Spend Less This Summer: 4 Cheap Ways to Keep Cool

With temperatures rising, homeowners begin rethinking their budget to accommodate rising electric bills, as well. However, there are better things to do with your summer cash rather than worrying about sky-high rates. Although it might seem impossible at first, cutting your electric bill during the summer months cheaply is easier than you think.

Drapes

Adding drapes to your home is a great way to decrease the amount of heat entering the house and are fairly inexpensive if you know where to look. However, even if you can’t afford to put drapes on all the windows of your home, don’t worry! Adding drapes to the areas of your home that receive the most sunlight will still keep your home cooler than it would be without them.

When buying drapes or curtains, the heavier they are, the better they are for cooling down your home. Thicker fabric absorbs more heat from the outside while keeping the inside temperature from escaping outside.

·      Thrift Shops and Flea Markets

A lot of thrift stores and flea markets sell heavy drapes really cheaply. Although they might not match, particularly if you’re planning on having drapes throughout your home, the drapes available are usually serviceable and cheap.

·      Sales

If you have a particular store in mind for procuring your curtains from, keep an eye on their sale fliers. Most businesses will put drapes and curtains on sale before summer.

Also, dollar stores typically have sales on leftover curtains from last year’s stock for much cheaper than you can buy them at most furniture stores. Be sure to ask if they have discounted curtains somewhere in the store. This isn’t just a great way to get curtains, but rods, as well.

Closed Doors, Natural Lights

If you want to use your air conditioner during summer, keep in mind that a small area is easier to cool than a large one. By closing the adjoining doors to the main room, you can keep your house cooler while spending less electricity!

Another great tip for decreasing the amount of electricity is to use natural light during the daytime instead of artificial lighting. Electric light bulbs automatically create heat in the room they’re in and by keeping the lights off during the day; you’ll not only save energy but keep your home cooler during the summer.

Be a Fan of Fans

Ceiling and window fans are a great way to keep your home cool throughout the day. Window and box fans can be positioned for maximum effectiveness anywhere in the room while ceiling fans deliver a cool burst of air circulating around the entire room constantly. In addition to being effective, using fans costs less than using an air conditioner will be a good idea.

Grilling

Heat from cooking can be downright miserable during the summer and is one of the main reasons that people are using their air conditioner. However, there’s a great solution that is cost-effective; namely, grilling. Grilling outside is fun and cheap solution for keeping homes cool during the summer time.

 

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Daylight Savings And Saving Energy

Sunday, March 9 at 2:00 a.m. was the official time to spring forward for daylight savings time (DST). While not all countries or U.S. states observe DST, most North American and European residents set their clocks ahead one hour on Saturday night before going to bed, including their wall clocks, appliance clocks, alarm clocks, auto clocks, sprinkler and lighting timers, some ac thermostats, and many wristwatches.

 

The History of Daylight Savings Time

The idea of daylight savings time originated in the 1700s with Ben Franklin. He believed rising with the sun would enable people to be productive during the daylight hours and thus save resources. The idea didn’t become popular in the U.S. until World War I and later World War II, when saving fuel oil was critical to the war effort. During the Arab oil embargo of 1973, the U.S. again pushed daylight savings time. During that period, electricity consumption decreased by 1% but it may have been more to higher prices than anything else. In 2005, the federal government extended daylight savings time by a month under the Energy Policy Act. But does daylight savings time really decrease energy use? Surprisingly, the answer may be “no.”

 

Does DST Really Decrease Energy Use?

Daylight savings time was invented before the use of air conditioning became widespread. A Kansas study found thats daylight savings time can actually increase consumer energy use because people arrive home when it is hot and turn on their ACs. In so far as many consumers use energy-hogging AC units, this means energy consumption is higher than if the same people had stayed at the office. However, the opposite the opposite is also true. A California study found that electricity decreased because people remained outdoors longer. The bottom line seems to be that, while energy consumption nationwide decreases by 0.03%, actual savings depend on where you live. The South tends to use more, the North is a slight winner. Lighting has almost nothing to do with it; savings relate to cooling costs.

