The Beneficial Bacteria in Ponds

Even before people existed, bacteria are believed to have been doing so many roles in shaping life here on earth. They play diverse roles that we discover a new one each passing day. They can adapt to any eco system colonizing even new ones and breaking down materials as energy source.

Bacteria are known to be either beneficial or detrimental to human beings and other living creatures they come in contact with. They can be beneficial when they perform the role of breaking down waste and producing antibiotics. They can be detrimental when they play the role of assaulting living organisms to cause diseases.
Because their being so adaptable to any environment, it didn’t take long for them to be introduced to ponds. The type of bacteria that cause human beings to acquire illnesses such as ulcer, septicaemia and fin rot is the type that gives benefits to ponds. They basically work in pond filters and help keep balance in the whole water system.

Despite the various benefits that bacteria can cause to ponds, their impact to the pond still a bit underrated. Most pond keepers are well aware of the fact that beneficial bacteria are the ones responsible in the management of nitrogen cycle in the pond by breaking down ammonia into nitrite and then into nitrate. What they do not know is that’s just one of the many good things these bacteria can do to maintain a pond in its pristine condition.

Beneficial bacteria are the ones to be thanked for the existence of bio filter. This type of pond filter is responsible for making the water suitable for bacteria to flourish in the pond and do what they got to do in the pond–breaking down wastes products that enter the pond. The role of beneficial bacteria is not a little thing to be overlooked at.

Among all the things that beneficial bacteria can do especially in koi ponds, the breakdown of noxious ammonia into nitrites and then nitrates is the most well-known. Many pond keepers resort to the use of bacteria thinking that what they can just do is dealing with ammonia and nothing else. This is extremely important since ammonia pose a huge threat to the lives in the pond.

If the beneficial bacteria in the pond is being appreciated to the right extent, you will find out that they are capable of causing much even better things in the pond and maintaining the good quality of the pond water.

If ever you notice that despite the presence of beneficial bacteria in the pond, the fish start gasping for air or organic matters start to overtake the water system, you might be forgetting to do something. Remember that bacteria are simple, one-celled organisms that digest organic matter by discharging their digestive enzymes into the surrounding water. If there are too much organic matter accumulation more than the bacteria present in your bio filter can handle, you should do something like cleaning the pond water yourself. As the owner, it is still your duty to regularly do water changes so that beneficial bacteria won’t have a hard time dealing with organic matters building up.

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Marvin and Integrity Windows and Doors featured in Showcase Home and Matching Kid’s Playhouse

The 2010 Southern Building Show, which features its annual showcase home, inspired a children’s playhouse – a miniature copy of a bold, innovative sustainable home design featuring Marvin window and doors products.

Every year the Southern Building Show in Atlanta features an innovative and inspiring showcase home. This May’s show did not disappoint, offering another exciting home design including Marvin windows and doors. Known as the Midtown Green House, this year’s project features green construction and will seek EarthCraft, LEED and ENERGY STAR certification, as well as following the NAHB Green Building Standard. From the concrete foundation to the green roof with garden, this eco home’s bold, mid-century style combines converging planes of glass, stacked stone and stucco and an asymmetrical, loft-style floor plan. This private residence is located in Atlanta’s Midtown section, known for its eclectic architectural style. Click here to see photos.

The AVI team of consultants worked with architect Joel Kelly Design, builder The Hoots Group, and building engineers to ensure the Marvin Clad French doors, Casement windows and Direct Glaze Polygon windows met structural, architectural and energy efficiency requirements. All windows and doors featured LoE3-366®glass, contributing to the home’s sustainable design. The technology behind these windows is especially effective at keeping the sun’s heat out in warmer climates where cooling costs are high, such as Atlanta area homes. “And thanks to Marvin’s design flexibility, the windows look just as beautiful in this contemporary design as they do with traditional décor, said Peter Diehl,” sales manager for AVI.

