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Gardening is Good Therapy

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Many of us garden just for the sheer joy of it. But did you know that all over the country the healing aspects of gardening are being used as therapy or as an adjunct to therapy?

Although this might sound like a new concept, garden therapy has been around for decades. For example, the Garden Therapy Program at Central State Hospital in Milledgeville, and in regional hospitals in Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Rome, Thomasville and Savannah, has been helping people for over 40 years through gardening activities known as social and therapeutic horticulture.

So what exactly is social and therapeutic horticulture (or garden therapy)?

According to the article “Your future starts here: practitioners determine the way ahead” from Growth Point (1999) volume 79, pages 4-5, horticultural therapy is the use of plants by a trained professional as a medium through which certain clinically defined goals may be met. “…Therapeutic horticulture is the process by which individuals may develop well-being using plans and horticulture. This is achieved by active or passive involvement.”

Although the physical benefits of garden therapy have not yet been fully realized through research, the overall benefits are almost overwhelming. For starters, gardening therapy programs result in increased elf-esteem and self-confidence for all participants.

Social and therapeutic horticulture also develops social and work skills, literacy and numeric skills, an increased sense of general well-being and the opportunity for social interaction and the development of independence. In some instances it can also lead to employment or further training or education. Obviously different groups will achieve different results.

Groups recovering from major illness or injury, those with physical disabilities, learning disabilities and mental health problems, older people, offenders and those who misuse drugs or alcohol, can all benefit from the therapeutic aspects of gardening as presented through specific therapy related programs. In most cases, those that experience the biggest impact are vulnerable or socially excluded individuals or groups, including the ill, the elderly, and those kept in secure locations, such as hospitals or prisons.

One important benefit to using social and therapeutic horticulture is that traditional forms of communication aren’t always required. This is particularly important for stroke patients, car accident victims, those with cerebral palsy, aphasia or other illnesses or accidents that hinder verbal communication. Gardening activities lend themselves easily to communicative disabled individuals. This in turn builds teamwork, self-esteem and self-confidence, while encouraging social interaction.

Another group that clearly benefits from social and therapeutic horticulture are those that misuse alcohol or substances and those in prison. Teaching horticulture not only becomes a life skill for these individuals, but also develops a wide range of additional benefits.

Social and therapeutic horticultures gives these individuals a chance to participate in a meaningful activity, which produces food, in addition to creating skills relating to responsibility, social skills and work ethic.

The same is true for juvenile offenders. Gardening therapy, as vocational horticulture curriculum, can be a tool to improve social bonding in addition to developing improved attitudes about personal success and a new awareness of personal job preparedness.

The mental benefits don’t end there. Increased abilities in decision-making and self-control are common themes reported by staff in secure psychiatric hospitals. Reports of increased confidence, self-esteem and hope are also common in this environment.

Prison staff have also noticed that gardening therapy improves the social interaction of the inmates, in addition to improving mutual understanding between project staff and prisoners who shared outdoor conditions of work.

It’s interesting that studies in both hospitals and prisons consistently list improving relationships between participants, integrating with the community, life skills and ownership as being some of the real benefits to participants.

But in addition to creating a myriad of emotional and social benefits, the health benefits of being outdoors, breathing in fresh air and doing physical work cannot be overlooked. In most studies, participants noted that fresh air, fitness and weight control where prime benefits that couldn’t be overlooked.

Although unable to pin down a solid reason, studies have shown that human being posses an innate attraction to nature. What we do know, is that being outdoors creates feelings of appreciation, tranquility, spirituality and peace. So it would seem, that just being in a garden setting is in itself restorative. Active gardening only heightens those feelings.

With so many positive benefits to gardening, isn’t it time you got outside and started tending to your garden? Next time you are kneeling in fresh dirt to pull weeds or plant a new variety of a vegetable or flower, think about the tranquility you feel while being outdoors in your garden. Let the act of gardening sooth and revitalize you. Soak up the positive benefits of tending to your own garden.

