3 DIY Solar Projects to Reduce Your Electric Bills Today

Home solar power systems have become a great renewable energy alternative. Unlike fossil fuels, such as coal or oil, solar power is freely available and can provide sufficient electricity to people wherever the sun shines. So as long as the sun is shining, your home solar power system will be producing electricity for you and saving you money for many years.

If you have researched solar power in the past and decided to pass on installing solar because of the cost, then you should check into solar again. You will be surprised on what you will find this time. Federal government and many state and local agencies offer significant tax breaks to install solar power systems in your home. These incentives alone will reduce your initial investment and make the system more affordable.

Doing the project yourself with a solar home kit will cost you far less money than professionally installed systems. You can convert any type of home or business into one that creates electricity from solar energy.

For many do-it-yourself-ers, the world of solar energy is untapped because most people are unaware of what things are possible with solar energy. Let’s discuss three of these Solar Projects that a person who likes to do it yourself might consider tackling:

1. Solar Panels

Solar panels are a very popular project for people that like to do it themselves. Not only are they one of the most efficient ways to save on electricity, but also solar power is a reliable form of renewable energy that does not emit harmful by-product likes traditional energy production.

Solar cells, also referred to as photovoltaic cells (photo=light, voltaic=of or producing electricity), are grouped and connected together in a single frame called a panel. These panels are a great way to collect sunlight and convert it to energy that can be used for electricity.

Thanks to technology it is much easier to build your own solar panel. In addition there are several guides available to help you with this process. Be sure to do your research and choose a reputable DIY guide that clearly illustrates how to build your own solar panel.

2. Solar Water Heaters

Every household enjoys hot water but did you know that approximately 30% of all home energy costs are being spent on heating water? Whether you are doing dishes, washing clothes, taking a bath, or just washing your hands, when you turn on the water you expect hot water to be available. A lot of energy is required for a water heater to supply a household with hot water, which makes your monthly bill costly.

A solution to reduce your expenses related to keeping your water hot would be to install a Solar Water Heater. No special tools are needed and with a basic understanding of wiring and plumbing connections, you can do this project yourself.

A quality DIY manual that gives you each step by step process of how to build and install this system is needed.

3. Solar Air Heaters

Do you notice the cost to heat your home rising every winter? Since the sun provides heat all year round, let us explore how you can take advantage of it during the cold days of winter.

Using solar thermal technology, a solar air heater produces heat from the sun so your heating system does not have to operate as often during the day. Supplementing your existing heating system with solar air heating will dramatically reduce your heating costs by as much as 30%.

Many people have developed DIY guides that show various distinctive ways of building solar heaters, and although their materials and methods are different, the results are the same: a successful and fully-functional solar heater.

Adding solar energy alternatives into your home design is not a difficult process at all using DIY guides. Each of these projects can be completed separately. Give it a try. Chances are you might even find that you have fun!

As mentioned above, the most important thing you need is a detailed guide that shows you step by step how to get the required parts and put them together to build your solar project. A well organized guide will help you reduce the amount of time you spend building it and the totally money spent on your project.

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10 X 12 Shed Plans – 3 Important Things to Consider When Choosing a Design

10 X 12 shed plans are a very common & popular design for the do it yourself crowd. If this is the size shed you are going to build, here are some important things to consider when choosing your 10 X 12 shed plans.

The first point to consider is whether to go with free plans or to purchase plans. The temptation will be to save money by going with free plans. Resist that temptation at all costs. My experience has been that free plans are worth exactly what you pay for them, nothing. Many of these free plans have unclear or missing instructions & may lack critical measurements or give incorrect measurements. As we will soon see, purchasing good 10 X 12 shed plans will be very inexpensive compared to loss of time if you have to recut your lumber because it was too long, or worst yet, lost materials if your free ones tell you to cut them too short.

