Author: Nancy

7 Easy Ways to Prevent Impulse Buys

There are instances when it is relatively easy to control impulse spending. All you needed to do is to avoid entering stores. This allows you to avoid many spending opportunities. There are also instances when you would watch As Seen On TV where you can buy products over the phone. Door-to-door salespersons may also pass by the house. These are instances when you are tempted to spend impulsively. But, it was easier to control this impulse before the coming of the internet.

Since most Americans own either a smartphone or a tablet, buying something has become easier. You can even do it while stretching out on your bed. This makes it important to know how you can avoid impulse spending that will affect anyone who wants to save money. You should avoid these enticements like candy bars displayed close to checkout counters in a grocery. It is also important to be careful of modern ways of spending. These modern methods include targeted social media ads, freemium games, and shopping apps.

But, even as it is easier to spend on impulse these days, it is also easy to avoid this type of spending. There are seven ways for you to easily control impulse spending.

1.Remove credit card or Paypal information on online retailers

All online vendors offer a useful service that allows them to store payment information. This makes it unnecessary to enter the information each time you decide to buy something. But, this service is beneficial for the vendor. It allows customers to buy something from them at the click of a button even if they do not think about their purchase.

You will feel frustrated if you have to look for your credit card and enter the information before you make a purchase. But, this frustration can serve as a reminder that you should not spend on impulse. This reminder is need so you can think twice about your purchase before you complete it. Online vendors do not keep your purchase information if they do not benefit from it.

2. Remove internet access to online retailers you like

While I took out my financial information from all the online shopping sites I like, I still have the information in my head. So, my online impulse spending did not slow down to a significant degree. But, I found a way to stop me from visiting these online shopping sites. I installed an application to filter out these sites automatically for me.

One such program is Optenet Web Filter PC. It blocks users from gaining access to a specific range of internet sites. The software allows you to select the type of websites you want to block. These websites may include shopping sites, social media sites, and game sites, among others. You can put a password on it to let you avoid easily accessing them. A friend can choose the password for you. This way you will not be able to disable it easily. You can also make your own password using a random set of numbers and letters. Store the password in a place that is not easy to access. You can put it on a shelf inside the closet of a guest room or the attic. This will make it unlikely for you to disable the block whenever you are thinking of shopping online.

3. Uninstall shopping applications on your smartphone

Scrolling through the shopping apps of online retailers on your smartphone is fun. But, this also makes it tempting to shop online. You can remove this temptation from your life.

4. Unsubscribe from online shopping sites

It is also not easy to resist the temptation to buy something online when you receive emails from online retailers. You should unsubscribe from these online sites to avoid getting any emails from them. But, if it is a hassle to unsubscribe, you can filter these emails and make them go straight to the recycle bin. This way you do not have to see them at all.

5. Purchase online using gift cards

Downloading your favorite songs from iTunes is easy since they cost less than a dollar each. But, this also makes you are prone to spending too much on songs and games. The same thing goes with upgrading games on your smartphones and tablets. These are small purchases that may end up costing a fortune when you add them up. You may end up spending too much if you simply click and buy anything that you like for your mobile device.

But, you can avoid this type of impulse purchase using your smartphone or tablet. You can get a gift card from Google Play and iTunes every month. This acts like a limit on the amount you spend for your mobile devices. After you used up the gift card, you will have to wait for the end of the month before you can purchase anything.

6. Look for free entertainment

Since I read a lot, I normally get ads and emails on some books that may pique my interest. The algorithms of Audible and Amazon recommend the best books on the market. These are the books that I like to read and may end up listening or reading them. But, this also makes it easy for me to spend more than I have to when it comes to books.

Because of this, I bookmarked the website of the local library on my browser. The app is also installed on my smartphone. When I receive a notice about a book I am interested in, I log into the website of the library and make a reservation for the book. This gives me the instant gratification similar to when I buy the book. But, I do not need to spend anything.

Even though it will take some time before I get the book, I would have at least have a book ready for me to read in the library. This happens since I make a reservation on books every week. This method can also be used when you want to watch a movie or listen to music. It is applicable to all types of entertainment you can access at a local library.

7. Have a snack

The old adage that you should never shop at a grocery store when you are hungry is true. Based on a study by Roy F. Baumeister and Matthew T. Gailliot in 2007, self-discipline is partially affected on the blood-glucose level in your body.

This becomes noticeable when you are hungry while inside a supermarket. You will be tempted to get something that you lack. But, the connection between blood-glucose levels and self-discipline is also true to other kinds of temptations. The researchers said a certain level of glucose is needed for self-control to work without any problems.

This indicates that you can get a fruit or any complex carbohydrate to prevent impulse spending. You can do this whenever you feel the need to buy something that you will not need in the end.

