What About Solar Water Heaters

When it is time for replacing your water heater or if you are looking to go green and cut down on your electric use, you may want to consider installing a solar water heater.

Using the sun to heat water is much more effective than using it to produce electric, so the cost of a solar hot water system will pay for itself rather quickly. One of the draw backs is it only supplies hot water during the day, so it has to be supplemented with  a backup heat source.


Solar water heating systems include storage tanks and solar collectors. There are two types of solar water heating systems: active, which have circulating pumps and controls, and passive, which don’t.


There are two types of active solar water heating systems:

  • Direct circulation systems
    Pumps circulate household water through the collectors and into the home. They work well in climates where it rarely freezes.
  • Indirect circulation systems
    Pumps circulate a non-freezing, heat-transfer fluid through the collectors and a heat exchanger. This heats the water that then flows into the home. They are popular in climates prone to freezing temperatures.

Illustration of an active, closed loop solar water heater. A large, flat panel called a flat plate collector is connected to a tank called a solar storage/backup water heater by two pipes. One of these pipes is runs through a cylindrical pump into the bottom of the tank, where it becomes a coil called a double-wall heat exchanger. This coil runs up through the tank and out again to the flat plate collector. Antifreeze fluid runs only through this collector loop. Two pipes run out the top of the water heater tank; one is a cold water supply into the tank, and the other sends hot water to the house.


Passive solar water heating systems are typically less expensive than active systems, but they’re usually not as efficient. However, passive systems can be more reliable and may last longer. There are two basic types of passive systems:

  • Integral collector-storage passive systems
    These work best in areas where temperatures rarely fall below freezing. They also work well in households with significant daytime and evening hot-water needs.
  • Thermosyphon systems
    Water flows through the system when warm water rises as cooler water sinks. The collector must be installed below the storage tank so that warm water will rise into the tank. These systems are reliable, but contractors must pay careful attention to the roof design because of the heavy storage tank. They are usually more expensive than integral collector-storage passive systems.

Illustration of a passive, batch solar water heater. Cold water enters a pipe and can either enter a solar storage/backup water heater tank or the batch collector, depending on which bypass valve is opened. If the valve to the batch collector is open, a vertical pipe (which also has a spigot drain valve for cold climates) carries the water up into the batch collector. The batch collector is a large box holding a tank and covered with a glaze that faces the sun. Water is heated in this tank, and another pipe takes the heated water from the batch collector into the solar storage/backup water heater, where it is then carried to the house.



Most solar water heaters require a well-insulated storage tank. Solar storage tanks have an additional outlet and inlet connected to and from the collector. In two-tank systems, the solar water heater preheats water before it enters the conventional water heater. In one-tank systems, the back-up heater is combined with the solar storage in one tank.

Three types of solar collectors are used for residential applications:

  • Flat-plate collector
    Glazed flat-plate collectors are insulated, weatherproofed boxes that contain a dark absorber plate under one or more glass or plastic (polymer) covers. Unglazed flat-plate collectors — typically used for solar pool heating — have a dark absorber plate, made of metal or polymer, without a cover or enclosure.
  • Integral collector-storage systems
    Also known as ICS or batch systems, they feature one or more black tanks or tubes in an insulated, glazed box. Cold water first passes through the solar collector, which preheats the water. The water then continues on to the conventional backup water heater, providing a reliable source of hot water. They should be installed only in mild-freeze climates because the outdoor pipes could freeze in severe, cold weather.
  • Evacuated-tube solar collectors
    They feature parallel rows of transparent glass tubes. Each tube contains a glass outer tube and metal absorber tube attached to a fin. The fin’s coating absorbs solar energy but inhibits radiative heat loss. These collectors are used more frequently for U.S. commercial applications.

Solar water heating systems almost always require a backup system for cloudy days and times of increased demand. Conventional storage water heaters usually provide backup and may already be part of the solar system package. A backup system may also be part of the solar collector, such as rooftop tanks with thermosyphon systems. Since an integral-collector storage system already stores hot water in addition to collecting solar heat, it may be packaged with a tankless or demand-type water heater for backup.

Source: US Dept. of Energy

If you live in an area where there is a great amount of sunshine, or you can use most of your hot water during the day, a solar water heater may be a great investment.

Awesome Hot Tubs Around the World


We all love a dip in a nice hot tub, having one in your backyard is a wonderful way to relax after a hard days work.

But entering a hot tub while on a vacation away from it all, seems to be much more relaxing.

See these wonderful tubs most of us just dream of enjoying.


