There are so many important decisions you have to make about your home maintenance. But while it is easy to get caught up with maintenance issues and urgent home problems, you should also step back and think about your more comprehensive approach to your energy generally. Going renewable could be a great option for you with the right conditions.
Consider the Cost Savings
One of the first things you should figure out when you’re considering the switch to renewable energy is the actual savings you would have. Consider the energy costs for your current home, the cost of installation, and any tax benefits or other benefits you may get from the city for using renewable energy.
As you analyze your current energy spending, you may find that switching would save you a lot of money. If the margin isn’t huge, maybe consider a partial switch—you could even just install solar-powered outdoor lighting.
The Right Conditions
It’s also important to think carefully about your year-round weather. The best setting for renewable energy is in a place where you get a lot of sun for most of the hours of the day for a large number of days every year.
For example, the sunny weather and various tax credits make Florida a great place to invest in solar. It similarly is a good idea to invest in solar power if you live in California where there is a lot of sun year-round and where utilities costs are high.
The Right Setup
Another important thing to consider when it comes to deciding on renewable energy is the setup of your home. If you are considering getting solar panels for instance, it’s important that you examine your roof. Solar panels have to adhere to your roofing material, and they work best with roofs of durable materials such as asphalt shingles or concrete tiles.
It’s also important that you examine the slope of your roof—if it is too sloped, you won’t be able to capture as much sunlight and garner as much energy.
As you’re thinking about investing in renewable energy for your home, it’s so important that you think about your home from a long-game perspective. While the upfront costs of installation aren’t always cheap, remember that making your home energy efficient raises its value and will cut utility costs for years over time. If your home seems to be a good candidate for renewable energy, go for it.
Read this next: How to Pull Off a Successful Home Improvement Project
(BPT) - We all know that one person who just adores cleaning. But for the rest of us, it's a necessary evil that gets old very quickly!
Before you tackle that long list of spring cleaning tasks, try some of these cleaning hacks designed to make these chores faster and easier. When cleaning is fun and even effortless, you’ll feel more energized and gain the momentum you need to knock out your list of chores. Afterward, your house will sparkle from top to bottom, which is its own reward!
1. Find smarter tools
Throw out the messy bucket and mop and reach for a smarter floor solution that's efficient and fun to use. For example, the O-Cedar EasyWring Spin Mop & Bucket System has a built-in wringer that offers superior moisture control of the mop, which makes it safe and easy to use on all hard floor surfaces — even hardwood! The hands-free wringer requires a simple press of the foot pedal to easily spin out the water and help finish the job with less mess and faster drying times.
2. Try natural solutions
Commercial cleaning solutions can add extra costs to your deep cleaning session, not to mention the harsh chemicals can leave behind unpleasant odors. Why not experiment with everyday pantry items? These often cost less and are just as effective in their cleaning power.
A simple solution of warm water and vinegar removes built-up grime from your floors, while leaving a clean, rinse-free finish. Just add a half cup of distilled white vinegar to a gallon of warm water and start mopping.
If you dislike the smell of vinegar, add a couple drops of your favorite essential oil — the fresh scent will be like a small reward!
3. Shortcut to shining windows
If you want streak-free mirrors and clean windows without the hassle, Cas Aarssen, author of “Real Life Organizing: Cleaning and Clutter-Free in 15 Minutes a Day” and the YouTube channel ClutterBug, has this expert tip: Add a teaspoon of cornstarch to your favorite glass cleaner and shake until dissolved. Cornstarch improves the cleaning power of the solution and makes streaks a thing of the past, so you’ll get the job done more quickly.
4. Use a cleaning method that also protects
Aarssen has an easy tip that will not only shine up your kitchen appliances, it will repel fingerprints and food splatters often left behind. Just spritz on a little wood furniture polish and rub in with a soft cloth until the surface shines like new.
5. Clean up top
Dust can collect on those high, hard-to-reach places, such as decorative molding and ceiling fans, making cleaning day more difficult. To clean your ceiling fan without showering dust bunnies everywhere, an old pillowcase is your best tool. Spritz the inside of the pillowcase with a vinegar and water solution and slip it over the blades of the fan, pulling it back to trap the dust.
For those tough to reach moldings and corners, use a sturdy rubber band to wrap a microfiber cloth around the end a broom, and give those hard-to-reach areas a clean sweep!
(BPT) - On Friday, April 22, millions across the globe celebrate Earth Day by participating in eco-friendly activities in order to make a positive impact on the world we live in. This special day is also the perfect opportunity to start thinking about how you can add small, environmentally-based actions to your everyday lifestyle. This can be achieved through small efforts at home, work and in your community.
In our fast-paced culture, it's easy to take the world around us for granted. Many aren't aware how environmental concerns from climate change and pollution to the rise of e-waste are impacted by our daily activities. It's never too late or too soon to become an environmental steward by committing to be more kind to the planet. Take action by creating more eco-conscious traditions with your family. Here are four green initiatives you can adopt this Earth Day and every day:
Have a paperless trail.
Paper waste takes up more than one-third of space in local landfills, which can generate methane gas that is harmful to the environment. Luckily, today's technological advances make it easy to go paperless. There are many apps and services that can help you cut back on how much paper you use. You can start by requesting items such as bills, statements and newsletters be sent electronically. The paper items you do wish to receive, like newspapers, cardboard boxes, magazines and phone books, can easily be recycled when you finish using them.
Did you know vampires really do exist? Well, energy vampires that is. This term is used to describe how many types of electronics and office equipment - including computers, phone chargers, clocks, TVs and printers - continue to use electricity when they're off but still plugged into an outlet. In households across the U.S., wasted energy not only costs consumers more than $5.8 billion annually, it also sends more than 87 billion pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year.
Make a pact to reduce the amount of energy your family uses. This can be as simple as turning off lights or the TV when you're not in the room. Unplugging electronics when they aren't being used is also a great way to save your family money and conserve energy.
Develop a green thumb.
While many people choose to plant trees for Earth Day, take it a step further by starting a garden in your yard. You can plant anything from flowers, herbs or vegetables. This is a great way to get the entire family involved in an activity you can do together throughout the year that is fun and healthy for everyone!
Become a battery recycling superhero.
Some items that can be recycled are thrown away mostly because people do not know what can be recycled and where to recycle them. Many household electronics and popular tech gadgets use rechargeable batteries that contain materials that are potentially harmful to the environment and should never be thrown into the trash. You can help by educating your friends and family about how they can reduce waste by choosing to recycle.
Organizations like Call2Recycle Inc. strive to minimize the environmental impact of products through responsible disposal by offering an easy and no-cost recycling solution for rechargeable batteries. Call2Recycle has a network of more than 30,000 drop-off locations, including retail stores in your own community that you may already visit regularly. Their collection sites accept cellphones and rechargeable batteries (weighing up to 11 pounds), including those you find in laptop computers, digital cameras, two-way radios, MP3 players or iPods, tablets and cordless phones.
Get started by organizing a local recycling drive to encourage others to gather up their batteries to be recycled. Through recycling, you can make your community more sustainable and keep potentially hazardous materials from entering local landfills. Visit www.call2recycle.org/locator and use the location finder to find the nearest collection site.
Being a responsible member of any community means making choices and taking action to take care of the world we live in. These eco-friendly activities may sound simple and easy to get started, but the real challenge is creating new habits that will ultimately lead to a greener lifestyle. By starting small and making your goals realistic, there is a greater chance you will continue implementing them throughout the year. Your efforts can inspire your family and friends to join you in incorporating environmentally-friendly behavior into their every day lives. These changes - big and small - can make a positive impact and create a better world for ourselves and for future generations.
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