How to Energy Saving for Air Conditioners

In summer, it is virtually impossible to do without air conditioning, but then, the fact that same accounts to a huge chunk of your electricity bill is something that makes many people ‘sweat’. On an average, around 40 – 50 percent of the total energy consumption during summer is attributed to the use of air conditioner. You are likely to spend $2.00 – $3.00 a day on it, if you use it for 24 hours, as compared to 15 cents a day that you would spend on using a ceiling fan for the same duration. Does that mean you should refrain from using the air conditioner? Not really! Using it efficiently by resorting to some simple energy saving tips will be more than enough.

How to Save Energy on Air Conditioning?

Make sure that your air conditioner is in good condition
A well-maintained AC is the first step towards energy-efficient air conditioning to cut down monthly electricity bills. Ideally, you should check its filters once in a month, and clean it as and when required. If you realize that it is not cooling properly, you should get it checked from a professional. A unit with operating problems can add a few more dollars to your electricity bills. If you have been using the unit for 5 – 10 years, it’s high time you replace it with a new one, as newly introduced energy-efficient units boast of cutting down on your energy consumption by as much as 40 percent. You can resort to Energy Star ratings given jointly by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy to help you choose energy-efficient products to save money and protect the environment.

Make sure that you use the thermostat efficiently
The thermostat setting has a crucial role to play when it comes to effective ways of reducing power consumption by the air conditioner. While you can save a great deal of energy if you set the thermostat at 78°F, experts recommend that setting it as high as possible (as long as it is comfortable for you) is the best bet. The simple principle here is that you minimize the overall cooling cost incurred by minimizing the difference between the temperature outdoors and indoors. That can help you reduce the cooling cost by 6 – 8 percent. You should also turn it off when you are leaving home and, more importantly, make sure that the thermostat is set a bit higher than usual. You shouldn’t lower the thermostat setting when you start the air conditioner. Refrain from keeping some source of heat, such as an electricity lamp, near the thermostat.

Minimize the amount of air that escapes from your home
Everybody knows that the doors and windows of the room should be kept closed when using the AC, but very few people actually follow this advice. This, in turn, allows cold air to escape and hot air to enter the room, which further delays the cooling process. Ideally, you should avoid activities which require you to move in and out of the room frequently. Caulking and weather-stripping windows from where air is likely to escape, is also of great help. Considering that 15 – 25 percent of the air escapes through leaking ducts, fixing them should be a priority for you if you intend to use the air conditioner efficiently. You also need to make sure that the exhaust fans in the house are switched off and fireplace damper is properly closed.

Prevent direct sunlight and minimize heat generation within the house
One of the simplest measures to reduce your expenditure on air conditioning is to make sure you don’t allow heat from outside to enter the house. You will have to protect your house from direct sunlight using shades, awnings, drapes, etc. Similarly, growing trees around the house will make sure that your house is in shade during the day time. You also need to make sure that you don’t generate heat within the house itself. So you will have to keep lights off when not in use, as the heat generated by these lights decreases the speed at which cooling takes place in the room. Similarly, you should avoid activities that consume power, like washing or ironing clothes, in the afternoon when AC is a necessity.

An air conditioning unit that is exposed to direct sunlight consumes 5 percent more power than a unit in shade. Similarly, keeping the unit on continuously for longer duration of time is better than switching it on and off every once in a while. At the end of the day, it is how you use the air conditioner that reflects in your electricity bill, and following these tips will help you save money on your next bill.

Interior Painting Ideas

Unless you are comfortable with stark, white walls―and some people are―you are probably going to give due consideration to painting the interior of your home.

There are several reasons why you may want to paint your home interior―you’re renovating your house, you’re bored of the existing paint at your walls, you want to enhance the ambiance of your home, you want the walls to complement your furniture and the décor, you read about ‘color therapy’ and want to discover if it really works, you want your neighbors to envy your home interior … well, the list goes on.

Once you have decided to paint, you have to come up with suitable ideas. That opens a whole new can of worms:

  • What colors should you use?
  • What color combinations will look good?
  • What brand of colors should you buy?
  • What interior painting techniques should you use?
  • What kind of effects can you create?
  • Should you do it yourself or call in the professionals?
  • If you are going to do it yourself, how are you going to do it yourself?

