• Home and Garden
    7 things to consider before buying gas fire pits

    A gas fire pit is a decorative structure that can be built or installed for outdoor use and display. Gas fire pits can still be used for cooking nowadays. They are constructed using pre-cast concrete, metal, or a combination of a metal table and stone. The pit contains coal or logs that can be used for cooking or merely for display. They are actually fueled using natural gas, propane, and bioethanol.

    Here are seven things to consider if you are planning to build a gas fire pit

    Gas supply
    Before you design your gas fire pit, you need to determine your gas supply. Both, natural gas and propane can be used as fuel, but the supply pressure and British Thermal Unit ratings should be regulated. The pressure for natural gas should be between 3.5” and 7” of the water column and between 8” and 11” of water column for propane.

    Fire-pit burner
    The shape and size of the gas fire pit can be selected after determining your gas supply. Choose a burner that is at least 6” smaller than the inner dimension of the enclosure.

    Fire-pit pan
    These are recommended for use with all fire pit burners, and they are required for fire pits that run on a propane supply. You can use a flat or bowl-style fire pit pan to accommodate the specific construction style of the gas fire pit. The purpose of a burner pan is that it separates the air mixer from the burner and helps with water drainage and ventilation.

    Flange extension
    The flange extension is used with the shut-off valve that is located inside the fire pit, and the enclosure should not be thicker than three inches.

    This is one of the most important things to consider while building a gas fire pit. The recommended amount of ventilation is 36 square inches or two holes of 18 square inches each.

    Installation collars
    These are designed to simplify the installation process of a fire pit plan. They are flexible and can bended for round enclosures; moreover, they can be anchored with concrete screws.

    Fire media
    This is the final step in finishing to build your gas fire pit. Lava rock, fire glass, log sets can be used as fire media. The maximum area that can be used by a fire media on the burner or a pan should be 2”-4”. The choice of fire media completely depends on how you want your final gas fire pit to look like.

  • Home and Garden
    Things to consider before building your own gas fire pit

    Fire pits add comfort and ambience to a crisp cold evening in the backyard, where you can catch up with your family and friends. People living in places that have winter almost all year round can utilize fire pits to the maximum, making it a worth the initial investment.

    Here are some things you need to consider before you plan to build a gas fire pit:

    Safety is the primary factor when it comes to building your own gas fire pit. Make sure the site where you are planning to build a pit is at a considerable distance from flammable surfaces. Gas flames don’t generate flying embers or sparks. The heat from the pit can melt vinyl siding if it is placed too close to the pit. Local restrictions also play an important role when it comes to burning open flames on private property. 

    Gas fire pits on propane or natural gas. There are kits available that can convert one gas source to the other. Propane fire pits offer portability if your fuel comes from a small propane tank. You need a permanent fire pit structure if you are planning to attach a gas fire pit to the natural gas line of your home. Natural gas is cheaper than propane gas and is economical in the long run.

    Gas fire pits can be easily constructed using a drop-in fire pit kit. These kits are usually bowl-shaped and are ready to install into the fire pit. All you need is to create the enclosure, which can be created from stacked bricks, cinderblocks, or concrete pavers.

    You can use gas fire pits that use powder-coated steel frames. You can screw cement board to these frames and finish it with tile, brick, or mortar and stone. Once you have installed the frame, consider which type of burner you will be using for your pit followed by fill material, like lava rock or fire glass.

    Although burner pans are optional with gas fire pits, they help support the burner and the material used for covering the burner. A heat-tolerant material like lava rock or fire glass should be preferred to cover the burner. You can also use fire glass and select different colors and sizes to create a truly custom fire pit experience. Furthermore, fire glass produces more heat than lava rocks.

    Avoid using river rocks or regular stones inside your gas fire pit as they will be exposed to the intense heat of the flames. River rocks can explode if they come in contact with intense fire as the water in the rocks might convert into steam.

  • Home and Garden
    6 handy tips to keep your generator robust and functioning

    Like every other device that needs maintenance, your generator needs maintenance if you want it to function properly in the event of a power outage. You cannot hope for the generator to functions to its optimum if you haven’t taken the required steps to ensure that it receives proper maintenance. If you do not maintain your generator, chances are high that it won’t last until its destined period and you will have to incur expensive repair work. So, instead of shelling out money for repair work, you can follow these easy tips to maintain your generator.

