Monthly Archives: May 2017

How Do Wireless Motion Detectors Work

How Do Wireless Motion Detectors Work

Motion sensors, as their name suggests, detect motion over a limited distance through infrared heat sensors. They can transmit their response to motion, through radio frequency transmitters. These devices are mainly used as home security devices.

Working

Wireless motion sensors are designed to detect rapid motion in a specific area around them. They spot movement through detection of rapid changes in infrared radiation, incident on them.

There are certain crystalline materials that show pyroelectric effect. That is, when heat in the form of infrared radiation is incident on them, they generate a current on their surface. These crystals are very sensitive to small changes in infrared radiation and therefore, the current they generate, changes accordingly. Such crystalline material wafers are used as thermal sensors. Every object, which has a quantity of heat, radiates infrared radiation. The human body emits infrared radiation, which is around a wavelength of 9.4 micrometers. Motion of a human body, therefore, creates changes in the local infrared radiation pattern, in the vicinity of the sensor.

The incident infrared radiation is focused on the sensor by a ‘Fresnel lens’, which is made up of a material that is transparent to radiation, between 8-15 micrometer range. This frequency range is used specifically so that human movements are detectable. The Fresnel lens is a plano-convex lens, with the convex part diminished or made thinner. The convex part faces the sensor crystal and focuses infrared radiation from a limited angular range on the crystal. Movement within an angular range of 80°, in front of these sensors, can be detected this way.

To summarize, they have a pyroelectric crystal that acts as a sensor, fitted with a Fresnel lens. The change in heat around the sensor generates electrical signals, which are passed through an appropriate electrical circuit, that measures the pulse width and the rapidity of change.

It is important that environmental heat changes and temperature changes due to sunlight, do not trigger the response of the sensor. So, to avoid the triggering by these factors, sensors which monitor ambient temperature and heat changes are installed.

The thing that differentiates a human body movement, from an environmental heat change, is the rapidity of change in radiation pattern. So, the electrical feedback system of the motion sensor is designed such that, only rapid changes in motion, that create rapid changes in electrical signal output, are detected.

Once it detects motion this way, there are transmitters inside the device, which relay radio signals and switch on lights instantly, or create any other kind of programmed response like activating an alarm.

How to Set Up A Wireless Motion Sensor Security System?

The sensor comes as a single unit, which can be coupled with your light devices outside the house, by using a radio frequency base receiver. The base receiver can be connected to many light devices, which can be instantly switched on, as a response to motion detection. You can set up the motion detector in the porch or around the house, where you suspect intrusion.

If any motion is detected during the night, it lights up the porch lights or triggers an alarm. It also has an inbuilt timer, which switches off the lights, if no motion is detected for a prefixed amount of time, after the first instance. The outside casing is made weather-resistant, as well as tamper-proof, with a specially designed screw.

The sensor, coupled with a video surveillance security system, can be an effective deterrent and prevent burglaries and trespassing on property. Such devices are essential for protection of vital assets.

It can also be used indoors, as an electricity saving mechanism, which switches off lights in the room automatically, if there is no movement for a specific period of time. So, it can help in bringing down unnecessary wastage of electricity and reduce your power bills.

With devices like these sensors around, one can rest easy about home security and enjoy a good

How to Install a Vapor Barrier

How to Install a Vapor Barrier

The building envelope comprises the following physical structures – foundation, roof, doors and windows. These physical structures protect the building from external physical dangers, but they are permeable enough to transfer water vapor from the air into the insides of the building or vice versa. Water vapor can harm the insulation of the building, apart from causing physical damage to the walls, windows, and other physical structures. Thus arises the need of a vapor barrier. A vapor barrier refers to any physical structure made up of plastic or metal foil, which prevents the diffusion of moisture from external surroundings to the internals of a building. it can be used to protect the floor, ceilings and walls of a building from moisture intrusion. It is sometimes referred as a vapor retarder, as it retards or stops the flow of moisture into the interiors. But these barriers are often excluded from the construction plan or are just installed incorrectly.

