Enhance & Extend the service life of your Outdoor Furniture

With Memorial Day this past weekend, many of you may have broken out your lawn furniture for the first time this year. With the harsh and unpredictable weather we are accustomed to here in Buffalo; wear-and-tear on outdoor fixtures is virtually unavoidable. Check out these quick and easy tips from Zillow.com on how to get the most out of your  outdoor furniture.

Extend the lifespan:

  • Wipe up any beverage or food spills right away.
  • Wipe off furniture after it rains.
  • Remove any tree or bird deposits as soon as possible.
  • Remove any residue from suntan lotions and body oils that can stain or accelerate the breakdown of materials. Have towels available to provide an easily cleanable barrier between chairs and their occupants.
  • Store or cover furniture that doesn’t stand up well to constant exposure, such as bamboo.
  • Check all bolts and screws and tighten any that may be loose.
  • Replace broken, rusted or missing pieces.
  • Use a silicone lubricant on all wheels and hinges.
  • Bring the furniture inside during harsh winter weather or store under a breathable cover.
  • Look underneath chaises for damage to the glides from dragging. Replace if they are worn out or missing.
  • Aluminum is one of those great recyclable items. Strip this furniture to the aluminum only, removing webbing, hardware (if not aluminum) and glides. Recycled aluminum is made into cans, pie pans, small appliances and lawn furniture.
  • If the furniture is still serviceable but your design ideas have changed, donate the item to a local charity that sells used goods.
  • If the lawn furniture is made from No. 2 plastic, it also can be recycled into other durable products.

Are Our Neighborhoods Contributing to Weight Gain?

Buffalo certainly isn’t as walkable a city as New York– with the weather and lack of adequate walking paths, driving seems to be a much more efficient option. Certainly, when the weather turns warmer, our city has much to offer in the way of healthy outdoor options, but the design of the city, like many others, could be contributing to obesity.

Studies from around the world are showing a correlation between the location and design of our neighborhoods and overall health. For Buffalo, which is comprised of many suburbs that are far and away from shopping and entertainment, this means that driving is the best means of getting anywhere. But being forced to drive (in winter and summer) means that we are sitting more than ever.

Of course, just because one lives in the suburbs doesn’t mean he or she has to miss out on a healthy lifestyle. The study also found that the number of opportunities for a healthy lifestyle also can help keep neighborhoods from keeping us lethargic. With the number of gyms throughout Buffalo and its suburbs, as well as bike paths, tennis courts, and other hubs of exercise, it is truly up to the individual to make the change.

So go outside or to the gym and do something active! Enjoy your neighborhood, even if it forces you to drive.

How To Make an Address Planter

Fix Air Leaks, Stop the Cold

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Have you been piling on the blankets and pushing up the thermostat already this winter?  Perhaps you have a leak in one of these four trouble spots– here’s how to fix them:

Doors

You have to use it to go in and out of your house, so it’s understandable some heat will escape each time you open the door. That said, heat shouldn’t be leaking out from around the door when it’s closed. Door seals and weather-stripping are available at most home improvement stores. Replacing torn, worn or just plain ill-fitting seals is a do-it-yourself job that requires little to no experience.

Windows

Heat escapes both through glass — especially single-pane windows — and around casements and trim. The Natural Resource Defense Council estimates a third of a home’s total heat loss usually occurs through windows and doors. Insulated blinds or curtains can help keep some of the heat inside; so can plastic film kits available through home improvement stores.

For basement or attic windows you don’t need to see through, cover the panes with a piece of foam board glued to 3/8-inch drywall. Cut the pieces so they fit snugly inside the window frame; the foam can be popped out whenever you want to let in sunlight.

If you have single-pane windows, consider installing storm windows or replacing them with more efficient thermal windows.

Fireplaces

Hot air travels upward. When you have a wood fire, more heat escapes through your chimney than enters your house. Even when the fireplace is not being used, closed metal dampers tend to leak air.

Fireplaces that are never used should be plugged and their flues sealed. Keep your fireplace damper closed unless a fire is going; if you leave the damper open while you’re not burning a fire, your heating bill can increase by as much as 30 percent.

If your flue doesn’t seal tight, have it replaced or repaired. Also, consider installing glass doors and a heat-air exchange that circulates warm air to make your fires more efficient.

Look high and low

Warm air flowing upward from your heated house to your cold attic is a large waste of heat. Additionally, this warm air is often damp and can cause condensation damage to your roof.

If floors on the main level of your home are cold, chances are your crawl space or basement is poorly insulated. A common area of air leakage in the basement is along the top of the basement wall where cement or block comes in contact with the wood frame. Also check for cracks in brick, concrete or stone basement walls, and make repairs with premixed cement or other filler.

Sealing leaks and installing insulation will help keep the heat in and the cold out.