Another thing to consider when choosing your 10 X 12 shed plans is what type of foundation you will build on. Regardless of the type you choose, you will want to make sure the ground you are building on is graded properly & well drained. A dirt floor is acceptable for pole barn type construction, but if your shed’s walls are framed it will need to sit on a more solid foundation. If your area is well drained 6 inches of crushed gravel may be sufficient. Raising the shed off the ground with concrete blocks & placing the floor supports on the blocks will keep the shed solid & keep drainage from being a problem. A concrete slab would be the best option, but may be out of the scope of possibility for most do it yourself shed builders. A properly built, level foundation will prevent problems such as doors & windows that don’t open or sagging walls caused by the foundation settling. A good set of plans will help you with your foundation.

A final consideration when choosing your 10 X 12 shed plans is what type of roof you will place on your shed. This is of special importance if you live in an area that gets heavy snowfall. If this is the case a saltbox or gabled roof with a steep pitch will allow the snow to slide off. Snow accumulation can put your shed under thousands of extra pounds of stress. Designing your roof accordingly can help you avoid disaster later. Other popular roof types include the classic Gambrel design, (think of the old barns with the Chew Mail Pouch Tobacco ads painted on them), or the hipped design that recesses the ends of a gable roof to form somewhat of a pyramid shape.

Individual shed plans can be purchased for as little as $9.99 to $29.99 a piece. One disadvantage of individual plans is that one plan may not have all the features you may require. A popular & recent development is digitally delivered plans that offer hundreds or thousands of designs for one low price. The advantage here is that you have more than one plan to consider for only a little more money than an individual plan. These packages often contain plans for many other projects as well, making them even more valuable if you like to take on projects.

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About Ryan Henderson’s Woodworking Guide: Commonly Asked Questions

My Shed Plans – it is the new rave among the DIY (do-it-yourself) products currently available in the World Wide Web. It is a comprehensive eBook which includes how-to guides on making woodcraft. It is written by Ryan Henderson who is an accomplished figure in the industry, thus making him qualified in writing the guide. And if you are seeking to know more about his product, then you are in the right place.

Is it for everyone? Some DIY guides tend to have very complicated procedures that they seem to be made for professionals or those with background in the industry. The My Shed Plans on the other hand caters to everyone. It contains 12,000 different design drafts and there are patterns for beginners and professionals alike.

What does the guide include? The guide contains guides on making all sorts of wood works imaginable. You will find guides about the usual things you see at home such as tables, bed, sofas, chairs, cabinets, and shelves. You will also find random stuff like bird house, dog house, play house, and the like. It has almost everything about wood.

Is it easy to understand? Some guides tend to use terminologies and advanced approaches that are simply irreprehensible to many individuals. This is especially true if the person has no background in woodworking at all. That is why Ryan Henderson made his guide very easy to understand. Its step-by-step approach is easy to follow and anyone will learn.

Does it cover the basics for beginners? You may be presented with a well-put blueprint for wooden furniture. But if you do not know the basics of carpentry, you will fail in delivering a finished product that is well-made and properly polished. At best, it could end up as a child’s work. That is why My Shed Plans also includes basic carpenter tips for everyone.

Is it worth my money? Definitely! Yes you will spend for the product but considering how much you will learn, it is a very good bargain. Imagine having in your hands a compilation of 12,000 different blueprints. You could practically start your own woodworking business with that. Of course, that is after you master the craft.

Is it a scam? Ryan Henderson gives a good money-back offer if you are not satisfied of the product. Also, his product has already received a lot of positive comments online. With so many that already purchased it, it has already been proven that the product is real and effective.

So do you now know enough about the eBook titled My Shed Plans? Everything about it is simply cool and reeks with quality. If you want to start in woodworking industry this is the product to buy.

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5 Top Tips Before Starting Your Wood Craft Project

If your starting a new creative wood craft project there are a few things I would like you to consider first before diving straight in. My first thought is that you have some interest in woodworking or you would not be here reading my advice.