What is water filtration and is it important for you?

What is water filtration and is it important for you?

How to Improve your water in taste and quality?

water filtration

Water filtration is connected to the methods or systems used in removing pollutants from water. Aside from purifiers, there are other devices that can remove these pollutants. These devices include all units that can remove sediments, bacteria, and particles from water. These systems also include devices that can take out the taste of chlorine from the water as well as any kind of filter.

The list also includes activated carbon charcoal filters. The filter may be built into a pitcher. It can also be a part of the filters installed in taps or mounted on faucets. In addition, these systems also include reverse osmosis devices and ultra-violet light units. It also includes portable or fixed water distillers. The list also includes any method used to treat water.

These systems also include home filtering systems and large-scale water treatment plants. Some appliances also have built-in system to clean water. These appliances include refrigerators with their own filtered water or ice dispensers. Some refrigerators may also have freestanding water dispensers or coolers.

There are many kinds of water filters on the market. Your decision on the water filter to get should be based on the condition of your water supply. It may be necessary to remove any unsafe minerals, pollutants, or bacteria from the water if it is not potable. You can ask for advice from a local water expert to help you make your decision.

After knowing the pollutants or particles in the water, you will know what you will need to do to ensure your drinking water is safe. You will also have to look into the installation requirements as well as the cost of installing the unit. There are already a number of options these days. Many of these options are cheaper compared to around ten years ago.

You may also need a filtration system even if your water supply is safe to drink. The taste of chlorine in water from the water treatment plants is one of the biggest concerns of many consumers. But, chlorine is important to make sure the water is safe for you to drink. There are some simple and reasonably-priced water filters to deal with this issue. You can use a filtered water pitcher to store water inside your refrigerator.

Carbon filters have different levels of efficiency. There are also differences in the materials used and stages or layers in cleaning water. Because of this, you should check the details of the product so you will have an idea on what the unit can do for you.

While a faucet water filter is a simple device, it can help in improving drinking water quality. Its performance, easy installation, and low price makes it popular in the market.

Proper maintenance is important so the filtering system will work properly. This is true for all types of systems. In this situation, you should make sure to change the filter regularly. The filter should also be changed regularly in places where hard water is present. Hard water typically has more particles and sediments present.

You should be proactive when dealing with the filtering processes.

There are differences in the size, price, efficiency and installation requirements of these systems. But, they all help in improving the quality of your drinking water. You can also check Water 101 to know more about water filters, water filtration, drinking water, hard water, bottled water, and how to make tap water potable.

Top 7 Best Water Filters Reviews in 2017

Look for the best water filtration system to remove chemicals and mineral, among others

You have no idea what is in the water coming from your water faucet. The area where you live determines if it has heavy metals, fluoride, or hazardous organic compounds. You can do something to reduce or remove them from your drinking water. The first thing to do is to rely on bottled water, but this is an expensive option. Another option is to buy a water filter.

It is a good thing you have numerous options when it comes to water filtration systems. These include pitchers in the refrigerator as well as reverse osmosis systems that have to be installed by professionals. The following are some of water filtration systems you can consider for your home.

Best Overall: APEC Top Tier 5-Stage Ultra Safe Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water Filter System

APEC-Premium-5-Stage-Reverse-DrinkingThe APEC Top Tier 5-Stage Ultra Safe Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water Filter System is considered as the best in the market when it comes to removing impurities in drinking water. This American filtration system is capable of removing 99 percent of impurities, including lead, copper and arsenic, among others. It uses a reverse osmosis system where water is forced into a membrane of its filter in removing contaminants.

It is not necessary to have a stock of replacement filters once you have the system in your kitchen. You can replace three of the five filters once every six months. The remaining two filters only have to be replaced once every two or three years. The lead-free chrome faucet of the system makes it easy for you to get drinking water. One of the settings of the faucet allows you to get drinking water while the button on the tap is pressed. The second setting gives you a steady stream of water unless you turn off the tap. This is perfect for filling up water bottles or cooking pots. In addition, the system also features lead-free fittings prevent water from spilling each time it is used.

But, you will have to install this best reverse osmosis system in your kitchen. You only need some space under the sink to accommodate the filters. The tap will have to be installed on the sink. Installing the system is fairly easy to do and can be completed within half an hour.

Best Countertop Water Filter: APEX Countertop Drinking Water Filte

APEX-Countertop-Drinking-Water-FilterAside from removing impurities, the APEX Countertop Drinking Water Filte adds minerals into the water. The recommended replacement alkaline cartridges help it remove heavy metals, chloramines, and chlorine from the water. These cartridges use calcite to modify the pH level of the water as well as regulate the presence of microorganisms. In addition, it adds potassium, calcium, and magnesium. It is necessary to replace the cartridges after it filters around 1,500 gallons of water. You can also use other kinds of filters for the device.

