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Helping to make our society more green and energy independent one blog post at a time

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LizzieWeakley

Home Cooling How to Optimize Your AC for Energy Efficiency.JPG

 

A humid hot summer can be utterly miserable sometimes. Even worse, running your air-conditioner may seem too expensive to do a lot of the time. However, with some tweaks to your system, you can make your AC far more energy efficient and cost effective. Below are a few tips you can use.

1. Check Your Air Filters

The filters are what the air passes through to reach the rest of your home. They prevent airborne contaminants from flowing through your air and help protect the health of your family. However, air filters are not designed to last forever. They eventually become clogged, and that can badly affect the efficiency of your system. According to
HELP Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Electric, checking and replacing your air filters on a regular basis is one of the most important steps to keeping your system running efficiently.

2. Clean the Condenser

The condenser is the part of your outdoor air conditioning unit that transfers heat to outside your home. For your system to have good energy efficiency, you need to keep it clean. Make sure to inspect it especially before you turn on your system for the first time at the beginning of the summer. Remove anything that could obstruct the condenser’s airflow such as leaves, twigs, weeds, dirt, etc. To remove dirt from the unit, you can wash it down with a hose.

3. Make Sure the Air Flow Is Unimpeded

You can think of an air conditioning system as being similar to the circulatory system in the human body. Much like you would not want to impede the flow of blood through a vein, you should not impede the flow of air through your system by blocking vents. Make sure all air vents are open and not blocked by things like furniture and rugs. If they are blocked, your system will have to work much harder to keep your house cool and that will result in higher utility bills.

4. Only Run the System When You Need It

If you want to lower your utility bills and increase your home’s energy efficiency, make sure to only run your air conditioning when you need it. There is no point to running air conditioning in an empty house. Program your thermostat to not run the air conditioning when you are at work.

Overall, try to make sure you provide your
HVAC system with proper routine maintenance and inspect to see if it’s working properly. If your system is well cared for and there is nothing impeding the flow of cool air through your home, your system’s energy efficiency will certainly be increased.

LizzieWeakley

How to Make Waste Disposal Environmentally Friendly in Your Community.JPG

 

If you are in charge of waste disposal in your community, you will be responsible for making sure that waste products are disposed of in a manner that is green. Community waste products that are normally safe can become hazardous if they are not managed properly. For example, motor oil is normally safe, but can contaminate drinking water in large quantities. Even products that are not hazardous will fill up landfills.

Renting a Dumpster

When it is time for your community to dispose a lot of waste, it is important to do so in a rented dumpster from a company like
Tri-State Disposal. Disposing of large quantities of waste in any other way would be terrible for the environment and may also be against dumping laws. More dumpsters can be rented as needed when the volume of garbage is larger than expected.

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

The best way to make waste more manageable is to follow the three R's: reduce, reuse and recycle. While you cannot force residents of a community to perform these actions, you can remind residents and provide them with tips on how to achieve this ideal. To also ease the burden of disposing of hazardous waste, encourage residents to use safer alternatives. For killing pests, for example, encourage residents to use less toxic pest control methods such as the use of boric acid.

Hazardous Waste Pickup Day

Communities should implement programs in which residents can mail hazardous waste to a facility where the waste can then be disposed of. The hazardous waste should be kept separate from the regular trash. The type of products that need to be disposed of in a particular manner include:

  • Household cleaners

  • Garden chemicals

  • Sharps

  • Mercury

  • Paint

  • Batteries

  • Automotive products


Many of these products can be recycled. Others will need to be sued up and will then no longer need to be disposed of. For example, homeowners who need to dispose of household cleaners could simply give them to a neighbor to be used.

Changing the habits of your community to make it
more eco-conscious can be challenging, but with a little practice, your members of your community will make habits and good recycling practices of their own. Then, your community will reduce the amount of garbage that ends up in landfills and will protect the environment from hazardous waste.

 

LizzieWeakley

Making your home eco-friendly doesn't need to be an expensive or time-consuming chore. In fact, most families only need to make a few small changes around their house in order to cut down on their carbon footprint. Here is a look at five simple steps that you can take today to lower energy bills and potentially remove some toxins within your own home.

Switch to Plant-Based Cleaners
There is a long list of unhealthy chemicals sitting under the kitchen sink in most homes. Some of these common cleaners are effective when it comes to removing grime, but they are often quite toxic and can be replaced with much safer products. Next time any of your cleaners are running low, consider switching over to alternatives such as vinegar-based cleaners.

Create a Compost Station
Within many homes, food scraps make up nearly 50 percent of all waste. Instead of letting this go to the landfill, creating a simple compost station is a great way to put leftover scraps to work. A compost station can turn practically any organic material into nutrient-rich compost for a garden or to improve the health of your lawn during the spring.

Air Seal Your Home
Whenever a home is not sealed properly, homeowners are going to be looking at higher energy bills and lower air quality. A simple way to start air sealing a home is to use gaskets and seals from companies like
Phoenix Specialty for ducts and vents. Other areas that may need to be sealed include gaps around doors and old pipes leading into or out of the home.

Give Up Bottled Water
There are few items that have become as problematic for our environment as plastic water bottles. These products are especially difficult to recycle and some even contaminate water with chemicals such as BPAs. Buying a dozen BPA-free bottles, filling them with water, and putting them in the fridge will ensure that your family has constant access to refreshing water without the need for creating more waste.

Stop Dumping and Donate
Almost anything that is used in a home can either be recycled or donated, and taking a little extra time to separate your trash could make quite a difference at a local dump. Some items throughout the home that are easy to donate include clothing, electronics, toys, and old kitchenware.

Homes now consume around 40 percent of all energy within the United States, and families that take the time to make their home more eco-friendly can help make a difference while saving some extra money.

Home Restoration How to Make Your Home Green and Energy Efficient.JPG

LizzieWeakley

3 Reasons to Convert Your Office to Propane Heating This Fall and Winter.JPG

 

Propane heating is a smart move for heating your office this fall/winter. It is innovative, and it has a variety of benefits. It is a more "green" choice, it saves money and it is a safe and reliable option compared to electricity. Detailed below are three reasons why you may want to convert to propane heating.

