobby space. Plan for about 25% more space than you need for room to access your items and to add more in the future. If you plan to store garden tools, you’ll probably need wall space. Large or heavy items, like bagged fertilizer and equipment, mowers, snow blowers, wheelbarrows, etc., require floor space and an open surrounding area. Some shed manufacturers offer expansion kits you can add to a shed for even more storage space. Make sure the shed doorway easily accommodates the largest item you plan to store. Some sheds include a floor, others don’t, while some foundations can function as floors. You can purchase floor kits for certain sheds, allowing you to assemble a floor.
If there’s something you want to add to your storage shed, chances are it’s available as an accessory. Here are a few examples:
Windows and Skylights
Roof Strengthening Kits
The Pros and Cons of Solar Tubes
Natural sunlight is the gold standard for lighting!
If you want to enjoy more natural light in your home, but find skylights too big, expensive or hard to maintain, solar tubes offer a simple alternative. Also known as tubular skylights or sun tunnels, solar tubes give you an unobtrusive way to brighten the darker areas of your home with soft, natural light.
The standard solar tube is a tube of polished sheet metal installed in the roof to channel sunlight into the house’s interior. They’re most commonly available in 10- and 14-inch-diameter sizes, which fit between standard 16-inch roof joists. On the roof end of the tube is a weather-resistant acrylic cap. On the ceiling side is a round window-like opening fit with a diffuser that helps distribute the light evenly.
Pros: Effective, Understated, and Affordable
With solar tubes, you can light your home for free without the expense of skylight installation or the need to alter the look of your rooms.
Free lighting – On a sunny day, one 10-inch solar tube gives you around the same amount of light as three 100-watt bulbs. That’s enough to illuminate a 200 sq. ft. room well enough for office work or light a 300 sq. ft. room enough for less visual activities such as taking a shower or folding the laundry. With this much light, you’ll no longer have to use an electric light on sunny or even moderately cloudy days. You’ll enjoy extra convenience while saving money. If you need light at night, too, choose a solar tube model that includes an electric light.
Design flexibility – Given their size, skylights are hard to miss when you walk into a room. Solar tubes, on the other hand, are subtle design elements that add light without calling attention to themselves. If you want to bring more light into your living room or bedroom without altering the room’s architecture, solar tubes let you do it. They also fit into smaller spaces than traditional skylights, making them a practical way to brighten up a small, dim hallway or pantry.
Lower risk of leaks – Traditional skylights are well known for their tendency to leak. A major reason for this is the way they collect debris, such as leaves, which prevents rainfall and snow melt from draining off the roof. The built up water then finds its way under the roofing material and then to your ceiling. Solar tubes are less likely to leak because their small, relatively flat dome allows water to drain around them.
Budget-friendly installation – Solar tubes might look like a luxury feature, but they don’t require a major investment. The tubes themselves cost less than skylights, and they’re also less expensive to have installed because they don’t require any changes to your drywall or framing. Professional installation costs less than $1000 in most parts of the country.
To save more, you can install your solar tubes yourself with a kit that costs less than $500. That said, in certain more complicated cases where the installation requires fitting the tube around wiring, pipes or air ducts, you’ll get better results by hiring a professional.
Cons: Less Control and Limited Design Impact
Solar tubes give you fewer options for controlling the light entering the room, and their small size means they do little to enhance your home’s architecture.
Fewer options for control – Skylights give you more control over the quality of light you let in. Skylight shades work just like window shades, while the variety of skylight diffusers on the market gives you plenty of options for distributing the light in the room. You can also add film to reduce UV light that can fade your rugs and furniture. Vented skylights even let you get some fresh air with your sunlight just by opening the skylight as you would an awning window.
With solar tubes, shades and venting aren’t really options. While you can use diffusers and window film, you’ll have a more limited selection compared to what’s available for skylights.
Little design improvement – Skylights are an architectural design feature unto themselves, making the room appear larger and airier, and giving you an ever-changing view of the passing clouds. They add both an ambiance of luxury and a feeling of connection to nature. Most solar tubes, however, are too small to affect the room’s appearance beyond letting in light and they don’t let you see much of anything outdoors
Not equally suited to every home – The type of roof you have might make it impractical to install solar tubes. Most solar tubes are designed for roofs with a slope between 15 and 60 degrees. If you have a flat room, you’ll need to look for tubular skylight models specifically designed for this type of roof. On a steeply pitched roof, such as an A-frame, installation might not be possible at all. Most DIY solar tube kits are designed for roofs with asphalt or wood shingles. If you have tiles or a metal roof, you’ll need an adapter.
In high-humidity climates, condensation on the inside of the tube is a common problem. You can minimize this by wrapping the tube in R-15 batt insulation before you install it.
If your home could use a little more daylight, particularly in the smaller spaces, but you don’t want to spend a lot or change the overall look of your rooms, solar tubes are a practical solution. On the other hand, if you want to make a major impact on a room’s appearance and you’re willing to pay for it, you might want to stick with traditional skylights.
Not one product, but three recalls from Polaris off-road vehicles:
Polaris Recalls Model Year 2018 to 2020 Ranger XP 1000 Off-Road Vehicles Due to Fire Hazard (Recall Alert)
Name of product:
Model Year 2018 – 2020 Ranger XP 1000 & CREW XP 1000 Off-Road Vehicles
The clutch belt can break and damage the secondary clutch and the fuel line, posing a fire hazard to the rider.
Polaris Recalls Model Year 2019 to 2020 Ranger XP 1000 Off-Road Vehicles Due to Fire Hazard (Recall Alert)
Name of product:
Model Year 2019 – 2020 Ranger XP 1000 & CREW XP 1000 Off-Road Vehicles
The fuel line can be misrouted above the bracket that protects the fuel line from a clutch belt failure, posing a fire hazard to consumers.
Polaris Recalls PRO XD and Ranger Utility Vehicles Due to Injury Hazard (Recall Alert)
Name of product:
Model Year 2019 Polaris PRO XD and model year 2020 Ranger Utility vehicles (UTVs).
The seat belts on the vehicles can fail, posing an injury hazard to the user if they were to be in a collision or tip-over incident.
About 10,100 (In addition, 400 units were sold in Canada)
- Home Renos Affecting Insurance: https://www.travelers.com/tools-resources/home/insuring/6-home-renovations-that-can-affect-your-insurance
~ Thank you~
A very special thank you to all of our callers! We live to answer your questions, so keep them coming!
Thank you to our Technical Support:
- Danny Bringer – Chief Engineer
- Carol “Remodeling Babe” Carey – Executive Producer
- Sam Reed – Associate Producer
- Rico Figliolini – Digital Master
Thank you for tuning in to Water, Sunlight and Sheds, Oh My!! And check in next week for more cool tips!
“Water, Sunlight and Sheds, Oh My! ” Show Notes for On The House with the Carey Brothers aired May 9, 2020.
Missed our live show? Don’t worry! Because we have a podcast of the show. It’s the same thing we aired on the radio, but ready for you whenever and wherever you are! Check it out here.