Winterize Your Home to Save Money PDF Print E-mail
Written by Lisa Alexander   

Now that our beautiful Indian Summer has finally left us it’s time to get serious about preparing our homes for the cold winter months ahead.  Here are a few tips to winterize your home and save money on heating bills.

  1. Start outside by removing autumn leaves and debris from your gutters.  This will prevent rain and melting snow from pooling which can cause roof leaks.
  2. Turn off all outdoor faucets making sure you’ve drained the water out first.  Any water left standing in the pipe through the exterior wall can freeze and expand during the winter causing the pipe to split.
  3. Close vents to basements and crawlspaces.
  4. Check for cracks and holes around doors and windows.  Replace and repair old weather stripping.
  5. If you have older windows considered buying the window shrink-wrap.  I use it every year and it really helps by sealing out the drafts and sealing in the heat.  On windy days I can actually see the plastic over the windows bowing inward from the draft.  Without the shrink-wrap plastic all of that cold air would be getting inside of my house.
  6. As beautiful as they are, fireplaces are common sources of energy loss. Be sure the damper is in working order and that it's closed when the fireplace isn't in use to prevent heat lost. (Just remember to open it up when your use the fireplace or else you’ll fill your home with smoke or worse!)
  7. Have your fireplace chimney professional cleaned to prevent creosote build up and potential chimney fires.
  8. To insulate your chimney even more, consider installing a chimney cap, which seals out pests and prevents heat loss.  You can buy them at most home centers and their instructions make them an easy and affordable weekend project.
  9. Think about installing a glass fireplace door.  There’re attractive and they can help prevent heat and energy loss while also protecting children from the open flames and prevent sparks from coming put of the fire and into the room.  Remember to keep them shut unless you need access to the fireplace.
  10. You may want to install a blower in your fireplace.  It will increase the efficiency of your fireplace by pulling air through a tube that circulates around the burning logs.  The blower will then force the heated air back into the room.
  11. Consider having your heating system serviced by a professional to make sure it is in working order.  At the very least, replace filters and clean air ducts.  This last step will also help cut down on winter illness since bacteria can build up in old filters and your ducts and become airborne once the heating system kicks in.
  12. Dimmer switches and three-way light bulbs will help you reduce electricity consumption. Install fluorescent bulbs in your lamps and other fixtures, they produce more light with less electricity and last longer too.
  13. Take advantage of the suns heating rays (passive solar heat) by opening the curtains, shades and blinds during the day. Just make sure to close up again at night to get some extra insulation over your windows.
  14. Turn down the thermostats while you’re asleep or away. It costs less to reheat a house than to keep the heat source continually running.
  15. Replace old inefficient thermostats that operate at only setting with programmable thermostats that operate in hourly increments.  They are easy to install and available at any home center.
  16. Try adding area rugs to help warm and insulate tile or hardwood floors.
  17. Close off any rooms that you don’t use on a regular basis.
  18. Lastly, and a favorite, cuddle with your spouse for extra warmth and body heat.                     

 

Enjoy the Winter and have a Safe and Happy Holiday !!!

First published in “Connections Magazine” October 2008
 
Green Education PDF Print E-mail
Written by Lisa Alexander   
Friday, 01 August 2008 12:13

Although I’ve always been an environmentalist of sorts and a certified teacher with a BA, my education to sustainable or green living, came about five years ago when I was dealing with some very major health issues.  After treatments and surgery my condition only got worse, not better.  Before I committed to have more body parts needless removed and more drug treatments, I started looking at what was in my life that might be bringing these conditions on.  I started subscribing to technical data and research reports from all over the world.  By learning and understanding how modern life and nature has come to be controlled by synthic means, chemicals, pharmaceuticals and all of their by- products and consequential pollution, I was able to identify what it was in my own life that was either causing or contributing to my serious health issues.  Once I educated myself I was able to make some changes and eliminate these causes and cure myself through natural means.

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The Greening of the Guitar PDF Print E-mail
Written by Lisa Alexander   
Tuesday, 01 July 2008 12:17

Growing up in Nazareth, Pa we had two claims to fame…Mario Andretti and the famous Martin Guitar.  Chances are that if you know music, and especially if you play the guitar, you will know that C.F. Martin & Company is the oldest surviving maker of guitars in the world. Currently the largest producer of acoustic guitars in the United States, the C.F. Martin Guitar factory was started by German immigrant Christian Frederick Martin, Sr. in 1833 has been continuously family owned and operated for six generations.  Today a Martin Guitar is still hand made as it was 175 years ago in my hometown of Nazareth, Pa.  In addition to continuously creating and producing acoustic instruments that are acknowledged to be the finest in the world, C.F. Martin is also highly regarded for introducing innovations that have become music industry standards.

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Natural Spring Cleaning PDF Print E-mail
Written by Lisa Alexander   
Tuesday, 01 April 2008 11:27
(First published in “Connections” Magazine April 2008)

Well, spring is here again and it’s time for some spring-cleaning.  Did you know that according to the EPA the air inside our homes is 5 to 10 times more polluted than the air outside?  Cleaning products contain some very dangerous and highly toxic chemicals.  Basically, if you see any “poison warning” or “not safe for young children and pets” on the label than it’s not safe for your home or the environment.  All cleaning products, whether they are for the home or personal care like shampoos, end up in our water supply when they go down the drain.   Everything in our water supply ends up in our food chain through irrigation of our produce, livestock, and all mammals large and small, including humans.

Last Updated on Thursday, 03 December 2009 12:12
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Tap Water Vs. Bottled Water PDF Print E-mail
Written by Lisa Alexander   
Monday, 01 October 2007 12:50

This is my favorite time of the year here on Lake Wallenpaupack.   The summer vacationers all leave and suddenly, almost immediately after Labor Day, the big lake is calm again.   Most of the waves and turbulence we experience on the lake during the summer are due to all the boat activity.   As if someone waved a magic wand, the lake becomes peaceful and quiet again, and the weather is still warm enough to enjoy the water.  

Spring and fall are the only times I venture to take my kayak out on the lake without fear of speeding boats and Wave Runners.  I took my kayak out on the lake for the first time in months this September.   The stillness of the lake and the small size of the kayak lets me get right into the shore line where power boats may have trouble getting to.   As I gazed upon the beautiful shoreline, I was disappointed to see a few empty water bottles that washed up on the beach, remnants of the summer activities.

Last Updated on Thursday, 03 December 2009 12:57
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