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The Summer Car Care Checklist

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Fri, Jul 13, 2018

carports-metal-carports-to-protect-your-car

Help protect your car or truck with a carport from Alan's Factory Outlet.

You probably give your car a checkup in the fall before the cold weather sets in, but that's not the only time of year when you need to worry about your car's condition. Today, I made a list of things to check so your car will be in shipshape for those long summer road trips as well as for everyday driving near home.

The Oil

Have you ever heard the engine oil referred to as the lifeblood of a car? It's true. You can check the oil level in your car by examining the dipstick: If the oil is low, add some. If it's time to change the oil, you can change it yourself if you have a driveway or enough space to do it at home. If you're going on a long road trip and you're close to your oil change date, change it before you leave so you can start your journey with clean oil.

The Battery

Do a visual inspection of your battery to see if there's any corrosion around its connections. This can be a sign that it needs to be replaced. You can also go to a local auto parts store to get your battery tested. Some stores do it for free! This test can tell you if you have a battery that's getting ready to fail or one that has plenty of life left in it.

Windshield Wipers and Wiper Fluid

Do a simple test on your windshield wipers to see what condition they are in. Ask a friend to spray your windshield with a hose as you run the wipers. Are they swishing the water away evenly, or are they dragging in places? If your wipers are dragging or missing spots on the windshield, it's time to replace them. In addition, open your hood and check the level of the windshield wiper fluid. If it's partially full, pour in some more. I suggest cleaning your windshield wiper blades once a week with a clean rag dipped in vinegar. Also, put a bit of rubber protectant on them. These simple steps can increase the number of months you get out of your wiper blades.

The Tires

As the temperatures change, so does your tire pressure. The proper pressure for your tires is usually listed on a sticker on your driver's-side door. Check the pressure of each of your tires using a gauge and give them some air if they need it. Tires with proper air pressure in them reduce resistance and increase the fuel economy of your car. I like to do the penny test to check the condition of my tread as well.

The Air Filter

Get your air filter checked at the dealership or an oil change place. This filter should be changed every 12,000 miles or so. If the air filter is dirty, it needs to be replaced so your engine can work at its most efficient.

Tips on How to Save Money on a Long Car Trip

  • Use cruise control on long trips to reduce unnecessary speed changes and increase fuel economy.
  • Reduce air conditioner use by parking in the shade and directing the vents so the cool air flows throughout the car when the AC is on.
  • Close the windows while driving on the highway to reduce drag and maintain fuel economy.

Taking these steps to prep your car for the summer months can help you avoid issues on the road. Thanks for reading. - Alan

The Best Methods For Installing An Above Ground Pool

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Tue, Jul 10, 2018

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Here is a gazebo beside a pool.

Having a swimming pool in your backyard adds an extra dose of fun to those balmy summer days. But maybe you don't want the commitment of an in-ground pool. Why not go with an above-ground pool instead? They're less expensive to install than in-ground pools and take up less space. Today, I want to share some facts with you on the installation and care of an above-ground pool. Enjoy!

Where Should I Put My Pool?

To save yourself some work, choose a location in your backyard where the ground is the most level. You can put your above-ground pool near trees, but keep in mind that your trees will drop leaves and twigs that will need to be removed from your pool, so while you can put your above-ground pool close to a tree, you might not want to put it too close. Also, take a day to observe how the sunlight moves across your backyard. You'll want to have your above-ground pool in a location that receives full sun for several hours a day, so the water isn't always too cold. I suggest you put it in a location that receives full sunlight from about 11 in the morning to about 4 in the afternoon.

Preparing the Ground for a Pool

The first step of preparing the ground for a pool is to put down wooden stakes to mark out the dimensions of your pool. That way, you have an idea of how much space it will need. Next, it's necessary to remove the sod from the area where your pool will sit. An above-ground pool shouldn't be put onto grass because it can shift and start to rot beneath the pool. Leveling the site is the next step in the process. Patio blocks can be helpful in making sure that your above-ground pool is level. Check with local building officials to see how much clearance needs to be left around your above-ground pool before starting to build its frame.

What Expenses Come With Owning a Pool?

