How to Keep Your Home Warm While Saving Energy

With the temperatures dropping outside, it’s important to keep your home warm and cozy. But if you keep the heat cranked up to the max, there’s a good chance your energy bill is going to increase drastically. Fortunately, you don’t have to freeze to save energy this winter. We’ve compiled a list of a few simple ways to keep warm and reduce your energy use all winter long.

First, if you have yet to invest in a programmable thermostat, now is the time to do so. Having a programmable thermostat will allow you to set the temperature to go lower when you’re not home or sleeping. While this may seem like it doesn’t do much, lowering the heat even just a few degrees can make a big difference. But it’s important to use it wisely and ensure you’re not trying to cool down or heat up your home with a huge difference in temperature. This actually uses more energy. So be mindful when you’re programming the temperature settings.

Next, it’s important to take a look at your windows. Drafty windows are one of the biggest causes of energy waste in homes. And if your windows are more than 15 years old, you could be at risk of dealing with drafty windows. So check your windows for any air leaks — if you find any, invest in new windows or at the very least, seal the drafts. Along with your windows themselves, it can be beneficial to utilize your curtains. On sunny days, open the curtains up and let the light in to help heat your home. And when the sun goes away, shut the curtains for added insulation between the room and the cold windows.

If you experience unusually high heating bills, you may want to consider taking a look at your home’s insulation. Having proper insulation is extremely important for keeping heated air inside your home. Because heat rises, about 40% of heat loss occurs through the attic. So it couldn’t hurt to hire someone to take a look at your home’s insulation and replace it as necessary. Insulation can wear down over time and can even be ruined by pests. In this case, it’s better to be safe than sorry and have it replaced if needed.

And lastly, it’s important to keep your heating systems maintained. Fortunately, scheduling annual inspections can be an easy way to make sure everything is in good working condition. But if you notice anything wrong with your furnace, heat pump, or another heater, it’s important to get it taken care of as soon as possible. When heating systems have to work harder to run, they use more energy. Additionally, you should check your other systems too for damage or leaks. This includes systems like your hot water heater. Without household leaks wasting about 900 billion gallons of water each year, it’s essential to make sure your systems are running as efficiently as possible.

Saving energy in your home doesn’t have to be hard. Keep these few simple tips in mind and you’ll be toasty warm with a low energy bill all winter.

Simple Ways to Be More Eco-Friendly This Winter

With the cold winter weather here, you’re probably doing everything you can to keep the inside of your home warm and comfortable. Unfortunately, the winter months often mean an increase in energy consumption. So how can you go green this winter without feeling like you’re living in an igloo? Here are a few tips to help you be more energy-efficient during the winter months.

Unfortunately, the Department of Energy shows that about 56% of energy used in U.S. homes is for heating and cooling. But the good news is that you don’t have to completely shut off your heat to save some energy. Turning down the thermostat even a degree or two can make a big difference in energy consumption. Getting a programmable thermostat can allow you to have the heat turn down when you’re asleep or not at home so you won’t even notice the difference. And you can always snuggle up in more blankets if you get too cold.

Another thing to keep in mind when considering your heat use is ensuring your home is properly insulated. If there is a lack of insulation or even cracks or drafts around windows and doors, you could be losing a lot of heat in your home. And when this heat is lost, your HVAC system has to work harder to replace it, using more energy. So consider installing weather stripping around windows and doors and sealing entry points for outside lines with proper insulation to avoid losing heat in your home.

With the winter days being shorter and darker, you probably have more lights on in your home than normal. This is another great opportunity for going green — did you know that LED lights use only 15% of the energy that a standard halogen light uses? Not only that, but LEDs offer up to 85% more light output too. So by switching out your halogen bulbs for LEDs, you’ll be reducing your energy consumption and getting more light in your home.

And lastly, consider going green when it comes to your diet as well. When it comes to buying fruits and vegetables, consider buying in season options. While today’s modern world allows us to have access to fruits and vegetables all year no matter the season, out of season produce has to be shipped from far away. This uses tons of fuel, which is something you can help reduce. So try to make an effort to buy produce that is in season throughout the winter months.

Being more eco-friendly this winter doesn’t have to be difficult. So keep these simple tips in mind for a greener winter.

Planning To Move? Donate Your Stuff!