If you have someone in your life that could benefit from garden therapy, contact your local health unit to find out more about programs in your area. Not only will the enjoyment of gardening help bond you together, but it will also create numerous positive mental and physical benefits for both of you.

So get gardening today for both your physical and mental health. You’ll enjoy the experience so much that you’ll immediately thank yourself.

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Roof Windows And Dormer Windows

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Let´s say you do not like the petty skylights. You want some nice, large windows to let the most possible sunshine under your roof. In that case you can choose from the roof windows or the dormer windows. Which ones are the best? It depends.

The roof windows vs skylights

The roof window is something like large skylight. Actually there is no substantial difference between skylights and roof windows, nevertheless skylights usually refer to smaller surface. Both skylights and roof windows are installed aslant, to the surface of the sloped roof.

The roof windows advantages

The roof window offers better (and longer) illumination compared to the vertical, dormer window. In certain areas the difference can be as much as 40%.

As the slant roof windows are installed directly to the roof surface, no special frameworks are necessary and installation of the roof window is cheaper than the dormer window installation (less material, less work).

The roof windows disadvantages

The roof windows do not add any space to your loft or ceiling as they only copy the roof.

Also the view from the roof window is little limited compared to the dormer window view.

The dormer windows

The dormer windows refer to the vertically installed windows projecting out, from the sloped roof surface.

The dormer windows advantages

Dormer windows increase the space of your loft or ceiling.

The vertical viewing (dormer) window also offers better view as you are closer to the viewed object.

Last but not least, the dormer windows, as they lift the sloped part of the roof higher, improve the safety conditions of your ceiling or loft (means you will not hit your head when looking out of the dormer window, of course, if you comply with all standard recommendations for the dormer window placement and dimensions.

The dormer windows disadvantages

Unlike the slant roof window, the dormer window faces the direct daylight with smaller surface, therefor it lets less light in.

Also the dormer windows installation is usually more expensive and demanding on planning and sources than the slant roof window installation.

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Hang a Heavy Mirror and Keep It Centered on Your Wall

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Hanging a heavy mirror on the wall is not as same as hanging a small painting or a piece of décor. It may seem more difficult than it is when you try it yourself. You need to decide the right anchor and make sure that the mirror is not going askew to create any trouble. But before hanging anything heavy such as a mirror, you need to decide what type of wall you need to have. Since each type of wall requires a different anchor, it is not pretty simple to make your choices.

Let us consider a few steps necessary to hang a heavy mirror and keep it centered on the wall, these steps will serve as a guide for you to avoid costly mistakes and create more space into your rooms.

Most Important Considerations

To know what type of wall you have is the most important thing you must know before starting any type of installation on the wall including mirrors or decoration pieces. The goal of hanging these things is to provide elegance to your room instead of creating a mess; every type of wall behaves differently than other whether it is a brick wall or a drywall. Each type of wall also need a different set of anchors or supporting hardware to properly lift the weight of a large mirror. Therefore the consideration of placing the hook in the right place is most important. As compared to small mirrors, the full length mirrors need more care because they are expensive and more delicate.

Preparation Steps

Step 1

First of all, determine the type of wall you have, for example, you can have a drywall, a masonry or a plaster wall. Push a tack into the wall and find out if it is a drywall or not; if it goes inside easily, it is a drywall.

Step 2

A hanging mirror must have a strong frame, a new mirror is safe to install when it already has a hardware attached. In case of an old mirror that does not have a hardware attached, you can use the frame with angle brackets to suit your needs.

Step 3

The next step would be to weigh the mirror, for weighing the mirror, the bathroom ruler would work just fine or you can use a scale. On the packing of hardware, the weight limits are listed to make things more informative for you to help you make a better choice.

Step 4

Pick the right spot to hang the mirror on the wall. Locating the mirror above the stud is helpful but not necessary with the right anchor. Always mark the center of the stud and keep in mind not to attach it near a light bulb, switch or an outlet.

Read the guide provided by the electrical outlet devices to locate the wall switches more effectively.