It's a good idea to consider the maintenance costs of an above-ground pool before making the decision to put one in. For instance, the water in your pool needs to be filtered to prevent algae growth. This means you'll see an increase in your power bill of about $30 to $50 a month. Also, you'll need to buy some pool equipment, including a skimmer, a filter, a pool cover, and a vacuum as well as its hoses. In addition, you'll need a kit to test the water's pH and chlorine levels. Chemicals such as chlorine tablets also need to be purchased to maintain clear, safe pool water.

Consider the Time and Effort Necessary to Maintain a Pool

Along with the cost of chemicals and pool-related equipment, you have to consider the time and effort it takes to maintain a pool. Cleaning the pool and adding chemicals takes about 30 minutes each day. Also, it takes a bit of time to properly close and winterize the pool at the end of the summer season.

Once you get your above-ground pool, it's a wise idea to establish a daily cleaning and maintenance routine to keep it in shipshape for your family and friends to enjoy. Happy swimming, and thanks for reading. - Alan

The Difference Between Annuals, Biannuals, and Perennials

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Mon, Jul 2, 2018

difference-annuals-biannuals-and perennials

Are you thinking about some new flowers for your backyard? You may envision a gathering of bee- and butterfly-friendly flowers in one area or a bed full of blooms with delicate white petals in another. When you're deciding on what types you want to grow, it's a good idea to consider a flower's life cycle. If you wander through a farmers' market, you'll find that there are annuals, biennials and perennials. But which is best? The answer is that each type has its own merits. The main difference between these three types of plants is their life cycle. Considering a plant's life cycle can help you fulfill your vision for the look of your backyard.

Annuals

Annuals are plants that are around for just one season. Having said that, there are different subgroups of annuals. For instance, some annuals can tolerate cold weather better than others. Annuals are great for filling in empty spaces around the border of your home. Some examples of colorful annuals include marigolds, pansies, petunias, sunflowers, and zinnias. Orange, yellow, and red marigolds are especially beautiful if you want a blast of color in your backyard. If you have an issue with deer and rabbits showing up in your backyard, I suggest planting some fragrant marigolds. These animals don't like the pungent fragrance of these flowers, and it may be enough to keep them away from your vegetable garden or other tasty flowers.

Biennials

Biennials last for two growing seasons. If you want flowers that are slow to bloom, then biennials are an option for you. During the first growing season, these flowers establish their roots and foliage. The second year is when these flowers show off their colors and really add vibrancy to your backyard. Some popular biennials to consider include Canterbury bells, forget-me-nots, foxglove, and hollyhock. Because they use that first season to establish themselves, biennials are not a good choice for a flower bed that is the focus of your backyard, as they won't bloom until the following year. For that flower bed, it's best to stay with flowers that bloom right away so you can enjoy them.

Perennials

Perennials are a popular choice because they return every year and can sometimes flourish for several years. This is why you see them around apartment buildings, businesses, and townhouses. They are planted once and come back every year, saving property managers time and effort. Evergreens are one example of a perennial plant to consider for the landscape of your backyard. Evergreens change only subtly throughout the year. If you're looking for flowers, there are many beautiful perennials that would be a pleasure to admire every spring. Some suggestions for perennials that would look good in a garden include coreopsis, irises, poppies, salvia, and Shasta daisies.

I hope this information helps you to choose the right flowers for your yard. You may even decide to get a combination of annuals, biennials, and perennials to give your yard more character and color. Thanks for reading. - Alan

How To Build The Best Sand Castle

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Tue, Jun 26, 2018

how-to-build-a-sandcastle

Swimming, diving, sunbathing, and snorkeling are just a few of the fun activities that go with a getaway to the beach. But no beach vacation is complete without building a few sandcastles while watching the waves break on the shore. This summer, why not set your mind to making the best sandcastle on the beach? While I'm more of an expert on carports and metal garages, I also know a thing or two about sandcastles: Check out these tips to help you make one fit for any king or queen.