 

DST And Biorhythms And What To Do About It

While the energy savings associated with daylight savings times are negligible, the health costs are not. Studies have shown daylight savings time can disruption the body’s circadian rhythm, which is the basic biological clock that regulates hormone production, among other things. Many people never adjust their circadian rhythm after clocks are set back, resulting in chronic over tiredness and lack of concentration. More specifically, the presence of daylight interferes the production of melatonin by the pineal gland. Low melatonin production is associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cancer as well as insomnia. And melatonin is just one of more than a dozen hormones disrupted by daylight savings time.

While melatonin supplementation is useful, it can only accomplish so much. But you can fight light with light. Researchers have found that the blue light spectrum of daylight is responsible for an out-of-whack circadian clock. So, turn off blue light – televisions, computers and other electronic devices – at least one hour before bedtime if you want a good night’s sleep. And add red spectrum light to your life during the early evening. Incandescent light bulbs emit red light, but are no longer as readily available. However, energy saving red-light bulbs are commercially available, and we sell them of course. Using the “warm color” light bulbs will not only save energy, they can help save your health.

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January 1 was lights outs for incandescent bulbs

Photo Credit: Google

Photo Credit: Google

It’s official: January 1, 2014 marked the end of the incandescent light bulb. While remaining inventory can still be sold, it is illegal for US companies to manufacture or import 40, 60, 75, or 100 watt incandescent bulbs. This is due to an energy conservation law signed by President Bush in 2007. Some estimate the switch will save more than $40 billion in energy costs by 2030.

You now have three alternatives to incandescent bulbs: more efficient halogen bulbs, LED, and CFL bulbs. Most of the problems noted by consumers in years past have been solved. You can now buy energy efficient CFL bulbs that light immediately and have a pleasant light color. LED bulbs, while more expensive than CFLs, last up to 22 years. The typical incandescent bulb lasts less than 18 months.

This means you can now install LED bulbs in hard to reach spots and not worry about it again for literally years. You can run outside lights for security at nominal cost and maintenance is almost nonexistent. Lighting is the top deterrent to residential crime like burglary so security lighting outside your home can save peace of mind as well as energy.

It may take some time to get used to the ways packaging describes light intensity and color on energy efficient bulbs. No problem. Just tell us where you need light and we will recommend the right bulbs for you.

Only 3 in 10 consumers plan to stockpile incandescent bulbs. Most people will make the transition and barely notice the difference, except that you no longer need to remind the kids to turn out the lights when they leave the room. In terms of cost, you can leave these new bulbs on without burning through money. In fact, your ceiling fans or electric coffee pot use more electricity.

So if your New Year’s Resolution this year was to save energy, you’re in luck. Saving energy is automatic. We’re always happen to enlighten our customers. Give us a call if you want to know more, especially about new LED and halogen incandescent bulbs.

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Getting Ready For 2014: Understanding Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs

 

Photo Credit: Google

Photo Credit: Google

Federal legislation such as the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) requiring the phase-out of incandescent bulbs by 2014 has made lighting a confusing topic for consumers. Now, consumers are faced with understanding lingo like wattage, lumens, and voltage in order to buy light bulbs. The issue becomes even more complex when talking about specialized light bulbs for healthcare equipment, aquariums, electronics and appliances, and cars and trucks.

Consumer Household Bulbs

Projectors and televisions, electronics with displays, cameras, laptops, cell phones, toys, and vintage electronic devices… they all use light bulbs in one form or another. Trying to find an energy-efficient light bulb for your refrigerator or your microwave may not be as easy as walking into your neighborhood hardware store. Further, as manufacturers have rushed to supply appropriate lighting, there have been recalls, such as one in May 2013 affecting LED light bulbs produced by Lighting Science Group. We can supply your household light bulb needs, including full-spectrum CFL, LED, and halogen bulbs. We can also supply specialized bulbs for your home appliances, including your refrigerator!

Commercial Bulbs

The legislative mandate will have a huge impact upon businesses and industrial facilities, which face swapping out their incandescent bulbs. We assist businesses of all sizes with this. Just give us a call and we’ll tell you the most economical way to comply with legislation while reducing upfront lighting costs.

Compact Fluorescent Bulbs

Compact fluorescent bulbs produce more light and have a longer life than incandescent bulbs. They use very small amounts of mercury, so they should not be thrown out in your regular trash. Earth 911 is a clearinghouse of information for where to dispose of CFL bulbs if your local government does not have a special disposal or recycling option. CFL bulbs come in many shapes besides the familiar spiral, including plug-in bases, circles and tubes, and chandelier and globe screw-in light bulbs. Use a “dark sky” CFL to keep light from spreading into areas such as a neighbor’s yard.  Reflectors have a built-in reflective surface that helps CFL bulbs to throw off more light, which can assist In providing security. CFL bulbs are less likely than incandescent to break and you can also buy special CFL for exterior use that are shatter-resistant.

