Thursday, April 26, 2012

Does energy efficiency have to be expensive?

You don’t have to spend a fortune on the latest energy-efficient appliances to save energy at home. Here are 12 no-cost, no-hassle ways to conserve energy and cut your electric bill: 
  1. Set your water heater at 120 degrees. Besides saving energy, you’ll protect your family from getting scalded by water that’s too hot. 
  2. Use the energy-saver settings on your refrigerator, dishwasher, clothes washer and clothes dryer. 
  3. Replace incandescent lights with compact fluorescent bulbs. CFLs use only one-fourth of the energy of traditional light bulbs. 
  4. Clean or replace your air conditioner, furnace or heat-pump filters. 
  5. If you have a waterbed, make it every day. The bedspread will insulate it so much that it will use one-third less energy. 
  6. Crank up the thermostat by one degree during warm weather. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that you can save up to three percent on your summer energy bill for every degree you raise your thermostat for 24 hours.

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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Can I replace the broken glass in an aluminum frame window?

Yes! To replace the broken glass in an aluminum frame window, you’ll need a rubber mallet and a Phillips-head screwdriver, or a large flat-head screwdriver or a pry bar.

Many homes in Phoenix have “single-hung” aluminum-frame windows, with one fixed panel or “sash” and another one that slides up and down.

Here’s how to replace the broken glass in a single-hung aluminum window frame, in five easy steps:

  1. Remove the sliding panel by lifting the frame up and swinging the bottom out of the track. If you need to remove the fixed panel, use your Phillips-head screwdriver to loosen the screws at the top and bottom.

  2. Once you remove the broken window, disassemble the frame by removing the four Phillips-head screws in the four corners of the frame.

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Friday, April 13, 2012

How can I get rid of Spider Mites?

Reoccurring mites can be a big problem and a big headache, so I sympathize with your frustrations. And not to add to your frustrations, but during my research on this problem to make sure I got you the best and most thorough solution, I read that depending on how carbaryl (sevin) is being used, it can actually compound and add to the spider mite population! I know, just what you wanted to hear.

I have two recommendations that I believe will resolve your problem. The first and foremost at this time of the season, is to switch to a spray containing Neem Oil. It probably won't be called that on the shelf, but the product containing that as an "active ingredient" is what you want to use. It's totally organic, and is classified as an insecticide, miticide and fungicide all in one, so it's a great product. You should be able to find it at your local independent nursery or garden center, but you'll probably need to ask for it. I believe it'll be under the Fertilome label at the nursery, or possibly the Safer label at the garden center.


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Friday, April 6, 2012

Ten Tips for Spring Cleaning

Your house guests will never do the white-glove test behind your refrigerator or in your dryer vent—and so you probably rarely clean those places. This year, include those often-ignored spots in your spring cleaning ritual. You’ll have a healthier home if you do.

Here are 10 don’t-miss messes that could be hiding in your home:
  1. Brave the back of the refrigerator. Ask a friend to help you push your refrigerator away from the wall so you can unplug it. Empty the refrigerator and freezer and give it a good cleaning—inside and out. Use a bottle brush or a long, narrow vacuum hose to clean the coils under the unit. Vacuum and scrub the floor and the wall that it hides before carefully moving it back into place.

  2. Climb onto your roof or trudge into the back yard and find your air conditioner’s condensing unit. Give it a good dusting, and remove any debris or plants from on or around it. If it’s cluttered, it won’t work efficiently. A caution: Do not hose down your condenser. Water and electricity don’t mix!

  3. Clear your gutters and downspouts. More Arizona homeowners are installing them to divert rare rainwater so it doesn’t get under the home’s foundation. If you have them, clear leaves and debris away. Inspect them for holes and corrosion. Unclog downspouts by forcing water through with your garden hose.

  4. Clean your cleaning machines. Dishwashers and clothes washers are designed to clean things—but they don’t clean themselves. Mold and mildew can breed in any machine that uses water. Place a cup of white vinegar on the top dishwasher rack and run the otherwise empty unit on the hottest setting to wash away grime and odors. To sanitize your washing machine, fill it will hot water before adding a few cups of white vinegar and half a cup of baking soda. Let the mixture sit for an hour and then finish the wash cycle.
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