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Building An Attractive Garden

Back Deck Remodeling: 4 Designs Inspired By Government Buildings

Posted by on 9:54 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Back Deck Remodeling: 4 Designs Inspired By Government Buildings

Whether it’s your local court house or something more prominent like the White House, government buildings tend to have similar design features. These designs represent a classic American design element and can be scaled down to create a unique design for a back deck or porch. The use of precast stone can create a durable design that is easy to maintain and lasts for years to come. As you are planning your backyard deck, there are four design elements you can use that are featured on numerous government buildings. Once you know about these design elements, you can select different sizes and materials to help fit within your budget. Columns One of the more distinct features on government buildings are the columns used on entrance ways and throughout the exterior of buildings. The White House is known for its distinct column design on the front entrance and you can have these same design elements applied to your back deck. Stone supply companies, such as Harristone Pre-Cast – Merrillstone Natural Stone Products – G. S. Harris Co., Inc., can provide various columns to help map out your back deck. A column can be used to create a natural perimeter around the deck and supply you with beautiful designs. A column can be placed on each corner of the back deck and then topped off with a trellis that provides shade and helps connect each of the column designs. Columns can be purchased in a lighter finish similar to white designs or in a darker finish based on your deck design options. Columns typically feature a smooth finish, but you can also purchase designs with engraved patterns or ornamental elements applied to them. Archways As you enter a number of government buildings, you may notice the large archways that are used as entry points. You can easily separate your backyard from the back deck by having a few archways installed. Stone archways can create a dramatic look that really stands out in your landscape design. The archways can stand on their own or blend into a stone finish on your house or the stone flooring of your deck. An archway can also be installed on the exterior exit of your home. An archway can be placed just outside of a backdoor, supplying a grand entrance each time you step out onto the deck. Stone Spheres Stair cases, pillars, and other walking areas of government buildings often feature large stone sphere designs to create a dramatic and symmetrical look to exterior areas. When designing your back deck, the spheres are a great way to mark certain areas and create an even looking design. The stone spheres can be placed on large stone pillars or stone urns. If you have a gate leading into the backyard area, then each side of the gate can feature a stone sphere design to create an elegant and symmetrical look. When choosing spheres, it’s important to select sizes that scale well to your backyard design. The spheres create an aesthetic design that blends well with brick or other stone pillars used in your backyard. Medallions Add a personal and artistic touch to your backyard with the installation of stone medallion designs. Precast medallions come in a number of different styles and are a great way to add a...

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4 Better Alternatives To Using Wood Filler Putty To Seal Gaps Between Planks Of Hardwood Flooring

Posted by on 11:40 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 4 Better Alternatives To Using Wood Filler Putty To Seal Gaps Between Planks Of Hardwood Flooring

The wood filler putty products sold at home improvement stores are great for doing small repairs in parts of the floor that are relatively stable, such as disguising nail holes or filling in a small chip at the edge of a board. However, filling in gaps between floor boards is a bad use for this product because it can’t flex as the boards shrink and swell, resulting in cracked and crumbled material that makes the gaps look dirty and more noticeable than ever. These four techniques for closing up those unsightly hardwood floor gaps provide better and longer-lasting results. More Humidity Even the best kiln-dried hardwood flooring loses internal moisture when the indoor air is particularly dry, resulting in shrunken boards that reveal gaps. Depending on your climate and air conditioning equipment, the gaps could worsen in the winter, summer, or appear all year round. The fastest and easiest way to close up these flooring gaps throughout the home is to monitor and control the amount of humidity inside your home. An inexpensive hygrometer and a whole house humidifier will take care of the problem within a few days. Instead of aiming to always keep your humidity at a static level, try to control the most dramatic changes instead by limiting rising and falling moisture levels to no more than a 20% change. For example, a home that is usually at 40% humidity shouldn’t be allowed to fall below 20%. Hardwood flooring is acclimated to your particular climate before it is installed, so sudden drops in air moisture are more likely to trigger shrinking than a specific humidity level. Flexible Caulk If running a humidifier won’t work because of moisture-sensitive materials or heirlooms in the home, you can still fill the gaps with a material that can flex as the boards shrink and swell naturally. Tinted silicone caulk is a product recommended by many hardwood flooring installers because it won’t crumble or become loose after just a few years of being subjected to board movements. Before squeezing caulk into those gaps, prepare the area by Brushing and vacuuming out any dirt or debris left in the gaps Securing loose boards and repairing damaged edges that border the gaps Taping the edges before you apply the caulk since it’s very difficult to get the residue off of the surrounding boards if you overfill. Natural Cork If you’re not a fan of silicone caulk because of how difficult it can be to remove later, try a more natural product instead. Rope has been used as a filler for large gaps in flooring for decades because it’s flexible and relatively long-lasting, but it can be noticeably unattractive and may start fraying eventually. Sheets of natural cork are a good option because they’re easy to cut into strips that you can layer into each gap until it’s tightly packed. The cork will flex with the movements of the wood and takes on any stain you like. While cork doesn’t have a natural grain, it still better resembles wood than the filler putties sold in stores. Real Wood Finally, the most time-consuming and attractive option is to get packages of wood shims and carefully pound them into the gaps. This filler is the most adaptive because the strips of wood will swell and shrink...