In a secluded Snowy Forest

Hot Tub in a Snowy Forest [1024 x 768]

Photo: Imgur


In an Igloo in Switzerland

igloo hot tub

Hot tub at Zermatt Iglu Village, Switzerland


Checking out the lights in Norway.

norway northern lights hot tub

Photo: Imgur



On a cliff in Santorini Greece



On Top of the World, in Dubai.

dubai hot tub

Photo: Imgur


A romantic cave tub in Italy.

cave pool room

Photos: Studio F


And the one for your own backyard.

giant hot tub

Photo: spambient

Hope this little soak helped you relax.


Herbs Right From Your Window

Adding a flower window box outside your kitchen window is an awesome idea. But instead of flowers, plant your favorite herbs to pick fresh when you want to add them to the meal or sauce you are putting together.

Just about any herb, Dill, Thyme, Sage, Basil, you name it, will grow nicely in a window box, where they will be less likely to be bothered by insects or animals and be easy to take care of.

At Amazon there are all different shapes and sizes of window boxes you can get to fit your needs.

You can even add strawberries to your planter for a little extra enjoyment.



Mounting Your TV On The Wall

With the introduction of flat screen TV’s comes the ability to mount your TV on the wall, so it is up higher and moves to different angles for better viewing from anywhere in the room.  There are many different sizes and types of mounts made for just about any TV and any situation, whether you need it stationary, tilt up or down or move from side to side, you will find one to fit your needs.

Mounting the TV on the wall will also help prevent accidental tip over, which can lead to damage and injury.

The most important aspect of picking the correct TV mount is choosing one that is rated for the size and weight of your TV. Going with the cheapest, may cause you installation issues and may cause the TV to not hang securely on the wall.

Watch the video below to see the Top 5 TV mounts on the market today. If you already have your mount or after you purchased one, go to the next page for help with the installation.


Go to the Next Page for installation help.


Best Garage Floor Coating

Are you tired of that old gray, boring, dirty looking concrete garage floor? So you decided you want to cover it.

There are a number of products you can use to do this.

  • A clear sealer will get rid of the dust the concrete produces and make it easier to clean the floor. You will still have the same look. and it will wear off over time.
  • Painting the floor will help made it look nicer while making it easier to clean. The paint will wear off and will not hold up to many chemicals you could have in your garage.
  • Staining the concrete and then a urethane sealer over it will make the floor look great. You will still have an issue with cracks and expansion joints.

So which is the best? In our opinion, epoxy coating is the best product you can use. Epoxy certainly is not the cheapest to install, but over the life of the floor it will come out to be the most economical.

Epoxy is harder than any paint and will hold up to most things being dropped on it.

It make your garage look like a show room for many years to come.



We’ll start by ending some confusion about epoxy right now.  An epoxy garage floor coating is not paint.  Paint for garage floors is a latex acrylic product.  Some paints will have a small percentage of epoxy added to the mix to make it more durable than standard paint, but it is still paint.  These are known as epoxy paints or 1-part epoxy paint.

epoxy garage floor with contraction joints

Epoxy is an actual thermosetting resin that is applied as a coating.  It is formed when you mix one part epoxide resin with one part polyamine hardener.  The hardener acts as a catalyst and is what gives epoxy its strength.

Unlike paint that has to dry, epoxy cures.  When the two parts are mixed, a chemical reaction is started which creates an exothermic curing process.  This curing process produces polymer structures that are closely cross-linked giving epoxy its superior strength and durability.  The end result is a coating that is much thicker than paint and bonds tenaciously to a properly prepared surface.

Continued on the Next Page >>>


[Video] Backer Rod for Filling Gaps

When filling a large crack or joint in concrete or asphalt it is best to use a backer rod in the gap first.

Backer Rod is a round polyethylene foam joint-filler and backing material used for filling expansion joints and large or deep joints before installing elastomeric sealants.

It is used mostly in the construction trades for filling expansion joints in concrete, wood and asphalt to allow for the joint to move, while allow for the use of less sealant and to keep the sealant from sinking into the joint.

Backer rod can also be used in concrete and asphalt repairs to fill deep or large gaps before adding sealer. Some contractors will use fine sand to fill the gap first, but if the gap gets wider or deeper the sand will fall away and leave the sealant with no backing.

These backer rods can be used around doors, windows, wall joints, as well as foundations. A backer rod is recommended in numerous construction applications because it:
·         Saves caulking material by filling in the gaps
·         Provides additional insulation and increase energy efficiency of a house
·         Blocks drafts, giving additional quality to window installations
Backer rods are available in 1/4“ to 1 ¼” diameters that are packaged in rolls, and thicker diameters of 1 ½” to 4” that come in cartons of 6-foot length backer rod.

