Some time or other, all of us have stood in front of a window with curtains that are old, or were another homeowner’s, or somehow unwillingly got there. We’ve stood there staring at them trying to figure out what in the world we should replace them with.
What kind will look best on the window? What type will be most functional? What type of fabric would be best? What style will go with the room best? What are my options for affordable window treatments? All of these are important questions, because window treatments are one of the most important design statements in a room. Let’s address each of these questions individually.
What kind will look best on the window(s)? This is the first question that should be answered since most of us don’t have the option of moving or changing the actual window. Consider the size and placement of the window compared to the rest of the room and furnishings.
Does the window look too small? You’ll want to use a treatment that will visually enlarge the window by hanging several inches outside of the window frame. Is the window or set of windows too large? Consider treating a set as individual windows instead of one large window, or opt for a simple style that will make the large size less obvious.
Does the window feel off-center compared to the room? Perhaps you should choose a style that will have more weight on the ‘off’ side of the window and help draw it towards the center of the room. Many of us have windows that are too short… they’re not the long beautiful windows shown in all the magazines. The answer to this is to maximize the space under the window by placing a dresser, wall table, or other furnishing under it. Then either do a valance treatment only, or drape your curtains down either side to the floor and treat the window and furniture piece as one.
The next consideration is that of practicality. We want to enjoy using whatever style of curtain we choose. It must be functional for our needs. So consider… will you need draperies to keep heat in? Will you need something to filter sunshine? How much privacy will this room need at night? Is the view outside something you want to enjoy or hide? Do you want to draw the curtains shut every night, or use a blind or shade instead?
Consider all these questions and keep them in mind as you narrow your options. Many of these functions can be performed by a shade or blind, or by the fabric of your window treatments. You’ll need to decide which you’ll want to use.
Fabric adds a lot to a room – the type, color, print, amount, weight, etc. There are several questions you must keep in mind when choosing materials. First is the practicality that we just discussed.
If you need something to keep heat in, then you’ll need to use either heavier fabrics or waffle-weave thermal shades. If you need something to filter light or provide minimal privacy, then you’ll need to use a blind, shade, sheers, or lace. Total privacy requires heavier treatments that can be closed at night.
Then consider the rest of your room’s decor. You’ll want to use fabrics that match and coordinate with the rest of your furnishings and area rugs or carpeting. Remember to compare colors, textures, prints, and the weight of the fabrics before you decide.
And finally it’s time to decide on the exact style. All the questions that you answered above will have narrowed down your options considerably. You’ll also want to make sure that the style and balance of the window treatments is suited to the rest of the room. Will a full and dramatic valance make the window look top-heavy – or do you have enough wall furnishings around the room to balance it?
Will a simple, elegant scarf be the perfect subtle dressing for your window, or will it get lost among your other dramatic furnishings? If you know you want long draperies, figure out what type of valance, trims, and tiebacks will compliment them and make them blend in with the rest of the room.
If you get to this last step, and one of your earlier decisions is just getting in the way and keeping you from getting anywhere, don’t be afraid to toss out that earlier decision! Just evaluate what is most important to you before doing so. And try some other the other options available for fulfilling that qualification. Perhaps it would be better to just install a shade out of site for night-time privacy, so you can still have your simple, light, and airy look during the day!
The process of choosing window treatments can be summed up as one simple goal – to find something you’ll like to look at and like to use. That’s really all there is to it!
Does your water taste funny, and sometimes smell a bit off too? Don’t put off doing something about it any longer and find out about the best water filter for your needs in this handy guide!
Humankind has gone a long way in the past century or two. Civilization has brought us many advantages our forefathers could only dream of, drinkable water at the turn of a tap being one of them.
While municipal services do their best to ensure that what you drink is up to certain health and safety standards, unforeseen circumstances can always happen, leaving you with water that might not only have an altered taste, smell and color, but can be genuinely harmful to yourself and your family since it can contain poisonous trace elements and a wide range of bacteria.
Water almost everywhere in America is harder than optimal. If you happen to be living in an area where this is true to the extreme, you’ll want the best water filter that has both the capacity and the capability of dealing with this issue every day.
Fleck, a well known brand owned by Pentair ltd., a giant in the industry, is well aware of the challenges afflicted households face and has come up with one of the most comprehensive filtration systems to date – the 5600SXT.
You’ll immediately be drawn in by this model’s ample capacity – it can handle a serious pressure of 12 GPM (gallons per minute), meaning that a mid-sized home can have all of its filtration needs taken care of simultaneously.
For example, if you have a family of five and water is flowing simultaneously in the kitchen and bathroom, the 5600SXT makes sure that needs are met.
The filtration process itself happens via ion exchange – harder calcium and magnesium ions are removed and exchanged with sodium ions, leaving water softer and ready for use.
This can be controlled via a built-in LCD display that lets you specify how you want the machine to act.
It has a convenient meter-dependant regeneration process, meaning that the grains won’t regenerate automatically, but only when the meter drops below a certain point, increasing their longevity.
The brine tank it comes with is of a square design and has room for 250 pounds of salt pellets.
Which ones you end up using is entirely up to you, but potassium-chloride is the more eco-friendly variant. The tank comes with an overflow drain and safety float that prevent it from flooding your basement.
Installation can be done in a DIY manner and is fairly straightforward. Just make sure that you actually have enough space to house the appliance in since it is a bit on the bulky side and takes up considerable space.
This is also why we wouldn’t recommend it if you have a smaller household where the needs are more easily met with smaller solutions.
You’ll get two separate warranties with the 5600SXT a 5 year warranty on the head as well as a 10 year warranty on the tank, ensuring that it will function without a hitch for a long time.
To help keep it that way, you might want to learn how to maintain your water filter system as well.
The 5600SXT has thoroughly convinced us of its capability to considerably soften up even the hardest water. It therefore stands to reason that we’re nominating it as the best water filter we’ve tested overall.
The only drawbacks to this model we can think of – it’s capacity that is best suited for mid-sized homes, and its somewhat steep price, are both highly situational and have no impact on its stellar performance.
So, if you have problems with exceedingly hard water, this is the product for you, no question.
Having a large quantity of softer water available is fantastic, but what if your municipal supply isn’t of the highest quality? Simply exchanging ions won’t fix the potential threat of hazardous contaminants.
In order to address an issue such as this, you’ll need a reliable reverse osmosis filter, such as the RO-90 by APEC.
This company is known for engineering innovative and highly effective solutions to various household-related issues, and this filtration system isn’t any different.
Its main purpose is to get rid of the vast majority of contaminants that might be present in your municipal supply, and manages to do so with unquestioned efficiency.
If you go to their site you can check out the huge list of contaminants this system has been proven to remove.
The secret lies in its smart 5 filter reverse osmosis process. Most other manufacturers rely on about 7 different filters to achieve a similar effect, but the RO-90 manages to produce clean, soft water with a smaller number of better designed elements.
The first stage gets rid of dust or any similar particle while also helping to prolong the filtration membrane longevity.
The 2nd and 3rd layers remove unpleasant tastes and smells and prevent any discoloration. After that a high rejection TFC reverse osmosis membrane removes up to 99 percent of solids still remaining as well as harmful trace elements and bacteria.
Lastly, a total contamination removal process removes any residue that might have appeared in the tank itself.
Speaking of which, you’ll have plenty of healthy water at your disposal since the 4 gallon tank is able to produce up to 90 gallons of it per day. If you have a larger household the standard holding tank might not do, but there’s a 14 gallon upgrade option available if you need it.
Since this is an under-the-sink model it won’t take up noticable space in your home and installing it shouldn’t be much of a problem thanks to the clear manual it comes with.
APEC also offer a host of upgrades that will further enhance the RO-90’s already solid capabilities such as a quick dispense feature that accelerates the flow, or a UV light that makes short work of more stubborn microbes.
A potential drawback to this model actually has something to do with how effective it is – it only removes hard minerals without replacing them with anything else.
This demineralization shouldn’t pose any kind of problem to individuals with healthy diets, but if you are already suffering from mineral deficiencies, be sure to consult your doctor before getting this machine.
The RO-90 has proven without a doubt that it is the best water filtration system when it comes to getting rid of as many different contaminants as possible.
By using it, you are greatly reducing the risks to your health and softening hard water at the same time. It is also very reasonably priced, making the decision to purchase the RO-90 all the wiser.
Water filters for homeAs we’ve seen when reviewing the RO—90, some reverse osmosis systems don’t reintroduce useful minerals into the water once they’re done filtering it. This isn’t a bad thing on its own, but it can make the water taste strange and isn’t as good as having heavy, harmful minerals replaced.
