Browsing Category: "Home and Living"

Green Living: How to Run Your Home in a More Environmentally Friendly Way

Green living is not just for hippies. Anyone can do it, and more and more people are choosing to do it these days. You just need to change a few simple things in your living arrangements to get started. And once you start to live the green way, you’ll never look back. So, here are some ways in which you should start to run your home in a manner that’s more environmentally friendly.

Replace Bulbs with LEDs and Make Outdoor Lighting Solar-Powered

The way you use lights will have a big impact on how environmentally friendly your home is. You should do what you can to replace the bulbs in your home with LED bulbs. They last for decades, and this means that you will spend a lot less on replacing them. But most importantly, they are very energy efficient, meaning that your home will instantly become greener. They’re pretty cheap to buy, so there’s nothing stopping you from replacing all the bulbs in your home with LEDs. You should also replace the outdoor lights with lights that absorb solar energy during the day that can then be used at night.

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Buy Efficient Bathroom Fixtures

Your use of water is also a green issue, and you should address this problem directly. You will be having a massively negative impact on your home if you are currently responsible for wasting too much water. The first thing you should do is replace the fixtures in your bathroom with water efficient fixtures. These are easy to get from most mainstream bathroom retailers. You can also change your kitchen faucets to make them water efficient too. When you start to use less water, your impact on the environment will lessen. It’s another step towards a green living future.

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Update Your Backup Generator

If you have a backup generator that you sometimes have to rely on, it could be damaging the environment a lot. Most of these old generators are not particularly green. And by switching yours for a newer model, you can ensure you never waste more energy than necessary. Online generac reviews will help guide you as you search for a new and more energy efficient generator. Read as many reviews of all the potential products as you can. That way, you can get a clear picture of what the best option for you is.

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Invest in Better Home Insulation

Finally, think about the way in which you heat your home. If you have the heating on a lot, it might be because there are problems with your home insulation setup. Heat will just escape from the home immediately if the insulation you have in place is inadequate and not doing a good enough job for you. It’s a good idea to invest in better and more up to date insulation if you think this might be the case for you and your home. It’s simple and not too expensive to get insulation fitted. And then you will have to use less energy keeping your home warm.

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Inferno Info! Preventing Home Fires

There is always something we need to do to our home to make it better. While we think about improving our home or making it more stylish, we very rarely think about the safety aspect of our homes. There are so many little problems that are potential fire hazards that it’s probably easier for most of us to not think about it. But there are some simple things to do that can cut down the chances of getting a fire at home…

burning, fire, flame

[Photo courtesy of Skitterphoto/pexels.com]

Candles

Between 2009 and 2013, on average there were 25 candle fires per day in the US. Although that doesn’t sound like much, it totaled 86 deaths, 127 injuries, and $374 million in damaged property. So make sure you do the following:

  1.    Keep candles 12 inches away from anything that could burn.
  2.    Use candle holders that are sturdy.
  3.    Blow out all the candles before leaving a room or going to bed.
  4.    Don’t use candles in the bedroom.

Cooking

Hopefully, everyone has some common sense when it comes to cooking, but here are some tips.

  1.    Wear close fitted clothing while cooking.
  2.    Don’t leave food unattended.
  3.    If you get a grease fire, smother the fire in a pan. DON’T put it out with water.

Dryers & Washing Machines

Washers and dryers catch fire because of a failure to clean them.

  1.    Don’t overload the dryer.
  2.    Clean the lint filter after every use, and don’t use the dryer without one.
  3.    Don’t restrict the air exhaust pipe and make sure the outdoor vent flap is open while the dryer is on.

If You Have A Fire…

Firstly, don’t try and be a hero. Call the fire department as soon as you can, but make sure that you get to safety. As fires are such a common hazard, the best idea is to have a plan in mind should this ever occur. Know all your escape routes from your home blindfolded because you won’t be able to see when there is thick smoke. Stay low, and get out as quick as you can because you may only have seconds. Staying as low as possible means you will get the most oxygen out of the air.

After The Fire…

Once the fire has been put out, you will need to stay somewhere else. In the meantime, if you have updated your insurance policy, you will have to put in a claim for all the items damaged. If there are parts of the home that haven’t been damaged, you can hire a restoration company to start the cleanup. There are companies like Pro Restoration who specialize in clearing up homes after house fires and help to restore your property. Once your home is back to its former glory, it’s time to take notes of what potential hazards there are, and minimize them as much as you can.

Preventing a fire is very much about common sense as it is about safety, and in your home, you need to make sure that you are sensible by not obstructing doors, cooking safely, and generally being vigilant.

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Packed In Like Sardines? Make Better Use Of The Space In Your Home!