My first bit of advice is quite important, make sure you use a good wood craft plan for your project, then with your plan you can also add other things to enhance your project but I will get to that later.

1.Select the correct wood craft pattern and project for you.

It’s always best to have some sort of idea of what type of project you will be starting, if you don’t you will not know what kind of pattern to look for. Saying that, if you are a bit undecided it also helps looking over different woodworking patterns you can purchase, this may give you inspiration for your project. Once you have made your mind up on the project you wish to do there will be some pointers I can give that will be helpful about the pattern.

When your are ready to choose your desired pattern, make sure you choose one that is best suited to your level and current ability. Many wood craft patterns will supply a rating to give you an idea if it’s suitable for you. Smile ratings like beginner, intermediate and advanced. So try choose a pattern that is best suited. Good patterns will be very detailed in the instructions so look out for simple written guides that leave you scratching your head.

2.Be sure that you choose a pattern with diagrams also a materials list.

There are obvious reasons for choosing a woodworking pattern with diagrams as it’s easier to build what you see, also your more inspired when you can see your project’s end result. Also a good note is to find a pattern with diagrams for every step.

3. It’s best to buy Patterns which include a Parts and Materials list.

It is such a good time saver having your Wood craft plans containing this vital information. Another good reason for this is that your material list needs to be compatible with your project so it’s best to start with the proper tools and materials so you can get the job done first time. Also a good tip is not to scrimp on the quality of your material try get good quality for a great quality finish.

4. The Necessities other than the Pattern

Right so it makes sense to have an easy to follow wood craft pattern as I have mentioned. The next step make sure you have the proper woodworking tools in order to get the best results for project. In the odd case though it’s not always a bad thing to improvise if you do not have the correct tool for a particular segment of the project. In addiction, for safety reasons and also saving you frustration it’s always best to have the right sized working space for your wood craft creation.

5. Last but not least

So your nearly there you have pretty much finished the construction side of your project, now is not the time to stop.The finishing touches are what create the final master piece. There is nothing worse taking away the end results beauty by not finishing your work properly. All wood piece’s require some type of protection, the best protection will be determined by what type of wood craft project you do and what it will be used for and so on. Any major woodworking store or wood smith will be able to advise on the best protection for your piece.

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3 Reasons to Build a DIY Pergola

When undertaking any DIY project it is important to weigh the pros and cons before starting. Some projects can save you a ton of money buy doing it yourself, while others are probably best to leave up to a professional. A DIY pergola is no different, but there are some distinct advantages to undertaking this project yourself. A pergola is fairly easy to construct with the right plan. Here are a few of the pros of a DIY pergola:

1. Save money by doing it yourself
This is obviously one of the stand out advantages of any project your can do yourself. Contractors can get very pricey when you get them involved! The cost of labor is often times the most expensive area when everything is said and done. By cutting out the middle man you can purchase better materials and design your structure just how you want it.

2. Add value to your home
Any home improvement project should have the value of your home in mind. Increasing the value of your home by adding a pergola you love is a best case scenario. By building a DIY pergola you are able to get a bigger return on your investment. This is due to the lower cost involved if done correctly. When deciding where to build your pergola keep in mind the option that makes the most sense for your home. An “attached” or “free-standing” design are the two options you have. Both can be fairly easy to build with the right plans and will no doubt increase the value of your home.

3. Improve your outdoor area
It is a personal decision on what you want your DIY pergola to accomplish. Some build it for their garden, others for their pool or hot tub, and others for their patio or grilling area. Whatever the case, a pergola can improve the look of your outdoor space and make it more functional. Improve your garden, add a little shade while you flip some burgers, or just have a nice place to relax in the hot tub!

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3 Reasons You Should Use Woodworking Project Plans

Ever consider you might use woodworking project plans and improve your carpentry skills? A number of people have actually done that. Almost all never take steps in making their dream a real possibility. Many get tangled up within the doubts and negatives, because of this they never get to take advantage of the positives.