Steps for Hanging the Mirror

A few steps you can follow to hang a mirror using hooks and make hanging more useful. Let us guide through the process.

Step 1

Hold the mirror in place and keep it close to eye level. Now close to the center of the top edge, put a mark on the wall with a painter’s tape or a pencil. Take a caution here that you may need a helper if the mirror is heavy.

Step 2

On the back of the mirror, you will probably see the D-rings on the wire or a hook. You can hang the rings or wire from the hooks on the wall.

Step 3

To get the right space between the hooks, stick to a piece of tape and mark the space between D-rings.

Step 4

In step 1, you marked a line. Measure down from the mark and transfer the distance to the wall.

Step 5

Now mark the location for the hook mounting holes by centering your level on the wall.

Step 6

Secure the hardware to the stud if you are in line with it. If you are not in line with the stud, then try using a wall anchor.

Step 7

Some large mirrors can scratch the wall, you can add bumpers to the bottom of the mirrors so that wall does not get damaged by scratching.

Step 8

Now is the time to gently hang the mirror, use hooks already installed in the wall and push the mirror into them gently.

Tips for Centering a Mirror on the Wall

We came across with professional ideas on how to place a mirror at the right place on the wall and considered the points to complete an installation effectively. Now, the remaining part of the discussion will focus on the centering of the mirror on the wall to make it look pleasing to the eyes. Centering the mirror horizontally or vertically are the two choices you can make; both may work at certain spaces. You can install a beautiful framed or frameless mirror, either way, depending upon your ceiling height.

1. Horizontally Centering the Mirror

• Measure the width of the wall from either end and divide it into two.

• Utilize tape to measure up from the floor to 57 inches which are standard installation height.

• Measure from the hook of the frame at the back to the top of the frame.

• Create two more marks on the wall i.e. 57-inch mark on the wall 2 inches and another mark 55 inches off the floor.

• Finally install the frame to this third mark, with it, the top of the frame will be exactly 57 inches.

2. Vertically Centering the Mirror

Vertically centering the mirrors can take up the following steps:

• Measure the width of the wall with a tape and divide this number with two; this way you mark the center horizontal point on the wall.

• Measure the height of the wall and note this halfway point on the wall with a slightly darker mark.

• Now measure the height of the frame and divide this by two again on the back of the frame with a pencil.

• Measure up from the center of the wall and mark this spot as ‘x’ on the wall.

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Renovating The Game Room With Cork Flooring

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In some grand design scheme, builders constantly put the family room, often known as the game room, directly above the living room or master bedroom. This means the sound of running feet, blaring movies and incessant beeps from video games travel through the thin floor boards and into the rooms where adults are trying to watch television or enjoy something resembling peace and quiet.

Granted, the vast majority of the time playrooms are carpeted, which does offer some insulation from sound and noise, but there are even better options for parents seeking to quiet the pitter patters of little feet overhead – cork flooring.

Naturally Insulating

Cork is one of nature’s perfect designs. Cork is actually comprised of interlocking chambers with tough walls surrounding pockets of air. This design makes the material spongy yet durable. It is also naturally insulating and resistant to moisture. Cork has been used in wine bottles for millennia, and in more recent centuries, cork has also been used to create flooring tiles.

Cork Flooring

Cork flooring tiles are simple to install, attractive with their unique texture and finishing, and best of all – a soft surface to cushion footsteps and block a great deal of noise. This is perfect for play rooms and game rooms. Not only is cork flooring great for the peace and quiet sought by parents, it is also easier to clean than carpet and just as comfortable for lounging and running.

Cork flooring has a natural give that doesn’t mat down or get dirty over time. It is also finished and sealed, so any spills wipe up quickly and easily which is always a plus in rooms children frequent. And if cork flooring tiles on the floor aren’t enough sound insulation, you can actually use them on the walls as well to create a quiet, yet attractively unusual look in your room.

Installing Cork Flooring

Installing cork flooring is no more complicated than installing laminate flooring. Perhaps it is even easier as cork flooring tiles come in squares rather than long strips which may mean less cutting and trimming as you install.