Clean Energy

Propane is on the approved clean fuel list according to the 1990 Clean Air Act. Propane is actually one of the cleanest fossil fuels to burn. Using propane to heat your office space conserves energy while being friendly to the environment. Efforts are continuing to use less gasoline, and propane is the top competitor that the world is turning to. It is readily available and 90% of the propane used in the U.S. is actually produced in the U.S. as well.

Saving Money

Everything in your office that currently runs on electricity can be powered by propane while also being cost effective. Because propane is more effective than electricity, it saves your business money. Heating your business with propane could also mean more affordable maintenance. A propane heater lasts longer and in most cases, is cheaper to repair than an electric furnace. Propane heaters are also very small and do not take up a large amount of space in your office. When using propane in the colder winter months, a Powerblanket can be a great resource to optimize the temperature of the tank to keep it running efficiently.

Safe and Reliable

Despite rumors, using propane to heat your office space, or any space, is very safe! In the event of a leak, propane vaporizes in the air rather than causing a potentially harmful and serious problem for your office space/employees. Using propane is also reliable. You are not at the mercy of the electrical companies. If there happened to be a power outage during the winter months, your office space and employees would continue to be comfortable and able to work, rather than waiting for the power to come back on.

Propane is the smart choice that many businesses and homes are choosing as a heat and power source this winter. It is clean, cost effective and safe. It is readily available and propane heaters come in a variety of different sizes to accommodate very large or small office spaces. As winter approaches, be sure to look at the benefits that heating with propane could offer your business.

LizzieWeakley

Home Energy Efficiency Why you Should Consider Solar Energy.JPG

 

There are very few things in life that we can be 100 percent sure of. One of these things is the fact that the sun will rise every single day. Because of this and as a result of increasing energy prices, more people are opting to rely partially or solely on solar energy. The following are a few reasons why.

The Sun Will Come out Tomorrow

The honest truth is that if the sun does not come out tomorrow, the world will have a lot bigger problems to face than finding inexpensive environmentally friendly energy. However, scientists believe that the sun will continue to shine for at least another 5 billion years. That’s more than enough time for you to recoup any amount of money you invest in installing solar panels. Additionally, enough sun reaches the United States every single day to provide power for the entire country for 10 years. This means that there is literally no limit to what could potentially be done with solar energy.

Solar Technology is No Longer in Its Infancy

Although many talk about solar energy as if it were a future tech, the truth is that solar systems have been in use since the 70's. And many of the solar energy systems that were installed 40 plus years ago are still working today. Over the past four decades there have been a number of technological improvements that have increased the reliability and energy production capability of solar panels.

Solar panels have very few moving parts. They don’t need a lot of maintenance. They are simple to install. And the technology behind them gets better every single day.

Solar Technology Saves You Money

Investing in solar technology for your home and business makes financial sense. Solar energy lowers your energy bill every month. Additionally, in some states tax incentives are given to homes that use solar energy. And while the practice is diminishing, some utility companies will pay homeowners for the extra electricity they produce. As the price of solar technology continues to plummet and the cost of fossil fuels rise, using solar energy makes more financial sense every day.

Solar Energy is Good for the Environment

Conventional power relies on processes that damage the environment. Even so-called clean forms of energy like wind energy and hydraulic energy can have a negative impact on the environment where they are located. Solar energy does not produce harmful emissions. It is a truly clean source of energy.

Solar Energy Can be Used All Day Long

When it comes to discussing
solar power panels, companies like Legend Solar that specialize in providing solar panels in the Utah area, are educating the public on the difference between solar energy myths and the reality. Many mistakenly believe that solar power only functions if the sun is out.

The truth is that even if a person has solar panels installed in their home, most of the time they are still connected to the city’s energy grid. The only difference is that during the daytime, when they’re not at home, their solar panels are collecting electricity, and this electricity is being pushed back to the electric grid. The result is that the electric meters on their home actually spin backward. In the evening time, if they do need to pull electricity from the grid, they are using credit energy that they’ve earned throughout the day. The neat thing about this credit energy is that it never expires.

Solar energy is the wave of the future. By investing in solar energy now, you put yourself in a position to be ahead of the curve. You save money, you protect the environment, and you help make the planet you live on a better and safer place for everyone.

 

 

LizzieWeakley

571ea53a470d4_HowtoHelpyourCommunityBeco

 

A more energy-efficient community is a goal that is reachable nearly anywhere. There are a number of different ways that a community can become more energy-efficient. The key is to find those areas of the community that use the most energy and then work to lower that use. It is also helpful to work to increase to the overall green nature of the community at the same time.

Cutting Energy Use and Lower Costs

The first step in creating a more energy-efficient community is to cut energy costs by lowering use. It can be hard to do this without affecting users. One of the best ways to not negatively impact others, but still lower energy costs, is to install more energy-efficient lighting. Just a few years ago this was not a cost friendly proposal. But with the rise of cheaper high quality LED lighting and lower wattage traditional bulbs, it is a far easier choice to make.

Great Green Space Use

Heating and cooling urban areas uses a lot of energy. Finding a more energy efficient way to keep humans comfortable as they go about their day is very important. Smart use of plants and other natural features is the smart way to lower energy use. Trees and green spaces help to soak up the summer heat during the day. At night, they act as biological filters to remove greenhouse gases from the air. Plants and green space can be set up either on the ground or as part of the building themselves. A living green roof made of soil and hardy grasses can naturally absorb the sun's heat. This reduces the workload that the air conditioning units have to handle.

Public Transport Options

Putting in well-designed mass transport and cycling lanes is another way to cut down on energy use in a community. The skills of someone with a
master’s of civil engineering can be used to create routes that will encourage community residents to ditch energy hungry private vehicles. By using buses, trams or subways larger numbers of people can travel for the same energy costs. If citizens are encouraged to ride bicycles instead of driving for short trips, energy use will go down. Public systems succeed worldwide when they are planned well.

There are many great ways for a community to lower its energy use. Choosing the best option for each community is important. Whether it is as simple as screwing a new LED light bulb into every lamppost or as complex as putting in cycling infrastructure, the world is better for it.

