Posts Tagged ‘Home Care’

Tips to Keep Warm This Winter

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

Solid Insulated CurtainsTurn down. Seal off. Save up. With a little planning and a little knowledge, you’ll be protected from the cold and save money this winter.

Here you’ll find strategies to help you save energy during the cold winter months. Some of the tips below are free and can be used on a daily basis to increase your savings; others are simple and inexpensive actions you can take to ensure maximum savings.

Turn down –
Setting your thermostat at 65 degrees during the day and lowering it to 60 degrees when you’re not at home or asleep can save you hundreds of dollars a year. If you install a programmable thermostat, it’ll take care of that for you. You probably won’t notice the difference if you lower your thermostat by a few degrees but you will notice the difference in your heating bill.

Seal off -
Rebecca QuiltKeep your heat where it’s needed by closing heating vents in unused rooms. If some rooms of your house do not have doors you can hang a quilted blanket or comforter across the doorway to keep the cold inside that room from escaping into the rooms you are heating. Make sure any open vents are clean and that furniture isn’t blocking them. Cover drafty windows by using a heavy-duty, clear plastic sheet on a frame or tape clear plastic film to the inside of your window frames during winter. Make sure the plastic is sealed tightly to the frame to help reduce infiltration. Install tight fitting, insulating drapes or shades on windows that still feel drafty after weatherizing. Seal the air leaks around utility cut-throughs for pipes (“plumbing penetrations”), gaps around chimneys and recessed lights in insulated ceilings, and unfinished spaces behind cupboards and closets. If you never use your fireplace, plug and seal the chimney flue.

Take Advantage of Heat from the Sun
Open curtains on your south-facing windows during the day to allow sunlight to naturally heat your home, and close them at night to reduce the chill you may feel from cold windows.

Maintain Your Heating Systems
Schedule service for your heating system. Find out what maintenance is required to keep your heating system operating efficiently. Replace your furnace filter once a month or as needed. For wood and pellet-burning heaters: clean the flue vent regularly and clean the inside of the appliance periodically with a wire brush. Keep your fireplace damper closed unless a fire is going. When you use the fireplace, reduce heat loss by opening dampers in the bottom of the firebox (if provided) or open the nearest window slightly—approximately 1 inch—and close doors leading into the room. Lower the thermostat setting to between 50° and 55°F.

Braided Log CarrierUse Your Fireplace
Burning wood for heat is an easy way to lower your heating bill and it is also a quick way to heat up a room. If you spend most of your time at home in a certain room, make that room the one with the fireplace in it. Install tempered glass doors and a heat-air exchange system that blows warmed air back into the room. Purchase grates made of C-shaped metal tubes to draw cool room air into the fireplace and circulate warm air back into the room. Add caulking around the fireplace hearth for extra insulation.

Wear Layered Clothing
The best way to stay warm in the winter is to dress warmly. You may feel silly wearing a hat around the house but studies show that if your head is warm the rest of you will feel warmer too. Wear wool socks to keep your feet warm and layer long sleeves and sweaters – add layers when you are cold and remove them if you get too warm.

Utilize Heat That’s There Anyway
When you take a shower with hot water, keep the bathroom door open so the heated steam can penetrate the cold in other rooms. Don’t turn on the ventilation fan or it will quickly suck away the heat. Cooking on the stove or with the oven can also generate heat to help you stay warm.

Orange Tabby Door StopStriped Insulated Curtains

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Care About Your Indoor Air Month – Dusting Tips

Monday, February 8th, 2010

Kitties RugIt’s week two of Care About Your Indoor Air Month. This week we’d like to focus on dusting. Dust mites are one of the biggest allergens floating around in your air and there’s no way to prevent them. Pet hair and dander also account for a lot of air-born pollutants around the home. While dusting goes along with home care 101, a few key points and choices can make your efforts more effective.

#1. Don’t dust dry. Using a feather duster or a dry cloth will only remove a scant fraction of the problem. The rest gets knocked into the air, making you sneeze and then settling right back where it was. Using a surface appropriate product (wood cleaner for wood, glass cleaner for glass, etc) will keep the dust from escaping back into the air, thus giving your cleaning efforts a longer lasting effect. This goes for wood floors as well. damp-mop your floors rather than using a dry mop, and do so after vacuuming. Here’s a simple order of operations when dusting a room: Dust from the top down (Ceilings/ceiling fans, furniture, carpets, wood or tile floors).

#2. Vacuum your furniture. In addition to rugs and carpets, spend an extra minute or two and vacuum your sofa cushions. If you use slip-covers, launder them occasionally in addition to vacuuming.

#3. Choose cleaning products that are hypo-allergenic and/or environmentally friendly. There are many commercial cleaning products on the market that include perfumes as allergy-inducing as dust mites. Replace these with more eco-friendly substitutes and your cleaning efforts will cause less trauma.

#4. For cat owners, choose dust free litter like pine pellets. Clay based litters not only throw up a cloud of dust when poured into the pans, clay dust also clings to your cat’s paws and tracks around the house. Placing an indoor/outdoor mat under or near the entrance to the box will help keep your cat from tracking litter and dust around the house as well.

#5 For dog owners, groom your pet daily and place a mat inside the door they use to get outside. This will help keep the necessary dust and debris contained.

Dusting is a fact of life and something we’ve all done. It does help to occasionally take a step back and refine our technique.

Rug Spot RemoverUnscented Beeswax Polish

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