Green Cleaning Ideas: Stain removal techniques – Talcum powder

August 16th, 2014 by Contributor No comments »

This is a guest post.

Green Cleaning Ideas Stain removal techniques - Talcum powder2 Getting rid of stains is always tough work, as you feel like there are so many dos and don’ts that you can’t possibly get it all right! The main difficulty that people have in getting rid of stains revolves around how to deal with the variety in stains, materials and techniques in order to get the perfect combination of the three and a nice clean result! If you are having issues over how to best tackle the problems that come with removing stains, then it can be a good idea to get to know the mechanics behind the process that are on offer. The following notes are all aimed at showing you how the process works, and what it is that you can do to ensure that the stain is cleaned off nicely and easily, so that you are not at risk of getting it wrong, nor getting less than perfect results. In fact, a simple knowledge of how the processes work will mean that you are well able to apply the right technique to the right stain immediately, as soon as it happens, which will no doubt mean that you are able to tackle any stain as it happens, preventing stains from really being such a problem as they may have been previously.

Green Cleaning Ideas Stain removal techniques - Talcum powder For a start, you should look at talcum powder. It may sound like it is only for the bathroom, but in fact some of its properties are great for getting rid of mess. This may not be the number one go to for stain removal, but if you find yourself with tomato sauce on the carpet and nothing else in the house to use, then it is at least good to have some sort of back-up plan, even if it is using some unlikely ingredients! To start with, talcum powder will be gentle on most fabrics, as well as carpets. It is soft, and does not contain any harmful acids, alkalis, or staining pigments. Therefore, you know you are safe when applying it to the stained surface. The main role that talcum powder has to play in the removal of stains is in soaking up the stain, and drawing it from the material in question. If you think about it, the pigment in the staining liquid or matter is being soaked into the fibers of the material, or the pores of the surface, and then drying out, setting in to the material. If you can apply a substance that will do the reverse, by drawing out the stain, then you are much less likely to let the stain dry into the material in the first place. Simply spread the talc over the staining area, having removed as much excess as possible. Once the talc has taken on the color that you are trying to get rid of, vacuum it up, flush out the area with water, and reapply. You may want to add extra cleaning power like white vinegar, lemon or detergent afterwards, to really get rid of the last little marks. In terms of drawing the stain out however, the talcum powder will be a great solution.

Do not let the talc get too heavy with the stain, as otherwise it may over saturate and drop the color back on to the material surrounding it, spreading the stain. Be attentive, and keep refreshing the talc for as long as you think it is doing its job. Be sure not to use anything on delicate materials if you are at all worried as to how well they will react. If you are in doubt, always call a professional first, to avoid any upset!

 

For further information about cleaning you may also check: http://www.cleanerscleaning.org.uk/SW1-house-cleaning/pimlico-cleaning-home-SW1.html

 

The Rogers Cup Montreal Tournament Diverts Mountains of Waste from Landfill

August 15th, 2014 by Cathy Rust No comments »

I confess that I’m a bit of a tennis nut. It is my favourite pastime and I play as often as I can when I’m not injured (current injury is an annoying pulled calf muscle that just won’t heal!!). I also attend the Rogers Cup every summer and until this year, always as a spectator. This year, however, I decided to combine my two loves: environmental action and tennis. I volunteered for the green committee.  As I suspected, the Green Committee volunteers’ job was to help spectators choose the right waste receptacle for their used food and drink containers. Right up my alley!!

Since 2007, the Rogers Cup Green Committee in Montreal has been charging ahead with many impressive green initiatives, the most visible one is with waste. Any sporting event involving hundreds of thousands of people over a period of ten days will generate mountains of garbage. In fact, last year The Rogers Cup Tournament in Montreal generated more than 68 tonnes of waste. It’s the nature of the event; people get hungry and thirsty, therefore they eat and drink. While it’s fine to have recycling bins available, at most large events the empty food containers become garbage because the bins aren’t used properly by the public or the recycling program isn’t extensive enough to capture most of the waste generated.