Building on the excitement generated by this showcase home, The Hoots Group built a kid’s playhouse which also debuted at the Southern Building Show. The Hoots Group provides home performance improvements to existing homes and well as building new homes with a “whole-house” approach to achieve healthy, comfortable, and energy efficient results for homeowners.

The playhouse will be raffled off as a charity benefit for the HomeAid Atlanta’s Project Playhouse 2010 event, which takes place at The Avenue Forsyth in Cumming from September 25 through October 23. HomeAid Atlanta is a nonprofit organization that builds and renovates multi-unit transitional housing for homeless families and individuals in the metro Atlanta area. Through the building industry’s generous support, HomeAid has built or renovated nearly 1,000 shelters. An article in the Atlanta Building News featured the HomeAid playhouse event this past May.

This stunning miniature copy of the showcase home incorporated the same mid-century contemporary design and green architecture translated into a kid-friendly funhouse with an artificial turf cool roof, a roof-top terrace, and a roomy loft accessible by ladder. Keeping with the original design’s sophistication, the playhouse also includes faux stone and stucco facades, spray foam insulated walls, high grade hardwood interiors and energy efficient Integrity® from Marvin Casement windows donated by AVI.

“We’re pleased to contribute to such a great cause, plus Integrity windows fit the green aspect of this project perfectly,” said Peter Diehl.

Integrity windows and doors are made of Ultrex®, a pultruded fiberglass window material whose main ingredient is sand, a safe, renewable resource. In addition, Integrity’s manufacturing process incorporates steps to protect the environment. The fact that Integrity’s Ultrex fiberglass construction is exceptionally strong and long lasting means they require less window replacement and upkeep, reducing wasted building materials that must be land filled and decreasing the need for solvent-based paints. From start to finish, Integrity’s sustainable design contributes to a greener future.

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A Pain in the Glass

Whether it is modern myth, legend or fact, it is said that as soon as painters finish painting the Forth Bridge in Scotland, they have to start again. Sometimes it feels like that with cleaning windows – as soon as you’ve done it, they seem to need cleaning all over again.

Well imagine how long that might take if your whole building was made of glass. We’re not talking about people who live in Greenhouses here, but the massive modern facades of contemporary office spaces, their faces glistening and bright. And while people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, they should also think about how they’re going to clean the buggers too.

But if that’s not enough, these modern, gleaming edifices can cause even bigger problems – repair and maintenance. Think about it – in the time you live in your house there’s a chance you will replace the windows, maybe more than once. You very rarely need to replace the bricks. So for those buildings that are predominantly glass this can be a massive undertaking. While they look pretty flashy, they can be cause of a huge amount of commercial glazing maintenance. Glazing repairs have to be handled by professional outfits and if you thought changing your glass was a pain, imagine doing it thousands of feet up. Commercial glazing maintenance is not only about replacement but also needs to take into account the upgrading of thermal and drainage performance, replacement of handles, hinges, locks, installation of seals and relevant safety and privacy films as well as upgrades to meet current health and safety regulations. And once all the glazing repairs have been done there’s still a fair bit of cleaning left to do.

So next time you’re moaning about cleaning your windows, just remember it could be a whole lot worse.

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MrAn Introduction to uPVC Windows and Similar Products

Un-Plasticized Polyvinyl Chloride or uPVC windows and doors have gained popularity in the UK. This is because of the various advantages they offer over their counterparts. Some of these advantages include:

  • Energy Efficiency: uPVC windows and doors are composed of a material that provides greater thermal insulation than the standard wood or aluminum based products. This means that you will make huge savings on heating systems during the winters, since these doors and windows will provide adequate insulation, and in the summers, they will help keep the temperature low, thus cutting back the air conditioning costs. The prices of electricity are on rise in the UK and these products are a great way to save on energy bills.
  • Maintenance: Wooden frames on windows and doors require a lot of maintenance, such as painting, sanding and refilling of wood. Aluminum frames provide some respite but they too are highly vulnerable to rusting. uPVC windows, on the other hand, are a perfect substitute for both. They are made by using a plastic substance that is both highly durable and resistance to the adverse effects of the elements, including fire, water, snow, etc. Cleaning them is also an easy job and can be done with the use of a wet cloth and cleaning liquids. To obtain the original shine, all you have to do is wash and wipe.
  • Cost Efficiency: uPVC windows and doors can be purchased at similar prices to their identical aluminum and wooden counterparts. They also provide value for the expenditure because they can last for a longer time.
  • Safety of Product: Wooden doors and windows can be easily broken into. This is yet another area where uPVC products take the lead. Their firmness and strength match that of the aluminum frames. However, to utilize their full potential, it is advisable to install a good quality locking system, probably a multi point locking system.
  • Beauty: uPVC windows and doors allow light to recede through their frame. This can help create beautiful contours in the living space.

uPVC Windows vs Composite Doors
Composite doors are the latest offering from the house furnishing industry. These doors are designed keeping in mind the common shortcomings of the single material doors. These utilize a unique combination of materials, handpicked for their specific properties, to create a combination that effectively weeds out the old flaws.

Some of the materials used are PVC, insulating foam, wood and glass reinforced plastic (GRP). The subsequent product is extremely strong and secure. A composite door is even more weather resistant than its uPVC counterpart and the insulated foam core provides extended heat resistance. These doors are specifically designed to resemble wooden doors, but, unlike wood, they neither get discoloured nor do they fade or require extensive maintenance. uPVC windows and doors provide all such capabilities and at lower costs.

Bi Folding Doors made of uPVC
Bi folding doors made of uPVC are designed to meet the needs of contemporary households that combine beauty and utility. Here the door panels are configured into several folds, which provide greater versatility. This means that the doors take up very little space at the entrance or exit but provide optimal lighting with minimum obstruction to movement. The wider opening allows the owner to have a much better view of the outdoors and attached garden all year round. These doors are also ideal for installation in areas where a partition is required between rooms or where the exit leads to a patio.

Some manufacturers are providing even more superior forms of bi folding doors. These revolutionary products offer a smooth and simple functionality with the use of a top or bottom rail concertina mechanism rather the conventional top hung system. The door system has a slim panel gap, which offers increased aesthetic appeal. These products can be used to create a glass wall up to 6 metres wide. They can even come with a 10 year guarantee.

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Why use a window template

The very short answer as to why window templates should be used is that they ensure much faster construction of complex windows. Window templates are made from cavity closers which have become an essential component of the construction industry over the years. Cavity closers are comprised of a number of different parts, all neatly packaged into one, easy to install product. A rigid bricklaying template, a window acceptor, a damp-proof course and a thermal break between the inside and outside of the wall all make up a cavity closure. Once this has been installed, the window can be easily and quickly fitted, saving construction workers both time and money.

Cavity closers and window templates were first introduced in the 1980’s and since then have become more and more relied upon for quick and easy window installation. Windows in the home not only need to look good, but they also need to provide excellent security, noise reduction and insulation. In the winter months the heat needs to be retained, and in the summer months the heat from the sun needs to be kept at arm’s length. Cavity closers made of PVC-U fulfill all these functions well. Furthermore the material PVC-U is completely recyclable too which makes it a friend rather than a foe of the environment.

A PVC-U cavity closure ensures the total elimination of moisture around a window or on the glass. This can sometimes be a major problem with houses and can cause a great deal of damage. The effective seal and unique properties of this type of cavity closer remove this problem altogether. They are completely air tight and comply with all building regulations on this matter. They also come complete with an overhead vent with an external flush grill that improves their aesthetic appeal. Another feature of a PVC-U cavity closer is that they act as a brickwork template so the window itself can be easily fitted at a later date. This is a huge time saver for construction workers and builders who can complete the job much more quickly.

There is no other product as effective at sealing cavities around newly built walls and consequently they have become one of the essential components in any new-build project. They optimise productivity for those who are installing windows as much less time is required to do it. The spring-clip system allows pre-glazed windows to be “clipped” into place in no time at all. There is no adhesive required or any special tools needed to fit windows once a cavity closer is in place. The damp proof layer and effective moisture barrier continue to be effective for many years to come helping to keep a home completely dry and free from moisture. The PVC-U material lasts for decades too as it extremely hard wearing and durable. Despite this it is 100% recyclable unlike other types of plastic materials.

