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5 Things You Need to Know Before Buying a Solar Panel

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Through innovation, research and billions of dollars of investment over the last couple of years, the solar panel has reached a level of development that makes it very affordable for the average household making it possible for us to draw our daily energy need from the sun. This has created a lot of advantages for the populace. Knowing the type of Solar Panel that you need involves a lot of processes.

 

According to Solarrun, a Solar Panel Company in Australia, we can shorten this process by knowing 5 important things before buying a Solar Panel. This will not just help us in choosing the right one for our household. This will also educate us about the important things that we need to know in using a Solar Panel.

 

How Do Solar Panels Work and What are their Benefits?

To simply put it, solar panel turns an endless supply of sunbeams into useful electricity. Aside from the fact that it reduces electricity bill, the biggest benefit of having a solar panel is its renewable source. Solar Energy also has the least negative impact on the environment compared to other energy sources.

 

Manufacturer’s Warranty

Pay particular attention to the fine prints of the contract that show the warranty and issues, such as where to send your modules if you encounter a problem. Check if the manufacturer’s guarantee is at least ten years. Performance guarantee is different from a manufacturer’s guarantee. Performance warranty is about the number of kilowatt-hours a solar system actually produces over time. Most of the time, the installer and not the manufacturer itself offers the performance warranty.

 

Quality and Specifications

As far as quality is concerned, a lot of people insist that a solar panel made from Germany is better than the ones made from China. But some Chinese brands are just fine. For specifications, you should also check the power tolerance, voltage rating and coefficient of temperature as well as the original manufacturer. Check for different suppliers and installers in your area. Make a checklist and compare all the key specifications that are well suited for your house.

 

Roof Suitability

The angle of the roof is essential in installing a solar panel. You have to make sure that your roof tiles are not old, fragile or worn out. You should also check if buildings, trees or any other objects shade any area of your roof. The solar panel installer will measure your roof and give you indications about the performance of the panel on your roof.

 

Maintenance and Running Costs

Solar Panel does not require big maintenance cost. You can easily use a hose to remove dust or leaves that settle on the top of the panel. Some companies would recommend servicing the system for checkup and cleaning once a year and it will not cost you that much.
We have summed up the top 5 things that you need to know about solar panels.Creating a smart home through solar energy is a big decision especially because it needs a lot of investment. It is highly recommended that you do a lot of research and improve your knowledge about solar panels before making the actual purchase.

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Home Improvement

Why Outdoor Shutters Are Perfect for House Exterior

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Homeowners are always in search of the best home improvement techniques. It is understandable considering your home is the most substantial and most significant single investment you can make in life. One of the most critical areas to consider when improving your home is the exterior appearance. You need to consider outdoor shutters to offer enhanced protection to the windows while also adding a touch of style to the property. Of course, window shutters have been around for centuries but they remain trendy even today for many good reasons. If you have plans to improve your home’s aesthetics, window shutters will help achieve this and offer even more.

In this article, you will learn more about exterior shutters and the benefits they add to your home. Keep reading.

Exterior Shutters in Brief

Exterior shutters date back to the Greek civilization where they served to provide light control, ventilation and offer protection in that tropical environment. They eventually found their way in the Mediterranean and finally found their way to the Americas. While the use of exterior shutters is common in tropical areas, you can still use them anywhere else to improve the aesthetics of your house while also enhancing protection against adverse weather.

In most cases, they open and close over window openings though homeowners also use them to protect their patios. Whatever the idea you have in mind, you will find exterior shutters are versatile and you can adapt them to suit your unique needs.

Why You Need Exterior Shutters For Your House

There are various reasons to invest in exterior shutters as your next home improvement project. Take a look:

  1. Improved Privacy

In tropical areas, most properties feature wide windows to allow free flow of air, especially during the hot days. Having your window open will allow a cool breeze and maintain favorable temperatures indoors. However, you will have a big challenge keeping prying eyes out of the house. In some cases, your bedroom windows will have to stay out and this can be inconveniencing when your rooms face busy roads.

This is where shutters come in handy. They allow free flow of air while at the same time maintaining privacy. The shutters can open slightly to let in light and air without compromising privacy and this makes them better than window screens.

  1. Protection Against Adverse Weather

Tropical areas are prone to storms and erratic weather patterns and you need to protect your property. Window shutters serve an important role in protecting the occupants of the house during sudden storms. They also protect windows from hail and flying objects during such weather. The best shutters systems are easy to operate and you can quickly open and close them when you notice a storm approaching. They keep everyone inside the house safe and protect the windows from damage.

