Growing Plants With LEDs vs. Other Light Sources

Thanks to their energy efficiency and long useful life span, light-emitting diodes are an attractive option for use in indoor plant-growing contexts as compared with less efficient lighting technologies. LED grow light technology is in its infancy, however, and some of the potential advantages of LEDs for plant propagation have yet to be fully realized.

Light Wavelengths

Plants grow best when they receive light from specific parts of the visible electromagnetic spectrum; in particular, photosynthesis works best when plants get light from the red and blue ends of the spectrum. Some lighting technologies produce light that falls mainly outside of this range; high-pressure sodium lights, for example, produce mostly yellow light. While innovations in the design of fluorescent, high-pressure sodium and other light sources are resulting in lamps that produce a more effective spectrum of wavelengths, those produced by LEDs are more easily targeted, making it theoretically easier to tune LED arrays to produce the best light for plant growth.


Compared with other light sources, LEDs radiate very little heat along with the light they produce. This can be an advantage in a situation where heat-producing lights could raise the temperature in the growing room beyond a level that’s healthy for the plants. However, in a situation where the heat produced by lighting is a bonus — such as in an unheated greenhouse during cold weather — LEDs don’t have much to offer.

Energy Usage

LEDs are very efficient as they convert electricity to light, much more so than other grow light technologies. In theory, this efficiency should translate to much lower operating costs for LED arrays compared with other light sources. Factors other than the efficiency of the LEDs can cut into those savings, however. For example, even though LEDs radiate very little heat, the diodes themselves heat up when they operate, and they must be cooled in order to prevent their failure; active cooling systems in some arrays consume energy, resulting in a substantial increase in their operating cost.


LED lights are extremely long-lived; they can last 50,000 hours or more before they fail, and some LEDs may last as long as 100,000 hours. Most other types of grow lights, including fluorescents, metal halide lamps, and high-pressure sodium lights, have a life span of between 10,000 and 20,000 hours. Incandescent lamps are much shorter-lived than other lighting technologies; some incandescent lamps fail in as little as 750 hours. The longevity of LEDs makes their relatively high initial cost less of a disadvantage.

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Overview of Gravley DSP 21 Lawnmower

The Gravely DSP 21 is a 21-inch walk-behind lawn mower equipped with a premium Honda engine plus a self-propulsion system. Although positioned as a high-end or commercial consumer grade mower, the DSP 21 was also promoted under the brand of Gravely’s parent company, Ariens. As of 2014, the DSP 21 is no longer manufactured and has been replaced in both the Gravely and Ariens product lines.

Engine and Drive

The DSP 21 is equipped with a 5.5 horsepower Honda GCV engine. It sports a typical recoil starting system, not an electric start, plus a 1.2-quart gas tank. The mower’s variable-speed propulsion is heavily variable via a handle-mounted lever, and its basic blade-stop safety feature operates via a lever on the handle that shuts off the engine if the handle is released.

Mower Deck

The mower’s 21-inch deck is created from thick 14-gauge stamped steel, and the lip of the deck is rolled under to get a smooth, durable edge. The deck’s cutting height is flexible, in seven increments of only under 1/2 inch between 1 and 4 inches. The machine is equipped with a mulching blade, and it can be configured for either mulching, bagging or side discharge. In general, without fuel, the machine weighs 97 lbs.

New Gravely Designs

As of 2014, the Gravely version whose specifications are nearest to those of the DSP 21 is the new XD3 version. Like the DSP 21, the XD3 comes with 21-inch stamped steel deck and self-propulsion. The self-propelled variant of the XD3 is powered by a 175 cc Subaru EA175V engine; a less costly non-self-propelled version is equipped with a 159 cc Gravely-branded engine. Upgrades in the DSP 21 comprise a whirlpool bathtub and an improved deck modification mechanism.

Ariens Designs

Throughout the Gravely DSP 21’s production runthe same mower was marketed under the Ariens brand as the Bladerunner DSP 21. The Bladerunner had equal specifications to the Gravely mower, and it was also equipped with the Honda GCV engine. In the 2014 Ariens lineup, the comparable model is the Classic LM 21 S, which can be powered with a 179 cc Kawasaki FJ180V engine and a variable-speed self-propulsion system. The Ariens Razor self-propelled also has similar specs, but it’s outfitted with a 159 cc Ariens-branded engine.

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What Type of Mix Can You Work With in a Stihl Chain Saw?

Stihl gasoline-engine chain saws are powered by two-cycle motors that operate on a combination of gasoline and lubricating oil. The oil and gas must be blended in the appropriate proportions or motor operation will suffer. Attempting to follow fuel-mixing instructions could also lead to piston seizing and other permanent, costly engine damage.

50-to-1 Mixture

The gas-oil mix for a Stihl chain saw is 50 to1. That is equivalent to 2.5 fluid oz of low ash two-cycle engine oil per 1 gallon of mid-grade gasoline with an 89 octane rating and no more than 10 percent ethanol. When mixing, pour the oil into the container and then add the gasoline. Shake well to combine them thoroughly.