While it is a countertop unit, this best countertop water filter has a flexible tube connecting it to the nozzle. Water goes through this tube into the unit before filtered water comes is dispensed. It is less difficult to install the unit compared to under-the-sink devices. Unlike pitcher or pour-over countertop units, it is not necessary to fill in this unit. But, it is not quite pleasing to the eye. The unit may also become an obstruction if it is left dangling from the faucet.

Best Water Filter Pitcher: Brita 10 Cup Everyday Water Pitcher

Brita-Everyday-Water-Pitcher-FilterThere are instances when reasonably-priced and simple units are good enough for you. The Brita 10 Cup Everyday Water Pitcher fits this bill to the tee. It can easily purify your water without having to install it. The unit can store around ten cups of water. It is capable of reducing the odor and taste of copper, cadmium, chlorine, and mercury. The unit can help in improving your health. Changing the filter is necessary every forty gallons of water or within two month’s time. You will be reminded to replace the filter through the sticker on top of the unit. While only one filter is included in the package, packs of three are available at around $15 each.

While there may be some issues with leaking inside the refrigerator, this best water filter pitcher will not be a problem if it is not topped up. Since the unit can be stored inside the refrigerator, you will always have cold filtered water anything you need it.

Best Faucet Water  Filter: PUR PFM400H Chrome Horizontal Water Filtration Faucet Mount

PUR-PFM400H-Horizontal-Filtration-MineralThere are some people who want filtered water ready for them to use, but dislike having to refill a pitcher. In this situation, the PUR PFM400H Chrome Horizontal Water Filtration Faucet Mount is the best option. This device can be installed easily into the faucet and does its work straight away.

The water filter is capable of removing seventy contaminants, including 92 percent of some pesticides, 96 percent of mercury, and 99 percent of lead. Its mineral core filters the water and gives its users clean filtered water every time they turn o the faucet.

The unit features a light to give users a heads-up on when to replace the filter. The filter can clean up to a hundred gallons of water. This is around three months of water for average households. Its horizontal design gives it a sleeker look compared to vertical filters.

The best faucet water filter features a leak-proof connector, enhanced grip and a longer battery life. But, the unit is not compatible with pull-out faucets since it is connected to the end of a faucet.

Best Easy-to-Install Water Filter: Filtrete Maximum Under Sink Water Filtration System

Filtrete-Maximum-Filtration-Install-3US-MAX-S01While many people like filters that can be hidden under the sink, these units are not easy to install. Even as it is more complicated than faucet filters or pitchers, this Filtrete Maximum Under Sink Water Filtration System is relatively easier to install compared to other filters of its kind. The company says it is to install it within thirty minutes. Reviewers also said the instructions were user-friendly. It is capable of reducing the taste and odor of chlorite, rust, soil, sediment, sand, microbial cysts, and lead. Replacing the filter is necessary every six months. The replacement filters include the standard, advanced, and maximum units.

Most customers are satisfied with this best under sink water filter. Many of them said it is very easy to install. The customers were also impressed with the taste of the filtered water. While there were some issues with leaking after the nit was installed, many were satisfied with the features of the system.

Best High-Capacity: Berkey BK4X2-BB Big Berkey Stainless Steel Water Filtration System

Berkey-BK4X2-BB-Stainless-Filtration-ElementsA good number of people are already using this high-capacity water filtering tank. The Berkey BK4X2-BB Big Berkey Stainless Steel Water Filtration System is perfect for areas where the water supply has a lot to be desired. It may not be necessary for apartments and houses located in the urban areas. But, it is ideal for areas where water comes mainly from the well. It proves to be a lifesaver in these areas.

Its drums can store more than two gallons of water. It can also filter around 3 ½ gallons of water per hour. It can also remove pathogenic bacteria, cysts, and parasites. The unit also works well with untreated water coming from streams or lakes. Users have two filtering options to use. The standard filtering option can filter up to 3,000 gallons of water or a ten-year supply of water. The second option to filter fluoride from the water will require replacing the filter each year. While it is rather costly, the unit is reliable in providing clean water all the time.

Best Water Bottle: Brita 23.7 Ounce Hard Sided Water Bottle with 1 Filter

Brita-Ounce-Sided-Bottle-FilterA water bottle is ideal for people on the go. The Brita 23.7 Ounce Hard Sided Water Bottle with 1 Filter features a filter on its straw. This ensures you will always have clean water to drink all the time. The wide straw of this 24 oz bottle can easily fit the miniature version of the classic charcoal filter of Britta. It is capable of removing particulates, chlorine and odor. You may have to order an extra pack or replacement filters since it is necessary to change the filters every two months.

