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Angie Cole

Most people don’t change their air filters as often as they’re supposed to. It often takes months before they’re changed out, and sometimes, only after a significant amount of dust has settled on the furnace vents.

However, changing your air filters on a regular basis is a necessity in order for proper indoor air filtration to work. Read on to find out more about why this is necessary.

Changing them regularly avoids damage to your HVAC system.

Dirt and neglect are both leading causes of HVAC systems failing. The good news is that this is completely avoidable. One way of avoiding this is by checking on the air filters regularly, as a clogged air filter can cause damage to your system. Instead of having to change your system due to this damage, try to change out the air filter as regularly as possible.

It ensures consistently cleaner air inside the house.

Air filters collect dust and other small particles, and prevent them from being circulated around your home where they can just as easily be inhaled. Keeping air filters cleaned, or changed out to new ones, translates to cleaner, healthier, and all-around fresher air that is better for your home and the entire family - especially those suffering from respiratory conditions such as asthma.

It can save costs.

Air filters not only prevent unwanted particles from circulating around your home, they can also, in a way, protect the HVAC system from unnecessary damage. A clogged filter is bad news, as it means your HVAC system will need to work harder in order to produce cleaner air, and these could lead to your system being damaged. Repairs for HVAC systems tend to be costly, so avoiding something like this would not only keep your home’s air clean, it also keeps you from shelling out money just to have the system fixed. We’re looking at up to 15% savings on utility costs by using an air filter.

There are certainly various kinds of air filters available in the market, and you can even find some of them through their respective websites. Regardless of the filter you use to keep your indoor air healthy, all types and sizes of filters need to be cleaned and changed in order to keep functioning properly.

Angie Cole

Indoor air can be more polluted than the air that you breathe outside. Shocking, but true. And it isn’t just because you keep your windows open at night, thereby allowing the pollutants in outdoor air to waft into your house. Chemicals commonly found in each households, such as floor cleaners and insecticides also add to the growing list of pollutants that are making your indoor air quality bad.

 

But while there are certainly dangers lurking in every room in the house, the good news is that there are affordable and easy solutions for most of them.

 

1. Increase ventilation.

Ventilation should be a priority in every household. Not only does this allow fresh outdoor air in, it also lets the bad air inside the house out. Increasing ventilation promotes good air circulation and prevents molds and other harmful substances to grow and lurk within the confines of the home.

 

2. Keep your house clean.

While good ventilation allows healthy air circulation, the dust and dirt that settle on the surfaces in your home throughout the day don’t really clean themselves up. Keeping the house clean not only involves dusting and sweeping, it also means taking out the trash to avoid the accumulation of bacteria that could become airborne, and keeping toxic substances away when not needed.

 

3. Turn on the air conditioner.

It may come as a surprise to some, but turning on your energy-star-labeled air conditioner, especially in the summer, can actually remove particulate matter and pollen from the air. Air conditioners work by cooling the air and removing the water from the atmosphere, and as a lot of pollutants are soluble in water, they are also removed during this process when the air conditioner is working.

 

4. Install an air filter.

For utmost protection against the negative effects to health caused by bad indoor air quality, having an air filter installed is the best solution. As their name suggests, these filter out particles of dust and other substances in the air, leaving the air that you ultimately breathe in cleaner than it once was. Good quality air filters, such as those from Filter Buy, can remove even very small particles, and are an especially great installation in households with asthma-stricken family members.

 

Indoor air quality can be worse than the air just outside your home, but it doesn’t have to always be the case. By taking steps to clean, ventilate, and install air filters, having improved indoor air quality is not an impossibility.

 

 

Angie Cole

Not many people are aware of the dangers of indoor air pollution or even the fact that there even is such a thing. With all the attention that’s been directed to the pollution that affects everyone outdoors, this shouldn't really be surprising. Fortunately, Filter Buy, a family-owned business that specializes in hard-to-find air filters, created an infographic that has all the basics down in a simple format. Here's what we need to understand about air pollution indoors.