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How Much Electricity Does a Small Freezer Use?

Freezers make it convenient to cook and freeze batches of meals or stock up on bulk frozen products in the grocery store. However, the price and amount of electricity to power the freezer might be a concern for budgetary and environmental explanations. Consumers can take action by comparing the energy usage of different freezer models before making a purchase.

Upright Freezers

Upright freezers generally use more electricity than chest freezers. This is because hot air rises; if a chest freezer is opened, the cold air remains low and inside the appliance, whereas with an upright, the cold air is replaced by room-temperature atmosphere. A new 17-cubic foot upright freezer with auto defrost uses an average of 684 kilowatt hours of electricity per year, explains Efficiency Vermont. A manual defrosting freezer uses just 480 kilowatt hours, which will be approximately 22 percent less energy.

Chest Freezers

A new chest freezer with manual defrost and 18 cubic feet of distance (1 cubic foot of distance more than the upright freezer in section 1) absorbs 432 kilowatt hours of electricity every year, or 10 percent less electricity than the smaller upright model. To learn the annual cost of running the freezer, multiply its kilowatt hours by the utility firm’s rate per kilowatt hour. Each appliance should get an energy guide label with its kilowatt-hour usage. For the ideal energy efficiency, consumers can select an Energy Star-rated freezer.

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Residential Heating & Air Conditioning Systems

Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are complex components in modern homes which regulate the internal atmosphere. As far as the setup of these systems goes, a do-it-yourselfer will be limited by federal and state laws. Multiple factors go into choosing an HVAC unit for your house, not the least of which are size, type and cost.


The kinds of residential heating systems range from boilers to furnaces to heat pumps, which use water, steam or air. Most central heating systems push air through a set of ducts installed during the initial construction of the house, together with the air coming from vents placed throughout the house. Some old systems rely on baseboard heaters that contain pipes run around the perimeter of a space; hot water is forced through the pipes to provide warmth. Conventional heaters operate on electricity or natural gas to heat the water, steam or air that’s being forced through the unit. In modern combo components, the same ports that push cool air in the summer are used to push warm air in the winter months.


Air conditioners include window-mounted and wall-mounted units which cool a single room. The more complex and expensive central air systems use the same duct work as the heat, and the air conditioner is installed alongside the chimney, typically in a basement. Liquid refrigerant cools the air inside the machine via the refrigeration cycle, which is then forced through the ducts or from the unit. When installed properly, the coolant in an air conditioner lasts a lifetime, regardless of how much use the device sees, as the coolant merely circulates from the machine as opposed to being used up.

Geothermal Vs. Conventional

Although the setup costs are considerably more than traditional technologies, geothermal units are shown to offer a 30 percent to 70 percent decline in heating costs and a 20 percent to 50 percent decline in cooling costs when compared with traditional systems, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. These components use the heat and heat from the ground as opposed to the air or using natural gas and power to switch the temperature within the unit. This is because the temperature just a few feet below the ground stays steady year-round, meaning the machine doesn’t need to work so hard to heat or cool a house. If budget isn’t a concern and you’re looking at a lifelong investment, geothermal is the best option.


Although homeowners cannot install any of these components of an HVAC system themselves, they can offer the routine maintenance required to maintain a system functioning in peak condition. All HVAC methods rely on air filters which need to be frequently cleaned for optimum working conditions. Evaporator coil cleaning foam and solutions are readily available in home improvement stores, allowing you to keep the heat coils of an ac system clean and functioning at peak efficiency. While you can perform the routine maintenance on your every six months or so, see to your HVAC system like a car. Each year you must schedule a visit by an HVAC professional to ensure the machine is working properly. This maintains your HVAC system operating for decades as opposed to just a few short decades.

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How to Make a Drip Irrigation System

A drip-watering system provides an efficient method of irrigating your own plants. Delivering water directly to the root system, drip techniques eliminate the inconvenience of hand watering whilst enhancing problems which occur when the soil moisture levels frequently rise and rise, such as wilting. Drip systems also use water efficiently, minimizing the wasteful watering of the driveway, sidewalk or street. Most drip systems require small assembly; only laying out the main drip line and snapping on emitters at appropriate places make this landscaping function comparatively simple. The secret is to make certain you have suitable water pressure and calculate the amount of water that the drip line carries.

Call your regional municipal water supplier to inquire about whether a backflow preventor is required. Backflow prevention devices cease water used for landscaping functions from mixing with household water.

Decide how you are going to attach the drip system to its own water source. A Y-attachment on a hose bibb permits you to use 1 spigot to send water to the drip system but also keeps another spigot free for ordinary watering with a hose. If you have an automated irrigation system already installed, connect to the water line with an automatic valve.

Map out the places that would use the drip system. Measure the furthest spot to which you’ll add an emitter. If the measurement is more than 400 feet, plan a second line, since it is the maximum length for one drip line.

