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Content for making or keeping your home as energy efficient as possible. #KeepItGreen

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RachelleW

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Homeowners that want to cut back on their energy consumption should start thinking of their house as a complete system instead of individual areas that do not interact with one another. Small changes anywhere in a home will affect its overall efficiency and can make a big difference over the course of their lifetime. Here is a look at 6 upgrades that are sure to lower your utility bills in the coming years.

Insulation
Older insulation rolls do not have a tight enough fit to perfectly insulate attics, crawlspaces, walls, garages, and basements. Modern spray insulation is often made of green materials such as cellulose, resistant to fire, and much more effective for retaining the home's temperature.

Programmable Thermostats
A programmable thermostat should be one of the first upgrades a family carries out when it comes to improving their home's efficiency. Newer thermostats give you unprecedented control over your home's temperature and can even be controlled with wireless devices.

Furnace Replacements
Furnaces that were manufactured before 1992 will often use over 35 percent of their gas just keeping the pilot light on. Newer furnaces are designed to use up gas and electricity only as they are needed. This could lead to an 11 percent drop in utility bills during the colder winter months.

 

Light Bulbs
Studies have shown that inefficient light bulbs cost California families over $35.6 million in wasted energy every single year. One simple way to combat this is to begin switching out older light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs as they go out. CFLs produce the same amount of light at just a fraction of the cost and have a much longer lifespan.

Energy-Efficient Windows
Thick curtains will not be enough when it comes to the energy that is lost through windows. Older windows allow an incredible amount of heat to enter and leave a home due to the materials they are made of and ineffective seals. Energy-efficient windows, available from places like
Five Star Windows Inc., help to block out UV rays and maintain the indoor temperature.

Refrigerator Upgrades
Even just three decades ago, most refrigerators were not built with energy efficiency in mind. Modern Energy Star refrigerators, however, have been made to use as little electricity as possible. These devices often consume just $50 worth of energy per year.

These six areas upgrades are great options when it comes to cutting down on your carbon footprint while saving some money on utility bills.

RachelleW

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Essential oils have long been used by mankind to treat a wide range of skin ailments and stomach problems, as well as to clean and improve the smell of a home. Recently, essential oils have received positive press in the media, and this has attracted more and more people to them. Yet, since there are many people who are not completely familiar with their use, there are some questions that arise.

What Are Essential Oils and How Do They Work?

All essential oils come from plants. The oil is extracted from the plant using a wide range of methods, most commonly distillation and expression. In order to be classified as an essential oil, the oil must have the chemical properties of the plant it is extracted from as well as the aromatic properties of that plant.

Essential oils work because they are made up of tiny molecules that can easily be absorbed in the body through the skin. These molecules then interact with the body and depending on the plant that they are derived from can kill bacteria, kill viruses, help the body eliminate toxins, as well as provide a wide range of other cures.

How Are Essential Oils Used?

Most essential oils are used for topical applications. They are often placed on the skin either on the palm, temples, or on the sole of the feet. Since the skin is permeable, the oils are absorbed into the skin, providing different benefits. Some oils are inhaled. This is done by adding a few drops of the oil into a humidifier, putting them in a diffuser, boiling them in water, or by simply smelling the bottle. Some even choose to ingest essential oils, but more research should be done before deciding if this is appropriate for all oils.

How Is the Quality of Essential Oils Determined?

There are no governmental guidelines determining the potency level of essential oils. The quality is going to be determined on how pure the oil is, if it is directly from the plant, or if it has been adulterated with other sources. Additionally, its integrity, that is if the oils are extracted from a single type of plant or if they are a mixture from different plant species, is an important quality. Every company will define what quality means. Essential oil enthusiasts like
Gary Young, founder and CEO of Young Living Essential Oils, have decided to create their own organic farms and distilleries to make sure that the essential oils they use are pure. The quality of the essential oil a person gets will depend on the price they pay for them and the person or company they buy them from.

How Effective Are Essential Oils?

There are people who have strong opinions about this. There are some individuals who believe that essential oils are the magical cure-all for everything, be it physical or mental. Others do not share this belief. It is a proven fact that essential oils have been used on every corner of the globe by billions of individuals over thousands of years, and these individuals attest to their effectiveness. And it is a fact that all pharmaceutical medicines are based on organic chemistry, including the chemical makeup of some organic oils.

What Are the Top Five Oils One Should Consider Purchasing?

Some of the more popular oils include lemon, peppermint, frankincense, eucalyptus, and tea tree. It is recommended that people learn about the oils before using them. Once they understand how the oil works and once they see how it makes them feel, then they can increase the amount they use.

Essential oils have been providing relief to mankind for many years. It is recommended that a person takes their time and
do their research prior to selecting essential oils in order to find the ones that are the most reliable and useful for their situation.

RachelleW

Energy waste and misuse is at an all-time high. This poorly coincides with the current state of the economy and job market. Home owners need to carefully conserve both resources and their hard earned money through being energy efficient. Below explains four tips to make your home more energy efficient.

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Energy Conservation
One of the appliances that consumes the most energy is the water heater. Ensure that the water heater temperature is below 120 degrees. This will save energy and avoid potential overheating of plumbing pipes. Make sure that the dishwasher, clothes washer and dryer are energy efficient models. A recent USA Today report revealed that Americans waste 4 billion dollars every year through inefficient clothes dryers. A standard dryer will consume as much as an energy efficient refrigerator, dishwasher and clothes washer. Research by McKinsey & Company in 2009 found that American homes and businesses spend over $130 billion dollars to power standby appliances. If an appliance is not in use, unplug it.

Schedule Regular Air Conditioner Tune-ups
Most homes need an AC to regulate temperatures and maintain indoor air quality. However, air conditioners consume an enormous amount of energy. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Energy Star certified AC’s are 15 percent more efficient than conventional models and can be installed by companies like
Spokane Air Conditioning Installation. If an upgrade isn’t necessary, regularly scheduled AC maintenance will ensure that the unit runs smoothly and will save money in the long run. Most people don’t realize that indoor air pollution can be worse than the outside air. A recent study by the National Institute of Health has shown that cardiovascular health can be improved through air conditioning.


Windows
According to the National Resources Defense Council, over 30 percent of a home's total heat loss occurs through windows and doors. Replace older single-pane windows with double-pane windows. Check for drafts and seal all window edges and cracks with caulk. Consider using shades or drapes to keep out the heat during the summer and keeping them open on sunny winter days.

Light Pollution
Light pollution isn’t something to take lightly. According to the U.S. Dept. of Energy, over 30 percent of lighting is wasted. Incandescent lights are very inefficient and over 90 percent of the energy is wasted as heat. Fluorescent lights conserve more energy the longer they are turned on. Most importantly, turn off lights when nobody is in the room.

Home owners can conserve energy and save money through upgrading appliances, scheduling AC tune-ups, upgrading windows and reducing light pollution. Through these steps, you will be well on your way to running a more energy efficient home while also saving some cash along the way.

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