    • Implement the “twice a year maintenance” rule
      Irrespective of whether you are using your generator, it requires maintenance; you never know when misfortune can befall in the form of a natural calamity. Simply installing the generator and believing that it would take care of itself is a grave misconception. Ensure that your generator is serviced twice a year and choose dates that are nowhere near severe weather conditions. It barely takes an hour for the entire maintenance work. So, ensure that you do not miss out on the servicing dates.
    • Operate the generator outdoors
      Generators are meant to be used outdoors; using it indoors can result in a plethora of problems. Generators expel fumes that are quite poisonous and incapacitates a person before they realize what hit them. The generators are meant to function in places with ample of ventilation since their functioning is disrupted if it runs out of air.
    • Clean the air filter frequently
      It is vital that you clean the generator’s air filter regularly. Ideally, the air filter is supposed to be cleaned every 25 hours of use and replaced after 100 hours or three months of use.
    • Undertake regular oil changes
      Like vehicles, your generator needs regular oil changes. It is imperative that you check the oil levels after eight hours of use and change it after 50 hours of usage. Moreover, you need to pay attention to the oil filters. The oil filters that come with the generators do not last long. So, contact your generator supplier at timely intervals so that your generator continues to function appropriately.
    • Invest in good chords
      Ensure that you invest in good power chords since they would be bearing the brunt of changing weather conditions. Choose sturdy power chords that can withstand the onslaught of heat and rain alike. If the earlier power chords aren’t functioning at their optimum, get new ones. This reduces the risk of being electrocuted by faulty power chords.
    • Be mindful of the fuel
      The generator runs on fuel, and like everything else, fuel is susceptible to degradation. So, ensure that you do not leave the fuel in the generator for a long time. Also, check the fuel levels so the generator doesn’t run out of fuel. This can drastically affect the generator’s functioning and reduces its lifespan.
  • Home and Garden
    5 effective tips to select the right generator for your home

    Gone are the days when you had to postpone all your important work because the power went out. One of the perks of living in the 21st century is that you can still carry on with your tasks even when the power goes out, courtesy of the generator. In layman’s language, a generator is a machine that reinstates power when the power goes out. Generators have become quite popular owing to their utility; almost every household has a generator these days.

    If you are keen on buying a generator and don’t know where to start, here are some tips that might help you zero in on the right generator for your home.

    • Acquaint yourself with the types of generators
      Before you set out to buy a generator for your abode, ensure that you are familiar with the types of generators available in the market. There are two types of generators: portable and stationary, which is also known as a standby generator. Portable generators are cheaper than their counterpart; it can be wheeled outside and connected to whatever appliance you wish to power up. On the other hand, stationary generators are professionally installed and can be expensive. However, once installed, it is hassle-free; you wouldn’t have to turn it on manually.
    • Know your watts
      For this purpose, you can use the wattage calculator. You have to add up the wattages of every appliance you need to power up in your house and gauge the size of the generator your house needs. To get the wattage right, it is advisable to get an electrician on board. Better smart than sorry.
    • Consider the engine type
      Some generators are powered by four-stroke engines, while others have a two-stroke engine. A four-stroke engine ensures that you wouldn’t have to mix oil into the fuel; this means lesser hassles for you. Although generators powered by two-stroke engines are slightly complicated to use owing to its fuel and oil mixing, it is cheaper than the generators with four-stroke engines. So, ascertain your requirements and budget restrictions before you choose a generator for your house.
    • Do you need a high-end rectifier?
      Present-day generators are equipped with high-end rectifiers that are capable of converting the electrical output into smooth sine waves, i.e., the type of electricity needed to power up sensitive equipment such as laptops. The generators with high-end rectifiers are quite efficient; this feature eventually saves the day in case of an emergency.
    • Less-noisy generators
      Usually, all generators make noise. However, some are noisier than others and this can pose a problem for you and your neighbors as well. Ensure that the generator you choose doesn’t exceed 70 decibels, or you can opt for the ‘whispering generators’ which are more expensive than the regular ones.
  • Home and Garden
    Tips on buying pet doors

    With pets offering emotional solace to a person, keeping a pet at home is a good idea. However, before you head out to the market to buy yourself a pet door, it would be useful if you consider all the do’s and don’ts of buying a pet door.

    Research your options
    Before you head out to the market to buy pet doors, it will be great to read through the different reviews available in the market. You can also take suggestions from any of your friends who have pets at home. Such people will always give you an honest opinion and will help you suitably in buying the best pet doors.

    Check out the type of doors available
    You should also research on types of doors available in the market. Some dogs like to chew a lot, and therefore, you will have to buy bite proof doors for such dogs. The size of the pet also matters a lot while selecting the door size for the pet. Ideally, the pet doors should be of the proportion in which they reach out two inches above the shoulder of the pet.

    You can also choose from a range of sliding doors for the pet. The biggest advantage of having a sliding pet door is that it can be locked. At times, you might need to head outdoors for a brief period. It is at such times that sliding pet doors will be the best option to consider. Having a pet door that is accessible all the while to the pet is also not recommended as the pet can run out at odd hours creating unnecessary confusion for you also.