This is why Home Master, a company you might have heard about before because they developed a special system that brings mineral water directly to your tap, has tackled this filtration issue with its newest breakthrough, the TMAFC.
This unit doesn’t only focus on providing unparalleled filtration, it is also built in a way that alleviates some of the concerns other filtration systems can suffer from, namely a slow flow rate and eventual leakage. The former is taken care of thanks to the Fast Flow RO Kit it comes with.
This kit boasts larger tubing that doesn’t slow down the water being filtered, meaning you can keep a steady stream of it up without having to wait for ages to fill up a bucket. Each filter the TMAFC uses is also modular and is replaced together with its housing once the need for that arises.
This prevents the housing from developing leaks and ends up saving you money over time.
As far as the actual filtration is concerned, this water filter comes with seven different kinds of filter and membranes that remove a combined 98 percent of all impurities and contaminants.
This includes both trace elements that can harm you on their own such as lead and arsenic as well as chemical compounds like pesticides and herbicides that might have gotten into the supply at some point, after a heavy rainstorm for example.
This isn’t the thing that sets it apart from similar products though. As we said above, it comes with a remineralization feature known as the Artesian Full Contact Technology. This is a system that reintroduces healthy minerals into the purified water in recommended doses.
This is done two times to ensure that the minerals are present in desired amounts. Artesian Full Contact also eliminates the need for a post filter.
Most other purifiers’ end result is water that isn’t as healthy and which is mildly acidic. Reintroducing helpful minerals into it lowers that acidity and makes it taste great.
The original tank this model comes with has a capacity of 3.2 gallons. You can opt to decrease that to 2 if you don’t have enough space, or increase it to 4 gallons if your needs are greater.
Other than that, there’s a whole assortment of upgrades you can purchase separately, ranging from a refrigerator kit you can connect to your fridge and make it produce purified ice cubes, to an under counter leak detector that notifies of you of leakage before it can become a major problem.
Even though it dispenses the water it did filter quickly, the TMAFC can produce only about 50 gallons of it per day which might not be enough if your needs aren’t that small.
Nevertheless, this model is the best home water filter in terms of the quality of the end product it produces. It is a bit more expensive than its competitor, but the difference in taste alone might persuade you to part with those few extra bucks.
APEC have themselves realized that introducing healthy minerals back into the mix after the osmosis process has been completed is a pretty good idea, and have therefore developed another water filter capable of performing just such a task, the ROES-PH75
Much like the RO-90, this model has undergone a lengthy development process as well as stringent testing in order to ensure its effectiveness in eliminating a whole host of different contaminants. It has a 6-step filtration system that gives you pure, fresh and alkaline H2O every time.
The filtration process is very similar to the one we’ve seen with the RO-90, where solid particles are removed first, then odors and discoloration are taken care of, and finally even the most stubborn micro-organisms are eradicated.
The last, 6th step reintroduces minerals into the water in form of calcium. This is a great way to make it alkaline again, balancing out its Ph values and making it taste natural. This is done via a special cartridge that dispenses food-grade calcium into the system each time the filter is used.
While we’re on the subject of filters, APEC boasts that theirs are larger than industry standards prescribe, meaning they’ll last longer and be more effective.
As with the other models, they are replaced together with the housing, so when you do end up having to buy replacements, you’ll be extending the lifespan of the unit even more.
At about 75 gallons of clean H2O per day, this model offers a reasonable balance of output and quality. The somewhat smaller amount is understandable since there’s an added remineralization process to take into account. Still, 75 gallons should be enough for any mid-sized household.
One common complaint consumers are voicing about this model is that it takes a long while to produce water. This doesn’t surprise us since reintroducing the calcium into it takes time, but if you’re impatient this might be something worth considering.
Other than that though, we feel that the ROES-PH75 can hold its own against the best water filters on the market today.
Its filtration capabilities are top-notch, and the added element of making your water alkaline might end up saving you a pretty penny if your family spends a lot of money on bottled water. With a system like this, there certainly won’t be a need for that any more.
So far, our water filtration system reviews have focused only on products you use in your home and on a large scale.
It is important to have access to drinkable and clean water wherever you may find yourself though, and this is why it is a very good idea to take something that can accomplish this along with you into the wilderness. This is where Katadyn Pocket comes in and is our pick for the best countertop water filter.
Make no mistake, this product doesn’t boast all of the filtration and alkalization properties of water filters for home use, but it does perform a vital function very efficiently – it pumps out water that is safe to drink.
If you plan on going to prolonged camping trips or otherwise spend a lot of time out in the wilds, this model will satisfy not just your needs but the needs of a small group of people.
It is essentially a pump that forces water through a silver-impregnated ceramic filter that won’t make it any softer, but will eliminate the majority of bacteria and other micro-organisms that could cause you harm.
The speed at which this is done could be a bit higher for our taste, but even so it manages to produce a quarter of a gallon of water after 2 minutes of pumping, enough to tie 4-5 people over until the next batch is ready.
Naturally, a physical process such as this takes some strength, so be prepared for aching arms if you’re looking to pump more than a bottle’s worth at a time.
At 1,5 pounds, the Katadyn Pocket is a bit heavy when compared to similar models, so if you’re on a light hiking trip it might be best to just swap it out with a bottle of the same size.
We were most satisfied with its make however – the materials used are durable and molded with precision.
Katadyn even offers a generous 20 year warranty on the filter, but judging by its make it is more than likely that yours will outlive the warranty by quite a margin.
The only real drawback we can think of, except maybe the weight, is the fact that this is one of the most pricey models we’ve come across in the portable filter category.
It costs as much or more as a home system, so if you’re a casual outdoorsman you’ll probably want to go for something less extravagant.
Still, if traveling down rivers is your thing or you lose yourself in the woods for weeks at a time, this is without a doubt the best water filter for all your outdoor needs.
We always appreciate it when a company wants to ensure that different profiles of customers all have their needs taken care of. In this case, they are the needs of those that don’t really use that much water on a daily basis.
So, when you purchase the ROES-50, the only major feature you’re giving up on is its capacity, while the high-grade results we’ve come to expect from its other models do not change that much.
What kind of water you use doesn’t really make much difference to this system. Soft, hard, or straight out of a well, the five stage water filter system we’ve already described in greater detail will make sure that your water is clean and safe to drink.
As its name suggests, it can produce up to 50 gallons per day. This can vary a bit depending on the pressure and temperature. It fills up in 2-3 hours and shuts itself off automatically after that. Since everything is based off of pressure, there’s no need for electricity.
The ROES-50 is easy to install, but does take up some space. If you have a smaller sink that might be a problem, but you can also keep it in you basement if that is the case. It comes with its own chrome-finished faucet, but if you don’t like the original you can choose to upgrade it.
One annoyance we’ve found with the model was that there is no way of telling when its filter needs replacement.
There are no light-up indicators or anything, so you’ll have to keep checking each filter from time to time and replace when needed. It doesn’t remineralize your water either.
Even so given its other outstanding features and reasonable price, we feel that the ROES-50 deserves the title of best water filter in the affordable products category.
We’ll take a loss in quantity over quality any day, and that’s precisely what this model is all about.
It is always nice to see when a manufacturer takes responsibility for their poor design choices and tries to make amends.
One such effort is the WQA RCC7 by iSpring, a filtration system that won’t set you back that much and will provide good quality, consistent results.
Back in 2010, iSpring released a purifier plagued with various serious issues, including leakage and the fact that it sometimes did not shut its valve off properly once the tank was full, causing customers a lot of distress. The company has acknowledged this and made many improvements to the WQA RCC7
The upgrades this model ships with include a user manual that is easier to understand, a higher quality shut-off valve, a nicer designer-made faucet, a new feed adapter and, most importantly, a flood alarm that goes off if the device malfunctions or springs a leak, allowing you to do something about it in time.
Other than that, this is a standard filtration system that can produce up to 75 gallons per day. It has five different types of filter that work very much like the ones described when we reviewed APEC models.
They do a fine job, but the first three have a meager 6 month lifespan. iSpring offer a one year and a 3 year package that cover all filtration needs though.
Overall, this model’s quality and performance have received an improvement. Even so, there are still dissatisfied customers that say some of the old issues persist.
The WQA RCC7 certainly isn’t our top pick for best water purifier, but its performance warrants its inclusion in the guide nevertheless.
A large capacity at a good price is its main strong suit, and with continued improvements we’re sure that it will give even more expensive models a run for their money.
The last product we’ll be reviewing is an inline filtration model from Aquasana. It has a number of interesting features that sets it apart from other devices in the guide, and a price that can’t be beat.
