Installing Solar Panels: What’s the Difference Between Grid-Tied and Battery Energy Storage Systems?

When you decide to go the solar route, figuring out how you’re going to store energy for use in times when there isn’t enough sunlight to meet your power needs is one of the biggest elements to consider. Your solar panel installer can talk you through the different energy storage options that are available to you. Together, you can decide what’s best for your situation. However, going in to that conversation armed with a basic knowledge of the two basic setups–grid-tied versus battery solar panel systems–will ensure that you and your solar expert are on the same page, and that you make the best-informed decision possible.

A grid-tied solar panel system is, as it sounds like, connected to the general power grid. Because the sun is such a bountiful resource, it’s quite possible that, at times, your solar panels will create more power than you can use. With a grid-tied system, that excess power is converted to AC current via a grid-tie inverter and then is essentially sold to the power company to be used elsewhere. A metering program records how much of your power goes through this process, and you are credited that amount against your monthly electricity bill. On days when there isn’t enough sun shining, you’ll also be able to draw power from the grid to keep your lights on and your appliances running. A grid-tied solar power installation is great if you are using a combination of solar energy and traditionally generated electricity to power your home.

The other commonly used option for how your solar energy is stored is a battery-based system. This is a closed system that is not connected to the power grid. Instead of excess power getting converted into electricity and being sold to the power company, that converted electricity is stored in rechargeable batteries. One of the main benefits of the battery model is that it puts you in total control of your power. You can use the stored electricity whenever you need it, particularly at night or on days when the sun isn’t shining, and at no additional cost. If you decided to install solar panels in order to use solar energy as your primary power source, battery storage is an excellent option.

As a homeowner who is interested in solar panel installation you do not, of course, need to know everything about the subject. However, going in to the process of designing and installing your solar panel system with some basic ideas of the different energy storage options available will help you make well-informed decisions and will make the planning conversations with your solar expert much easier.… Read More

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Three Tips to Remember While Decorating Your Home With Candles

Though electricity is available and used quite rampantly today, candles still have an old school ambience that many people use for various reasons, like decorating a home. One either can use traditional, stick candles or can use the more decorative candles to decorate a home. However, one should keep some tips in mind before they go ahead with their home decoration. Read the points below to find out how you can decorate your home with candles in a safe and subtle manner.

Safety:

If you plan to decorate your home with candles, make sure that you have the necessary candle stands and flame coverer’s. Without these, your house will be a fire hazard. In addition, you should plan where you wish to keep the candle in the house, so that it does not come in between the walking space in the house.

The Decor:

If you plan to use candles to decorate your house, it is very important that the decision of the decor of the house revolve around how you place the candles and where. For example, the draperies, curtains, etc. should not be too close to the candles. In addition, it would be good if you could look for furniture that would not catch fire easily. Fire resistant and retardant material furniture is available in the market today; all you need to do is to look for in the right place!

Logic:

Decorating a home with candles is a good idea, but only if it sits in the realms of logic. If you live in a place that does not have a lot of sunlight or is one of the colder regions where the darkness is denser, you would be spending a lot on the candles. In addition, keep in mind that decorating with candles is not your first option. You would always need a stable electric connection in the house. The candles are just cosmetic.… Read More

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Tile: The Classic Timeless Flooring

Tile has been used for thousands of years as a durable and decorative covering for floors and walls. There are many places today where ancient and modern examples of decorative patterns and scenes in mosaic tile can be viewed that are simply stunning. While most of us may not be artistic enough to conceive of such elaborate tile work as this, tile is not at all difficult to work with and it is always beautiful when applied to floors and walls.

Most people think that tile is too expensive to use on a budget. This could not be further from the truth. Many very nice ceramic tiles can be purchased for less than $1 per square foot. It is far less expensive than carpet or wood floors and you can install it yourself if you wish, instead of having to pay for professionals to do the job.

Laying tile requires only a few simple tools and supplies. Many home improvement stores have free classes where you can learn to lay tile in about 1 hours, and they provide hands on training. At the same store you can purchase your tile and all of the tools and supplies you will need. Here are the things you will need:

  • Tile
  • Adhesive to secure it to the floor
  • Mortar mix or grout for the specific type of tile
  • A mixing tool that attached to your drill like a drill bit
  • A mortar spreading tool
  • A tile cutter
  • Spacers to keep your tile properly aligned
  • A tile sponge
  • Tile sealant

If the floor you wish to tile is level you will not need anything else. If it is not level, you will have to deal with that before applying tile. inch plywood can be screwed down over the entire floor in order to level it.

It is important to buy sufficient square feet of tile for the entire area at one time. This is because ceramic tile in particular is made in batches. If you have to go back later for additional tile, it may be from a different batch and the color may not be an exact match.

Not only do tiles come in a variety of sized, they also come in a variety of colors and materials. There are specific types of adhesives and mortars, for specific types of tile. Tiles come in glass, ceramic, marble, granite and other stone materials. Mortar comes in sanded and un-sanded versions. Glass and other tiles that can be scratched require un-sanded grout. There are also different adhesives for different tiles. The store where you purchase your supplies can help you to match the appropriate products to the tile. You will also have to choose a color for your mortar or grout. In some cases you can match the grout to the tile color and in others you may want to use a contrasting color. Mortar and grout usually comes in neutral colors, so if you choose a colorful tile you will not be using a matching mortar.