NOTE FROM SWEET GREENS: Thank you for supporting the companies that keep Sweet Greens in business.
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At some point in life, all of use will move at least once. I mean we have to move out of our parents’ house, right? When you do move, deciding what to do with all of your stuff can be a hassle. What do you take? What do you get rid of? We sure do not want to take everything we own with us, because we will just be accumulating more for our new place. Donating your things is a great way to get rid of the things you do not need. You may not need them, but someone else may. But what should you donate? Should you just throw the junk away? That depends greatly on what it is.

You may be moving just across the street, or you may be moving all the way across the country. If you are moving across the country, you do not want to haul more stuff with you than you really need to. You should try to donate as much as possible before asking for help from places like Allied Van Lines. Most people hope to get rid of enough stuff so that they only have to rent one van to move them. Sometimes this happens and sometimes it does not.

It is always good to donate kid’s toys. Toys are something that a lot of parents cannot afford for their kids but really want their kids to have. When you donate toys, you are not only helping out the parent, but you are making a child very happy. Toys, games, bikes, and even game stations are great to donate if you no longer need them. If a parent can pick these things up for free or cheap around the holidays, it will really help them out financially. It will also allow their child to have a wonderful holiday and allow the parent to lose some stress while they watch their child enjoy the “new-to-them” toy. You can also donate household goods and clothes. Anything you are not using can be donated. You will help out lots of people by donating things and it will make you feel great about yourself.

There are many different ways you can donate. You can donate to charities, you can donate to local thrift shops, you can donate to a family that has suffered a tragedy, such as a house fire, or you can donate to local centers in your area that help out families. You can donate to churches! Churches are always helping out families when they are going through tough times. Talk with people in your community and find out where you can lend a hand.

You do not have to wait until you are moving to donate stuff. People need stuff daily. You can donate more than just toys, clothes, and things like that. Donate things that you know people will use every day. Things like toilet paper, paper towels, food, toiletries, used furniture, and all things like this. These types of things will help people out so much. We do not think about these types of items when we think about donations, but these are the products that people need the most. You can even donate your time. Maybe help is needed at a local food pantry, or a local church is offering free daycare for needy families. Lend a hand. Donate an hour or two of your time to help out.

Whether you are moving or not, if you have some extra stuff laying around your house that you no longer need, donate it. Help out a family in need. If you have some extra money this week and you can buy a few toiletries or a few cans of food, do it. It does not cost anything to donate what you have. You never know when a family may really need it. Helping out other families will make you feel great too. You may be the family on the receiving end one day so try to help out whenever you can!

Natural Home Remedies for 3 Common Skin Blemishes

Sometimes, maintaining healthy skin can seem impossible. If you have acne, that bacteria-fighting scrub from the drugstore might dry out your skin, causing itchy and painful redness. If your skin is too dry, a store bought moisturizer might make your skin appear greasy. Finding the perfect product may never happen.

Luckily, there are natural ways to boost your skin’s appearance. Below, we’ve listed some great at-home remedies that can combat common skin blemishes without hurting your skin’s health. As a bonus, these natural methods can be cheaper than serums and soaps produced commercially, so you won’t waste big bucks if they don’t work for your unique skin.

Here are just a few fuss-free natural remedies for common skin ailments and blemishes:

Fighting Acne Naturally

Acne is incredibly common. In fact, 85% of people have experienced acne in some form throughout their life. However, just because acne is common doesn’t mean you want to have it. Pimples are painful, and deep forms like cystic acne can leave scars.

There are many types of acne that all have different causes and symptoms. However, natural skin hygiene habits can combat most forms of this condition. Try this homemade honey-based face wash from Dr. Axe to combat acne-forming bacteria:

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 20 small droplets of melaleuca essential oil
  • 2 capsules live probiotics

Leave this mixture on affected areas for two minutes, then wash away with water. Repeat once daily to kill bacteria and reduced inflammation associated with acne!

Reducing the Appearance of Scars at Home

Like acne, scars come in all shapes, sizes, and forms. Though we commonly think of scars as long-healed cuts, scars can also come from burns, surgeries, or tissue that was completely removed.

Scars on the face can be particularly troublesome. Even though in 2016 91% of children were vaccinated against measles, mumps, and rubella, many older adults have facial scars left from these types of childhood illness. Scars anywhere on the body can appear darker or lighter than the surrounding skin, and keloid scars form bumps.

Scars are signs that your body has done the work of healing an earlier injury. As such, scars don’t need treatment themselves for you to be in good health. Scars are also unlikely to disappear completely. However, if you’d like to minimize the appearance of a scar, you can try the following natural method:

Aloe Moisturizing

Try taking a leaf of an aloe plant and peeling away the dark outer skin. Then, scoop out and apply the light green/clear gel directly to the scar area. Let the gel rest for half an hour, then rinse with cool water. Repeat twice daily.