Cavity closers and cavity barriers made from PVC-U are completely recyclable, easy to install and allow huge time and monetary savings to be made. They do not harm the environment and are an efficient way to fit windows. The idea of a window template such as these has revolutionized the way windows are installed and removes the need for tools, equipment and specialist adhesives. The end result is a window that look great, is super strong, offers great protection and keeps noise levels to a minimum. The insulation offered is second to none too. They make the installation of glazed windows and even the fitting of a window board much easier to do, and that is how they have become invaluable to building teams across the world.

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Roller blinds: A perfect choice for your home & office

If you have completed decoration of your home and office except bathroom, kitchen and window of your living space and are planning to enhance internal beauty of these places with stylish decorative accessories, then roller blinds is perfect solution for you because apart from beautifying it also controls heat, magnifies the sunlight, prevents dust and proficiently maintain privacy. Furthermore, highly attractive roller blinds check unwanted noise from entering into the room and also maintain coolness and cleaning of office and corporate houses.

Roller blinds are effective for kitchen and bathrooms because waterproof roller blinds also available in the market. Before the advent of roller blinds, all of us were using old, outdated and traditional kinds of curtains that fail to prevent dust and unwanted noise and could not give the complete privacy to users. Today, roller blinds are favored as it occupies less space and look trendy as compared to conventional kinds of curtains. These roller blinds are made to fit your windows. They are not only providing privacy to your bathroom area but also ensure that your roller blind fabric is complete waterproof and the fabric doesn’t spoil from frequent splashes.

There are a wide rage of roller blinds are available in the market which are panel blinds, velux blinds, conservatory blinds, venetian blinds, roman blinds, blackout blinds and many more blinds to choose the perfect according to your requirement, theme of the wall of home, kitchen, bathrooms of office and corporate house. You can also choose the roller blinds according to your budget that suit you.

Choosing simple and plain roller blinds will not be advantageous because these blinds can be spoiled by water as these blinds are not waterproof therefore always use waterproof roller blinds for kitchen and bathroom. It also has the quality to offer the complete privacy to customer who have own these waterproof roller blinds. The other options are available to waterproof roller blinds, like the Venetian roller blinds that are also water resistant and give an alternate option for your bathroom windows.

The waterproof roller blinds are available in both with manual operation and motorised. Motorised blinds run on the electricity the help of remote control. You can choose one from either as per your requirement and budget because motorised blinds are little bit expensive. The plain and waterproof roller blinds are available in various colours such as gaudy orange, maroon, blue to sober cream, beige, and lilac. Choose the colours or roller blinds as per theme of your home and office.

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House Cleaning: Simply Easy

We’ve all had that period of time in which we simply didn’t have time to clean. Later, we regretted it, almost were attacked by dust bunnies, and then learned the value of keeping a good scrub brush handy.

However, there are some who cannot neglect house cleaning or have neglected it so much that if they were to allow the dust to kick up, it would cause respiratory problems. These people are those who have respiratory illnesses such as asthma.

Or perhaps you’re older and the house cleaning has fallen by the wayside as your health deteriorated or as your bones started to creak.

The point is, loads of people experience a period in time when they cannot clean the way that they would or did. It’s nothing that they can do–it just happens. But the question is, what can they do?

Luckily, cleaning companies are more than willing to come to the rescue. But you might be wondering–why hire a cleaning company? What should you look for in a cleaning company?

First of all, you need to understand that a cleaning company is not a maid service. Will they do your house cleaning? Yes! Will they do your dishes, laundry, and care for Fido? No. That is not their job–they do more deep cleaning than anything else.