 

 

LizzieWeakley

7 Reasons Why Now is an Important Time to Get Your Family Involved in Recycling.JPG

 

Recycling as a family can be beneficial and fun. Being able to teach children about the benefits of the practice instills good habits and provides a science lesson they never expected. Here are seven reasons why it is important to start recycling as a family.

We Can Cut Down on the Production of Cans

According to the charity, Wheels for Wishes, there are approximately 105,784 aluminum cans being recycled in the United States every single minute. Unfortunately, 350,000 brand new cans are produced from new aluminum every minute as well. This lends to pollution and unnecessary use of resources.

Recycled Cans Have a Quick Turnaround

As seen above, there are a large number of can produced. The recycled should be hitting a one to one ratio because there would be little to know waste because recycled cans be back shelves and filled with product in 60 days.

Disposal of Recyclable Trash for Large Families

Small and large families need a smarter and better way to dispose of recyclable waste to keep their homes and property clean, especially if they have children. Large jugs and copious amounts of cans take up space, but with the right disposal receptacles, families can stay cleaner and more organized while contributing to the environment. Getting large or specialized recycling receptacles is easier than ever now. For example, many outlets for waste disposal like Lakeshore Recycling have become environmental conscientious. These kind of businesses offer a variety of products that have made recycling easy because most cities now include separate waste hauls for recycled goods.

Families Can Decrease Air Pollution for Their Children and Grandchildren

Saving the planet for future generation is one of the things an environmentally aware family focuses on. Many different materials offer long-term environmental positives. For example, for every ton of paper recycled, air pollution decreases by 60 pounds.

Families Can Do Their Part to Improve the United States' Environmental Standing

Although the air quality might be leaps and bounds better than China, the United States is the world's number one producer of garbage, despite being just four percent of the global population. Establishing good recycling habits in the home can improve the country's standing in the world.

Recycling PET Plastic Can Decrease the Price of the Next Family Car

Recycled PET plastics go to build new parts for a variety of domestic and military vehicles. They can be turned into truck liners, fan shrouds, wheel liners and many other parts.

The Economy Has Been Rough

The Penny Hoarder is a treasure trove of information about how to find collection plants and what items yield cash. There are a lot of different items the collection plants will offer money for, such as electronics, car batteries, copper, scrap metal and aluminum. Aluminum is the most available to families and it considered the most valuable for city services to pick up. Since families have to pay the city for water, sewer and trash services, why not make the money for the bill by recycling cans at a plant instead of throwing them away?

The seven reasons listed above are packed full of useful for information and make a strong case for recycling. Doing it as a family passes a good habit on to children, and they will pass it on and expand on it. Recycling as a family will help shape a better planet for future generations.

 

LizzieWeakley

Soil Excavation How it can Help Create a Cleaner, Greener, Better Earth.JPG

 

Soil excavation is a process of digging soil with an aim of cleaning the soil, making trenches for water drainage and infrastructural purposes. The excavated soil may be used for treatment or for disposal in a landfill. Excavation has various advantages as it helps to unravel the harmful debris that could contaminate groundwater and also pollute the soil. Agriculture makes the back born of different economies in the world. Soil fertility is of key importance for plant growth and development. When a soil is contaminated, agriculture is affected negatively and hence affect productivity of a nation.

The excavation process might take long depending with status of the contaminated soil. It may take long if the soil is highly toxic and requires extra safety precaution. It will also take some time to dig a deep, large or below the water. Time will also be consumed if the soil contains a lot of rocks, debris etc. Excavation is a process that involves various stages including;

Identification of contaminated areas: This involves a thorough research of the site by identifying what could have led to soil contamination and testing the soil for impurities.

Choosing the right instrument for exaction: After the soil has been found to be contaminated, right equipment is used to dig the soil. Depending with the purpose of excavation there are different types of excavators. This equipment are mainly leased as they are costly and purchasing them for a single project might not be cost effective. Therefore, various companies offer these hire business e.g. Eastern Plant Hire. The contaminated or unwanted soil is excavated by standardized excavators such as backhoes and excavators track hoes. It all depends on the location of the site e.g. a site surrounded by buildings will require a smaller excavator. Some sites may have soil contaminated in a deeper situation requiring use of long arm excavators which can dig up to one hundred feet below ground. In some cases, soil might be excavated from below the water table which require pumping of water to facilitate dry excavation.

Soil transportation: When the soil is disposed of, it may be loaded directly into a dump truck to the landfill. It is deposited elsewhere for treatment and covered to prevent soil erosion through water, or by the wind. If excavation is aimed at infrastructural purposes, the soil is used to fill holes and landscaped to prevent erosion.

In conclusion, excavation is a soil engineering technique with more benefits such as cleaning the environment for healthy plants and landscaping to make planet earth beautiful.

LizzieWeakley

5 Energy Efficient Ways to Keep your Office Warm this Winter.JPG

These five energy efficient tips will keep your office warm and your bills low this winter. Most of these tips are incredibly simple to implement and should become annual best practices for your office.

Adjust the Thermostat

Keep the office cooler at night when no one is there working. Raise the temperature a few hours before people arrive so they are able to work in a pleasant environment straight away. Maintain the temperature at a comfortable level that is neither too hot nor too cold for most people.

Boiler and Heater Maintenance

One of the most energy efficient ways to keep the office warm is to provide routine maintenance on your boiler and heating systems. This will help ensure this equipment is operating efficiently and safely. If you find that you require a new system or an upgrade, many companies such as
Nationwide Boiler provide new and reconditioned equipment for any budget and an ideal solution to optimize energy efficiency.

Close Doors and Windows

It is important that you keep all windows and doors closed whenever possible. Front doors can often become a problem area as snow and debris becomes stuck in the entryway. Be sure to routinely remove snow and debris from the most commonly used doors to prevent this scenario. And, inform all employees that all windows and doors must remained closed.

Natural Sunlight

One of the least expensive and most effective energy efficient ways to keep your office warm this winter is to use natural sunlight to your advantage. You can start by opening all shades and curtains during daylight hours. Also, remove dark carpeting and paint the walls a light color that will more easily reflect natural light. If it is within you budget, you might also consider skylights and removing walls to create a more open floor plan so that both light and heat can more freely move about the office.

