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Solar Power Systems – Alternative Power

Solar-power-systemIn an age of fast depleting resources, it has become crucial to assess alternative sources of energy to keep things going.

For thousands of years now, ever since the beginning of time, man has been making use of the energy of the sun to fulfill various purposes – agriculture, domestic purposes.

How do they work?

Heat and light- these are the two forms in which the earth receives the sun’s energy. Both the forms of the sun’s energy can be utilized for use by means of solar power systems. Now, how do these systems work? The solar power system basically comprises of four components, namely “solar panels”, “batteries”, “inverters” and “charge controllers”.

What are the components?

Solar Panel – An assorted number of photovoltaic cells assembled together, with each cell designed in such a manner so as to build an electric field form the basic crux of a “solar panel”. They have to be installed in such a manner so that they are exposed to sunlight to the maximal amount.

Solar Power Inverter – The next component of the solar power systems is the “solar power inverter”, which when connected to the photovoltaic cells can work in collaboration with transformers and keep the frequency and voltage of any circuit in check. It is also used for conversion of direct current into alternating current. Electronic equipments which require quality wave form with the least harmonic distortion function efficiently on pure sine wave inverters.

Solar Power Battery – The energy of the sun as a substitute for other sources of energy is a commendable concept. But what happens at nightfall when there is no sun to utilise the energy from? It is here that the “solar power battery” comes into play. The “solar power battery” is another important component of solar power systems, which is utilised for storing the energy and power derived from the sun so that it can be utilised at a time when sunlight is not available for use. Common battery types are the lead acid batteries and lead based batteries.

Charge Controller – The fourth component of the solar power system is the “charge controller”. So, what does it do? The ‘charge controller” invigilates the “battery bank” of the “solar power battery” and bars it from overcharging along with cutting down the current in case the voltage escalates.


Solar power systems – the pros of its use

With the advancement in the field of science and technology, solar power system prices are coming within the reach of common man much more easily. There are a number of benefits of using solar power systems over the conventional modes of power systems.

For one, the energy coming out of the sunlight is eco-friendly. No smoke, no pollution, no depletion of other natural resources, such as, fossil fuels.

The abundance of sunlight guarantees that there never will be a case of shortage or depletion as with other resources.

Once installed, the solar power systems run on minimum maintenance and are also economically satisfying.

The price of solar power systems are fast becoming the answer to all the resource depletion and energy problems with each passing day. Its eco friendliness and abundance are the two key features that most recommend it as an alternative source of power system. Read more on the advantages of solar power here.

Mistakes Homeowners Make When Removing Mold

Mistakes Homeowners Make When Removing MoldHome-owners will often need to take care of their mold problems around the house, but often preferring to work alone rather than hiring a professional cleaning company so they can save money in the process. If you do have a large area to cover, you would still do better by working with a cleaning company, rather than dealing with this issue by yourself.

Removing mold

The following mistakes are often made by those removing mold, making the problem worse or simply ignoring some of the realities when it comes to mold infestations:

  • Not finding all the mold and dealing with it

This may not always be the case, but you will often fail to all the moldy areas around your home if you have an infestation. Mold spores are pretty small and very light, which makes them easily spreadable around the areas between rooms.  If you happened to find mold in one area of your home, you would do well to look for any hidden mold patches around the rest of the rooms just in case. You can do even better than that by having a professional cleaner specializing in mold cleanup to check for any signs of mold infestations, especially if you have any reason to believe you may have black mold on your hands.



  • Painting over mold patches

Using mold resistant paint on mold patches will absolutely not clear or contain the mold. Make no mistake, the mold will keep growing and spreading underneath it and it will eventually break through regardless of your efforts, unless you do something about it and you fix the issue. This will only aggravate things in the long run, so you would do well to remove the mold entirely and then paint over if you want results.

  • Cleaning materials that cannot be cleaned thoroughly

Mold can be easily removed from materials without porous surfaces, such as glass and porcelain, but it will be hard and nigh impossible to remove it from any others, such as home insulation, drywall, wood, carpeting and any upholstery without literally drowning them in chemicals. These materials should be removed and instead replaced when possible to allow a more adequate solution to your problem.