Purpose of a Vapor Barrier
As was mentioned earlier, a vapor barrier helps prevent the diffusion of moisture and water into the interiors of a building. The moisture can cause lots of harm, as it can affect the insulation system of the building. Due to changes in the atmospheric pressure, especially in the winter season, water vapor travels from the interiors of a building to the outside surface, which is comparatively much cooler. As the temperature of the vapor reaches dew point, the water vapor condenses. Condensation harms all the building envelope components, no matter what they are made of. It causes the wooden structures to rot and also rusts the steel. Installing a vapor barrier prevents this condensation problem and thus also prevents the insulation system from damage. Note that water vapor can permeate the building from anywhere, be it the basement (through the soil), walls (surrounding air), or even the roof.

Installing One

Aluminum foil
Polythene plastic sheet
Glass sheets
Metal sheets
Vapor retarder paints
Paper backed aluminum
Asphalt-coated kraft paper
Extruded polystyrene
Metalized film

Vapor barriers are preferred by home owners who want to prevent their house structures from water damage. They are literally a requirement in chilly weather conditions, and should be installed on the insides of the building envelope. It should preferably be installed on the warmer side of the insulation. This is because, water vapor condensation (which is to be prevented) occurs when the water vapor moves from the warm side of the wall to the cold side. Barriers should preferably be installed on the inside of the rooms, and installing them on both the sides of the insulation should be avoided, as it taps harmful amounts of moisture. The installation is very easy and can be done by anyone.

Step 1: The surface on which the barrier is to be installed should be dry and free from any kinds of debris. Fill all the gaps, like on the window sides or on the doors with caulk. This would make the surface consistent and plain.
Step 2: Choose a proper material for the vapor barrier. The most commonly used material for vapor bags is polythene. They are available in different sizes (from 8 feet to 20 feet) and also thickness. Just make sure that the material you choose is of good quality. Now spread this material on the surface neatly. When installing it on the wall, make sure that the material is enough and some part of it falls below the base level. This will prevent the water from seeping in again into the walls.
Step 3: To fix the barrier, you just need to nail or staple it. Nailing or stapling the barrier is just enough to keep it fixed.
Step 4: Seal the creases using a waterproof tape. There are specially designed tapes available for this very purpose.
Step 5: To prevent damage to the newly installed barrier, apply finish to the wall within 1 month. You are done.

Hope the article will help you install a vapor barrier. This will help you prevent the corrosion of the walls due to moisture, and safeguard the walls and other house structures for a long time.

Vacation Safety Tips for Your Home

Vacation Safety Tips for Your Home

The commonest of mistakes that people make, when out of their homes, is to leave their house keys under doormats or in the potted plants which hang outside their door. Everyone, including the burglars and thieves “know” such locations and there are high chances of them finding your house keys, if you too do the same! House break-ins occur anywhere, anytime. Their incidences particularly increase during the holiday time, when families are out on a vacation. That’s why, if you are planning a vacation and nobody’s going to be there in your house for a long period of time, it is advised that you take certain precautions, to keep your house safe!

List of Home Safety Tips while on Vacation

# 1: When out on a vacation, be careful as to whom to tell and not tell about your plans. As far as possible, avoid discussing your plans with neighbors, colleagues and other acquaintances whom you do not know that well. Also, do not leave a voice mail message on the phone or keep such a status message on any website which tells others that you are out of town for long. You never know, how this information can be misused by others!

# 2: There are some clues which can give away that you are out on a vacation. For instance, if the newspapers keep on piling at your door or if the grass in your lawn is not mowed for long, someone can conclude that the home owners are away. So, make sure that you take care of all such things, before going out on a vacation. For stopping the delivery of newspapers, you will have to call up the newspaper circulation department. As for the grass, probably you can ask one of your close friends or immediate neighbors, whom you trust, to get it mowed regularly.

# 3: Lock the doors and windows of your house before you set out on a vacation. Cross check that you have properly closed the garage door and basement windows, as these are usually overlooked. After all, the last thing that you want to do is to give an open invitation to thieves, to enter your house!

# 4: Try to maintain such a look in your house which gives an illusion that somebody is staying in there. For instance, you can ask a friend or a neighbor whom you trust, to park their car, once in a while, in your garage. If you can request them to maintain your outside garden and yard, even better. Set timers on the lights and preferably, on a radio too. The lights will go on and off in various rooms, plus the radio will play sometimes. This will make any possible intruders think that someone is in the house.

