Shower Head Buying Guide

A lot of people overlook the important of a good shower head. However, you shower will not be as invigorating if your shower head produces only a weak sprinkle. The best shower heads provide a strong flow, steady temperature and adjustable spray settings. So if you’ve decided to upgrade your shower head but got confused with all the different options available on the market today, here’s a comprehensive shower head buying guide to guide you through the buying decision.

Shower Head Features to Look For

shower head buying guideTypes of Shower Head

  • Fixed shower head. This is probably the most common type. It comes straight out of the wall, facing down at an angle. This type is mostly used in small showers. These simple shower heads are a great choice if you’re on a budget. However, keep in mind that since it’s a stationary shower head, you won’t be able to move it up or down to adjust it to your height.
  • Adjustable shower heads. This type is fixed to the wall but also features an extended arm, which can be adjusted to different angles.
  • Rain shower heads. These are in trend right now. They can be mounted to a ceiling or wall and they produce a water flow that is intended to imitate the feeling of standing out in the rain. Rainfall shower heads are great for a relaxing shower, but not for those who prefer high powered water pressure.
  • Ceiling shower heads. This type usually features shower heads that are large in size and which provide you with drenching full body rainfall experience. It’s a great choice for tall people and those who like full-body coverage.
  • Handheld shower heads. This is also a very common type that can be found in most homes. It gives you the option of keeping it mounted on the wall or taking it off to aim the water wherever you want. It’s the best type for people with mobility issues, children and short people, as well as those that like being able to aim the stream at those hard to reach places of the body.
  • Low flow shower heads. For those that understand the importance of saving the environment, there’s the option of the low flow shower head. It usually uses an efficient pressurized chamber to deliver a higher pressure flow from a low stream of water.
  • High pressure shower heads. If your home has weak water pressure, the solution for you could be a high pressure shower head. This feature you can find on different types of shower heads, including rain, fixed and handheld options.
  • Dual shower heads. It features a combination of one shower head that is wall mounted and another one that is handheld. So it’s a good option for families with tall people and kids.
  • Filter shower heads. A lot of homes have chlorinated water, which can affect your skin and hair, especially if you have sensitive skin. To solve this issue, you can get a filter shower head that will do both delivering a steady stream of water and filtering out the chlorine.

Spray Patterns

  1. Rain. It’s a low flow pattern that is used on larger shower heads like rainfall shower heads. The pattern produces light pressure that creates a feeling of standing out in the rainfall.
  2. Massage. This pattern features different streams and higher pressure that come together to create a massaging effect. The result is an invigorating and relaxing shower experience.
  3. Jet. The pattern uses high water pressure that produces a concentrated stream.

Other Features

  • Flow rate. To follow government regulations, all shower heads are made with the maximum flow rate of 2.5 gallons per minute. This contributes to saving the environment. Low flow shower heads have an even lower flow rate that can be as low as 1.25 gallons per minute. However, if your household has low water pressure, showering with a low flow shower head can be unsatisfactory. So check your home’s water pressure levels first and then keeping that information in mind, you can decide if you need a low flow or high pressure shower head.
  • Installation type. Depending on the existing plumbing setup, you can choose either a ceiling or a wall mounted shower head. It can also depend on the size of your shower space. In a small shower, it’s more common installing a wall mounted shower head. However, it can also depend on your preferences. For example, if you’d like to have the most realistic rainfall experience, consider getting a ceiling mounted rain shower head.
  • Material. You’ll also have a variety of finishes to choose from, with anything from chrome to antique brass. As a rule of thumb, the finish of your shower head should match the finish of your other bathroom fixtures.

To check the best shower heads currently available on the market, check this Shower Reports site. There they also feature a more complete buying guide and different other tips. Another product we’d recommend checking out for your bathroom is a water softener. To understand their benefits, read this article.

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Hidden Renovation Costs That Can Sink Your Budget

You can’t predict everything when renovating. However, you can prepare for hidden renovation costs, so you wouldn’t have to pay a huge chunk of money all of a sudden. If you want to save yourself unnecessary heartache, it’s important to plan smart ahead. Here are a few of the commonly overlooked extra costs that you should keep in mind when planning your next renovation.

Extra Hands

hidden renovation costsEven though you might think that you’ll be able to move around all the boxes on your own, in the end you might end up in need of extra strong hands. Maybe you can handle clearing out the space on your own, but at the same time, there’s a chance that moving all that gigantic furniture on your own is not really possible. Then you would need to hire a moving company and that would add to your renovation costs.