    Keep energy expenditure in mind
    Irrespective of the placement of the pet door, weather seal is highly recommended for the pet. At times, when the air conditioning is on, cooler air always escapes to the outdoors as the door is opened. Therefore, you should not choose flap entry models for the pet door.

    Instead, you should look for other energy efficient options for the pet door. In energy-efficient models, flaps are double wide and are insulated. You can also consider solid pane door which slides or gets locked. This type of door is ideal in conditions when the safety of the pet is also a key concern for you.

    Train the pet to use the door
    You will always have to train the pet when it has to move in or out from the pet door. Therefore, choose a door that is light enough to be opened by the pet, once it gets trained on using the same. You will have to train the pet to use the door in most of the conditions.

  • Home and Garden
    All you need to know about porch swings

    A porch swing set in any location, be it backyard or the front portion of the home adds elegance to the home. These porch swings come in distinct types, and you can choose these to make your home look at its elegant best.

    Hanging swings
    This swing hangs suspended from a porch and will always add a distinct look to your home. When you choose to purchase any of these porch swings, you should ensure to leave four-foot arc clearance so that the swing does not hit anything on its way.

    The porch swings of this kind should be placed at least 17 inches above the floor to ensure the best usage. The dcor of the porch can also be suitably maintained with the help of swing chains, which are a spare material. You can choose from among stainless steel or galvanized material if you are looking for a metal chain. This kind of chain will offer a better rust proof support to the swing.

    Alternatively, if you wish to provide the porch swings a natural look, you can also choose from among braided nylon ropes. These ropes should always be checked for wear and fraying, especially in times when it comes in contact with hardware of the swing.

    Design of the porch swings
    The seats in swings can ideally be flat or can have a natural contour which will offer it comfort without the use of cushions. The back region can be flat or curved with the same having horizontal or vertical slats. You can always choose swings that match the style of your home or the dcor of the porch.

    Any two seat swing will typically measure up to 4 to 5 feet in length and will have a seat depth of 18 to 36 inches. If you are looking for round swing beds, it will typically measure 5 to 6 feet across.

    Material of the porch swings
    Porch swings are made out of a range of materials. You can always add full-length pillows to the same to provide some comfort to yourself whenever you decide to rest on a porch swing. The wrought iron on the porch swing should always be painted so that it is protected from elements of nature. Since the porch swing is always to be used in the outdoors, a proper color combination should always be maintained so that it matches the elegance of the home.

    Moreover, to protect the porch swing during inclement weather, it should always be suitably covered so that it remains usable for a longer time. A range of option exists, and you can choose from among teak, cedar, pine, and oak wood porch swings to add to the beauty of your home.

  • Home and Garden
    Benefits of porch swings

    Porch swings are known to add elegance to any home where these are used. Be it any season, summer or winter; porch swings will always attract anyone who visits your home. Here are some benefits of the porch swings.

    • Encourage people to spend healthy time outdoors
      People usually like to spend time indoors watching television or talking to family and friends. Even the lovely ambiance of outdoors is not able to pull them outdoors. It is at this time that porch swings come encourage people to sit out and enjoy the beauty of nature which they might have ignored all this while.
    • Help tone muscles
      Unknowing to you, porch swings have a distinct benefit in the way that it helps tone muscles of anyone who decides to sit on it. A person has to push and pull the porch swings to make them move. This ends up being a good exercise, and the muscles also get toned up.
    • Enhance the look of the home
      A blank outdoor area of any home looks dull. A beautifully painted and well-designed porch swing always adds elegance to the outdoors and makes it more robust and better. Children will always like to sit on the swing and will add the charm to the outer portion of the home, something which was always missing in the home.
    • Provide health benefits
      Porch swings also have numerous health benefits for the users. These are known to relieve stress, boost the circulation and improve overall concentration power of the person. With its back and forth movement, the porch swing is known to lower stress levels of a person. Swinging is also known to improve blood circulation, and therefore people who suffer from ailments related to blood also benefit immensely from using porch swings.

    Material that can be used for porch swings
    Different kinds of wood including cedar, teak, cypress, and pine can be used for making porch swings. If you decide to use cedar wood for the porch swing in your home, red cedar wood is the best material to be used. It comes in dark and light stains and is also environment-friendly. Red cedar wood is considered to be environment-friendly and is naturally biodegradable.

    In case you desire to use teak wood, it will be a wise decision since this wood is preferred for its long-term endurance and hardness. Teak is also known to be resistant to fungus, mildew, water and wood eating insects.

    The natural color variation which teak offers make it a preferred porch swing material. People who love to give a distinct look to the outdoors of their home.

    Get your home a suitable porch swing and see for yourself, the change it brings to your home.

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