  • Spreading mold by handling it wrong

As it stands, it happens to be very easy to spread mold around if you’re not careful during the cleaning process. Scrubbing surfaces, tearing carpets, cutting drywall and a lot of other tasks will disturb mold spores and spread them all around, where they can lie in wait until conditions are right so they can spring to life again. You need to seal the area off as best as you can to avoid that.



Asphalt Shingles Installation Guidelines

Asphalt Shingles Installation GuidelinesWhether you do a project connected to gardening, lawn care, making a new patio or a new tool shed, there are many aspects of such home improvement projects that you may benefit from. But one project stands above all as an absolute necessity and that is having a strong roof over your head. Before you can congratulate yourself on a job well done, you will need to do quite a bit to make the installation of asphalt shingles a reality.

 

The shingles installation guidelines ahead will give you a few ideas you can use in a step-by-step scenario to walk you through the installation:

 

  • You will need to start your work by making sure you have the right layer of underlayment and roof edging going on. Without these two you will have a real hard time trying to setup a stable and waterproof
  • Once you have the right permit, you will need to work on stripping the floor clean and nailing the drip edge flashing across the eaves of your roof.


  • Even the best of shingles will never last forever, as the right atmospheric conditions can eventually wear them down. Make sure you have a solid, waterproof underlayment to combat these in case the shingles get damaged and you will have far less to worry about in the long run.
  • One thing you need to ensure is that you have good asphalt saturated felt underlayment as well. The layers will need to overlap by at least two inches to work well. Follow this up by nailing a drip edge on the roof rakes and the top of your underlayment. Just like you need to do with flashing, you should make sure the pieces are overlapping all over the roof. The felt underlayment will help protect against storms and rains.
  • Find the center of your roof at its eave and top and then put a vertical chalk line on it. You can use it to focus on your shingling, working at the left and right at the rakes themselves. Check the manufacturer’s instructions on your package and follow them to get it all done the right way.
  • The first few rows of you shingles will need a line with cut tabs. You can apply them on the eave with some adhesive strip. You should make sure you have that row overhanging a little and beyond its drip edge. This is a necessary step toward the rest of the roofing in need of doing.
  • Once you finish that, you will need to nail the shingles on top of the starter course. Use four nails for each of your shingles or as the package instructions say you need to work, depending on the strength of the winds and atmospheric conditions in your area.
  • When you’re finally done, chances are you will have made a mess below the roofs with some of the old underlayment being cleaned or the roof being washed or cleaned after the project is done.

When all is said and done however, you will need to look for professional help if you’ve never done this before. It is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to roofing, since it happens to be work that is both time-consuming and dangerous if you’ve never done it before. Trusting professionals with the task will give you guaranteed results you can count on, so consider this before moving on the project alone.

For more ideas: Westminster Landscape Gardeners – professional garden designers.
Lenard Brown is a home and garden expert. He has a great experience in home repair and garden maintenance.



Autumn House Maintenance Tips

Autumn House Maintenance TipsWith temperatures outside dropping and weather anomalies causing countries and locations to experience never before seen cold times, it might be a good idea to consider doing some maintenance work on your house. It is the best time to take advantage of the moderate temperatures now and the last bits of free time you will get – we all know how demanding holidays can be, how many other things will require your attention and how impossible it will be to think about repairs and winter preparations.

House Maintenance Tips

With that said, be ready to devote some time to your house and prepare it for the coming cold weather. There are three main areas that will require maintenance and cleaning. Let’s see each of them and what you need to do there:

The exterior of your home will be the object of rough weather, so you must check for any problems. One of the most important things you will have to do is to inspect windows and areas where masonry meets siding for any cracks, openings or holes. These areas are problematic in that your house will lose heat from them, resulting in very ineffective heating during winter. You must make sure you seal those areas with a caulking gun. Another thing to consider against the cold is installing storm windows and doors, in the place of summer screens. Clean and store the latter in a garage or basement. Next see if any exterior paint is showing signs of peels and failing. Cleaning off the old one and applying new paint will protect the siding, saving you from potential problems in the future. Inspect your roof for damaged areas and clean the gutters of any leaves and debris.

