Having issues with your household or business energy costs? Want to learn more about how to do things more efficiently and effectively? W&ES is here to help. Follow our work to keep up to date with the latest in Aussie know-how.
The cold winter months can cause a sudden spike in power bills, and if you’re like many people, you might just be looking for a break in the bill. We’ve got a few suggestions! Here are 4 ways to save on your electricity bill:
Turn the thermostat down, and snuggle up! Using less heat will help lower your electricity bill this winter.
Turn out lights when you don’t need them. Outdoor lighting shouldn’t be left on during the daylight hours, for instance, and interior lighting shouldn’t be left on when you aren’t home.
For instance, weatherstripping around your door can easily be replaced to stop the loss of warm air.
Instead of washing clothes and dishes with warm water, use cold water to save on your electricity bill.
These are just 4 ways that you can save on your power bill, but there are many other ways! Can you think of any?
No one wants their outdoor time in the summer ruined by disease-carrying mosquitoes. The annoying buzz, hurtful stings and the thought of being injected with an infectious disease is enough to keep us indoor and safely out of reach of mosquitoes. But mosquitoes can make their way indoors too, through open, screen-less windows and other openings, so it’s better to discover ways of keeping the mosquitoes away during the summer than to try to hide from them. Take back your outdoor fun this summer with these tips for repelling and eliminating mosquitoes.
No Breeding Ground
Make your landscape unfriendly towards mosquitoes by getting rid of all potential breeding grounds. Mosquitoes lay eggs in standing water and by pouring out all standing water from flower pots, old tires, buckets or anything else in your landscape that holds water you will prevent the nasty insects from breeding in your yard.
Bird bath and other shallow water features that are prominent in the summer landscape are choice breeding ground for mosquitoes, and to keep the stinging tyrants away you have to be diligent at cleaning these water features. Change the water in a bird bath at least once a week and opt for deep water features that keep the water moving so the eggs and larvae won’t reach adulthood.
Goldfish feed on mosquitoes and their larvae, so if you have a backyard water feature, place a few goldfish in it to act as natural pest control and keep the mosquito population down. Bats and dragonflies also feast on mosquitoes and their larvae and help keep the insect problem at bay.
A couple of oscillating fans set up in your outdoor entertaining area will do more good than a couple of smelly citronella candles at keeping the mosquitoes away. Mosquitoes are very weak fliers and the increased air flow produced by a couple of fans will keep the stinging tormentor blown away from you and your guests. The increased air circulation will also help keep everyone cooler on a muggy summer evening too.
Mosquitoes are attracted to anything with a fragrance, including hair-care products and oils, deodorant and hand lotion. When going outdoors, avoid using grooming products that have fragrance.
Apply chemical mosquito repellant sparingly to keep the blood-suckers from biting you. Spray repellant into air in front of you (about 2 feet taller than you) and walk into the mist for a good head-to-toe coverage of the product.
One of the easiest ways to deliver a new look in your home is with the addition of color. A lick of paint can take a drab, tired room to bright and spectacular in just a few short brush strokes. One of the biggest issues that most people face in this regard is choosing the color that best fits in their home. The designer experts you see on TV make this process look easy, but we common folk are usually reduced to utter confusion when faced with the dizzying number of colors available at the local paint or hardware store. If you are among the color confused, read on for a few simple tips that will help you narrow your choices.
The simplest route to go is by choosing a neutral color that will pretty much fit anywhere. While this may seem like a safe, boring choice, it actually offers the most options for accessorizing once the paint has dried. This is also a smart way to go if you are sprucing up the look of you home interior with a view to sell. While that bright purple color may be appealing to you, it may end up being a major turn off for prospective buyers. A good compromise when going neutral is to choose a bolder color which can then be used as a feature wall. That way, the brighter tone does not become totally overpowering.
If your goal is to re-paint the entire house, consider going with colors that are complementary to one another. It is possible to have a different color in each room of the house, yet still make it feel as though there is a natural flow going on when you walk from room to room. That is often a much better alternative than leaving the relative calm of one room, only to be jarred out of your reverie by a stunningly bright color in the next.
There are many people who would love to give their home a complete makeover, but who are severely limited by their budget. This is where matching paint color to existing accessories becomes a good idea. There may be a particular set of cushions or ornamental piece that you really love, so consider using that as the focal point and building your color around it. To make this task a little easier, take the piece with you to the paint or hardware store so that you can hold swatches against the piece to see how it looks.
Swatches are a great way to get an idea of color, but a hue that looks great on a piece of cardboard may in fat look less flattering when put on your wall. Before investing in a single color, pick up a number of different samples to see how they look on in your home and how they match up to tour existing décor. It’s much better to take a little time to decide as opposed to putting all your eggs in one basket and ending up with a color you hate.
In the age of environmental consciousness, finding ways to decrease your carbon footprint is a major concern for many consumers. In an effort to go green, people are buying electric cars, utilizing reusable shopping bags, refusing to buy water in plastic bottles and more. There are many small and large ways to go green. Another effective method is to install solar panels for your home. But before you start tearing out your ceilings, consider the advantages and disadvantages of solar panels for your home.