The Green Committee has taken the proactive measure of requiring all of its food vendors to use compostable and biodegradable food containers. They set up groups of three waste containers throughout the park: one for compost, one for recycling and one for garbage and used a waste hauler that separates all waste generated into recycling, compost and waste. Last year the results were an astonishing 87% diversion rate of waste from landfill. The diverted waste went to an industrial composter or to a recycling facility. Our goal this year was to try to beat 2013′s diversion rate — we won’t know for sure if we succeeded until the final tally of the results are in.

However, the Green Committee’s efforts didn’t stop at waste diversion. It also undertook other initiatives such as:

  • buying greenhouse gas credits from planetair.ca to offset its operations and transportation emissions,
  • offering free public transportation by bus and metro to and from the event for ticket holders,
  • providing bike rack parking with security guard service,
  • implementing a local, Canadian and North American procurement policy for everything from food to Rogers uniforms to entertainment (local bands and artists).

These are just a few of the actions the team took to help reduce the tournament’s environmental footprint. Now, if we can just figure out how to recycle those used tennis balls….

You can read all about Rogers’ Cup green plan and progress here: http://www.rogerscup.com/women/english/greenPlan.php

 

A Visit to Ottawa’s The Healthiest Home Building Store

August 5th, 2014 by Cathy Rust No comments »

 

Mythic Paint at The Healthiest Home

Mythic Paint at The Healthiest Home

Nadurra Flooring at The Healthiest Home, Ottawa

Nadurra Flooring, through The Healthiest Home

If you’re a consumer living in Ottawa, and you’re looking for healthier building materials than the norm, The Healthiest Home is the place to start. When I was in Ottawa a month ago, Josh Gallant, the general manager of the store, gave me a tour and explained how  The Healthiest Home works. It turns out that their retail location is the tip of the green iceberg. In addition to the store that supplies a very wide selection of green building materials, it also has:

  • the retail store including architectural design services;
  • HH Commercial, a commercial group that supplies and installs interior finishings for condo developments and works on industrial, institutional and commercial projects;
  • HH Greenbuild that specializes in renovations and green builds of residential projects; and,
  • MD Ottawa, one of the oldest and largest millwork shops in Ottawa, that builds healthy cabinets and countertops.

Each business ensures that each project it undertakes includes waste minimization through the best use of design and materials. It uses materials that are lower impact on the earth and that also contribute to a healthier indoor air quality.

 

Enviroshake recycled rubber roofing tiles

Enviroshake Composite Roofing System: recycled rubber roofing tiles

Dura Design Cork flooring

Duro Design Cork flooring

The store also installs all of the products it sells from flooring to paint and guarantees its workmanship and materials. I have written about many of the finishes they carry in flooring (Nadurra bamboo and hardwood, Marmoleum linoleum), paint (Mythic Paint), counter tops (Paperstone and Icestone), and even structural (Durisol). There were, however, a few brands I wasn’t familiar with, the most interesting one was a “new-to-me” product called K-tect Sustainable Building Systems.

K-tect Sustainable Building Systems is an insulated light-weight structural building material similar to Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs). The structural panel consists of expanded polystyrene (EPS) which provides insulation, sound dampening and structure, and light-weight steel framing providing strength. Like ICFs it combines structure and insulation into one package so there is no thermal bridging and fewer materials are needed. Unlike ICFs, it doesn’t use concrete and the product is 100% recyclable at end of life. It has an R value of 4 per inch which never degrades over time. It is easy to install and can be customized for your building. Further, and perhaps most surprisingly considering the use of EPS, there is no off-gassing from the product so it has been GreenGuard certified.

Josh told me that it has become a favourite product of their build/design group and that they have now used it on many of their projects. Their clients are particularly happy with their exceptionally low heating and cooling bills.

Because The Healthiest Home believes that to be a good business is also to be a part of the community it offers free yoga classes on Saturday mornings in its warehouse.