Seal Windows and Doors

It is also essential to ensure all your doors and windows are sealed properly. A significant percentage of heat is lost due to poorly insulated and sealed windows and doors. Be sure to check for leaks and consider adding more insulation. This will help to keep out harsh and bitterly cold winds and keep in the lovely comforting warm air.

Once you implement these energy efficient tips, your office will be a more pleasant environment and your company will
save a significant amount of money. And, by teaching these practices to your employees, they can implement the same practices at home to save money on their own.

LizzieWeakley
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Global warming remains one of the biggest threats to humanity. In order to protect our beautiful planet, it is going to take a team effort. Here are some things that you can do to help preserve our planet’s energy and natural resources.

Reduce the amount of time spent in the shower

Taking a long, hot shower can be very relaxing. Unfortunately, this can waste electricity and a lot of precious water. According to experts, you can save more than a $100 a year by simply taking shorter showers. If you are still using a traditional shower head, you should promptly replace it with a low-flow shower head.

Do not allow your vehicle to idle for a long time

Over the years, drivers have developed a habit of allowing their engine to warm up in the morning. However, modern engines do not need a very long warm-up period. Contrary to popular belief, allowing your vehicle to idle for a long duration can actually decrease the life of the engine. Remember, most vehicles will quickly reach the appropriate temperature after being driven for a few miles. Limiting your idle time saves fuel and helps to preserve the environment.

Do not throw your used bottles in the trash

Instead of tossing your used bottles and cans in the trash, start collecting them. Many recycling centers give out cash in exchange for used containers. This is a win-win situation for you and the planet. Over the course of a year, the average consumer can easily collect over $40 worth of recyclable containers.

Consider getting a degree in geology

UF degrees in geology provide graduates with a lot of exciting opportunities. After you graduate from your geology program, you will be able to become a leader in the fight against global warming. Not only will you get the opportunity to work in nature, but you can also educate your friends and family on ways to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle.

Use traditional ways to perform your household tasks

During the warmer months, try to air-dry your clothes as much as possible. If you only need to wash a couple articles of clothing, consider using an old-fashioned washboard. When possible, you should also use a non-electric vacuum to keep your floors clean.

The future of the environment is in our hands. If everyone makes a few changes, we can bring a halt to global warming.

LizzieWeakley
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With spring right around the corner, it is important to prepare your home for the changing weather. Every winter can damage your home in ways that you did not expect, and that is why it is so important to make your home energy-efficient.

Weather-Proof Your Garage

You lose a lot of cool air through your garage. This spring, make sure that you apply some weather stripping to the garage door and to the door between the house and the garage as well if you have a connected garage.

Get Your Air Ducts Clean

According to AAA Steam Carpet Cleaning Ltd., dust and debris can seriously impede the flow of air through your home, and when that happens, your ventilation system is working far harder than it needs to. To prevent wear and tear on your ventilation system, take a moment to think about getting the ducts cleaned out thoroughly before spring.

Change Out Your Bulbs

If you have not done so already, now is the time to trade out your old incandescent bulbs. CLFs last about ten times as long and they are around 75% more energy efficient.

Check Your Seals

Over the winter, the sealing on your doors or windows might have degraded. That means that you should walk around and check them. Reseal everything that looks like it is wearing away, as this will help you keep cool air in and warm air out.

Turn Down Your Water Temperature Settings

You do not need the water to be as warm as it was when it was winter. Turn your water down to around 120 degrees Fahrenheit, which is a great temperature for the warmer months.

Install a Programmable Thermostat

When you are someone who is invested in making sure that your home is energy efficient, consider installing a programmable thermostat. A programmable thermostat will prevent you from cooling an empty house, and on top of that, it will still turn on the cool air right before you get home.

Cover Your Windows

Curtains are a great way to make sure that your hot air stays out while your cool air stays in. They are especially important during the middle of the day, when the sun is at its hottest, and you will find that they are quite important when it comes to keeping yourself comfortable.

When you want to make your home more energy-efficient this spring, there are just a few things to keep track of. Consider how you want to move forward when the weather starts to warm.

LizzieWeakley

4 Major Reasons Why the World Needs Efficient Energy.JPG

Efficient energy is something that the world desperately needs now. Growing populations in many areas of the world have stretched the needs of energy suppliers who often need to struggle to keep up with the demand. For many populations in need, the existing infrastructure cannot keep up with the demands. In other cases, the supply of energy is too expensive for the community.

1. Much of the World Lives Without Electricity

Many find it hard to believe, but experts estimate that, by 2035, there will still be one or two billion people living without access to power. Most of these people live in developing countries where economic resources to get electricity are rare. Some of the solutions that people in this situation require use a lot of power making efficiency more important. Professionals need to find a careful balance between meeting demand while keeping the energy sources efficient.

2. Some Places Require Greatly Increased Capacity

Although power plants will expand by a relatively small margin, some areas will require a large installed capacity rate. For example, if Sub-Saharan Africa were to increase their capacity to match that of South Africa's, the increase would need to be by 33 percent. Many companies, such as
Opportune, work to explore economic solutions where places in need of more power can meet their demands.

3. Greater Efficiency Saves Money

Efficient energy has fewer costs for both suppliers and customers, which is a winning situation all around. It is easier to expand energy resources in growing areas when residents have economic choices. In areas where people are receiving electricity for the first time, economical options make the delivery easier. As these communities save money, they will have more to reinvest when they must upgrade their infrastructure.

4. Efficient Options Help the Economy

There are many ways in which efficient energy helps boost the economy. People who don't need to spend as much on energy costs can spend more in their local economy. Another advantage of efficient energy is the fact that it encourages further innovations and also encourages job growth to help deliver more energy. This combination is one that has the greatest overall benefit.

As the world's population grows, efficient sources will become more necessary. However, there are many power-related resources available to help make energy more efficient as the demand grows. Professionals in the industry are dedicated to working hard to ensure that the growth and efficiency can keep up with the demand.

LizzieWeakley
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With summer heat looming just around the corner, it’s time we look into ways to keep our homes cool and energy efficient. While it’s incredibly tempting to turn up the A.C., we all know how that will impact the electricity bill. Fortunately, there are several energy efficient ways to keep your house cool this summer.

