How You Can Reduce the Impact of Textile Production on the Environment

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It is no news that the degradation of the environment has been increasing over the years at an alarming rate. But besides plastics, did you know how toxic textiles are to the environment? After oil and gas, the textile industry takes the second position among the most polluting industries globally. Every year, clothes release half a million tons of microfibers into water bodies. It gets into the food chain and finds its way to the human body through seafood. Every second, an amount of clothes equivalent to one garbage truck of textiles is landfilled or burned. It negatively impacts the soil and air, degrading the environment. It comes as no surprise. The average American has doubled their purchase of clothing compared to 20 years ago. And few consider the option to donate clothes to charitable foundations when disposing of their outfits. These statistics are not meant to victimize you for your love of keeping up with the latest fashion trends. But you need to open your eyes to the impact that throwing that dress or shirt in the garbage bag has on the environment. Let’s look at the reasons why the textile industry is a threat to the environment.

A Harmful Production Process

The pollution of the environment does not begin with the wrong disposal of textiles. It starts in the production process, from the raw materials to the actual production of the clothes. The manufacture of synthetic fabric uses non-renewable energy sources, such as crude oil. The process is toxic to the environment. What’s more, synthetic textiles take hundreds of years to decompose. The use of cotton for production is not much better, considering that most cotton farmers use heavy pesticides when growing the plant. It also requires a very high amount of water to produce. According to the World Resource Institute, one cotton t-shirt requires an amount of water similar to what an individual would drink in two-and-a-half years. When you choose to throw out clothes rather than donate them, the dyes used in the textiles produce toxic chemicals that can find their way into waterways.

Fast Fashion

Fast fashion has led to an increased demand for clothes. People are always trying to keep up with the latest trends and trying to emulate their favorite celebrity’s wardrobe. This high demand for clothes has increased the number of textiles produced. Producers then strive to ensure every current style is met with an unlimited supply of clothes. But as the trends change quickly, more clothes end up in disposal bags. With the high demand for clothes, there are two ways in which consumers can ensure that the environmental impact of textile production reduces.
  • Donate Clothes: Rather than dispose of the clothes you no longer use, donating is an excellent alternative. The value of charitable donations does not just lie in freeing up space in your house. You will be playing a part in saving the environment. And most importantly, you will touch someone’s life. A green charity institution such as The Military Order of the Purple Heart Foundation makes it easy to donate clothes by offering a donation pick up service. You can also find a convenient drop off location near you.
  • Opt for Organic Textiles: Organic textiles are produced using ecological and socially responsible production processes. From the initial harvesting of the raw materials to manufacturing and packing, the safety of the environment is vital. You can recognize clothes that meet the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) through the certification label. Organic textiles are free from toxins caused by pesticides, insecticides, and herbicides used during production. You can, therefore, have the assurance that you are not exposing your skin or the beneficiary of your clothing donation to any toxins. As a consumer, you have the responsibility of ensuring that there is a reduction in the level of environmental toxicity caused by textile production.
Always look for the GOTS logo when purchasing clothes. They are produced with an environmentally conscious process. Contact Purple Heart Foundation and donate clothes instead of disposing of them in landfills. You will be making a difference in someone’s life.

Why Choose Hardwood Flooring

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The floor of your home is one of the most valuable, yet often underappreciated, aspects of your house. Even though it serves a basic function, it adds much more to your living experience than many people realize. Getting the right hardwood flooring can add considerable value to your home. It also can help boost the overall feel and comfort of the home for you and your family. Here are some advantages of hardwood flooring.

A High Quality Finish

Hardwood gives your home that classic feel many homeowners crave. In a world filled with attractive, yet inauthentic options, one of the best advantages of hardwood flooring is the tangible value it adds to your living experience. Instead of stepping on laminate flooring every day and feeling the inferior quality, you get to feel the real thing. This gives your home more value in the short term because it simply makes you and your family feel better. However, it also adds value in the long term as well. People often prefer real hardwood flooring over laminate, and this makes your home more valuable to them when it comes time to make a purchasing decision. One of the other advantages of hardwood flooring is the fact that it can be refinished. This also helps you maintain the quality of the flooring for many years to come. Other types of flooring cannot be sanded down and given a nice protective coat. They very often have to be replaced altogether. This is expensive. It also requires a lot of work to go out and try to find the right grain, color, or pattern to complement what’s already there. Even if the right product is available, it is unlikely that it will match what is already in the home. This is due to the effects of fading and general wear. Even laminate and vinyl products wear out and fade over time. They may still look very good, but it would be hard to get an exact match when trying to replace a section of the floor. With real hardwood flooring, the area and those that surround it can be sanded down, and any color discrepancies can be ameliorated using feathering and blending techniques.