Your garden and patio need attention too. You will have to plant your spring flowering bulbs and protect your plants from pests. Clean and store your gardening equipment, as well as any mowers and chain saws, and take out your snow equipment. Drain your garden hose and pipes as well as outdoor water source. Otherwise it can freeze and expand, causing damage to them.  After performing patio cleaning, make sure you inspect the supports and stair handrails for any damage. Clean your outside furniture and umbrellas and store them to protect it from the cold.

Along with deep cleaning your house to get it ready for the coming holidays, you must do a whole lot of other maintenance inside. Caulk windows on the inside, just like you did outside. Inspect for air leaks and seal them with caulk and weather stripping. Have your heating system inspected and prepared for winter. If you are lucky to own a fireplace, inspect the chimney and make sure your wood is at hand and ready to go. Kitchen cleaning, along with sanitizing any other room you will use a lot during the cold days outside, will ensure sanitized and fresh environment for everyone. Consider getting carpet cleaning early, before temperatures drop down significantly, delaying carpet drying, or making it impossible.

There is a lot of work that needs to be done around the house to prepare it for the cold months to come. Remember that nothing can ensure comfort more than a clean home and lots of holiday mood.

 

 

 

Mold Cleaning Tips at Home

Mold Cleaning TipsThe first thing you need to keep in mind when you’re at home and you notice mold issues around it is to look for any leaks. Since mold often thrives very well in warm and damp environments, you will need to work on checking for any possible problems with the plumbing.

The tips of this article will give you something to work with while you deal with the issue in the most efficient way you can:

 

  • You should start your work by inspecting the water pipes, plumbing fixtures and waste lines among other things. If you happen to have noticed a leak, you will need to work a bit on spotting where it originates. You can let the water run through the pipes, all the while looking for and damp spots around the walls. This will help you identify the problem where it occurs, giving you the chance to fix it. In some cases you can deal with the problem by locating the dampness and figuring out where it came from due to the effects of gravity, but other cases may defy expectations.
  • Make sure you never ignore any mold if you see signs of it. If you leave it alone for far too long without cleaning it, you will deal with a lot more than what you started with. You have to forget about simply wiping it off and calling it a day, since it will return eventually and you will have to deal with it. If you want to solve the problem permanently, you will have to make sure you focus on finding the leak itself and the source of the dampness, as this will be the reason mold appeared in the first place.
  • Inspect window wells as well as any vents and flashing, checking for leaks on the walls and the roof. You will also need to figure out the exact spot and by measuring the location on the inside. Figure out the problem and check for any rotting wood both around it and any vents and other places where the mold has appeared. If you have damp grounds around the foundations of your home, the basement may also suffer from such issues and you will need to find a way to limit that. Using a dehumidifier will help in the long run, but you will need to make sure you find the root of the problem and deal with it.
  • Assuming mold forms on the ceiling or under a duct, you will have to look for roof leaks. If you have no roof leaks, then this means you are dealing with some poor ductwork. Warm and moist air will condense and it will form drops of water on the surface of ducts, which in turn will allow mold spores to thrive in the nice environment created for them. You will need a good vapor barrier to solve the issue, especially when dealing with kitchen cleaning.
  • You can clean most mold species with either straight distilled white vinegar or a mix of water and bleach. These will allow you to eliminate the issue in a certain location, but in the end you will still have to deal with the reason why mold appeared in the first place.
  • If things are out of control, then you may need to look for professional cleaning services to help you out. A good cleaning company will have the necessary tools to tackle the other problems you may be facing, so you should look for one in extreme cases.

Closing the Pool for Winter

Closing the Pool for WinterWinter is not coming, it is already here. A good number of people will truly miss the hot weather, as it no longer allows for swimming in the cool waters of the backyard pool. Yes, it is time to now close it for the winter season so that it can be reopened again next year. If you are among the pool lovers, chances are you want to do your best to preserve it in such a way that will allow easy and cheap reopening in summer.

In order to do that, however, you must be cautious. Garden maintenance, including pool maintenance, has some specifics that you should follow to ensure your work is done.

1 – The first step is to choose the right day to close your pool. Experts usually suggest you do that when temperatures reach the 60s in the evening for several days straight. Usually it is a good idea to wait, as closing too early will not only lead to more work when you have to re-open it, but it will also be more expensive.