The water bottle is BPA-free and can easily fit the cup holder of a car or the treadmill of the gym. You can wash the bottle inside a dishwasher as long as you place it on the top rack. But, it will be necessary to hand wash the mouthpiece to ensure it is really clean. The mouth of the bottle is wide enough for you to add ice into the bottle.

How to use Walkway Outdoor Lighting to Show Off Evening Curb Appeal

Outdoor lighting can be considered as the most important type of lighting. Buyers normally pass by a house several times a day to check how it looks. But, only a few can find time to look at a house at night. Sad to say, many people make the same outdoor staging mistakes and overlook the importance of wonderful outdoor lighting. Outdoor lighting allows people to safely walk around your property at night. It also guides them to the front door. The following are some ways you can use walkway lighting in enhancing the curb appeal of a house.

Selecting Chic Outdoor Lighting Fixtures

Buyers normally inspect pathway lights when they walk towards your house. Due to this, you should look for lighting fixtures that make you house appealing. It should also increase the value of the landscape and the house itself. Traditional fixtures are ideal for old homes. They evoke an understating effect and provide suitable lighting to the place.

Modern homes can benefit from solar, LED, or stainless steel lights. They complement the façade and give it a modern appeal. Elegant or ornamental fixtures can also enhance the visual impact of the place. Selecting a suitable outdoor lighting fixture can highlight the style of the home. Path lighting fixtures are ideal in making statements.

Consider Power Requirements When Designing the Walkway Lighting

Power requirements of outdoor lighting fixtures are either 12 volts or 120 volts. The 12-volt lighting fixtures require smaller bulbs and have a low profile. Halogen bulbs are used to provide good lighting. These fixtures are safe and easy to install. They do not pose any risks of electric shock even if they are installed in wet or damp areas.

Professionals should install a 120-volt lighting fixture. They are not easy to work with and dangerous to handle. These fixtures are also costly to install.

While, on the other hand, solar outdoor lighting is another great option. Solar outdoor lights are so easy to install and they are safe to use. They don’t need any wiring, so you can install them at any place you like, just making sure they can receive enough sunlight during the day.

For walkway outdoor lighting, there are several outdoor solar lighting options:

Carefully Selecting the Materials for Lighting Fixtures

Look for the best materials for you lighting fixtures.

Things to Consider in Selecting the Materials for Lighting Fixtures:

Many homeowners prefer brass lighting fixtures since they are practical. The material is tough and long-lasting. Their heavy structure makes them hard-wearing. The textured finish complements decking and stone. Rustic homes can benefit from polished brass fixtures since they turn dark after some time.

Aluminum walkway fixtures are ideal for limited budgets. These fixtures are economical since they are powder-coated and not painted. While cast aluminum lights feature a dark shade, you have a suitable selection of colors for the lights, including bronze and green.

The glossy finish of copper lighting fixtures turns to muted brown after a period of time. The hue eventually transforms into verdigris patina, which blends with brickwork, foliage, and mulch. Exterior areas and gardens go well with weathered copper outdoor lighting fixtures. Due to this, they are popular choices for lighting walkways.

Stainless Steel
Stainless steel lighting fixtures are normally used on modern gardens. But, it should be cleaned regularly since it can tarnish easily. It also easily collects debris. Stainless steel cleaners are needed to prevent brown spots from developing on the lights. Phosphatized steel fixtures are good choices since they do not require too much maintenance. Their heavy-duty surfaces do not tarnish or corrode.

Homeowners normally want to their home to have a pleasant appearance. Outdoor lighting fixtures can enhance any exterior. The surrounding will be more appealing at night when you use them. They also increase the value of your house. It is not necessary to install lights all over the place. You can strategically place the lights in the space. Walkway lights enhance curb appeal and direct potential buyers into your front porch. You can easily make their home appealing using suitable outdoor lighting fixtures.

8 Things You Should Not Purchase Online

Life has been easier with the coming of online shopping. But, there are times when you should buy from a brick-and-mortar store. There are some retailers who do not make it easy to return items even if they were not the items you ordered.

Majority of items are better bought online. But, there are also items that you should not purchase online. These are some things you should buy at a store nearest you.

1. Vehicles

CARSIt is better for you to test-drive cars and other vehicles before you buy them. Due to this, it is better for you to visit the nearest showroom to lessen the risk of a bad purchase. You should also have a mechanic check the car you want to buy. And the best way to do this is to buy the car at a physical store.

You will also have fun while test-driving the car. This way, you will know if it is a comfortable ride and has everything you are looking for.