 

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Angie Cole
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Asbestos was very popular between the '40s and the '80s for its resistance to fires, insulating capability, as well as its durability. Homes that were constructed after 1990 are unlikely to have any products containing asbestos, but if your home was built before that year, then it is highly likely that most products used in its construction did contain this harmful substance. While the presence of asbestos in the home does not necessarily pose a risk to health and safety, it is nonetheless important to know how to manage if it does become a problem over time.

Here are some ways in which to manage asbestos problems in the home.

1. Check the condition of the asbestos-containing material.

When suspecting an asbestos problem in the home, the first thing that should be done is to do an ocular inspection. Check the condition of the material that contains the harmful substance, and see if it’s still in intact. If it looks to be in good shape and have little possibility of being disturbed, then there’s no need to do anything – at all. Moving or attempting to repair any asbestos material that is otherwise in good condition can only disturb the asbestos in it.

2. Repair or Remove

If you’ve determined that there is a problem, then it can either be repaired or removed. A repair can either mean covering or sealing the asbestos material. Covering involves positioning something around or over the material in order to prevent it from releasing asbestos fibers, while sealing or encapsulation usually involves the use of a sealant to treat and coat the material so that fibers cannot be released. Doing a repair is a quick and cheaper way of managing an asbestos problem, albeit temporarily.

On the other hand, removing the asbestos material can be costly, but it does have the advantage over a repair as this totally eliminates it from the home for good. Whether you opt to repair or remove the asbestos material, both cases should be handled by a professional with asbestos safety training and certifications.

3. When in doubt, always call a professional.

It may be difficult to determine whether there is an asbestos problem in the home, or if it is even an asbestos-containing material to begin with. In such cases, avoid trying to manage the situation yourself – call a professional.

As an added precaution, never sweep, dust, or vacuum any debris that may contain asbestos as this would disturb and release tiny asbestos fibers into the air. Once inhaled, these could lodge onto the surfaces of the lungs, and cause serious diseases – most notably cancer. Don’t risk it - call in a professional to do the disposing.

Angie Cole
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Most of today’s cleaning products don’t only pose a risk to the environment but also to human health. It’s the perfect time to make your own toxic-free cleaning agent from home ingredients instead of spending money on commercial cleaners loaded with harsh chemicals.

Here are tips on cleaning your furniture the eco-friendly way.

Wood furniture

Wood is considered the universal material in making furniture. To clean it, remove dust using a clean cloth, small paint brush, or vacuum. Dusting removes particles from the surface and also gets rid of dirt which may become harder to remove when wet.

Cleaning wood with water isn’t usually recommended. However, if you do need to moisten the piece to remove sticky parts, make sure you follow it with lemon oil or olive oil. Mix 1 cup lemon juice with 1 tbsp. olive oil and spray the mixture onto a soft cloth. Wipe the furniture with the slightly damp cloth. Let it sit for a few minutes, then buff.

Beeswax is another product considered to give wood furniture a long-lasting shine. Using a clean cloth, apply the wax onto your furniture in a circular motion. When done, leave it for a couple of hours.

Glass furniture

Almost every house has glass furniture in one form or the other which are usually seen in minimalistic designs. Cleaning glass doesn’t actually need any chemical agents. The most you would need is a bit of washing liquid.

The easiest and fastest way to clean glass is by spraying it with water. For muddy surfaces, it may be necessary to apply mild soap with a sponge. After spraying it with mild soap solution, wipe the surface dry with a clean cloth. You can also polish the glass with crumpled newspaper for a really good shine.

Fabric furniture

Prevent dust and grime from building up by vacuuming or brushing your fabric furniture frequently. For hard-to-remove stains, use whisked detergent. Fill a container with half water, half mild soap and use a hand mixer to whip it up until you make foam. Dab the foam onto the spots but don’t rub. Allow to dry and vacuum.

For red wine or ink spills, use hydrogen peroxide and a teaspoon of mild soap. Blot it on the stain with a dry towel behind the fabric. This works great for curtains, carpets, and other fabrics.