  1. Enhancing Aesthetic Appeal

Depending on the type of shutter design you choose, it is possible to give your house a stylish look. Even the most glamorous house requires some touches over time and window shutters can do the trick. Windows are focal points of beauty in the exterior appearance. By fixing beautiful shutters which blend well with the rest of the exterior decor, you will a dash of class to the property. If you plan to carry out some improvements on your home’s exterior, you need to consider installing exterior shutters because they have a huge impact and are affordable.

  1. Versatile styles

One of the best reasons to go for house shutters in your next home improvement project is because they are versatile and can work on any property. You have different materials to choose from including aluminum, wood, vinyl, engineered boards, faux wood, and Synthetic foam among other materials. Each of these materials gives a unique character to your home’s exterior. You can also choose among different shutter styles including:

  • Board and Batten (BNB): Give your house an old world and rustic character and work well on the Mediterranean, Cape Cod/Ranch and French Country homes.

  • Bahama shutters / Bermuda shutters: beautiful shutters typically used in tropical regions and are idea for Cape Cod, Ranch, and Cottage homes.

  • Louvered shutters: They feature angled slats and boast a refined look which is perfect for Victorian, Italianate, Federal and Colonial, Georgian, Cape Cod, Greek revival and Ranch houses.

  • Raised panel shutters: In appearance, they look similar to doors or kitchen cabinets and are common in Victorian, Federal and Colonial, Georgian, Cape Cod, French country, Greek revival and Ranch houses.

Each of these shutter styles adds a dash of beauty to the property. Whatever type of house you own, it is now possible to give it a new lease of life through these shutters.

  1. Enhancing Property Value

Most home buyers today look for homes with improvements. It is a sign that the homeowner cared for the property and they expect you have maintained even other areas of the house properly. Exterior shutters protect windows and the occupants and the home valuers will take into consideration this fact when assessing the true value of your home.

  1. Customization Opportunities

It is easy to customize window shutters to get the home decor you have in mind. Most of the materials used in shutter manufacture are versatile and easy to customize. You can work with a home contractor to tailor make shutters that suit your desired decor color and look. You can also customize the sizes and style to perfectly suit the windows. It is possible to get a more complete and appealing look for your home’s exterior decor using tailored shutters.

There is no gainsaying the importance of outdoor shutters for your home. It is the most natural home improvement technique to upgrade the appearance of your home, add a dash of style to the exterior, protect the occupants of the property and the property itself and of course improve privacy. When buying these shutters, go for a durable material which is easy to customize and choose a style that blends seamlessly with the rest of the property. Take all the measurements properly and if possible, call in a professional contractor to help you get the job done.

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7 Things to Know Before Building an Oak Frame Home

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Oak frame has been a favored home material in the UK for centuries. The best factor to consider with oak frame houses is the speed and ease of construction. It will only take you a matter of days to erect compared to when you are building with bricks and blocks. In this article, I will tell you the things you need to consider before you develop an oak frame house.

Why Choose an Oak Frame House?

Aside from the speed and ease of construction, there are other factors why you should consider building an oak frame house. Here are some of the benefits:

  • Eco-Friendly. Timber absorbs Carbon Dioxide emissions, something which is very helpful for the planet. CO2 emissions are quite high due to the increased industrial activities. The use of timber can help in decreasing the level of global warming. As long as we keep on replanting, the supply of wood can be infinite.
  • Natural Heat Insulator. Timber offers excellent insulation due to being sealed to prevent the moist air coming into contact with the interior. They are also quicker to heat as they do not require pre-heating. You can check Stockport fireplace for their variety that will help you with the heat insulation.
  • Not weather dependent. You can start the construction any time of the year.

Is Oak an Affordable Option

It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Oak may be one of the more expensive types of wood, but in the long run, it can last for a long time as long as you know how to maintain the wood. You can always look for a place where you can get the oak to meet that budget.

Seven Things to Consider

With oak frame being a modern method of construction, you need first to ponder and consider your options. Here are the things that you need to know before you build your oak frame:

  • Ways of exposing the structure. An oak frame home, wrapped in encapsulation system, can be clad in a variety of materials. Some may still want the exposed oak frame on both the exterior and the interior. There is a way to do both, and you can check it with oak frame companies for the ingenious solutions.
  • Look for a designer with experience. Designing and detailing an oak frame house needs to have a designer who is well versed in the construction system. Look for someone who understands spans and bays, as well as the limitation of oak.
  • Oak does not need finishing. One of the appeals of oak is that it does not need finishing. Eventually, it will still weather to a silvery gray and oxidization makes the internal wood more honeyed which adds a much more beautiful view.
  • Shrinking is part of the process. Remember that wood does shrink, however, it will be best to let it undergo a natural seasoning process so to not weaken the structure. Careful detailing and design, plus the attention to the drying out process can minimize remedial work.
  • Steel can open up the design opportunities. Steelwork is often used to strengthen the carpentry. It can also help you in designing the frame or the structural oak beams much better.
  • You can extend in oak frame. This can be a fantastic option if you are extending your home; perhaps there is no other construction method which offers a more versatile aesthetic.
  • Oak frames need to be cleaned once erected. You will need to clean all the oak frames once the construction phase has concluded. You can use the method of sandblasting or the use of oxalic acid.