2. Pets

petsIt is risky to buy animals online. Some unlicensed breeders and puppy mills may also mistreat the animals. You will have an idea how the animal was treated when you see where it was raised. In this instance, you will also avoid buying a pet that may have a disease that will add up to your expenses.

In addition, you will also see if the personality of the pet is suitable for you. You should take a look at the animal before you adopt or buy one.

3. Real estate

Real-estateReal estate should be bought in person. This will give you an idea of the condition of the property. Many recent photos of homes and other properties were made to look better than their actual condition.

You will also have a good idea about the shape, size and condition of the property if you check it yourself. This is better than looking at photos online.

4. Prescription medication

Pills and capsules macro

Pills and capsules macro

While a number of trustworthy pharmacies offer prescription medication at a discount, there are some that do not do this at all. There is some that exert effort in getting you the right medication. But, there may be times when you will not get what you are looking for. This makes it important for you to check out the pharmacy yourself before buying medication.

The only time you should buy online is when your insurance company or doctor recommends it to you. They normally recommend trustworthy pharmacies since they have to be of good standing to get such recommendations.

5. Designer knockoffs

Designer-knockoffsWhile you may be tempted to buy knockoffs online, it’s normally not worth the risk. A good number of these sites are insecure, or are located in countries with bad online security. Your credit card information may go into the wrong hands when you buy through these websites.

6. Large appliance

large-applianceEven as there are many appliances sold at discounted prices online, these deals may not be worth the risk. It will not be easy to repackage them and send them back for a refund. In addition, you will not know if the color matches your home unless you visit the store yourself. Due to this, you should buy these appliances in person to save any issues in the future. Of course, you can buy some small appliances, like ice cream makers, water distillers, popcorn makers, etc. They are easy to get and if you dislike your purchase, you can ask for a refund.

7. Furniture

FurnitureSimilar to large appliances, it is better to buy furniture in person. The deals online stores offer may not be rewarding enough in case you need to return the item.

You should also check the comfort level and materials used on the furniture. It is nearly impossible to know if a couch is comfortable if you have not tested it first.

8. Mattress

MattressA number of mattress companies only sell products online. The recommendations given by some people should not be enough for you to buy these products online. You have to check if it’s comfortable enough for you. This can only be done if you check the mattress yourself. You should also check its warranty. Many companies have a return policy for these items. You should check the trial period if you purchase the mattress online.

Solar Powered Lights Buying Guide

LE-Solar-Rope-Lights-23ftSolar powered lights may be used for security or gardening purposes. The first thing to consider when buying outdoor lights is quality. Aside from aesthetics and materials used, you need to take into account three factors when it comes to solar lights

1. Solar Cell Quality

All solar cells used on these lights offer a similar power output for the same area. But, they feature different coatings. Inexpensive lights have plastic or similar coatings that can turn yellow or become cloudy after some time. While more expensive cells use glass coating, the quality of the glass is different. The best solar cells are the ones using glass coatings. But, you need to keep them clean.

The amount of power sent to the battery is determined by cell area. Shaded areas or areas where daylight is short need a large cell size to get a full charge. But, many lights have batteries that can get a full charge in eight hours or more under the sun. When the battery is fully-charged, it offers around six to eight hours of light using a LED. Some people can combine different components of lights to make charging faster or make run time longer at night.

2. Batteries.

Nickel Cadmium batteries (NiCd)

Many solar powered lights feature Nickel Cadmium (NiCd) batteries. These batteries are inexpensive and dependable. They also have a longer life span than other types of batteries. But, these batteries may have to be replaced after two years or less. These batteries can take a limited number of cycles or the number of times they can be charged and discharged depending on the environment.

Temperature range

Nickel Cadmium batteries have the best temperature range. They are also suitable for use outdoors. While many batteries are replaceable, you should check for odd sizes used in small-size lights. The price of replacement batteries are also higher compared to the ones included in the solar powered light.

Avoid different battery combinations

Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) batteries cannot replace Nickel Cadmium batteries. The charging requirements of these two batteries are not the same. Many inexpensive lights feature basic charging circuits. These circuits work with specific types of batteries.

Ensure the battery contacts are clean.

The battery sealing of inexpensive lights is deficient. Their contacts easily get rusty and stained. When the contacts are dirty, the run time decreases. It may also damage the battery until it finally wears out and become unusable.

3. LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes)

These lights feature LEDS, which are cost-efficient and offer bright light. It is important to make sure there is a good balance on the size of the LED, solar cell, and battery. The cell should generate energy suitable for the battery. The battery should store enough energy used by the LED. The LED should also be efficient enough so it can stay bright throughout the night.

Better-quality LEDs are used on good lights. These LEDs are power-efficient and offer good light quality or color rendering index (CRI). They also have better focus. Inexpensive lights emit bluish, glaring lights. The light also comes from one area. Good lights have a warm glow and the light has a diffused pattern.

