Go Green: 5 Tips for Saving Electricity

After a few weeks of talking about ways to go green, I thought an episode on how to save electricity would be a great way to finish out this green series. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed learning ways to save water, to cut down on the amount of trash you create in your kitchen as well as some environmentally-friendly laundry tips.

If you’ve ever Googled “How to save electricity,” you’ve found out the hard way that there are hundreds of tips out there. Some of these tips are easy to implement, but some of the ways to save electricity that are suggested online are tips like, “Use candles instead of turning on lights.” While this will certainly save electricity, it’s not incredibly practical. That’s why I decided to put together a list of some of my favorite, easy-to-do tips to help you save electricity.

Tip #1: Save electricity by turning off lights

If your parents were like mine, you probably still have a voice rattling around your head saying, “Turn off the lights!” whenever you exit a room. Our parents had it right, because there’s absolutely no reason to keep a light on in a room you are not in. If you can commit to simply turning off the lights in every room when you leave it, you can save electricity immediately.

Whether you are going to return to the room in 10 minutes or 10 seconds, there’s no reason to have the light on while you’re not in the room.

Tip #2: Save electricity by turning off (and disconnecting!) electronics

Just like there’s no use in keeping lights on while you’re not in a room, there’s no use in keeping electronics on while you’re not using them. When you leave for the day, make sure all your electronics are off. This includes your TV, sound system, computer, and any other electronic gadgets you may have around your home.

Did you know that electronics that are plugged in, and not even turned on, can account for 5-10% of electricity used in a home?

Taking it one step further, did you know that electronics that are plugged in, and not even turned on, can account for 5-10% of electricity used in a home? Computers, printers, coffee makers, and even phone cords that are plugged in can be energy vampires, sucking electricity (and your hard-earned money) when they aren’t in use. So you may want to invest in a power cord that you can plug most electronic devices into. That way, you can simply unplug off just one switch when you leave for the day (instead of walking around unplugging things throughout your home). Yes, it might take 2 more seconds of your time to turn the power cord on than simply turn the electronic device on, but it can make a big impact in your electricity bill.

Tip #3: Save electricity by taking care of your air conditioner

If you live in an area of the world where you use your air conditioner a lot, this can play a major part in your energy consumption. If you want to save electricity, there are a few things that you can do to make sure your air conditioner is running as efficiently as possible.

First, have your air conditioning unit serviced annually. Most companies charge a nominal fee to have this service completed. It involves cleaning out the coils and checking for any small repairs that are making your unit work overtime. Next, make sure you change your air filters monthly. These filters catch a lot of dust and dirt, which starts to clog them. The more clogged the filters, the harder your air conditioning unit has to work to get the air to pass through the filter. If your filters are any color other than white, making a slight whistling sound, or worse yet, are bent because they are being sucked into the vent, change them immediately. This change alone will save a ton of wasted electricity from being used to cool your home.

Tip #4: Save electricity by making easy swaps

A couple of quick swaps in your house can help you save electricity. The first you may want to consider is using ceiling or box fans instead of running your air conditioner as much. Oftentimes, just circulating the air in a room will help the room feel cooler. Instead of running the massive cooling unit outside your home, a fan uses about the same amount of electricity as a light bulb. For every degree you can raise your air conditioner, you save about 5% of the energy being used. I live in the desert of Arizona and my fellow dessert-dwellers are very familiar with this technique. It costs an arm and a leg to cool a house in Arizona to 70 degrees, so most people set their thermostats between 77 and 81 degrees and run the fans to do the rest. It keeps us comfortable, both with the feeling inside our house as well as when we see our electric bills!

Another easy change is to switch incandescent light bulbs to fluorescent, otherwise known as CFL, light bulbs. CFL bulbs use just 25% of the energy of regular light bulbs, so when you combine that with always shutting them off, you can dramatically save on your electricity consumption. Just remember that CFL bulbs contain a small amount of mercury, so they need to be disposed of properly. Check with your local government agency to see how they require these bulbs to be disposed of.

Tip #5: Save electricity by keeping nature outside

The final tip on how to save electricity is to make sure you don’t have any drafts coming into your home. If you hold a feather around the edges of your windows and doors, the feather should be perfectly still. If it wavers, that means outside air is getting into your home. The more outside air that gets into your house, the more your air conditioner or heater has to run. Seal up your windows and doors with weather stripping, which is available at your local hardware store and is relatively easy to apply.

Also, during the summertime, keep the sunshine out of your house using room darkening blinds and curtains. By keeping the sun out, especially from south and west facing windows, you will keep your house from heating up, which will do a big part in helping to save electricity.