Halogen Bulbs

Halogen bulbs are relatively inexpensive, but generate a lot of heat. Care needs to be used when replacing them and they can react to other substances. They emit a bright white life and have  a long lifespan. Halogen bulbs use a halogen gas, a poisonous chemical, with a tungsten filament. Because they are fragile, they are not recommended for homes with small children except in difficult-to-reach fixtures.

LED Bulbs

LED bulbs are light emitting diodes – a small electronic device that lights when electricity is passed through it. These can be designed as very small bulbs for use in electronics displays. They can be expensive, which is offset by their long life. They generate more heat than halogen and xenon bulbs, but less than CFL bulbs. They have an intense, focused light that is ideal for task lighting, not ambient lighting. They are also used, like halogen and xenon bulbs, is specialty auto lighting.

Xenon Bulbs

Xenon light bulbs are often used in specialty auto headlights and in exterior path lighting. They are usually low voltage and can be touched with your bare hand, unlike halogen lights. Xenon bulbs emit a clean white light and may be used in high-intensity discharge (HID) lighting. Festoon xenon light bulbs can be used in either task lighting or for indirect lighting under cabinets and shelves.  When using them in a store with glass or jewelry, choose a clear festoon bulb. Otherwise, frosted bulbs have a wide range of applications.  Xenon is more efficient than halogen, uses less energy, and has a longer life.

Any questions? Call us and we’ll shed more light on the different alternative to incandescent light bulbs as we enter 2014.

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Hot Tips For Reducing Winter Heating Bills

Projections are for a colder winter throughout the northern U.S. and we’re already seeing record lows. So how are Americans keeping their homes warm?

  • 54% of homes use natural gas; most are in Northeast, Midwest, and Northwest
  • 38% use electricity; most are in Southeast, Southwest, and California
  • 6% use oil; most are in New York and New England
  • Few use propane, wood or other energy sources

Heat rises and so does the price of heating

The cost of heating has risen since a year ago, making winter energy savings a hot topic. Expect rates to be higher by 2% (electricity) up to 13% (natural gas), while the cost of oil can spike depending upon demand.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates 90% of the 116 million homes in the U.S. will pay more for heating this winter (October 1, 2013-March 31, 2014) than last year:

  • Natural gas: $679 ($80 more than last year)
  • Electricity: $909 ($18 more than last year)
  • Propane: $1,666  ($120 more than last year)
  • Oil: $2,046 ($46 less than last year)

How can you save on heating costs in 2013?

Before we talk about specific ways to save on heating costs, remember that there are a lot of ways you can save on your overall energy costs. One of the easiest is to use ENERGY STAR certified appliances and fixtures, and to replace incandescent light bulbs with CFL or LED bulbs.

In addition, make sure your heating equipment is in good condition so that it can operate efficiently. If you central air conditioning, a SEER 16 unit is a good choice for year-round savings on both heating and cooling. Otherwise, many of the tips that save money on heating will also save money on cooling your home.

Step 1: seal your home. 

Leaky homes let cold air in and warm air out. Make sure your home is tightly sealed. This is relatively inexpensive and can mean significant savings, especially in an older home. Some electric companies offer inexpensive energy audits, or you can hire a professional to conduct an energy loss assessment. In any event, do the following:

  • Caulk all windows
  • Weather strip all doors, including any doors to an attached garage or enclosed porch
  • Weather strip attic hatch or door
  • Seal small gaps around plumbing stacks or electric power supply lines in the attic and in the basement
  • Seal holes or gaps around chimney or furnace flues; keep damper closed or consider sealing the top of the chimney (the fireplace will become nonworking)
  • Make sure your AC ducts are properly sealed and repaired; about 20% of air is lost due to leaking or improperly connected ducts
  • Repair any cracks in mortar or exterior stucco
  • Repair settlement cracks especially if there are small gaps along the baseboard and the rim joist where the cement meets your home’s wood framing
  • Use winter storm windows and doors in northern climates
  • Remove AC window units and close windows during winter
  • Unroll area rugs on top of wooden floors, especially in older homes
  • Use inexpensive gaskets to seat electrical outlets when not in use

Step 2: insulate everything

Properly insulating the attic and walls can save up to 10% annually. Don’t forget the wall between an attached garage and your living space; attached garages and enclosed porches can be significant sources of energy loss. Also remember to use an insulated attic hatch or door. Insulating pipes and your water heater can save on hot water costs.

