Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Green Energy Savings Tips
for the Holidays
The Holidays are here along with cold weather and higher heating bills. Here are seven tips to help keep you fuel bills down.
1) Spend the extra $20 to $30 to buy a thermostat that can be set for various times. Going out shopping for the day or headed to work? Set the temperature to 60 degrees until a half-hour before you return. You save 7 to 9 hours of heating bills yet your home is toasty warm when you walk in the door.
2) Next set the thermostat for no higher than 67 during the day and 63 at night. Depending on where you live, it will save you between 15 and 17% on your heating bill. 
3) Clean your light bulbs. Yes the dirtier they are the more energy they use.
4) If you have tall ceilings then a ceiling fan is a must. Turn it so the blades run clockwise during the summer and counterclockwise during the winter. Why have all that warm air hanging around your ceiling? Set it on low speed to conserve electricity.
5) When you need to replace your water heater, switch to the "on demand" water heaters. They consume far less space and only heat the water that is being used. That can be a whopping 10 to 20% fuel savings.
6) Leaving for the day? Keep shades pulled in bedrooms and windows at the back of your home to prevent heat loss. Leaving your shades closed on front windows is an open invitation for theives so open them when you leave for the day  Close them from dusk to dawn however to keep the heat inside your home.
7) People love outdoor decorations for the holiday season. Consider cutting back this year to help conserve valuable energy. Put a timer on the lights so they turn off at 10 each night. Never leave lights on all night.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Prevent Winter House Fires

Before the holiday season gets underway let's review and prevent the major ways house fires get started.

*Dryer lint: Now is the time to pull your dryer out from the wall and run a duster into the hose. Wash your lint screen and clean around the inside of the door as well. Always turn a dryer off when you leave home. More homes catch fire from this practice than by any other method. Lint catches on fire and if you are gone you will never hear the fire alarm. Do you have a fire alarm in your garage? Rarely do you find them in the garage or the attic. By the time the fire reaches an alarm inside your home it might be too late.

*Candles: There is not a holiday issue that goes by without my warning of candles. Please burn soy candles which emit very little smoke. Make sure your wicks do not contain lead as they let off poison when they burn. Keep all candles on a holder even if they are not lit.  Never move a lit candle and keep them away from any flammable materials including walls, window sills and lamps. For your safety sake avoid the candles that burn by floating in oil and avoid gel candles as they have been known to explode. Never burn a candle where a cat, dog, pet or small child can bump into them.

*Fireplaces: Have you had your chimney or wood stove vents cleaned yet?

*Extension cords:  Please check your extension cords. Look them over carefully for any frayed areas. Plug a hair dryer into the cord and let it run 5 or 6 minutes on the hottest setting. If the dryer plug is hot then replace your hair dryer. If the extension cord plug is hot replace the cord. It is usually wise to replace extension cords every 10 years or so just to keep on the safe side. Never use a cord that is kinked or frayed.

*Water heaters and furnaces – never store flammable material near these areas. Be sure young children don't drop their plastic toys, pens, markers or crayons down into the furnace grate. Furnace heat can melt and catch these items on fire.

*Never set a portable heater on top of carpeting. Always set them on a large one inch thick piece of wood.  Take extra caution if using a propane or oil heater inside the home. If an oil heater is faulty the carbon monoxide poisoning will silently kill you. Have them checked before using them for the winter.

*We all tend to over load circuits during the holidays. Always check the amount of voltage you plug into one circuit and that means checking the entire circuit. There are usual clusters of rooms on one circuit so don't be fooled into thinking that the voltage of the tree lights in the living room won't affect the floor heater voltage in the den. Never use more than one extension cord per circuit and unplug your cords at night.

Please conserve energy and turn off your outdoor lights after 11 PM. Timers are inexpensive and ideal for holiday lights.  

*NEVER leave a room without turning off and unplugging appliances like hair dryers, electric shavers, curling irons, electric blankets or heating pads and tree lights.

This article may only be reprinted giving full credit to Mary Findley and her website at www.goclean.com. Copyright @2008 All rights reserved worldwide.