by Sarah on Thursday August 14, 2014

thermometer-1140004-mYou might think the only thing that matters when it comes to cooling your home is the AC unit that pumps out cold air. But there are actually several components involved in making sure that the cool air you crave makes its way to your living spaces. Your AC unit is certainly a crucial element since it is responsible for converting hot air to cold. And having an energy-efficient unit will definitely help to save money in the long run. But you also need a series of ducts to carry the cool air throughout your home, as well as a system of dampers, perhaps connected to a zoning setup, that ensure the cold air gets exactly where it is needed most. And of course, your system can’t function at all without proper control by way of a thermostat. In fact, your thermostat could end up being the most important feature of your AC system when it comes to saving money even as you stay cool all summer long. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your thermostat.

The place to begin is by upgrading to a programmable thermostat if you don’t yet have one. Dial thermostats are notoriously inaccurate, not to mention all too easy to throw out of whack. Even a gentle bump can alter the accuracy of a dial model enough to warrant recalibration, and it often has to be performed by a professional technician. So a digital thermostat is obviously preferable. And if you’re going to upgrade anyway, you might as well get a programmable model. Of course, you actually have to program it if you want to realize energy savings, not to mention a lower utility bill associated with your air conditioning.

According to Department of Energy standards, the optimum setting for your AC when you’re in the home is 78?F or higher. But if you want to enjoy greater savings, you should program your thermostat to account for times when you’re away from home. When you set the temperature at 10-15 degrees higher during the eight or nine hours a day you spend at the office, you stand to shave as much as 15% off your energy bill. And you could also adjust the temperature slightly when you and your family are asleep.

Another thing to consider is how your thermostat works with your AC unit. Some units are single-stage, which basically means they only run at one speed, whether you demand that your home be 1-2 degrees cooler or you want to cool it by ten degrees immediately. But if you have a double-stage unit, the amount of cold air you demand could affect efficiency. For a temperature shift of only a couple degrees, your AC unit will stay at stage one, optimizing energy efficiency. But demanding a greater increase in air flow (3+ degrees) could cause the second stage of operation to kick on, increasing output but decreasing efficiency. So it pays to know how your thermostat usages impacts your AC performance and energy draw.

And don’t forget that constant demand could lead to common AC problems, especially if you don’t have regular tune-ups. So schedule annual maintenance (cleaning, inspection, repairs, etc.) to ensure that your AC unit is running properly. And don’t forget to have your technician check out your thermostat and perhaps even offer advice on how to use it to manage your AC more effectively.

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by HeatherRoberts on Friday August 08, 2014

If you, like many others are concerned by the plight of the planet that we live on, then it is important that you can be contributing to the cause in every way possible. It is clear that not enough people on the planet have the necessary respect for the place that they live, so it is up to those who do to ensure that they are giving their efforts an extra push in the right direction. Ensuring that your removals company and your removal in general is an eco friendly one is pretty vital, and you will find that it revolves around ensuring that you can get the company that you need, as there is a lot that they will do behind the scenes that could affect your removals impact on the environment. It is all well and good you ensuring that everything that you have to do with the removal is safe for the environment, but if the removals company that you hire are less bothered, then your hard work may well be being undone by their lazy attitude!

Some removals companies will advertise themselves as being ‘green’ or ‘eco-friendly’ and these are usually marketing tools to sway a customer in to choosing them. However, some of the claims are not as well rounded as they may appear, and you will find that you can often ask a few questions about the following aspects of their practice that will show you whether this company is as legitimate in their ‘greenness’ as they are claiming.

Is your removals company an eco friendly one?

First off, the main factor in a removal is transport. How are the company that you use fighting the emissions of their vans in to the atmosphere? Some companies will purposefully use newer models of vans, to ensure that they have the latest technology in their engines, which uses the fuel more effectively and efficiently, ensuring that you are saving on the fuel as well as reducing emissions. You will find that this technology is not like a hybrid, but it is certainly better than a smoke belching diesel transit van!