Except the portable Katadyn Pocket, every other model in our water purifier reviews relied on filtering the liquid stored in its tank.
The AQ-5300.56 has an inline filtration system, meaning that it doesn’t need a tank and filters the water as it flows through it. It can do so with a speed of about half a gallon every minute, which is acceptable if you aren’t in a hurry.
There are three filtration stages in all. First there’s a layer of activated carbon that filters out toxins and chemicals.
After that an ion exchange takes place where harmful metal ions are exchanged for harmless hydrogen ones. A sub-micron filter is the final touch, getting rid of all but the smallest particles imaginable.
A great feature you’ll really appreciate is the inclusion of an automatic alert system that notifies you when it’s time to change a filter.
Once depleted, they can be easily exchanged without the use of additional tools. Unfortunately, the filters will require replacement every 6 months or so, which is less than what we’d hoped for.
In the end, we believe that the AQ-5300.56 is a solid device that performs its job adequately at a much lower cost than some other models.
If you want to save but still have good drinking water, then you can’t go wrong with this one. Best water purifier? Certainly not. Good enough? Absolutely.
What to Look Out for Before You Buy
As you can see, there is a lot of variety when it comes to the best water filters. Almost every model has something unique going for or against it.
Here’s what you should keep in mind before getting one.
Capacity – Sure, bigger is better, but things aren’t necessarily as straightforward as that. Naturally, if keeping two bathrooms and two kitchens stocked up on purified water 24/7 is one of your highest priorities, then getting the best home water filtration system which can accommodate this is what you want to do. On the other hand, if you lack the space or don’t have as many needs, a smaller purifier will do just as well.
Even so, you’ll want to compare the time it takes for any given model to produce a desired amount of water.
Two different devices can have the same capacity, but one can take ages to deliver results. If this is something that bothers you, go for the more speedy variant.
Does it get rid of the right contaminants? – Every manufacturer would like us to think that their product is the be all and the end all when it comes to the elimination of impurities, but that is unfortunately not always the case.
Before you go and buy what you believe is the best water filter, do some research on the condition your drinking water is in. Next, you’ll want to make sure that the purifier was actually awarded some form of independent certificate that attests to its ability to clean water thoroughly.
Only then should you buy one that has proven itself capable of eliminating contaminants that are present in your area.
Extra features – Even the best water filter can be improved with a couple of well-designed accessories. You’ll have to pay more, but sometimes this can really be worth it.
APEC for example offers a wide array of additional accessories for its products, one of the most interesting being a UV light that takes care of all but the most stubborn microbes.
Since you’re springing for a fairly expensive product anyway, why not give a few more dollars for a greater piece of mind?
Clean water, great taste – All of these devices will do a great job of making your water clean, but if they lack a remineralization feature it might end up tasting strange.
To prevent this and to keep a healthy balance of useful minerals, consider buying a purifier that has a means of getting useful minerals back into the mix.
So, what is the best water filter? It is really hard to tell without knowing your personal situation and preferences.
There are a lot of diverse factors to take into consideration, and a surprising diversity among the models we’ve reviewed to boot.
This will be one of those purchases where you’ll need to really give yourself a bit of time to sit down, get informed on the state of your municipal water in terms of hardness and contents, and make a decision based on the gathered facts.
Whichever filter you end up choosing, we are certain that your life and the lives of your family members will be positively impacted by it.
After all, don’t we all strive to provide your loved ones with a healthy and rewarding life? There are few things as fundamental to achieving such a life as crisp water that is both safe to drink and altogether healthier than almost any other beverage.
Many parts of the world still don’t have this luxury. You might not be able to help, but you do have the power to make a conscious decision to make a difference at home.
Stiebel Eltron is a long established European brand that has been making a foray into the US market in recent years as well. Their newest model, the Tempra 29 Plus is a strong contender in the market today.
Many professional reviewers and satisfied customers alike consider it to be a top quality tankless water heater. Let’s take a look and see what exactly makes it so.
The first thing that pleasantly surprised us was its advanced temperature control system. Regardless of the amount of water you use, the Tempra is sure to deliver a constant flow on demand.
Since it is tankless, there is no loss of energy due to water having to be stored in the product itself. This also makes it much more practical, enabling installation closer to points that draw off the water and ensures minimal energy expenditure in order to get it there.
The product comes in various sizes depending on your household’s needs and the climate you live in. Therefore be sure to get the model that is best suited to your daily requirements.
Speaking of which, the Tempra 29 plus tankless water heater delivers up to 8GPM for up to 6 heating elements. Its heater is engineered to provide you with water at the precise temperature you currently desire in less than a minute.
The built-in thermostat is very precise, having been outfitted with an Advanced Microprocessor technology, ensuring that with the turn of its knob you will actually get the kind of temperature you had in mind. This ranges from 86 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit which does not fluctuate regardless of volume.
Another beneficial feature is that this product doesn’t need to be vented to the outside. Installation can therefore be carried out more cheaply and efficiently.
Unlike conventional gas heaters where a sizeable percentage of energy can be lost due to heat dissipation that occurs through pipes, the Tempra’s design makes for an almost complete transfer of electric energy into heat.
Since there are no other factors to consider, such as the outdoor environment or having to ensure an optimal air to gas mixture, no heat is lost in this process.
Stiebel Eltron offer a generous seven year warranty, provided the product was installed by a licensed technician. During the whole period leakages that might occur are covered, and there is also a shorter three year period that covers possible workmanship defects.
While you have to ensure that your electrical service has a minimum of 200 AMP and the installation costs might prove to be substantial, the Tempra 29 Plus could be one of the best investments you make in the long run.
Its superb craftsmanship as well as its potential to save you a lot of money on electrical bills down the road make it the best choice for a more efficient and greener household.
Another tankless water heater to consider when supplying your house with on demand hot water is the ECO 27 manufactured by Ecosmart. The premise is similar – in this product you have a very energy efficient system that adapts itself to most climates and can be used both for domestic hot water and for operating a whole baseboard system.
The ECO 27‘s most striking feature is its ability to operate in very cold climates. Water that reaches into the thirties can be heated up to as high as 105 degrees Fahrenheit at a flow rate of 2.7 GPM.
At temperatures as low as that, the amount of water that can be heated up in a pinch is naturally somewhat lower than usual, but definitely enough for a shower or other smaller needs.
The flow does seem to fluctuate a bit in the first minute, but after that there have been no other problems reported.
It’s other major selling point is the unit’s energy efficiency – the manufacturer claims that by using it, costs associated with heating can be cut by up to 60 percent.
The entire system is of a sound build and is compact due to the fact that it does not require a tank. The unit comes with replaceable elements that can be interchanged with ease, making potential repairs a less painful experience.
It’s design is sleek and functional – a digital display above its knob makes all the information and settings readily available.
Customers will be pleased to know that the ECO 27 comes with a lifetime warranty applicable to the United States and Canada. There are some reasonable limitations however.
One is that the warranty only covers parts, meaning you’ll have to pay for labor yourself. The other is that in order for the warranty to be honored, the installation of the water heater as well as all repairs need to be conducted by a licensed professional.
Judging by some Amazon customer reviews and our personal experience, the time it takes for hot water to actually arrive at the designated tap is somewhat prolonged. When it does arrive however, expect the temperature to be constant and the flow to be uninterrupted.
As with the other water heater above, the installation process can become quite tedious as well.
Setting up a product like this requires both plumbing and electrical work to be done, increasing the initial costs and increasing the time before real savings can be felt in the household.
As with most of its competitors, the ECO 27 requires a strong electric service, 240 volts to be exact, meaning that some households might need to upgrade in order to accommodate it.
Finally, the Ecosmart ECO 27 seems to be the best choice for people who need a steady and reliable source of hot water even in unforgiving climates. It does have a few shortcomings, but its adaptability and energy saving features more than make up for this, making the ECO 27 a viable purchase.
The market wouldn’t be what it is today if not for Takagi, a Japanese manufacturer that was the first to introduce the tankless heater to American consumers.
The T-KJr2-IN-NG is one of the smaller units on our list, but its features and performance more than make up for its lack of size, making it one of the best choices if you wanted a gas tankless water heater.
It’s performance is that of an equivalent 40-gallon tank type water heater, but without the added hassle of having to heat an actual tank and with the accessibility a much smaller size can bring.
It’s best and most important feature is an uninterrupted supply achieved in part by the company’s implementation of an air-fuel ratio sensor which actively checks for and can help reduce hazardous emissions.
This is also a very safe system – in the event of too much hot water its sensors turn it off and prevent the unit from overheating.