Additional Tips

This tip came from a friend and you may find it useful.

I have been using string solar powered fairy LED lights for a number of years already. These worked well even though they were inexpensive. Nevertheless, a whole set was damaged by frost after I left it outside since the cold weather seems to affect electronics. Foxes also chewed on the wires. They work the whole year round in London since the weather is not quite sunny. But, two weeks during Christmas or the winter solstice, something appears to go wrong with my solar powered lights. Due to this, I try to spend Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere if possible since the weather is warm and sunny.

But, you really need to do your research and maintain your solar-powered lights. When you buy a set, make sure to check their tolerance. Brighter lights require more energy. But, it may not be necessary to fill up everything outside the house with lights at night.

How To Find Solar Lighting For Any Outdoor Space

solar-lanternSolar lights have become more and more popular and they are not boring any more but come in different styles and capabilities. You can use solar lights to illuminate your garden, walkway, patio, etc. Solar lighting doesn’t only create a warm ambience to show off your house’s architectural features, but they are bright enough to ensure security and safety around your house.

Why Choose Solar Powered Outdoor Lights?

Actually, you have enough reasons to choose solar powered outdoor lights.

  • No hardwiring is needed. Because solar lights harvest energy directly from the sun not from the grid, they don’t need any hardwiring.
  • Easy Installation. Because of no hardwiring required, the installation becomes easier and you can install solar lights yourself without costing much to hire an electrician. And only a few tools is needed.
  • No electric costs. Solar lights are powered by their recharged batteries that store energy from the sun. Therefore, even if they are emitting lighting overnight, they will not consume the electricity energy from the grid. And you will not see any electricity bill rise. The cost is the initial upfront price of the light itself. Sometimes, you may need to buy batteries separately.
  • Safe to use. You can use them around your pool, hot tubs, ponds and other similar accent areas. Because their voltage is very low, they are very safe to use. And you don’t need to worry about an accident caused by the electric leakage.
  • Weatherproof and offer continuous lighting. Most of them are designed to withstand bad weathers, so they are weatherproof. And they can work, even if you encounter electrical power outages.

Consider Location

When installing solar lights, of course, they don’t need to be near any electric outlet, but the location also really matters. This is because they need to harvest solar energy, so they should be exposed to direct sunlight to make sure the built-in rechargeable batteries can be fully charged during the day. Therefore, the sunlight is very important for solar outdoor lights. Or, if the batteries cannot be fully charged by the solar cells or solar panels, the length of lighting time at dusk or at night will be shorter. The operation time is determined by the location, weather and season. Generally, most solar lights need at least eight hours of sun to make sure they can last a whole night.

Therefore, when choosing the location for them, you should do as the following:

  • If solar cells and solar lights are all in one system, make sure they are installed where they can receive sufficient sunlight during the day. And you need to keep them from debris and dirt.
  • If there is a separate solar panel, the solar panel should be installed similarly to those all in one solar lights.

Types of solar lights

As solar technology advances, modern solar lights become more and more practical. Most of them use LED technology, making them much brighter and can last longer than before. And LED bulbs also have a long lifetime, so you don’t need to change them on a regular basis. Basically, they don’t need to be replaced during their life cycle.

And solar lighting comes in many styles and can be used almost anywhere around your house.

Soar path lights

Solar path lights are perfect for lighting a patio, walkway, driveway and pathway. They have stakes, so you just need to plug in their stakes into the ground and that’s all. If the ground is a bit hard, you can use a rubber mallet to drive them into the ground without damaging them.

Solar rope lights or solar string lights

They are very flexible and you can wrap them around your outdoor furniture, railings and branches, so you can get a focal point. Mostly, they feature a separate solar panel. Using solar string lights to create a romantic atmosphere for festive days and outdoor parities is a good idea.

Solar Lanterns

You can fasten solar lanterns to the side of your house or trunks of trees to illuminate the way. And some of them feature a good design, so they can also be used to decorate your outdoor space.

Other types:

The Bottome Line

All the solar outdoor lights can be called as solar landscape lights, because they can be used to decorate your landscape with ease.

Edlund U-12 Manual Can Opener Review

Edlund-U-12-Manual-Opener-SilverIf you are looking for a manual can opener for commercial or home settings, this Edlund U-12 Manual Can Opener is one of the best choices. It is the best standard mounted can opener on the market. Although it is not a table mounted can opener and is a bit expensive, it works more versatile, easier and smoother than other can openers. This unit has a 16-inch bar that is adjustable, making it easy to fit any size can. And its hand crank is so easy to operate, and you will find it is so easy to open cans with this hand crank. This product is well-built and can last for a very long time. Well, the only problem is the price. Although the price is higher, its performance, ease of use and durability make it a good choice anyway. Once you have it, you will find opening cans becomes so easy.