These are just a few tips to save electricity to get you started. 

Source: quickanddirtytips.com

How To Get Rid of Weevils: Tips To Purge These Pantry Pests

weevilsBackiris / Getty Images

It happens to the best of us: You aspire to bake some cookies, reach for the flour, and then realize it’s moving.

Welcome to weevils, tiny pests that can infiltrate a host of food products like rice, flour, and other grains. And unless you watch out, they may take over your entire pantry!

So, in case you have your own close encounter one day, here’s more info on what weevils are, whether or not they’re dangerous, and how to get rid of weevils and keep them at bay.

What are weevils?

Weevils are a group of beetles that are distinguished by their elongated snouts. Although they’re most often found noshing on food products, they sometimes also feed on clothing in your closet or furniture.

While there’s a crazy number of weevil species in the world—more than 95,000!— only three species are pests of household stored foods, according to Scott Lingren, an entomologist and owner of Venus Pest Co. The three you’re likely see in your home: the granary weevil, rice weevil, and maize weevil.

He says these weevil species lay their eggs in corn, wheat, oats, barley, or other grains. A single larva will develop and pupate within a six-week period. New adults that emerge from the grain kernel will mate and seek out more grain kernels to lay eggs in, continuing the cycle. Adults live for about six months.

The good news: Weevils don’t bite. The bad news: gross!

Odds are high that a weevil-ridden batch of flour is pretty much ruined, unless you enjoy eating these little critters. And even if your food is in bags or packages, that doesn’t mean it’s safe.

“Their chewing mouthparts can penetrate plastic and cardboard packaging, which will enable them to spread the infestation,” says Dave Lofquist, technical training manager for Arrow Exterminators. And they can spread fast.

“The adults can live for many months and are capable of wandering a good distance from the original infested item,” he explains.

How do weevils get into your house?

In most cases, you’re probably unwittingly bringing the weevils home with you from the grocery store.

“Most infestations found in homes arise from grains that are already infested when purchased from the store,” Lingren says. “In our experience in pest control, we have found that birdseed or bulk grains are the most common sources of infestation.”

Weevils can be found in all parts of the country because they are found in stored products, and those products are shipped all over the country. And you might not even be able to see them.

“Weevils’ egg, larvae, and pupal stages all occur within the grain, which makes detection difficult,” Lofquist says.

So, what if you (gulp) accidentally eat some weevils? The good news is they’re not harmful to humans, even if the gross-out factor is significant. And unfortunately, the chances that you have unwittingly ingested them at some point in your life are unappetizingly high. (Just consider it a bit of extra protein.)

How to get rid of weevils

Insecticide isn’t recommended for control of weevil infestations in home pantries, but preventing and eliminating them is fairly simple. Here are some tips:

  • Store grains safely. Experts agree the best way to keep weevils out of your food is to store your grains in sealed glass containers with tight-fighting lids instead of the bags and boxes in which they’re sold. Clear containers are a great option as they let you see more clearly if any weevils are in there. Always inspect your grains before using them.
  • Clean up spills. Even if you don’t see any weevils, clean up any spilled grains immediately. Weevils may be lurking in there, and you don’t want them spreading.
  • When in doubt, throw it out. If you find weevils in one product, go through your pantry and look for signs of infestations in other foods. Throw out any food that has signs. If you have unaffected grains, place them in sealed containers. Any remaining adults outside of these containers will have no food source and die on their own within a few days.
  • Forget the freeze. Some people suggest freezing food to kill weevils, which may work, but there will still be weevil eggs in your food that may hatch later on. And a bunch of dead weevils.

The post How To Get Rid of Weevils: Tips To Purge These Pantry Pests appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Source: realtor.com

5 Things You Should Pay Premium for as a Homeowner or Renter

Being a homeowner on a budget is nothing to be ashamed of, if anything, most people prefer to keep their expenses low, especially after recently purchasing a home! But,there are some things you shouldn’t cheap out on, and we’ve got you covered.

The post 5 Things You Should Pay Premium for as a Homeowner or Renter appeared first on Homes.com.

Source: homes.com

10 home features that have fallen out of favor

Trending: 10 home features that have fallen out of favor:
1. Bold color schemes
2. Industrial-style kitchens
3. Kitchen islands
4. Granite countertops
5. TVs in the kitchen
6. Over-the-stove microwaves
7. Raised-panel cabinets
8. Wall-to-wall carpet
9. Distressed wood walls
10. Mediterranean-inspired suburban McMansions

The post 10 home features that have fallen out of favor first appeared on Century 21®.

Source: century21.com