It’s been a long, cold, snowy winter, and the frigid air does not look like it will be making an exit any time soon. This is the time of year cabin fever usually begins to set in, and we can all relate to the urge to escape the confines of the house and get back outside, even if it’s just to sit out on your backyard patio or deck. Luckily, you do not have to wait for the snow to completely melt or for the temperatures to reach above freezing, and the simple addition of an outdoor heating unit can make the icy tundra of your backyard instantly inhabitable again. There are a few things to know and consider about outdoor heating units before you make your purchase, however, and in the spirit of a very chilly start to the month of March, this week’s topic highlights two most popular modes of outdoor heating – fire pits and patio heaters – as well as tips for choosing the best kind of unit for the space you wish to heat.
You do all you can to keep the air in your home fresh and clean – you open windows, use sweet-smelling air fresheners, and dust regularly. But is this really enough? The truth is, the air you breathe in you very own home is dirtier (and more dangerous) than you think. Luckily, the solution comes with just a few clicks of the mouse when you visit TotalHomeSupply.com and check out our selection of Aprilaire whole-home air cleaners. (Our recommended models are the 1410 and 1210 units, pictured left).
But we know our customers are smart, and aren’t going to simply take our word for it, so let’s have a look at the facts. Here are the four most common myths and misconceptions about indoor air quality and air purification, debunked. Read more
It’s been a long, cold winter so far, and for most of the country there is a lot more of it to go. The temperatures for the month of February will still be low, and the continuous cold takes a toll on your home. Ice dams can form around your gutters causing your roof to leak, and frozen pipes can burst.
Since preventing frozen pipes is definitely a better option than coming home to water flowing through your home, it might be a good idea to talk about a few ways to prevent a home disaster. Some tips can be done by the homeowner, while others may require a professional’s hand.
Frozen pipes occur when cold air surrounds the pipe, and water within the pipe freezes and increases pressure somewhere between the frozen blockage and the closed faucet. Holes in the outside wall of your house where cable or internet lines come through the walls can let in a lot of cold air. This can be a problem if these holes are too close to water pipes. Sealing the holes with caulk will not only protect your pipes, but will create a more energy efficient home.
Wrapping pipes with insulation is another easy fix. Most home improvement centers or plumbing supply stores sell pipe sleeves manufactured for this purpose. The thicker the insulation, the better; just be sure that no gaps exist where the pipe is exposed to the cold air.
One easy tip is to just open the cabinet doors under your kitchen sink, bathroom vanities, etc., anywhere a pipe is housed and no warm air can circulate. Allowing a faucet to drip, while not the optimum way to prevent frozen pipes, does help in some cases. I know of one case where a homeowner never had a frozen pipe until he had a plumber fix a leaky faucet. Letting a small drip may work in some instances, but it wastes water and does not take care of the underlying problem.
If your pipes are in an unheated crawl space or an outside wall, electric heating tapes and cables can be used to run along the pipes, providing enough warmth to prevent freezing. However, because of the need for this wiring to be up to code, and because a thermostat needs to be installed so the heated wires will turn on when needed, it’s best to call in a professional to do the installation. It’s a more expensive option, but definitely cheaper than the repairs needed when pipes burst inside your walls.
So how cold does it need to be before pipes freeze? Well, 20 degrees Fahrenheit seems to be the general rule, but the actual freezing point could be higher depending on weather conditions, as well as where your pipes are located. It’s always better to prevent than it is to repair. Take a look around your home and see what options fit your needs, and keep those pipes warm.Photo Source: By Cha già José from Vienna, Austria (Frozen Pipes Uploaded by darkweasel94) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
As evidenced by the latest shift in store displays – from candy canes and Santa hats to heart-shaped boxes of chocolate – Valentine’s Day is almost here. It’s a time for celebrating love, between partners or among family and friends, and so we all have a lot to celebrate on this day, regardless of what your Facebook relationship status reads come February 14th. This year, the 14th falls on a Friday, which means that chances are the restaurants, bars, and movie theaters will be packed to capacity with both Valentine’s Day observers and general weekend-goers alike. But don’t let this discourage you from enjoying the holiday – take it as an opportunity to cozy up and create the perfect Valentine’s Day date or dinner party at home!