# 5: One of the most useful tips is to inform your local police department about the time period you will be away from home. Sometimes, they might keep a check on your house and the neighborhood. This would prevent people who do not reside in the neighborhood, from entering.

# 6: Have your home security system in place. Inform the company that you will be gone and how to contact you, while you are on a vacation, if there is an emergency. Preferably, give a local contact person’s name and phone number, in case a mis-eventuality takes place.

# 7: Do not leave cash or jewelry in your home. Deposit it in a bank or keep it in a home safe, before you set out holidaying. Also, the electricity, water and gas supply should be cut off, so as to ensure electrical safety in the home. This will also ensure that there is no fire or flooding in the house, in your absence.

# 8: Leave your emergency contact number with a trusted friend or neighbor. This way, if any untoward incident takes place, you can be informed immediately.

How to Remove White Stains from Wood Furniture

How to Remove White Stains from Wood Furniture

Picture this, you are at a friend’s place, helping him or her set the table for dinner. You are handed a hot, steaming pot of soup or gravy and you set it down, unthinkingly on the elegant wooden dinner table, without a coaster or place-mat. Either your folly is noticed immediately or after the dinner is over and the dishes are being removed. The proof of your misdeed is a big, white spot marring the table’s surface. It can happen with that expensive coffee table, you got as a gift or an old favorite chest of drawers, that has seen one too many days. Never mind the hows and the whys, there is a white spot on your wooden furniture piece, how does one get rid of it?

White stains can be rings, vague circles or cloud-like large spots or stains. They can be raised or flat and appear as if a film or layer has been painted onto the surface of the wood. Such stains should not be confused with watermarks, which are transparent and slightly raised. White spots or stains are caused by keeping hot vessels or objects on the furniture’s surface. Wait a minute, isn’t that what furniture is for? Keeping things on? Yes but treated and polished wood and various types of furniture finishes, are delicate and very sensitive to heat.

Here’s what might happen – the chemicals used on furniture react to the increase in temperature and compounds are formed or chemical reactions take place, that oxidize or burn the wood. The obvious change in color is a visible indicator of such a reaction. Keeping hot pans, cookery, plates, glasses, mugs or food containers, even take out cartons and pizza boxes on a wooden surface will cause these unsightly marks to appear. Laying a tablecloth or covering the surface with a towel or cloth can prevent a stain from occurring but depending on the furniture’s surface and the heat of the object, results may vary.

Even keeping a moist glass or beverage holder can cause a white watermark. Such stains are also called steam stains, as the steam from a hot object causes a chemical reaction. Of all the forms of wooden furniture care, removing wood furniture stains which are white and cloudy in appearance, is a puzzler but fret not. Below are some helpful tips and tricks to removing such spots.

Removing White Stains from Wood Furniture

Before going any further, keep in mind that the success of a white stain eradicating operation is dependent on the wood used in the furniture, the finishing, polishing or treatment used, how long the hot object was kept on the furniture and the extent of the burn. That being said, the following methods are all suggestions and home remedies to avoid the alternative of refinishing. With rubbing materials and mixes, try the mix on a small, non-visible or hidden area of the furniture to avoid creating a new stain.

I. Spread a cotton towel or T-shirt over the white spot or sports. Do not use a thick towel. Set an iron to “steam” heat setting and place it on the towel, above the stain. Leave the iron on the towel for just around 1 minute, then take it off. Wipe any residue moisture left on the table. If you are worried about the heat worsening the stain, you can slowly move the iron around the spot area or even hover the iron and let the steam fall directly on the spot. The trick is to turn the steam on. Do not place the iron on the table for a long time as you can end up damaging the furniture. You can finish off by wiping the area with a bit of olive oil or mineral oil.

II. Use a hair dryer, keep the heat setting at medium or low and direct the heat of the hair dryer on the spot. Use a dry, soft cloth to wipe off the spot.

III. Use a triple 0 grade (000) steel wool to rub the spot out. But be very careful and gentle while rubbing, as steel wool is very harsh and you could rub the wooden surface out!

IV. Mix cigarette ashes and butter or lemon juice or cooking oil. Rub the spot with a cloth dipped in this abrasive mix. Wipe clean with soft cloth. This method may need to be repeated and some pressure should be applied while rubbing.