Debris and Haulage Removal

Before beginning the renovation, you need to clear out the house and that means there’ll be a lot of debris and waste left behind. So before you’ll be able to start any of the renovation work, you’ll need to get rid of this waste. And most of us forget about it until it’s needed. However, this can get quite costly since you’ll need to hire manual labor and a lorry to transport waste. The amount you’ll be paying for debris and haulage removal depends on the size of your house and the extent of the renovation you’ve got planned.

Building Codes

Building codes serve the purpose of protecting public health and safety. Additionally, they implement policies for energy efficiency and sustainability. And this can mean hidden costs, especially if you’re renovating a house that was built ages ago. The building codes could have changed since the time the house was built. So when renovating, you might have to bring it up to code, which of course costs money.

Hotel Stays

You might choose to stay at home during the renovation but with time all the noise too unbearable. So for convenience, considering budgeting a night or two at the hotel. You don’t have to book anything in advance, just budgeting a few nights of getting away will already making a bit less stressful.

Eating Out

If you’re planning kitchen remodelling, chances are you’ll be eating out a lot. Cooking without a kitchen can be a real challenge, especially since everything will also be covered in dust. You can create a temporary kitchen to avoid this, but that can also be costly. So plan to be eating take away or eating out.

Think of the Pup

Your dog might have the nerves of steel. But for a lot of pets all the noise and strangers might be a little too much. So check that he’s handling the stress well enough. If he isn’t, consider a brief boarding or you can hire a mid-day dog walker or leave it with one of the relatives or friends.

Unexpected Structured Changes

After demolishing the drywall, you might suddenly realize that the beam you thought would be strong, actually isn’t. Especially in the kitchen, people often have to deal with unplanned structural changes. And this can increase your budget by 10 to 15 percent. So before the remodelling begins, consider all the potential structural changes and try to include them in your budget.

Changing Your Mind

Your indecisiveness can also be a potential hidden cost and quite a substantial one. A lot of people start having new visions of their new design already after the remodelling began. Many people don’t understand that when they change their mind a lot, the building contractor could have already been spending time and effort carrying out the previous plan. So all these changes of the mind can also have a cost.

Professional Cleaning

After all the remodelling has been finished and all the new furniture installed, it’s not quite all done yet. There’s still a layer of sawdust covering everything, which you can’t just ignore. So you’ll need a few days to carry out top to bottom cleaning to make everything sparkle again. You can do all that on your own but it will take a lot of time, which a lot of people don’t have, especially when working with a busy schedule. So you might to consider hiring a professional cleaning service to get rid of all the post-renovation mess.

 

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Small Kitchen Storage Ideas

Small space dwellers know how hard can it be to find space for storage. However, the good news is that there’s lots of ways to work around the small space to maximize the space. Check out below some of the small kitchen storage ideas for inspiration.

Add Cabinets To The Ceiling

small kitchen storage ideasExtend cabinetry all the way up to the ceiling. Utilize all that free space above your upper cabinets. There you can store seldom used items, so they’ll always be close at hand but away from dust. This will free up more space for every day use items at lower shelves.

Backlash Shelves

Open shelves installed on the backlash can help priority items at all times visible and accessible. Such shelves can be installed in an awkward or other place where there’s not enough room to hold cabinets. For example, you can get a magnetic strip on the backlash. It will keep your knives and other items at easy reach.

You can also install glass shelves on the backlash and use them to store your glassware. This way, your glassware and shelves will match each other and blend in with the backlash. So there’ll be almost invisible.

Use the Bottoms of Your Cabinets

When you think your cabinets can’t possibly hold more items, you can also utilize their undersides. You can install hooks to hang cups or utensils. Another idea is to install magnetic strips, which you can then use as a floating spice rack.

Get Organizational Inserts

Get cabinet organizers or drawer inserts. These are panty pullouts that come with spice racks, knife or cutlery organizers, wine cubbies and other inserts where you can have everything neatly organized and easy to find. And try to keep these pantries without clutter. Make sure that your goods don’t mix up with expired items.

Upgrade Corner Cabinets

Everything that is stored in corner cabinets tends to almost never being used again since it’s quite hard reaching into these awkward spaces. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. Considering upgrading your corner cabinets to swing-out organizers. It will allow you to make full use of your corner cabinet and will make reaching anything from there easy without bending or twisting.