Maintaining an Oak Frame House

Oak frame houses are often admired for their beauty and for giving us the “homey” feel. However, you should be very cautious and aware if there are any problems present in your oak frame house. If you have any plans of repairs or alterations, always seek the advice of the surveyor or structural engineer who has a good understanding of buildings.

Timber!

Oak has always been a reliable source of building material. For me, the oak frame house can make you feel more relaxed and at home rather than brick houses. Not only that it is pleasing and is eco-friendly, but you will also get to enjoy a less noisy environment.   With just the right addition of a fireplace, it will feel like a scene in a movie. You can always check Colne Stoves and see what will best suit your home.

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A Detailed Analysis – Green Oak or Air-Dried Oak?

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Oak is one material that architects, artists and designers prefer to use. However, the type of oak determines where it can be used most effectively. So before you use the wood in Colne stoves or turn it into your house’s frame, make sure you know the difference between green oak and air-dried oak.

Reasons to Use Oak Wood

There are several reasons why many builders prefer to use oak wood.

  • Distinctive Appearance: Oak is renowned for its distinct wood grain and rich hue. It looks elegant and can evoke a rustic feeling when used as an exposed beam.
  • Durable: This wood is also known for its strength, durability, and resistance to moisture. Oak gets stronger as it gets older, which is why carpenters love using it as a foundation and as structural oak beams. As a matter of fact, houses built from this wood during the 1500s are still standing strong today.
  • Versatility: Oak is also used in a variety of ways. Aside from being used as building material, it’s also used in floorings, furniture, ships and as firewood. Oak is actually a great material for ship building since it’s resistant to rot, insects and fungal attacks.  

Understanding the Difference Between Green and Air-Dried Oak

Oak wood is sometimes described as green or air-dried and this affects how and where they can be used.

Contrary to what it’s called, green oak is not named after the color but rather the freshness of the wood. Green oak is cut from trees chopped within 18 months of being grown. It has a moisture content of 60% to 80%. This percentage goes down as the timber dries out in a process called “seasoning.”

Meanwhile, air-dried oak refer to oak wood cut to a specific size and stored away from the elements. This allows the timber to dry naturally. The air circulates between the wood planks, thereby reducing moisture content gradually. Season the wood in this manner can take anywhere from three to 10 years, depending on its thickness.

Why Choose Green Oak

Green oak is the go-to wood for oak kit frames, beams, posts, and roof trusses because of its durability and strength. Since green oak has a softer wood, it’s easier to cut into exact shapes. What’s more, the wood slightly shrinks across the width of the grain as it starts drying, leading to tighter joints. As a matter of fact, designers who specialize in oak frames take into account this shrinkage and incorporates it into the design. Plus, as oak timbers harden, the strength and durability of an oak frame increases.

Once green oak dries out, it splits and starts to age and the wood’s exterior becomes a silvery grey. The aged look is one of the things that makes oak look charming and unique.

The Argument for Air-Dried Oak

Air-dried oak has already been seasoned a little, with splits and cracks that surfaced during the drying process. It’s a good wood to use if the builder requires minimal movement and widths that are 75 mm or less. This makes air-dried oak ideal for joinery work like doors, floors, lintels, window frames, glazed panelling, and furniture.

Air-dried oak timbers are also great for restoration and renovation projects where the wood can be tied into the original brickwork or frame. But it’s not a good choice for framing where the wood has to be more than 100mm.

Why Oak is the Best  Firewood

People also love to choose oak to use as firewood. There’s a good reason for this as well; oak is heavy, quite dense, and supplies more than enough heat for the home. Oak trees are also abundant and the wood is long burning.

Oak has three distinct species – the northern red oak, pin oak, and white oak. Each one has different characteristics but all can be made into great firewood. White oak can produce around 26.4 million BTU’s per block while red oak can supply abou 24.6 BTUs. BTU, or the British thermal unit, is the amount of heat needed to increase the temperature of a pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit.

Oak also has a unique smell once it has been cut for firewood. It has been described by some as sweet smelling while others likened it to something fiery.

Conclusion

There are so many reasons for using it, either as firewood for your Stockport fireplaces, a frame for your house, flooring for your abode or the base of your latest sculpture. But the wood being green or aid-dried will affect its final use. So choose carefully so you can unleash oak’s full potential.

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