V. Mix rottenstone and linseed oil to form a thin paste. Rub gently (this paste is very abrasive) on the spot. Do not rub too hard or put too much paste, as the mix will cut deep into the wood’s surface. Keep checking to see if the spots disappear, if they do, stop rubbing and wipe clean with a cloth.

VI. Using your finger, dip in mineral oil, then in salt. Use your finger, now coated, to rub the spot with a circular motion, and wipe out the spot slowly.

VII. With polished wood that has a wax or lacquer finish, apply some mayonnaise to the spot, leave for an hour and then wipe off the mayonnaise. Then apply polish. Other rubbing in substances that could be used, include:

Denatured alcohol (small quantity)
Liquid furniture polish
½ cup ammonia and water mixed
Baking soda or salt mixed with water
Vinegar and olive oil mixed to form a liquid
Baking soda and toothpaste (non-gel type) paste

If with the above techniques, you are successful in removing white spots off your furniture, then make sure you apply a layer of furniture wax or polish to the cleaned furniture. You’d be amazed at the effect a little polishing and spot removal can have on a piece of wooden furniture. An ancient relic designated to the corner of the room, can look so brand new, that it can fool guests and neighbors into thinking you bought new furniture! So before going in for refinishing, bleaching or other extreme measures like throwing the furniture piece out, try a little DIY (Do-It-Yourself) techniques to restoring it on your own.

Types of Beds for Kids

Types of Beds for Kids

The beds for children come in various types, sizes and themes. Kids beds need to be safe for use and allow them to climb easily and any other room in general should provide a sense of comfort to the user. Kids need to store a lot of their stuff like toys, books, clothes, etc. For this purpose, a lot of space is required. It is not always possible to make separate arrangements for storage. The types of beds for kids such as trundle, bunk, etc. could prove to be useful in such cases.

Types of Beds

The bed types enlisted in this article take into account the factors like functionality and appearance. There are a variety of beds available in the market suitable for needs of children.

High Sleepers: The high sleeper beds are again used for saving as much space as possible. Seating areas, drawers, computer desks, drawers, etc. fit in the space below these high sleepers. Different colors, shapes, and configurations are available in this form of kids furniture; one can also decorate these beds in a variety of ways.

Toddler Beds: It is one of the different types of beds for kids that is low in height. A shorter height facilitates climbing on to the beds with ease. Such beds are meant for toddlers and therefore have rounded edges to prevent any kind of injury. The coats applied on this form of home furniture is scratch-proof.

Sleigh Beds: This type of bed has headboards and foot, that are scrolled or curved. It gives these beds a grand and royal appearance and are known for their elegant designs. Sleigh beds though are attractive and give a decorative look to the room, one can also incorporate features like drawers and trundle beds in the design. The trundle beds prove to be useful from the point of saving space.

Car Beds: A car bed is one which is made in the shape of car. Such a bed is suitable for kids bedroom. Kids like to have things that amaze them and which are different than the regular stuff. These come in different shapes and sizes.

Bunk Beds: These are typical beds used for children. Structure is such that one or more bed frames are incorporated in a vertical manner. Floor space is thus saved by making use of bunk beds. Pillars used in supporting the bed and ladder to climb the upper bed frame are important features of bunk beds for kids. The bunk beds are also known as loft beds.

Futon: The futons are Japanese-style beds which are not supported by a frame. These beds are pliable and just like mattresses that one can fold after their use. The futons can therefore, be used as sitting areas for kids during day time. There is no risk of falling from beds with this type. The Westernized form of futons for kids come with a frame. These futons are permanently placed over a frame; instead of storing the futons after use (just like in Japanese tradition), wooden or metal frames are used.

Platform Beds: Such kind of beds are useful for rooms with less space. These versatile beds can accommodate drawers and trundle beds in the space beneath.

The different types of beds in this article should give us an idea about the variety available in the market. Requirement for kids beds can change on the basis on the specific needs and design of the room. One should therefore, select a bed and bedroom furniture which takes into account all these factors.

Powder Room Ideas

Powder Room Ideas

Usually the smallest room in your house, the powder room is mostly ignored. However, it can prove to be the most interesting room to renovate. A powder room consists of a sink and a toilet, and is called a guest bathroom or “half-bath”. In the early nineteenth century, people didn’t like guests to enter their private space to use a bathroom. So, they found it convenient to have a small bathroom somewhere in the outer parts of the house, which the guests could use to freshen up and groom themselves. This small bathroom, meant for non-overnight guests, eventually came to be known as the powder room. Having a well-designed powder room will make your guests appreciate your fine taste and creativity. You can incorporate a few of these creative decorating ideas, to give a fresh feel to your guest bathroom.