Let’s just hold on here now. We took on a big dose of negatives first in the lead paragraph. Let’s consider three reasons why you should use woodworking plans to assist you in your project and help you achieve maximum success when it comes to constructing something new from wood.

Firstly, on the positive side, allow me to point out that by careful planning you will achieve your desired result. O.K., I hear your objection, that I havnt got time to plan. It is a valid objection, I agree. However, allow me to provide for your attention the point that by using a decent set of plans will save you time allowing you to concentrate on your project..

Secondly, you truly should consider that having everything laid out for you will save you heaps of money. And, likewise, energy, as less trips required to the hardware store plus, better yet, all measurements and amounts of materials are all included.

Third and lastly, you will get to admire your finished project, which will mean that you can show all your friends and family, who will no doubt be impressed with your carpentry skills. You might even be able to share some helpful tips with them.

Within all of the above info lies a pretty good set of reasons in favor of using plans to help you when considering a woodworking project and by believing in yourself will ensure you get the job done to a high standard. What do You think?

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3 Tips for Building the Right Chicken Coop

A building that houses chickens, is known as a chicken coop. They are generally built with nest boxes and perches for birds to lay eggs and rest, and are preferably built with an outside run. The floors of the chicken house are scattered with materials like straw or wooden chips both on the inside and outside. This is to facilitate easy clean up of the coop. They have to be well ventilated to allow air circulation and help odor out.

To get started with a chicken coop you may need to consider a few aspects. Here are some tips to guide you and help you create a plan.

  • A chicken coop is a safe retreat for chickens to lay eggs. Before building a coop, make a local study of the environment where you would like to build it. You may have to implement changes to your plan depending upon the local surroundings. Consult your local council to understand the animal welfare responsibilities if any. Local conditions also impact the construction of the run. The type of wild and domestic animals that may be lurking around the chicken house may pose a greater threat to the free movement of the young birds. Hence, such factors have to be considered to determine the type of shed that needs to be built.
  • Before you start with your creative construction. Draft a blue print with clear ideas. Keep your construction stock and materials sufficient. Cut your materials according to the required sizes. Skids, Floor joints and boundary joint, corner studs, roof and wall frames, nesting perch and perch support, flooring, wall cladding, nesting boxes, roofing and under roofing boards, litter boards, nails, hinges, latches, bolt, window catches, acrylic sheets and wire mesh are few of the important requirements that you may need to build your coop. Though wood is the most common material used for a chicken coop. You may also revamp your old shed, use PVC pipes or scrap lumber Budget your expenses, decide on the total cost and allocate for your expenses accordingly.
  • A well designed shed generally allows space for minimum of eight chickens to rest. When you plan to build a coop allow ample space for light and ventilation. Plan for a storage area and a chicken hatchway.Its better to prefer for a door that opens inward. This allows easy access and cleaning. If essential you may set up a feeder system and a water container. Construct your coop as per your flock count.

You may also consider designing a portable chicken coop if you feel that there is insufficient space in your lawn for your chickens to move around. A movable coop is called the “chicken tractor”. This will help you relocate the house every few days as per your desire. This is beneficial for the chickens free run. Chicken dropping also provide fertilizer from which your lawn may benefit. So plan your design, make use of these useful tips to build a comfortable home for your young birds.

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10 Quick Tips to Installing Your Own PV System

Assuming your desired location of installation is facing true south, you are ready to install your PV (photovoltaic) system. Be sure that there is no shading that can or could occur. You want to keep into account that tree(s) do grow, neighbors can be jerks, and cities can implement electrical or light posts/poles, so keep that in mind.

Here are 10 quick tips to installing your own PV system.

1. Safety first – Making sure that you are safe in every aspect of the installation is key. That includes a harness, rope tie-off, PPE (personal protective equipment), stabilizing the ladder, using appropriate tools for each task, and another person assisting you, in case of an emergency.