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What You Should Know About Soil Type And Plant Selection For A Rain Garden

Posted by on 10:31 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on What You Should Know About Soil Type And Plant Selection For A Rain Garden

Rain gardens offer homeowners the chance to do their part in lowering storm water pollution by creating water-retaining and filtering, flora-filled swales in their yards. A single 10-feet by 12-feet rain garden can effectively filter 30,000 gallons of roof runoff water a year, thus preventing that water from picking up surface pollution and carrying that pollution to local lakes and streams. If you’re considering adding a rain garden to your property, here is what you should know about soil type and plant selection. Don’t Worry So Much About Your Soil Type Many people with clay-like soil assume that installing a rain garden on their property would require the digging up and replacing of dirt. These people fear that, since the gardens are designed to collect water, building them on slow-draining soil types will create areas of standing water and mosquito problems. This isn’t true. As long as you fill your garden up with plenty of native vegetation, you can catch and filter nearly 100 percent of your roof runoff water, regardless of the soil composition of your yard. Your local plant species are adapted to deal with your local soil types. If you live in an area with plenty of clay, then the plants in your area have roots that are capable of penetrating clay and soaking up the water within it. Make Plant Selection Easier By Dividing Your Garden Into Moisture Zones If you think of your rain garden as one big moisture zone, you’re going to have a hard time finding plants for it. Why? In periods of heavy rain, the soil is going to be really wet since the garden is designed to have all of your roof runoff channeled to it. Because it’s also designed to soak up that water fast, though, the soil on the garden’s slope and the soil around the garden is going to be really dry during extended periods of no rain. To deal with this problem, divide your rain garden up into moisture zones. The Ponding Area. The bottom of your rain garden is a ponding area — it will be exposed to water during all rainstorms, and therefore, the soil in it will have a lot of moisture most of the time. The correct types of plants for this portion of your rain garden are obligate wetland plants. These are plants that are usually only found in wetland areas. They love saturated soil and can tolerate periods of flooding. The Slopes. The sloped sides of your rain garden will get a good soak during heavy rains but won’t retain much moisture during light rains or periods of no rain. For this section of your garden, you’ll want to plant facultative plants. These plants are plants that can be found both in and outside of your local wetland regions. While they prefer damp soil, they’re very hearty and can survive both periods of flooding and drought. The Berm. The berm (the outside perimeter) of your rain garden will be its driest section. For this moisture zone, you’ll want facultative upland plants. Facultative upland plants are plants that are normally found outside of your native wetlands but occasionally within the wetlands. They prefer dry soil but can tolerate moderately wet soil once in a while. The key to a successful rain garden relies...

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Sump Pump Troubleshooting – Inspecting And Cleaning The Impeller

Posted by on 9:27 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Sump Pump Troubleshooting – Inspecting And Cleaning The Impeller