Powder Room Decoration Ideas

Before you start with the actual beautification, it is important to decide what theme or color-scheme will best suit your powder room. This depends on the space available, the style of your house and whether or not the room has windows. Since it’s a room that is not used more often, you can focus more on elaborate fixtures and fittings to add that touch of elegance. So, whether you are looking for vintage or contemporary ideas, these innovative decorating ideas are sure to help you.

Walls
This is the most important aspect of any room. Bold and vibrant colors brighten up your room and add an element of surprise. However, you can choose any color according to your personal taste and the kind of feel you would want for your powder room. You can even opt for mural wallpapers in floral designs, for your walls. Don’t restrict yourself. It’s your house, so let your imagination run wild. However, there are some basics that you could follow, when it comes to color. For example, warm colors such as red, orange and yellow, make you feel energetic, while cool colors such as green, blue and lilac have a soothing effect on you. If you want a vintage look, you can paint the walls in neutral colors like white, ivory or beige. Go for cool, light colors if you have a small space and wish to make it appear larger.

Floor
Select a tile color that complements the color on the walls. For example, if your powder room has blue walls, you could opt for orange tiles. Similarly, you could also have lilac tiles with white walls. There are many options in flooring ideas for bathrooms and half-baths. The basic idea is to use colors that go well together. You could also select tiles of different sizes and materials.

Sink
Since your powder room is smaller than your main bathroom, it is wise to choose a sink that is small, yet adds to the wow factor. Small vessel sinks are the latest trend. You can choose one in stone, porcelain, glass or metal. It is a small sink placed atop the counter-top, like a vessel. It adds a touch of sophistication to the room. You may even opt for wall-mount sinks.

Faucet
The faucet is elementary, as it defines the style of the powder room. Faucets come in different designs and varieties. There are faucets with two knobs, levers, handles, etc. Make sure your faucet fits into the sink you buy. A faucet can even add a touch of sparkle to your powder room.

Toilet
Nowadays, toilets in unique designs are up for grabs. So, indulge your creativity and select one that blends with the theme of your powder room. Choose a toilet with a wall-mount flush tank. You can also look for one with a water-efficiency feature built in, which helps conserve water.

Base Cabinet
A base cabinet is where you store the basic necessities like room spray, an extra roll of toilet paper, a bottle of hand-wash, etc. The top surface of the vanity or base cabinet, is the counter-top. A wooden base cabinet, with a vessel sink placed on the counter-top, is one of the latest trends. You can also opt for a base cabinet that looks like an ordinary cabinet.

Mirror
The mirror would serve as the highlight of your powder room. Since you want a well-designed guest bathroom, a plain, boring mirror simply won’t do. Mirrors have the potential to create the illusion of a bigger room. So, choose a mirror that goes well with the theme and adds a dramatic effect. But, make sure that it easily fits into the space allotted to it.

Lights
Today, the ways to experiment with lights, are endless. It all depends on which particular space in your powder room you want to highlight. For example, if you want to highlight the beautiful glass sink that you have, you can place soft lights underneath the sink, to add a surreal glow. Similarly, you can be innovative with the mirror lights. Instead of the common sconces, you can opt for lights that hang from the ceiling, for a striking effect. A light attachment that forms beautiful patterns on the walls, is also a great idea for vintage themes.

Accessories
Once you are done with the basic components of your powder room design, you can add some accessories. These serve as the icing on the cake. For starters, you can place a bottle of essential oils, to add some natural fragrance to the room. You can add towel holders, lotions and soft towels to add to the comfort of your guests. You can even place your favorite painting on a wall and use lights to add a touch of glow.

Wireless Memory Card Home Security System

Wireless Memory Card Home Security System

Home security is a major cause of concern due to an alarming rise in the number of crimes like theft and murders taking place these days. Most systems fail to guard your house while you are away. These systems do not have any provision for recording the crime. However, the new wireless system not only protects your house in your absence, but also provides you the necessary evidence if something goes wrong.