1.Highly reflective window film

Windows allow the sun’s energy into your home which in turn can increase the temperature, reflective window film can block up to 72% of the sun’s heat in the summer, lower energy cost and can even prevent heat loss in the winter.

2. Invest in a dehumidifier

Air that is saturated with water makes it more difficult for sweat to evaporate, this explains why it feels so much hotter on humid days than non humid days. By investing in a dehumidifier, you can easily lower the perceived heat of your home by reducing the humidity. Humidity also provides a breeding ground for nasty bacteria.

3. Insulate your attic (or get an attic fan)

The top of your house absorbs heat from the sun each and every day and the hot air in your house rises. By insulating your attic, you can provide a barrier between your home and the hot air in your attic. Moreover, getting an attic fan can help blow the hot air out of your house and even further cool your home.

4.Paint your roof (or apply a reflective coating)

We all know that to stay cool in summer, it is ill advised to wear dark colors. So why do we have black roofs? By changing the color of your roof to a lighter one or adding a reflective coating, you can reflect some of the sun’s heat and energy. The less heat being absorbed by your roof, the cooler your house will be.

5. Tune up your air conditioner

Depending on the age of your air conditioner, you could be losing a lot of cool air through yours ducts. By hiring a professional like those from Amyotte’s Plumbing & Heating Ltd. to tune up you’re A.C., you could potentially save a ton of energy and keep your home cooler! Tuning up you’re A.C. system can also reduce operating cost by increasing efficiency.

Keeping your home cool and energy efficient this summer most likely a top priority. So instead of turning your A.C. to full blast, try out some of these simple yet effective tips to keep your home cool.

LizzieWeakley
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With the growing awareness among both manufacturers and consumers that energy-efficient products should be part of their building projects, green remodeling has become a very large business. Yet despite the notion that many homes have already implemented some of these changes, there are always areas in energy efficiency that homeowners can improve upon.

Here are five relevant energy efficient ideas for remodel projects:

Extend the amount of solar coverage that you plan: You may not receive that much sun during the course of the day in some seasons, but neither does Germany and they have generated over 50 percent of their country's total energy needs for short periods of time using only solar- so it is possible to gain a lot of energy efficiency by adding solar panels. One example of coverage that people are just starting to consider is solar film that covers windows and does not detract from the view out, but generates electricity. Thin film panels are also coming on the market that can slip over your siding tastefully, giving you even more solar output potential.

Architect your heating system well: A lot of custom builders will tell you that it isn't hard to choose a heating system that will work for your home. It takes a bit more skill, however, to build the ducting so that it maximizes energy efficiency in tune with the right heating source. Having some experts from a company like Alair Homes who specialize in major renovations in Vancouver take the time to ensure that your heating system is optimized in every sense is therefore a pretty good idea.

Add light to your house: One of the most important things for young children is to be exposed to natural sunlight. In California, they started building new schools that featured natural sunlight several years ago and found out that children's test scores increased by almost 10 percent over time. Adding natural light to your house will therefore allow you to save on electricity costs and enhance your family's life.

Go with energy saving appliances: One really good way to see a future that can be incorporated into your home is to follow the Consumer Electronics Show news from Las Vegas online. Most of the revolutionary energy saving appliances that are available will be on display there and end up in a news story. Past examples include tankless water heaters and ultra-energy efficient washers and dryers.

Have some specialists do an energy audit for you: Having professionals audit your home for energy efficiency before you start planning your project will give you a complete understanding of its potential to be upgraded when you do start to work on it.

Energy efficiency in your home can save you money and make your life better. By making a few extra changes, you will likely be greener and more satisfied with the results.

LizzieWeakley
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When you are struggling with energy efficiency in your home, you need to make sure that you are managing your air conditioning and heating. These systems use a great deal of energy, and you need to be sure that they are not sapping all the energy in the house. Take the steps below to make sure that your home is as efficient as it can be.

Servicing

You need to have your HVAC system serviced every couple months. Your service technician is going to check all the parts of the system, and they are going to make small repairs using parts from their truck. According to Shorty’s Plumbing & Heating Inc., these small repairs will prevent the problems from getting out of control. Also, they can tell you when it is time to replace your system.

Thermostats

When you are running the heat and air, you must have the units on thermostats. These units are going to allow you to turn the heat and air off when the house hits certain temperatures. These thermostats make it much easier for you to use less energy, and they shut down the system when you are not there to do it yourself. You can keep the house at less comfortable temperatures when you are not home, and you can set the system to change for your own comfort when you get home.

Filters

You need to be sure that you are replacing your filters often. These filters are going to allow you to keep air flowing freely through the system, and the will clean the air for you. When you are cleaning the air as much as possible, you are going to have cleaner air to breathe. You must make sure that you get filters that are going to help you breathe healthily. There are filters that clean hospital operating rooms, and there are standard filters that work in all homes.

Wiring

When you are concerned about how your HVAC system is working, you need to be sure that you are having the wiring checked. An electrician can check the wiring for you, and they can fix the wiring if it is a damaged.

Your home is going to become much more efficient if you are working with professionals who understand how to manage the system. They can help make the system more efficient, and they can show you how to replace your filters so that you get the cleanest air possible.

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Going green isn't just about doing what's best for the environment. You can save a large amount of money by choosing to rely on more renewable and efficient sources of heating in your home.

Combined with the numerous government credits that may be available to you, the long-term savings of switching to green heating sources may mean that you save even more than you might believe.

Let's examine some ways that you can utilize green technology to improve how efficiently your house heats, which in turn might help you save dramatically on your energy bills.

1. Switch to Solar Drum Heater

Solar heaters are incredibly efficient when compared to regular heaters. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that you can cut your energy costs by 50% by using an Energy Star qualified solar water heater.

You can further extend those savings by utilizing a drum heater that prevents heat loss. Heaters from companies such as Powerblanket can do this in temperatures as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit, which means that you may be able to dramatically cut your expenses due to wasted energy.

2. Utilizing a Programmable Thermostat

Thermostats directly control when your house is heated. By utilizing thermostats that offer a programmable functionality, you can exclusively heat your home only when you are present.

More advanced thermostats offer more features, which includes Internet connectivity. This can allow you to keep the temperature reasonable and your heating costs down even when you're not at home.

