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Have You Winterized Your Home?

By Courtney Soinski

winter_pic

Last year’s winter was intense and forecasters are anticipating a bitterly cold winter this year. Prepare your home now to save on energy bills and to avoid damage.

Here are some simple and eco-friendly ways to winterize your home’s interior and exterior without flattening your wallet.

Your Home’s Interior
  1. Add extra insulation. You don’t want too much heat to escape through the attic because it can cause ice or snow on your roof to melt then refreeze, which has the potential of damaging the roof. Keeping rooms well insulated can even keep pipes from freezing.
  2. Service heating system. In order to prevent fire or smoke damage, make sure you have any furnaces, boilers or chimneys serviced annually.
  3. Emergency pressure release valve should be installed in your home’s plumbing system. This is crucial because it provides protection against increased pressure by freezing pipes. Without this emergency pressure release valve, your pipes could burst.
  4. Keep your home warm. Your thermostat should be set at 65 degrees at the least. It will keep you cozy, too!
  5. Have a plan B. If you have a power outage, it’s important that you’re prepared and have a back-up power source. A portable generator will do the trick.
Your Home’s Exterior
  1. Install gutter guards. In addition to cleaning your gutters, you should also install gutter guards to prevent debris from getting in and blocking water from flowing away from the house and into the ground.
  2. Seal exterior cracks. You can prevent cold air from seeping into the house by using caulk to seal around any wall openings. It’s also recommended that you apply weather stripping around windows and doors.
  3. Storm windows. You’ll stop warm air from leaking outside by installing or re-installing storm windows in the attic.
  4. Insulation film should be applied over windows to reduce drafts of cold air.
  5. Trim trees and dead branches. If the trees around your home are not trimmed, there is a greater chance that the branches will freeze and break off, which can cause damage to your home or car.

Follow these tips for a cozy and damage-free winter. Now is the perfect time to begin your preparations!

 

For more home winterizing tips, check out these articles on our blog:

Keep Mother Nature – and Burst Pipes – at Bay with these Simple Tips

Top Cold Weather Tips to Help Save Money & Energy This Winter

 

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Need New Recipes? Follow These Food Blogs.

by Courtney Soinski

Now that it’s getting closer to the holidays and the weather is starting to drop, we’re thinking more and more about food. If you find yourself searching for yummy recipes to use this season, you’ve come to the right place.

There will always be those major recipe websites you automatically go to like Food Network, Southern Living and Martha Stewart, but there is so much more to discover on the web.

It’s time to take a step back and consider the food bloggers – people who find passion and inspiration in cooking and connect with readers on a more personal level.

Thanksgiving on a Budget

familyfreshcooking

 

Family Fresh Cooking has awesome holiday recipes that won’t flatten your wallet! You’ll find all the food inspiration you’ve been looking for, thanks to food blogger, Marla Merideth.

 

Hosting a dinner shindig?

kitchentreaty

 

Kitchen Treaty covers recipes that you can use at your next dinner party, no matter if there are vegetarians or meat eaters. With this delicious food, you’ll satisfy everyone’s hunger!

Cooking with kids?

melskitchencafe

Mel’s Kitchen Café talks all about kid-friendly and healthy recipes for all those picky eaters in your home. Follow Mel for recipes you can use while cooking with your kids and they’re even worth of special occasions.

 

Having guests over who are vegans or gluten-intolerant?

ohsheglows

 

Oh She Glows features a food enthusiast named Angela, who blogs great vegan recipes. They are meat and dairy-free, and the majority of them are completely free of gluten, soy and processed foods.

 

postpunkkitchen

 

 

Post Punk Kitchen is a spunky blog with delicious recipes, created by Isa Chandra Moskowitz in her tiny kitchen in Brooklyn, NY. Rock on, vegans!

 

 

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How to Cut Energy Costs in the Heat of Summer

by Courtney Soinski

Thecq5dam.web.420.270re are so many awesome things about Summer like poolside relaxation and cookouts with friends, but what about all the money you’re blowing on energy costs at home?  Thankfully, there are ways that you can cut costs during this time of year.  You’ll also be doing the environment a favor – According to the Energy Department, about half of a household’s overall energy is used up by heating and cooling in the home.

Here are 5 helpful ways to cut down on pesky energy costs this Summer.

1. Clean your filters.

This is a major energy sucker in homes during the Summer season.  Clean out your air filters at least once a month, which can be done very easily.  All you have to do is run water through the filters and let them air dry.  It’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it . . . and wallet will thank you!

2. Keep that cold air in!

During this time of year, it’s especially important to keep all the cold air that’s coming out of your home’s vents to stay in your home and not seap outdoors.  You can do this by applying inexpensive plastic film around older windows to prevent a draft.  Other solutions include foam and caulking in problem areas along with extra attic insulation.  Close the doors and vents in unused rooms to save even more energy.

3. Step away from the oven.

Did you know that baking a cake or any hot foods like casseroles will make your A/C go into overdrive?  You can prevent this from happening by cooking colder foods, which will keep you cooler than eating hot foods. Make sense, right? If you can’t live without those hot foods, use an outdoor grill or toaster oven.

4. Program your thermostat.

According to Geoff Godwin, division vice president of Emerson, programming your thermostat appropriately will save you about 30% in energy costs per year.  Set it up so that the temperature automatically rises when you’re not at home during the day.  Most shocking to me is that about 25 million people own a programmable thermostat, but only half of them actually use the feature.

5. Unplug what you’re not using.

If you’re just hitting the power button on your TV after watching a show, you’re doing it all wrong.  Even though the power is off on your electronics, they are still sucking energy as long as they’re plugged in.  To save on costs, make sure you unplug things that you’re not using.  If you don’t want to have to worry about unplugging things all the time, another option is to use a Smart Strip, which will cut power when it’s not needed.

Source:  Money.USNews.com

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