Use the Oven For Storage

When not in use, the oven can also become the place to store all the baking items. You can put there your baking sheets, muffin tins and other items. Jut don’t forget to take them out before starting the oven.

Utilize the Kitchen Island

Make the island in your kitchen hollow. It can become great storage space for additional kitchen items, such as cookbooks, toaster or different accessories.

Make Use of the Space Around the Fridge

If there’s a lit a sliver of space between your fridge and the wall, you can add into that space a narrow rollout pantry. There you can keep canned goods, spices and other nonperishable products.

Add Cabinets Above the Window

There’s also extra space above the window that you can use. So install there either a shelf or another cabinet.

Create a Storage Packed Banquette

If you have a banquette nook in your kitchen, you can use the space under the seat for storage. It can either be a hinged top or a drawer, though the hinged top will offer more space. The drawer, however, is the most user friendly option because you can easier access the contents without having to remove the cushions or any others you’d have on top of the bench. In this storage space, you can keep table linens or any seasonal decor.

Use Extra Space in the Nearby Room

tiny kitchenIf you’re out of space in your tiny kitchen, consider creating a storage nook or closet in an adjoining room. You can make a recessed niche where you’ll be storing kitchen tools that you seldom use or different nonperishable pantry items. To close it off, you can hang up a curtain or just install doors.

Consider Installing Open Shelves

Sometimes the kitchen is so small, that there isn’t enough space to even install hanging cabinets. In such case, consider installing shelves instead. They will add more storage space and will make it easier reaching for your dishes and glasses.

Magnetic Spice Rack

Another great hack is to install a magnetic panel to the back of one of the cabinet’s doors and use it as a spice rack. It’s a clever idea for tapping unused space.

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What Are the Benefits of Water Softeners?

A huge amount of homes in the United States have a hard water supply. Hard water is described as water with a high content of hard minerals, which include calcium and magnesium. Although hard is not unsafe to use, it does cause skin problems and a variety of issues related to using and cleaning appliances and fixtures. That’s why a lot of household are choosing water softeners, which are systems that dilute mineral concentrations in hard water. Below are some of the benefits of water softeners.

Easier Cleaning

what are the benefits of water softenersUsually, soap doesn’t lather well in hard water. This results in having to using soap, detergent or other cleaning product. So you’re quicker using them up. A water softener will solve this issue and will allow you to save on the expenses on cleaning products.

Hard water also tends to leave white spots and soapy residue on dishes, sinks and other fixtures. This requires more time cleaning up this soap scum and film. Soft water, first of all, would prevent these white spots and residue and will also be more efficient at cleaning up all the residue. So with a water softener, it will much easier to maintain clean bathtubs, showers and sinks.

It will also be easier to clean your glassware and dishes, while also using less soap. As a result, they will look cleaner and shinier.

Prolong the Life of Pipes

Hard water creates scale buildup in the pipes and other plumbing fixtures. After some time, these deposits will start to clog the pipes and will cause corrosion. This will shorten the lifespan of your household’s plumbing system. For example, the clogging caused by hard water in your shower fixtures can make your shower head virtually useless in under 2 years.

A water softening system will help to minimize buildup and this will prevent clogging and corrosion. This will also help the fixtures to operate more efficiently and with an extended lifespan.

Prolongs Appliance Life

The mineral buildup will affect not only the plumbing fixtures, but also your appliances, such as coffee machines, dishwashers, laundry machines and water heaters. It will affect their efficiency and their lifespan. So in the end, you might end up spending more that it would cost to purchase a water softener. With softened water, your appliance will work longer, so you won’t be wasting money on their frequent replacement. Efficient appliances also contribute to protecting the environment.

Prolongs the Life of Your Clothing

Another negative effect of hard water is that it also leaves soapy residue on the fabrics. So overtime, your clothes will start to lose their color, will look brittle and feel rough to the skin. So quite quick they can lose their attractive look. Soft water, on the other hand, will keep your clothes in prime condition longer.

Healthier Skin and Hair

The state of your hair and skin depends on the quality of water you’re using to wash them. Bathing in hard water, leaves your skin dry and makes your hair look lifeless. Since the soap also doesn’t lather well, it creates molecular particles that trap dirt coming out of your body.