  • Insulation should be above the attic floor joists
  • Recommended insulation is R-38 at about 12-15 inches
  • In colder climates, R-49 insulation is preferred
  • Use insulation wraps and sheets around pipes, water heaters, and on attic hatch

Step 3: reset your thermostat and ceiling fans

The Department of Energy (DOE) estimate you can save about 3% on your natural gas bill for every degree that your turn your thermostat down during the winter. This means that in Michigan, you could save about $30 a month for a three-degree change.

  • Use a programmable thermostat and set “away” and “bedtime” temperatures to 62 degrees and “at-home” temperature to 68-70 degrees.
  • Heating your home with electricity costs two to three times more than cooling it (about $1.15 per hour in a 1700-square foot house based on 12 cents per kilowatt hour)
  • Do not close registers or air returns in unused rooms; it can damage your ducts and will make your system less efficient
  • Set reversible fans to blow air up; this will push hot at the top of room and distribute it throughout the room
  • Do not leave fans running in unused rooms; this can waste about $7 per month per fan
  • Space heaters are a major cause of fires and so we do not recommend them; instead use heated blankets or Snuggies to stay warm in a colder room

Step 4: control humidity

Controlling humidity is an important way to feel more comfortable year round. Humidity inside your home is related to exterior humidity. In warm climates, high interior humidity means that you will feel too cold. In cold climates, the opposite is true and humidity is usually too dry for comfort. In both cases, the real problem is that exterior air is finding its way into your home. In general, during the winter your interior humidity should be around 40-50% in most homes. In Florida, Louisiana, and other humid areas, it will be a little higher.

  • In general, indoor humidity around 50% is most comfortable; this will vary depending on where you live, how your home is built, and how you heat it
  • In cold climates, if interior humidity is too high ice  will form on the inside of windows and walls, causing damage and possible illness; this usually happens when people add humidifiers because the interior air is too dry for comfort
  • In cold climates, too little interior humidity can cause coughs and nosebleeds; low humidity is usually a problem in cold climates because cold air cannot contain much water and it occurs when too much exterior air is coming into the home
  • Sealing your home is usually the solution, no matter where you live

Step 5: layer like an Antarctic explorer

You don’t have to heat your whole home when you take the chill off by putting on a few layers. Many thin, warm layers will insulate you better against the cold than a few thick layers.

  • Science has debunked that we lose most of our body heat through our heads, but your head and face are more sensitive to cold, so wearing a knit cap will make you feel warmer.
  • Socks will make you feel more comfortable, especially if you have poor circulation. Both cotton and wool absorb and retain a lot more moisture than acrylic, so a good-quality acrylic or synthetic-blend sock will keep your feet drier. U.S.-made socks are usually of better quality than those made in China. Cotton especially retains moisture and will draw heat away from your body.
  • If you choose to wear long underwear, a “wicking” synthetic brand is lightweight and feels soft, but synthetic fibers can stain easily and odors may build up. Silk is luxurious and thin, but difficult to care for and expensive. Merino wool is non-itchy and stain resistant, but costly and can shrink in the dryer.
  • When you layer for warmth, wear a wicking layer (non-cotton) garment first as your base layer. This should be formfitting and long underwear is ideal. The next layer should be looser but not baggy to hold warmth in the air spaces. Consider a hoodie or bulky knit sweater. Common fabrics are synthetic fleece, polyester, and wool. Cotton is not very warm compared to other fabrics. Wear wicking socks and knit slippers, plus a cap and you are good to go. If you’ll be watching TV or reading, snuggle up with a heated throw.
  • Dress your bed, especially in cold climates. Begin with an electric mattress pad. Then add flannel, fleece, or knit polyester jersey sheets that wick moisture (cotton is out). If you don’t want to buy different sheets for summer and winter, buy good quality cotton-synthetic blend sheets. The next layer might be an acrylic blanket or lightweight cotton quilt. Then add a wool blanket. If it is really cold, top it all off with a comforter and duvet. While down comforters are warm, they are difficult to clean and many people are allergic to them. Down alternatives are pretty good performers, are usually machine washable, and are fine for allergy sufferers. The more layers you use on a bed, the warmer you’ll be – and sleeping partners who like it colder can flip back a few layers onto your side. Many people swear by electric blankets, but you can stay warm with the right layers without paying the utility company.
  • Take a tip from your great-grandmother and use a hot water bottle wrapped up in a towel (can leak, though) to warm the foot of your bed. Microwavable bags of rice stay warm, don’t slip around, don’t leak and you can make them easily. We recommend against sleeping with an electric heating pad due to the risk of burns.

