Thursday, June 28, 2012

Which air conditioner filter is best for my home?

Selecting the proper air filter is key to cleaning the air that circulates in your home. For most homes, Rosie recommends a $4 to $5 pleated air filter, which should be replaced every month.

From worst to best:

Standard air filter. Made from spun fiberglass and mounted in a cardboard frame, the standard air filter costs less than $1 and is the most popular. Yet it’s the most inefficient, as it captures just 10 percent of the pollutants in your home’s air. Change them once a month.

Reusable filters. Washable plastic-framed electrostatic filters and “monofilament” cloth filters trap up to 90 percent of the tiniest bits of dust and dander. An electrostatic filter electronically charges the dirt, dust, lint and pet dander in your air so they stick to it. Instead of replacing it once a month, though, you’ll have to clean it every week. If you don’t have the discipline to do that, do not purchase this filter, which costs from $30 to around $100. These durable filters are so thick that they don’t allow the air to flow through them freely, especially if you don’t clean them every week. That makes your air conditioner work harder, and can shorten its life.


For more information and for answers to all YOUR Landscape, Garden and Home Improvement questions, visit our website,

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Which terms do I need to know before I start shopping for windows?

As you shop for new windows, you’ll hear and read a lot of jargon about glazing, spacers and cladding. Here is a glossary of terms that might help you understand the gobbledygook!  

Cladding. This is the wood or metal window frame. Four popular choices are:

  1. All wood—both on the inside and outside frame. Wood is a beautiful choice, and you can paint it any color you like. The downside: You do have to paint it—and the outside requires frequent repainting. The Arizona heat and bright sun will deteriorate the outside wood over the years.
  2. All metal—vinyl or aluminum. They’re designed to be easy to maintain and never require painting, although some manufacturers make paintable versions. Rosie recommends that Arizona residents avoid vinyl windows because they can sag and deteriorate under the hot desert sun.
  3. Wood-clad. Clad windows have wood frames on the interior side and either vinyl or aluminum cladding over wood on the exterior. You can paint the inside any color you like, but you never have to paint the outside. Rosie’s ideal window: aluminum-clad wood. He never recommends vinyl-clad wood.
  4. Fiberglass—either all-metal or wood-clad. Fiberglass is an insulating material and is stiffer than vinyl. It also allows for slimmer sightlines so the glass area can be larger. Fiberglass windows perform well in extremely hot or cold weather because the material has a low expansion and contraction rate—so they’re becoming popular in Arizona. 

For more information and for answers to all YOUR Landscape, Garden and Home Improvement questions, visit our website,

Friday, June 15, 2012

How can I remove stains from my carpet?

The key to spot removal is getting to the spot as soon as possible. If
the carpet is new or has a sufficient protector on it, all you need is some water to take the spot right out. If that doesn’t work, spot cleaner is your next weapon of choice. Many carpet manufacturers have a recommended spot cleaner to use on their product. If the manufacturer is unknown, your local IICRC-certified carpet cleaning service can be of some assistance. Products that are not specifically made for the carpet can cause irreversible damage.

To properly spot treat, begin with blotting the area with a clean white cloth or towel, working from the outside edges to the middle. DO NOT RUB! This can fray the fibers, giving a fuzzy look. Treat the area with the spot remover, following the recommended guidelines. Be sure to rinse the area with water to remove all cleaning residue from the carpet fibers. Absorb all the moisture in the area (since damp areas can collect dirt quickly). This can be done by placing several towels on the area then weighing them down with a heavy object. The dry white towels not only absorb the moisture, but help to draw out the stain.


For more information and for answers to all YOUR Landscape, Garden and Home Improvement questions, visit our website,

Friday, June 8, 2012

What are the do's and don'ts of a Drip Irrigation System

You’ve just moved in to a brand new home that came complete with a landscape package, front and back. A drip irrigation system was provided for the trees and shrubs, and an underground sprinkler system was provided for the back lawn. You noticed this box mounted on the wall next to your electrical panel, but you don’t know if it’s part of your cable system, or what? Everything looks good.

A few months have passed, and before you know it, it is summer time. You’ve installed all the ceiling fans and window coverings, done some painting, and one day you noticed your landscape isn’t looking so good. Your plants have grown, but all of a sudden they’re discoloring, starting to wilt and look a bit stressed. You don’t know what’s wrong. You received this card from your builder listing all of the sub contractors that worked on your house, and way at the bottom the landscape company is listed. You give them a call and set up an appointment for a representative to come out to your house for an evaluation.

The first thing you are asked is, “Have you adjusted your time clock?” And your response is, “No, was I supposed to?” The answer is “yes”! And the reason why reflects a basic standard that applies in most irrigation scenarios. As your landscape trees and shrubs grow, as your lawn begins to mature, all require more water but less often. As plants grow, they develop larger and deeper root systems. The size of young plants’ root systems is equivalent to the size of the container they came out of. As they’re planted, their roots begin to develop and grow into the native soil. Light, frequent waters were okay after initial planting. But as plants grow, in order to get the water to where it’s needed, more water needs to be applied, but less frequently. Their roots are deeper, so the soil around those roots takes longer to dry out.


For more information and for answers to all YOUR Landscape, Garden and Home Improvement questions, please visit our website,
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