by Sarah on Monday March 17, 2014

workerIn your efforts to turn over an eco-friendly leaf and save some money on your utility bills in the process, you have probably turned to energy conservation as a simple and effective way of meeting your multiple goals. And yet, you may notice that despite your best efforts your energy usage seems to go up and up over time, taking your monthly bill with it. Or you might find yourself dealing with cold drafts in the winter and hot spots in your home during the summer, even if you break down and turn the HVAC system on full blast. Unfortunately, this probably means that you have some issues with insulation and airtightness in your home. And in order to pinpoint problem areas, your best bet is to conduct a home energy audit. While you can certainly perform most of the associated tasks on your own, there are several reasons why hiring a professional for the job is a good idea. Here are just a few benefits you stand to gain by going pro.

  1. Proper equipment. One of the best reasons to hire a professional home energy auditor is because these technicians have the tools and equipment on hand to make the job quick. You can definitely find tutorials online that offer step-by-step instructions or even videos that show you how to inspect your home and conduct testing, you can’t really hope to get the same definitive results as a pro. After all, professionals have high-tech equipment designed for exactly the types of tasks they’re trained to carry out. So while you’re walking around your house with a candle or a stick of incense, looking for drafts, they can pressurize your home, perform a blower test, and quickly mark any areas where air is being transferred between inside and out.
  2. Expertise. Professional home energy auditors are trained to find areas where energy is being wasted in your structure. They do this not only through inspection and testing, but by asking you to note any problems you have noticed, as well as looking through your past energy bills to assess whether your energy issues have gotten worse over time, if they are seasonal, and so on. They test, analyze, and look at your home from multiple angles in order to make a determination about how you are using energy and whether you can curb your consumption.
  3. Whole-home testing. You may be willing to perform a careful examination of every room in your home, and you might even squeeze into crawl spaces and root through the attic and the basement in search of energy issues affecting your structure. But even with this can-do attitude, you’re not likely to get the same results as a professional auditor, who does a visual inspection, run tests, and uses scanning tools (thermographic) that can look into areas that people can’t.
  4. Precise reporting. Once an energy audit is complete you’ll receive a report that tells you exactly where problems are occurring in your home, including areas of leakage, drafts, and an inability to regulate your interior temperature, amongst other issues.
  5. Suggestions. Although your home energy audit professional is not qualified to fix the problems found during an inspection, you will generally receive some suggestions about how to address the issues plaguing your home on the energy front. You may be advised to add or replace insulation, seal up leaks around windows and doors with weather stripping, and add a programmable thermostat to stop overuse of the HVAC system while you’re at work, just for example. From there you can do some of the fixes on your own and hire a weatherization service like ConserVision Energy to help with the rest. In the end, you’ll have a more energy-efficient home that allows you to lower your electric bill and do your part for environmental protection.

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by HeatherRoberts on Thursday March 13, 2014

A manicured lawn and neatly planted beds of selected flowers can often be the owner’s pride and joy. After all, it can sometimes take seasons and seasons to create the desired effect. Flowers that bloom in September need to be purchased and planted in the cold winter month of February. Snow drops, lilies, sweet peas, dahlias – all of these common flowers plus many more can form lovely components to your own personal, choice of garden. And so – if you have spent years constructing this ideal display of plants it is understandable that you would not be thrilled at the idea of beginning all over again at your new property. The good news? By following this simple guide you don’t have to! Read on to find out step by step how to move your garden along with your furniture.
However before you begin the process of transporting your plants and flowers, do bear in mind that you must seek the permission of the new owners – or specifically exclude the plants from the contract of sale. Plants are usually considered part of the fixtures and fittings and you will need to cover yourself against this. Once you are satisfied that this is done, the first thing to do is scope out your new garden. You may have chosen it with this in mind, or you may just be hoping to transfer what you can. Consider the important things: the type of soil present, how sunny or shady your grassy area is, what already exists in the garden and if there is any steep incline which excessive amounts of rainfall will run down and collect at the bottom. Work out where your favourite plants are going to go BEFORE you get them there in order to have maximum success when you transfer them. Also ensure that there is a suitable space for temporarily storing any plants that cannot go into the ground for whatever reason. This should be sheltered and shady and not likely to be disturbed. Ensure that there is easy access to your garden for when you arrive with your plants. Bear in mind that you may like to use a wheelbarrow for ease if you are transporting large amounts of plants.
Going to miss your garden when you move house? Take it with you!
Always remember to water your plants more heavily than normal two or three days prior to digging them out of the ground. They will need this extra water but you do not want large amounts of water all over your transportation van or lorry. Two or three days will be enough for your plants to absorb what they need. And before you begin to remove them from the ground, make sure that you have all the equipment that you will need. This should include: a trowel, sheets of polythene, extra soil and twine. Firstly, move as much soil away from the base of the plant as you can with your hands to minimise disruption to the flower bed. Then when you have cleared as much as you can you dig the remaining soil out with your trowel. Place an appropriate amount of soil on a sheet of polythene, remove the plant, ensure it is well-surrounded with soil, dampen it slightly and then pull the edges of the polythene up and secure them with the twine. Repeat this for every plant that you wish to move.
When you are ready to load the plants into your van or lorry, first place a large tarpaulin over the floor to protect against soil or water damage. Then stack your plants carefully in groups, and ensure that they cannot fall over or become damaged during transportation. When you arrive, take them through to the garden and stow in your temporary storage area until you have the opportunity to re-plant them. When you do, remember that planting your precious flowers outside can be a nice alternative to arranging furniture inside. A change is a good as a rest! Fulham Removal Van