Pull up the carpet and remove any nails or tacks from the subflooring. The simplest cork flooring tiles to install are interlocking in the same way laminate flooring is, but some tiles require adhesive. If you are installing cork flooring yourself opt for interlocking tiles. Lay out tiles beforehand if you are not confident in how the finished product will fit, especially if you are using alternating colors or patterns.

Once you are sure you know how the tiles will lay, start installing in one corner of the room and work steadily across until you’ve worked your way out of the room completely. Be sure to include a vapor barrier in the form of a plastic sheet under the tiles. You can secure the tiles by locking them together at the seam according to the manufacturer’s directions and carefully cut or trim tiles to fit in the corners or edges of the room.

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Review of Zalman ZM-MFC3 Fan Controller

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INTRODUCTION

Fan controllers have been around for ages it seems. These are products intended for true PC hardware enthusiasts who enjoy optimizing their systems to the max. Zalman was one of the pioneers in this sector with its famous ZM-MFC1, a device that only allowed us to control fan rotating speed. The concept of a 5.25″ panel from which you could control all your fans directly was very well received by modders and PC builders. The unit which I will be taking a closer look at today is a much more evolved product compared to Zalman’s first attempt. The average score for the Zalman ZM-MFC3 is currently 76% but the voices are somewhat inkoherent.

Zalman ZM-MFC3 is the natural evolution of the ZM-MFC2. Both have the same functionality, the only real changes are the design of the unit and how the data is displayed on the screen.

Here are the specifications of the ZM-MFC3:

Characteristics:

– Visualization of real time power usage

– Alarm system in case a fan stops

– Timer: it indicates the time of use of the computer

Dimensions: 147 x 87 x 42 mm (fits in a 5,25″ bay)

Supported fans: 4 altogether, 3 with 3 pin connectors and 1 with a 4 pin (PWM) connector

Method of regulation of the fans: Voltage for the 3 pin fans and PWM for the 4 pin fans

Voltage scale: Measures from 10W to 999W

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

The Rehobus ZM-MFC3 comes in a cardboard box of rather small dimensions with a quite sober design. Already from viewing the box we can get a preview of the most important functions of the ZM-MFC3. I like that Zalman has included a detailed showcase of the main functions on the backside of the box.

When I opened the box I found the unit itself in an antistatic plastic bag. All the accessories were located in a white box and there was also a rather extensive manual which was located under the fan controller. The accessories that Zalman has included are; 4 cables for connecting to the fans (3 with 3 pin connectors and one with a 4 pin PWM connector); 4 temperature sensors; a PCI bracket with a CVS connector for measuring the power and some screws for the installation of the unit.

IN DETAIL

Zalman ZM-MFC3 is a quite small device (147 x 87 x 42 mm) which fits perfectly into a 5.25″ expansion bay. The depth of the unit is not even half of a normal DVD drive. It has a rather sober and elegant design I think.

There are two stickers on the top side of the ZM-MFC3. They hold information about of the serial number and model of the unit.

The front of the ZM-MFC3 is very simple. The only two elements of interest are the screen and the button/wheel.

All the connections are located in the back of the unit. From left to right there are 3 connectors for 3 pin fans and a 4 pin PWM connector. To the right of the fan connectors there are 4 connectors for the temperature sensors. Then there’s a CVS connector for the voltage measurements. Farthest to the right, there’s a DC power connector.

INSTALLING ZALMAN ZM-MFC3

In spite of my first impression, the installation of the ZM-MFC3 wasn’t too complicated since the connectors are easy to identify and the corresponding cables couldn’t be fitted anywhere else.

The most problematic thing I had to confront was the connection of the power consumption meter which involved several steps. First I connected the CVS cable to the ZM-MFC3 and then I installed the PCI bracket in my case, then I connected the watt meter to the power supply and finally I connected the USB connector from the watt meter to the PCI bracket.

