Art for your home

Art is a personal thing and art for your home even more so, every once in a while an artist comes along that captures the vibe of Mexico. Rosy Peraza Rios, paints the colours of the Yucatan and respects traditional values, with her art. If you are moving to the Yucatan and want to brighten up your home or want one of her works for your Museum in Paris. Contact Rosy for authentic Yucatecan art,

artistamexicana@gmail.com

or artistamexicana.blogspot.com

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Hurricane season started Yesterday in the Yucatan

800px-Hurricane_Wilma_200510212015No one wants to have a hurricane visit their area, but they are a fact of life in the tropics. Traditionally, the North coast of the Yucatan has generally been a safe place to be. Due to the geography of the area, which tends to see storms follow the Yucatan channel or lose strength as they cross land. However, there have been a few notable exceptions such as Glibert and Isadora, that did huge amounts of damage. The one good thing about hurricanes is you can see them coming for days and have lots of time to activate your plans. You do have a plan don’t you?  Here in Mexico, once a storm reaches certain proportions and is predicted to hit this area, on the North Coast of the Yucatan, an evacuation order will be given. Once given, it is mandatory that you leave, it is NOT optional. You need to do your own homework, to find out where the closest evacuation shelters are and make sure you know how to get to them. For people who have pets, the problem becomes much more difficult, as the shelters do not allow pets. If you are a pet owner , you will need an alternate shelter for you and your pets. Now is the time to canvas friends, to see if they will allow you to bring your pets with you, in the event of an emergency. Remember, you may be stuck there for a week or more, under not so nice conditions, so tempers of both you and your pets might get frayed.

When a hurricane strikes it is not just a case of high wind. Hurricanes also bring massive amounts of moisture and humidity levels skyrocket. It could be 35+ degrees and 100% humidity for days on end, with no electricity for fans or A/C. Anything you get wet, will never ever dry, clothes, pills, papers, NOTHING! Plus mold and mildew will run rampant if unchecked. It will not be pleasant, to spend a week or more in a damp environment, exposed to mosquito’s nightly, along with your wet dogs. The only way to keep your sanity is to be absolutely prepared for the worst and make sure you have a way to keep everything as dry as possible. If you have an alternate place to stay inland and you have a generator. Make sure you have extension cords and spare fuel, also fill your cars gas tank and have a syphon hose. A modern car has 45 or so litres of fuel which can power a small generator for 4 or 5 days of reasonable use. So having a syphon hose handy is a good idea.

Below is a list of suggested items to have handy in the event that a hurricane does arrive. But, even if you head to a friends house or shelter and then return home, you will still need to be prepare. You may be with out power for a long period, if transmission lines are down and there is a good chance your beach home and more likely its contents maybe substantially damaged. Remember, no power means , no city water and fuel stations can’t pump gas, stores won’t have cold storage, etc. Like the Boy Scouts say “Be prepared”.

Here are recommendations on what to do before a storm approaches:

— Use hurricane shutters or board up windows and doors with 5/8 inch plywood. Make them now before you need them!

— Bring outside items in if they could be picked up by the wind, place screws in your tinaco lid, as they tend to fly away.

— Turn the refrigerator to its coldest setting in case power goes off. Use a cooler to keep from opening the doors on the freezer or refrigerator.

— Make sure your cisterna and Tinaco are full and you have 5 or more Garafons of water available.

— Make sure your vehicles fuel tanks are full and you have spare fuel for a generator, also have a siphon hose

— Have an evacuation plan.

— Learn the location of the nearest shelter or nearest pet-friendly shelter. This is a big issue for pet owners in the beach areas.

— Store important documents — passports, Social Security cards, birth certificates, deeds — in a watertight container.

— Have a current inventory of household property.

— Leave a note to say where you are going.

— Contact relatives and let then know you maybe out of touch for a week or more.

— Unplug small appliances and electronics before you leave.

— If possible, turn off the electricity, gas and water for your residence.

Here is a list of handy supplies:

— A seven-day supply of water, a minimum of one gallon per person per day.

— Three days of food, with suggested items including: canned meats, canned or dried fruits, canned vegetables, canned juice, peanut butter, jelly, salt-free crackers, energy/protein bars, trail mix/nuts, dry cereal, cookies or other comfort food.

— A can opener and eating utensils

— Flashlight(s) and candles.

