Sunday, October 11, 2020

Time to Heat Up But...

I have always been advocating for a greener earth, for environmentally friendly options and renewable energy. Please do not judge me when I say that our heating system at our current house (we just moved in!) is still using fossil fuel, i.e. heating oil, to heat up our house and our water. You see, the heating system is already there when we bought the house. The heater in itself is well maintained and still has a good efficiency to it so it would be a shame to replace it immediately.  Plus we don't have a budget just yet to change into a more environmentally friendly heating system (although replacing it is very tempting and attractive at the moment because of the partial subsidies by the government). Then you also have the oil tank, which needs to be properly disposed of at a special treatment facility. And the cost of such service? We didn't ask yet but as with other waste treatment costs, we can expect it to be expensive. 

So today we got our oil tank partially filled since it is almost empty and we require more fuel now that it is getting colder since we also need to heat up not just the water, but the entire house as well. Fuel cost us €55/100 liters, which is relatively cheap. Oil prices have really gone down these past few months, which is savings on our part.

We know that we will eventually be replacing our oil-fired heating system and that it is the right thing to do to reduce our carbon footprint among others. Here in Germany, we are given until 2026 to replace oil-fired boilers with the greener and more efficient options like heat pumps, pellets or natural gas. The initial investment would be expensive but hopefully by then, we would have saved enough and subsidies and fundings from the government is still available. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

4 Benefits of a Clean Home

A clean home is something most of us desire to come back to each day. Walking in after a hard day at work only to find a mess left to deal with isn’t good for your mental well-being. There are many benefits to a clean home that make it worthwhile to keep up with the best you can.

Less Stress

A cluttered house can quickly have you feeling stressed. It can be a challenge to find things, hard to move around freely, and make your mind wander from other important tasks. Getting things clean can help you feel far less stressed. That is, of course, unless you’re a busy person with no spare time to clean in your schedule. 

You don’t have to do all the work. For many people, it’s not so much the feeling of clutter that stresses them out but the known fact that they simply have no time to take care of it as they want. A service like Fresh Air Cleaning provides house cleaning services so you can have a professional do the work. You’ll still get all the benefits of a clean and organized home without the stress of finding time to get it accomplished.

Improved Breathing

Dust is a major breathing concern. Pet dander tends to be as well. Continually breathing in either of these things can lead to respiratory problems that may leave you coughing, wheezing, itching your eyes, and having the feeling of a forever stuffy nose. Vacuuming and dusting should be done frequently to avoid these symptoms

Illness Protection

Picking up the clutter isn’t enough. You need to disinfect surfaces regularly and use the right cleaning products to really protect against illness. Too many people use vinegar as a cleaning agent. It may get something looking and smelling clean, but it isn’t proven to reduce your chance of catching a serious virus, such as COVID-19. To fully protect yourself and your family, use bleach wipes, antibacterial cleaner, or disinfectant spray for your best chances of killing germs.

Keeps Pests Away

Insects and other critters love a dirty house. If you have clutter that makes it easy for them to hide and food crumbs left on the floor often, it’s a haven for these creatures. Keeping your home clean will help to keep pests away. They can be both dangerous to your health if they carry disease and a nuisance, chewing through wires and other important things. 

A clean and clutter-free home is important for both mental and physical health. You’ll be breathing freely and have less stress to consider when your house is well-maintained. Clean it yourself or hire a professional service that can take just one more thing off your plate. Either way, you get a clean house that you can look forward to coming back to each da

Thursday, October 1, 2020

3 Great Tips to Add Interest to Your Large Yard

All homeowners know that large yards come with special challenges. In addition to increased maintenance, it can be challenging to improve the landscaping strategy of a large yard. If you’ve been having trouble adding some visual appeal to your yard, here are three tips that will help.

1. Add a Quality Fence
If you want to manage the area of a large yard, the quickest way to do so is by enclosing the space. Every yard needs a quality fence, and a classic wrought iron fence is a design element that will never go out of style. Pair your fence with handcrafted Corten steel gates for a unique look. Not only will you manage the scale of your yard by installing a new fence and gate system, you’ll also enhance the security of your property.

2. Plant Floral Borders
When paired with a fence, floral borders can be quite an attractive element on any property, large or small. Floral borders can hide the area of where your fence meets the ground, which can be unsightly if not attended to. Floral borders look best when they are dense. To create the look of density, plant greenery such as shrubs and tall grasses at the center of the flowerbed and low-growing annuals and perennials along the edges.

3. Create Island Planting Beds
Your lawn likely takes up most of the surface area of your yard. It may be a good idea to plant a few island flowerbeds to break up the expanse of lawn. These flowerbeds serve as colorful focal points in any yard. Plant them up with herbaceous plants or shrubs and bulbs so that the beds look good in all seasons.

Follow these tips and you’ll create a carefully curated yard that makes the most of the space you have on your property.

DIY Home Project: Attic Room Renovation

So I mentioned that we will be moving to a new neighborhood soon in the beautiful city of Ludwigsburg. We are kind of excited, there are so many things happening all at once. Well, not really many but with the birth of our 2nd child and then moving into a new home almost at the same time is a lot, right?

Anyway, the official move will be in less then two weeks. The house is in order and one can already move in, but there are some renovations that need to be done to make it look better. One that needed the immediate attention is the attic room that is to become our first child's room. It is a large room, with two large roof windows but the wallpaper is yellowed and outdated, and the carpet flooring is so worn out we just had to do replace them before the daughter moves in.

BEFORE: This was how it looked before the house was turned over to us.

So we started off with peeling the wallpaper. It was quite easy since the adhesive has already dried out and we did a mechanical pre-treatment: we rolled the entire wallpapered areas with a spiked roller to loosen the contact between the wall and the wallpaper. When it wouldn't peel off after this, we used a steam wallpaper remover. It was quick and easy and chemical free and we were able to peel off the wallpapers in just a few hours. Then we filled out small holes with putty and smoothened the uneven surfaces with sand paper. To make the new wallpaper adhere better to the walls, we primed the walls first. 

Peeling off the wallpaper was "easy peasy".

Then we went down to the main business of putting on the wallpaper. We had to be careful when pre-cutting the wallpaper on the areas with sloping roof as it could be too short and all. The wallpaper we used is Vlies-Raufaser (wood chip fleece) from Erfurt. After the wallpaper was installed, we painted it over with white wall paint. Since the room's deck is made of wood, painting the walls white would make the room brighter and airier. We are planning to paint the wood deck white later on but that will be another project. :)

The first daughter putting on adhesive on the walls. 
It is her room after all so she has to help. ;)

The carpet floor has a gray color. It was a challenge looking for a good and reasonably priced carpet floor in the hardware shops but luckily, someone recommended a shop that has a good and affordable selection of carpet floorings among others. 

It was a lot of hardwork, most especially for our handyman (I am not yet allowed to carry out heavy work due to my C-section) and I can say he did a really good job considering that he has no prior training to do such work. I still have to make the AFTER photo though. Will update this post once I get down to it. 

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