This system consists of a sensor, a camera, and a base unit. Considering the benefits that this system provides, its cost is surprisingly low. You should consider installing this system in your home as it not only detects the break-ins, but also records the whole event. This helps the cops in investigating the crime and also present it as valid evidence in the court.

Sensor
The sensor in this system is equipped with an alarm that sets off in case of a break-in, alerting the occupants of the house. It detects any unusual or suspicious movement and causes the alarm to go off. The sensor is sensitive enough to pick up movements like tripping over a garbage can or barging through a back door. This utility warns the occupants of a potential threat and gives them a chance to prepare themselves.

Camera
The system’s camera captures the unusual movements and records them. You can place the camera in all the threat-prone areas, such as the front porch, back door, and windows. Many people choose to hide the camera within flowerpots or place it in unexpected areas. You can pose it as a smoke alarm or a normal light bulb to avoid revealing the position.

The best position for placing the camera is on the ceiling, this allows it to cover a wide area and prevent it from getting damaged. Few people intelligently place a dummy camera in the most obvious places and the actual hidden camera captures all the events. This deters the invader from stealing a particular thing from that area.

Installation
Installing this security system is quite simple. Since it is wireless, you do not have to bother about placing and masking the wires. The system can be accessed from any device which has the required software installed in it.

Safety and Privacy
These home security systems are absolutely safe to use and are also very reliable. However, few people might think that these systems invade their privacy in some or the other way. To avoid possible arguments over the privacy issue in your family, always take your family members in confidence and make them aware of the places where you have hidden the camera. Never hide a camera in a bathroom or bedroom.

How to Stain Pressure Treated Wood

How to Stain Pressure Treated Wood

nature

Wood is no doubt one of the most versatile materials for construction purposes. Nevertheless, wood obtained from almost all varieties of trees are susceptible to termites, insects, bacteria, fungi, and other microbes. When wood comes in contact with atmospheric moisture or the ground for a certain period, it gets easily attacked by microbes and pests, thus reducing its durability. This is where the question of pressure treatment comes to the picture. Pressure treated lumber refers to wood that has been exposed to chemical preservatives under increasing pressure, so as to make it insect resistant.

Procedure

Irrespective of whether it is an old post or newly purchased pressure treated wood, proper staining is a good approach to restore its color, appearance, and strength. Painting treated lumber should be avoided as the paint holding capacity of such wood is very low. It is to be noted that the chemical preservatives used in the making of pressure treated wood may be harmful to humans and animals. Hence, it is advisable to use protective gear while staining the wood.

Step 1: Cleaning
Prior to application of the stain, clean the surface of the wood by using an appropriate cleaning solution. In case you are staining old wood, pressure washing (within the range 1200-1500 PSI) is a preliminary step. You may have to rent a pressure washer for this purpose.To deal with mold or mildew problems, apply diluted bleach solution to deal with it. If the wood is very old, it is going to require a certain amount of scrubbing before it is clean enough to be stained. While doing so, make sure you use mouth covers to avoid inhalation of the fumes. Allow the lumber to dry completely before staining. If it is still wet, it is likely to develop blisters and cracks.

Step 2: Staining
Decide the suitable stain product and color for the lumber. Avoid using water-based products to stain treated wood, if it is meant for use in sunny areas. Opt for light color stains or semi-transparent stains with ultraviolet light protection to impart a natural shade. If the old wood has cracks, a solid color stain is the best choice. The process may be completed by following the manufacturer’s guidelines on the stain can. This process may be different based on the manufacturer of the stain.

Some stains can be applied even on wet surfaces. Ensure that you choose the appropriate product for this purpose by confirming with the manufacturer. In such cases, you can directly proceed with the staining steps (without drying) by following the guidelines provided by the product manufacturer. Using a regular paint brush, roller, or paint pad, start applying the stain evenly. If available, make use of a sprayer for uniform stain application. However, this approach may require a higher amount of stain than the regular brush staining method.

For solid color stain, a single thick layer is sufficient for preservation of the pressure treated wood. In the following year, you can apply one more coat to increase durability. For clear coating stains, it is better to put two coats. Also, clear finish requires frequent application, at least once in six months. Lastly, don’t forget to seal the open grains to prevent water penetration. Overall, staining pressure treated lumber once in a year will surely increase its aesthetic value and durability.