Month: May 2012

How To Maintain Your Home In The Winter

Winter does not have to be the time of the year when everything is dull and cold. Your home can be comfortable and warm all year round regardless of the weather. Here are a few tips to help you maintain your home in the winter without any inconveniences.

Balance humidity levels

Humidity levels in your house can affect the structure of the house and the health of the people living in it. During winter, humidity levels become so low. When humidity levels are too low, places in the house made of wood such as wooden floors can shrink resulting in hollow spaces, while wooden furniture may start cracking. The results may be more adverse on people living in the house. Low humidity causes skin irritation and cracking, difficulty in breathing, and sore throat. Use a hydrometer to ensure you home is humid enough to maintain your health and the structural integrity of your home. Humidity levels of between 35 to 45% are recommended during winter.

Examine your house for leaks

Leaks around the house may cause cold air to seep in during the winter. Efforts you may make to keep the house warm will be a waste, if there are leaks that replace the warm air. There may also be places that accumulate ice especially on the roof, windows, and the attic. These should be noted and taken care of before winter, whether by insulation or replacement of windows, doors or roof.

Inspect all your plumbing fixtures

There may be some plumbing fixtures in your house that are rarely used. Water may freeze in those pipes causing blockages that may burst pipes and lead to flooding. This can be a great inconvenience because you will need to shut off your water supply until the burst pipe is repaired. Ensure you run water through unused plumbing fixtures regularly be it an unused bathtub, sink or shower stall to prevent ice blockages during winter.

Clean the chimney and the fireplace

Many home owners have fireplaces but do not use them often and rarely think of cleaning the chimney. Fireplaces can come in handy especially during the, when it is possible for ice storms to hit and cause power outages. They can provide you with the necessary heat to survive when other sources of heat are down. Ensure the chimney and the fire place is ready for use before winter, just in case the power goes out. Plus, lighting the fireplace during winter can be quite romantic.

Regularly clean and replace the furnace filters

The heating system in every home works around the clock during winter. Therefore, filters are bound to get dirty faster than during other times of the year. Taking too long to clean or replace them may not only bring contaminated air into your home, but may also cause them to malfunction. Ensure you clean the furnace filters at least once a month and replace them when necessary to ensure comfort during winter.

It is important to start planning for winter early to avoid problems that come with the cold of winter. Ensure everything is running smoothly and if possible have a backup plan for anything that can be damaged in the cold. The above tips should enable you to stay cozy during any winter.

Things to Know before Kayaking

Water sports, especially kayaking, have become more popular in recent years. Some try kayaking for recreational purposes (be it for a fun holiday getaway or as a cool down summer activity) while some get into it in the hopes of eventually competing. Regardless of your reason to finally start kayaking, there are a couple of things you should know first about this water activity. As with any other sport (and a water sport, at that), it is important to have a clear idea of what to expect when you first try this out. This will help you prepare better, as well as prevent any untoward accidents.

That said, here is a list of things you should know before kayaking:

    You will inevitably get wet so dress and prepare accordingly

Things to Know before KayakingIt does not matter whether you have a really good sense of balance or you took several kayaking lessons beforehand. The thing is, you will definitely get wet. You will get splashed with water, you might get into some tricky part of the trail, or your kayak might capsize altogether. That said, it is extremely important for you to get dressed for the temperature of the water. Also, always remember to bring a change of clothes with you.

2. Your kayak will likely capsize at least once

      Even with more experienced kayakers, having a kayak capsize is not at all that uncommon. That said, it is better to be prepared for when it happens. Make sure that you know how to swim before you go kayaking. Take a life vest or any flotation device with you regardless of how good you think you are at swimming. Finally, before you head out, make sure that you get your kayaking instructor to teach you what to do in case your kayak capsizes.

3. You have to be very aware of your surroundings

      Being in nature is certainly one of the perks of kayaking, but it can also be one of its pitfalls. Remember that your trail is also the natural habitat of other creatures, so it is important to pay attention to your surroundings. Also, being aware of your surroundings will help you navigate tricky trails.

4.Rapids are not for beginners

Things to Know before Kayaking When you think of kayaking, you probably also think of thrilling rapids. However, it is best to go on safer and calmer waters for your first kayaking venture. You have significantly less balance and control in fast moving waters, so it is better to nail down your basic balancing and paddling skills first. Once you are more confident in your kayaking abilities, that is the only time you should try rapids.

5.  It is better to kayak with friends

      This is especially true for beginners. Always bear in mind that no matter how careful you are, mishaps may still happen. In that eventuality, it is better to be around people who will be able to help you and render immediate assistance.  Also, kayaking with friends will help you pick up better tips and techniques from your company, as well as learn from their mistakes. Think of it as a real-life learning experience. Also, there is less chances of you losing your way if you are kayaking with a group. Finally, in case some mishaps happen along the way, at least you will have great company to make the event a bit better.

6.  It is a workout

      Being in the water may sound chill, but kayaking is in fact a workout. Some trails can take up to several hours to navigate, so it is extremely important to know your itinerary before you set out. Even if you consider yourself physically active, you might still find paddling for several hours quite challenging. That said, it is better to go on shorter trails during your first kayaking adventure. Once you get a feel of how tiring kayaking is, then you can properly assess how long and how challenging of a trail you can take in the future. The last thing you want to happen is to find yourself in the middle of an unfamiliar trail dead-tired.

Of course, this is not an exhaustive list of everything you should know before kayaking. However, this is a good place to start. If you are looking for information about buying a Kayak you can read about the best Kayaks over at Understanding these six crucial facets of kayaking will help you in preparing for kayaking and in identifying whether you have specific needs which must be addressed before you start riding your kayak. Always remember: being prepared is the best way to stay safe and have fun.