Total Home Supply carries a plethora of appliances that are not only handy to have around the house on a day-to-day basis, but can also help enhance the quality of any at-home gathering. This week’s topic is all about tips and ideas for Valentine’s Day entertainment, with suggested hand-picked items that can all be found for purchase on our website.
To get the night going, let’s start with the wine – do you prefer red, white, or rosé? Whatever your choice happens to be, the Kalorik electric corkscrew and sealer set makes cracking open that fancy bottle you’ve been keeping in your wine cooler virtually effortless. The corkscrew works to smoothly and flawlessly extract the cork from the bottle each and every time, while the sealer effortlessly re-corks the bottle without breakage.
Now, on to dinner. Any home cooked meal is sure to impress your date or dinner guests, and Total Home Supply offers an astonishing variety of ovens, ranges, cooktops to help you whip up all of your famous dishes – from pan-seared salmon to stir-fry, roasted asparagus to garlic bread, pasta primavera to beef Wellington and creamy mashed potatoes. If you do find yourself cooking for a party, or if your kitchen simply lacks the space for a full-sized range, an electric roaster oven is the perfect solution for cooking poultry, meat, and side dishes, or for warming bread. We also understand that our consumers lead busy lives, in which case a slow cooker is ideal for preparing delicious soups, gravies, and sauces to be ready-to-serve by the time you arrive home.
After your savory meal has been enjoyed by candlelight, it’s time for coffee and dessert. Whether your favorite after-dinner pick-me-up is a classic drip-coffee, or a cappuccino, latte, or espresso, why not sweeten the mood and make it a little special for Valentine’s Day? Black forest cake coffee is absolutely perfect to serve on this holiday, and it is very easy to make. After preparing your hot coffee or latte drink as usual, simply stir in one teaspoon of dark chocolate syrup (or two, because when was the last time you heard someone complain about too much chocolate?), add a splash of maraschino cherry juice, then top with whipped cream, a drizzle of chocolate syrup, and one cherry.
Accompany your after-dinner coffee with everyone’s favorite sweet treat – cupcakes! Whether full-size or miniature, cupcakes are a fun (and yummy) way to get creative with decorations. Red velvet cupcakes are a perfect Valentine’s Day dessert, topped with a sweet cream cheese frosting and sprinkles. Or, if you’re not really a frosting person, try baking brownies in cupcake tins and, using a paper heart cut-out as a stencil, sprinkle powdered sugar on top for a super cute design.
But perhaps an full-scale dinner event is not for you, and that is perfectly fine! You really can’t go wrong on any night with popcorn and a good movie.
And finally, because Valentine’s Day is as much about celebrating love between friends and family as it is between couples, why not consider throwing a Valentine’s Day brunch for you and a group of all your favorite people? Whip up some golden-brown, heart-shaped waffles, top with some sliced strawberries, maybe a little whipped cream or maple syrup, and enjoy!
It’s the middle of winter – the holidays are over, snow is falling, and there is no better feeling in the world than curling up on the couch with a good book and a good cup of tea. Since the cold weather has set in, we have noticed that our selection of efficient and affordable tea kettles and hot pots at TotalHomeSupply.com has been receiving a lot of attention from our consumers. We have quite a few tea enthusiasts on our staff as well, so it only seemed right to commit a week to recognizing diverse options and tips for brewing the perfect cup.
How do you make your tea? Sure, there are many pre-assembled tea blends that are delicious and easily accessible at your local grocery store, but why not get a little more creative? This week’s topic is all about helping you have a little more fun with the tea you make at home, with a few quick and easy recipes for yummy, homemade winter teas. Feel free to add your own in the comments section!