If you love your home, but it’s starting to feel a bit cramped, what do you do? Moving seems like the obvious option, but there are lots of reasons why that might not be possible. Maybe time or money restrictions prevent you from doing so, or perhaps you’re near good schools, your work or loved ones and don’t want to be too far away. Maybe you just don’t want to move as you adore your home? Either way, there are other solutions to the problem that don’t involve upping sticks and moving to pastures new. Making the most of all of the available room is one way to go about it, and chances are you have a ton of unused space that you can work with. Here are a few options.

Bedroom Cupboard

Having a large cupboard in the bedroom is always handy. To keep it simple you could keep it as a storage cupboard. Add plenty of shelves and drawers to make the most of every inch, that way your wardrobe isn’t bursting at the seams, and it’s easier to stay organized. If you have a lot of books, you could turn it into your own little mini library! Another option is you could turn it into a walk-in wardrobe if it’s large enough add hanging rails at the sides and a large mirror so you can get dressed. Finally, you could consider an ensuite bathroom. Speak to a plumber such as http://www.plumberstives.com.au to find out if having the correct pipes installed would be within your budget. If you’re bored of fighting for the bathroom every morning, this is ideal. Your own space to get ready in and shower in peace without kids banging on the door- bliss!

Attic Space

Attics in most homes are absolutely huge, and when you’re struggling for space in the rest of the home, it’s a shame to waste this. A full loft conversion with a proper staircase to turn it into a functioning bedroom is pricey, but worth the cost if you need the space and have the budget. Otherwise, having a basic loft conversion could give you a whole lot of extra storage space. You wouldn’t need to worry about having windows installed up there or a proper set of stairs, a folding loft ladder would do the trick. Have a company come and secure the floor, and an electrician fit a light, and you can turn it into the storage space of dreams. Instead of miscellaneous boxes everywhere, buy some drawers and shelving units and set everything up neatly. No more rummaging around in the dark or walking on beams every time you need something from the attic. All of your decorations for celebrations in the year can be put away neatly ready for use. You could have decor in the home for autumn/ winter and another lot for spring/ summer, and keep the off season stuff in the attic. You could even store your out of season clothes and footwear up there giving you far more space in your wardrobe and bedroom in general.

Cupboard Under The Stairs

The cupboard under the stairs is a great little storage area but often gets wasted. If yours is full of junk, clear everything out and repurpose it. It’s a handy place to keep things like your vacuum cleaner, mop, iron, ironing board and cleaning essentials. Install a couple of shelves to maximize the room. Alternatively, you could turn it into a cupboard for coats and shoes. It gives you somewhere to take them off when you come home without them cluttering up the hall. Again on shelves, you could have baskets of hats, scarves, and gloves. Have a light fitted in there making it easy to access. Depending on the size you’re working with, you could even have a downstairs bathroom installed. Most families will be looking for two bathrooms in the home when buying, so if you come to sell later down the line, you’ll add value to the property too.

Kitchen Corner

If you have a corner of your kitchen that’s empty space, why not consider creating a pantry? You could have some stud walls put up, or even find a suitable shelving unit and attach doors. A pantry is so handy in the home, it allows you to neatly store all of your dry ingredients and makes it easy to stockpile. Digging through kitchen cabinets can be a pain, with everything neatly laid out it makes it far easier to find what you need. You’ll probably find yourself cooking more, and will save yourself some money too. Having some handy store cupboard recipes on hand using dry ingredients and flavored with herbs and spices is handy between grocery shops or during leaner times.

Unused Garden Space

If you have a large garden, you’re incredibly lucky, although most of us only use them for a few months of the year. To make the most of it, having a conservatory or garden room built means you utilize the space all year round. Since they’re fully insulated, they’re just like any other room in the house and are handy if you’re running out of space. You could create a dining room in the conservatory, freeing up space in the dining room or living room. These could then be used for something else. You could turn a garden room into a home office or a guest suite. Either way, stealing a bit of space from the garden to use as an additional room is a good move in many cases.

Basement

Another potentially huge space that’s being wasted in your home is the cellar or basement area. They often end up as dank and dingy storage areas full of spiders and miscellaneous boxes. But a basement could be transformed into another living area, a teenager’s hangout, a games room or even a wine cellar. As with a loft conversion, you could go all out to transform it into a proper, usable room. Or just do a simple conversion but turn it into a storage space you will actually use. Get a proper light fitting installed down there, kill off the pests and spiders and put up some storage shelves, cupboards, and units.