Natural Cellulite Treatments

It’s been estimated that 80% to 98% of women have cellulite somewhere on their body. Even though it is common, many women and men alike would prefer their cellulite was less noticeable. Cellulite is associated with the body’s fat storage processes, so many consider diet and exercise to be the best treatment.

However, even individuals with a healthy weight can have cellulite. No matter your size, there are a variety of methods for reducing cellulite. Try eating more seaweed or soaking with seaweed in your bathwater. Seaweed is known for balancing hormones and drawing toxins out of the body. Additionally, dry brushing with a natural bristle brush can improve circulation and exfoliate old skin cells, which may reduce dimpling and improve skin’s overall appearance.

No matter what your skin looks like, all-natural methods can help you save a little money and support your overall health. Before trying expensive and artificial serums for skin conditions that may never go away (like stretch marks, scars, and wrinkles), give these natural, homemade solutions a try.

Is It Time To Revamp Your HVAC System?

 

NOTE FROM SWEET GREENS: Thank you for supporting the companies that keep Sweet Greens in business.
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When you own a home, you have to provide your family with a place to live their greatest moments. The home must be warm and cozy and have an eco-friendly design with high-performance features. The good news is that making upgrades to your home can offer potential savings and create energy-efficient options.

For example, a homeowner can choose between adding insulation to their house or move towards an updated HVAC system. If you’re looking for a way to feel better about your home and conserve energy, then you’ve come to the right place.

Upgrade Your HVAC System To Help Reduce Energy Cost

Deciding to upgrade your heating and cooling system can help you reduce cost and make the home energy efficient. Here are a few options:

Ice-powered Air Conditioning Unit

This unit works by making sure that the water is frozen in a tank overnight. By using electrical energy during the night versus the daytime, a homeowner can have enough cooling during the day and reduce costs for peak hours.

Thermal Air Conditioning Units

These units are different and new to technology, but should take off in the next few years. The systems are supplemented with natural gas and solar energy. They provide more cooling capabilities than the traditional AC units and eliminate electricity costs.

 Heat Pumps

Dual heat pumps provide a great option for comfort. They are a combination of a gas furnace and an electric heat pump. When it gets cold outside, the gas heater will take over until the temperature rises above 35 degrees. Even though the cost is very expensive, purchasing the system itself can last for several years.

Floor Heating

This type of heating will give you the opportunity to experience warmth from the ground up. It will offer you radiant heat versus hot air heating throughout your home. However, it is very important to have the proper amount of insulation in your home so that you can increase energy efficiency by 30%.

Ductless

The majority of homes will have a hidden maze of ductwork underneath. If a particular ductless system is used to deliver conditioned air, then it will typically increase energy efficiency by 40% versus central heating.

However, you may have come across a few homes that are considered “smart homes.” These homes make it easy to move into and can be very convenient. They offer already automated appliances with technological advancements.

For example, you can leave your home and never have to worry about turning off your heating or cooling system. If you forget, then you can make a quick adjustment with your mobile device through an app.

A few other high-tech features would include scroll compressors, variable speed motors, smart control sensors, and dual heat exchangers. However, be advised that it doesn’t matter what system you use if your insulation system is faulty.

Sometimes insulation upgrades are a necessity. It can have a significant impact on your energy cost. By replacing your insulation or increasing it in your home, you will be able to reduce your energy bills. Remember, older homes sometimes lack the proper insulation, interfering with efficiency and savings.

Every type of insulation is different.

Spray foam – You can choose a spray foam type of insulation. The foam will seal gaps in leaks by hardening into a solid.

Fiberglass batts – If you’re looking for an inexpensive option, then you can choose fiberglass batts. They are a cheap type of insulation that can be stapled. When it is installed correctly, it can offer a quick fix.

Reflective barriers -Reflective barriers are usually found in the attic. They are used to reduce heat and cold and offer barriers that reflect the sun rays. This option is only available for homes that are generally in the sun a lot. You could choose this option, but make sure to speak to a representative for more guidance.

The cost of installation can vary depending on the size of your home and the design. An average attic cost can range from $400 to $1800. However, this small investment is a great price to pay if you are concerned about saving energy and reducing costs on your home.

You can also check with your state tax department to see if there are any rebates available for insulation upgrades. However, federal tax credits expired a few years ago. You may still be able to check with your local districts to determine if there are any incentives.