Starting Your Sandcastle

Sand, water, and a bucket are the basic elements needed for a sandcastle, but other things can be useful: You might want a shovel, a plastic fork, and plastic cups for molding shapes and adding details. Choose a location for your sandcastle, then dig a hole nearby. Dig until you see water begin to puddle at the bottom of the hole. You can use this water to keep your sand wet, so it sticks together as you build. Mix one part water and one part sand in a bucket for your building material. If you can roll a ball of sand in your hands without it falling apart, then you have the right consistency for your creation. Make a foundation for your castle by setting down flat layers of wet sand and tamping them down with your hands or a shovel, kind of like a stack of pancakes. Once you have a strong foundation, you're ready to create your design.

Sculpting Your Castle

Walls, towers, moats, and bridges are just some of the features you can put into your castle. Sometimes, it's helpful to draw a rough sketch of your sandcastle's design on a piece of paper to use as a guide.

Walls

Use the same pancaking method of building your walls as you did your foundation. Shape and flatten them with your hands until the sand solidifies.

Towers

The easiest way to make a tower is to get a bucket with a hole in its bottom. Turn the bucket upside down and begin dropping wet sand into the hole. When the upside-down bucket is full, pull it off to reveal a tower! I like the idea of using different sized buckets and large cups to make a variety of towers.

Bridges and Moats

If you want to make a bridge, put it between two towers that are a few inches apart. Make a bridge with your palm between the towers, and stack wet sand on your hand. With your other hand, tamp down the sand and secure it to both towers. For a bridge to hold up, you need a good supply of wet, compact sand. Then, dig a shallow moat around your castle by dragging your small shovel through the sand.

Unique Design Details

You may want to go the extra mile with your sandcastle by adding some meaningful details. For instance, you could put a small plastic alligator in your moat with its head peeking up. Or you might want to make brick designs on your walls with a cookie cutter or a plastic knife. Use plastic drinking cups to mold the tops of your towers and a spoon to scoop out windows. You may even plant a miniature flag on the top of one of your towers.

Tips for Keeping Your Creation in One Piece

The best tip for keeping your sandcastle intact for a while is to use wet sand in its construction and use the hand-stacking technique when making its features. Another good tip is to choose its location very carefully. You don't want to build your beautiful sandcastle only to see the tide come in and take it out to sea!

Of course, you can approach building your sandcastle in a more scientific way, but I like the idea of using your hands and creativity to end up with a castle you admire. Happy building, and thanks for reading. - Alan

Topics: how to build sand castle

The Summer Sun Safety Guide

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Fri, Jun 22, 2018

carport-to-block-sun-from-rv-or-golfcart

A carport is a great way to block the sun from your rv or golf cart.

Swimming, canoeing, hiking, and barbecuing are just a few of the fun things we all like to do in the summertime. But as you go out and enjoy the summer days to come, keep some rules in mind for staying safe in the sun.

Facts About Sunscreen

Getting the right sunscreen can help protect your skin out in the sunshine. It's best to choose sunscreen with a sun protection factor, or SPF, of 30 or higher. Sunscreen with an SPF of 30 does an excellent job of protecting your skin from UVB rays. In addition, use sunscreen that is water-resistant, so you don't have to reapply it every time you get out of the swimming pool. Apply sunscreen approximately 15 minutes before going outside so it has a chance to soak into your skin and provide protection. You already know to put sunscreen on your face, shoulders, neck, back, arms, and legs. And to protect your lips, apply lip balm with an SPF of 15.

When Should I Avoid Going Out in the Sun?

The sun's rays are the strongest from 10 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon. Of course, most people like to spend time outside during this period, but the best advice is to limit your time outdoors during these hours. If you do spend the day canoeing or swimming, be sure to apply a liberal amount of sunscreen to protect your skin. Wearing a hat with a brim, a cover-up over your bathing suit, and sneakers can also help protect your skin.

Heat Exhaustion vs. Heat Stroke

On a beautiful summer day, it's easy to get overheated without realizing it. You may feel like going for a long hike, cutting the lawn, or weeding the garden and fail to consider the extreme temperatures of the day. I suggest carrying a full bottle of water with you at all times, so you're constantly taking in fluids. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are two serious heat-related illnesses. Someone with heat exhaustion may feel nauseous, fatigued, confused, and excessively thirsty. If a person is experiencing these symptoms, get them to lie down in the shade. If they have any tight or heavy clothing on, remove it, and give them some cool water. Someone with heat stroke can experience those same symptoms as well as a rapid heartbeat, dry skin, shortness of breath, and convulsions. Call an ambulance if you think someone is suffering from heat stroke. In the meantime, put the person in the shade, sponge their skin with cool water, and put a fan on them.