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Throwing Shade: Go Low-Tech But Stay Cool

If you know all too well how unbearable it can be once summer hits you’ll already be looking at ways to keep your bills down and your air supply up! Depending on where you live, temperatures can quickly reach 90 Degrees Fahrenheit and it’s much harder to concentrate, sleep and eat when the sun’s at its zenith. One of the best ways to keep cool during the summer months is to stay hydrated. You should also always make sure you carry sunglasses, as even on cloudy days the sun can be powerful, and our eyes are incredibly sensitive.

It may also be worth keeping your curtains open at night, that way the cold air will alleviate the stuffiness in your house once the sun’s gone down. Try to get as much fresh air blowing through your home as possible by opening windows, doors, using fans to circulate and blasting the AC for a few hours so the filters to trap any dirt and debris that may be floating around. You may also have noticed a greater abundance of insects appearing, summer is often where you see the most wasps, bees, flies and beetles. Take precautions by putting up fly screens even if you don’t live in a rural area and check food is never allowed to sit out in the heat, not only will this spoil the flavor and texture but it could make you quite ill. While bees and wasps may look pretty buzzing around your flowerbeds, they have a nasty sting so always know where your tweezers, antiseptic insect bite cream and plasters are!

Brown Woven Umbrella

[Photo courtesy of nastya/pexels.com]

Take Cover

Parasols are great but if you want to make a real difference to the temperature in your home why not buy yourself an awning? The Department of Energy has stated awnings, or shaded covers can reduce heat by 30% simply because the sun rises and the linen cover takes the brunt of the heat while rays bounce off. While awnings aren’t as fashionable as they used to be; they do add a certain charm to your property as well as allowing you to sit outside comfortably. Before buying an awning always check to see if your property is suitable, maintain both the mechanism and fabric to stop cracks or holes appearing and never let children pull or raise awnings themselves as they could get their fingers trapped. Avoid any accidents by using an awning pole, a device similar to a loft pole which attaches to the hook on the underside and lets you pull down the striped sail from a safe distance.

Vacant Swing Near Grey and Green Tree

[Photo courtesy of Unsplash/pexels.com]

Get Planting!

If you’re very lucky, you’ll live somewhere with lots of trees which isn’t just good for your health because trees take in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen, but they also act as a natural barrier and so quite often the temperature in the shade is at least ten degrees cooler than out in the open! However, lots of us believe that as long as there are trees somewhere nearby, we’ll automatically stay much cooler! Sadly, that’s not always the case as depending on where those trees are placed, that’ll decide how much shade you get. If you have no trees close to the house, it may be worth thinking about planting some young saplings now. Choose trees that grow quite quickly like poplars, maples, birches, and willows as well as those that are famed for their leafy, green appearance, so they’ll give you plenty of shade.

To save a significant amount of energy, or at least figure that’ll be noticeable on your next bill plant trees on the south and west-facing sides of your property. Everyone knows that south facing gardens tend to get the most sun, so by creating a tree line there you’ll reduce the heat dramatically. Remember, trees are a natural way to cool down your entire home as well as encouraging wildlife into the neighborhood. When planting always check the property boundaries before you start digging and as long as you don’t cross over onto your neighbor’s land you’re fine.

However, we do suggest being courteous as not only do you not want to start a turf war but it means if you block their beautiful view now they could do the same thing to you later on.

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[Photo courtesy of Pixabay/pexels.com]

Have A Ceiling Fan

It may seem a bit old-fashioned, almost colonial, but high ceiling fans do a fantastic job of keeping the air moving while cooling down rooms you spend the most time in. In fact, the more people you put somewhere small the hotter the overall room temperature gets. This is because we each have our own perfect temperature! Some people feel much colder than others but in a big group heat becomes the dominant force and as it rises things then get fairly uncomfortable quite quickly as people begin to sweat.

Ceiling fans aren’t as ugly as they used to be and now come in a variety of shapes and sizes they’re also quieter than you’d expect. Remember, these fans are designed to keep you from melting so if you’re going out turn the fan off! If you really need your AC on, and let’s face it in mid-summer plenty of us see it as a lifesaver try to look for one that’s as silent as possible. There are also some great quiet ac units out there that won’t make you feel like you’re standing in the middle of an airfield instead of your living room every time you turn on the remote control!

art, brush, color

[Photo courtesy of Tookapic/pexels.com]

White Out!

Do you recall your eighth-grade science lessons and how your teacher told you how snow reflects the heat instead of absorbing it due to it’s lighter color? The same principal applies to our roofs so if you want to lower the temperature below you should mix it up above! It’s often why you’ll find buildings and roofs painted white or yellow in hotter countries so that the encroaching heat doesn’t seep inside. Believe it or not, a report by Climate Change Research suggested that if all buildings and roads in the US were painted white the energy saved could run into millIons of dollars.

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