Yes, they are many connections, but with a little patience the installation is fairly easy. Once the installation was finished I turned on my PC and directly there was o ton of information on the Rheobus panel. It was really refreshing that I didn’t have to install any software on my PC to get the readings.

The presentation of the information is fairly clear and as Zalman says; the visualization of the panel is excellent from any angle which is great because you are rarely directly in front of you PC. With the clear display a swift glance at the panel is enough to register the readouts from it.

Now you might be asking; what about controlling the speed of the fans? It’s truly a piece of cake, just push and hold the wheel in for three seconds to enter the correct mode. Then you choose fan by pushing the wheel button until you have selected the one you which to alter. Finally, to change the speed of the fan, you turn the wheel in the desired direction.

CONCLUSIONS

Zalman has yet again proved why their products are so popular amongst consumers in the PC hardware segment. The ZM-MFC3 is an excellent product. It excels in terms of design, function, connectivity, presentation of the information and its relative simplicity.

The functions that Zalman ZM-MFC3 offers are quite extensive and very useful. I would have loved to be able to read out some more interesting info from it like the CPU and memory frequency etc. The display is really clear, both in terms of the visibility and how the information is arranged.

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Protecting The Car With A Garage Or A Car Cover?

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When winter comes along, many people think that cars now belong indoors. They know that leaving a car outdoors unprotected is not an option. It is a recipe for disaster. Any car that is left parked outside, without any form of protection, is guaranteed to get wrecked in some way or another. The fact remains; a car that is uncovered has a shorter life expectancy.

So the question remain, what form of protection to provide? There is a choice of two forms of protection; a garage, or a car cover. Both have their own advantages and disadvantages. They must be weighed up by the individual, to see which is the better of the two for him.

Garages:
The advantage of garages is that when parked in a garage, the car is completely closed off from any form of weather condition, and therefore cannot, in any way, be harmed by them. Garages are also very convenient for the car owner, as he always know where his car is parked, and never has to search for a space. Another advantage of garages is that they can be used by anyone. More or less any car can drive into the garage and be protected.

However, the disadvantages of having a garage largely lie in the money and space involved. Garages are expensive to build as they are not merely three wall and a door. There is more to a garage, and the money mounts up. Aside from this, a lot of people simply do not have the space to build a garage. Even if they did, they would much prefer to use that space for extending the house, rather than building a room to keep a car over night.

In addition, when a car is stored in a garage it is not dust and dirt free. Whilst the garage may be able to protect it from the detriments of nature, and car thieves, the car is still exposed to dust and dirt, and hence will still need constant cleaning.

Car covers:
The main advantage of car covers is the how compact they are. Car covers, when not in use, can be folded up and tucked away,out of sight. They can even be stored in the trunk of the car. This enables the car owner to take it along with him wherever he goes, so that he and his car are always covered. This is something that garages can never have – portability.

Car cover are also inexpensive, and cost effective. Cover covers are a drop in the bucket compared to the expense of a garage, and they also provide excellent coverage and protection. In fact they will even protect the car from dust and dirt, unlike garages. They will be able to save the car owner hundreds of dollars over the years that would have otherwise been used for cleaning, polishing and repairs.

On the other hand, the good car covers only come custom-made. This means that they are designed to fit the one car, perfectly. The cover will fit the car like a glove, maximising the protection, but it means that no other car can use it. Thus, it cannot be shared amongst family and friends, and when a new car is bought, the cover needs to be changed too.

In addition, car covers are not as sturdy as garages. Yes they will be able to protect the car from just about everything, including knocks and scrapes. Covers absorb the impact without leaving a mark on the car itself. However this is on a small scale, and should there be a more fierce collision, the cover will be inept at shielding the car.

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Five Indoor Gardening Tips

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Indoor gardening is just as exciting and fun as shopping to furnish your home. Like furniture, plants provide your home with an aesthetic value. In addition, adding flowers and plants to your home help cleanse the air by producing oxygen and utilizing carbon dioxide. Here are five important gardening tips to help optimize the health and aesthetic benefits inside your home.