Versatile Options

The number of options is what many homeowners see as one of the greatest advantages of hardwood flooring. There are a plethora of different kinds of hardwoods out there. Each wood has its own unique hardness and character. The hardness can be chosen to meet the needs of you and your family. If you have young ones, you may prefer a floor that is able to withstand the impacts of dropped gadgets and various rolling toys and playthings. You may also want to keep in mind how a dropped knife, pot or another utensil may affect the character of the floor. Will anyone be walking on the floor in high heels? Is it likely that boots with small stones stuck in between the treads may bring potential dings to your floor? All of these things and others can be taken into consideration as you choose the hardness of your floor. The color and pattern of the hardwood floor is another advantage. You may be able to match or complement living room furniture if you choose the right shade of floor. You can even choose flooring that would be easy to coordinate with different colors of carpet. This can make future interior design decisions easier.

Cost-Effective

While some hardwood floors are pricey, many others can be found at a reasonable cost. Some of them can be in the same price range as many laminate flooring options. There’s no need to break the bank. Also, due to the expansive variety of choices, you are more likely to be able to locate a floor that fits both your tastes and budget. Ninety percent of homeowners would rather have either hardwood flooring or tile in the kitchen. Hardwood flooring, contrary to popular belief is easy to maintain in the kitchen due to its water-resistant finish. The advantages of hardwood flooring are many and varied. The key is to get the flooring that best fits your needs and budget. Getting the flooring you love will pay in the short term and is sure to make any future buyers happy as well.

Improve Security with Deadbolt Locks

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Deadbolt locks have long been heralded as the locks that keep people out. There is a lot to learn about deadbolt locks and why they are the best option for security. Whether it is a dresser that you want to secure with dresser draw locks or you are looking for entry way security the deadbolt is the way to go. There are plenty of different locking mechanisms on the market. Locking hardware can be used for everything from cabinets to doors. Door and cabinet hardware can be combined with a deadbolt to add security. They make amazing childproof locks. When keeping someone out is the goal, deadbolts are the solution

Locks Through Out History

Locks have been around for centuries. Historians agree that locks first made the scene about 6000 years ago. Initially locks were reserved for the rich and famous at the time. They were very simple pin tumbler devices made from wood. The Ancient Egyptians used these devices to secure their most precious goods. Egyptians were not the only ones that were big on keeping their stuff secure. Romans and Greeks also jumped on the bandwagon. Romans are credited with incorporating metal into their locking devices. During the Roman empire, keys and locks were a status symbol. The more keys you carried the wealthier you were thought to be. During this period locking hardware was very ornate and large, in line with the idea that locks and keys were tied to status. Locks slowly evolved through out history. During the industrial revolution the need to secure goods became greater which of course meant the need for better locks became greater and the deadbolt was born! Linus Yale is credited with securing the first patent for a deadbolt design in 1861 and as they say the rest is history. Yale locks are still a very popular lock brand today.

Why A Deadbolt is Best

Deadbolts can only be opened by a key. They are not spring activated locks which means that they are jimmy proof. For example, you have a gun cabinet that must be secured, spring loaded key locks for cabinets can be compromised but deadbolts cannot. Of course, you could rip the door from the hinges, but you cannot jimmy open the lock. Whether it is a front door or a laundry room, if a deadbolt is installed, no one is getting in. They are considered the most secure mechanical locks around. They can be a stand-alone locking device or combined with other security features like biometric scanners or access point cards. Installation for a deadbolt is the same process as installing any type of locking device. With a few hand tools and some know how the process is complete quickly and well worth the effort. Deadbolt locks deliver peace of mind!

Learn More About the Advantages of Hiring a Moving and Storage Company

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Americans move from one place to another throughout the year. That said, about 50% do so during the summer months. On an annual basis, this amounts to approximately 35.1 million people moving locally or to another area. In 2017, however, 62% of the people that moved continued to live in the same county.

Where Some People Are Moving

It’s interesting to note that both Idaho and Vermont are attracting new residents. While Idaho is considered to be the most popular state to which people are moving, Vermont is eighth on the list. When it comes to the state which is experiencing the most people leaving, Illinois holds the number-one spot.