Built-in DIP switches assure that you can adjust the unit to almost any climate type with ease. Added to that are protection from electrical surges as well as freeze protection and a step-by-step troubleshooting guide which should help to resolve most common issues.
Its longevity is nothing to scoff at as well – with proper use the The T-KJr2-IN-NG can work for more than a decade without any problems.
The T-KJr2-IN-NG is gas-powered, requiring no electricity to operate. Its gas input ranges between 19500 and 140,000 BTU/h, with a flow rate of 6.6 GPM. As with other gas-powered models, this one requires outdoor venting to be provided.
The installation process is straightforward enough, and although it comes with a simple step-by-step guide, be sure to have the installation performed by a licensed technician so as not to void the warranty.
Attempts at DIY can cause an installation to be faulty, so use of better judgement is encouraged.
Although customer reviews suggest that this water heater is ideal for smaller households, some disadvantages are apparent as well. On one hand, insisting on a professional installation can hurt your budget in addition to purchasing the heater itself.
What’s more, due to the fact that gas poses a serious fire hazard when used in proximity with electrical equipment, it can not run at the same time as other household appliances, making the additional time management something of a chore.
In the end, if you are on the fence on whether to exchange your old and leaky water heater for a new tankless one, the The T-KJr2-IN-NG is a solid choice. Its small size and wide availability make it one of our best choices for this year.
Another one of Ecosmart’s tankless water heaters, the ECO 18 is somewhat smaller and a bit less capable than its big brother, the ECO 27, but it is still one of the best options to consider if your day-to-day requirements are somewhat smaller than what its bigger counterpart can supply.
What makes this model stand out is that it only needs an activation flow of 0.25 GPM which is less than most competitors. The flow as well as the current temperature are measured with a set of sensors that help to ensure a consistent temperature and quantity.
The ECO 18 might not be the best choice for colder climates where water can dip below the 40 Fahrenheit mark, but in temperate climates it manages to output a continuous stream without much fuss at a flow rate of about 2.5 GPM.
Ecosmart prides itself in engineering energy-efficient products that save their buyers money in the long run. It is no different with this model of which the company claims that it can cut down on costs by up to 60 percent.
Due to its build, the ECO 18 is not suitable to be installed in outdoor areas susceptible to rapid temperature changes or increases in humidity. It is content however to find its place inside apartments and smaller houses where it will be able to satisfy demand both in the bathroom and the kitchen, so depending on your requirements, this could be the best choice.
Temperature adjustments are easy and precise due to the built-in digital display and responsive knob.
You can install the heater yourself since its instruction manual explains the whole process in an easy to understand manner. As with each tankless water heater we’ve mentioned before, this leads to the warranty being void, so consider that before committing to doing anything yourself, especially since it comes with a life-time warranty.
Installation of the ECO 18 requires an electrical service of at least 150 amps, but it does not need venting to the outside.
At the end of the day, the ECO 18 is a unit that might fall short of some buyers’ expectations, but will be perfect for customers that want a small yet capable device that gets the job done in a cost-effective and clean manner.
Its low flow requirements ensure that it will work in apartments and houses with plumbing that might not be optimal, and its compact size will make it blend into such environments seamlessly.
Going tankless is a new experience for most people, and a gas-powered unit is just the thing to start you off.
Enter Rheem’s RTG-64XLN, a robust outdoor water heater capable of supplying you with hot water even in somewhat harsh environments. Temperature adjustments are easy to accomplish either manually or by use of a remote control.
Its water flow rate can reach 6.4 GPM in warmer climates, which is more than enough if you plan on operating more than one shower and sink simultaneously. Depending on the season and outdoor conditions, the flow can sink to as low as 3 GPM, which is still enough to supply you with ample hot water for the time being.
The minimum flow rate requirement for the unit to function properly is 0.26 GPM, meaning that it can perform its job adequately even in homes with older plumbing.
With a weight of 54 pounds, it can easily be positioned anywhere outside that you see fit.
The RTG-64XLN ‘s power requirements are about 150,000 BTUs, and its energy efficiency of 0.82 makes it competitive among similar products available today.
Even though it is a methane unit, one of the RTG-64XLN’s advantages is its “low NOx” function, a special feature that reduces the requirement for venting, saving you money on expensive steel equipment where a cheaper PVC equivalent will suffice.
Nevertheless, this unit needs to be installed outdoors as fume build-up is a real possibility and can potentially cause health risks. Installation is straightforward however, and Rheem makes it even easier for you by throwing in some extras, like temperature wire.
It might not be the best choice nor powerful enough to satisfy the needs of a larger household or that of a commercial building, but this unit is nevertheless a good choice for customers with more modest needs.
Its output does not fluctuate and the time it takes for water to reach your taps is satisfactory. Add to that its low emissions, and the RTG-64XLN becomes a hot water heater you should seriously consider when browsing for your next purchase. It does very well in our list of tankless water heater reviews and can still be the one of the best options to consider depending on your requirements.
What can we say, Ecosmart makes high quality products, hence three of them have found themselves on our list. The last one, and in our opinion, one of the best products within its price range is the ECO 11, a smaller more affordable variant of the aforementioned ECO units.
It’s size doesn’t diminish its performance however – the ECO 11 comes with most of the features we’ve come to expect from the more expensive models – a sturdy build, Ecosmart’s own energy efficient technology, a life-time warranty with conditions that are easy to uphold, and with a digital readout that makes controlling the unit simple and intuitive.
Its small size and light construction make the ECO 11 perfect for indoor use. This also makes it portable should the need to switch its location arise. It works best with water where temperatures don’t drop below 67 degrees Fahrenheit.
It can heat about 2 gallons of water in under a minute, supplying your bathroom or kitchen sink with enough water for quick daily tasks at a rate of 1.5GPM.
Thanks to its built-in self-modulating technology, the water this heater produces will always be at the exact temperature that you specify via its knob, which enables you to set how warm the water will be in increments of 1 degree.
The way in which it is constructed allows for heat exchangers to ensure that 99.8 percent of the energy used to power the unit is actually converted into useful heat.
You can install the unit in no time and it only needs a power source of 60 watts to function properly. As with other Ecosmart tankless water heaters, consider having it installed by a professional.
Alas, the ECO 11 does suffer from some drawbacks.
For starters, it is designed for separate cold and hot water lines, meaning that you can’t start using it as if your home has only one water line. Instead, a restrictor will have to be set up first for the device to function properly.
Apart from that, its small size means that not much volume can be produced in a short amount of time. It is recommended that it be used in conjunction with an existing heating system in larger houses.
In spite of all this, the ECO 11 is a smart, reasonably priced solution for a smaller household which doesn’t require that much hot water to be available at any given time.
If one takes this into consideration, the unit does what it’s supposed to adequately, providing you with water and savings at the same time.
Many smaller-sized units feature portability as one of their prime strong suits. If that alone doesn’t satisfy you however, and you’d like your water heater to come with a shower head, the L5 from Eccotemp has got you covered.
With a capacity to deliver up to 1.4 gallons of hot water to its shower, the L5 should be able to handle most of your outdoor hot water needs. It uses propane as its power source, ensuring that the water will heat up quicker than it would in an electric model of similar size.
The propane consumption clocks in at 37,500 BTU. Its built-in regulator ensures that the heater provides uninterrupted hot water as long as there is propane, and that can reach up to 18 hours if connected to a 20 gallon gas tank.
To ensure safe operation, there is also a shut-off timer which shuts the gas off after 20 minutes of uninterrupted use have passed.
Pressure of 20 psi or higher is required for the unit to operate properly.
The supplied water can then be heated constantly from 80 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit, adjustable by a standard knob.
The L5 also comes with some welcome attachments. Included are a 1/2″ NPT to garden hose adapter, a shower nozzle that can be turned on and off via a switch, and a hardware pack.
Despite it being marketed as an outdoor heater, the L5 suffers from one annoying problem – its flame can be blown out by a mere breeze, forcing you to consider placement in a sheltered area. The accessories are also not of the highest quality and are prone to leakage.
Still, this tankless hot water heater is a fine outdoor unit. Setup is minimal and quick, gas consumption is reasonable, and it can even be used while camping. If you are the outdoorsy type but don’t want to forgo some of home’s comforts, this is the right product for you.
Rheen’s RTE 13 is a small water heater that packs a big punch. With output reaching as much as 4GPI in the right climate and under the right plumbing conditions, this unit is able to provide more than one source with continuous hot water at once.
Heating by about 50 degrees results in an output of 1.75 gallons per minute. It has LEDs that light up indicators for standby and power, as well as its temperature controls.
Ideally, the RTE 13 should be set up in close proximity to the fixtures it will be supplying. It requires 240 volts and 60 amps, much more than most regular appliances, so make sure your home meets the requirement before purchasing.
