Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Repainting Patio Furniture

Spring is right around the corner and that means you'll be spending more time outside enjoying the longer days and warm evenings. Now is the perfect time to spruce up your outdoor living space by giving your patio furniture a fresh coat of paint.

Patio or garden furniture usually consists of a table with four to six chairs, an umbrella and a chaise lounge. These pieces can represent a significant investment in the outdoor look of your home. As patio furniture sits outside exposed to the elements, the painted finish may begin to peel, crack, fade or chip away. When you repaint your patio furniture, you will ensure these furniture items enhance your garden for years to come.

Before you begin your repainting project, cover the area where you will be working with a drop cloth or newspapers to prevent damage from spills. Wear a painter’s mask and safety goggles to prevent exposure to your lungs or eyes during the following steps.
  • Mix 1 tbsp. of dish detergent in a bucket of warm water. Use a rag to wipe the surfaces of your patio furniture, allowing the surface to dry before moving on to the next step.
  • Use a small magnet to test the metal for rust. If the magnet will not stick to the metal, there is likely quite a bit of rust damage. You may still repaint this area, but you must be careful not to dent or crush it while cleaning and repainting the rest of the furniture.If you find areas that can easily be repaired and still carry a magnetic charge, scrub the area lightly with a rust remover chemical or sandpaper before moving on to the next step.
  • Use steel wool to scrub the remaining paint off the metal of the furniture. Give special attention to creases and joints in the metal.
  • Apply the primer. Pick a primer with rust inhibitor to help prevent additional rust damage. Follow the directions on the spray can to apply the primer correctly. Allow the primer coat to dry for several hours before moving on to the next step.
  • Apply the final exterior paint coat to your furniture. Check your furniture for runs by using the sponge brush to brush away drips before they dry into permanent blemishes. Allow the paint to dry for 24 hours.
  • If you choose, you may paint the furniture with a clear gloss coat. This step is optional.

Additional Tips
  • Make sure you check your spray paint cans for a recycling symbol, and recycle where possible.
  • Follow proper city or rural ordinances for disposing of other used painting supplies.
  • Wear a painter's mask while applying chemicals or paint to avoid breathing in toxic fumes. Use safety goggles while applying chemicals, sanding or applying paint. Always follow directions on the can of spray paint. Read and understand them before attempting to paint your furniture.
Article originally posted on ehow.com

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Things to consider when purchasing a new clothes dryer

If you’re in the market for a new clothes dryer, consider these tips:
  • Check for the highest energy factor number when comparing different models. Remember that there are two costs to an appliance - the initial purchase price, and the cost of operating that appliance over the many years you own it.
  • Know whether your laundry room has gas or electricity hookups. If you need to add a gas line and a vent to operate a gas dryer, you may spend more on adding the hookup than you'll save with the cheaper operating cost of gas.
  • Look for a clothes dryer with a moisture sensor that automatically shuts off the machine when your clothes are dry. Not only does this save energy; it reduces wear and tear on clothes caused by over-drying.
The best dryers have moisture sensors in the drum for sensing dryness, while most only estimate dryness by sensing the temperature of the exhaust air. Compared with timed drying, you can save about 10 percent with a temperature sensing control, and 15 percent with a moisture sensing control.
  • Look for a dryer with a cycle that includes a cool-down period, sometimes known as a "perma-press" cycle. In the last few minutes of the cycle, cool air, rather than heated air, is blown through the tumbling clothes to complete the drying process.
Here are ways to cut the amount of energy and money you spend drying clothes:
  • Locate your dryer in a heated space. Putting it in a cold or damp basement or an unheated garage will make the dryer work harder and less efficiently.
  • Make sure your dryer is vented properly. If you vent the exhaust outside, use the straightest and shortest metal duct available. Flexible vinyl duct isn't recommended because it restricts the airflow, can be crushed, and may not withstand high temperatures from the dryer.
  • Check the outside dryer exhaust vent periodically. If it doesn't close tightly, replace it with one that does to keep the outside air from leaking in. This will reduce heating and cooling bills.
  • Clean the lint filter in the dryer after every load to improve air circulation. Regularly clean the lint from vent hoods.
  • Dry only full loads, as small loads are less economical; but do not overload the dryer.
  • When drying, separate your clothes and dry similar types of clothes together. Lightweight synthetics, for example, dry much more quickly than bath towels and natural fiber clothes.
  • Dry two or more loads in a row, taking advantage of the dryer's retained heat.
  • Use the cool-down cycle (perma-press cycle) to allow the clothes to finish drying with the residual heat in the dryer.
Article originally posted on http://www.consumerenergycenter.org/