Healthiest Home hours: Monday-Friday, 9am-6pm, Saturday 10am-5pm.

Address:

1523 Laperriere Ave. Ottawa, ON K1Z 7S9
(417 Exit – Carling Ave.)

 

 

The growing popularity of green cleaning products

July 24th, 2014 by Contributor No comments »

This is a guest post.

 

You have probably noticed that lately more and more people and professional companies prefer to perform their cleaning not with the usual chemical supplies but with green ones which claim to be toxic-free. The reasons for the growing popularity of those precise products are many, from the low-cost prices to the lower risk of environment pollution. Whatever the reason is, it is a fact that the green substances are making their way into people’s lives quickly and pretty soon they will be the main tool for efficient cleaning.

Green-cleaning-supplies

http://www.communitynewscommons.org/newstoyoueic/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Green-cleaning-supplies.gif

 

Switching only to green product can be extremely beneficial for you and for the health of your family. The eco products have actually been on the market from a lot of years but it wasn’t until recently that they’ve become extremely popular. The modern technologies and the collected knowledge of the experts over the years, as well as, the lowering of the prices, transformed those solutions into more affordable and effective helpers in the cleaning. The basic advantages of those innovative products can be generalized in the following categories:

 

  • Cheaper prices

The contemporary stores already offer a vast selection of green sanitizing product for every premise, object, furniture or even appliance in your real estate property. All of them are with considerably reasonable price rates which are formed in a way which allows all people to have access to them. Whether you want to purchase some of them for your home or just for the office, you will definitely spend less money in comparison to the amount you will have to give for their chemical counterparts.

 

  • More effective cleaning

The effectiveness of the cleanness in your property will also change drastically once you begin using those modern supplies. Because they consist of only natural ingredients, they interact better with the different surfaces and materials like wood, wool, steel, marble and others. You can be sure that they also won’t ruin in any way the composition of the object you are cleaning but on the contrary, it is possible even to make it more resistant to the dust, microbes and dirt.

 

  • No chemicals or dangerous toxins

The lack of chemicals will make the air in your real estate property more pleasant and clean as well.   You won’t have to worry about the health of your little children or about the appearing of new asthma attacks because the main factors for that won’t be present. You can be also sure that the green products won’t affect badly your skin even if you clean without the protective rubber gloves.

 

  • Care for the environment

Using green product for your cleaning will bring you the satisfaction of knowing that your house sanitation won’t harm in any way the environment. Since the whole composition of these detergents is natural, even if part of the substance ends up in the outside world, it won’t cause any bad reactions, unlike the chemical detergents. Some of the green supplies even come in a bio container which can dissolve shortly after you throw it out.

 

The performance of the cleaning in your home will happen really fast, if you decide to use green sanitizing products. The disinfection of the property is the most important thing for the excellent condition of the place and you have to perform it regularly. You will save yourself a lot of time, not to mention efforts, if you forget about the already old, expensive and unpleasant chemical cleaning supplies and embrace the new method of the green sanitation. This new technique will reveal in front of you a completely different aspect of the cleaning which you’ve never seen before and might even make you enjoy doing this activity more in the future.

 

These tips are provided on behalf of QualityCleaningLondon SW18 by a cleaning specialist and writer

 

Kitchen Cabinets from Reclaimed Wood By Inde-Art Design House

July 15th, 2014 by Cathy Rust 2 comments »
Kitchen cabinets from reclaimed fishing boat wood

Kitchen cabinets from reclaimed fishing boat wood

Inde-Art Design House is a cabinet and furniture company located in Leslieville in Toronto. Their kitchen cabinets are beautiful in a rustic, artistic way. Sorab from Inde-Art told me that they use wood from decommissioned fishing boats  and torn down houses from India to make the cabinets. The wood is mostly teak, and, after seeing the pictures, is quite stunning.

Upper Cabinet close-up

Upper Cabinet close-up

Cabinets are either custom-built  or you can buy them directly from their showroom if you don’t need specific measurements for the space (free-standing kitchens are becoming more fashionable these days).