It will be a good idea to visit your local hardware and paint store and spend some time there looking around. Look at different color samples, match color swathes, ask about different color brands and the differences between them, ask about the technical requirements and procedures to follow, and the equipment you will need to get started. As long as you don’t show up at rush hour, most hardware shop owners will be glad to assist you.

Tips for Painting Your House

Select the Right Type of Colors
Don’t just go for the ‘oh, those look bright and attractive’ ones. Take time to consider the color combinations―if they will complement your existing furniture, if they will stand up to your home lighting arrangements, and how they will look during different times of the day. Painting a section of your missy’s room in hot pinks is okay, but imagine the entire room painted with it―tacky in the daylight and migraine-inducing in the night! Don’t go for colors because they are ‘different’. Think if you are ‘different’ enough to live with them.

Select the Right Type of Paints
Most paints generally come in flat, satin, gloss, and semi-gloss types. Flat paints have a low sheen and sober appearance, and are the most commonly used. Satin, as the name indicates, have a distinct sheen and are one better than flat paints in being much easier to keep clean. Gloss and semi-gloss paints are even more durable. The former is usually used to paint doors, door frames, windows, window frames, wall trims, etc., while the latter is used for painting bathrooms, kitchens, and places that require frequent cleaning.

Decide on the Interior Painting Techniques to be Used
Most people just use a brush and roller to get the color on, and that’s it. Then there are those who believe in adding texture and depth. You can do this by wall stenciling, faux painting, rubber stamping, cloth stamping, and so on.

▶ In wall stenciling, you paint through design cutouts to reproduce the design shapes on your wall.

▶ In faux painting, you try to recreate the appearance of wood, marble, etc.

▶ In rubber stamping, you create the shapes you want to reproduce, dip them in the color, and simply stamp them on the walls.

▶ Cloth stamping is similar; just put a cloth over your hand, dip into color, and start stamping the walls.

Think it through before going for these interior paint ideas. Using different techniques may seem fun, but living with them on a long-term basis may not be so.

Measure the Area to be Painted
Take measurements of the area to be painted so that you can estimate the amount of paint you will need. The paint shop should have a ‘paint calculator’ to help you figure it out.

Take Guard
Take the appropriate precautions to protect your furniture, electrical appliances, and floors. Shift the furniture out altogether. If that’s not possible, shift it to the center of the room and cover them with tarp sheets. Remove or cover electrical fixtures. Cover floors with tarp sheets. Also remember to protect your eyes, skin, and hair. Use goggles to protect your eyes and wear overalls and a kerchief or cap.

Prepare Your Home Walls for the Coloring
Before painting or stamping, scrape and sand your walls clean. Strip away all old paint, wallpaper, and grime, patch holes and cracks, and prime your walls with a good primer.

Paint Your Home Walls
Now that you have an idea about how things work, you can start painting―with a brush, roller, and employ all the stamping techniques you wish to.

Air the Rooms
Remember to air the rooms for at least 24 hours before occupying them.

Tips to Painting Small Rooms

You sometimes feel cramped and corroded when you see yourself seated in a room that resembles a pigeon hole. Claustrophobia grabs you, chokes you and urges you to run out of the house. “How could I breathe, leave alone live in this house where things gouge out from all corners, leaving no space for free movement, thereby asseverating the appearance of cracks and crevices” You mumble. I understand your state. I know how you wish your house could endure the Midas touch and become spaciously superlative. Well, this article will help ‘you’ do that. You could possess the Midas touch you have been waiting for, by applying some painting tips for small rooms. Sounds strange … impossible? Read on to believe your eyes!

Rooms are living spaces and it is you who makes it live-able. Have you been to a house where you have found everything, right from the room, to the furniture, to the storehouse, spell ‘space’? One reason could be the carpet area being larger when compared to the built up area of your house. However, if the houses have the same carpet area and you still find your house strongly resembling a bird nest and your neighbors house being a humongous area, you ought to do something about it. A fact hard and heartening to digest, indeed! Another truth you must bear in mind is that the colors you employ to paint your rooms play an important role in making the rooms look and feel spacious. Small rooms especially, look even more crammed when they are painted with a choice of colors that is well, not meant to be used.

Painting Ideas for Small Rooms to Appear Spacious

Here are some painting tips for small spaces. Use these house painting ideas to create an illusion of your rooms being spacious and large. Here we go!