Soft water has an opposite effect. It makes your skin softer and your hair shinier. So you won’t have to deal anymore with skin irritation and dull looking hair.

Save Money

As we’ve mentioned above, with hard water running through your household fixtures, you’ll be paying more for cleaning products, for electricity since your appliances will be losing their efficiency and replacements of your plumbing fixtures and appliances since their lifespan will be shortening. Getting a water softener helps to eliminate all these issues and helps you to save money on all these expenses.

As you can see, there are quite a few advantages to installing a water softening system in your home. Even though the initial might be costly, you will definitely benefit from it in the long run. Some people, however, also argue against it because it removes from the water the essential minerals for our organism, which are important for our bodily function. Also, when softening the water, the hard minerals are replaced with sodium. So there’s higher salt content in the water, which can have potential health risks for people that are on low sodium diets.

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How To Make Your Home More Energy Efficient

In our day and age, we are lucky to have all the technology and innovation. It all made our lives easier. But at the same time, it’s also important to live green. However, making your home more energy efficient will not only help the environment, but it will also really help your wallet. Reducing unnecessary energy consumption, you will help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Even just a small change can make a difference. So here’s 10 ways you can make your home more efficient.

Lower Your Thermostat

how to make your house more energy efficientTry to keep the thermostat setting at a comfortable temperature. By changing it up all the time, you’re using more energy. Also, it’s best to have a programmable thermostat, so you can program to turn off while you’ll be away from home but to turn back on and warm up the house before you come back.

Use Your Appliances Efficiently

Read the manual for the appliance to understand proper operating method. Even the most energy efficient appliance if operated inefficiently, will be using more energy. So don’t overuse your space heater in winter months or just use it to heat the room you’re in. Make sure that your water or water softener are running efficiently. Turn off other appliances when their use is not necessary. Your refrigerator in the kitchen is the only appliance that’s always on. Check if it has an energy efficient setting. Most modern refrigerators have it.

Insulate Your Home

energy efficient houseWith poor insulation, the house will be loosing a lot of its heat and so your heater would have to work at a higher output. So make sure that your house has proper insulation. Start with air sealing the attic as that is where most of the air escapes through.

Then, make sure that the doors and windows are well sealed. Consider also replacing your windows. Double panel windows with vinyl frames are great at keeping the heat in and the cold out. Also, you can tint your windows. If you think that it would look unattractive on the front of the house, you can do it just to the back of the house. Tinted windows are really good at keeping out both unwanted heat and cold.

Replace Your Appliances

Inefficient appliances can be using a lot of energy. It could be that it’s an old appliance or some parts of it need fixing. If you want to replace your old appliance with a new one, look for products that are Energy Star Certified.

Consider Getting Solar Panels

Solar panels aren’t exactly cheap but they make a great investment. They are typically installed on the roof and they allow you to heat water and produce electricity for your home. So you’ll be able to save money on your electricity bills and you will promote lower fossil fuel usage.

Plant Shady Landscaping Around Your House

Having natural shading for your home, will protect it from the intense heat during hot summer days, as well as from the chilly winds during cold winter days. To protect the house from the intense sun, plant the tree on the side that gets the biggest exposure. Usually, it’s the western side of the house.

Use Warm Water

Turn your water heater down to a warm setting. It can be somewhere in the range of 120 to 130 degrees F. The water doesn’t need to be hotter than this. You can also install a tankless water heater that heats the water when necessary. So you save energy on unnecessary operation.

Switch to Fluorescent Light

Fluorescent bulbs have a higher initial cost but they are more energy efficient and have a longer lasting life. They can last up to 8-12 times longer than incandescent light bulbs. So in the long run, getting fluorescent bulbs will give you considerable savings.

Perform an Energy Efficiency Audit

Schedule an energy auditor, so they can evaluate the inefficiencies of your home and recommend you the most effective measures. This way, you can get professional input on which parts of the house need your immediate attention.

Replace Your Desktop Computer

It’s recommended that you replace your computer every 4 years. So next time you’ll need to replace your desktop computer, consider getting a laptop. They use up to 80% less electricity. The maximum energy draw of the desktop computers is almost triple that of the laptops. The price tag for laptops is higher but you also get a gneener product.

As you can see, it doesn’t take much to make your home more energy efficient. You can do at least one or two of these points, and you’ll already be making a difference.

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