— A battery-powered radio.

— Extra batteries.

— A first aid kit, including latex gloves; sterile dressings; soap/cleaning agent; antibiotic ointment; burn ointment; adhesive bandages in small, medium and large sizes; eye wash; a thermometer; aspirin/pain reliever; anti-diarrhea tablets; antacids; laxatives; small scissors; tweezers; petroleum jelly.

— A seven-day supply of personal medications, in waterproof containers.

— A multipurpose tool, with pliers and a screwdriver.

— Cell phones and chargers, laptops are handy if the Wifi in Merida’s parks is still up and running.

— Contact information for the family.

— A hammock setup, for each person, as a bed is almost useless in high humidity and will never dry.

— Extra cash.

— Mosquito netting or mosquito coils

— A map of the area, as familiar routes my be closed due to downed trees or other debris.

— Pet supplies.

— Wet wipes, showers may not be an option.

— Insect repellent.

— Rain gear.

— Duct tape.

— An extra set of house keys.

— An extra set of car keys.

— Household bleach.

— Toilet paper in zip lock bags or the handy single wrapped Costco rolls.

— Paper cups, plates and paper towels.

— DRY, Charcoal and matches, if you have a portable grill. But only use it outside.

A longterm project draws to a close.

This reno of a Centro home, involved new plumbing, electric, moving a kitchen, twinning the bathrooms building walls and a whole lot more, all on a very tight budget. We added antiqued concrete floors with pasta insets and the final touch was putting it all back together and polishing the floors.

 

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Modern alternatives to block buildings

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Anyone familiar with construction techniques in the Yucatan or other parts of Mexico, has seen the familiar block buildings. Block is easy to work with and makes a reasonably strong structure, if several variables are taken into consideration. A block structure is only as strong, as the mortar bonding the blocks together and the traditional Viga and Bovedilla roofs are extremely heavy. The other main issue with block construction is heat transfer, as typical block buildings here, do not have any insulation. I have done some testing with a laser temperature gun. On average a block wall facing the Yucatan sun, is approximately 4 degrees C warmer, than a wall not in the sun. That is a very large difference, if you are using A/C in the evening to cool a bedroom. Not only does the A/C have to overcome the ambient air temperature, but it also has to counter the effects of the Blocks radiating heat into the room.

There are more modern alternatives to block buildings and one of them is structural panels. Structural panels are an interlinked welded zigzag of wire, supporting a styrofoam core. These types of panels have been used for constructing multi story hotels and are hurricane resistant, they are that strong.

Some of the benefits of these types of panels is they are light weight, facilitate a faster build, but also very important is they insulate due to the styrofoam core. The panels come in various thicknesses and sizes, so that they can load a second or more stories or just be the wall for a simple single story home. Structural panels also come especially formed to be roof panels, so the suns energy is not easily transferred to the inside of your home. This also means cool air from your A/C unit does not strike a sun heated surface and warm up. It is the house version of a styrofoam cooler.

We have been working on several projects with the manufacturers tech advisor, using these structural panels.. This has offered our clients a lightweight and insulated option for the addition of second stories, as well as the option to build entirely out of the panels for a thermally efficient home.

An unsolicited email

Normally we don’t post testimonials, as it is common to post nice comments from friends or just make them up. But this is direct from customers we worked for, renovating a house, including putting a pool on the roof, all via long distance emails. The project is discussed here https://aerocretosdemexico.com/category/pools/

Morning Steve

I tried to post on your website but couldn’t.  Thought you could cut and paste this.

We would like to thank Steve and Fernando and the whole crew for the amazing job they have done.  The thought of renovating in a foreign country was a daunting one.  We had a vision and they managed to accomplish it and more. We are thrilled with the workmanship, help and generosity that we received from them.  The constant updates and communication enabled us to feel assured that things were going to be completed as we wanted.  After seeing the final result we were even more impressed. Thanks guys.