2 – Give yourself at least a day to properly do the job. It can be time-consuming, especially considering you will have to drain part of your pool’s water. If it is a big one, this can take few hours.

3 – Drain the water to reach a level below your skimmer. Water expands when it freezes, which can severely damage your pool equipment. Draining the water will ensure that does not happen. Just make sure you take good care of the equipment as well. This means draining the water from your filter, pump and any other equipment you are using. Do not forget about the pipes and lines in your pool. They can burst if not drained. Store the items somewhere safe, where you can easily find them and install again. Consider adding winter caps.

4 – Adjust the chemistry of the water. This is probably the most important aspect of winterizing the pool. Just like lawn care, a lot can go wrong if you are not careful. Several days before you shut down the pool, the Ph level, calcium hardness and total alkalinity are all balanced.

5 – Shock the water with chlorine. This will kill any bacteria and algae in the water. Treating the water in such a way ensures that you do not have algae and metal problems – ignore those, and you will have a serious issue in the form of algae buildups and bad stains. Add the chlorine just as the sun is about to set, as the light can break it down, reducing its effect.

6 – Place cover over the pool. Acquire one that fits the dimensions of the pool perfectly, leaving no space for debris to go under. You can add blocks, sandbags or other heavy objects to hold the cover tight and prevent loose ends. To avoid the expansion of ice, make sure you have an air pillow under the cover.

Doing all of the above ensures that your pool endures the challenges of winter and will be ready for use as soon as weather is warm again. Do not neglect your gardening service with pool winterizing included so you can enjoy your favorite retreat again.

For more tips: http://handygardeners.com/kingston-upon-thames-kt1-kt2/

Cleaning Oil Stains

Cleaning Oil Stains (Petrol Station)

We got asked to high pressure clean the oil stains off the floor of a petrol station. The problem was that it was a very busy garage and we could only do the job after hours, so we worked through the night. The oils stains there have been there for years and its almost impossible to get them out with out using the right chemicals. Firstly we high pressure cleaned the cement surface to get as much dirt out as possible. Take a look at some of the photos of cleaning oil stains off the cement floor before we started cleaning.

 

Using a Degreaser – Cleaning Oil Stains

After the high pressure cleaning was done, we used a degreaser chemical for cleaning oil stains, which was scrubbed onto the surface and left for a while before we high pressure cleaned the surface a second time. The degreaser removed a small amount of the oil stains but not much. A much strong chemical is used for cleaning oil stains.

Hydrochloric Acid – Cleaning Oil Stains

Hydrochloric acid was then poured onto the areas with the oils stains. The problem with acid is that it not only eats the oil stains but eats the cement too. You could actually see the black oil stains running off the floor of the cement where the acid was applied. Our team of high pressure cleaners then scrubbed the hydrochloric acid into the cement for a few minutes, Protective gear is needed when using acid, you cant breath this stuff in, its horrible for the lungs. Once the surface was properly scrubbed, we bought the high pressure cleaner in to clean the acid off and high pressure clean the surface for the third time. Most of the oil stains where successfully removed from the cement area that needed to be high pressure cleaned for the owner of the petrol station.

Below are some of the photos of our team scrubbing the cement surface with the degreaser and with acid. You can see the surface is much cleaner than before we started the job.

 

High Pressure Cleaning Equipment

High Pressure Cleaning

A high pressure cleaning or a pressure washer is a machine that spays water at a high velocity and is used to remove loose paint, grime, mold, mud, dirt and dust from different surfaces, objects, concrete or vehicles. The volume used to express a pressure washer is litres per minute. The pumps pressure, also known as the machines “bar”, is designed to pump but the bar can be changed on the machine by adjusting the unloader valve. This allows the user to adjust the pressure of the high pressure cleaner depending on what surface is being cleaned.

A pressure washer consists of:

  • A petrol driven motor which directly drives the machines water pump or an electric motor
  • Special high pressure cleaning hoses are used
  • A trigger style high pressure cleaning gun

The same way a garden hose nozzle is used to increase the water velocity out the hose pipe, a high pressure cleaner adds its own power to create high velocity. The pump can only draw as much water from the pipe as the source will allow, so it you have low water pressure at your home, the high pressure cleaner will not be able to work at full velocity. Water starvation for a high pressure cleaner can lead to cavitation damage. This will damage the pump elements.