Water

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that all plants need a lot of water. Thinking this way may cost you the health of your plan. Each plant is different in its needs and depending on the variety may only need minimal watering. Make sure you do a little research about the particular plant that you choose to garden in your home.

Humidity

Most people don’t even think about the conditions of the air in their home when considering their plants. Not only is the humidity important for humans, it is equally important for your plants. Two things you could do that may help are: spray your plants with a fine mist of water in the morning and keep the leaves dust-free by wiping them off with a damp cloth.

Potting

There’s a plethora of different colors, styles and sizes of flower pots to choose from, which can be very pleasing to eye. Make sure that whatever type and/or quality you choose the pot is clean and the soil is fresh before placing your new plants into it. This one step will help you to avoid infections to your plant and certainly encourage a healthy growth.

Fertilization

Different species of plants require different fertilizations. Indoor gardening soil with added fertilizers can be purchased from your local hardware store. Make certain that you don’t make the mistake of over- fertilizing. This can lead to the death of your plants. With the right amount of water, light and humidity, extra fertilizer may not be required. Research your specific plant to prevent disaster.

Lighting

Let’s face it, mostly all plants need light. Not only do humans require sunlight, but the health of indoor garden will depend on it. Open the blinds and let the sun shine in. It’s really that simple. Never substitute the rays from sun with fluorescent lighting. You and your indoor garden will benefit from nature’s gift.

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The Benefits Of Carpet Cleaning

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Carpets are a highly popular flooring option for homes because they’re warm and soft and make the whole family feel welcome and at home. Clean carpets are central to this feeling, and vacuuming, even as frequently as once a week, isn’t enough to keep carpets truly clean through the wearing activities of the day. Regular home life demands a lot from carpets, and professional carpet cleaning is the best way to keep them in great condition. There are many benefits of carpet cleaning, not the least of which is that it contributes to the great feeling everyone gets from walking barefoot on freshly cleaned carpets. Call today for your personal, professional carpet cleaning consultation and let the experts show you how your home can seem new again through clean carpets.

There is a thought that professional carpet cleaning uses damaging chemicals, but this isn’t the case. Modern carpet cleaning methods, specifically hot water extraction, uses water heated to more than 200 degrees Fahrenheit to remove dirt and particles and clean the carpets. The pressurized water loosens stains, dirt and other mites, which is all removed through the industrial vacuuming equipment. Hot water extraction is also entirely soap free, safe for all carpets and, most importantly, is safe for kids, pets and the environment. There is no residue left behind and your carpets will feel healthy and pure. In addition, hot water extraction carpet cleaning is safe for all types of carpets, from shag to berber to carpets with decorative patterns. Modern carpet cleaning methods will not upset the delicate fibers of your carpets and will actually help them look new longer.

One of the main benefits of professional carpet cleaning is that it reduces the level of allergens in your home. Carpet attracts bits and pieces that come in from the windows, which fall from shoes or enter the home in any amount of ways. Carpet is almost like a filter because it keeps all those particles snug within its fibers. However, when kids and pets lay on the carpet they’re getting close to those sometimes harmful particles, and vacuuming can even bring them close to the carpet surface without removing them, causing allergy flare ups and irritations. Professional carpet cleaning thoroughly removes all of these particles for a clean and healthy floor you’ll feel good about letting your kids get close to.

The same particles that cause allergies in your family can also cause depreciation to your carpet fibers. Dirt, stains and microscopic materials can get wedged in your carpeting and wear the fibers down, especially in high traffic areas where particles are being stamped in more frequently. Eventually, those particles will cause visible wear in addition to a distinct roughness under bare feet, and in time the carpeting will need to be replaced. Stains have the same adverse effects and are highly visible, even after the application of store bought carpet cleaners. Professional carpet cleaning completely removes stains and dirt from your carpets and will extend the lifespan of your carpeting, keeping it looking new longer and saving you from having to replace it prematurely.