Dave and Elaine

Sent from my iPad

It’s time again, Hurricane season starts June 1 in the Atlantic

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Todays weather forecast, shows the first named storm of the Pacific season and it is predicted to be a hurricane. We are lucky to be on the Atlantic side, but no one one wants to have a hurricane visit their area, but they are a fact of life in the tropics. Traditionally, the North coast of the Yucatan has generally been a safe place to be. Due to the geography of the area, which tends to see storms follow the Yucatan channel or lose strength as they cross land. However, there have been a few notable exceptions such as Glibert and Isadora, that did huge amounts of damage. The one good thing about hurricanes is you can see them coming for days and have lots of time to activate your plans. You do have a plan don’t you?  Here in Mexico, once a storm reaches certain proportions and is predicted to hit this area, on the North Coast of the Yucatan, an evacuation order will be given. Once given, it is mandatory that you leave and foolish or fatal if you don’t. You need to do your own homework, to find out where the closest evacuation shelters are and make sure you know how to get to them. For people who have pets, the problem becomes much more difficult, as the shelters do not allow pets. If you are a pet owner , you will need an alternate shelter for you and your pets. Now is the time to canvas friends, to see if they will allow you to bring your pets with you, in the event of an emergency. Remember, you may be stuck there for a week or more, under not so nice conditions, so tempers of both you and your pets might get frayed.

When a hurricane strikes it is not just a case of high wind. Hurricanes also bring massive amounts of moisture and humidity levels skyrocket. It could be 35+ degrees and 100% humidity for days on end, with no electricity for fans or A/C. Anything you get wet, will never ever dry, clothes, pills, papers, NOTHING! Plus mould and mildew will run rampant if unchecked. It will not be pleasant, to spend a week or more in a damp environment, exposed to mosquito’s nightly, along with your wet dogs. The only way to keep your sanity is to be absolutely prepared for the worst and make sure you have a way to keep everything as dry as possible. If you have an alternate place to stay inland and you have a generator. Make sure you have extension cords and spare fuel, also fill your cars gas tank and have a syphon hose. A modern car has 45 or so litres of fuel which can power a small generator for 4 or 5 days of reasonable use. So having a syphon hose handy is a good idea.

Below is a list of suggested items to have handy in the event that a hurricane does arrive. But, even if you head to a friends house or shelter and then return home, you will still need to be prepared. You may be with out power for a long period, if transmission lines are down and there is a good chance your beach home and more likely its contents maybe substantially damaged. Remember, no power means , no city water and fuel stations can’t pump gas, stores won’t have cold storage, etc. Like the Boy Scouts say “Be prepared”.

Here are recommendations on what to do before a storm approaches:

— Use hurricane shutters or board up windows and doors with 5/8 inch plywood. Make them now before you need them!

— Bring outside items in if they could be picked up by the wind, place screws in your tinaco lid, as they tend to fly away.

— Turn the refrigerator to its coldest setting in case power goes off. Use a cooler to keep from opening the doors on the freezer or refrigerator.

— Make sure your cisterna and Tinaco are full and you have 5 or more Garafons of water available.

— Make sure your vehicles fuel tanks are full and you have spare fuel for a generator, also have a siphon hose

— Have an evacuation plan.

— Learn the location of the nearest shelter or nearest pet-friendly shelter. This is a big issue for pet owners in the beach areas.

— Store important documents — passports, Social Security cards, birth certificates, deeds — in a watertight container.

— Have a current inventory of household property.

— Leave a note to say where you are going, IN SPANISH!

— Contact relatives and let then know you maybe out of touch for a week or more.

— Unplug small appliances and electronics before you leave.

— If possible, turn off the electricity, gas and water for your residence.

Here is a list of handy supplies:

— A seven-day supply of water, a minimum of one gallon per person per day.

— Three days of food, with suggested items including: canned meats, canned or dried fruits, canned vegetables, canned juice, peanut butter, jelly, salt-free crackers, energy/protein bars, trail mix/nuts, dry cereal, cookies or other comfort food.

— A can opener and eating utensils

— Flashlight(s) and candles.

— A battery-powered radio.

— Extra batteries.

— A first aid kit, including latex gloves; sterile dressings; soap/cleaning agent; antibiotic ointment; burn ointment; adhesive bandages in small, medium and large sizes; eye wash; a thermometer; aspirin/pain reliever; anti-diarrhea tablets; antacids; laxatives; small scissors; tweezers; petroleum jelly.

— A seven-day supply of personal medications, in waterproof containers.

— A multipurpose tool, with pliers and a screwdriver.

— Cell phones and chargers, laptops are handy if the Wifi in Merida’s parks is still up and running.

— Contact information for the family.