High Pressure Nozzles – Cleaning Equipment

There are many different nozzles that are available for use with different surfaces. Some nozzles have a flat spray while others have a jet of water which spins around at a very fast rate in a cone type pattern (rotating nozzle). You will find the nozzles that have a higher flow rate will lower a high pressure cleaner’s output pressure. All the nozzles will be attached directly to the gun.

High pressure cleaning equipment can be dangerous tools if not used properly and with caution. The water that comes out the nozzle at high pressures can actually strip flesh to the bone in some cases. The objects being cleaned can also shoots bits and pieces of dislodged objects from the surface being cleaned at high velocity too.

Stains and Causes

Roof Stains

When you look at your roof have you ever noticed the black streaks the run down your roofing tiles and wondered how they got there and how they get stained in almost perfectly vertical columns? Have you ever seen a roof covered in moss and asked yourself the question, does the growth harm the roof at all? High pressure roof cleaning is the solution.

Roof stains come in different colours and sizes. Roof stains can be caused by rust, chimney soot, plant debris, extractive bleed through, and all kinds of fungi and algae. These discolorations are not only horrible to look at but can also be a sign of damaged roof material.

Rust stains and chimney soot

Rust and soot very often cause these brown and black roof stains around and below chimneys on your roof. If you don’t find many roof stains and rust on other areas of roofs then the chimney is normally the first suspect. When soot lands on your roof it washes down the slope of your roof and it leaves a discolored trail down to your gutters. The same thing happens with rust, which can come from antennas, satellite dishes metal and iron mounts. Rust stains should be investigated cause they are an indication that metal is leaking which will eventually cause major roof damage.

Extractive Bleed Stains

These are black streaks that run down your roof. Stains like these differ in length and width, but are definitely a clear indication of a roofing product that is defective. Excessive amounts of bitumen or some form of black pigment can cause these stains when released from the top of your roof and makes its way to your gutters. It can mean that the bitumen was not installed properly during production. Stains like this will often manifest over large areas of your roof. High pressure roof cleaning will help remove the stains from your roof. Dont do it yourself use a professional roof cleaning company.

Debris and Proximate Stains

Roof Stains like these are more than likely caused by a nearby tress, adjacent building or possibly a chimney. These stains are grey, brown or black and develop in limited areas of a roof. Normally when objects shade a rooftop, it can prevent the area of roof from drying properly and can potentially help the growth of fungi, algae, moss. Debris stains are usually caused by branches and leaves or any form of rubbish that stands still on the same spot of your roof and creates spots on your roof over time. Twigs and leaves releases organic acids that can cause discoloration. You need to get your roof cleaned to remove stains like these.

Moss, Fungi and Algae – Roof Stains

Fungi and Algae often appear as streaks or black spots on your roof. They look a bit like dark stains or shadows on your roof. Moss is more of a greenish colour and don’t look like stains but more of a growth. Moss will appear anyway there is humidity and some sunlight. High pressure cleaning is needed to remove moss and algae growths. A professional high pressure roof cleaning is needed to remove moss from your roof.

Algae and Fungi

Algae and Fungi Cleaning Process

High pressure cleaning is the process of removing roof stains including algae and fungi from roofing materials, in places where humidity is high and prevalent. High pressure cleaning is performed using the soft-wash system.

The black stains hold a number of different algae and fungi, which need a warm, humid environment to thrive. Algae and fungi begin their life as airborne spore, and they settle on roofs. The spore that lands on the northern exposure of a roof has a better chance of survival, because after morning dew or rain, that is the last part of the roof to dry. This increases humidity on the surface of the roof and making it a prefect breeding and feeding ground for algae and fungi.

If the algae and fungi on your roof is not high pressure cleaned every once in a while, the algae and fungi will spread causing more of an issue over time and cause the roof material to degrade.

Gutters are one of the most challenging parts of a house to maintain. They’re difficult to get to, frequently block up, and require constant supervision.

If you’re desperate to have your gutters cleaned out and returned to their original working condition, look no further than using us to do it for you.