Category Archives: DIY

Ceiling Fans Save Money Year-Round

Save on cooling costs this year by utilizing a ceiling fan in the rooms throughout your home. Simply installing a fan and turning it on isn't going to do the trick, though.

When the mercury climbs, be sure your fans are spinning in a counterclockwise direction to maximize cooling potential. The counterclockwise rotation creates a wind-chill effect - an actual breeze - so air conditioning can be set a little higher while you remain comfortable.

Additionally, make sure you close your exterior doors and windows tightly when the A/C is running. Making sure the weather stripping on all your doors and windows is as important during the summer as it is during the winter; keeping the cool inside while it's hot outside and vice versa in the winter keeps energy costs from skyrocketing.

When cold weather rolls around, ceiling fans can help circulate warm air by changing the fan's rotation to clockwise.

Because warm air rises, the clockwise turn of the fan picks up the air and forces it out and down. The natural circulation of the air means the warm air will rise again, and the fan will distribute the air out and down over and over again.

The clockwise rotation eliminates the breeze effect of the summer and instead creates more warmth throughout the room.

Because cooling down often means feeling a breeze, fan speeds can be medium or higher in the summer but should come down to low for the winter.

For optimal performance in any season, fan blades should be no more than 10 to 12 inches below the ceiling. If your ceilings are taller than nine feet or are vaulted, a good general rule is keep blades eight to nine feet above the floor.

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How to Landscape on a Budget

Landscaping can make or break the curb appeal of any house, so it's important to do it right even if you don't have a lot of money to spend.

The key is to use perennials - plants that come back year-after-year - that are hearty and in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors for both sun and shade because yards are rarely all of one or the other.

1. Define the garden using larger rocks you can find in a variety of locations while you walk around town and your neighborhood. Collecting rocks is free (!) instead of potentially budget-busting purchases like bricks and plastic tubing.

2. Pay attention to how the sun moves shadows around your yard throughout the day so you can plan your plants accordingly. Hostas and day lilies are great for areas that get dappled or limited sunlight but daisies and flowering bushes like peonies need six to eight hours of sun each day.

3. If you have neighbors or family with lush gardens, ask them when they're going to split some of their plants so you can transplant them into your own yard. More experienced gardeners are usually willing to give advice as well as plants.

4. If you have to rely on garden centers for plants, buy plants toward the end of the summer season. Not only will they be larger and more established, they'll also be on sale. Remember that plants grow so pay attention to the detail label included with your plants that tells you how far apart plants need to be.

5. Start a compost pile and visit local sites that offer free top soil (usually near produce fields and construction sites). You won't be able to use your compost until next year, but having one of your own means you aren't buying bags of it and you're reducing the amount of waste at the landfill. The Blissfully Domestic blog shows you how to do it with a plastic storage bin.

How's your garden doing? Tell us in the comments!

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Amazing Things You Can Do with Paint

Oh, the things you can do with paint. Think beyond transforming rooms with new colors and get into the details like that old brass faucet you want to replace or the dresser you hide away because it needs work.

There are so many things you can paint so we combed through our sources and compiled this list. Ready ... Set ... Paint!

1. Faucets -VIA Sincerely Sara D likes RUST-OLEUM Painter's Touch Ultra Cover*

2. Countertops - Using RUST-OLEUM Countertop Transformations Kit makes an old counter look like you spent a fortune on a new one. DIY Showoff*

3. Old furniture - Richmond Thrifter can show you how.*

4. Stand alone tubs - Don't let imperfections mar your love for your classic clawfoot tub. Grab some paint instead and let This Old House show you how to do it.

5. Floors - Whether you choose a solid color or go creative with a pattern, painting a wood floor can breathe new life into a room. says to be sure to use a water-based polyurethane top coat to avoid yellowing.


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