Product features

  • Designed for commercial use
  • Durable and can last for a very long time
  • Designed to be heavy-duty
  • Made of stainless steel
  • Easy to maintain


If you need a heavy-duty can opener that can last for a long time, this one is definitely the best choice. Many customers spoke highly of its ease of use, performance and durability. Highly recommend!

What to Consider Before Buying an Attic Ladder

Telesteps-T1000L-Telescoping-Attic-Loft-LadderAn attic ladder or a fold-down stairs make it easier, safer and faster for you to climb up and down the attic. It could actually make your storage space more accessible and things stored there won’t easily be forgotten. The installation process could take just a few hours. The ladders and stairs available in the market come as pre-assembled kits, which makes installation a piece of cake, DIY project. The products can be ordered for shipment to your home and also available for pick-up at a local store.

Here are some factors you need to consider before buying the best attic ladder.


Attic ladder kits are designed and made to fit between existing floor framing of the attic. Usually, an existing attic access hole is enlarged just a little. It would be convenient for you if this is your situation. If not, you have to cut and frame a new access hole. Make sure that the location you choose gives the bottom of the ladder enough space to maneuver.

Type of Attic Floor and Roof Framing

It would be wise for you to identify the type of floor and roof framing of your attic. It is usually framed with floor joists and trusses or individual rafters. Know that trusses are structural components, therefore, trusses should not be cut. Standard floor framing can be reorganized easily. If your planned location for the attic ladder has trusses, you have to seek professional advice first.

Spacing and Orientation of Joist & Truss

Standard-sized attic ladder kits are made to fit between floor joists or trusses with a spacing of 24” (24 inches). This indicates an open space of 22 1/2” between each joist pair. If your existing framing spacing is 22 1/2”, you may choose to install the ladder here. But if you want a different location, you would need additional framing.

There is a chance that the joists are placed in the wrong direction for your ladder installation. If you will encounter this problem, just cut the joists and surround the opening with doubled-up headers and joists. However, you can’t apply this solution when it comes to trusses. You will have to seek professional advice.

Basic Space Requirements

You really have to check first the attic access opening. For full-sized attic ladders and stairs, at least 22 1/2 x 54” is needed. For safe mounting and dismounting of the ladder, consider a suitable landing space in the attic. This prevents trouble when transferring storage items. Another important thing to check is the headroom. Make sure that there would be enough space so you won’t bang your head against the roof framing when you climb up the attic. Lastly, be sure to check that there is enough space in the attic and on the floor below the attic opening. This is to ensure that there is enough space when the ladder is fully extended.

There are various designs and models available. If your space is limited, compact ladder models can be your option. These are specially designed for closets and other small spaces. There are also models that only requires an 18 x 24” attic opening. These attic ladder models need less floor space than standard-sized ladders.

Dimensions vary by ladder type and model, so it’s best to look into the requirements stated by the manufacturer.

Length and Weight

You need to measure the distance from the floor to the attic opening. Once you know the length you need, choose the best fit and appropriate size. Weight pertains to the ladder’s load capacity. Generally, the sturdier it is, the more weight it can carry. To determine the load capacity you will look for, identify the weight of the heaviest person who will be using the ladder including the heaviest load that will be hauled. A 250-lb capacity may be suitable but if you are the conservative type, a 300-lb capacity would be comfortable for you.


Attic ladders are not just made of aluminum. There are also attic ladders that are made of steel and wood. However, the top-rated choice is the aluminum, not just because it is lightweight and strong but it’s also rust-resistant.

Aluminum attic ladders are rarely affected by temperature and humidity, so it could last for years. Even though a wood ladder could also last for years, it more prone to moisture and temperature as well as probable natural defects.

Usability Features

Attic ladders and stairs now come in different designs and styles. Each of these offers safety, convenience, and usability. Most end up buying for personal preference. The following are some features you may consider:

  • Folding vs. Telescoping Ladder or Stairs. There are ladders that fold out. Some ladders telescope like an extension ladder. There are also those ladders called “concertina” that extend on a scissor-like mechanism.
  • Angle of Attic Ladder and Stairs. In most cases, attic ladder and stairs are steeper than regular staircases. Ladders are usually steep like when painting a house, while stairs are less steep. Depending on the space, you may opt for a less or more angled ladder or stairs.
  • Handrails. A ladder or stairs can have a handrail. But the question is, would you prefer climbing up and down the ladder with a handrail or just use the ladder rungs? Note that you would be carrying storage items in one hand.
  • Rungs vs. Steps. Attic stairs or ladders are not the same with a regular staircase. Every trip up and down the attic seems like climbing a ladder. Think of your convenience and safety.