Laying tile is not complicated; it just takes a little time to get it aligned correctly. You need to start at one end of a room and make sure your tile ends at an exit. You cannot walk on it until the adhesive material sets, and you will need to leave the spacers in until it does. Usually 24 hours will insure that it is dry. The mortar you choose will come with directions for mixing and finishing.

If you wish to lay tile in patterns you will want to choose more than one color. The … Read More

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Landscaping – Giving Your Garden A New Look

The yard in front of your house is important because it is the first thing that people see when they visit your home. This means that you should take some time to ensure that this area is always well maintained and healthy. Many people spend many hours carefully grooming and maintaining their garden. For new gardeners, the idea of landscaping an entire yard can be very intimidating. These tips will help you know where to start by exploring some simple ideas for landscaping.

Color is key for a beautiful garden. Try to find attractive plants that will infuse a lot of vibrant colors into your yard. You may also want to choose similar plants or colors to create a repetitive and consistent look in your yard. This repetition is especially important in the front yard. A patio can be a great addition and should be utilized if you already have one. The patio can be the jumping off point for yard design. You may want to plant flowers or shrubs around the patio or you could do the same to the path leading up to your home. Cement walkways are particularly attractive when surrounded on both sides by flowers or bushes.

Selecting plants that are native to your region can also greatly improve a garden. Through this means, you will have a garden that is more water efficient to maintain. Also birds and butterflies will be attractive to these native plants. This added wildlife always adds a welcome touch to a garden. These plants will also be well adapted to the soil and also the climate in your region.

Use your creativity. Don’t feel like you are limited to traditional designs and ideas. When landscaping, creativity can make the final product more beautiful and unique. If you have a creative idea, use it. Let your tastes, style and personality manifest in your garden. You may even choose to select a theme for your yard. If you don’t have any ideas, look through magazines, websites and books. Before too long, you will see some landscaping ideas that will spark your imagination.

There are many themes to choose from. You could have an herb garden brimming with edible and fragrant herbs. You may also choose to create a flower garden. A Japanese garden is also a popular choice. These gardens use rocks and water to make a relaxing statement. Other themes include using statues or ornaments in your yard. Choose a theme that expresses your vision for the garden.… Read More

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Successful Tips For Do It Yourself Home Improvements

Whether you want to improve your home for resale, or make it a more comfortable, up-to-date and exciting environment for you and your family to live in, there are a multitude of home improvements that you can successfully do yourself.

Not only can you save yourself a small fortune by cutting out certain tradesmen, but you’ll also have the satisfaction of knowing you did it yourself. Better still, once you gain the confidence to tackle your own home improvement projects, you’ll find that DIY can be a lot of fun.

So where do you start?

First of all you need to identify which home improvement ideas are suitable for DIY. While there are some structural renovations that are best left to the experts, you may be surprised how many home improvements you can do yourself. All you need to master are a few basic skills, and follow proven tips and techniques.

What you can hope to achieve in Your Home

One of the best ways to transform any home is with paint. With the right tools and techniques, you’ll find that a do it yourself paint job will give you instant gratification.

Another excellent way to quickly change the look and style of any interior is with wallpaper. You may find it easier working with a helper, but once you know what to do, you’ll be amazed at how quickly and easily you can do it yourself.

A little more complicated than painting or wallpapering, laying hardwood or laminate floors, and tiling walls and floors, are tasks that really are not that difficult. Yet by replacing old, worn floors and by tiling or retiling, you will add more value to your home than you ever thought possible.

Shelving is another element that fits the Home Improvements profile. Yes, you do need to know how to ensure shelves are level, and how to make certain that they won’t collapse when items are placed on them. But rest assured that the techniques required to hang or install shelves are not difficult to grasp. Furthermore, the only tools you’ll need are a drill, a screwdriver to fasten screws, and a spirit level – all of which are invaluable for do it yourself jobs around the house.

Installing or replacing crown molding or cornices between the ceiling and walls, and fitting baseboards or skirting boards at floor level, are other possibilities that will elevate your rooms from boring to beautiful. You’ll need a ladder to get to the moldings, and assuming you’re working with wood, an electric drill, a suitable saw and a screwdriver, possibly also a hammer.

There are also a few plumbing upgrades you can do yourself. These range from replacing the washer in a leaking faucet or tap, and replacing the tap fitting itself, to installing new sanitary ware (a basin for instance). Pipe work must be done by a registered plumber, wherever in the world you live.

The same concept applies to light fittings. Sure you’re working with things electrical, but you aren’t working with wiring, which means you don’t need an electrician. So why not change the fixtures and fittings and improve the look and quality of illumination in ALL your rooms?

Some Tips for Success

Probably the most important aspect of successful DIY Home Improvements is to know when to elicit the help of others. This “help” may be in the form of advice, or it may be physical assistance.

Before you get started implementing your home repair and home improvement ideas:

draw up a sensible and achievable plan of action for all the ideas you … Read More

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