Treating a Sunburn

If you do get a sunburn, one way to lessen the pain is to take frequent cool showers. Also, apply moisturizing lotion with aloe to your skin. Drink lots of cool water, and if blisters form on your skin, let them heal naturally. Wear light clothing over sunburned areas when you go outside so your skin doesn't suffer more damage.

How Do I Help a Pet That's Overheated?

Like their owners, pets can also become overheated. Excessive panting, dry gums, and vomiting are all signs that your dog or cat is overheated. If you see these symptoms, take your pet inside and give it some cool water to drink. Also, place cool, wet towels on its neck, under its legs, and on its ears and paws. If you don't see any improvement, take your dog or cat to the vet for treatment right away.

Be aware of how you, your kids, and your pets are feeling to make sure that you have a safe summer while you make some fun memories with your family! Thanks for reading. - Alan

Topics: carport to block sun

How To Turn Your Unused Shed Into A Pool House

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Sat, Jun 9, 2018

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How are you and your family going to keep cool this summer? Maybe you're lucky enough to have a swimming pool in your backyard. If so, you need a pool house for all of your pool-related items. If you have an unused shed, then you have the perfect solution! This week, I have a few ideas for how you can turn your shed into a pool house that will be the envy of the neighborhood.

Hang Some Large, Multi-Purpose Hooks on One Wall

Consider attaching several large hooks to a wall of your shed. Use them for storing your pool vacuum hoses, beach towels, floating inner tubes, and more. I suggest you look for hooks with a rubber coating, so they won't scratch any equipment you hang on them.

Keep an Ice-Filled Cooler on a Small Table in Your Pool House

No pool house is complete without a cooler of refreshments for swimmers. Set aside a low table in your shed for a cooler filled with ice and bottles of water, soda, and juice. If I were stocking the cooler, there would definitely be some chocolate bars thrown in with the drinks, making it a little more like the concession stand at the local swimming pool!

Put Some Folding Chairs Out on the Porch

If you own a shed with a porch, put a couple of folding chairs out for swimmers to rest in while they dry off. Also, this would be a cool place for grandparents to sit, sip an iced tea, and watch the kids have some fun splashing the afternoon away in the pool.

Get Clear Plastic Bins to Stack in a Corner

Keep a few clear plastic bins in your pool house for pool-related items. Label one bin for swimming goggles and snorkel masks. Use a larger bin for foam noodles, scuba fins, and medium-sized pool toys. You may want to keep a bin for extra swimsuits, sandals, and beach towels.

Hang Some Curtains Over the Windows

If you have a pool party, some of your guests or relatives may want to change into their swimsuits in the pool house. Put up some colorful curtains on your pool house windows for privacy. Also, close the curtains during the afternoon hours to keep your pool house a bit cooler, making it a nice spot to cool off in the shade for a bit before diving back into the pool.

Place a Shoe Rack Near the Door

A simple shoe rack near the door of your shed/pool house allows your friends and relatives to change from tennis shoes into sandals in a jiffy. They can walk out to the pool area in sandals, leaving their street shoes and socks in the pool house to stay dry. When the swimming day is done, they can slip back into their socks and tennis shoes and leave their sandals behind for next time.

And don't forget to personalize your shed/pool house by hanging a sign on the door. You could have a wooden sign made displaying your family's name or make a homemade painted sign. Either way, have some fun creating a pool house you'll enjoy. Thanks for reading. - Alan

Getting A Late Start In The Garden

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Sat, Jun 9, 2018

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Have you been really busy this spring? Perhaps you've been studying for final exams at school, packing up to move to a new home, or you've been occupied with spring cleaning tasks. Maybe you're thinking that it's too late to start a garden. Well, I'm here to tell you that it's not too late! Today, I have some ideas for how you can enjoy a flourishing garden even if you're a little late off the starting blocks.