Significant sources of heated and cooled air loss in a home are attic access panels and stairs or ladders. It is best to consider products with tight-fitting doors and insulation. You can also apply weatherstripping around the door opening to prevent air leakage. Slow down the heat loss by covering the panel door with rigid foam insulation board.

What is a Chiminea and How is it Used?

Chiminea-fireplacesChimenea is a Spanish word for chimney. It’s also referred to as chiminea. Both words are pronounced as che-meh-neh-yah and used interchangeably today. People with Spanish origin use the word chimenea, while most Americans these days use chiminea because that was how their ancestors spelled it based on how they heard the word years ago. Some prefer to use chimenea because it seems closer to its roots that way.

Chimineas or chimeneas have been around for centuries. They are seen and used widely in Mexico and the western states like Arizona and California. These earthenware outdoor fireplaces are mostly made of clay and hand-decorated. These can be functional fireplaces or you can opt to use it as garden art or accent pieces on the patio to achieve a rustic or southwestern ambiance.

History of Chimineas

Around the 16th or 17th century, chimeneas were first used as cooking vessels by chefs in the small villages of Mexico. As they cook food using a chimenea, families come together around it for warmth.

This wide-bottom, vase form earthenware was traditionally made of clay and had a vertical, narrow chimney for the smoke to channel through. The fire pit had a wide opening at the side to take in enough woods to produce a good fire. This design allowed the chimenea to be used in the rain.

Chimeneas are also similar with other stoves. It has similarities with the traditional potbelly stove. A potbelly stove is an old-fashioned, cast-iron wood-burning stove with a flat top for its fireplace for cooking food or heating water. Chimenea is also the same with kotao, a wood-burning stove used in Eastern European countries. Kotao is used with round and large cooking pans. The only difference is that potbelly stove and kotao both have a wider and more open fire pit, while chimenea has a confined fire pit.

How to Use a Chiminea

When you want to use a chiminea to cook food, load some woods in the fire pit and ignite fire into it. Generally, the wood will be in full burn within 15 minutes, which produces enough heat to cook food. Like other fireplaces, control the flame with wood. Several kinds woods can be used for chiminea but aromatic woods are the popular choice. These woods include cedar, mesquite, hickory, or pinon. However, in the advent of technology, some chimineas now run on gas or propane.

Things to Consider Before You Buy

Don’t fall victim to impulsive buying just because of the eye-catching motifs of the chiminea. Think of the following before you purchase the best Chiminea:

  • Material – Chimineas are mostly made of clay and terracotta. However, there are also chimineas that are made of steel, copper, cast iron, or cast aluminum.
  • Fireplace size – Check whether space is enough for standard-sized wood. You might end up buying special-sized wood for your chiminea.
  • Shape and design – Check the chimney thickness, how it stands, or if the shape and design are in harmony.
  • Your location – Go for a chiminea that runs on gas or propane if you reside in a place that prohibits the use of both indoor and outdoor wood-burning fireplaces.

Where to Place Your Chiminea

There are three things you need to think of when deciding where to put your chiminea: safety, position, and surface.

Think of your safety. You would want to put your chiminea at a place visible from inside your house. These locations include your patio, deck or courtyard.

The position of your chiminea could matter a bit. Even though it’s going to be hard to predict, position the back to face the breeze or the wind. But importantly, set it up straight and vertical as this position ensures sooting in the fireplace.

Check the surface of the location you want to place your chiminea. It should be fire-safe. If you want it placed on your wooden deck or terrace, you can place a 3 feet by 4 feet platform or patio hearth made of pavers or brick. It’s best to place it on concrete, brick, and stone patio surfaces.

Also, ensure that there is no overhead cover on the location such as eaves or patio roof.

How to Care for Your Chiminea

Like any earthenware, chimineas are prone to cracking. Being made of clay, chimineas have a low-fire glaze. It’s advisable to coat your new clay-made chiminea with an acrylic finish or sealer. This serves as your outdoor fireplace’s shield from water and moisture, thus, re-apply every 6 to 8 weeks. In connection with that, provide your chiminea with a cover.

During rainy or bad weather, store your chiminea in a basement, garage, or shed to prevent serious damage.

Maintaining the cleanliness of the fire pit could be a drag. But this will do the trick: Put sand, lava rock, pea gravel or fire glass in the fire pit. You can just rake out the ashes and turn over the sand. During cleaning, just put them in the bucket and hosed off with water. Then, set the sand mixture to dry before putting it back to the pit.

Not much is required of you to have a relaxing outdoor area with a chiminea. It just takes a presence of mind and safe behavior.