Orange Spice Tea
Citrus – it’s not just for summer anymore. Warm and soothing, and coupled with everyone’s favorite spice (cinnamon!), this orange spice tea will fill your entire kitchen with the aroma of Christmas (even if Christmas is a few weeks past).
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon dried orange peel
- 1/2 teaspoon clove
- 2 teaspoons black tea leaves
- Assemble all ingredients together and place in a tea ball
- Place tea ball in large mug of hot water and steep for 10 minutes
- NOTE: If you do not own a tea ball, you can place the ingredients directly in a medium-sized bowl of hot water and strain out into mug when the tea has finished steeping.
Lemon Honey Ginger Tea
One of the less wonderful things winter brings is the height of cold and flu season. Luckily, there are many tea blends suited to soothe what ails you, from sore throats to stuffy noses to cloudy heads. This homemade honey lemon ginger tea is an absolute favorite, and is a delicious way to warm up even when you’re not sick!
- 1 Tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 Tablespoon honey
- NOTE: While the original recipe does not call for actual tea leaves, you may cut this recipe in half and add to 1/2 cup of steeped black tea if desired (and we highly recommend it – delicious!)
- Place grated ginger in tea pot or medium bowl. Pour 1 cup boiling water over ginger and let steep for 3 minutes.
- Add lemon juice and honey to large mug. Strain steeped ginger tea into the mug and stir until honey is dissolved.
- Taste, and add more lemon juice or honey until flavor suits you.
Chocolate Mint Tea
Who says you can’t have your cocoa and drink it, too? A tea-based take on everybody’s favorite wintertime beverage, this chocolate mint tea will have you and your taste buds sipping in a winter wonderland up to the very last drop.
- 1 mint tea bag (or about 2 teaspoons mint tea leaves)
- 1 cup of water
- 1 Tablespoon hot chocolate powder
- Milk, to taste (optional)
- Heat water in tea kettle until boiling
- Pour water into mug with tea bag, cover, and steep for 3 minutes
- Remove tea bag from water and stir in hot chocolate powder
- Add milk to taste
How do you make the most of your tea kettle? Let us know your best and favorite tea recipes in the comments section! Happy brewing!
Winter may not be everybody’s favorite season – what, with the heavy snow and bitter cold and all – but it can certainly be argued to be the coziest. And what is more cozy than a warm fire in the comfort of your own home? Traditional wood-burning fireplaces are great for heat and ambiance, but many people become turned off to the mess and frustration of starting and maintaining this kind of fire. Gas and electric fireplaces can offer terrific alternatives, but there is still a lot to consider when making such a purchase.
Though fundamentally different as night and day, gas and electric fireplaces actually have quite a few shared benefits between them. Both gas and electric fireplace units offer a safer alternative to wood-burning fireplaces, producing heat and ambiance without the threat of dangerous sparks jumping out of the hearth. Both alternatives also do not produce harmful particulates or emissions into the air, making a gas or electric unit safer for the environment, as well. Further, because gas and electric fireplaces do not rely on burning wood, they are able to provide consistent heat for as long as you want or need, not just for as long as the logs remain burning. A simple On/Off switch, for both fireplace types, also significantly cuts down on the time (and frustration) it often takes to ignite a wood-burning fireplace.
These things in mind, how can you still be sure that the fireplace you have your eye on is the best choice for you? What kind of fireplace would best reflect what you want out of a heating/lighting unit, and which model would best suit the existing interior of your home? We cannot answer this question for you without speaking to you personally (please contact us with any questions you may have!), but we have set up this week’s topic as a basic guide to the benefits and limitations of both gas and electric fireplaces, to help you begin to make an informed decision regarding the purchase your new fireplace unit from TotalHomeSupply.com.