3. Insulating Your Home

Another effective way to keep your home energy-efficient is to insulate your home. This reduces the frequency that you need to heat your home by ensuring that significantly less heat is lost to the outside.

For example, fiberglass insulation can save 12 BTU each year for every BTU used to make it. Other environmentally friendly insulation options are also available.

4. Consider Geothermal Heating

The Earth constantly releases a certain amount of heat from far beneath the ground that can be utilized as a source of energy. This heat has little to no carbon emissions, and it can be found almost anywhere in the world.

This can make it a perfect option for heating your home efficiently. Consider installing a geothermal heating device to cut your energy usage considerably.

Green Heating: Keeping Your Energy Bills Lower than Ever Before

While green heating may seem more expensive than conventional types of heating, there are numerous ways that it can reduce your energy bill. Couple this with the thousands of dollars available in government rebates to see that it may save you more on your energy bills in the long run than you ever thought possible.

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Homeowners often find themselves in a state of shock when they get their energy bills during the summer months. When the weather starts warming up outside, it makes financial sense to make your home more energy-efficient, and when you conserve energy like this, you also do your fair share towards reducing your carbon footprint.

When you implement the following tips, you can stay cool during the summer without constantly worrying about the cost of your utility bills:

Seal Cracks

The easiest way to reduce your cooling costs is to seal your home's cracks. Typically speaking, cold air leaves your home through small cracks found between windows, doors, plumbing and electrical fixtures. These small leaks make it hard for your air conditioning unit to regulate the temperature inside of your home. Look for small cracks and holes where air may escape your home, and when you find them, seal them up with some caulk or weather-stripping.

Switch to Advanced Power Strips

Advanced power strips do much more than protect your important appliances from power surges; these "smart" strips come with distinct plug categories that turn your appliances on or off based on what the appliance in the first plug is doing. For example, this means that one of these strips will automatically turn off your DVD player and gaming console when they sense that your TV is off. These strips do all the thinking for you, and they make lowering your energy bill simple.

Use an EnergyStar Air Conditioner

Purchasing and installing an EnergyStar air conditioner saves you a significant amount of money. During the summer, one of the biggest energy drains are air conditioning units. When you buy an efficient unit, you can stay nice and cool without worrying about the bills that you'll have to pay for at the end of the month.

Set Your Fans Correctly

It's important to set your fan's rotation correctly during the summer; ceiling fans turn either clockwise or counterclockwise, and when it's warm out, you want to make sure that your fan rotates counterclockwise. This motion pushes air downwards, and it creates a cool breeze. Your air conditioner doesn't have to use as much energy to keep your home cool, and your home is more comfortable, so you can turn your thermostat up.

Check Your Insulation

It's important to check your attic during the summer; if it's properly insulated, cold air won't flow through your ceiling outside of your home. Go to your attic to make sure that everything is properly insulated. Check your attic hatch as well; lots of cold air is lost when your hatch isn't properly insulated and sealed.

There are lots of things that you can do to make your home more energy efficient. Some are more expensive than others, but in the long-run, they'll all end up saving you a boatload of money. We've given you a couple changes that deliver great results, but if you have budget or time constraints, remember that even the smallest changes will go a long way towards efficiency.

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Between your appliances, lighting, heating and cooling system and various other features, you may use energy throughout your home on a regular basis around the clock. While many will use the energy provided through a public municipality for all of their home energy needs, others are interested in alternative energy sources for some or all of their energy needs. One of the increasingly popular sources of alternative energy that many homeowners are taking advantage is solar power. There are three unique benefits that you can enjoy when you make the decision to install solar panels on your home.

Reducing Your Energy Costs

One of the primary reasons why homeowners install solar panels from companies like AMI Energy / 1800 Solar USA is to reduce energy costs. The solar power produced by your own home's panels can offset your reliance on municipally-supplied energy. While you do have a cost associated with the installation of the solar panels, these panels will continue to provide you with a source of free energy. Eventually, they will more than pay for themselves through the savings they provide to you.

Using a Sustainable Energy Source

In addition, solar panels provide you with a sustainable source of energy. The sun's energy will simply never run out, and there are no emissions generated through the use of solar energy. This is a green source of energy that you can feel good about, and the solar panels can make your home far more energy efficient. You can use this energy source to generate light, run your appliances, heat and cool your home and more.

Improving Your Home Value

Installing solar panels on your home is also a great way to improve your home value. These will be a semi-permanent feature that is added to your home, and they will convey to a buyer when you sell your home. Just as you find value in their ability to reduce your energy costs and to give you a sustainable source of energy, others will also find value in these benefits. While you can benefit financially from energy savings, you can also benefit further when you sell your home and recoup added value for this improvement.

Installing solar panels on your home is an idea that you may be thinking strongly about. Keep in mind that some will qualify for tax incentives and rebates on the installation cost. Once installed, you can continue to enjoy these considerable benefits associated with solar panels for years to come.

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All over the country, people are looking for ways to be more environmentally friendly and encourage others to be a part of the process. Here are some of the best ways you can work together with your neighborhood to become a green and clean community!

 

Carpool

Did you know that U.S. Car owners spend about $900 a month on car expenses alone? Starting a neighborhood carpool can save you and your community money, and lessen the carbon footprint of the neighborhood. If there are kids in your neighborhood going to the same school, a weekly carpool where parents alternate days taking the children is a great place to start.

 

Organize a Community Clean Up

Cleaning up debris around the neighborhood is a great way to get everyone to work together to restore and freshen up the area. Over recent years, the recycling industry has adopted new methods of recycling that are more sustainable. For example, Green Bins is a recycling company that supplies people with eco-friendly options for removing waste.

 

Eat Local

Locate your local farmer’s markets and tell your neighbors about them. They usually happen once a week and tend to be on the weekends, so load everyone up in one car and head out to support your local businesses. This is not only good for the local economy, it will encourage everyone around you to eat more healthily.

 

Start a Community Compost Pile

Composting is a natural way of recycling food waste and can give your community garden a boost of nutrients. Gardeners call it “Black Gold”. To start a compost pile, find a large container to store your food waste. It will break down and can be given to gardeners in the community to help treat their soil.