Special care should be taken when installing the unit as an improper setup can cause power fluctuations and can decrease the temperature of the water being heated.
There is a one year warranty on parts and a 10 year one for its heat exchanger, with the same conditions as outlined in the tankless water heaters above.
The best value for money, surprising output capabilities for the price range and a compact build make the RTE 13 a good replacement for clunkier and more power-hungry models.
Big brother to Ecotemp’s other model, the L10 isn’t as compact, but it provides hot water to remote locations and outdoor enthusiasts alike.
It can heat water up to a whopping 165 degrees Fahrenheit and uses a heating power of 74,500 BTU to do so. The lighter is battery-powered, making this tankless water heater suitable for use both in off-the-grid areas as well as in case of a prolonged power failure. It can even be fitted to work alongside other systems, like a water pump.
It comes with the same 20-minute shut-off timer which prevents overconscientious and ensures safe operation. The L10 is less cost-effective however, lasting for 12 hours with one 20 gallon tank.
It is accompanied by the same accessories, which unfortunately suffer from similar drawbacks.
The L10’s superior heating ability as well as its use of Eco-friendly propane gas make this unit one of the best options for anyone that needs just a little bit more than what its smaller brother can deliver.
The last entry we’ll look at more closely is the RTE 9 from Rheem.
This boasts high energy saving capabilities and is better utilized for point of use applications. A high response time makes for a shorter wait for hot water to arrive.
It is a tankless water heater perfectly suited for use in small bathrooms, or even in RVs for use on the road.
The manufacturer states that it provides a flow of up to 3 BPM, but some dissatisfied users have pointed out that this is applicable only to short distances and the supply decreases the farther the source is from the unit.
The RTE 9 is also known to experience fluctuations in temperature if the flow is subject to rapid changes or is too high.
Although this might dissuade some from buying the RTE 9, its small frame and adaptability make it a sound option if your needs are modest or if you want a reliable source of hot water on the go. If you need something more than that, it’s best to go for one of the other options on our list.
As you can see, there are many factors one needs to take into consideration before committing to any one product. They can be summarized in a few key points:
Electric vs Gas-powered
Depending on your preferences and the infrastructure of your house or office building, electric heaters can be the best option.
Most of them do not require you to make serious alterations to your existing grid, they are very efficient, helping you cut power bills in no time. They also tend to be more compact and designed with cramped spaces in mind.
On the other hand, they tend to take a bit longer to deliver water at the adequate temperature, and their output is generally smaller.
Gas heaters are more rugged and most products are designed with the outdoors in mind. Their output is much higher so you can supply multiple bathrooms at the same time for example.
Their power source makes them a hazard to operate near electrical equipment though, and other safety precautions like proper venting need to be ensured before purchase.
Climate and Plumbing
Most manufacturers stress that not every model is suitable for every environment.
Smaller and less powerful models simply aren’t able to warm up freezing water to high enough temperatures in a reasonable amount of time, if at all, so might not be the best option for your needs.
You should always consult the handy charts found on manufacturers’ websites before purchasing a hot water heater that might not be suitable for your climate.
Bad plumbing on the other hand is a universal plight. Simply put, if your water pressure is low, your heater can’t do its job properly.
A lot depends on its ability to have access to a continuous source. Some models require a very small GPI for optimum performance, other ones require the pressure to be higher.
Budget and Requirements
You can’t expect to have hot water readily available in two bathrooms and two kitchens simultaneously with a smaller, less powerful heater.
We’ve shown in this tankless water heater guide that some have more than enough capacity to service such a need, while others are adequate for small home or apartment use.
The GPI is usually a good indicator – the higher the number, the more water is heated and produced in a given amount of time.
This may vary depending on the climate and plumbing, so take the number provided by manufacturers as optimum.
If you are on a budget, weigh the pros and cons of each reviewed heater. Some offer many features you would find in expensive models.
Other premium units exhibit some negative traits which might be crucial for your particular situation or preference.
Now that you have a more thorough understanding of tankless hot water heaters, their pros and cons as well as their characteristics, you’ll be better equipped to make an informed decision.
The selection is big and varied with ever more manufacturers coming to realize the long-term potential these appliances have in making customers’ lives easier and their energy expenditure less pronounced.
So, what is the best tankless water heater you ask?
Well, we’ve given you an outline of what you can expect to find. The answer to that question depends on your specific set of circumstances and personal preferences.
Whichever hot water heater you end up choosing, expect it to provide a long-lasting ecologically-minded and economically practical service.
Find the best wooden furniture for your home with tips from Creatrope. We have detailed information about some of the most popular types of wood used to make furniture like oak, mahogany and maple, to help you find the right furniture to buy.
The cost to buy wood furniture is not as costly as you might think- it’s sturdy, strong and doesn’t require too much maintenance. Wood furniture is very durable, and built to last a lot longer than furniture made with lesser materials. It’s also easier to touch up scratches or gouges on wood furniture; furniture made of synthetic materials requires more intricate repair work if they can be repaired at all.
Every type of wood has its own unique grain patterns, making certain types of wood furnishings more desirable. Oak wood is somewhat porous along the surface, and stains and finishes pool into the pores leaving darker marks that appeal to furniture collectors. Oak also makes amazing wood floors, but the cost today is usually prohibitive.
Maple has natural patterns in the wood grain that appear like magic when the furniture is sanded and finished. It’s these kinds of unique characteristics that make wood furniture such an enduringly popular choice for furnishing the home.
Wood furniture is also very versatile. You can buy the best wooden furniture unfinished, finished, hand finished or even painted. Connoisseurs of wood furnishings typically refrain from buying painted wood grain furniture, but it can often be quite charming, especially in a child’s bedroom.
Less Expensive Wood Furnishings Don’t Have to Look Cheap
Some of the best wooden furniture can be purchased inexpensively without sacrificing quality or durability. The less expensive woods on our list include soft woods and hardwoods. Soft woods are woods that come from coniferous trees, or trees that hold their needles all year long. Hardwoods come from deciduous trees that drop their leaves each year. Some soft woods are more durable than hardwoods, so don’t be fooled by these terms when you’re buying furniture.
Alder Wood Furniture Adds Affordable Style to Any Room
Alder is a hardwood that features unique knots, or naturally-caused imperfections, that often show through the finish. Alder does not handle moisture or damp weather well and is best kept indoors, in a cool and dry climate. Alder wood is usually less expensive than other types of wood furniture because it is a lesser quality hardwood. Alder is similar to cherry or maple in appearance and has a very smooth finish.
Maple Wood Furniture Makes Buying Furniture Inexpensive
Maple is a hardwood, and it’s more durable and heavier than most woods, especially alder. Maple is often used for bedroom furniture- and even bowling alley floors- because of its strength. Maple wood is moisture resistant, so it has a long life span. The rare burled (swirls and twists in wood grain that occur naturally) and birds eye (a small repeating pattern in the wood grain) maple woods were used to manufacture American furniture in the early 1900’s and are considered highly collectible antiques today. Maple wood’s natural pale color, like ash and birch woods, easily accepts any type of stain or paint.
The Simple Beauty of Pine Wood Furniture Perfectly Fits into Your Home
Pine is a soft wood which makes it a less durable wood than maple or alder. Pine is lightweight and furniture made of pine is easier to lift and move. Pine is inexpensive and durable, and resists swelling and shrinking. Eastern White, Ponderosa and Sugar Pine trees are often used to make wood furniture in the United States. Pine woods usually need a primer before painting or a sealant before applying stain to achieve a more even finish. Knotty pine is often used for country style furnishings.
High End Furniture Made from High Quality Hardwoods
If you’re going to buy wood grain furnishings or upholstered wood furniture, consider your purchase, even your furniture research, a smart investment of time and money. It may cost more to buy furniture made with the high end woods on our list, but they’ll last a lifetime- or longer. High quality wood furniture will become an heirloom that you can pass down from generation to generation.
When you buy cherry, mahogany or oak wood furniture, you often have options available to customize your purchase. Hand finished and handcrafted furniture give you more alternatives for colors and shading. This comes in handy if you need the piece to match your existing home decor. And, you can often have oak, mahogany and other types of wood furniture custom designed to suit your specific space needs. This can be especially helpful if you have a large room that needs oversized furnishings.
Cherry Wood Furniture Charms with Old World Splendor
Cherry wood is a hardwood, strong and built to last. A lot of the best antique wooden furniture is made of cherry wood and it looks as good today as it did 100 years ago. Cherry wood and cherry stains for wood furniture often have a warm red hue. Don’t be afraid to mix and match cherry furnishings with furniture made of different woods or with varying finishes. Cherry wood complements most woods, working well with other furniture pieces and décor in your home.
