DIY Posts

Installing Insulation: Everything You Need to Know

No home is built to be air-tight, and nothing brings attention to this quite like the outside temperature dropping below freezing. With high Autumn and winter just around the corner, now’s the time to check up on your windows and doors and fix any drafty gaps. While it’s not possible to completely seal off your home from the outside air (or safe – you still need oxygen, no matter how cold it is out there), there are very simple measures you can take to better prepare your home for the cold.

 

Checking Existing Insulation

Chances are, you won’t have to install or repair insulation for all your doors and windows year to year, but you should check in on your existing insulation annually to see where repairs need to be made.

Most of the initial checks can be made with a simple visual inspection. If you can see daylight peeking through around your doors, windows, or through-the-wall or window ACs, then that is a sure sign those areas need to be insulated. Open your doors and windows and check existing weatherstripping for cracks and gaps, and check the caulking around stationary windows for cracks, as well.

Gently rattle your windows and ACs and if they are movable, that means there are gaps big enough to let in drafts. Finish your inspection by running your hand around the perimeter of your doors, windows, and AC units to feel for any extra gaps or cracks you may have missed.

After you’ve noted which areas of your home need attention, it’s time to think about exactly how to go about repairing or installing insulation.

How To Make a DIY Trellis for New Plants

IMG_20150428_144800_088 (1)

How is everyone enjoying this gorgeous spring weather? We’re personally ecstatic over these 70-degree temps here at Total Home Supply, and are getting increasingly excited thinking about all of the awesome gardening projects we have planned for this year.

About a month ago, we wrote a how-to guide to planting new seeds. Inspired, I went ahead and planted seeds of my own. I’ve been having pretty decent luck with my little vegetable and flower plants, but none have been more ambitious than my snap peas. My snap pea stalks began to shoot up out of the ground within the first week of being planted and have been growing fast ever since! Of course, the stalks are very thin right now and not strong enough to keep themselves upright, so when they reach a certain height they start to “droop” over.

At first, I tried to remedy the drooping by tying the stalks to wooden chopsticks with twisty-ties (the ones that come on bags of bread). This idea worked for a little while, but when the stalks started to outgrow the chopsticks, I knew it was time to try something else. I took a trip to the hardware store for inspiration, and came up with this super simple DIY trellis idea. The whole thing took less than 20 minutes to put together, and all of the materials cost less than $10.

Here’s how to do it:

 

15 Unique (and Easy) DIY Planter Ideas

Stock Photo

h/t stock photo

We’re all about gearing up for spring here at Total Home Supply, and are especially excited to get back to gardening. Though it’s still too early in the season to begin planting outdoors, now is a great time to get going on projects that will really have your garden ready by mid-May. Last week, we talked about seeds — what to plant and how to do it. This week, we’re all about cool and creative DIY planters.

Terra cotta pots and traditional flower beds are great and convenient, but don’t your gorgeous plants deserve a display worthy of their own unique beauty? Here are 15 of our favorite unique (and easy) DIY planter ideas from around the web.

 

Saving Energy the Easy Way

total-home-supply-1While winter is not quite here, and worrying about energy efficiency is not nearly as exciting as planning a holiday party or family vacation, maybe it’s time to think about it…just a little. Many of us across the country have already experienced a blustery morning where the temperature has dropped significantly overnight, and it won’t be long before you’ll be turning up the thermostat. While there’s only so much you can do about the cost of your heat, there are a lot of things you can do to cut down on using energy.

Not all of us are DIY people, so for this post we will avoid the obvious ways like caulking, weatherstripping, having your furnace tuned up, etc, to make your home more efficient.  Instead, today we will focus on some simple ways for even the least handy or most unmotivated person to save a few bucks on your energy costs.

  1. 15611939_sSince we’re so close to Halloween, let’s start this list with Vampires, as in energy sucking vampire appliances and electronics. According to the Department of Energy, up to 40% of the energy for electronics is used when they are turned off. The greatest sucker of them all is that giant flat screen TV sitting there with the instant on button. Video games, the DVD player, your laptop, printer, coffeemaker, and the one thing we are all guilty of… the cell phone charger.  The easy fix is to use a power strip and shut it off in the evening, or when you will be out of the house for extended periods of time.
  2. Time your energy usage. Use your dishwasher, clothes washer and dryer during off-peak energy usage times. If you have a delay start feature on your appliances, use it. Run only a full load with your dishwasher, use the coldest water you can in your clothes washer, and keep your lint trap clean in your dryer. Also, if you’re drying multiple loads, take the clothes out as soon as they are dry, and throw in the next load immediately to keep the dryer from cooling down between loads.
  3. If you have rooms that are not used, keep the door to those rooms closed. Open curtains during the day to let in the warmth of the sunshine, and close curtains at night to retain the heat and keep out the cold.
  4. Change up your lighting. We’ve all been told how much more efficient CFL bulbs are and while it’s true, most everyone hates them… am I right? If you don’t want to go green with your bulbs, there are a few things you can do. Placing floor lamps in the corners of a room will help reflect more light into the room. If you need more light, one larger watt bulb is more efficient than two smaller ones. If an area needs some light but not task lighting, like a hallway for example, use a lower wattage bulb. For areas which are used for different functions, use a dimmer so you only use the wattage you need.
  5. 14350018_sClose the refrigerator door. You know what’s in there. The fridge fairy hasn’t magically loaded it up with all your faves. It’s all the same stuff that was in there the last time you looked. Grab something and close the door. Keeping it open isn’t good for the fridge, your food, or your energy bill.

So there you have it, the Total Home Supply Not-Using-Much-Energy-To-Save-Energy list. Now you might want to think about caulking, weatherstripping, and tuning up your furnace.

Friedrich Breeze Installation – A Visual Tour

We often get asked about Friedrich Breeze Installation. Recently, a Total Home Supply customer shared his experience with us. He has supplied some great pictures and insights that might help you!

 

Breeze Outdoor Unit