Spring is the time when you start to see healthy greenery again and you are likely to see a great deal of rain as well. In fact, you may even see up to five to six inches of rain during the months of March, April, and May. Even if you only see a few inches in your area, this is the time when your sump pump really needs to do its work to keep your basement dry. However, if you notice that the pump is running but not forcing any water out of the home, then you may see a flooding issue fairly quickly. If you notice this problem, then some quick troubleshooting is in order to make sure the impeller is moving properly.  Inspect And Clean The Impeller Most sump pumps are centrifugal pumps that work with a device called an impeller. Water enters the sump pump pit and the pump motor is switched on when the water level becomes too high. When the motor runs, the impeller starts to spin. This creates pressure that forces water up and out of the discharge pipe. If you hear your sump pump running but water does not move out of the pit, then it is likely that the impeller is not moving for some reason. If the impeller is stuck, then you may hear a grinding noise as the impeller tries to move. In many cases, the impeller becomes stuck as debris sits close to the part and prevents it from spinning. Simply cleaning out the debris can fix the issue. Start by unplugging the pump and removing the discharge pipe from the top of the device. Lift the pump out of the pit afterwards and place it in a bucket. Take the bucket and pump outside.  Look for several screws that keep the pump casing or cover in place. Remove the screws and gently pull on the casing. Use your hose to rinse the inside of the pump to remove sludge and other debris. Look for stones or other larger pieces of material sitting next to the impeller that may be causing it to stop moving. Try to move the impeller freely with your fingers. If it does not move, then hair and other debris may be wrapped underneath the impeller. Release the screw that keeps the impeller in place, remove the impeller, and clean off the base of the part. Secure the impeller back into place when you are done. Add Some Screens Most sump pumps will have a screen at the base of the outlet pipe to keep debris from clogging it. However, there typically is not a screen around the inlet that allows water into the sump pump. This means that debris can enter the pump, but it cannot release through the outlet. This may cause a future impeller issue. To prevent this problem, attach a small screen to the outside of the pump inlet opening.  Sump pumps will have either a single large inlet opening or a series of vents. Inspect the pump to determine the type of inlet and measure the water intake area. Go to your local home store and purchase a piece of copper screen. While aluminum screen material can be used, copper will reduce corrosion better and stay strong as water passes through it.  Cut the screen a bit larger than the water intake opening. If the opening is a single one and protrudes a small amount...

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5 Hot Contemporary Furniture Trends With A Connection To The Past

Posted by on 12:23 pm in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 5 Hot Contemporary Furniture Trends With A Connection To The Past

Contemporary furniture is obviously based on modern design trends rather than the styles of the distant past, but strictly modern decor can end up feeling impersonal and cold. The hottest trends for contemporary furniture today rely on small details drawn from the past to give the furnishings a historical connection that makes them feel warmer and more welcoming. Try joining in on these five trends that are currently driving the world of contemporary interior design. Natural Materials Remember how tangles of driftwood and polished stumps once served as centerpieces for almost every fashionable 1970s and 1980s living room design? Eye-catching natural materials are making a comeback, but today’s contemporary light fixtures and side tables add a lot of polish and luxurious shine to the old-fashioned materials to elevate them to a more modern status. For example, rough mahogany branches are dipped in precious metals or cut and polished to reveal the grain inside to balance out the rustic look with contemporary style. Wood Platforms Building on the trend for natural materials, it’s not surprising that contemporary furniture designers are dropping the complex sofa designs for simpler looks that involve solid wood platforms topped by thick layers of sumptuous cushions. Platform beds have been popular for decades, but today you can find sofas, chairs, and even dinner tables based around the idea of covering a wood base with a layer of another material. Since the wood platform design itself is instantly recognizable as a standard part of contemporary design, you can experiment more with the wood finishes and fabric topping options without straying too far from the modern aesthetic. Geometric Shapes It’s common for homeowners to take the mantra of “clean lines” to heart when aiming for a contemporary decor, but not every part of your room has to feature such a straight and narrow focus. Geometric shapes drawn from Asian and Middle Eastern traditional designs are making a big splash in today’s modern interior decorating world. Consider adding a more dynamic look to your living room or dining room with geometric elements like Hexagonal light shades, which are reminiscent of classic Moroccan tiles Chairs with triangular backs or seats, which stand out in a room full of rectangles and squares Sectional sofas with diamond or octagonal sections, which give you even more options for rearranging your seating Coffee tables that cluster together thanks to multiple flat sides, which offer the look of an instant collection without so much clutter. Curves have their place in contemporary design, but they can also be very distracting when you’re going for a strictly modern look. Geometric elements are easier to combine with straight lines, whether you’re looking at patterned fabrics or the shape of the furniture itself. Light Woods For decades, interior designers considered light-colored woods to be the only option for adding natural grain to a room. While modern designers now work plenty of painted and dark wood into their presentations, it’s still a link to the past to stick with the usual birch, pine, and bamboo. Light woods tie your design to the ever-inspirational mid-century modern decorating standard, even if you’re not investing in molded plastic chairs or curving walls to commit completely to the style. Single Colors Finally, pass over the elaborate patterns when choosing upholstery fabrics and stick with...