Cabinets can be either stained or painted depending on the look you’re after. As seen in some of the photos, they also do a distressed look, however, a natural stain will bring out the grain in the wood.

Kitchen close-up

Kitchen close-up

 

reclaimed carved cabinet doors

reclaimed carved cabinet doors, distressed upper cabinets

Cost: Is medium-end, however, it is dependent on the style, type of cabinet you choose (in-stock, premade or custom). Inde-Art can offer two different qualities of cabinet box and hardware depending on your budget.

reclaimed and distressed wood kitchen cabinets

reclaimed and distressed wood kitchen cabinets

 Time: Again, it is difficult to predict how long a custom cabinet will take to make. Some of them are made in India, some are made in their warehouse in Toronto, depending on the wood and design style you choose. If the cabinet is not in-stock it could take up to three months to make. The company has recently started importing drawer and cupboard doors from India and making the boxes in-house in Toronto.

For more information about the cabinets, please contact Inde-Art or visit their website.

 

A Straw Bale Home Q&A with the Fourth Pig Sustainable Builders

July 7th, 2014 by Cathy Rust No comments »
Rear view, straw bale constructed home addition

Photo courtesy of Mick Paterson. Rear view, straw bale constructed home addition, before exterior cladding

 

About a month ago I posted an article written by Terrell Wong, an architect specializing in sustainable building and design, about a straw bale addition to a home she had designed. She was frustrated because the city of Toronto denied it even though the city had built a straw bale building in High Park. One of the reasons the structure was denied was because the design doesn’t use a vapour barrier. The theory regarding a vapour barrier is that it is necessary to prevent water vapour from permeating walls and getting stuck there leading to mould and mildew problems which could eventually cause significant structural deterioration — not to mention indoor health problems. But straw bale building has been around for a lot longer than vapour barriers and homes built from straw have been around for hundreds of years in Europe and still stand today. What that indicates is that as long as you know what you are doing, straw bale homes are perfectly safe, healthy and durable, contrary to what someone unfamiliar with straw bale building might think.

After I posted the article, I was contacted by Mick Paterson, a project manager with The Fourth Pig, a co-operative sustainable building not-for-profit group based in Baysville, Ontario. He is currently overseeing a straw bale addition to a house in Toronto. They received approval from the city just as he contacted me, so his project was good to go.

I took the opportunity to visit when I was briefly in Toronto in June, to get a feel for a straw bale home and to ask questions that tend to come to mind when thinking about straw bale building. After the tour, I sent the team my questions and concerns — which I think are fairly representative of straw bale novices like myself. So, below are my questions and concerns, followed by Mick’s and his team’s answers.

 

Side view of straw bale addition and original house.

Side view of straw bale addition and original house.

1. The straw goes moldy after a while and can lead to such problems as black mould and wall collapse.

Fourth Pig:  Moisture is the enemy of any type of construction. The straw bales would only become moldy once prolonged heavy exposure to moisture is seen. A straw bale home must have a breathable protective coat. Lime and clay based plasters provide protection from bulk moisture while allowing any absorbed humidity to escape from the wall.

2. Straw can’t act as an insulation material.

Fourth Pig: Straw can be classed as one of the oldest insulation types on the planet. Straw has been used in Europe for centuries for insulation in different forms but straw bales as a wall construction and insulation really took off in the US in the mid-19th century.  Its r value is dependent on the bales compaction, orientation and construction detailing. The most agreed upon r value is 30 for 2 string bales or 1.4 to 2.6 per inch.

3. Its fire rating is low and therefore unsafe to use as a building material.

Fourth Pig: Both ATSM in the US and CSIRO in Australia show testing on straw bale walls to have a high resistance to fires with a 2 hour fire rating on plastered walls and 30 minute rating on an exposed strawbale. There are several examples of commercial straw bale buildings word wide. In Australia there is a veterinary hospital and in Colorado a Waldorf school chose straw bale as the only wall material for all 22,000 sq. ft. of its classrooms.
4. You need a vapor barrier to protect the straw from moisture.