The true pyro’s alternative to a wood-burning fireplace, the allure of a gas unit, first and foremost, is the flame. With such a wide variety of gas log sets offered on our website, choosing a unit that reflects the aesthetic design of your existing interior and also fits your budget is entirely do-able. But if you take a closer look at the selection of gas fireplaces offered at Total Home Supply, you will notice there is something further to consider – do you need a vented or a vent-free fireplace?
Vented logs are favored by those looking for visual authenticity above all else, producing tall, radiant flames that reflect the look of a real wood fire. Though vented gas logs do produce heat, they do not act as an efficient heat source. Because vented logs use more gas than vent-free units, a significant amount of the heat must be vented through the chimney. Thus, it is advised that a secondary heat source be used in addition to a vented log unit.
Vent-free gas logs are ideal for consumers primarily looking for a supplemental heat source. Certainly a more aesthetically pleasing addition to your existing interior than a conventional heater would be, vent-free logs use less gas than vented units for a smaller flame, but better heat. As with all gas heating units, however, there are codes that govern where vent-free products can be used and how many BTU’s they can burn within the home. This information can be found on the product page at the time of purchase.
All gas log units require installation with a pre-existing hearth. If your home does not have a hearth, however, that does not mean you have to miss out on the heat and ambiance of a gas-powered fire unit. EcoSmart Fire has an impressive line of eco-friendly indoor fire products that require no pre-existing hearths or mantles. Choose from their selection of fireboxes, fire towers, and award-winning designer fireplaces.
Electric fireplaces are no stranger to the skeptics, who wonder how great a fire-less fireplace can actually be. There are many terrific benefits to owning an electric fireplace, however, and a previous post of ours spoke to this at length. When comparing electric fireplaces to gas-powered units, however, two major differences stand out. One, is obviously the flame. Using an innovative LED light system coupled with strategically configured reflective mirrors, electric fireplaces create a remarkably realistic illusion of a true fire without the mess or the hassle of a wood-burning fireplace, and without the hazard a real flame. The second major difference is the ability to enjoy the ambiance of an electric fireplace with or without the heat. Because the flames are just reflected light, the heating component may be switched off separately, allowing you to enjoy the beauty of dancing orange flames all year long.
For further customization of the fireplace’s aesthetic, the electric fireplaces offered on our website come featured with either a set of sculpted logs or a glass ember bed. The glass ember bed option creates a captivating contemporary feel perfect for dining rooms and restaurants, while the logs give off a rustic vibe ideal for family rooms and vacation homes. Electric fireplaces do not require a pre-existing hearth for installation, as many electric fireplace units may be purchased with a mantel. Or, perhaps you would like to save floor space, and opt for a wall-mount electric fireplace instead.
Life and work shouldn’t stop for below-freezing temperatures. Without a proper heater, however, cold air can cut right through the walls, making any living or work environment absolutely unbearable. This is true of any indoor space, but especially of warehouses and garages, where walls may not be as well insulated and large doors allow massive amounts of cold air to directly enter inside. For these kinds of spaces, you want a heater that is powerful enough to produce and circulate a sufficient amount of heat, as well as one that is energy-efficient, cost-effective, safe, and reliable enough to last through the years.
Reznor’s UDAP line of high-efficiency, gas-fired unit heaters is all of this, and we could go on all day about what a difference installing a Reznor heater in your warehouse or garage would make. For simplicity’s sake, however, here is a concise list of five features that make Reznor heaters a great choice for helping you through the winter months.
1. Highest efficiency in its class
UDAP heaters boast an 82-83% thermal efficiency, which represents the percentage of gas that is turned into usable heat. Wasting less gas means wasting less money as well as less natural resources, and the added efficiency allows for greater heat potential — Reznor heaters are capable of making indoor temperatures upwards of 60-degrees (F) warmer.
2. Suitable for both professional and residential use
Reznor UDAP heaters are certified for commercial/industrial heating application, as well as approved for use in residential garage/workshop heating applications. From professional warehouses to your personal garage, any Reznor heater will do.