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Buying An Antique Chesterfield Sofa: What You Need To Know

Posted by on 11:39 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Buying An Antique Chesterfield Sofa: What You Need To Know

The Chesterfield sofa is an iconic design that has graced military offices, gentleman’s clubs and homes for many years. Experts believe the design originates back to 17th or 18th century Britain and the fourth Earl of Chesterfield, but this type of sofa became particularly popular during the 1920s. Today, there’s continued demand from collectors and home owners alike, who want to enjoy these classic items of furniture. If you’re in the market for a Chesterfield sofa, carefully consider the following antique buyer’s tips. Options available The Chesterfield is a design not a brand, so it’s important to note that there are different options available. Antique Chesterfield sofas are available through specialist dealers and/or collectors, but if you want to go for something less expensive, many furniture makers now sell brand-new replica Chesterfield sofas. A traditional antique Chesterfield is a leather sofa with grand, outward-curving arms that are normally the same height as the back of the piece. Across the body of the sofa, you will find deep button tufting that gives the sofa its distinctive look, but this tufting is not always present on the seat cushions. Modern manufacturers sometimes mess around with this classic design, but collectors and dealers generally argue that these sofas are not true Chesterfields, which drives further demand for antique originals. Things to look for in an antique Chesterfield An antique Chesterfield can make a bold statement in almost any room. What’s more, an antique Chesterfield will outlive most modern sofas, thanks to the quality of manufacture and design materials used. If you’re looking for a good antique specimen, there are generally three things to look at. These are: Condition of the leather. Leather is a porous material that needs moisture and care to stay in top condition. An antique Chesterfield may show signs of cracks and scuffs where the owner has not looked after the leather. You can restore minor damage relatively easily, but significant areas of damage may need complete restoration.  Condition of the frame. The original manufacturers built Chesterfield sofas to last, but you still need to check the frame quality as much as possible. You can really only inspect areas of visible wood, but look for signs of wood worm on the feet that may indicate a serious structural problem. You can also sit on the sofa and see how sturdy it feels. You may want to avoid a wobbly or unstable Chesterfield! Condition of the padding. Manufacturers once used horse hair to pad the back, body and seat cushions on a Chesterfield. Over time, this material will flatten in the seat cushions, so you should look to see if these parts need restoration. Restoration with fire-retardant, synthetic foam padding is relatively easy to arrange, although it’s a good idea to choose denser padding that will last longer. These three factors should all dictate the price you are willing to pay. Consider the costs of restoration when you negotiate the price on a Chesterfield that needs attention in one or more of these areas. When to choose a Chesterfield The Chesterfield design lends itself to more formal settings. While these sofas are comfortable, the design may not suit people who like to lounge on the sofa in front of the TV because the height of the arms may stop you stretching...

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Tips For Creating A Feng Shui Office Space

Posted by on 10:55 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Tips For Creating A Feng Shui Office Space

Whether you’ve finally landed that executive position or you’re launching the business you’ve always dreamed of, one of the most important things you can do for your office is to consider feng shui. Proper feng shui can enhance your productivity, inspiration and creativity while also helping you to feel more disciplined and focused. As you start thinking about your office layout and design, here are some tips to help you build a feng shui environment. Choose Your Colors Carefully From the paint to the decor, the colors that you use in your office can significantly affect your mood and your productivity. Soft colors are ideal, particularly in hues of yellow, gold and green. These colors can help you enhance your clarity and your mental focus. You might also want to think about adding some trim in earth tones for stability and grounding. Just don’t use the earth tones for more than accents, because they aren’t stimulating colors, so too much of them can actually drag you down a bit. Think About Balance in Your Layout Your work space should have a balance of all of the essential feng shui elements. If your office space has a lot of light colors, bright natural light and and angular design, you’ll want to balance those out with some softening features like flowing curved shapes, softer furnishings and window coverings. The goal is to represent equal amounts of metal, earth, wood, fire and water.   The natural light in your space qualifies as representation of the fire element, while things like filing cabinets, computers and other electronics are metal. You can also incorporate the earth element by choosing some soft brown or earthy colors in your paint. Small plants are a great way to incorporate wood, while a tranquil waterfall feature or a fish tank makes a great representation for water. Place Your Desk Thoughtfully Buying the perfect office furniture is only a start. Where you put that furniture is also important. Remember that you are in a position of authority, so you should choose a large desk that is representative of that. You’ll also want to be attentive to where you place that desk. Once you find the right spot for your desk, all of the rest of your furnishings can be placed around it. You should have a clear view of the door from where your desk is positioned, but you should also aim to sit where you can see as much of the office as possible. Always position your back to a wall and try to put your desk as far from the door as you can. This is known as the power position. Sitting too close to the door can lead to a lot of distraction by things going on outside the door, and it makes it easy for people walking by to just pop their head in and interrupt. Choose Features That Reduce Clutter Clutter leads to confusion and distraction, and it can hinder your productivity. Make sure your office space has plenty of tools for organization, including filing cabinets, shelving and even hanging trays. Make sure that you have a place for in-process paperwork that keeps it out of the way, and aim for clearing your desk off (even if it just means filing things in a...

