Friday, June 28, 2013

Rain Gutters, Why, When and How

The decision on whether or not to go to the expense of installing a rain gutter/drainage system to your home or building is relevant to several contributing factors.
  • Your geographic location.
  • Whether or not you have a basement.
  • Pitch or slope of your roof.
  • type of exterior wall surface of your home or building.
  • type of ground cover surrounding your home or property.
Where you live in the US for example is relevant to the need, size and type of gutter you will install. If you live in the southwestern US desert climates where annual rainfall is very low you probably don't need rain gutter at all. However, if you have a basement with minimal overhang on your roof around the perimeter of your home or building it would be wise to catch even a small amount of water runoff from your roof to direct away from the perimeter base of you structure. Over time, without proper drainage this water can begin to penetrate the below grade walls of a basement leading to a continuous damp condition that can result in the formation of molds and mildews.

If the pitch or slope of your roof is quite steep, during heavy rains the water runoff can damage any landscaping or plants that may surround your home or building. In this case installation of a rain gutter system would be highly advised and several considerations come into play here.

Rain gutters come in many styles, materials, and colors but most importantly sizes. There are 4", 5", 6" and 7" wide gutters to choose from. In the case of the very steeply pitched roof, because of the increased speed and volume of water falling down the roof during heavy rains, you will want the widest gutter available in your area, at least the 6". For very shallow pitched roofs the minimal width with will be quite sufficient for proper capture of the water.

The type of exterior finish of your home or building is also a very important consideration. If you have a natural wood siding or cedar shake exterior for example, keeping this surface  dry as opposed to continuous water saturation during rains will greatly extend the life and finish of your exterior product. If your exterior is vinyl siding, brick or stone this is not as crucial but will still pose an aesthetic problem with dirt and debris that will constantly splash up the exterior walls making for an unsightly appeal to you home or building.

Rain Gutters will additionally protect your landscaping materials, flowers and plants from damage as well as prevent ground soil erosion. In the end an expense that is well worth its investment in maintenance savings over time.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Fire Safety When Cooking at Home

Whether a person is a gourmet chef or a newbie picking up cooking as a hobby, making unique meals in the home can be a lot of fun. There is a wealth of recipes from around the world and no one motivated to be a skilled cook will ever run out of new dishes to make. Enthusiasm about cooking, however, has to be tempered with clear designs on being safe. Even slightly deviating from good safety practices can create a fire hazard. Rather than see such a situation occur, it is wise to follow a few tips on improving fire safety in the home.

Do not cook when your concentration is waning. In other words, if you are sleepy or may have had a few drinks, you do not want to get anywhere near the stove. Errant fires have a tendency to occur when your attention span is low and you make mistakes on the stove. Your reaction time will be slow when you are impaired. As a result, if a fire does start, you will not react quick enough to prevent it from spreading.

Never leave anything cooking on the stove unattended. Walking out of the kitchen when a frying pan or pot is on top of a burning flame can prove very risky. You never know when food will start to burn or, worse, erupt in flames even when you are attending to it. Walking away from what you have on the stove means you are walking away from monitoring a potential fire. Do not do that!

Keep any and all things capable of catching fire away from the flame on the stove. Towels, cooking mitts and other cloth items are always at risk of burning. Be sure they are as far away from the hot stove as possible.

Beware of flammable liquids when you are cooking. Certain oils can go up in flames. Rum, a common ingredient in many exotic dishes, also comes with the potential of catching fire. Fires caused by flammable liquids are hard to put out and they can spread rather quickly. For that reason alone, you must exercise extreme caution when cooking with them.

Horseplay in the kitchen is certainly not advised. Fooling around in the kitchen can lead to mistakes capable of causing a fire.

Learn the basics of how to deal with a fire in the kitchen. Not all fires start out raging and uncontrollable. By learning a few points about dealing with minor fires, you likely will be able to stop one before it gets too out of control.

Having a fire extinguisher nearby would be a smart idea. A quality fire extinguisher can put out a flame quickly and easily.

When a fire does start to get out of control, evacuate immediately. Call 911 and have the fire department come deal with it. Staying in the vicinity of a out of control fire is enormously dangerous.

The common tips for kitchen fire safety are all very simple to follow. Putting them into action could prove to be very helpful to prevent or deal with a troubling situation the next time you prepare that unique meal you have been thinking about.