Think About Getting Some Young Plants

If you're creating a garden in late spring, young plants are a better option than seeds. Of course, young plants and flowers that are already a few inches tall are usually more expensive than seeds. But going with young plants means you have more time to enjoy the appearance of your garden. Take a stroll through your local farmers' market to choose a selection of young flowers or plants that can add instant beauty to your garden.

Create a Container Garden

Consider using young plants in a container garden. A container garden is a great idea if you live in an apartment or a home with very little space for a traditional garden. A wooden crate brimming with colorful viola plants is one idea. A collection of marigold plants in a window box or hanging pot would add brilliant color to the area around your home or apartment. A barrel planter full of pink and purple petunias is another simple way to dress up a patio or balcony.

For even more fun, add some herbs, fruits, and veggies to your container garden. Thyme, mint, rosemary, oregano, and sage are popular occupants of many container gardens because they are so easy to grow. Some excellent fruits for your container garden include strawberries, tomatoes, figs, and blueberries. Spinach, chard, onions, and beans are a few vegetables that are easy to grow in containers. Some vegetables grow better when they are paired together. Looking at a companion planting chart is a good idea before choosing veggies for your container or traditional garden. Just think of all the delicious salads you could make!

Plant Seeds You Can Enjoy in the Fall

Think about planting some vegetables now that you can enjoy in late summer and fall. Carrots and radishes are two veggies to plant in your late-spring garden. Other vegetables ideal for a late-spring garden include sugar snap peas, zucchini, Swiss chard, kale, cucumbers, squash, and broccoli.

Plant Summer Flowering Bulbs

Begonias, bearded iris, and allium bulbs can all be planted in the spring so they can flower in late summer. Gladiola corms are another option for your late spring garden. I suggest you set aside a portion of your garden for these bulbs. Just imagine what a pleasant surprise it will be to see all of the blooming colors appear in late summer!

Remember, you still have time to create an imaginative, attractive garden you can enjoy. Try planting some flowers, vegetables, or herbs you aren't familiar with to challenge your growing skills! Who knows? They may make their way onto the list of plants you grow every year. Thanks for reading. - Alan

The Best And Worst Bugs To Have In The Garden

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Thu, May 24, 2018

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Did you know there are many insects that can help your garden to flourish? For instance, ladybugs eat many of the insects that can harm your plants and flowers. So before you banish an insect from your garden, make sure it's not one of the good guys! Today, I'll help you out by telling you about some of the best and worst bugs for a garden.

The Best Bugs for Your Garden

  • Ladybugs: Aphids, mealybugs, spider mites, leaf-hoppers, and thrips love to chew on the leaves of the plants in your garden. Ladybugs are beneficial to have in your garden because they eat these along with other plant-eating insects. In its lifetime, a ladybug can eat around 5,000 aphids. You can attract ladybugs by planting some of their favorite plants, including scented geraniums, yarrow. or tansy.
  • Praying Mantis: A praying mantis eats all types of insects, including grasshoppers, flies, crickets, and moths. If you have an abundance of bad insects like aphids or whiteflies, having a praying mantis or two in your garden means many will be eaten. Praying mantises like to dwell in gardens with yarrow, marigolds, angelica, and cosmos. They look for plants with long petals or leaves so they have shelter from the sunlight and rain. I like the idea of planting a group of cheerful perennials like black-eyed Susans so praying mantises have a place to return to each year to eat destructive bugs.
  • Hoverflies: Wherever you see aphids, there is likely a hoverfly nearby. These bugs, also known as syrphid flies, lay their eggs near aphid colonies. The hatching larvae consume the aphids. In addition to eating aphids, hoverflies eat thrips, caterpillars, and scale insects. Plant some fragrant items such as sweet alyssum, oregano, garlic, chives, and bachelor buttons to entice hoverflies to leave their larvae in your garden.
  • Ground Beetles: A ground beetle is a friend to have in your garden. They start eating pests as larvae and continue to eat them as they grow into adults. Some examples of the pests they eat include gypsy moth larvae, slugs, tent caterpillars, ants, cabbage worms, and cutworms. Bushy amaranth plants are enticing to these beetles, so make room for them in your garden. Also, put some flat stones in and around your garden so these beetles have a place to hide.