Mahogany Wood Furniture Looks Magnificent in Your Home
“We chose mahogany wood furniture for our home because it was less expensive than oak or cherry, but still durable and beautiful,” Anthony Pierpont remarks. Mahogany is a hardwood with a deep reddish brown color. Mahogany wood furniture is very resistant to insect infestation and it repels moisture. These two qualities mean that the wood will easily last for years and years. Some manufacturers specialize in designing and creating high quality antique reproduction furniture made of mahogany wood.
Oak Wood Furniture Gives Any Room Timeless Beauty
Oak is among the most popular hardwoods used to make furniture. Red Oak often has a red or pink tinge, and White Oak tends to be greener, though both take different colors of stain really well. The best wooden furniture made of oak tends to be more costly than other hardwoods, because of its enduring reputation for strength and beauty. Oak’s lovely open wood grain easily mixes with the other furnishings in your home.
Walnut Wood Furniture Will Beautify Your Home or Office
Walnut is another hardwood known for its strength and the beauty of its wood grain. Unlike maple, it isn’t terribly heavy, making it a lot easier to move around. It is typically finished in a dark brown color, but walnut colors range from white to brown shades. Walnut is often used for formal or office furnishings and has a straight wood grain that glows warmly with a satin finish.
Why I personally love wood furniture
For me, wood brings nature into a space and warms it up. Having something like a wall of exposed brick with a nice thick slab wooden table is something very beautiful as well as relaxing to look at and be around. Wood is a natural substance, although we do need to cut down trees, there are tree farms created specifically for this.
And wooden furniture not only lasts forever, it’s also always worth something. If you buy some cheap pressboard desk from Ikea or something similar, in a year or two it’s worth nothing and just adds to the trash heap. But a wooden desk you use daily in your home office or den only becomes more valuable in time. And if it gets scratched, dented or even burnt, these “blemishes” only add character to the piece. Or they can be easily fixed unlike 99% of the cheap furniture made today.
And if you understand even a little about wooden furniture, you can always buy a solid wooden desk, table or dresser that is used but can be brought back to life easily at very reasonable prices. For me, wood or iron furniture is the only way to go.
And if worse comes to worse, There’s no need to hang on to old items like tables, dressers, or couches there are so many ways to do away with old furniture. If it’s wooden, I’ll come get it 😉
What about you? What types of furniture do you enjoy? Comment below!!!
I am looking forward to purchasing several area rugs. It would be helpful for me to obtain more knowledge on rugs and become more familiar with my options in the actual rug selection. Also, I would like to understand how an area rug impacts a room.
An area rug can be a great asset to any room. They work best lying on top of a hard surface such a stone, tiles, hardwood or a tightly woven carpet. Carpet pad is available that is reversible and can be used on hard surface or over carpet which will keep the rug from creeping. The thickness of the pad can vary according to the client needs when considering door swings, transitions, and other height changes.
Using Indoor Area Rugs in Interior Design
Area rugs were first both utilitarian and decorative. The first rugs were probably animal skins that were thrown on the floors in a caveman’s den and used for comfort and warmth. The gathering of wool fibers could also be made into a rug by wetting the wool and “felting” the fibers together. In time, it was discovered that by weaving two fibers over and under each other, rugs could be woven from grasses or wool and hair from animals. These rugs also became not only useful but also ornamental, timeless works of art, seats of honor, beds, camel carrying bags and other necessary needs for many nomadic tribes.
There are two popular types of woven rugs and their origin dates back for centuries. The first type is called “flat weave” which would refer to rugs such as the Kilims or Navajo rugs.
These are rugs that are woven without a pile height and are made by the weaver on an upright loom made of poles. The true Navajo rugs are warped on the looms with a continuous warp so there are no fringed ends.
The Kilims rugs are woven with the finished fringed ends as part of the rug. New Mexican rugs have appeared on the market and try to emulate the Navajo and Kilims.
The method of the flat woven rug is very old, and reference to the flat woven rugs is found in ancient scriptures and classical writing.
Handmade, pile rugs are also made on primitive looms, and the weaver stretches the warp (the base yarn fibers) onto the loom, ties the knots by hand, and beats the fibers into place with a primitive comb.
The discovery of the first known pile knotted rug was discovered in 1947 by a Russian archaeologist, and was discovered in a Scythian burial mound dating from the 5th century BC. Prior to this discovery, the oldest rugs were found in the Tarim Basin, east of China and Mongolia.
Today, there are machine made rugs, which look similar to the handmade rugs; however, the price and value of these rugs is less. These rugs should be defined as oriental design, machine made rugs.
Within the definition of handmade oriental rugs, there is also a distinction between decorative rugs and collectible rugs.
A qualified rug dealer should be very specific in defining the rugs description and origin, the fiber content, size, and age. For example, a Turkish, handmade rug may have as few as thirty knots per square inch, where a finer woven rug may have a count of four hundred knots per inch which would take the weaver tying three knots per minute, four years to make a Kirman rug five feet by eight feet.
Different materials can also be found in rugs. Natural fibers can be wool, silk, hemp, silk, camel’s hair, and the wool being the more stable fiber. Wool rugs are still the best quality today for performance, look, feel, and value. Cotton and hemp are less stable fibers, and synthetics such as olefin, nylon and polyester do not look, feel or perform as well, and tend to have an artificial sheen to the fibers.
The dyes in rugs are also an important factor. Various dyes produce more intense and stable colors. The animal dyes and vegetable dyes are most typically used and give a beautiful, soft color palette. The natural dyes come from plants, flowers, fruit, and bark which are most common in each region or country. The aniline and other synthetic dyes were becoming more popular on a commercial basis and were less expensive and less stable.
The aniline dye can be tested by rubbing the rug with a damp white cloth to see if the dye rubs off or is colorfast. In some areas, rigid laws forbid the use of cheap dyes like Aniline.
The value of a rug is based on it’s dyes, age, texture, the number of knots to a square inch, the beauty and intricacy of design, the pattern, coloring, materials and size. Chrome dyes are being used more often in today’s new rugs along with the use of potassium mordant. These dyes are colorfast and do not disturb the natural oils of the wool.
The decision on whether to purchase a machine made, or hand made rug will depend on budget, look, and expectations. It is also worthy to consider a variety of rugs. In an overly active family, it may be wise to use a less expensive machine made rug under the table and save the handmade rug for a study or home office.
When selecting a rug, the size of the rug must also be considered for the room. For example, the “ideal” size of a dining room rug would allow 3’ on each side of the table for the rug. This would provide a comfortable width for the dining chairs to sit. A rug in a living room area can be large enough for the entire furniture to sit on the area rug while allowing a minimum of a foot of hard surface flooring to border the room; or if placing the rug in front of the sofa allow approximately 1-½ feet past each end of the sofa for the rug.
These are optimal dimensions and may need to be adjusted as don’t pass a great rug up because it is several inches from meeting the standards.
Have fun with the selections and make the selections an important part of the interior of your home.
We have a guest bedroom in our home that is lovely; however, it only gets used three weeks out of a year. I really would like to have a study and am not sure how to set the room up. This room is directly across from the great room and I would like them to relate. I would appreciate some ideas for developing this room into a more useable space.
Since “Home Office” is all about function, you have already taken the first important step in analyzing a space by considering the use of the space as well as the function. The original room worked well for the week-end guest with the queen size bed, but did not leave enough room for the much needed work area.
The goal was to convert this existing room into a highly efficient home office by taking advantage of the spaces available. As it was also important to provide a nice area for reading, listening to music as well as guest sleeping, we suggested placing the work surfaces along the perimeter of the rooms.
This allowed enough available floor space to install a nice sleeper sofa for the few times guests will be using the room and also provided cozy seating to be used on a daily basis.
Interior Designers are always looking for new, creative twists for existing spaces. As our design team began to develop the plan, we suggested removing the one existing, bedroom door which lead into the great room, widening and reframing the opening by an additional 2’6” for a total opening of 5’ wide.
This enabled us to create a gracious entry into the new study and add some dynamite doors while allowing the two spaces to flow and compliment each other.
To add additional drama and interest to these spaces, two custom leaded glass doors were designed and hinged to open into the great room. Whether in the open or closed position, these doors bring in a wonderful element of interest, color, and design to not only the study but also the great room as we hinged the doors to swing into the great room for all to enjoy.