3. Easy installation
These series of heaters hang from the ceiling, from either 2 or 4 suspension points or by an optional hanger kit. A factory installed gas line to the exterior of the cabinet allows for easy gas service connection, and a low voltage terminal strip on the outside of the cabinet makes connecting control wiring easy as well.
4. Engineered for safety
UDAP heaters are equipped with a multi-try direct spark ignition as opposed to an always-on pilot light, which decreases chances of accidental combustion significantly. These units also feature a full fan guard for added safety, and diagnostic indicator lights to allow you to address any issues that arise quickly and accurately.
5. Available in a wide range of sizes to suit virtually any space
Ranging from 30,000 to 400,000 BTU/hr, UDAP heaters are available in 14 different sizes to accommodate nearly any space in need of heating. From the largest warehouses to the smallest sheds, there is a Reznor unit available for you.
Reznor heaters are now available for purchase at TotalHomeSupply.com.
Say hello to the “Big Smart Fan”, one of the newest additions to our website!
The “Big Smart Fan” is the brainchild of the brilliant folks over at AirMotion Sciences, a company specializing in innovative technologies geared towards a better and more efficient system of air circulation, especially throughout large indoor spaces. The science behind the “Big Smart Fan” line is so advanced, however, that it can be difficult to discern exactly what each of its unique features actually do, and further, why this product is such a terrific addition to any professional warehouse, factory, or garage. That is why this week’s topic is a breakdown of AirMotion Sciences’ “Big Smart Fan” technology, explained in the simplest terms possible why this product is just so darn cool (no pun intended…well, maybe a little bit intended).
1. This fan is categorized as a HVLS fan.
HVLS stands for “high-volume, low-speed”, and refers to a type of fan that is specially designed to accommodate massive amounts of air (high-volume), its giant blades moving very slowly (low-speed) to push and circulate heated or cooled air throughout the entire room.
2. Specialized blades make for a more accurate distribution of air.
AirMotion Sciences’ own Rotatair Composite Blades offer a stronger, yet lighter, alternative to the standard aluminium blades found with most other HVLS fans. Combined with innovative ‘variable pitch technology’, which allows the blades to be adjusted in an upwards or downwards position, a smooth and well-focused circulation of air is achieved. Adjusting the blades upwards allow for a wider circulation of air, while adjusting the blades downwards makes the distribution of air more focused on a particular area of the facility. For especially large spaces, multiple HVLS fans may be installed and separately adjusted, for an all-encompassing, wave-like air movement throughout the entire space.
3. The Big Smart Fan works with heating/cooling units for a more energy- and application-efficient distribution of air.
To heat or cool an indoor space as large as a warehouse or factory would usually require multiple units that not only drain energy, but also cost money. The overall purpose of an HVLS fan is to drastically minimize the amount of heating or cooling power needed to reach across larger spaces. HVLS fans do not create a breeze, but work with heating/cooling systems to move the air throughout the facility, for consistent and comfortable indoor temperatures all year long.
As another year comes to a close, the Total Home Supply family would like to thank all of you for making 2013 a very exciting year for us. To our commercial clients, we thank you for your repeat business. And the internet browsers, even if you found our site by accident, called us with a question, and didn’t buy from us, we thank you too. With each customer interaction that takes place, we learn something new… is there a new line people are interested in that we don’t carry, what is concerning people as far as energy efficiency in heating and air conditioning, or are our competitors doing a better job than us?
Every phone call gives us insight. No business can remain static if it wishes to succeed, and dealing with consumers daily is a learning experience. At the end of each day, we try to take what we have learned and use it towards making the shopping experience at Total Home Supply, an exceptionally good one.
Thanks to our distributors and sales reps. We need someone at the other end of the phone too, and you guys are the ones we go to on a daily basis.
And most of all, we thank all of you who took the time to look at our website and made the decision to purchase from us. It’s not easy being a small fish in a big pond, and we appreciate every customer and every order. We hope your experience with us was a good one, and you will remember us in the future.
Happy New Year from Total Home Supply.