The Worst Bugs for Your Garden

  • Aphids: This should come as no surprise, seeing as aphids are on the menu of many beneficial insects. Aphids are especially efficient in their destruction of a garden by sucking the sap out of plants, causing their leaves to drop off. Plant some chives, dill, basil, or sage to keep aphids away.
  • Cutworms: These thick worms spend their nights chewing on the bottoms of stems belonging to various types of vegetables and other plants in a garden. These pests injure and consume young plants that are just starting to grow. Birds love to eat cutworms, so make the area inviting to sparrows and other birds by putting a birdbath near your garden. While birds are taking a drink, they are likely to spot a cutworm or two.
  • Mexican Bean Beetles: Adult Mexican bean beetles as well as their larvae chew on the leaves of many sorts of plants. Not surprisingly, they especially like to consume soybeans, snap beans, and lima beans, among others. Putting netting over your beans is one way to keep these pests from getting to your garden, or you can plant some rosemary or marigolds to repel these pests.
  • Japanese Beetles: These beetles with a metallic sheen feed on vegetables, shrubs, trees, and flowers. Watch out for them if you have any roses in your garden. They even feed on grass roots. Catnip, garlic, tansy, or white chrysanthemums repel Japanese beetles, so try including a few of these in your garden.

I hope you add some beneficial insects to your garden this spring and summer to keep those pests at bay. Thanks for reading. - Alan

Topics: best and worst bugs in garden

Why You Should Make The Switch To Energy-Efficient Appliances

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Thu, May 24, 2018

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Are you thinking about replacing your refrigerator, dishwasher, clothes dryer, or another appliance in your home? You already know that owning energy-efficient appliances benefits the environment; they reduce the amount of pollution released by power plants. In addition to helping the environment, owning energy-efficient appliances can benefit your family. Today, I'm sharing just a few of the many reasons why you should make the switch to energy-efficient appliances and some ideas for how you can save energy with the ones you already have.

Rebates Available for Energy-Efficient Appliances

Did you know that it's possible to get a rebate after purchasing an energy-efficient appliance? Energy Star makes it easy to locate rebate deals. All you have to do is enter your ZIP code in the rebate finder and peruse the appliances available with rebates in your area. I like the idea of doing the right thing for the environment and getting a financial return; don't you?

Enjoy Lower Energy Bills

By design, energy-efficient appliances don't use more energy than necessary to serve their purpose. They have energy settings you can adjust to make them even more energy-efficient. For example, if you have a load of semi-dirty dishes, you can adjust the energy setting to give them a light wash. The light wash setting uses less water and power compared to the heavy wash setting you'd use for plates with dried spaghetti sauce or syrup on them.

Increase the Resale Value of Your Home

You may not envision selling your home. But if you ever decided to sell, your energy-efficient appliances would contribute to the value of your home. Owning a home with modern appliances and saving money on the monthly utility bill would definitely be appealing to buyers.

Tips for Operating Your Appliances in the Most Efficient Way

Load Your Dishwasher to Capacity

Though you can adjust energy settings on your appliances, you still want to make the most of every use. For instance, be sure to fully load your dishwasher before pushing the start button. If you only have a few items of clothing to wash, put them aside until you have a full load. Put off doing the laundry for a while? Sounds great to me!

Occasionally Test the Seal of Your Refrigerator

The seal on any refrigerator door can become worn over time. A worn seal allows cold air to escape, prompting the refrigerator to work harder to do its job. Run a quick test on your refrigerator door seal by putting a dollar bill against the seal and closing the door with the bill halfway in and halfway out. If you can pull the dollar bill out while the refrigerator door is closed, then your seal is worn out. Replacing the seal is fairly simple and can get your energy-efficient refrigerator working at its best again.

Select an Appliance in a Suitable Size

When choosing an energy-efficient appliance, think about how it will be used by your family. For instance, if you are purchasing a clothes dryer, think about how much laundry you do in a week. If you only dry a load or two, then a smaller clothes dryer would suffice.

You don't need to swap out all of your appliances at once. But next time you need one, consider the value of getting one that's designed to be energy-efficient.