CREATING THE OFFICE SPACE
As long as we were into a little sheetrock tear-out and new paint, the decision was made to remove the closet doors and eliminate the short, wing walls. This “new-found space” worked well for developing a computer workstation with upper bookcases and enclosed upper cabinets for storage. (See revised plan.)
An additional workstation was added under the view window that enables this office to be used by two family members at the same time while keeping each area independent.
An upper bookcase could easily be added to this area on the wall space just left of the window which duplicates the amount of storage and work surface.
By using just a few design changes, the space has become very compact but efficient and with a wealth of practical features which is especially important with the ever changing demands of the modern business world.
GETTING THE RIGHT HOME OFFICE SET-UP FOR YOUR NEEDS
When investing in any item for the home, not only think about current use but also anticipate and plan for future needs. Home offices can often begin with a simple need to escape from family activities while paying bills, and this office can grow into a highly used area by spouses catching up on work, children playing computer games or preparing a school paper.
Home offices often turn into the main office for a home business or a retreat haven for the newly retired.
Make a list of needs for the present office as well as for the projected use of this space during the next six years. List how the space will be used and what family members will be using the space together or at separate times. Include in your list all equipment that you will be using such as computer, copier, printer, scanner, etc., and decide if it is acceptable for you to have this equipment displayed in the open or prefer to have the equipment behind closed doors when not in use.
As equipment will change over the years in type, style and dimensions, keep your dimensions and space flexible.
DIMENSIONS AND DETAILS OF WORK SPACES
As a general rule, the depth of the worktop should be a minimum of 24” deep. The main work area could increase to a comfortable 30” deep for spreading out papers if your room space allows this. The desk work-height should be at 29” to 30” from the finished floor. If a pencil drawer or computer tray is to be installed, be sure the thickness does not exceed 4” high or the legs and knees will be crowded.
With the actual knee space, I recommend keeping the minimum width of the open knee space at 27” or more if possible.
Upper cabinets over the work area should be hung 18” to 24” above the finished work counter. I prefer to keep the open space at 24” above the worktop and add a task light with a light rail under the upper cabinet. This task light gives additional, quality lighting for the actual work area. The upper shelves should have adjustable shelves when possible, and a combination of doors and open shelves on the upper cabinets is an excellent idea.
The doors help conceal items such as copy paper, note books and items that are not that attractive.
PURCHASING THE FURNITURE FOR THE HOME OFFICE
There are several different options for obtaining the furniture for your home office. I would encourage you to keep quality in the forefront, as this will be an investment that will certainly perform well for years to come.
Consider purchasing one of the wonderful collections of manufactured home-office furniture. There is a great variety of styles and wood types such as cherry, walnut, maple or oak. The details on these pieces are very attractive and the quality pieces come with all the amenities such as pull-out shelves for printers and scanners, file cabinets, grommets for cords, task lights, fabric corkboard for tackables, keyboard trays, pencil drawers and power tracks that include phone jack outlets, switched electrical outlets and a high speed data “out” port to name a few.
Cabinet shops (whether manufactured or custom) can also provide the parts and pieces for compiling a well functioning workstation. If choosing this direction, maintain the design goal of having these pieces look like furniture pieces and not kitchen cabinets.
Select a companion wood, use furniture base and crown moldings and stagger the height of the upper cabinets so the finished project exceeds your expectations.
Home offices are here to stay, and this is where form as well as function should play an important part. Don’t forget to select a great accent wall color, soft panels of window covers, dynamic artwork, and a lush leather chair for reading and retreating in the corner of your new home office/study.
Hardwood floors are beautiful. They make a statement and are particularly easy to clean and maintain, compared to other floor types. Cleaning and maintaining your hardwood floors regularly can ensure they last longer. Here are the steps for how to do just that:
Cleaning Hardwood Floors
Give your floor a thorough sweep with a soft broom with fine bristles to get the small detritus and dust out of the way. You can also use a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment.
Use a very dry damp mop when cleaning your hardwood floors. You can use a mixture of half a cup of vinegar to a gallon of water. If you’re worried about leaving a smell, don’t worry: vinegar will not leave any odor after it has dried. You can also use lemon oil for stains and more shine.
Use only a minimal amount of water, and make sure to dry the floor up quickly, especially with the older type of hardwood floors. The older type of hardwood floors don’t have the polyurethane seal that keeps out wood-damaging water.
Use a floor polisher for that extra shine. You should also wax regularly to make sure that the hardwood floors are always sealed. Mop up spills immediately to prevent stains or damage to the hardwood floors.
Removing Stains and Spills
There are different methods for you to remove different kinds of stains. Since you are dealing with hardwood, it’s best that you use cleaning agents that will not cause too much damage with the hardwood material.
For blood, you can simply use cold water, and for tougher-to-remove blood stains, you can use a bit of ammonia in the water.
Lipstick stains can be removed with a mixture of detergent and warm water, using light pressure with a scouring pad.
Liquor or alcohol stains can be treated with a cloth dampened with cold water with detergent. You can also alternate the water with another cloth dampened with denatured alcohol.
To remove grease, you must first cause it to congeal by using a disposable cold press or a bag of frozen vegetables, like peas. Scrape it off with a dull knife or a bread knife. If there is any residue left, put a rag on top of the grease stain and iron it carefully for the cloth to absorb the grease fully.
For ink, warm water and detergent will usually do the trick. If not, commercial ink removers are available in most home supplies shops.
Dye can be removed with a solution of 1:3 bleach and water. Do not soak the area.
Crayon marks can be removed using mineral spirits. If this does not work, try using toothpaste and rubbing against the marks using a dry rag.
Remove fruit stains with a mixture of warm water and detergent. You can also use a solution of water and oxalic acid to rub against the stain.
Scuff marks can be removed by a pencil eraser. For stubborn scuff stains, use a fine steel wool with floor liquid wax. Rub gently until the stains are removed.
To treat oil spills on your floor, immediately try to soak up the spill using newspapers or paper towels. You should then cover the spill area with a cloth saturated with a dry cleaning fluid for around five minutes. Wipe dry and clean the rest up with detergent.
Shoe polish spills can be removed by rubbing a fine steel wool gently against the spill until it is completely removed.
If a tar spill is your problem, you should first apply a disposable cold compress or a bag of frozen vegetables to the spill, to make it solid and brittle. Gently scrape it off with a plastic spatula. For the remaining stain, use a detergent.
To remove pet urine, soak up the spill using newspapers and towels. Immediately rub the area with a hot damp cloth and scouring powder. Use a 10:1 solution of bleach and water for stubborn stains, and since you are using bleach, make sure that you rinse well with clean water, as bleach can discolor your wood, especially if it seeps through the hardwood’s finish. You can also use vinegar if you do not wish to use bleach.
For any kind of spill and stain, you must make sure that you thoroughly rinse and dry the area. Make sure the area is completely dried and not left to air-dry. If the process of cleaning has stripped off the hardwood’s finish, recoat with the finish or wax.
Hardwood floors are a beautiful addition to any home, but they can wear out after some years, losing their lustrous appearance. When this happens, you can refinish the floors to bring back their shine.
What You’ll Need:
Light and heavy sandpaper variety
Floor sanders and edger
Rollers (preferably long-handled types)
You have to prepare the floor and the whole room before you start this. Here are some tips:
Clear the room. Furniture, wall hangings, rugs, carpet, décor, and window treatments must all be gone.
Cover your light fixtures with trash bags and masking tape.
Shoe moulding must also be removed, but baseboards can stay, unless you plan on replacing them.
Vent ducts, electrical outlets and light switches must be taped.
Seal the room from other areas of the house by hanging up plastic sheeting. Cracks under doors must be covered with masking tape.
To remove debris and dirt, vacuum the floor before you begin sanding.
See if there are tacks, carpet staples and nails and remove them. They can rip the sandpaper and ruin the sheet.
To bring back the grain and level the floor, you’ll have to sand it properly. You’ll need to do several passes, to get a smooth finish. Before you begin, properly ventilate the room by opening a window.
Rent a drum sander from an equipment rental shop. It’s large and noisy, but very efficient, since it can remove plenty of material quickly. Remember that you can easily gouge the floor with this tool, so be careful. Start it while it’s not in contact with the floor or tilted. If it’s your first time to use it, try it on a sheet of plywood first. Keep it moving, working slowly, but allowing the machine to do its job.
Start sanding while in the middle of the room. Make sure you sand with the grain, going from one end of the room to another. You can overlap passes by one or two inches. Repeat the procedure on the other part of the room, sanding the whole center.
When you’re through with the main floor area, use an edge sander to sand the areas the drum sander didn’t reach. A detail sander or hand sand can help you reach corners.