For example, if your dishwasher has practically grown fangs, is running amok around your house, and is now sporting a rather ridiculous looking toupee (all exaggerated of course) because of how dirty it is, they will clean it. If you have a carpet that’s about ten different shades and none of them are its natural color, they’ll clean it (depending on if their service offers it).

However, before they come over, you need to clean up a little bit. Maybe this means picking up the socks that somehow made their way under the couch or simply washing a sink of dishes, but it needs to be done. It creates a better house cleaning workspace for the company and allows them to work quickly AND effectively.

Keep in mind that almost all of the modern day, UK cleaning companies have a website that you can use. This means that you can get any information that you would usually have to drag out of a representative right there and then, easily, and–best of all–on your time.

There are also companies that are using eco-friendly, safer house cleaning methods. This means that if you have asthma and usually have to duck out of the house while others are cleaning or risk having an asthma attack, then you won’t have to or won’t have to for as long. And let’s face it–a lot of cleaning products, whether we want to admit it or not–just smell. Sometimes they make our eyes water, sometimes it’s worse. Either way, the chemicals are putting off irritating fumes and NO one needs to be exposed to them!

It’s easy to find safe, eco-friendly companies that use these products; usually, they’re only a Google search away!

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The Many Benefits of a Sleeping Porch

Most people do not often sleep on their porches. However, it is the best of both worlds – you are somewhat indoors yet can feel the cool night breeze, watch the stars, and wake up to birds chirping and a lovely sunrise. Sleeping porches have been sued for centuries and are beginning to be more popular in recent years.

A sleeping porch is essentially a screened-in porch that is furnished with a place to sleep, normally a bed or a day bed. Screened-in porches are already common features of many homes that give homeowners a place to relax and spend time without being bit by bugs or affected by the weather. Think of your screened-in porch as a place that you can also sleep in as long as it is outfitted with the proper furniture to sleep.

In the spring and fall, when nights are cool, sleeping on your porch is a great thing to do. When it is hot in the summer, some people prefer sleeping outside on warm nights instead of opting for air conditioning inside that may keep you too cold. You can even use your sleeping porch as a place to enjoy a short afternoon nap, as the warmth will make you tired and put you to sleep quickly.

If you aren’t interested in sleeping on your porch, your kids may very well be. They love the adventure of sleeping outdoors, and this is a viable option for them that will keep the parents happy too. You will know that they are safe since they are inside an enclosed room, and they won’t have to worry about bugs, overnight rain, or dew on the ground when they wake up. They will be able to look back on the experience positively as well as get a good night’s sleep.

If you don’t already have a sleeping porch, you should consider installing a screened-in porch or adding the necessary furniture to sleep on. If you think that adding a full screened-in porch may be too much money for you to handle, you could take a lesser route and install a porch with a porch awning. You could still sleep under it since the awning will act as a layer of protection between you and the sun, although you will not have the comfort of screens around you. The choice is yours, but either one is a good one to make.

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Understanding How Ground Conditions Affect Your Conservatory or Orangery Build

When building a conservatory or orangery you will need an understanding of the soil and ground conditions before any work can be undertaken on the building foundations. Most conservatory or orangery companies do not provide ground work as part of their service so ideally you should find a company that does because the work can then be included within both the cost and guarantee. Given all of that it is a good idea to have some knowledge about how the ground conditions will affect your build, after all, it is what your conservatory or orangery will sit on.

Before any building work can be started an understanding of the subsoil strata will be required first. When doing this you will need to consider the following:

• The position of sewers.
• The position of inspection covers for drains.
• Whether the soil is clay or not.
• Whether the site is on reclaimed land or not.
• How close trees are to the proposed building.

Building over or near sewers
If your house was built prior to 1939 then it should have a private sewer system so it will not be owned by a local water authority. If unsure then just contact your local authority to find out. If you are building within 3 meters of a public sewer then legally you must contact the local water authority and consult with them before gaining their approval for the build. Allow time for this within your schedule. Also, you need to know the position of existing pipe work to ensure the extra weight cause no problems like cracks.