If you are packing a lot of things up, where are you sourcing you materials from? Many companies offer to supply you with the adequate packing boxes, but the reality is that they may not be sourcing them responsibly. You need to be sure that the boxes are recycled, and that they offer to recycle them afterwards as well. If they are made in the same country, and bought locally then theta is even better. Be sure to avoid allowing the company to use acres of bubble wrap if they are packing for you as well, as this stuff is terrible for the environment in how it is produced, as well as being very expensive.

It may well cost a little more to hire a green removals company Battersea, but if you have checked them out well enough beforehand, then you will find that they are worth the effort. Ask about carbon offsetting, which will cost a fair bit, but given that the amount of travel that you need to undergo in a van on your removal, you may feel it is worth it. Here, the emissions that you put in to the atmosphere are neutralized in your name by specialist services for a fee. You will find that whilst it is not an answer to the problem overall, it is not a contribution to it, which is worth something at least!

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by Sarah on Wednesday August 06, 2014

attic-1007147-mThere are a number of advantages that come along with more insulation and ventilation in your roof and attic. For one thing, insulation can make your attic more impervious to leaks and moisture damage. Moisture damage and leaks can become a serious problem in an un-insulated attic – especially in the wintertime – because the warm air from your home escapes more easily through the roof and melts ice and snow. All that melted water winds up getting inside your eaves and into your home – causing major damage. However, an attic that isn’t insulated can also make your entire home less energy efficient. Here are five roof and attic ventilation and insulation tips for homeowners.

  1. Insulate around your ductwork. There are many benefits of good ductwork design, but no matter what, you may experience loud noises or energy loss as your HVAC ducts travel through your attic. To prevent this issue, simply insulate around the ducts when you re-insulate your attic and roof. This makes your HVAC system work much more efficient and it will significantly reduce banging, clanging and other sounds that ductwork is known to make from time to time.
  2. Make sure that you have the correct R-value. There is a good chance that the rest of your home is already insulated, but you may not know what R-value your contractors used. You may be able to find a swath of exposed insulation, but if you can’t, you want to purchase insulation with the right value for your geographic climate region. Insulation will come with different types of density, so that you can properly protect your home. When it come to your attic, the R-value is especially important because you don’t want to install insulation that is too weak.
  3. Install a ventilation window. You can install a ventilation window anywhere along the perimeter of your roof. The windows can usually be controlled automatically or from a central thermostat. When it comes to making sure your attic has proper insulation, these windows are incredibly important. If you want to prevent mold, mildew and other issues, you may want to think about investing in a ventilation window. If your roof is particularly large, you may want to invest in two or even three ventilation windows.
  4. Place a vapor retarder over the insulation. You would be shocked to learn about all the moisture that gets trapped inside your home. Even breathing can cause an excess amount of moisture to get inside the insulation. To prevent this, you want to place a sheet of vapor retardant over the insulation – this is especially important if you are leaving the insulation bare and not behind drywall.
  5. Purchase all the right tools for safety. Working with insulation can be dangerous if your hands and eyes are not protected. This is why you want to wear goggles, gloves and maybe even a mask to help you breathe. Many of the materials in insulation can cause respiratory issues when breathed in. The last thing you want is to injure yourself, or make yourself sick, during the installation process.

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by HeatherRoberts on Thursday July 17, 2014

We’ve all been there – one tiny, inadvertent knock and the full glass of red wine goes flying over the cream carpet. A dinner party is the usual culprit; over-enthusiastic hosts or clumsy guests. Whatever the cause, it’s imperative that you act quickly to treat the stain because the longer you leave it, the worse it gets. Luckily there are several home remedies for carpet cleaning available to help you get rid of that stain immediately.
Step one is to blot the liquid as soon as possible. Use a towel, paper towel or clean cloth and literally soak up as much as you can. Whatever you do, don’t scrub at the carpet or rub hard because this will only cause the wine to penetrate further into the carpet fibres and worsen the stain. Think light-handed dabbing. It may seem more ineffectual but you will actually be preserving your carpet. If this disaster happens to occur whilst you are unable to attend to it immediately then the most effective thing that you can do is to pour salt onto it. This will draw out and absorb the wine. Then it can be vacuumed off later. If you don’t happen to have a significant spare amount of salt then baking soda is also an option. Again, apply to the affected area and allow it to soak up as much excess moisture as possible and then vacuum.
How to clean a red wine stain out of a carpet effectively using home remedies