When you’re done with the whole floor, vacuum and repeat the process with a smaller grit sandpaper. Vacuum in between sandpaper changes. Finish by using a 120 grit sandpaper.
When you’re done, vacuum again, then wipe with a dry rag.
If you want the floor to keep its natural tone, you can skip this part, but if you want to give it a better hue, here’s what you should do.
Use a floor broom to brush away the sawdust.
Get a tack rag or vacuum to pick up finer dust particles. If the floor looks cleaner, the better the finish looks.
Using a rag, apply wood stain to an obscure part of the floor, such as at the back of a closet, to see if its the right one you want. Wait for five minutes, allowing the stain to dry. If you like the color, proceed.
Put the first coat to the rest of your floor. For more controlled and lighter applications, use rags. For a darker and heavier coat, a brush is better. Go with the grain as you apply long and even strokes.
Let the first coat dry. If necessary, apply a second coat.
Before you move on to applying the finish, make sure the stain is thoroughly dry.
Putting On The Finish
Stir the polyurethane finish first. Don’t shake, or air bubbles might show up in the final finish.
Apply it on the floor with a roller or brush, using even and smooth strokes with the grain. This will prevent putting marks on the finish.
Let the finish dry. This can take up to three hours.
Add a second coat. Let it dry overnight. After three days, you can move the rugs and furniture back on the floor.
Refinishing hardwood floors is messy and challenging, but definitely worth it. Keep these tips in mind as you proceed with this chore.
Are you considering a major construction project, or do you just need to measure the width of your wall to make sure that the furniture will fit? Is using a tape measure a painful struggle that you would rather avoid? Practice reading a tape measure by following this simple technique and make your life much easier!
Materials and Equipment
Piece of paper, 8-½ x 11 inches
About the Tape Measure:
Examine the tape measure. Pull out a short length of tape and look at the numbers on the edge. On many tape measures, there is a toggle button that, when pushed down, will keep the tape extended. If your tape measure has one, push this down. If not, don’t let go of the tape, or it will snap back.
Most tape measures are in English measurements. These measurements include feet, inches, and yards. The first whole number that you will see is 1. This number marks one inch.
If you pull the measurement out enough to see 12 numbers, you will typically find that the number 12 is marked by a 1F symbol as well. This stands for one foot. One foot equals 12 inches.
Three feet, or 36 inches, equals one yard. Although this is not usually marked on the measure, this is a handy number to keep in mind when you are measuring things.
Each inch is divided into 16 smaller lines. Each of these lines is 1/16 of an inch. Most tape measures measure things to an accuracy of 1/16 of an inch.
Take your pencil and make a mark anywhere on the piece of paper. Make a second mark partway along the length of the paper.
Place the end of your tape measure on your first mark. Holding this end firmly, stretch the tape measure until it touches the second mark. If possible, toggle the button so that the tape measure is locked open to this length. If not, hold the tape tightly.
Look for the first number to the left of the second mark. This is the number of inches between your two marks. Write this number down. (It should be substituted for x in the notation to follow.)
Now, count the number of smaller marks to the right of your number and to the left of your second mark. This is the number of sixteenths of an inch in addition to the number of inches between your marks. (This should be substituted for y in the equation to follow.)
This number should be written as x and y/16 inches. Note: If y is an even number, remember that 2/16 equals 1/8 inches; 4/16 equals ¼ inches; 6/16 equals 3/8 inches; 8/16 equals ½ inch; 10/16 equals 5/8 inches; 12/16 equals ¾ inches; and 14/16 equals 7/8 inches.
Practice. It takes time to learn good measuring skills.
Hold the tape measure firmly when measuring. Even a small change in the position of the tape measure will affect your measurement.
Closets are a place to put clothes away and also a place to store some of our accessories. Often, many people go too far and store every kind of item in their closet, until there is no space left inside.
We have to make as much space as possible in our private area for all the things we need. Some closets are big and almost like a small room. You can walk through them and usually have a place to put everything. They have shelves and storage areas for clothes and shoes, and sometimes even cosmetics and perfumes.
If you don’t have such a closet, you’ll need to think a little about how to organize your closet space better.
We love walking in these great closets and we all wish we had one. But not everyone is fortunate when it comes to housing their wardrobes. Because some of us only have regular closets that have a limited amount of space. You can organize your closet in a way that can keep all your things well organized.
When organizing your closet, you should have everything at hand and go through it one piece at a time. Select only things that you still use on a regular basis and would like to keep them separate for later. There are a lot of things that can be folded and put in your dresser drawer, and things that you don’t use anymore. Throw this last group away or give it to a worthy cause.
This will make extra room in your closet for things you want to keep. Hang the clothes you want neatly on hangers and back in your closet. Try to keep all the same colors together. This will help when you, when you need to choose a certain color to match your wardrobe and everything will look cleaner and more organized in your closet.
When the seasons change, go through your closet and leave the clothes you wear only during that season. And the remaining clothes you can store away until the season changes again. This will make more space when you are using only the clothes for that season. You can buy and put the shelf dividers and closet organizers in your closet to get the most out of your closet space.
This will make a place for your small items of clothing and accessories. And will help you have a place to put everything. You can put things such as hats and belts in the bottom corner of your closet. You can put a shoe rack in the bottom of your closet to store all your shoes and keep them organized. These are just a few closet organization ideas, take time and learn what’s best for you.
How to Organize your Closet
1. Take a close look at the use of your closet space. Consider how much space you have, how it is organized and how much is being wasted. Is there unused wall space where they could install shelves or racks for shoes instead? Is there room for a small book shelf or chest of drawers? What’s in the back of the door (which can be a good place for a hook to hang your bathrobe belt or a rack and accessories)?
Seriously consider adding shelves, drawers, racks and whenever possible use the available closet space and maximize its usefulness. There are a lot of closet organizers available for all budgets and it does make a huge difference in keeping your closet clean and uncluttered in the future.
2. If you only want to use the space you have, it is fine, go to step three. Otherwise, if on the other hand, you decide to add shelving or storage units, do serious research about it and visit local stores for home improvement. Closet organizers are essential for organizing your closet. Don’t underestimate how useful they are. Also, ask your friends for their best ideas for organizing closets. Have a look in your closet.
Once you’ve selected and purchased an organizer, take everything out of the closet and install new storage units. If you add drawers or boxes, label them to make it easier to identify the categories of items (belts, scarves, bags, etc.).
3. Clean the cabinet, vacuum the floor and wash the rods and shelves. Now you are ready to begin the process of selection and elimination. Decluttering is a ungrateful task, but it will be easier and more productive if you have the right attitude.
First, set aside a time to do it when you are full of energy.
Secondly, when work is overwhelming, remember that the satisfaction of a clean, well organized, uncluttered wardrobe of clothes, not to mention the time you can save.
And third, be prepared to be ruthless about getting rid of items that have outlived their usefulness. If you must, set a standard for every item, for example, anything you have not used at all during the past 12 months must, without exception, must be thrown away.
Now that you’re in the right frame of mind, you’re ready to begin seriously decluttering your closet. You’ll enjoy the view of it afterwards.
Decluttering Your Closet
You should declutter your closet at least twice a year. In spring and autumn are an ideal occasion, since most people buy new clothes at this time. But sometimes you may need a deeper reorganization. Here are some steps you can take to make the job easier and more productive.
Before you take anything out of your closet or begin sorting and organizing, do the following.
If your closet door is not closed properly it may be because the closet is too full or just needs more closet organization so that everything fits perfectly. While no one likes to clean and organize the closet, you can do it in a few hours. It will make a big difference. Once your closet is organized you will be able to find things faster in the morning and know what you are buying without purchasing duplicate items because you cannot find things.
To begin to organize your closet, you want to get 3 different boxes. One box is for things to be given away or sold in a sale of things that will no longer be use, which are things that are still fashionable or do not fit anymore. Another box will be for things you can store elsewhere, this is what you have stored in your closet that you still need to maintain, but can be removed because you do not use it much.
The last box is for items you want to keep. The items you want to keep, you can lay on the bed still in on a clothes hanger. For other items that you want to keep, you’ll need a closet organizer, one for each kind of item: ties, shoes, and so on.
You will want to remove everything from the closet to clean it completely. Place the items in one of the boxes mentioned above. Once everything is out of the closet, you can take care of the boxes. This will make your room look less saturated, and you will feel as you’ve moved forward.
Now comes the fun part, putting things back in your closet. At this point you may want to take a few minutes and decide how you want your space to look in your closet. You can buy specialized organizers (recommended) to help your closet get organized and stay that way. Or you may just want to buy plastic containers with lids. When you put your clothes in again, you want to sort by color and season so it will be much easier to find what you want.