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by HeatherRoberts on Thursday March 06, 2014

Now that winter is slowing down and giving way to the first glimpse of joyful, lovely spring we finally have a chance to open our windows, banish the cobwebs and do a bit of spring cleaning. Often however the chemicals we work with in our daily lives can be a bit too much for those of us with allergies or similar issues. There is no sense in throwing resources into many new cleaning materials, as we have quite a bit of useful ones in our homes already. The following tips will give you an idea what you can use even in your home with minimal trips to the store, already using much of what you own:

There are some basic supplies you will want to have available on hand, and chances are you already posses quite a bit of them yourself. Most of them are indeed quite simple:

Distilled white vinegar
Baking Soda
Olive Oil
Microfiber cleaning cloths
Liquid castile soap (available in natural food stores)
Essential oils (natural plant oils available in the same stores)
Newspapers or a wash leather

Green Spring Cleaning Tips

Now you don’t necessarily need to possess all of those, in fact you can easily use the first three, as chances are high that you already have them in your home in decent quantities. Here are some basic and easy recipes for most situations when cleaning is needed:

Glass can be cleaned with a simple mixture of a quarter cup vinegar with about two glasses of water. Place it in a spray bottle, spray on the glass and use old newspapers, lint-free cloth or a wash leather.

Countertops as well as bathroom tiles can be cleaned with a mix of vinegar and baking soda in water. The ratio of this cleaning solution is 2:1:4 parts. Simply apply that on the surface with a sponge, scour and wipe away when you’re done.

Cleaning your floors is an even easier task, you can do that with about a gallon of hot water mixed with four cups of white vinegar. Use that mixture to wipe your floors clean and if you don’t like the scent of vinegar, you can always add a bit of lemon oil or peppermint. This will leave a better scent and you’ll allow the scent of vinegar to disappear quickly.

Cleaning your wooden furniture can be an even easier task – simply combine lemon juice, olive oil and use that to rub the furniture. The acid of the olive oil will help dissolve stains, while the oil will help buff it to a shine.

You can clean your toilet bowl with a brush sprinkled with baking soda. Use the grit of the baking soda to scrub away until all is gone. Its perfectly safe and natural and if you feel like disinfecting it, you can either do that with straight vinegar or with borax instead.

You can make a disinfectant of your own by combining two teaspoons of borax, three cups hot water, four tablespoons of white vinegar and about a quarter teaspoon of liquid castile soap. Use that on a dampened cloth or in a spray bottle, then wipe clean and you’re done.
Westminster end of tenancy cleaning

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by Sarah on Wednesday March 05, 2014

thermostatWhen you’re in the process of moving into a new house, while it’s an exciting time, it also has the potential to be a bit intimidating. That’s because for the first several months, as you’re getting used to fitting your mortgage into your budget, you’ll also be adjusting to your monthly energy bills as well.

So that your transition can go as smoothly as possible, we have provided you with a list of five energy conservation ideas that every homeowner should apply. That way, as you’re settling in, your utility expenses will not send you into a state of homeowner’s shock.

