Archive for the Category ◊ Kitchen Home Improvement ◊

Friday, January 15th, 2016
Category: Kitchen Home Improvement |  Comments off

By Theron Neels

There is little to beat DIY solar generators in the homebuilt popularity stakes these days, and for good reason. Economic and environmental pressure is pushing many homeowners into a situation where they simply have no choice but to cut expenses.

What better area to do this than in home electricity on which we are so dependent on a daily basis.

This article runs through a couple of relatively practical options in the DIY solar generator field – some of them more realistic saving options than others, depending on a number of factors.

The first of these DIY solar generators is sometimes called a flat plate collector. In this system you will find liquid-filled pipes which are sealed and fixed between sunlight-absorbing plates.

During the course of the day the liquid heats up and is circulated via pipes through the water tank of the household. This process heats up the tank water. The effectiveness of this fairly simple process depends to a great degree on the minimization of heat loss as the heated liquid flows towards the household water tank. As an indirect circulation system it can work well under freezing conditions.

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The next DIY solar generator is a beast of a different kind, but becoming increasingly popular among the more serious do-it-yourself enthusiasts – especially those with milling and workshop machine experience: it is the amazing, quiet, and very effective Stirling solar generator.

Just a bit of background first about this incredible engine. It was first built around 1816 as an alternative to the popular, but often dangerous steam engine of the time.

Stirling engines work on the basis of temperature differentials in the air chamber. The air (or other gas such as helium) inside expands and contracts and in the process drives a power piston.

The beauty of these engines is that they can be powered by just about any external heat source, and some models will start chugging along at a temperature differential of less than 5 or 6 degrees.

This is where the solar Stirling comes into play. Stirling engines can be set up to work very effectively in converting solar energy via a parabolic dish or solar concentrator. They can reach efficiencies of 25% or even higher.

The downside is that not everyone will feel up to building their own Stirling solar generator, and to make this a truly DIY solar generator they will probable need to be made availabe in a kit format more generally accessible to homeowners.

And this is where the DIY solar generators of the third kind come into the picture: solar cell panel systems. Homebuilt solar panels are gaining a great deal of popularity, thanks to their many benefits, not the least being that just about anyone enthusiastic about saving costs – and saving the environment – should feel comfortable building them.

Solar cell systems work on the photovoltaic principal which converts sunlight into electricity. They are efficient enough to make economic sense, and a relatively small array of panels can supply sufficient electricity for a medium home.

There are excellent, detailed plans, guides and instructions available, aimed at the first-time builder who wants to be taken through a step-by-step process, with clear explanations at every turn, such as that found at

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for a great introduction to solar power, detailed plans for building your own solar panels, color diagrams and pictures, a guide showing how to fix the solar panels to your roof, electrical wiring plans to safely wire up your solar panels and a solar calculator to show you how many panels you will need.


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Monday, August 17th, 2015
Category: Kitchen Home Improvement |  Comments off

By Robert Corter

Asbestos in floor tiles are usually safe and even legal to keep in homes, unless they get disturbed in any way. As long as floor tiles remain in good condition, harmful asbestos fibers will never be released into the air to pose any health threat. But if you are planning to remodel your house and give its floor tiles a new look, it is best to consult with professionals first before even attempting to remove the floor tiles on your own.

For houses that have been built before 1985, a home asbestos test is a must. The dangers that an asbestos contamination poses to your family’s health are numerous, and keeping on the safe side is always your best choice. Just as with asbestos in textured ceiling and in any other materials suspected of asbestos content, analysis should only be done by a qualified asbestos testing laboratory. A sample for this analysis should also be taken by a highly trained professional to prevent asbestos from contaminating the air inside your house.

A test for asbestos can lessen, if not completely eliminate the dangers of asbestos contamination in your home. Although it has been banned from use, some old houses may still have asbestos-containing materials built into it. Asbestos in floor tiles will not pose a threat unless the flooring gets cracked or damaged in any way. When this happens, attempting to fix or remove the damaged floor tile may not be a good idea. Again, a professional should be consulted to handle this problem.

Various environmental elements like heat, weathering, water and aging can weaken and make the floor tiles friable and more susceptible to damage. Friable floor tiles that are in danger of crumbling and becoming pulverized should be isolated and managed immediately. Floorings that are possibly asbestos containing should never be fixed or removed without proper precautions. Types of floor tiles that potentially contain asbestos include:

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— asphalt-based floor tiles

— vinyl floor tiles

— sheet linoleum

— other older flooring materials glued down by mastic laced with asbetos

Asbestos testing in homes will keep your family safe from the health risks posed by asbestos inhalation. Lung diseases that include asbestosis, mesothelioma and lung cancer can be prevented by proper management of asbestos content.

If you prefer to take a sample of the flooring on your own to send to an accredited laboratory, be advised on how to do it right. Taking a flooring sample for asbestos testing is best done by a sharp knife. Scraping the surface of the tile may not be enough as it is ideal to get a square inch sample that has the mastic used to glue it to the floor.

Replacing asbestos floor tiles is not easy and attempts at removing them should be consulted with a professional first. Asbestos in floor tiles when released by any type of disturbance may lead to long-term indoor air contamination. Professionals may disapprove of removing the floor tiles, especially when they are fairly in tact. However, renovations can be done by installing a new layer of flooring over the ones that have asbestos content.

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