When purchasing fabric furniture, consider the labels. The code “W” or “WS” means it can be cleaned with water-based agents such as mild soap.

Leather furniture

Leather is considered one of the most durable materials used for furniture. Some of the popular leather furniture pieces include leather sofas and leather club chairs. However, without proper maintenance, it can be as vulnerable as the other products.

To remove loose dirt and spills, wipe leather with distilled water using a soft sponge. Be careful not to soak the material as this might create a larger, irreversible stain. Also, avoid rubbing the area, just dab.

Avoid harmful soap, abrasive cleaners, or strong detergents as this can seriously damage leather. If your leather is stained with something oily, apply a small amount of cornstarch to the area and let it sit. Then, wipe it away with a cloth. Repeat the process until the oil has been fully absorbed by the powder.

Angie Cole
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Summer is one of the most exciting seasons to decorate. It brings a lively energy and opportunity to play with colors and styles. So before it finally comes to an end, here are 5 last-minute opportunities to give your home a fresh makeover with less waste.

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1. Organize

Everyone has that space in the house that could use a little organizing. Decorating doesn’t only mean adding accessories or furniture into a room, it also means rearranging and organizing.

Create an easy flow within a room by prioritizing its practical use without sacrificing beauty. For example, ensure the placement of furniture allows for ease of movement in high-traffic areas such as living a living. Maintain the overall ambience so it remains inviting for rest and relaxation during the summer months.

2. Upcycle

Upcycling is an idea that has been around for quite a while but is an emerging trend in design. If you have furniture or home accessories that have been broken or unused, repurpose it by upcycling.

Take an old drawer and upcycle it into a plant box or turn unused bottles in to vases. Upcycling is good for the environment and it can enable you to add refreshing additions into your own homes without running to the store.

3. Restore

Summer is the perfect time to restore any antique or vintage furniture. These valuable pieces are a perfect contrast to lively colors that are typical in the summer months. Restoring an antique dresser or writing table can bring back the original beauty and vibrancy of the piece, making it a favorite once again.

When restoring furniture, make sure to clean thoroughly in order to inspect any damage or loose parts that need to be repaired.

4. Repaint

Do you need an extreme home decorating makeover? Repaint. Choose your favorite space in the house and repaint it with a fresh new color. Your furniture and accessories can look surprisingly new with a new background. Choose a lively yet relaxing color. Pastels, pale shades of green and white are summer favorites because they are an effective contrast to bold, solid colored furniture as well as bright accessories.

However, be careful when choosing paint. Ordinary paint is harmful to the environment because of volatile organic compounds or VOCs. Look for zero-VOC and low-VOC paints instead. Check the label carefully before purchasing.

5. Color

If you are not ready for a project as big as repainting a room, you can still add color to your favorite spaces by accessorizing. Placing bright colored or summer-themed items across a room is a great way to bring summer indoors. Bright colored lamps, fresh flowers or printed throw pillows are easy to find and easy to match with existing furniture or wall color.

When adding accessories to your home, you can add them little by little. Purchase pieces that are unique and interesting but make sure to keep cohesiveness in style all throughout the room.

Angie Cole

Some 45 million Americans have bid goodbye to the daily commute and started working from home at least once a week. While staying put and telecommuting is a great way to reduce fuel expenses, traffic time, and carbon footprint, there are still so many things that can be done to help the environment.

When working in an office building, someone else generally takes charge of the environmental details. However when you work in your own home, you make the decisions. Whether you’re working from home full-time, or are just using a home office after hours, here are some adjustments to make your working environment eco-friendly. But don’t limit yourself to these suggestions, there are many other ways to go green!

1. Change your lighting

Forget incandescent bulbs. It’s time to switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) for your overhead lights and desk lamps. CFLs may be more expensive than their counterparts, but they last significantly longer and are cheaper over time. Energy star estimates that each CFL can save you about $45. LED lighting is also an energy-efficient option, as it can last up to 40,000 hours and uses 75 percent less energy than incandescent light bulbs.