It is viewed as an apocryphal method by some people, but the suggestion of pouring white wine on top of red wine also works to dilute and help remove the stain. However this needs to be done immediately for it to be effective. If you do not happen to have white wine available, then plain vodka will also work. It’s a bit of a boring thing to raid the drinks cabinet for though!
Another home/shop solution is to mix carpet shampoo together with hydrogen peroxide. In this instance you will need the appropriate amount of carpet shampoo and one cup of hydrogen peroxide. Take a clean sponge and soak it in the mixture. Then, very carefully, blot the carpet until the stain fades. This may take some time and repeated applications – but be patient! Then once the stain is removed, rinse the carpet with warm water, get a clean towel and gently dab it dry.
If none of the options above are available to you, then there is one final method that you may try. You will need white vinegar, washing up liquid and water. Hopefully these will be things which you ordinarily keep in the home. Mix 1/3 of a cup of white vinegar with 2/3 cup of water. Then saturate the red wine stain with the solution and blot with a clean towel or cloth. Paper towels also work, of course. Then take ¼ teaspoon of washing up liquid and four cups of water and mix together. Pour this solution onto the carpet and gently rub into the stain, continuing until it has gone.
Whichever method you choose to use in the event of a red wine spillage disaster, do remember to leave the area to dry once you have treated it and then vacuum over it the following day. This will assist in restoring the carpet fibres back to the way they should look. If you don’t choose the home remedies there are several carpet cleaners available in the shops and once you have used these and the carpet has dried, you can vacuum over it exactly the same way. With any luck your carpet will look like the stain never happened!

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by HeatherRoberts on Thursday July 10, 2014

There are a few issues to be found with domestic cleaning, and whilst everyone finds it boring, there will always be ways in which to solve these problems. One of the main issues with getting around the issues associated with cleaning, is that the subject matter is so boring that it can be hard to be bothered thinking about such things in the first place! A little help to get you off on the right track can therefore be incredibly useful, so it is well worth looking over the following ideas to see if anything strikes your interest. As with everything, everyone’s cleaning habits are different, so you need to assess whether things will work for you or not, as one idea may be perfect for some, and terrible for others!

Using some less than conventional cleaning methods to your own advantage

For a start, there are ways to get past the old boredom factor. Depending on what kind of person you are, there are great ways to distract yourself from the lack of interest that you have in the task at hand by creating interest in something else. For instance making a game out of the cleaning is a good idea, and can help you speed the whole thing up, especially if you are pretty competitive! Also try listening to music that you love, as it will transport you away from the drudgery of cleaning, and help you relax into the job, rather than fretting about when its all going to be over! The same goes for audio books, radio plays, documentaries and so on and so forth. All of these things are worth a try if you struggle with keeping your mind focussed on the boring cleaning!

Have a think about using old style methods, like simple soap and water to simplify the cleaning in your home, it may be a nice departure from worrying about the toxic chemicals in the cleaning products more commonly used. The same goes for the tools that you use. Getting back to basics and using old school materials for the cleaning can make things seem much more simple and less fussy. From your broom to your metal dustpan, its all good, solid stuff, that will last for years and years, keeping you safe in the knowledge that you are not contributing to the endless cycle of plastic production and dumping.

Other cleaning alternatives include making your own rags, that will keep you from chucking out disposable cloths all the time. If you have clothes that need to be thrown away, or towels that are passed comfortable use, why not cut them into the perfect sized cloths, for a supply that will last for ages! You can use them in conjunction with home made cleaning products like lemon and baking soda for cream cleaner, or water and vinegar for a surface cleaner. There are thousands of uses for these more natural ingredients around the home in a cleaning sense, and you will be able to find many of them on the net. For instance; squeeze half a lemon into a bowl of water, and put the lemon in the water as well. Microwave it for three minutes, and then you should find that the inside of the microwave is really easy to clean! This is because the acidity of the lemon is great for cutting through grease and the heating of the lemon and water means it is distributed around the microwave for you.

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