2. Site Evaluation – Make sure to measure your mounting plane, and that your roof can handle the system load weight. Solar panels/modules are generally a little less than 40″ wide. Be sure to get the exact measurement when you decide which solar panels you want to use on your home. Don’t forget to include the gap between the panels (.5″ to 1″ depending on attachment/racking) so keep that in mind.

3. Plan – Map out where you would like the conduit to be going. There are many options, such as: Having it installed through the roof (into your attic) thus leading into your garage. Another is securing the conduit to the top of the roof and having the system components outside of your house. It is also common to paint the conduit to match its background. These are the most popular methods, but every house is different. Plan Accordingly!

4. Educate yourself – Research products that would be necessary. This includes attachment, racking, module attachment, wire control methods, inverter, disconnects, conduit, wire lengths/runs, and miscellaneous parts/pieces to hold all of these together. Keep in mind the type of roof you have as well, shingle, tile, standing seam, etc.

5. Reach out – You will need to find an electrician to connect the system. You’ll also have to find a local company or manufacturer to get the solar panels.

6. Know the code – You will need to check with the city on how far you can have your modules to the ridge, eaves, and hips, mainly for fire access and extra attachment (racking) for windy/stormy regions.

7. Keep it clean – Be sure that vehicles or other property are out of the fall zone. You don’t want your box of lag bolts rolling off the roof, onto your windshield, or anyone else’s. This is also necessary for safety. The less there is to create a hazardous environment, the better.

8. Laying Panels – After you have the racking done, you are ready to lay your modules. There are a couple of safe ways to get your panels from the ground to the roof. One is simply having another person handing them up to you. Another is to secure a rope to the back of the module and pull it up the ladder. You can also carry the modules with one arm while climbing up the ladder. Don’t forget about the wind and fatigue factors when laying your modules.

9. Maintenance – After your system has been installed, you will want to make sure that the panels and conduit are still in great condition. Squirrels, birds, insects, and mother nature can affect your system. Clean your modules every 6 months for optimal performance, and make sure module wires haven’t been chewed.

10. Hire a local solar company – In some areas, it makes a lot of sense to have a company install your solar system, rather than doing it yourself. Benefits of hiring a local solar company include the tax credits, not having to purchase your own tools, and helping out the local economy. I can bet that the company installing your system will do an outstanding job, and have plenty experience doing it.

Making sure all missed penetrations are sealed with caulking and flashing is a MUST. This will ensure that leaks will not become an issue. You will also want to fill exposed conduit with caulking so insects don’t turn it into a breeding ground.

If you have any questions use YouTube, feel free to call/email the manufacturer, or even contact a local solar company to see what they recommend.

8 Steps To Building Your Own Solar Panels From The Comfort Of Your Home

Are you are thinking of building solar panels at home?
Do you want to install solar power systems to generate electricity?
Do you want to this all by yourself?
Do you want to do it in the comfort of your home?
Are you concerned about the well-being of the planet and would like to make Earth a better place for our descendants?

Is the answer is “yes” to all the above questions? Then, you have come to the right place. In this article we will discuss the steps to build your own home solar panels. Also, you can make a start on reducing your dependence on polluting fossil fuels with this simple but effective step of moving towards solar energy.

Building photovoltaic solar energy panels is simple if you know how to do it.

Before you start the process of building these panels you need a good tutorial. Buy or download a step-by-step guide or a tutorial to building a solar panel. Loads of such manuals are available in the market today. With the help of these guides you can become an expert in a few days time. Make the solar energy project a family one and your whole family can have fun making them. When completed you will save on energy bills over years to come.

First step is to look at your energy bills and find out how much power in terms of wattage you consume on an average every month. Some months your usage will be much higher than the average. With these numbers in mind you will need to plan for your solar panels. More wattage means more panels. If you want to reduce your costs then make your home more energy-efficient before you install your solar power system.