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Ready Or Not, Here It Comes: Wet Winter Ahead Means It’s Time To Basement Waterproof Now

Posted by on 8:02 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Ready Or Not, Here It Comes: Wet Winter Ahead Means It’s Time To Basement Waterproof Now

As summer begins, you are probably thinking more about barbeques than basements. The warm weather seems to invite lazy days, iced drinks, and long vacations. However, this coming winter has already invited excessive rain–a cold awakening to reality as your unready basement fills with water. La Nina is coming to Illinois, like it or not–and that means a wild winter and flooded homes. Trouble ahead The country has just emerged from an El Nino winter. This weather phenomenon is caused by above average temperatures in the Pacific Ocean. It means wild winters for southern and western states while the upper midwest region of the country experiences warmer, drier weather than usual. This held true for the winter of 2015-16. States on the west coast were pounded with heavy rain; landslides, urban flooding, and river rescues were frequent images on news broadcasts. Here in Illinois, while the late fall brought a great deal of rain, the winter months were cold and snowy–but not rainy. However, El Nino has now yielded to its weather sister, La Nina, which means that below average Pacific temperatures will fuel the country’s weather. Sure enough, the impact of La Nina is opposite that of El Nino: while southern states can plan for a warmer, drier winter, northern states should prepare for heavy rainfall. Trouble in your basement Pondering the impact of heavy rainfall in Illinois may give you pause in your summer picnic. For example, the 2012 Category 1 hurricane, Sandy, wreaked havoc in 24 states and caused $71.4 billion of damage; the storm surge that hit New York City flooded streets, tunnels, and subway lines. In Illinois, 25 foot waves driven by 50 mph winds crashed ashore. The following spring, flooding from more heavy rains racked $89 million in FEMA claims around the state. If you have a basement in your home, the time to act is now. Floods are responsible for more home disasters than any other event, and incur $3 billion in insurance claims annually. Several inches of water in your basement could cost $10,000 to repair; plan on $25-50,000 if the flood is severe. Beyond the water damage floods cause, the dangers from mold put you and your family at risk for a variety of health problems. Thwarting trouble Now is the time to prepare your home for this winter’s heavy rain. To prevent basement flooding, take the following steps: Make sure your gutters are debris-free and downspouts are clear. This will usher rain out of your patio and entryways. Seal cracks. Use epoxy for outside cracks, masonry sealer for inside ones. This prevents rainwater from seeping into your home. Use creative landscaping. Plan your landscaping so that the yard is highest at the point nearest your home. This will channel away any water that tends to pool by your house on a regular basis. Locate low-water plants near your house. Situate plants that need a lot of water away from your foundation to prevent soil saturation. Install waterproof window covers on basement windows. This will allow the rain no access. Basement waterproofing: the best defense While these are all wise ways to prepare for a rainy winter, the most decisive action you can take ahead of time is to waterproof your basement. Waterproofing involves one or more of the following...

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Moving? How Not To Take Everything But The Kitchen Sink

Posted by on 8:58 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Moving? How Not To Take Everything But The Kitchen Sink