What are your tips for keeping warm this winter?

 

 

 

 

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Safety Tips For The Holidays

The holidays mean celebration, togetherness, and good cheer – but they also mean increased risk of crime and accidents. Here are some of our tips for ensuring you have a safe and happy holiday season:

Crime Prevention

If Santa can get down your chimney, thieves can be equally resourceful.

·Security lighting is the number one theft deterrent, so make sure your home has photo-sensitive lighting and that  entries and garages are well lit.

·Leave a television or radio on when you are not home so it seems the home is occupied.

·Do not throw the boxes for electronics such as home theater systems or computers on the trash because that is  a heads-up that you have something to steal. Instead break down the boxes and bring them to your local  recycling center or trash dump.

·Mark expensive gifts with a drivers license number or identification number and take photos of any fits that  cannot be marked with an engraving pen, such as jewelry. Do not use your Social Security Number.

·Leave lights on indoors and set them on timers so they turn on at night. Use CSA certified timers for exterior  lights.

·Do not leave displays of holiday gifts in view through the windows of your home.

·Criminals sometimes pose as deliverymen for gifts and as door-to-door solicitors for charitable causes. Always  ask for identification before allowing a stranger into your home. Do not make charitable donations at your door;  ask for the name of the charity and say you will make a donation on your own time. Then check with your local  Better Business Bureau to be sure the charity is not a scam. Only donate to recognizable charities because there  are online scams too.

·When shopping, always have your keys ready as your approach your car. It is preferable to go shopping with  someone else.

Fire Safety

·Check the wiring for holiday decorations to be sure they are not damaged or frayed.

·Always be sure to have a bulb in every outlet.

·Never connect more than one extension cord together.

·Keep electrical connectors off the ground and away from metal rain gutters.

·Use insulated tape or plastic connectors not nails to hang electrical decorations.

·Place your Christmas tree in water or wet sand to keep it green.

·Be sure artificial trees are rated as fire retardant.

Drinking

·Never drive or allow others to drive when intoxicated, even a little. Only time will eliminate alcohol from the body,  not coffee or food.

·Eat before drinking, especially high protein food that will stay in your stomach longer and slow the absorption of  alcohol.

·Have non-alcoholic beverages available.

·Arrange to have a designated driver for your party who will take home inebriated guests.

Poisoning Control

·When having guests over, be sure to lock medicines away and put purses and coats in a separate room, away  from children, to keep them from “exploring” and accidentally ingesting medication.

·Take careful food precautions. Food may sit out on buffets longer than you expect, so avoid serving perishable  foods with mayonnaise sauces, fish, etcetera.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Get That Spooky Glow Going

 

Photo Credit: Google

Photo Credit: Google

 

In the dark about how to have the spookiest house on the block this Halloween? Well, all it takes is a little imagination and illumination. And we’ll walk you through it

1.     Start with a Jack-O-Lantern, the time-honored grin of all things scary. Now you can buy illuminated pumpkins that last for years. But, we still believe in carving the real thing and adding a battery-operated LED flame; it won’t blow out and it won’t set your house afire.

2.     Replace the bulb in your porch light with a black light party bulb. A 75-watt bulb should be fine. Tonic water will glow blue-white under a black light. Fill a few old bottles and mark them with a scull and crossbones or drop plastic spiders inside. Antifreeze also glows but is poisonous. Mr. Clean and Irish Spring soap glow weird green, so use soap to write on your door.

3.     Give the kids light sticks to go trick or treating. Light sticks look eerie but they are also a good safety provision. A pack of 10 runs around $7 and is well worth the investment. Each stick lasts about 12 hours! Of course, you will also have flashlights and batteries…

4.     Because light sticks are so inexpensive and last so long, you can use them to illuminate the walkway to your door. Easy – just snap them and stick in the ground!