Click on the Next Page link for tips on installing backer rod and sealant.


It’s All Fun and Games…

Kids love summer, it’s warm and no school, but sometimes it can be a challenge to keep them busy. They get bored and want something new to do! Taking their favorite game outdoors, in backyard size, can be a lot of fun for the whole family.

Here are some great DIY backyard games that you and them can build and then play with all summer. They are great for parties also!

Backyard Size 4 in a Row. This easy DIY project will supply Great fun for the whole family!


See building directions at the Home Depot blog!

Corn Hole

What is Corn Hole?  Corn Hole is a fun bean bag toss game that everyone will enjoy.


Find building plans at diy network.


Ladder Toss 

You can build a ladder toss game out of wood and pipe or it can be made with PVC pipe.

Ladder toss pvcLadder toss

By School Carnival Games                   By Bob Villa

Photos via Pinterest


Backyard Kerplunk

See how many sticks you can remove before the balls go kerplunk! A quick DIY game you can build with just a few items.

Backyard Kerplunk

Check it out on HomeFast.


Giant Jinga

If you like Jinga indoors, your going to love playing outdoor with this giant lawn game you built yourself.

Giant Jenga


What you need:
• 8 wooden 2 x 4s, 8-foot long
• 1 sharpie
• 1 power saw
• 1 electric sander
• 3–4 paintbrushes and colourful paint

1) Head on down to the lumberyard and pick up the 2 x 4s.

2) Saw the 2 x 4s into 10½-inch pieces for a total of 54 game blocks. If you don’t have access to a saw, get someone from the hardware store to cut the wood for you. Thankfully, I have a dad with all kinds of gadgets who was happy to lend a hand.

3) Sand the edges to make the wooden game pieces smooth around the ends and edges. This not only makes it easier for the pieces to slide during the game, but also prevents players from getting splinters.

4) At this point, the game can be played as is for a life-size regular game of Jenga. But if you’re interest
in adding an extra twist to the rules, this is where the fun begins. Using a sharpie, write a different instruction on each piece of wood. This could be a general rule for all players of the game or something specific for the person who winds up choosing that particular game piece.


Thanks To My Town Crier for this great idea.


And then there is Yardzee, Yes, the backyard version of Yatzee. See it and more on the Next Page[nextpagelink][/nextpagelink]

Fake Rocks and Boulders for Your Garden

Rocks and Boulders can add charm to any landscape, when nestled around plants and flowers they will make your garden a show piece to wow all of your fiends and neighbors. Purchasing then for your garden can be expensive and even if you have them on you property, moving them to where you want them can be heavy hard work.

Consider making your own fake rocks and boulders for your garden, they can save the expense and hard work of real ones, with  just a few tools and ingredients you can make your own rocks and add some beauty to your garden.


In a sheltered spot away from breezes, mix together portland cement, perlite and peat moss with the hand trowel in the wheelbarrow.

Add water, mixing with the hand trowel, until the mixture is damp but not crumbly.

Let the mixture rest for 10 minutes.

Push the chicken wire into a rock or boulder shape. Stuff plastic grocery bags in the chicken wire holes.

Use the hand trowel to begin applying hypertufa mixture to the chicken wire. Completely cover the chicken wire and use the trowel to make a realistic design. Use the sea sponge to add texture.

Cover the completed rock or boulder with black plastic sheeting and let the hypertufa cure in a sunny spot for two to four days. Check under the plastic several times a day and mist the entire hypertufa rock or boulder with water each time. When it is completely cured and firm, apply the concrete sealer with a paintbrush.

Things You’ll Need

  • 30 lbs. portland cement
  • 1.5 cubic feet perlite
  • 1 cubic foot compressed peat moss
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Water
  • Hand trowel
  • Chicken wire
  • Plastic grocery bags
  • Black plastic sheeting
  • Large sea sponge
  • Concrete sealer
  • Paint brush

Complete directions thanks to Ehow.com


Making fake rocks and boulders can be done by any handy homeowner willing to get their hands dirty. Always use extreme caution when working with any cement product, as it contains lime, it can be poison our.

Adding a Peep Hole

Knock, Knock -Who’s there? Installing a door viewer (peep hole) in you door will keep you from asking that question as you will be able to see who is on the other side without asking or opening the door to find out, keeping you safe until you know who it is.

Installing a door viewer is fairly simple task, needing just a few basic tools, such as a drill, drill bit and screw driver.

A door viewer can be installed in a wood, metal  or fiberglass door.

Check out this short for instructions on installing a peep hole.