Homeowners today are just as interested in the environmental consequences of their actions as they are about the effects of the products they use, and professional carpet cleaning meets all expectations. The hot water extraction method accepted by professional carpet cleaners is eco friendly because it relies on extremely hot temperatures to loosen particles, remove stains and sanitize carpets. Even the conditioners, stain removers and protectors used in certain carpets are environmentally friendly, and wash away neatly. There is no residue left behind in your carpets and nothing polluting to the environment, so homeowners can relax knowing their clean carpets are not at the expense of the planet. Green carpet cleaning is a celebrated and highly effective home cleaning method that can be used on every carpet type, every home and for every family.

One of the greatest benefits of modern professional carpet cleaning methods is that they practically eliminate the drying period for all types of carpets, reducing it down to just one hour. With hot water extraction cleaning, the water and all of the particles and dirt with it are entirely removed because of the industrial suctioning equipment, so there’s nothing left behind. Not only does this give carpets the truest clean, it means carpets will be ready for furniture and regular life in no time. There’s also no risk of mold or mildew build up because there’s no dampness. Carpets are clean and fresh through and through, and will remain soft and fluffy for many months to come.

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Why Is Matte Gray So Popular?

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Advantages of Gray

Gray is a common occurrence in modern kitchens. Namely because gray goes well with nearly every color with which it is paired. In fact, some people think that adding a gray finish is one of the best methods to add contrast and depth to a kitchen.

Gray is so adept that it gives the designer freedom in every category from transitional, to modern, and even traditional. The fact that there are over 50 shades of gray (hehe) is what enables this color to harmonize so well with others. By choosing the correct shade you can add elements of brightness for a cozy ambiance or keep it monochromatic for a more modern look.

Benefits of Matte

One benefit of a matte cabinet door is that imperfections such as fingerprints and scratches are a lot less obvious than on cabinets that have a gloss finish. This isn’t to say that they don’t appear at all, they do, but it is much less noticeable.

Furthermore, the color on something with a matte finish will often appear more consistent than that of a glossy finish. This is due to the fact that light doesn’t reflect off of a matte finish as much as it does on a glossy finish. The reflecting light can often create the illusion of different shades.

Disadvantages of Matte

A cabinet door with a matte finish soaks up light instead of reflecting it. This results in a less vibrant look. You should also be aware of the fact that matte cabinet doors don’t reflect any light, so they won’t help to make your space feel any bigger. This means that matte is often chosen for a large spaces while gloss is usually picked for small spaces.

Matte cabinet fronts are not quite as easy their glossy counterparts, having said that, they are not difficult to clean. Just be sure to use a microfiber cloth so that you don’t scratch your cabinets.

If you’re using a laminate material for your cabinets, make sure that you check out samples carefully and that the material has a smooth finish. Some matte-finish laminates have a texture to them, this means that there are plenty of nooks and crannies for dirt and dust to hide in. However, this shouldn’t stop you from buying textured laminates because they can look spectacular in the kitchen. Just be aware of the pro and cons between them.

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Do You Have Small, Tiny Red Bugs in Your Bathroom?

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Although there are several possibilities, the potential of a stored product pest infestation should not be overlooked- in particular, the presence of flour beetles.

The confused flour beetle and the red flour beetle look very similar in appearance. The best way to distinguish the two is by examining their antennae. The RFB’s antennae take on a clubbed shape with three segments at the end, while the CFB’s antennae gradually enlarge towards the tip, ending in a four-segmented club.

Another difference between the two beetles is that the RFB (primarily found in southern states) is a strong flier, while the CFB (primarily a northern pest) does not fly.

As adults, both beetles have shiny, reddish brown bodies that are about 1/8 inch long, flattened, and oval. They have a very wide food range including flour, rice, cereals, grains, spices, grain products, shelled nuts, dried fruit, chocolate, beans and other similar materials.

Average life span of both the confused and red flour beetle is between 1 and 3.5 years. They have four life cycle stages, which include the egg, larvae, pupae and adult. It’s important to note that all four stages of the life cycle may be found in infested grain products at the same time.

