Posts by Quentin Cook

Bird Mites and Your Air Conditioner: What You Need to Know

It’s not as though a bird can be sucked into your air conditioning unit, but the nasty little creatures that live on wild birds can. Many wild birds are affected by bird mites. These are tiny flea-like parasites that live in the bird’s feathers. They are little more than a mild annoyance to wild birds since the mites are regularly dislodged during the bird’s flight. You want to do everything you can to avoid having these bird mites enter your home via your air conditioner. So how can you avoid this from happening? And what are some of the warning signs you need to look out for?

Birds Around the Air Conditioner

These mites can only be sucked into your air conditioning unit if birds happen to congregate around your air conditioner’s air intake vents. This is unlikely to happen when the unit is in regular use since the noise is enough to keep birds away. If your unit has not been used for some time, such as after the winter months or if you’ve been on holiday, you need to inspect its external components. The external component of your air conditioner can make a tempting spot for perching, or even for nesting, especially if it’s sheltered under the eaves of your home. Brush away any feathers that you might find here before switching on the unit. Any nests will also need to be removed.

When Bird Mites Enter Your Home

If you forget to check for evidence of birds, then it’s possible for bird mites to enter your home. They are tiny and difficult to see with the naked eye, so perhaps one of the first signs is an unexplained itching. This might be accompanied with small red welts, much like flea bites. The mites cannot live on humans, but if they are continually entering your home, then they will continue to bite.

You need to check the external components of the unit to remove any evidence of birds, and you might need to have the whole unit cleaned and serviced. This is to ensure that any accumulated mites can be removed from the air conditioner’s ducts and evaporator. This should end the problem for you, but you need to be mindful of any pets you might have in your home as the bird mites will affect them as well.

With a little bit of care, you will ensure that bird mites do not enter your home via your air conditioner. For additional info on air conditioning maintenance, contact a local HVAC contractor.

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Get Your Bathroom Ready for Winter

No one enjoys stepping out of the bath onto a freezing cold floor then shivering in the cold air. A bathroom that isn’t warm enough can make winter miserable and stop you from fully enjoying the relaxing effect of a hot bath or shower. There are a few simple steps you can take to turn your bathroom into a sanctuary away from the cold, and they won’t cost much. Try a few of the solutions below and you’ll wonder how you ever got through winter without them.

Under tile heating

The ancient Romans had a special system of underfloor heating that kept them comfortable at all times. Luckily, you don’t need to be a Roman emperor to benefit from warm bathroom floors nowadays. Underfloor heating mats can be installed underneath your bathroom tiles, creating a toasty, warm surface that’s comfortable to step on with bare feet. The mats are thin enough to fit underneath tiles without any effect on the floor level, and a strong layer of self-adhesive keeps them firmly in place.

You’ll be able to control the temperature of the floor by using a special touch screen thermostat — many models can be connected to a smartphone or tablet for ultimate convenience. Just like regular heating, you can set under tile heating to come on at exactly the right time, so you won’t waste energy.

Heated towel rail

A warm towel makes all the difference when getting out of the bath or shower into chilly air. You’ll also ensure that towels dry quickly and are always ready for use — a damp towel on a cold day is no fun. Clothes can also be put on the rail while you wash, making putting them on feel like stepping into a warm hug.

Towel rails are usually connected to your central heating, but most can also be converted to electric. Mornings will feel so much easier when you’re comfortable and unaffected by extreme temperatures. Forget getting dressed under the duvet cover!

New bath mat and towels

Take a look at your current bath mat. Is it thick, soft and luxurious? If the answer is no, then it’s time for an upgrade. A thick bath mat that’s the size of a small rug provides insulation, a soft surface to stand on and increases the overall feeling of warmth in your bathroom. There’s no need to stand shivering on a tiny piece of cloth when larger, higher-quality bath mats are very affordable. The same logic applies to towels. A thicker, larger towel will feel warmer, protect you against any chilly draughts and help you to get dry quicker.

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Making the Most of Bathroom Accessories

In this day and age, interior décor is not limited to just the living spaces in your home. Clinical bathrooms are slowly becoming uncommon as homeowners gravitate toward enhancing the aesthetics of their bathrooms. Nowadays, you can add textures as well as colours to your bathroom so that the area has a personality of its own. You can also have a themed bathroom if that is what you would like. With bathroom accessories, anything from the faucets to the shower doors can be accessorized to make it look gorgeous and welcoming. So how do you go about making the most of bathroom accessories?

Accessorise with faucets

When you are looking for bathroom accessories, the best point to start with your bathroom would be the faucets. Before, bathroom faucets used to be dull and boring. It seemed like every single house had the standard chrome faucets with plastic knobs. This no longer is the case. Now you can go all out and have faucets that match your decorating style. Starting with changing your faucets is always good, as this will dictate the colour scheme as well as the theme for the rest of your bathroom accessories set. If you do not like outrageous designs, you could always choose subtle faucets that are made from stainless steel or any other muted material. If you would prefer to make a statement with your bathroom faucets, you could always get them plated in gold or any other shiny material. Keep in mind though that the flashier faucets only look great when you dedicate time to clean them on a regular basis.