Fourth Pig: Vapor barriers are not necessary for a straw bale wall as the plaster skin provides a similar function. As an added benefit lime and clay plasters allow the straw to absorb and release water vapor on both sides of the wall, preventing damage from accumulation. This happens in cold to hot climates, and dry to humid ones.

5. What is the best material to use for covering up the straw bale and why?

Fourth Pig: Natural plasters like lime and clay provide the most benefits for straw bale walls for their breathability qualities. Various factors such as design, cost, performance and historic longevity have shown the benefits of using lime and clay and avoiding cement and acrylic based plasters or covering the straw bales with drywall.

Straw bale wall

Close-up of Straw bale wall

6. Can straw bale be used for houses that are more than one story high?

Fourth Pig: The limits to how high you may build a SB wall are the same limits all buildings face. With intelligent design a skyscraper could be constructed with a façade of strawbales. (We would like to retrofit a multiple storey building with strawbales!)

7. How long does a house made with straw bale generally last?

Strawbale walls and all buildings will last as long as the buildings inhabitants make them last. All buildings require regular maintenance and upkeep as do strawbale walls. With proper design and upkeep SB walls can last for centuries or more. There are strawbale homes in the US that are still standing and in great condition from the mid to late 1800s.
8. Is it more or less expensive than building a stick built house?

Straw bale walls can be cheaper than regular insulated wall construction but there is so much variation of wall finishes and detailing that that need to be taken into account when trying to compare apples to apples. You will not get an R30 insulation value out of a traditional stick framed wall.

 

For more information on building a straw bale home, or have more questions about the material’s durability, visit the Fourth Pig’s website, or contact them directly.

 

 

Greener Yet Stylish Ways to Renovate Your Kitchen

June 23rd, 2014 by Contributor 1 comment »

This is a guest post by Robert Kramer.

The modern kitchen is a very high-tech, power-hungry part of the household, but that doesn’t mean that it has to hurt the environment. As our homes improve and the world around us suffers, people are turning to greener solutions for modern living – from solar powered showers to composting – and things are no different in the kitchen. If you’re looking to renovate your kitchen then you don’t have to substitute style or function just to create a greener environment; this article will show you how to improve your kitchen and help the environment at the same time.

Counter Tops

Don’t worry, green countertops have nothing to do with color, but rather they indicate a product that has been created using sustainable materials and has been bound using non-toxic glues. A common misconception is that the standard of these are often on the poor side, that not only do they look cheap but they feel it as well. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Many of these products are painstakingly designed and made, ensuring that only the finest, sustainable materials have been used, and more often than not they are more durable than many of the standard countertops you can buy from your local DIY store.

A great example of this are the products produced by Green Building Supply, a company that specializes in creating highly durable and naturally beautiful countertops made from recycled glass, paper, wood and other materials.

A reclaimed and beautifully designed shelf made and sold by Squak Mountain Stone

A reclaimed and beautifully designed shelf made and sold by Squak Mountain Stone

Kitchen Sinks

Although selecting kitchen sinks of the right style is important, there are a number of options which offer sustainable use of materials.

Antique and rustic sinks are very much the “in” thing, so when selecting the design you can pick from a huge variety of refurbished sinks that suit this style. These are generally made from recycled materials, with everything from glass, ceramics and metals being used to craft the perfect environmentally friendly sink for your kitchen. Concrete sinks – from ceramic cement, which creates less carbon emissions than its age-old counterpart – are also becoming increasing popular and are easy to source, available to buy from companies such Just Manufacturing.

These aren’t just specialist manufacturers either, even the big manufacturers are following suit, and wherever you are in the world your local DIY will stock an assortment of eco-friendly cabinets, flooring, appliances, sinks and countertops. It is taking some of them longer to catch up than others, but the industry is moving at a very quick pace and many shops can provide the products that you need.