Conduct an energy audit. As you’re in the process of moving into a new house, definitely one of the first things that you should do is conduct an energy audit. Although there’s a pretty good chance that you had your house professionally inspected before you purchased it, it certainly can’t hurt to double-check things like your attic’s insulation and if your appliances are working at an optimal level. One website that can show you how to conduct one yourself is The Daily Green. Just go to the site and put “DIY energy audit” in the search field.

Install some eco-friendly items. Something else that’s a good idea to do is install some eco-friendly items. These would include LED light bulbs, low-flow showerheads and toilets in your bathroom, automatic faucets on your sinks and a tankless water heater. By installing all of these things, you can easily save 30-40 percent on your annual energy costs.

Add some ceiling fans. Traditionally, when we think of ceiling fans, it’s either for aesthetic purposes or to keep the rooms in your home a bit cooler during the summer months. But did you know that they are also great for the winter season too? By setting them to rotate counterclockwise, it will put the heat that has risen to the ceiling down closer to where you are. They’re a great addition for virtually every room of your house.

Use a programmable thermostat. If you were to read an Ambit Energy Review at about how to reduce energy consumption within your home, one of the things that it would probably recommend is that you purchase a programmable thermostat. That way, you can preset it for when you’re home and away, which can automatically help you to save a significant amount each month on your electricity bills. In fact, according to many energy experts, if you set your thermostat to around 73 degrees, you can keep your home at a comfortable temperature year-round while saving a few extra dollars in the process.

Tint your windows. Something else that you can do to better regulate the temperature in the rooms of your house is to get your windows professionally tinted. Not only will it protect you, your furniture and even your flooring from the sun’s rays, but it can also provide you with some extra privacy too; that’s because tinting makes it possible for you to look outside of your windows without outsiders being able to look in. For more information on professional window tinting, go to your favorite search engine and put “professional house window tinting” along with your city and state in the search field.

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by Sarah on Wednesday February 26, 2014

ledThanks to the seasons changing, some energy sucking appliances will give you a break, like your heating system or air conditioning system. Indeed, when the warm season comes around, there are many ways to make your home cooler without relying too much on the air conditioner. In the wintertime, there are many methods to keep your home warmer. However, there are some appliances that can waste energy all year round, like your electrical system, home ventilation system, and other appliances that are used on a regular basis. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to save energy – no matter what season or time of year it is. Here are some year-round energy saving tips for homeowners.

  1. Turn off your lights when you don’t need to use them. In the daytime, you probably don’t need to use any lights at all. When it is dark out and you are using the light in a particular room, you want to flip the switch off when you leave that room. If your household is having a problem turning off lights, you may want to leave little reminders around, because leaving lights on wastes a lot of energy.
  2. Call an electrician to evaluate your home’s energy usage. For instance, an electrician company, like On Time Electric, can help you save electricity at home by isolating various issues that may be causing you to waste energy. The issue could be an ungrounded wire that is not only taking too much energy, but is also creating a fire risk. An electrician may also install various features around the home that can reduce the amount of energy usage.
  3. Install LED lightbulbs around your home. Many people wonder if they should go with fluorescent lightbulbs or LED bulbs. The truth is that LED bulbs are better – mainly because they are less expensive and they actually last longer. While both save a tremendous amount of energy, LED bulbs tend to also look better and mimic some of the same features as incandescent bulbs, like the ability to dim. As more and more people are switching from incandescent bulbs to more energy efficient lighting sources, the cost is significantly dropping, so eventually LED bulbs will reach the same price point as energy wasting incandescent bulbs.
  4. Make sure to maintain your refrigerator. Many people underestimate their refrigerator’s power, especially when it comes to how much energy they can end up wasting. Even newer refrigerators can waste energy. So, you want to make sure that you clean and vacuum the coils on the back of your fridge. This will ensure that your refrigerator stays cooler for longer. You may also want to replace the coolant if your refrigerator is an older model.
  5. Unplug vampire appliances. If you have appliances plugged in – that don’t need to be plugged in – you may want to unplug them. Even though you aren’t using these appliances, they are still using a lot of energy. The same goes for cell phones and computers. Anything that has a red light flashing when plugged in is considered a vampire appliance. In the end, the less you have plugged in, the more energy efficient your home will be.

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