Cut 5/8- or 1/2-inch black polyethylene tube to achieve the furthest emitter, adding 12 to 24 inches in the event of a measurement error or problem during installation.

Run the main line tube cut in Step 3 to the places that would use the drip system, tucking it just below the soil line or running it directly next to courage to disguise it. Use hold-downs as required to secure the line.

Attach emitters to the principal line directly whenever the line runs in 3 inches of a plant by snapping the emitter onto the line — the contained barb penetrates the line so that the emitter receives water. The size of this emitter varies according to the needs of this plant.

Attach 1/4-inch microtubing to plants which are farther than 3 inches and attach the emitter to the end of the microtubing. If the plant requires more water, then add more emitters and microtubing to circle the base of the plant.

Attach a water-pressure regulator to throttle back the water pressure from its source, whether a hose or the principal line. The Navy must lower the pressure in the standard of 50 to 100 pounds per square inch, or psi, to 10 to 30 psi.

Examine the program by running it for five to ten minutes. The soil should be thoroughly soaked across the plants in that time. If it is not, the emitter chosen is too little or the plant requires additional emitters to completely circle its base.

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Just Add Water: Rain Barrel Magic

Harvesting rainwater is an old idea that is gaining more adherents as water issues impact more and more of us. It is a practical strategy — you collect the water which would otherwise drain off your roof and use it to water your garden. The one disadvantage has always been seems. Most rain barrels were plastic containers which didn’t add much to the general landscape, a consideration that has been made even more obvious from the fact that their place, in the end of a rain or gutter series, made them a notable garden feature.

Times have changed, since the rain barrels showcased here prove. With a little work and creativity, you may have a rain barrel that fits your style and can be a standout in your backyard layout.

Chitra Vishwanath

Show it off. This rain chain/stone barrel combination doubles as a element in the backyard. In fact, you need to appear carefully to comprehend its function.

The use of strands of carefully spaced, thin galvanized iron chains is also an intriguing variation on the prevalent and bigger chains while the colors of the rock and metal mix seamlessly with the property’s exterior paint and trim.

AMS Landscape Design Studios, Inc..

On a similar vein, consider turning a fountain into a rain barrel. The scrollwork spigot might easily be attached to a downspout and you might put in a hose end to the base of the pot. Hidden pipework is an cost but worthwhile to the look.

Calico Studio

The sleek lines of this metal container would be too primitive for many houses, but they work perfectly with this contemporary style. It is evidence that a rain barrel needn’t be hidden.

Gardens from Gabriel, Inc..

Blend it in. If you would rather your barrel mix in, tuck it into the corner and encircle it with soft plantings. Repeating the terra cotta components in the rest of the space provides design continuity.

Burris & Associates, LLC

Cladding your storage tank in the exact same siding as the wall it stays against lets it fade into the background.

Woodmeister Master Builders

A wooden barrel is, of course, the greatest rain barrel. Luckily, it fits well with several house and garden designs, such as traditional, cottage and ranch houses.

Native Edge Landscape

Experiment with the look. At first sight, this rain barrel makes its presence known since it perches on its custom wooden stand. Though the mix of materials may seem like it would clash, it works well with the surrounding stone and wood facade of the house, architectural plantings and ground cover.

Envision Landscape Studio Inc..

This large galvanized container would seem to be an odd choice for this natural garden. It turns out that the lavish use of rocks grounds it instead. It is observable, but not as awkward as it might be in a more traditional space.

S2 Design

Add more performance. Water storage and irrigation are all combined in this modern spin on classic rainwater storage. Rather than conceal the workings, the storage unit and habit overflow tank are part of the general terrace design.

2fORM Architecture

A similar, though slightly bigger scale, includes a rain chain leading to the planter and also a bigger gutter in the backdrop draining to the bigger cistern outside it, which sits back far enough not to overwhelm the space directly outside the door.

Eggleston Farkas Architects

If industrial is the style, forget the wood barrels and go out with metal and concrete. The pipe look, rather than an open gutter, strengthens the theme and the concrete blends with the home’s siding.

B. Jane Gardens

Go large. If you live where rainfall is plentiful, you needn’t be limited by size. Sure, all these cisterns are large. But rather than attempt to hide them, embrace them as part of the landscape.

Thanks to the greenery along with the painted wall near this traditional cistern almost, but not quite, hides in plain sight. The weathered wood is another way to help this mix into the area, even if it is as tall as the house.


Or, simply place your rain water storage system front and centre. Yes, these are extremely large, but the contemporary home design may hold its own against them.

Johnston Design Group

Add your own touch. Nestle your barrel into a bed or rocks and grow vines around it for a natural look.

Rain Barrel Artist

Or move daring. In case you don’t want to disguise your rain barrel, make it stand out. Who wouldn’t enjoy this frog?

Rain Barrel Artist

Or surfing scene?

Rain Barrel Artist

Or glorious peacock?

There are not any rules. Only ideas.

More: Protect a Precious Resource Having a Rain Garden

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