Decide on the location to place your panels. Choose a sunny spot that does not have trees or building casting shadows over it. Your ideal location should allow the panels to capture the maximum amount of solar rays. Best will be the terrace or if you own a farm then open spaces are ideal for setting up your solar farm.

Basically, there are 8 steps to making solar panels. You will find them in any DIY manual.

1. Measure and cut the plywood into sections and make sure all the solar cells can fit into these sections.
2. Now, using UV-protective varnish paint the plywood sections.
3. Connect all the solar cells to each other using wires and solder them in place.
3. Using silicon caulk dabs attach the solar cells over the plywood.
4. In the last two solar panels make two holes for the wires to be pulled out.
5. Seal the holes with silicon beads once the wires are pulled through.
6. Make holes in the plexiglass to fix screws in them.
7. Construct a frame to support the plexiglass.
8. Using silicon and screws attach the plexiglass frame to the plywood containing the solar cells.

Your solar panel is ready. Once you start you will find that it is simple and easy to build solar panels right at home. Make this your weekend project. You will be saving hundreds of dollars in your energy bills over the years. You will also be helping make Earth a greener planet.

Click the links below to learn more about how to set up your solar power systems, cut down on your energy bills and reduce your carbon footprint while reversing global warming.

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5 Steps to the Perfect DIY Paint Job

As a decorator who has worked with some of the industry’s best professionals I must say that there are few things in a home that are a beautiful as a great paint job. Elegant, understated and timeless; a well painted room is a joy to behold and provides the perfect back ground for any and all decorating. At the same time a poorly painted room disappoints on all levels.

House painting as a trade dates back to the 13th century when the first painting guilds were formed. The Worshipful Company of Painters-Stainers was officially acknowledged by the Mayor of London in 1502. This became an early organization dedicated to the standardization of the craft of painting as well as a keeper of the trade secrets which propelled and supported its members businesses throughout England.

Today the art and craft of professional painters remains an important part of the building trades. But at the same time ordinary folk, like you and I, have fired up their computers (thank goodness for YouTube tutorials), grasped their brushes firmly in hand and have begun painting their own rooms.

For a masterful looking finished product here are this decorators best suggestions for the perfect DIY paint job:

1. Buy the Best Brush. Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking that a roller offers the best (I mean very best) result. They don’t. A brushed on finish is the most highly regarded finish possible. But whether you’re buying brushes or rollers (if time is of the essence then roll away!) always buy the best tool your budget can afford. And know which tool works best with the type of paint you are using. Oil or latex products each demand specific and correct tools to maximize their finished effect. A bit of knowledge here will go a long way toward a better finished product. Skimping on these important tools will greatly diminish your end results.

2. Prep is King. The best paint jobs start with the most thorough preparation. This means cleaning, sanding and priming every surface you intend to paint. The better your preparation the finer the finished product.

3. Tape as a Last Resort. With a bit of practice you’ll be surprised how proficient you can become “cutting in” a painted edge rather than relying on blue tape to product a clean edge. Tape is the lazy way (and it more than doubles the time and energy of a job. The real pros know how to cut and edge and it shows in the beauty of their work.

4. Oil-based Trim. While there are latex products that approach the smooth clean finish of oil (Sherwin Williams ProClassics and Benjamin Moore’s Impervo) nothing gives trim the super-smooth finish of an oil-based paint. So if a deluxe look is what you are after opt for the oil every time.

5. Know when to touch and when not to touch. Everyone makes mistakes when painting. The key to correcting those mistakes beautifully is to do so with as little intervention as possible. Feathering in a run or splash while the paint is still wet and malleable is perfect. Try the same move when the surface has dried enough to be “tacky” and you have a mess on your hands. Be very conscious state of dryness of your paint surface. Far better to come back once everything is completely dry to address a correction than to make an even bigger mess by trying to manipulate a “tacky” wall or panel.

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