Most individuals and families are using gas or electricity as an energy source for their homes. Solar panels take the sun’s energy and convert it to functional and serviceable energy for your home and your many needs. One obvious advantage is that sunshine is free and even converting it into working energy for your home causes no pollution. Exploiting sunshine is as green as green can be.
There are a plethora of other pros for mounting solar energy panels on your roof. The panels will last at least 30 years so you will not have to worry about replacing them anytime soon. Cosmetically speaking, solar energy panels look contemporary, sophisticated and modern. Another advantage of solar panels for homes is that they need virtually no upkeep. A last distinct advantage is that you can get a tax credit or rebate for installing them plus you will see a decrease in your electric bill.
Of course, like any other home renovation, there is a con. The biggest disadvantage is that solar energy panels are not cheap. In fact, you can expect to spend upwards of $30,000 to set up a solar energy structure for your whole house. This is a one-time investment after which you will not need to worry about the solar panels for at least 30 years.
For a detailed guide on getting solar panels for your home check out this article.
People don’t usually think about the benefits of using natural paint. They are used to buying paint cans from the store without realizing that most of those paints have toxic chemicals in them. In fact, the United States used to have lead in their household paints until it was banned in 1978. But, today there still exists petrochemical ingredients in the conventional latex paints that are sold in stores. When they are thrown away they have to be cautiously disposed of or else it could lead to contamination in the environment. Natural paints are much easier to dispose of than latex paints. See a comparison here.. In fact, natural paints are biodegradable and have no harmful toxins or petrochemical ingredients in them at all. They have only a very small amount of processed ingredients. The rest are all raw ingredients that include chalk, clay, marble, mineral pigments and earthly pigments. Not only are these ingredients easier to dispose, but they require less energy to produce. Latex paints with processed ingredients, like titanium dioxide and petroleum, require high levels of energy to produce. So, natural paints will sure save the environment a lot of hardship during production.
Natural paints are also much better to breath in than conventional paints. Don’t forget that when you paint the inside of a building the paint fumes are going to inhabit the inside. So, if you are using paint with lots of toxins in it then those toxins are going to get into people’s bodies and possibly make them sick. Plus, latex paints act like a plastic coating over the wall that won’t allow any moisture to get through it. Natural paints, on the other hand, will not cause any moisture problems in the rooms they are used in because they allow moisture to get through. Therefore, there is no reason not to use natural paints. Even though it may take longer to dry on your walls, it will level them out and provide a long lasting finish to them. Natural paints will even reduce condensation, which is the reason so many homes have mold growth and mildew inside of them. Natural paints allow you to avoid airborne spores that can help aggravate your allergies or asthma symptoms. Now you may be wondering, “Where do I get natural paints. Are they more expensive?” A gallon of conventional paint will cost you around $25 whereas as a gallon of natural paint will cost around $50. But, with all the benefits of using natural paint it really makes the extra cost worth it. You will stay healthier, breathe better and keep the foundation of your structure strong for years to come.
The ever-increasing cost of sources of energy has everyone looking for ways to get cheaper electricity and gas. While we don’t control the price at the pump or the bottom line of the monthly bill, there are things we can do to decrease our energy usage and lower our out-of-pocket expenses. Give some of these tips a try and decrease electricity and gas costs.
Raising and lowering the home thermostat as needed will help cut heating and cooling costs. During the winter, dress warmer while indoors and lower the thermostat to below 70 degrees. When the family is gathered in one room to play a game or watch TV, it’s a waste of energy to heat the entire house, so consider investing in a space heater and turn down the thermostat on your main heating source. Add an extra blanket to beds and turn the thermostat down even more at bedtime.
During the summer, turn on ceiling fans and open windows in opposite ends of the home to allow a cooling cross-breeze to blow through the house and save on air conditioning costs. Set the A/C thermostat to above 78 to decrease electricity costs and install window coverings to prevent direct sunlight from entering in through the windows and raising indoor temperature.
Use the microwave and toaster oven for small cooking tasks to prevent using electricity or gas to heat up a large oven or stove top.
A full refrigerator or freezer uses less energy to keep the food cold, so keep both appliances full at all times by placing bottles of water inside to take up space.
Only run the dishwasher when it is full and don’t wash dirty dishes before placing them in the dishwasher.
The home clothes dryer uses a tremendous amount of electricity or gas to dry clothes, so install a clothes line (outdoors or indoors) to hang freshly washed clothes on so they can air dry.
Turn off the kitchen exhaust fan as soon as possible to prevent the loss of hot or cold air from the home. A typical exhaust fan found in most kitchens and bathrooms can suck all the heated or cooled air out of the room in less than 30 minutes.
When an electrical appliance is plugged into an outlet, it is using power even when the appliance itself is not in use. It’s called ‘vampire power’ and it’s sucking money from your wallet. When the appliance is plugged into an outlet, a small amount of energy is being sent to the appliance to keep it ready for instant usage as soon as the ‘on’ switch is touched. Unplug hair dryers, radios, lamps, toasters and the like when not in use to help cut costs and get cheaper electricity and gas for your home.