Accessorise with knobs and towel racks

After getting aesthetically appealing faucets, you can now move to the knobs on the cabinets as well as the towel racks. Ensure that they are matching so that your bathroom looks in harmony. You can choose them to match the overall theme of your house or you could dedicate a special theme just for your bathroom. A tip to getting bathroom accessories that match would be to shop for them at the same store. This way you can get the various finishings, such as knobs and racks, that are matching.

Accessorise with hand towels

Another way to accessorise your bathroom is by using decorative hand towels. These are tend to have embroidered designs on them to make them stand out from regular hand towels. It should be noted that special care should be taken when laundering decorative hand towels. Regular laundering may interfere with the intricate designs on them that are meant to beautify your bathroom.

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Create A Useful and Attractive Plant Trellis From Old Metal Plantation Shutters

From time to time it becomes necessary to replace old items of furniture in your home with new ones.  When you come to replace your old metal plantation shutters, why not recycle them into something useful and decorative, such as a plant trellis for your garden?  Read on to find out how to do it.

What you’ll need

  • metal plantation shutters
  • light oil
  • screw driver
  • wire brush
  • steel wool
  • soft cloths
  • rubber gloves
  • paint and a paint brush
  • liquid car wax
  • kerosene
  • spade

This is a relatively simple project that should only take you a few hours to complete.  You’ll find everything you need for the job at a good DIY store.  You’ll need to choose paint that is suitable for use on outdoor metal items.

How to do it

  1. Start by removing the bottom rail from the shutters.  You can do this by simply unscrewing the screws that hold the rail in place.  If the screws are rusted into place, apply a small amount of light oil, allow it to penetrate, and then try again.  When the rail has been removed, you should be left with two ‘legs’.  Although these look untidy now, you’ll need them later to secure the trellis in place so don’t worry!  
  2. Now you’ll need to do is to get rid of any rust from the shutters.  You can quickly do this by rubbing away any rust flakes with a wire brush.  
  3. Now put on your rubber gloves to protect your hands and open a few windows so that your working area is adequately ventilated.  Take a pad of steel wool and put several drops of kerosene onto it.  Rub the kerosene into any areas of rust to remove the staining and discolouration.  
  4. Now it’s time to paint the shutters in a funky colour or colours of your choice.  Begin painting at the top of the shutters and work your way down so that you catch any drips.  Allow the paint to dry thoroughly as per the manufacturer’s directions.  
  5. To provide the metal shutters with protection against the elements, you’ll need to coat them in liquid car wax.  Use a clean cloth to apply a very thin, even skin of wax, working well into all the nooks and crannies.  It’s important to take your time over this job and be thorough to ensure that there are no areas that could be penetrated by rainwater.  Allow the wax to dry completely and then polish-up the shutters to a dazzling shine.  
  6. Next, dig two holes in the soil, in front of the wall or fence where you want your trellis to be sited.  The holes should be deep enough to fully incorporate the two ‘legs’ on the bottom of your shutters, and they should be close enough to the wall or fence to allow the trellis to fit flush against it.  Slide the shutter’s legs into the holes, fill the holes with soil, and tamp down firmly.

Your old metal shutters are now a stylish, weather-proof garden feature!  You can either plant your preferred climbers directly into the soil underneath the trellis or place some attractive pots adjacent to it.   

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Should You Choose Slab-On-Grade Concrete or Pavers for Your Pool Patio?

Slab-on-grade concrete and interlocking pavers are among the most common materials used for pool patios. This article compares three important aspects that you should consider as you decide which of the two is better for your pool area.


The installation of pavers typically involves laying them side-by-side across the patio area surrounding the pool. Installing slab-on-grade concrete will require you to mix the aggregate before pouring it over the pool patio. Laying pavers requires less skill than pouring fresh concrete over the patio.

However, installing pavers one by one is more of a cumbersome activity and is likely to take longer. If you decide to hire patio builders, it will likely cost you more to install pavers than slab-on-grade concrete because it’s a more labour-intensive process. A higher cost of installation and an often higher cost of raw materials means that interlocking pavers around the pool will make you dig deeper into your pockets, which could be an issue if you’re on a strict budget.

It’s worth pointing out that you’ll have immediate access to the pool once the installation of pavers is complete. With slab-on-grade concrete, access to the pool area will be restricted for several days as the freshly-poured concrete continues to cure.


The question of safety will seldom fail to arise in a discussion about materials for a pool patio. This is because the patio is often always wet whenever there are people jumping in and out of the pool. The constant threat of slip-and-fall accidents cannot be overlooked.

When compared to slab-on-grade concrete, interlocking pavers are considered a safer alternative. This is because slab-on-grade concrete has a more continuous surface that’s bound to make the patio area more slippery when wet. Interlocking pavers have numerous joints between the pavers. The presence of these joints improves your grip on the ground as you walk on the patio with wet feet, thereby reducing the likelihood of slip-and-fall accidents.


Concrete patios are built to last. However, the cost of on-going maintenance for the concrete patio could easily be higher than its cost of installation. Interlocking pavers should be cheaper to maintain than slab-on-grade concrete. For example, repairing cracks on slab-on-grade concrete might require you to demolish a large portion of the patio and before re-installing the concrete slab. If interlocking pavers cracks, you’ll only need to replace the affected pavers without destroying much of your patio.

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April 2017
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