Cabinets

Green kitchen cabinets, just like countertops, are ones that have been created using sustainable and non environmentally toxic materials. Cabinets made with chipboard are commonly found in modern kitchens, but these are cheaply made and will need to be replaced or fixed (due to warping) on a regular basis. Chipboard is made using an industrial strength solvent that contains formaldehyde. This breaks down over time and is gradually released into the atmosphere, making these products as toxic as they are ineffective.

Low VOC Plywood (which stands for Volatile Organic Compound) provides a cleaner and stronger solution. As the name suggests, these materials release very small amounts of gas compared to chipboard and other woods, and they are also very durable.

Kitchen cabinets can be bought secondhand and refurbished, or they can be crafted by experts who specialize in turning old and recycled materials into new and exciting products.

Flooring

The flooring is one of the most important parts of a kitchen renovation and yet the one that many people overlook. You’re going to spend a lot of time traipsing across it and cleaning it, so you want something that looks good but is also highly durable. Linoleum is made from renewable sources and can provide a good addition to a green kitchen, but it can also be difficult to clean and require a lot of maintenance. It is prone to stains from spillages which can also warp the material, so any spilled liquids need to be mopped up quickly to prevent the linoleum from swelling.

Cork is another good choice, but it needs to be regularly treated to make sure that it stays in tip-top condition throughout the life of your kitchen. If it is not treated every few years then moisture and general wear and tear can destroy it.

floor

Treated and varnished cork floor.

Kitchen Appliances

Once the basics are done then you need to work on filling your kitchen with all of the essentials. All kitchen appliances will use a certain amount of energy, but these days you can choose from a huge number of energy efficient options.

You should always look out for the energy star rating when buying an appliance, this will tell you how much energy it consumes. The better the rating, the less energy it will use. A good rule of thumb to follow when buying new appliances for a green kitchen is that the newer they are, the more energy efficient they are likely to be. Older appliances use a lot of energy and create a hefty carbon footprint, but manufacturers are constantly devising new technologies and new ways to reduce the energy output.

appliances

A guide to the power in your home, courtesy of: http://sustain.indiana.edu/

The options are there for a completely green approach to your kitchen renovation.

Its not just specialist manufacturers supporting the movement, even the big manufacturers are following suit. Although a movement like this takes time to filter through, wherever you are in the world your local DIY will likely stock an assortment of eco-friendly cabinets, flooring, appliances, sinks and countertops.

To a greener, susustainable home!

Post written by Robert Jacob an interior renovation enthusiast who loves to blog about tips and ideas.

Five Tips for Taking Care of Your Carpet and Tile in a Green Friendly Way

June 19th, 2014 by Contributor 3 comments »

This is a guest post by Candace Hubbard.

First let’s start with an explanation of exactly what “green cleaning” is.  To put it simply, it is the cleaning of carpets, upholstery or tile using the same certified ways that carpet cleaners always do, but using “green” chemicals instead of other potentially harmful chemicals.  These are biodegradable, non-toxic and a whole lot safer for you and your family’s carpet cleaning care.  Here are some ideas of how carpet cleaners take care of your carpet and tile using green friendly products.

What Can Be “Green” Cleaned?

You can have your carpet, upholstery, tile and grout, marble, granite and other stone green cleaned without any problems.  The company you choose should follow these methods for your carpet cleaning care:

  1. Use a pre-cleaner treatment to help loosen dirt and ground in stains.
  2. Your furniture, sofas, chairs can all be cleaned using green products that don’t pollute the environment.  Just be sure that your carpet cleaner uses certified green cleaners before tackling these items or your carpet.  They will all come out just as clean as if you used one of the more popular, or less environmentally friendly brands of cleaner.
  3. Even the dirtiest tile on your floor can be cleaned to look shiny brand new by using products safe for the environment, so don’t worry that these products aren’t up to the job.