5.     Light stringers are colored LED lights that come in 25-foot strands. You can also buy mini-light spheres. Incandescent rope lights (50 feet long) run about $42. Why not have a scarecrow with lights glowing through his ragged clothes – LED lights make this possible.

6.     Take old milk jugs, draw scary faces on them and fill them with battery operate LED lights.

7.     You can decorate lampshades with cut outs of black cats and lamps and use orange party bulbs.

8.     Paint scary faces on white and orange balloons using magic markers and float them near the ceiling.

9.     Don’t forget the music! The Monster Mash (from 1973), Michael Jackson’s Thriller (1982), Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells (1973), and the Rock Horror Picture Show soundtrack are all good choices.

10. If you want a very adult Halloween theme, use Edison light bulbs. They are elegant but have an Old World air that is just right for Halloween.

Our Favorite Halloween Light Shows

If you want to be inspired by people who spend all year getting ready for October 31st, here are three of our favorite Halloween Light shows. Do you have a favorite… or send a photo of your own creepy décor.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UfcNoMnKjrY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GcAss0Ytn6g

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-9cq4DfDTE

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Understanding Relative Humidity and Your AC

Humidity – the amount of moisture in the air – is of tremendous importance for your comfort and for your health. It also impacts the energy costs of operating your AC system, the biggest energy hog in your home. When you reduce the humidity in your home, you also reduce the risk of mold and mildew growth. When humidity is low, you also feel cooler in summer and warmer in winter.

Humidity is a complicated topic.  There is always some moisture in the air. Relative humidity is the amount of moisture relative to the amount of moisture the air can hold. If the relative humidity is 50%, then it is half “full” of water. If the relative humidity is 100%, it cannot “hold” more water. When rain clouds form, they are at 100 % humidity, but the ground-level humidity could be much less.  If the air around you is at 100% humidity, it is holding all the water it can. It does not mean it is raining, just that the air is saturated with water!

When relative humidity is low, we feel cooler because sweat evaporates easily. People feel most comfortable when the relative humidity is around 50%. Your AC system is designed to de-humidify the air, so it is important that it does this properly or you will not feel comfortable even if the temperature is cool. You will also find yourself sneezing and coughing, because humidity promotes the growth of allergens. If humidity is too low, you will have a dry throat and be trouble by static electricity as well as dry, itching skin.

As air cools, it become less able to hold water. At a certain temperature, it will condense into water (the dew point) or ice (the frost point). The dew point varies depending on the relative humidity. Currently, (October), the dew point in South Florida is 65 degrees… meaning condensation will form at this temperature. In Maine, on the other hand, the dew point is now 40 degrees.

Normally, during hot weather, condensation will form on the outside of your windows if you run the AC very cold. This is because hot air can hold more water than colder air. When the air touches your cold windows, it condenses. Indoor humidity that is too low is more common during winter, because cooler temperatures and heating cycles lower moisture in the air more rapidly. In the summer, relative humidity that is too high is a more common issue.

Condensation on the inside of your windows is a sign that something is imbalanced in your AC system. Your AC system includes your entire home, so if you have leaky windows that will affect the relative humidity inside your home and how hard your AC has to work to remove moisture. You buy humidity gauges (hygrometers) for around $15 apiece to measure the amount of relative humidity in the air. Buy several, leave them in place, check the relative humidity, and then swap the positions to check the accuracy of your readings.  If the temperature is at 76 degrees, the relative humidity should be around 50%.  In the winter, it should be no lower than 30%.

Stay Tuned for our next post “The causes of high relative humidity in air-conditioned buildings…

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How To Choose Bathroom Sink Fixtures

Photo Credit: Google

Photo Credit: Google

Bathroom sink

Photo Credit: Google

Photo Credit: Google

Photo Credit: Google

 

 

Function is just as important as style when choosing your bathroom sink fixtures. Even if you do not remodel your bathroom, changing the sink faucet and handles can sometimes make your bathroom more functional.

Faucet Centers

Believe it or not, there is something of a science behind choosing the right sink faucet.  The first thing to do is measure your faucet centers. Sinks come with premade holes for the faucet and handles, and with different spacing between holes.

