Installing a Water Softener

Do you live in a house that has hard water? You know, where you get those white rings on the counters and the faucets have this grungy, crusty build up. While you’re at the DIY store, you see this free water testing kit and decide its time to learn what is going on. You get the results, and the company asks to come out and give you a further evaluation as well as introduce you to a solution. The time this takes is well worth the process because it gives you valuable information about your water and how to fix it. Unfortunately, the typical solution is a $6,000 to $8,000 fix. Now maybe that is in your budget, and that is great, but most of the time that solution still involves the use of salt.

There is another way 

Alternatives exist where the installation cost may be way less—although it might be the same depending on how large of a system you get. But more importantly, it is a solution that doesn’t involve the constant purchase of salt. 

A recent addition to the water treatment lineup includes many different brands on salt-free water conditioners or de-scalers. Typically, a non-salt system consists of a large particle filter and a multiple-part canister. The system works by neutralizing minerals such as magnesium and calcium by changing their ionic makeup so that these minerals do not stick to pipes and other surfaces. They do remain in the water, though, so if you allow a pool of water to dry, the minerals will form a powdery residue that easily brushes off.

DIY Installation?

Installation is not complicated, but if you have little to no experience plumbing, you should hire a local plumber or certified installer to do the project. It is essential to put it in-line with the water going the correct direction (into the water heater, for example), so you’ll need to know which way the pipe is flowing where you add the joint.

Does it work?

The results are different from a water softener. You’ll see a reduction of the calcium in the water. Your skin will feel less dried out, and dish soap will create larger amounts of suds. You will not have that slippery feel of salt-softened water though. Most importantly, you can drink the water and water your plants with the water directly from the tap. 

Is it green?

The environment gains because there is no back-washing of the system like with traditional salt-based softeners, so you are not dumping salt water into the drainage system, and you are not using a bunch of extra water. 

What does it cost to maintain?

The cost to operate it once it after installation is very low. There is no salt to purchase every month. You only have to change the large particle filter every 6 to 12 months, depending on your water source. You may even receive extra filters with your installation, so check with the dealer.

The cost to DIY the project includes the purchase of the system and a few fittings to make the connection into your water pipes. Check with your real estate professional to see if adding a water conditioner system will increase the value of your home for resale.

Four Tips for Maximizing Space

Feel as though you are losing space with every additional item that enters a room? Knick-knacks, electronics, toys and accessories piling up? Take a look at the tips below to maximize space in living rooms, dens, bedrooms, and extra rooms such as craft and laundry rooms.

Built-Ins: Built-ins are a great space saver. They create storage without taking up too much space in a room. They are customizable so you can pick what type of storage will work best for you. Built-ins are especially effective in living rooms and toy rooms.

Wall Storage: Wall storage is a great option for saving space in smaller, functional spaces like craft rooms, laundry rooms, and even kids rooms. Entryways will also benefit from wall storage where coats and keys can be hung up instead of flung on the nearest surface. It provides storage without taking up floor space. There are so many options for wall storage that range from shelves, hooks and cabinets of all sizes.

Hidden Storage Furniture: Furniture with hidden storage is great way to maximize space. These pieces include ottomans, coffee tables, and end tables. Storage ottomans are great for storing extra blankets and pillows. Storage coffee tables and end tables are perfect for storing books, magazine, extra remotes, DVDs, coasters, and electronic accessories. If these pieces did not have storage then those items would be lingering on the tops of tables or around the house causing clutter and dysfunction.

Multifunctional Storage: There are endless options here, some more functional than others. Under the stairs storage or stairs that have drawers and/or shelves, sofas that turn into beds, mirrors with jewelry storage, fold-down tables with storage, food/water bowls for animals incorporated into drawer storage, and litter boxes hidden in coffee tables (although I’m not sure who would want this). The type of home and room will determine whether or not some of these are practical options, but nonetheless, some are pretty unique.

Incorporating one or more of the tips above will be determined by the type of room and home. A tip that works for a bedroom may not work for a bathroom and the same for a home compared to an apartment. Be cognizant of this when considering adopting these approaches for functional and spacious rooms. Hope these tips help maximize space in your home!

Fixing Up Your Home

As an individual’s taste changes, there often comes the need to make some adjustments to the environment in which they live. Making changes to the home is typically where one starts. Home renovation projects can range from a complete overhaul, to changing out dated decor and appliances, to simply repairing or replacing furnishings and accessories. The most important factor in fixing up your home is that the end result reflects your personal taste and style.

Another reason for renovating a home is for the purpose of expansion. Additional rooms may become necessary when children are born, or relatives move in. The decision to add a tenant to your home will also results in the need for renovation and expansion. The correct balance of living space and occupants is key in maintaining a happy home.

A home can also be renovated to increase its value. Homeowners often decide to fix up their house when they are preparing to sell. Home improvements typically increase the value of the property, as well as improve its general appearance. Prospective buyers are attracted to houses in excellent shape as opposed to those in need of repairs.

Government assistance programs can also assist individuals in need, such as the elderly and disabled with renovating their homes. Taking on projects that improve the living condition of the home as well as raising their standard of living. Renovations to an older home may include the replacement of a heating system, upgrading a bathroom and installing safety accessories, or simply applying fire resistant paint or wall paper. Their main focus being placed on providing a safe living environment.

The following factors should be considered prior to starting a renovation project:

Budget

The home owner must first decide how much they can afford for home improvements, then base the extent of the renovation accordingly. Setting a strict budget will help guide the choice of materials to be used, and determine whether the job will need to be done by the homeowner or a professional can be hired.

Materials

The choice of materials, equipment and accessories to be used for home improvement projects is very important. Substandard materials should not be used. This is where the advice or services of professionals comes in handy. It is also advised that a professional accompanies the home owner when purchasing the materials to ensure their taste is also taken into consideration.

Government Policy

There could be a local authority directive on materials, paints and structure restricting how homes in a particular areas should be renovated. Thus, the owners have no choice but to follow the government’s directives.

Skills

For projects that are not very big and where the owner has the required skills, time, tools and equipment, they can go ahead and do it themselves. However, when the renovation project is large, requiring multiple skills, the services of licensed professionals is mandatory. Always be careful with who you hire, do your research to ensure they will provide the services you need at a competitive price.