2. Select energy-saving devices

LCD monitors use less power and are better for the environment compared to CRT monitors. When buying office equipment, look for the Energy Star label. Energy Star products like printers, computers, and fax machines have eco-friendly features that can save electricity to light your home for years to come. As for laptops, check the Electronic Product Environment Assessment Tool (EPEAT) logo to identify sustainable ones.

3. Choose eco-friendly furniture

Natural wood or handmade pieces are some of the most environmentally friendly choices for your home office. They are manufactured with less energy and don’t contain any toxic materials. If you’re looking for functional, sustainable furniture that can also be used as art pieces, shop for antique pieces. Reputable online furniture shops like Antiques on Old Plank Road have authentic wood-crafted desks and quality shelves that your green office could use.

4. Power down

Many appliances use a significant amount of much energy even when they’re not being used. According to the Department of Energy, 5 percent of all the electricity in America is wasted on unused devices. So when you’re done working, turn off your computer and other office equipment. Rather than setting them to “sleep” mode - which still uses electricity - use a power strip. Plugging the appliances into one surge-protecting power strip will also make turning the appliances on and off a lot easier.

5. Go paperless

Eliminating paper from your office is the best option, but it’s not entirely realistic. The next best thing you can do is reducing your paper by digitizing your paperwork. Consider emailed invoices instead of paper alternatives and instead of faxing, scan the document and email it. Evernote is a great tool for in-office organization as it keeps track of your files. Reducing paper will also help you maintain a tidier desk, too!

Greening your office by buying environmentally friendly products is easy, but being green is more than buying products - it’s a lifestyle change. Making small changes in your behavior would count too.

Angie Cole

Adding natural elements to your home can create a space that is welcoming and full of warmth. Homeowners strive to bring the beauty of the outdoors in by making use of natural elements in furniture and color scheme.

Using natural elements in your home can turn it into a beautiful and functional space for day to day lives.. If you want your home to be calm and inspiring, here are some ways to bring the beauty and tranquility of nature to your home.

Choose elements that suit you

Nature brings you close to elements that comfort and inspire you. Whether it is the tranquility of a bonsai tree or the adventurous aura of a rare rock, bringing elements of nature into the home adds character. Choose the elements of nature that mean something to you. Natural elements in the home bring a connection with nature and peace that is felt and enjoyed.

Let the colors do the talking

The natural element is not limited to the pieces of artwork and furniture that surround you; they are also laid out in your color scheme. Incorporate natural colors in your furniture, wall colors, and artwork. Bringing natural elements through color could make even the most modern home relaxing.

Go for antique pieces

Invest in antique furniture that is made of natural wood. Wood furniture and accents can be very versatile. It can be crafted in different finishes and tones. If you need functional furniture that can also be art pieces, look to Antiques on Old Plank Road. They offer rustic and elegant pieces that will bring the beauty of nature inside your home.

Use real flowers

Flowers have the ability of making any space light and airy. Nowadays, more and more homes are using fresh flowers in lieu of artificial ones. To bring the natural beauty and freshness into your home, you can also make use of potted bulbs and low maintenance potted plants such as cactus or other succulents.

Soak your living spaces in sunlight

Letting sunlight into your room is not only a practical and eco-friendly replacement to artificial lighting, it can also be a decorative element. Natural light can easily make your living spaces come alive. It can help make your furniture look more inspired. With natural light as a natural and beautiful element, you can easily have every other color in the room stand out and look healthier.

Extend the element of nature outside your living room

Many areas in your home deserve a touch of nature. Add the beauty of natural elements into other areas of your home such as your bathroom and dining areas. Spaces that are your sanctuary could use an aura of peace and lightness.

Sustainable matters

Utilize recycled and repurposed furniture or artwork made from natural materials. The trend of using eco-friendly pieces is a way to preserve nature while adding natural beauty into your home.