  • The first among the painting tips for small rooms is to use a tone to create a shade effect. Play with designs. You could use a light shade of paint to make vertical lines on the walls. This will make the room look bigger and feel brighter. Preferably, use a color that has two tones.
  • You could also resort to painting the furniture a shade darker than the one on your walls.
  • Change your room decor. Yes, a change in the room decor or simply changing the way the room looks, will add freshness to the room and make it appear all the more appealing and live-able.
  • Light colors do the perfect trick to make the room look open. This will allow the room to look brighter even on days when the weather is drab and gloomy to the core. One look at your walls may help you fight your blues!
  • For small rooms to look bigger, make use of eggshell paint. This paint oscillates between the glossy and the matte effects. A cozy paint to adorn your walls with!
  • Instead of making the room look larger, try to add that required volume to the room. For instance, if you have a fireplace, you could paint the area in a different color. This room painting idea will add character and help in defining the area, setting it apart from the rest of the room.
  • Painting small rooms to look bigger requires some amount of creativity and skills. So wear your creative caps and explore your home for some corners. Small houses do have corners that you could mold and play with to create an illusion of space. You could make the place all the more interesting by making the small room an extension of the larger one. Just paint the small room a shade or two darker or lighter than the larger room. A colorful contrast will make the space and your house look larger than it actually is.
  • Bathroom decor has been an interesting department for interior designers as there is an upsurge in the masses to make their bathing experience not just a mere necessity but pleasurable to the tee.
  • Painting tips for small bathrooms involve using different textures of paint. Sponge painting the bathroom wall is a technique that makes for a dramatic appearance of the bathroom, thus making the bathroom look spacious.
  • A bathroom painting idea is to use faux finish paint. This will add character and dimension to your bathroom walls.

I hope this article on painting tips has suggested some very interesting technique that you could use to create an illusion of vastness for your rooms. Go ahead, and paint your walls, for you ought to live in a house that looks, and feels larger than life!

How to Southwest Style Home Decorating

Southwest home decorating is popular with people from all backgrounds. When you normally think of this style, you think of deserts, cactus, and saloons. If you are the kind of person who loves simplicity and the beauty of nature, then this style of decorating will suit your home the best.

Colors
You can use shades of coral, purple, brown, and blue. The beautiful, saturated colors can be used on the walls. You can blend shades like cactus green with pinks and reds. You can also use neutral colors (if you do not want to use too much color in your room) on three walls of your room and one bright color on one of the walls to give an outstanding look to the room.

Pottery
Southwest pottery is versatile and adds substance to the style. You can get these beautiful potteries in various sizes. You can use this decorative piece as a vase for bright sunflowers or as a pretty thing to look at. You can also use this as a canister to keep flour, sugar, or things you generally store in containers.

Garden
You can also use pottery like terra cotta as home décor in the gardens. Terro cotta is long-lasting and holds up to heat very well. You can color the pots with colorful paints for your plants and decorate them in the porch on festive occasions. You can use items that represent the Southwest style, such as stepping stones in the garden.

Rugs and Blankets
You can choose a neutral wall color, and use a nice-looking carpet and blanket that accentuates the décor in the room. The diamond design is most prominently used in rugs and table covers. You must remember that this will have to fit into the theme of the décor that you are creating.

Furniture
One of the biggest challenges is to match the color of your furniture. The textiles generally used are the ones that are from American-Indian origin. The material used is generally of cotton and wool. What you can do is match the color of the slip cover with the theme, rather than purchasing a new couch altogether. The chair or bed coverings can be of Indian fabric. An old and rural touch to the furniture looks good with the southwest style of décor.

Accessories
You will have to take two or three bright-colored items to blend with the rest of the room, if you have chosen neutral colors or vice versa. You can take earth-toned, tanned or wooden accessories to bring the effect of the Southwest style of decorating. You can use attractive accessories and decorations for your shelves. For example, you can purchase small items and paint them in colors of your choice. You can also have the landscape of a lovely sunset as a wall hanging to add to the beauty of your home decor. This will be the point of attraction in the room, and will also enliven it.

Wrought Iron
Wrought iron can be used to give a striking look to candle holders. You can also use it in a fireplace if you have one. It looks great on coffee tables too.

With your creativity, you can make this kind of décor very attractive, beautiful, and invigorating. Lastly, do not cluster the room with too many things while decorating it, as this theme aims at providing your guests with a cozy and welcoming ambiance.