 

Recycle Properly

Most of us know that you should recycle but don’t know exactly how to recycle properly. Organizing a get together with your neighborhood on waste management and recycling can help get everyone involved in creating a more sustainable community.

 

Getting the community together to share ideas on sustainable living is not only good for the planet, it is good for enhancing human connection. With all the time spent indoors and with technology it is easier now than ever to become disconnected from each other. Working together as a community can build a support network in which everyone is helping to contribute to a better and more fulfilling future.

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There are many benefits to making your home more energy efficient. It will save you an enormous sum of money in utility bills and will also give you the great feeling of knowing that you are doing your part to protect the environment. Here are seven cutting edge ways to make your home more energy efficient.

Install Solar Panels

Instead of counting on your power company to heat your home, you can harness the natural power of the sun with solar panels. They will substantially increase the comfort level of your home.

Switch to Florescent Light Bulbs

Many homes still use conventional incandescent light bulbs, but you can save a tremendous amount of energy by using florescent bulbs instead. Although florescent bulbs cost more at the store, they save you money in the long run by lasting several times longer than their incandescent counterparts.

Reduce Appliance Use

Cut down on the number of times that you use your dishwasher, washing machine, and dryer. Only use them when you have a full load. If you have any appliances that you do not intend to use for a long period of time, disconnect them.

Install Energy Efficient Windows

Energy efficient windows are an excellent addition to any home. They will reduce drafts, cut down on condensation, improve the temperature of your home, and save you money on your electricity bills. Companies such as
Five Star Windows Inc. offer a wide selection of these types of windows for sale.

Install a High Efficiency Furnace

Conventional furnaces waste valuable energy. Like florescent bulbs, you can spend a little more now in order to save a great deal of money later. High efficiency furnaces use fewer fossil fuels, last longer, and heat your home more effectively.

Get a Low Flow Toilet

Most toilets waste water each and every time that they are flushed. Low flow toilets will save you a massive amount of money on your water bill. You will cut your home's water consumption by thousands of gallons per year.

Add Insulation

Increasing the amount of insulation in your home will trap heat inside, meaning that you won't have to use the heater in order for your home to be comfortable. The attic is an especially important place to add more insulation.

With recent advanced in appliance technology, making your home energy efficient is easier than ever. You will be amazed at how much money you can save by following these tips.

 

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Although the spring season is when more people spend time outdoors, it's also when each household's energy bill begins to increase. More homes begin to use more energy due to an increase in use of the HVAC system to keep the property cool with the change in weather. To stay comfortable and maintain energy efficiency this spring, there are several steps to take to avoid a high bill.

Unplug Idle Electronics

From televisions to DVD players, there are a number of electronics in the home that continue to use energy when they're not in use. Most people assume that the electronics only use electricity when they're turned on, but they actually continue to use energy when they're plugged in. Make it a point to unplug idle electronics and use power strips to make it easier to turn off multiple items at once. This includes shutting down your computer at night, which are the biggest energy users and can be shut off 40,000 times during their lifespan.

Switch to Energy Star Appliances

Although your appliances may be working well, they are likely using a significant amount of energy each day if they're outdated. Upgrade to Energy Star appliances to reduce your energy bill by 10 to 50 percent, which can equate to thousands of dollars during the lifespan of the product.

Inspect and Clean Your AC Unit

It's important to keep your HVAC system running efficiently throughout the year, which is why you should schedule for an inspection and cleaning of your AC unit before spring arrives through a professional company like
C B Lucas Heating & Air Conditioning. This will allow the product to run more efficiently for added energy savings while also increasing the lifespan of the product over time.

Contact a professional to inspect your AC unit once a year and perform the necessary repairs to ensure that cool air is blowing out.

Apply Chaulk to Cracks

Cracks or gaps that are present in the walls can cause air to leak out and for hot air to get into the home. Make it a point to apply caulk to the gaps to reduce energy loss and insulate the inside of the property.

Although it may not be possible to avoid using your AC unit this spring, there are ways to maintain your energy usage and prevent it from surging. By taking the necessary steps, you can enjoy the warmer season while avoiding extra energy costs.

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As the weather turns warm and thermostats get turned down, many people will see a spike in their electric bills. Fortunately, there are a lot of options to make your house more energy-efficient. From simple steps that can be done in minutes to more intensive projects that may require hiring a professional, these tips can help lower your energy costs and make your home more environmentally friendly.

Install Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans can drop the temperature of a room up to four degrees without using much electricity, but a four degree difference in your thermostat can lead to a huge difference in your electric bill. A window fan can also be used to cool a room much more efficiently than turning on the air conditioning, especially in early mornings and later evenings.

Maintain the Air Conditioner

If your air conditioner is in good condition, it will run more efficiently. Change the air filters regularly, vacuum and clean dust out of registers and vents, and clean around the exterior unit to ensure smooth airflow and not overwork the unit. It's also a good idea to have it professionally serviced once a year to troubleshoot any repairs and make sure it is running at peak condition.

Install a Programmable Thermostat

When you aren't home, don't keep the thermostat set low. If you are going to be gone at the same time every day, you can program the thermostat to raise while you are gone, then program it to lower to your preferred temperature about thirty minutes before you come home. This way you don't need to worry about re-setting your thermostat every day or forgetting to raise the temperature before you leave.

Repair or Replace Old Windows

Old windows can leak, and while the drafts in the winter are noticeable, they let a lot of warm air in in the summer, too. Caulking or weather-stripping around frames and leaky areas can help, but if your windows are old or single-paned, it may be worth it to replace them to a more efficient style of window.

Have Your Home Insulated

Insulating your home can make a huge difference in your home's energy efficiency. If your home is older, your home may be lacking insulation, or it may have lost its effectiveness. Having Reflective Optimizing Insulation installed by
Parsons Construction Group in attics can reduce energy bills drastically and make your home significantly more efficient all year and has a lifetime performance guarantee.

As the mercury creeps up, don't let your electric bill follow suit. Follow these tips to make your home more energy efficient to save money without sacrificing comfort.

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We all know we must have water in order to survive. Many people do not question the safety of the water that comes out of their tap. According to the US Geological Survey, approximately 15% of individuals use private well water for their drinking water source. But is such water safe? We will look at 3 ways to ensure your well water is safe for consumption.