Allergen Treatment

If you suffer from allergies you might think that you need to use a special product that might not be totally kind to the environment, but this isn’t true.  Your carpet and tile etc, can be treated with hypo-allergenic products that do no harm whatsoever to the environment.

  1. Be sure that your carpet/tile cleaning service is using a product that is guaranteed by the maker to be hypo-allergenic yet green.

Treating Your Tile

You don’t need to hire the carpet cleaning kings to blast the grease, grime and dirt out of your tile in an environmentally safe way.  Sometimes smaller companies are greener than the larger ones.  They may also be willing to work more and try harder to meet your needs.

  1.  The company you choose should not use any acids, or harmful chemicals or even scouring brushes.  And a powerful steam cleaner should be used on your tile and grout.  It’s also a good idea to have your grout sealed after it is cleaned and there plenty of green products available to do that.

It really doesn’t take much energy or expense to keep your carpet and tile clean and green safe.  It doesn’t require the services of large companies who advertise themselves as thecarpet cleaning kingsYou just have to search for the companies who care enough to try and protect the environment.  If a company is dedicated to this then they will have the products and skills you need.   As long as you do your part in seeking them out, these companies should be able to give you the service you expect.

Biography: 

Candace Hubbard is a freelance writer who has done interviews with companies like carpetcleaningkings.com.au and other companies responsible for tile and carpet cleaning care.  She has researched the topic of green cleaning and written about it extensively.

Baseboard radiators that look like baseboards

June 9th, 2014 by Cathy Rust No comments »
The baseboard is a radiator!

The baseboard is a radiator!

 

I was contacted by Christine from BaseboardRads.com about their product which is a baseboard radiator.

You can create extra space in your home by converting old, iron radiators into these compact baseboard rads. They work with hydronic heating systems and come ready to install with connectors already in place. No welding or cutting is necessary.

Dimensions: They are 7 1/8″ high, 1 1/16″ thick and are available in various lengths. An eight foot baseboard rad will heat an average-sized room.

They are paintable, and you can find matching MDF baseboards anywhere baseboards are sold.

The rads are safer than electric baseboard heaters because there are no exposed elements. They are also more energy efficient.

Cost is $32/foot plus the cost of installation. Christine noted that they should be installed by a certified HVAC technician or plumber because they are part of a hydronic heating system.

The rads are manufactured in Pickering, Ontario.

For more information, visit their website: http://www.baseboardrads.com

 

The Ugly Side of Summer

June 5th, 2014 by Contributor No comments »

This is a guest post by Carson Arthur

We spend all winter waiting for it…and for some of us, suffer miserably through it.  I’m talking about summer. There is definitely an ugly side to our favourite season that we grin and bear! I’m talking about allergies, molds and mosquito bites. Don’t spend the entire summer inside hiding from what ails you…I’ve got solutions to all of the summer blues!

 Any discussion about the ugly side of summer HAS to include mosquitos. These pesky little biters will travel up to 2 kms for a meal. As a landscaper and an active gardener, they seem to like me more than my friends. I’m always outside working which doesn’t help because mosquitos are attracted to body heat and the carbon dioxide from heavy breathing. Also not in my favour, mosquitos love to rest inside of the garage where its cool and dark…and the storage spot for all of my tools!

 

Mozi-Q homeopathic tablets to fight mosquitos and other flying insects

Mozi-Q homeopathic tablets to fight mosquitos and other flying insects

Deet has been the gold standard for repelling these biters but if you want a homeopathic option safe enough for infants under the age of one or even the family dog, try Mozi-Q (it’s an oral bug repellant that you chew!). I started using this plant-based product in 2013 when I was at the cottage. I still got a few bites, but I didn’t get the red welts. I also got significantly less bites than my guests. Recently, I discovered that other biting bugs like black flies also seemed to be avoiding me. As featured on Dragon’s Den this is definitely my secret weapon this summer when I’m outdoors.