Building over inspection covers
If you plan to build over drainage inspection covers you really have two options, build over it or move it. Building over it can be an easy option but make your builders install a sealed screw down cover over the existing cover to prevent odours and gases coming into your new conservatory. This of course will affect your choice to flooring too. If there are no other inspection covers it may be worth moving it to a point where you can gain easy access. Remember blocked drains are not common but over the life span of the property they can occur, so if they do and your toilet facilities are overflowing, think how quickly and easily you will want to fix this!

Building on clay soils
Clay soil is subject to big changes in volume due to the moisture it carries. This volume change depends upon the make up of the fine particles that make up clay. Foundations within clay soils need to be a minimum of 1 meter but if the clay is very soft this may need to be deeper. A good builder will consult the local authority building inspector regarding this and this may need signed building regulations before you can insure your property.

Building on reclaimed land
Britain has limited space, a need for homes and a rich industrial past. All this means your property may be built on reclaimed land. This could be a brown fill site or old marsh land. What this means is that your conservatory or orangery may need different foundations to the standard build. This is not arduous as it used to be and it is now quite common to sink concrete bore holes into the ground so they rest of more solid ground. These bore holes then have concrete beams placed between them to provide a solid base. With access to the property and modern machinery this is not as big a job as it used to be, in fact one can even hire smaller bore hold diggers if access is restricted. That said it is still more work than normal foundations so this needs to be factored in.

Building near trees
Trees can take up so much moisture from the soil that this can cause subsidence. Therefore it is necessary to ensure you have the right foundations to avoid this problem if you are building your conservatory or orangery near trees. The guide is that if you are building within 35 meters then you could be affected. The type, the size and number of trees will clearly have a big impact on this. To help with this, the British Standard 5837 2005 “Guide for Trees in Relations to Construction” will be very helpful.

As with all of these considerations, it is a good idea to seek good advice on your particular build and it is a good idea to consider a conservatory or orangery company that include ground-works within their service so they can factor this into the build of your conservatory.

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Concrete Blades: Tips to Achieving Great Results

The use of concrete blades is growing rapidly on both commercial and residential construction projects. A big benefit of these blades is that they can be used for various applications such as walkway pavers, patios pavers, and sidewalk pavers, pavers for driveways, project entrances, and walkway through a city park, playgrounds and pool decks. Here are some of the valuable tips; some of the concrete contractors have shared with us. Hopefully, they will ignite your knowledge about concrete blades.

Determine Cutting Efficiency
Cutting ability is normally expressed as how much area the diamond saw blade can cut in unit time. It indicates the sharpness of the blade. The blade may be newly ground, keen, and sharp; or it may have been considerably dulled by use. This is the criterion that users should first consider. The teeth may be worn thin from long use, and not strong enough to stand the strain of maximum speed. The blade sharpness should match the operator’s cutting efficiency requirement. Generally, using coarser diamond grit or/and lower diamond concentration can improve the sharpness of the blade.

Determine Diamond Concentration

Diamond concentration greatly affects the performance of a diamond saw blade. The ideal cutting result will not be attained, if the concentration is too low or too high. It is when, the concentration increases, the diamond blade’s sharpness and cutting efficiency drop, while its service life increases. So where you need high efficiency, diamond blades with low diamond concentration and coarse diamond grit are popular.

Determine Service Life

Proper curing of concrete blades is important to ensure that they meet their intended performance and durability requirements. The aim is to provide the best possible estimate of the service life of concrete blades. In other words, exact determination of service life but reasonable answers should be the objectives. Service life is normally measured with the total area the diamond blade can cut. When a certain specification of material is cut, this criterion can be also met how long the blade can cut. It signifies the durability of the blade. When the operator is satisfied with the blade’s cutting efficiency, its service life should then be paid attention to. Generally, higher diamond concentration or/and finer diamond grit can enhance the blade’s service life.

The design options and customization choices are nearly endless with concrete blades providing you with a palette of opportunity to create a one-of-a-kind surface. With a handful of the above useful tips, you should be able to select a competent and high-quality concrete blade for your job.

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