Moving to a new home opens up a world of possibilities. In a new house, you have the option to decorate it any way you want. If you have an overabundance of clutter in your current home, you don’t have to take your piles with you. Here are some tips on purging items you no longer need while you are packing up for your next move. Unopened Boxes Do you have unopened boxes sitting in your garage or basement, left over from the last time you moved? If it’s been more than a year since you relocated, chances are excellent that you no longer need these items. You can either bravely donate them to a thrift shop without even opening them to peek inside, or you can take a look through them first; but realize that if you open them, you’re likely to change your mind about something and end up keeping it. The exception here is if you have items that hold a special place in your heart. For example, while you most likely did not use your mother’s wedding dress or your grandmother’s photos, you also might not want to let them go. When you move into your new home, try to find a way to incorporate them into your decor or occasional use. Clothing If you are average, you might only use up to a fifth of what’s currently in your closet, explains The Cut. If this sounds about right, you have some culling to do. While you’re packing, ask yourself whether you really wear each item. Does it fit? Do you love it? Have you worn it in the past year? If you can’t answer any of those questions in the affirmative, you probably don’t need it. Of course, there are exceptions here, too. A dress that you would only wear to a very formal event might not be used on a yearly basis, but you still might need it for a future occasion. Also, if you are currently losing weight, you might need to keep some clothing around in different sizes. Finally, if you are planning to have more children, consider saving previously worn maternity clothes, even if you haven’t worn them in over a year. Financial Paperwork Do you have stacks of paid bills, tax returns and pay stubs? You might not need to keep all of this documentation. Bank of America suggests keeping old tax returns indefinitely, but you only need to hold onto utility bills for a month. With the possibility of digitizing everything, you might not need to keep actual papers at all. If you really want to cut out all of this paper, scan the items that you still need to keep and shred the paper copies. Half-Used Consumables Unless you are on a very tight budget, it probably does not make sense to drag along half-used bottles of toiletries that you don’t use on a regular basis, condiments and other easily replaced consumables. This is particularly true if you are hiring movers who charge by weight: You could end up paying more to take the toiletries along than you would to replace them later. If your bathroom counter and linen closet have been overtaken by toiletries, find a battered women’s shelter or another place that will take them...

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Have A Water Softener Installed So Your Cloth Diapers Don’t Lose Absorbency

Posted by on 8:03 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Have A Water Softener Installed So Your Cloth Diapers Don’t Lose Absorbency

Cloth diapers have many advantages over disposable ones. Cloth diapers are more affordable, more environmentally friendly and — most importantly when trying to go through the night without a diaper change — more absorbent. If exposed to hard water, however, cloth diapers’ absorbency can be greatly diminished. If you’re cloth diapering a baby or toddler, here’s how to make sure the minerals in your home’s water don’t reduce how well your cloth diapers absorb urine. Test Your Home for Hard Water First, you need to know whether your home has hard water. To see if hard water is a problem in your general area, you can check where you live on the USGS’s map of water hardness in the United States. This map only shows general water hardness in the United States, though. Your home’s particular water supply may be harder or softer than the average of the area you live in. To find out exactly how hard your home’s water is, you’ll need a water testing kit. These are readily available at local hardware stores, and they’ll show you the mineral concentration of your tap water. Fairfax Water provides the following guidelines on what qualifies as hard water: If your water has between 1 and 3.5 grains per gallon (gpg), it’s slightly hard If your water has between 3.5 and 7 gpg, it’s moderately hard If your water has between 7 and 10.5 gpg, it’s hard If your water has more than 10.5 gpg, it’s very hard If you have hard water, which many people in the U.S. do, you’ll want to do something about it in order to protect your cloth diapers. According to Bummis Blog, the minerals in hard water will bind with a laundry detergent’s cleaning agents and reduce the detergent’s effectiveness. Your cloth diapers may not get fully clean when you wash them, and they might begin to Smell Show stains Become less absorbent If the problem isn’t addressed, it will only become worse. Over time, your child’s bladder will grow so it can hold more liquid, and your cloth diapers will become less and less absorbent. Eventually, they may leak. Have a Water Softener Installed The easiest way to resolve a hard water problem is to have a water softener installed. A water softener will automatically remove minerals from your water, making the water that comes out of your faucets soft. With a water softener, you don’t need to worry about diapers not getting clean and losing their absorbency. Installing a house-wide water softener might seem like an expensive endeavor, but the cost of installing one is reasonable when compared to the savings that cloth diapers afford. Water softeners can be had for anywhere from $500 to $1,500. To put this in perspective, Courtney Baker, a mom who cloth diapered her little one, saved $400 in one year and anticipated saving $1,000 in all. Any additional children would only provide more savings. Alternatively, you could decide to strip your cloth diapers regularly, which removes minerals that build up on them so they don’t lose their absorbency. Stripping diapers is an intensive process, though. It involves the following steps: Washing your cloth diapers Soaking the cloth diapers for an extended period of time Washing the cloth diapers again Rinsing the cloth diapers multiple times...

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