A single-hole faucet is needed for a sink with 1 hole. Usually these are lever type faucets. The advantage of these faucets is that they take up very little room, so you can use them with a smaller sink in a smaller bathroom. It is also easier to use by children and makes it harder for them to scald themselves by because there is no hot water tap by itself. A single lever faucet is also easier for older people or people with arthritis to use. They can be a little more fragile and often the entire faucet needs to be replaced if it breaks. The disadvantage is they have a modern look that is not in keeping with traditionally styled bathrooms.  A variation on this faucet is the vessel faucet, which is a tall faucet designed to accommodate the height of vessel sinks.

Centerset faucets have the faucet and 2 handles mounted onto a single base. They can be used on sinks with 1 hole and sometimes 3 holes. These are the most difficult for people with arthritis to use, and they are difficult to clean because the handles are so close to the faucet. But this is a very common style.

The widespread faucet has 2 handles set off from the main faucet, It is easier to get hot water only out of. And it has a more traditional look but you can also find very sleep, contemporary widespread faucets. Crossbar handles are the most traditional of all and are found in period baths.

There are also wall mount faucets, which are rarely used except in high-end bathrooms. They require a special plumbing set up. Electronic touch faucets are used mainly in commercial settings. You might want a gooseneck style faucet. Do you dye your hair? Consider getting a faucet with a spray nozzle.

Height

Think about how you use a sink. If you like to fill a glass with water, your facet has to be high enough to do that. Many bath sinks are shorter to prevent splash out. You will also want a higher faucet if you wash your face at the sink.

Materials and Construction

Faucets can be built based on one of several principles. Compression faucets rely on washers to manage the water flow. This is the conventional way to make a faucet. You do have to clean the screen every so often. Newer faucets use balls, cartridges, and disks. They are easier to operate and maintain, bur the plastic parts used in most of these faucets mean they are very durable. Cartridge faucets have a cartridge flow mechanic that can be replaced if there is a leak. Faucets with a pair of ceramic disks are the most durable and trouble-free, but they can also be the most expensive.

Pricing

Pricing can be anywhere from $20 up to $1,000 or more for a solid-brass faucet set with designer styling. Remember that leaks waster water, and water is expensive is many parts of the country. So sometimes it is worth spending a little more to get the quality needed in such a heavily used fixture.

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Black LIghts And Bug Zappers

Photo Credit: Black light news

Photo Credit: Black light news

 

Black lights are used for decorative effects, in medicine for diagnostic and healing purposes, for the detection of counterfeit money, for curing resins, and also for detecting fluorescent minerals in rock and fluorescence in blood for crime scenes. Black lights often need special fixtures. A Wood’s lamp is used in science and in forensics.

Black light fluorescent tubes are similar to regular tubes, except that they have a dark blue-purple coating. They are available in a variety of sizes and watts, including the F15T8/BLB which is used in standard fluorescent tube fixtures. If you want to spice up your home for Halloween this October, a few black light tubes will due the trick.

Black light tubes are also used for tanning beds. The ultraviolet light is thought not to damage eyes and skin, although overuse can do both.

Another type of UV fluorescent bulb emits ultraviolet light to attract insects, which are then electrocuted by the device. These bulbs emit visible light along with ultraviolet light, so they do not have a purple filter. They appear bluish-purple to the naked eye because the less visible mercury emission spectrum is block by plain glass. These bulbs are designed as “BL” and are not suitable as a replacement for BLB tubes in BLB-designed fixtures.

The first black light was created in 1904 using Wood’s glass as the container for an incandescent bulb. These are the black lights you often find at party stores. They are very inefficient, burn hot, and have a short life. Mercury vapor black lights also use Wood’s glass, but have very high power ratings up to 1000 watts and are used for theatrical displays and concerts. Both types of Wood’s glass lights are primarily decorative.

A Wood’s lamp is used in dermatology to identify some skin diseases. It was first used in 1925 in dermatology to identify fungal infections, and is still used today to detect fungal and bacterial infections and to diagnose tuberculosis, vitiligo, ethylene glycol poisoning, and erythrasma.

Black light is also used to authenticate bank notes, oil painting and antiques. When you go to a club, you will often be stamped with fluorescent ink, which will identify you as a paying guest under a small Wood’s lamp.

Now that we have shed some light on the subject of black lights, call us to order your decorative lights and bug zapper lights

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