Soy Candles? What Will They Think of Next?Written by M J Plaster
Quick: What comes to mind when you think of soy candles? Before my formal introduction to soy candles, I thought organic (read expensive) and BEIGE! And not just color beige, but beige as an overall description for soy candlesóblah like baby food, ground chick peas, and a pale winter pallor. I had no idea why it would even occur to anyone to purchase a soy candle.
I couldn't have been more wrong in my assessment! After gaining a working knowledge of candles, soy candles reside front and center in my growing candle collection. When you learn facts, you will probably replace your paraffin candles with soy version, at least on an attrition basis. If you're still at beige stage, read on while we shed a little light on subject.
Paraffin vs. Soy
First, clear your mind of all preconceived notions that you've conjured up about soy candles. Replace those thoughts with just two thoughts for now: clean and fresh. Traditional candles made of paraffin are actually petroleum-based products.
Oil is not only a finite resource, primarily imported from Middle East, it recently made a new all-time high. You see it reflected at gas pump, and you'll see it reflected in candle prices, if you haven't already. You pay no premium to reap benefits of soy candles, because soy candles are priced competitively with their paraffin counterparts, and soy candles last up to 50% longer than paraffin candles.
Petroleum products do not burn cleanly. If you wouldn't voluntarily walk into a burning petroleum field, then why would you burn paraffin in your home? If you burn candles regularly, try this experiment. Move a picture on your wall. If you see an outline on wall at edge of picture, soot from burning candles is culprit. That same burning petroleum deposits itself in your lungs, and it's a known carcinogen. Soy candles are non-toxic, burn cleanly without smoking, burn cooler than paraffin candles, and use all-natural cotton wicks.
If you've ever spent hours cleaning spilled wax on your floor or carpet, you know what an exercise in futility it can be. Sometimes there is simply no removing it. Spilled melted soy wax cleans up with soap and water, and it does come out, unlike some paraffin spills. Biodegradable soy has its practical advantages as well as its health advantages.
Avoiding leaks when installing vinyl retrofit windowsWritten by John Rocco
Avoiding leaks when installing vinyl retrofit windows These days a lot of homeowners are replacing their old windows with vinyl windows using retrofit style of window frame. This is particularly true in west, and specifically, in California. The number one arguement that I have heard against using retrofit method, is that it is susceptible to water leaks. Well, that's true if you don't do it properly. But, if you do a complete tearout of your old window down to studs, you're going to have water leak issues there as well if you don't install new window properly. So I think that arguement is, well, all wet. So, let me tell you best way to install your retrofit windows that will ensure that water cannot get in.
There is an old song that goes, "It never rains in California, but girl don't they warn ya, it pours, man it pours". For those of you in California, you know how true this is. While California doesn't get a lot of annual rainfall, when it does rain, it can come down in buckets due to close proximity to ocean. So, you want to be sure that your windows are well sealed. If you are installing retrofit frames against a stucco house, you want to put a thick bead of sealant right on outside face of old window frame, all way around. Latex caulk should work fine, but if you want to spend a little more to get best sealant available, use 100% silicone. Depending on number of windows you will be doing, this extra cost can add up. You pay approximately $1 for a tube of acrylic latex caulk, and $4 or more for a tube of 100% silicone. You are going to use 1-3 tubes per window, depending on size. So you can see how it could add up. Here is a trick that I used to do to save a little money; The most vulnerable part of your installation is top of window, because gravity will have water running down from roof to ground. It's not likely that water is going to find it's way through sides or bottom. So, I used to carry two caulking guns, and load one with silicone, and other with acrylic caulk. I would run silicone accross top of old frame, and caulk sides and bottom. Then, put your new window into opening and have a helper hold it firmly in place while you plumb and level it, then screw it into place. After you have window completely installed, your final step should be to caulk where retrofit lip meets stucco. Here again, I used to use white silicone on top, and caulk on sides and bottom. You now have a double barrier against water infiltration. After about a week, check sealant around each window for signs of cracking. Because stucco is usually uneven, there could have been gaps that were larger in some areas than in others. If you don't force caulk into gap to completely fill it, caulk can sag before drying, causing a crack to form. Simply recaulk over any cracks that you see. You can check silicone on top as well, but because silicone dries like a rubber substance, you shouldn't see any cracks there.