Reasons for Moving

There are, of course, a variety of reasons why people move. In addition to relocating to attend college or to start a new job, people also move to be closer to family and friends. A recent survey showed that 17.4% of the participants stated their main reason for moving was because they wanted to have a new or better house or apartment.

The Average Mover

Currently, couples between 18 to 34 years old with one or more children are the average type of movers. While adults in other age brackets do move, they are less likely to do so. This is often because older adults have been part of a community for an extended period of time and don’t want to leave a place where they feel at home.

A Few Tips for Moving

Since moving can be a time-consuming and stressful process, you may be interested in a few tips. First of all, if you’re moving from a large house to an apartment, it’s a good idea to go through all of your belongings and downsize before the move. When you’re experiencing time constraints, you may want to consider storing some of your furniture and other items until you’re able to sort through them. Once you begin packing, it’s important to have extra materials on hand. You can save time and effort by having more than enough boxes and other packing materials. Experts recommend that you should purchase about 25% more than you believe you’ll actually need. When you follow this tip, you won’t need to interrupt your packing schedule to drive to the supply store for additional materials. Furthermore, if you tend to order these types of supplies online, you won’t have to wait a day or so for them to be delivered. Are you moving to another county or state, or are you planning a local move? Even if you’re just planning a local move, it makes sense to hire someone to assist you. In addition to helping you move to your new home, a moving and storage company can also provide you with short or long-term storage. Once you have completed your local move and are settled in your new home, a moving service can return some or all of the items you have in storage. It’s also a good idea to schedule your move as far in advance as possible. This is particularly the case when you’re moving during the summer months like so many millions of Americans. Once you speak with a moving services company representative, you’ll be able to schedule your move and learn more about all of the services that they provide.

Down By The Sea: 4 Ways To Ensure Your Beachside Home Tolerates The Coastal Weather

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Owning a home by the water can be a true dream come true. You have easy access to a sandy beach, a refreshing dip, and can let the relaxing sound of waves lull you to sleep every night. That being said, beachside homes have their downsides; when the weather gets particularly stormy, you may find that that cool, refreshing water has made its way inside your home. With the fallout of water damage varying in severity, home repairs can add up quite quickly. Here are four weatherproofing ( and waterproofing) ways you can protect your home to prevent the need for water damage repair.
  • Stuccoed Concrete-Block Siding: Many building materials require tedious upkeep due to deterioration from exposure to coastal air. By using stuccoed concrete blocks, your home will benefit from improved durability (stucco siding can last for more than 100 years), standing up to high winds and powerful storms quite easily.
  • Laminated Glass Windows: Florida is prone to hurricanes, as are most regions with coastal homes worth living in. By investing in windows featuring impact-resistant coatings, your home will be able to tolerate pressure from winds up to 200 miles per hour, and flying debris up to 35 miles per hour without shattering. It has the added benefit of improving your home’s overall stability.
  • Modern “Wicker” Outdoor Furniture: Wicker is the quintessential patio furniture, but it doesn’t do very well when mixed with water — it can rot quite easily. Modern “wicker” furniture maintains the exact same look and aesthetic, but is made from a synthetic woven material over a powder-coated aluminum frame; you’ll never have to worry about the condition of your outdoor furniture again!
  • Oil Rubbed Bronze Door Handles: Salt has never gotten along very well with metal. If you live on salt water, you may find that your metal hardware is rusting in no time at all. Switching to oil rubbed bronze handles, your hardware will never pit or corrode due to the elements.
With home water damage insurance claims costing American homeowners an average of $6,965, leaving your home unprotected simply isn’t worth the risk. Throw the additional cost of water damage repair (and general home repair) that isn’t covered on top, and you could be facing either life in a home that is in serious need of remodeling, or a significant amount of debt.