Pay Attention to Warning Signs


Many well system owners rely upon their wells for drinking water and water for cooking and cleaning without thinking twice about whether or not the water is safe and clean to drink. There are some warning signs that should lead well water owners to consider the possibility that their well system needs to be tested. Some of those warning signs include:

  • Bad taste or unusual smell

  • Stains or residue in clothes or fixtures

  • Water is not clear, it is cloudy

  • Plumbing fixtures corrode faster than expected

  • Family members with severe GI issues

Educate Yourself on Maintaining Your Private Well Water System

Many well system owners are not aware that water testing should be conducted on a regular basis and especially if any of the warning signs of possible contamination are present. If you are the owner of a private well water system, an easy place to begin to educate yourself about how to maintain a safe well is to use the resources of the Water Systems Council. This nonprofit has an excellent website where well owners can find a local resource to have their well water tested (usually through a division of the state’s department of health and environmental safety.

Obtain Annual Testing

Many water well owners are not aware that the Environmental Protection Agency recommends annual testing of private wells for what are called ‘indicator organisms’ as well as nitrate. The presence of the indicator organisms often predicts the presence of other dangerous organisms such as Giardia or E coli. The EPA also recommends additional testing be conducted every 5-10 years. The price of individual tests differs from state to state.

If you own a private well, you want to do everything you can to ensure that your family has access to safe drinking water that is free from contaminants. Remember: pay attention to warning signs of possible contamination, educate yourself on testing and maintenance that should be conducted to ensure that your well is free from dangerous contaminants, and obtain recommended testing of your well water from a reliable local source.

 

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Creating an eco-friendly home doesn't just mean switching off lights before heading out of the house or installing Energy Star appliances. Many families just need to change a few common habits in order to cut down on energy consumption. Before carrying out an expensive “green” overhaul of your home, take a look at these 5 mistakes that many families make during the summer without even realizing it.

 

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1. Using Insulation Rolls and Batts
Checking on insulation should be a yearly habit for everyone, but replacing old insulation with ineffective products is one common mistake that could cost you in the long run. Traditional insulation often comes in pre-fabricated shapes such as rolls and batts, but it is only blown-in and spray foam insulation that will get your attic's nooks and crannies.

2. Skipping an Energy Audit
Most families aren't going to hire professional home energy auditors every single year, but you should never skip it for more than a few years in a row. These technicians are trained to go through almost every component of your property to find any energy inefficiencies. Even if they find just a single problem, an audit will often pay for itself within a few months.

3. Forgetting the AC Tune-Up
An annual tune-up carried out by a company such as
Team Electric is not only going to increase the lifespan of your HVAC system, but it is also going to cut down on monthly utility bills. Just as with any other major component in your home, these systems go through an incredible amount of wear-and-tear and a tune-up often includes changing filters, topping off fluids, lubing moving parts, and checking the accuracy of the thermostat.

4. Allowing Phantom Power Loss
“Phantom” power loss is the name given to the small amount of electricity that devices and appliances consume when they are not actively being used. Everything from laptop chargers to coffee makers could be consuming enough electricity to increase your bills by hundreds every year. Attach these devices to a single power strip and turn them off before bed and when you are leaving for work.

5. Not Setting Your Programmable Thermostat Correctly
A programmable thermostat is one of the single best investments for saving energy around the house, but many families are not using them to their full potential. The ideal settings are 82 degrees Fahrenheit when no one is home and no lower than 78 degrees when family members are in the house. If you tend to forget about changing the settings, consider setting automatic timers on the thermostat.

When all of these common mistakes are remedied, your family could be looking at thousands of dollars in savings during the hottest months of the year.

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You might take steps to ensure the food and water you drink is clean and healthy. But what about the air you breathe in your body thousands of times per day? Are you making sure that is clean, too? Air pollution is detrimental to humans, causing respiratory diseases, asthma and other sickness. Read on to discover ways to improve your indoor air quality.

Keep Smoke Out

Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death in America. Thousands of toxic chemicals enter the body with one puff, and over time cause serious health risks. In turn, secondhand smoke also poses serious health risks. If you or a loved one smokes indoors, everybody who enters your home will be affected. If you or a loved one smokes outdoors, the smoke residue on your clothes will still be carried into your home and indirectly affect everybody in the home. Stopping smoking will create the most notable improvement in air quality.

Reduce Moisture

High moisture levels are perfect environments for growing mold and mildew. If left untreated, those with asthma will have symptoms flair up, and those without will become susceptible to getting asthma. Use a dehumidifier if moisture levels rise, and turn on the vent whenever taking a shower. Open windows and turn a fan on to create a breeze and circulate air. Using an air conditioner with a HEPA filter will vent out a room, reduce moisture levels and clean impurities in the air. HVAC companies like C B Lucas Heating & Air Conditioning professionals can affordably install a HEPA filter in your home.

Keep Things Clean

Leaving windows open is great for reducing moisture, but will bring in unwanted dust and air impurities that will settle on the countertops and floors. Regularly vacuum the floor with a high-powered vacuum equipped with a HEPA filter. Mop kitchen and hardwood floors and wipe down counter tops. If you don’t always have time to vacuum, enforce a no shoes indoor rule. Shoes bring in a variety of dirt and germs that your home’s floors will pick up.

Get Rid of Scented Air Fresheners

Scented air fresheners release many toxic chemicals in the air. So while they may make your home smell good, they won’t do well for your health. Consider natural alternatives to reduce odors such as baking soda, and eliminate wall plug-ins and scented air sprays.

Get Chemical-Killing Plants

Certain plants will both make your home look nicer and remove volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, benzene, ammonia, xylene and toluene in the air. Peace Lily is a gorgeous flowering plant that removes VOCs and doesn’t require much care, but keep it out of sunlight. Chrysanthemum and Devil’s Ivey also remove VOCs, but like the sunlight. For optimal protection, get a couple different plants. Be warned, these plants are unsafe for human and animal consumption.

If poor indoor air quality is getting you down, don’t fear. Follow these five steps, and your air quality will be improved within hours. A clean home is a healthy home, and a healthy home is one you’ll want to come back to night after night. Sleep peacefully knowing you’ve done your best to make sure your family breathes easily and naturally.

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