 

I learned recently that a lot of allergy problems have nothing to do with your sinuses. Many allergy sufferers have reactions because of an imbalanced immune system in the gut (Pascoe Canada) Allergic reactions are an over reaction of your body’s immune system and how it deals with foreign bodies entering through the lungs, skin or eyes. This can be more common in people with low levels of healthy bacteria in their guts. Allergies also impact people who have excess acidity or unbalanced pH levels. Often taking a sodium bicarbonate supplement with potassium helps with allergies, or if you are pill-adverse, you can increase your greens with foods like celery and spinach.

 

Avoiding pollens and allergens always works too. Here are some simple solutions for you to try

  • Garden in the morning when pollen counts are at their lowest
  • Wear long sleeved clothing to avoid skin contact
  • Garden after a heavy downpour as the pollen is washed away – but beware the light rain showers. They just stir the pollen up!
  • Don’t plant Maples or Oaks and go with flowering fruit trees instead
  • Beware the ornamental grasses like ryes and fescues. They are the culprits for summer allergies next to ragweed.
Pascallerg: homeopathic remedy to treat allergies

Pascallerg: homeopathic remedy to treat allergies

When it comes to products, my favourite is a homeopathic solution called Pascallerg. This product helps fight allergic reactions by helping modify the immune system. Not only did it reduce the severity of my personal symptoms, it also reduced the frequency of my allergic reactions. Summer allergies that I’ve always had are getting less severe because my immune system is better able to handle them. I also love that it’s safe for children as young as 1 year of age.

 

We’ve all heard that mold in the home is extremely hazardous to our health, but did you know that mold occurs outdoors as well? Our gardens and backyards are actually a great breeding space for molds that are inhaled via mold spores. Our immune systems deal with these mold spores just like an allergy, with watery eyes, sneezing and congestion. We often blame pollen when in fact our bodies are reacting to the mold spores outdoors. Mold spores are excellent at traveling. In fact, if one piece of fruit in the bowl has mold, then all of the fruit will have spores on them.

One of the best spots for mold to grow is in our mulch. For years, we’ve been putting mulch around our flowerbeds to prevent weeds but to also hold the moisture in the ground on the hot sunny days. We also rely on mulch to breakdown into the soil below, naturally adding nutrients for our plants. This decomposition happens because of mold! Mulch is a perfect food source and mold loves to be kept warm and wet. Just watering the garden in the summer promotes mold growth. Prevent this mold growth by making sure your mulch completely dries out between waterings.

Concrobium Mold Stain Eraser

Concrobium Mold Stain Eraser

Another big issue with mold around the yard is the black staining that occurs on composite decks, plastic furniture, even on the house siding. Pressure-wash it all you want, it’s almost impossible to get those stains out. I found a great new product that worked really well for me. Called Concrobium Mold Stain Eraser, this product is so easy to use. Simply mix the entire container as per the instructions and spread/spray directly on the stained areas. Safe for kids, pets and your plants, Concrobium Mold Stain Eraser doesn’t even need to be scrubbed-in to effectively remove the mold stains.

 

Summer is supposed to be worth waiting for. This year, try some of my easy solutions and make the most of your outdoors. Avoid the ugly side of allergies, molds and mosquitos and fill every single day with enough memories to make it through another winter…especially if it was like the last one!

 

 

Carson Arthur  Carson Arthur is an international landscape designer with a focus on environmentally friendly design. His newest series, Critical Listing, teaches homeowners how to raise the value of their homes through outdoor renovations. He is part of the Cityline team; writes a column for Huffington Post about outdoor design and appears regularly in a variety of magazines with guest articles.  He is the North American outdoor expert for Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate and the outdoor guest expert on the Shopping Channel.

 His credits include; the host of HGTV’s Green Force; the Gemini nominated Room to Grow on Global and the Discovery network; and Better Home’s and Garden’s Home, First Home on the Hallmark Channel in the U.S. Currently, Carson’s programs can be seen on every continent in the world.  He is also the author of the sold out book Garden Designs for Outdoor Living.

 

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