3 HVAC Tips To Reduce Your Heating Bills This Summer

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Summer is one of the best times of the year. You have cookouts to look forward to, baseball games, and family time at the beach. But when you’re at home, you rely on your air conditioning system to keep you, your family, and your pets cool. Your air conditioning system can increase your home’s energy bills throughout the season, which isn’t as cool as your HVAC. The good news is, there are three tips you can use to reduce your bills this season while still staying cool.
  1. Remember HVAC maintenance. When it comes to keeping your HVAC system efficient throughout the year, HVAC maintenance is your best friend. Ideally, your system ought to be serviced at least twice a year. Many homeowners choose to have their HVAC systems serviced during the spring and fall months because it ensures their system is ready to work its hardest during the more extreme weather. That said, if you haven’t had your own system serviced yet this spring, now is the best time to do it.
  2. Regularly clean your filters. Your HVAC system filters are what help to keep your home’s air clean of any dirt and debris. If you have pets, your system is also working to keep the pet hair and dander out of the air, too. It’s important that you clean these filters approximately once a month (or twice a month if you have pets). This is because your HVAC system will need to work twice as hard when it’s working with dirty filters.
  3. Install a smart thermostat. Smart thermostats are great for maintaining a comfortable temperature in your home without making your HVAC system run when it doesn’t need to. Just remember to keep your home at a comfortable temperature when you’re not home, too, in case you have pets in the house.

Need residential HVAC maintenance this summer?

Approximately two-thirds of all residential homes in the U.S. have air conditioners to help keep them cool during the summer (or throughout the year depending on where you live). Residential HVAC maintenance is crucial to keep your HVAC system running when you need it most. Whether you need HVAC services or water heater repair services, Valley Air has the contractors you need to keep your home comfortable year-round. To learn more about residential HVAC services or to schedule your HVAC maintenance, contact your local HVAC contractor today.

ICF FAQ: Everything You Need To Know

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When you’re constructing your home, choosing the right building material is essential to having the most comfortable, stable, and efficient structure possible. Even if you know plenty about the home construction process, many don’t fully understand ICF products as construction material option. These are some of the most frequently asked questions about ICF products to help you make the right decision for your home.

How is ICF construction different?

Insulated concrete forms are different from traditional building materials in a variety of ways. They tend to be simpler to use in construction, while also being sturdier. In fact, buildings constructed with ICF are six to nine times stronger than traditional buildings. This makes them a popular choice for buildings that will need to stand up to harsher conditions, or in emergency shelters. However, they can also be used in standard home construction just like other traditional methods.

Where can I use ICF products?

ICF products make an excellent choice for construction projects being built in more extreme environments. Their structure and stability make them a great choice in storm-heavy areas, and their high-quality insulation can help in lower temperatures. However, you can use ICF construction in virtually any building. Homes, offices, and other structures can benefit from the many environmental and cost advantages insulated concrete form construction provides.

What about ICF products makes them green building materials?

In addition to reducing energy costs through its high-performing insulation, ICF walls can also reduce waste created during construction. ICF walls are built by stacking ICF blocks one row at a time and cutting the end pieces down to size. Because the individual ICF building blocks are cut to fit, construction can take less time and generate less waste than other, more traditional methods.

Should I use ICF products in my construction project?

Whether or not you use ICF products in your construction project will largely depend on the needs of your building and the location you’re constructing it. Not every building will be a perfect fit for ICF construction, so it’s important to work with your local contractors to determine if insulated concrete forms are right for your home, office, or other new building.

ICF And Insulation: How ICF Helps Your Home

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When you’re constructing your home, one of the things you’ll need to consider in your material choice is your home’s insulation. Having the right R-value insulation for your home can not only make your home more comfortable during particularly hot or cold seasons, but it can also reduce your home’s energy bills. ICF walls help provide reliable insulation while still acting as breathable walls, helping your home stay comfortable.

ICF Walls

ICF walls can provide superior insulation as well as allowing construction to go more quickly from start to finish. Because of their unique design, ICF walls give your home better insulation. Additionally, since these insulated concrete building blocks are designed to fit together easily, construction will likely take less time than with other traditional materials.

ICF Flooring

Most people focus on using insulated concrete forms for just walls, but these useful building materials can be helpful in your floors and foundations as well. These materials make a great alternative to cold concrete flooring. In fact, compared to concrete flooring, ICF decking weighs 40% less and has superior insulation. This can help you keep your space warm and also speed up construction.

Why Focus On Insulation?

What makes insulation so important in your home? If you live in a warmer or moderate climate, quality insulation might seem like an afterthought. However, using better insulation in your home can also help to keep cool, conditioned air inside your home during the warmer seasons. Additionally, ICF creates breathable walls that ensure healthy air quality throughout your home. Even if you’re not especially concerned about your home’s insulation during the winter months, having high-quality insulation in your home can help.