When female beetles of either species lay their small, white eggs, they do so in flour or other food material. The eggs, which are coated with a sticky secretion, become covered with the product and easily stick to the sides of sacks, boxes, and other containers.

In the larvae stage, both species are small, slender, and worm-like in appearance. When fully grown, the larva is 3/16 inch long and white, tinged with yellow.

As confused flour and red flour beetles transform into a small pupa, they gradually change from white, to yellow, and then brown. Shortly after turning brown in color, they transform into an adult beetle.

So now that we’ve identified the pest, the next question is:

Why is a pest that feeds on flour, rice, and other grain products in my bathroom instead of my kitchen?

The answer to the above question is very easy- you have a food source in your bathroom.

To eliminate the pest problem, you just have to remove the food source. Thoroughly inspect your cabinets, drawers, and closets for rodent poisons, septic system treatments (powder or flake form), hidden pet treats, rice bag heating pads, prescription drugs, etc. It can be a frustrating task, but with a little persistence, you should be able to locate the source of your problem.

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Commercial Kitchen Equipment Cleaning

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Oh no… not dirty kitchen!

I have come across many people worried about their utensils and heavy appliances in their commercial kitchen set-ups, as they are unable to keep track of a cleaning schedule that is pertinent for such kitchens. It is especially true for most of the units during the rush period, especially at the end of the year, especially in India when all festivities and celebrations are lined up one after another.

When I say dirty kitchen, it is not merely the environment; it has to do with the functionality of equipment and their overall condition that give a kitchen its real identity.

We all know that daily cleaning is the only way to keep things in order, operational, but if that is not the case with your kitchen, you should rely on scheduling a cleaning exercise, almost like a mandatory training that corporate want their employee to go through. If your housekeeping department can stick to spring cleaning for rooms, why can’t you do it for the kitchens?

There are more than one reason to carry out regular cleaning of kitchen, which can be listed down as follows:

A. Upkeep of the kitchen environment

B. Upkeep of the kitchen utensils and appliances

C. Upkeep of the working environment.

Did I cover all points? Yes, most certainly. Because, within these three points lie the success of a commercial kitchen in a restaurant or hotel.

The fact of the matter is if these three pointers are kept in mind all the time by the maintenance department of the hotel, or the kitchen staff, no unforeseen circumstances will arrive like break down of equipment, short-circuits, excessive power consumption, etc.

In a 24×7 environment, kitchens in commercial establishments hardly find a rest period and therefore, demand extreme care. Try to divide the kitchen into segments (usually the layout itself act as a division, wet area, dry area, burners, chillers, etc.). It is ideal to select one area during any particular time (preferable night time, when the traffic/rush is low) to concentrate on its cleaning. The very next day choose another area, maybe. This cycle of brisk cleaning goes a long way in maintaining kitchen equipment and utensils, not allowing grease and dirt to settle down on them.

It is very important to ensure that kitchen equipment are always in the best possible working condition. Cleaning not only increases the life of all equipment, but also increases their resale value. This is vital as in some years in you might think of upgrading your equipment. In that case it is better to get the best resale value.

Therefore, the straight point here is about “well-maintained working equipment” that companies “should” have.

Unattractive equipment are those that are inconsistent in their performance, and irregular cleaning schedule and lack of emphasis on annual maintenance are usually the reasons for the outcome. In such a case, nobody would like to claim the ownership of such products. Isn’t it? So, it is better to keep a periodic cleaning schedule as part of duty rosters. It is like inculcating a habit. And this isn’t hard to achieve at all, if you decide to have it in the first place with a will to succeed.

Thankfully, many companies are trying to build their operational SOPs of kitchens keeping in mind maintenance as pertinent objective to be achieved. This way they have been able to achieve functionality (efficiency) of old equipment on a par with the best/new equipment in kitchens.

At the same time, having an annual maintenance contract (AMC) in place with an established company goes a long way in securing sound working conditions of kitchen equipment.

Remember, maintained equipment will always be a good proposition for you in future. Not only will your operational cost be less, it would be valued at a higher side (resale value) when you plan to do away with them.

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