Thanks for reading. - Alan

Topics: Energy-Efficient Appliances

12 Of The Easiest Houseplants For A Beginner To Grow

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Fri, May 18, 2018

easiest-houseplants-for-a-beginner

It's fun to watch a houseplant grow and change over time. Plus, we love them because they release oxygen into a room. But did you know that many of them absorb toxins floating around indoors? Getting a new houseplant or two for your home this spring is a win-win! This week, I have a few ideas to get you started on your way to owning a wonderful collection of houseplants.

12 Easy Houseplants for a Beginner to Grow

  1. Spider Plant. Place your spider plant in an area of your home where it will receive indirect sunlight. Give your plant a moderate amount of water each week, but don't make the soil soggy. These plants are great for sitting near a window in a living room, kitchen, or hallway. Spider plants grow quickly but can stay in a medium-size pot. They are known to absorb formaldehyde, benzene, and carbon monoxide from the air.
  2. English Ivy. This houseplant needs a medium to low amount of sunlight as well as about one inch of water per week. A hanging pot of English ivy will be happy near a window in a room of moderate temperature. This plant grows quickly, so be sure to make room for its many vines. They absorb indoor air pollutants such as styrene, mold, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, and benzene. They can clean the air in a room measuring 200 square feet!
  3. Pothos. A pothos plant does well in partial sunlight with a moderate amount of water each week. Push your finger about a half-inch into the soil to see if it's dry. If so, your pothos needs water. These are fast-growing plants, so don't be surprised as you watch your pothos vines grow longer with each passing month. Pothos absorbs formaldehyde and benzene particles from the air.
  4. Snake Plant. Give this hardy plant a low level of sunlight and a small amount of water and watch it flourish! A snake plant is a slow grower and releases oxygen when it gets dark. So why not put one in your bedroom and reap its benefits as you sleep? It absorbs airborne toxins such as formaldehyde, toluene, xylene, and benzene, too.
  5. Peace Lily. Give this plant a moderate amount of water and put it in a place where it can receive partial sunlight. Acetone, benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene are just a few of the airborne toxins this plant absorbs. The relaxed lighting requirements for this plant means it can flourish in practically any room. It can grow to be three feet high!
  6. Heartleaf Philodendron. Let this plant dry out between waterings, and put it in a place with moderate sunlight. This plant with attractive leaves absorbs benzene and formaldehyde from the air. Leave plenty of space around it for its quick-growing vines.
  7. Aloe. Aloe releases a lot of oxygen and absorbs formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide. Every few days, stick your fingers two inches into the soil to see if it's dry. If it is, water your aloe plant. I like the idea of keeping this plant in the kitchen. The juice from its leaves can soothe burns or rough skin, so if you burn yourself on a hot plate, you'll have your aloe plant close at hand!
  8. Boston Fern. Keep your Boston fern in the bathroom so it can enjoy the humidity from the shower. It needs a moderate amount of water and partial sunlight, so it's best if you have a window in your powder room. This traditional houseplant is rated number one at removing formaldehyde from the air. It grows quickly but slows down in the wintertime.
  9. Rubber Plant. Give your rubber plant a space that receives partial sunlight. Some rubber plants can grow to be eight feet tall, so make sure you have a large area for it in your home. Water this plant only when the soil is dry. It's excellent at removing formaldehyde from the air.
  10. Bromeliad. These plants need partial, bright sunlight to flourish. After a thorough watering once a month, watch to make sure the water drains out of the bottom of the pot. Spray a mist on this tropical plant two times a week, or put it in the bathroom after someone has taken a hot shower. This plant can grow to be several feet tall, so it will likely need to be repotted as it grows. Formaldehyde and benzene are two of the many toxins this plant removes from the air.
  11. Jade Plant. This simple yet attractive houseplant absorbs acetone from the air. Keep its soil moist, and put your jade in partial sunlight. Make sure the pot is sturdy to support its heavy stems. This small, compact plant would be an excellent addition to a home office on a desk near a window.
  12. Dracaena. Some types of dracaena grow to be three feet tall, while others sprout up to six! Water your dracaena once a week, and make sure the water drains out the bottom of the pot so it doesn't sit in soggy soil. An area with partial sunlight is perfect for this houseplant. Dracaena is effective at absorbing acetone from the air.

Good luck with your new additions, and thanks for reading! - Alan

Topics: easiest houseplants

 

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