Energy Friendly

The insulation benefits of ICF might not always be easily noticeable, but the impact it can have on your energy bill is significant. Improved insulation with ICF walls can cut down on heating and cooling energy use, which makes up a majority of most Americans’ energy bills. Insulated concrete forms can create breathable walls that still provide excellent insulation for your home. For more information on insulated concrete forms and using them to build your home, contact a contractor today.

Allergens and the Rooms Children Inhabit

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With over 3 million cases each year in the U.S. alone (based on data from Mayo Clinic), asthma is an extremely common ailment. The condition, which involves constriction, inflammation, and increased mucosal production in the airways, can range from a nuisance to life-threatening. Research by the Asthma Initiative of Michigan (AIM) has produced evidence suggesting that anywhere from 50-80% of children diagnosed with asthma “develop symptoms before their fifth birthday.” With the ailment able to present at such an early age, it follows that many parents today are choosing to buy baby safe paint for cribs.

What is in paint that can trigger a reaction?

An article by Allergy Standards advises that people with asthma and allergies in particular “avoid volatile organic compounds (VOCs),” chemicals that have a high vapor pressure at room temperature and thus can evaporate at any moment and be respired by a room’s environs. We recognize these VOCs and leaves them out of their paint products. The most common of these compounds, found in other paints, includes:
  • Formaldehyde
  • Ethyl acetate
  • Xylene
  • Methylene chloride
  • Glycol
These compounds can cause problems for children and adults alike. If you take this issue seriously, you are not alone; a study by the Survey Research Institue at Cornell University found that 59% of travelers would choose one hotel over another based on whether or not allergen-friendly rooms were available.

Why buy low-VOC paint?

  Whether painting a porch, priming a floor, or putting the finishing touches on a new shed, many people, whether to prevent allergic reactions or simply to reduce environmental impact, prefer low VOC paint. However, because of the aforementioned prevalence of childhood asthma, it is particularly important to make sure to use baby safe paint for cribs. Infants spend large amounts of time sleeping and playing in their cribs, and as noted in an article by LiveStrong, “besides inhalation, physical contact is the most frequent means by which allergy sufferers are exposed to allergens.” Paint may not only trigger these reactions—recent research by the Harvard Schoool of Public Medicine suggests it may be helping to cause the conditions in the first place. Chemicals found in house paints actually been linked to “high rates of asthma, eczema, and congestion in children.”   Parents cannot control what paints are used at school, or at the mall, or anywhere else they may take their children. What they can control is which paints they use in the home. Using baby safe paint for cribs, and low VOC paint on other household surfaces, can minimize exposure to dangerous chemicals at a key time in life.

What to Do Before You Start Remodeling Your Kitchen

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The kitchen is often the heart of a home, so it’s important that it is both functional and aesthetically pleasing. If your kitchen could use some love, you may be considering tackling some kitchen remodeling. Renovating your kitchen can be a great way to bring new life to an old space, but here are a few important things that need to be done before you start remodeling.

Seperate “Needs” from “Wants”

One of the biggest mistakes homeowners make when making kitchen remodeling plans is not determining what they really need. It can be all too easy to get caught up in the excitement of home renovations. If you don’t separate your “needs”, like new plumbing, from your “wants”, like a brand new island, you may end up with much more elaborate kitchen renovations that originally planned. This, in turn, can cause you to go way over budget. So before you get started, sit down and figure out what you absolutely need to include in your renovation plans.

Decide on the Kitchen Design

With 76% of homeowners choosing to switch up the style of their kitchen when remodeling, you may find yourself wanting a completely new kitchen design. If you have an outdated, closed-off kitchen, you may want to consider going for a more modern kitchen with an open concept. No matter which style or design you decide on, you have to decide before you start remodeling. If you’re having trouble making a decision, consider checking out some home improvement stores or showrooms for inspiration.

Hire a Professional

Kitchen remodeling is not a project you want to take on by yourself — the demolition part of a remodel is a big enough project on its own. There may be aspects of the project you can tackle yourself, like installing hardware or putting up shelves, but for the most part, you’re going to want the help of a professional. So start contacting local remodeling contractors and talk to them about your visions for your new kitchen. Make sure you get quotes, information about their licenses and insurance, and maybe even some references from previous customers. Remodeling your kitchen is a big, but rewarding, project. So make sure these steps get done before you start construction and you’ll be on your way to a great new kitchen.