— A hammock setup, for each person, as a bed is almost useless in high humidity and will never dry.

— Extra cash, ATM’s don’t work if the power is off

— Mosquito netting or mosquito coils

— A map of the area, as familiar routes my be closed due to downed trees or other debris.

— Pet supplies.

— Wet wipes, showers may not be an option.

— Insect repellent.

— Rain gear.

— Duct tape.

— An extra set of house keys.

— An extra set of car keys.

— Household bleach, lots of it.

— Toilet paper in zip lock bags or the handy single wrapped Costco rolls.

— Paper cups, plates and paper towels.

— DRY, Charcoal and matches, if you have a portable grill. But only use it outside.

Tinacos, Cisterns and city water.

imgresWe often get calls from customers, that go something like this. “My tinaco is over flowing”, “My tinaco is dry” “do I need a cistern” or “the city water is not constant and does not fill my cistern or tinaco”. It is obvious that a lot of people in the Yucatan do not understand how their water systems work.

The tinaco is a staple in almost every home in the Yucatan. A tinaco is a large roof top mounted tank, that gets filled with water. How that water gets to the roof tank, is often problematic. In addition to the roof top tank, a lot of homes have a cisterna or ground level tank to accept city water. This article, is meant for those hooked to a source of city water. So I will use Merida as an example.

Merida has a water system supplied by JAPAY, JAPAY supplies low pressure and low volume water. The key here is low pressure. A lot of people call us and ask, why does my roof top tinaco not fill during the day. Or the equivalent at the beach is, why do I have little or flow, during Semana Santa. The answer to both is supply and demand. Lets look at the Merida example, for the most part city water fills your tinaco, but some times it does not fill. The answer is simple. For arguments sake, it takes 10 pounds of pressure (PSI) to lift the water to your rooftop tinaco. Anything less and it will not fill the tank. Over night most people are asleep and businesses are closed. So water demand is low and pressure is higher than 10 PSI. As a result your tank fills. But, during the day maybe your neighbour is a laundromat and they are upstream on the waterline from you. They get the water before you and your pressure drops below the needed 10 PSI. Under this scenario, your tinaco is not filling to compensate for the water you use during the day. Depending on your demand, you may be using more than you can recover and over time you will run out.

So how to you solve this issue? Well is is simple and complicated at the same time. The simple answer is a tank (cisterna) At ground level. A ground level tank should receive water 24 hours a day as long as it is being pumped, as it will not require the 10 PSI to get to the roof. (Note it is not legal to attach a suction pump to JAPAY lines, to increase your supply) But now the issue is how to get the water from the cisterna to the tinaco. The only way is a pump, this pump transfers water from ground level to the rooftop tinaco. You could also use a well with submersible pump to supply the tinaco. But that is another topic of discussion.

OK, you have decided to add a cistern to you water system and have the space. You install the cistern, but what plumbing do you need. A basic system, needs a float valve to control the water entering the cisterna, an outlet from the cisterna, a suction line leading to a pump, the suction line from the cisterna needs a check valve at the end to stop water back flow and losing prime. A line to the roof top tinaco and a manual switch to shut of the pump, when the tinaco is full. That is the basic system, but it requires you to turn it on and off. However, there are self levelling systems. A self levelling system, consist of 2 electric switched floats and a manual float, 1 electric and one manual in the Cisterna and 1 electric in the tinaco, both hooked to the pump. When the tinaco gets low the float switch energizes the pump and fills the tinaco, unless the cistern electric switch float signals low water in the cistern. This prevents burning out the pump. The manual float, simply controls the flow of city water into the cistern. Sounds perfect right? An automatic float system that controls filling the tinaco, backed up by a manual float to deal with city water filling the cistern. I wish, the automatic float switches are notoriously unreliable. We have had them fail right out of the box and not just once. The electric float switches stick, I have not had a chance, to take one apart to see why, but it is a regular occurrence. One thing you can do is shake the float to free the mechanism so it works properly, but this is a temporary fix. I will take one apart later this week to see if i can find a solution to this common problem. The other less common problem is sticking mechanical floats, due to corrosion or the build up of sarro. In this case it is just cheaper to replace the float mechanism. Note:, due to lack of use. systems that are left unused for a period of time have the most issues.

Either way, equipment that does not work as designed, will leave you with out water.

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