Heat your home without wasting energy

fireplaceHeat your home without wasting energy this season

(BPT) – If you’re interested in living a greener lifestyle, perhaps you’re already trying to reduce your energy usage as much as possible. Maybe you ride your bike to work, unplug your electronics when they’re not in use, use fans during warm weather and avoid wasting water.

Saving energy can get more difficult, however, when the seasons change and colder weather sets in. Heat is a primary source of energy usage. In fact, research from Tulikivi, the world’s largest manufacturer of heat-retaining fireplaces, shows that 52 percent of a home’s annual energy consumption is allocated to heat.

Now is the time to think about reducing your energy usage during the winter. Here are some ideas that will help you enjoy a warm, cozy home while saving both money and energy.

Heat more efficiently

firewoodA crackling fire makes for more than just a pleasurable experience; it can also be an energy-efficient heating source. Fireplaces from Tulikivi help heat your home long after the fire goes out. Tulikivi fireplaces are built from soapstone, which has better thermal conductivity compared to other materials because of its dense structure and mineral composition.

For homeowners, this means once you start a fire in your fireplace, the soapstone will store heat in its thermal mass, allowing a two-hour burn to radiate heat for up to 24 hours. This lets you enjoy the clean, comfortable, cost-saving warmth without using additional energy.

You can learn more about Tulikivi, the recycled materials used in its manufacturing process, the clean combustion of its masonry heaters and its commitment to sustainability at Tulikivi.us.

Close the drafts

One of the best ways to improve your energy efficiency is to reduce your energy waste. Window cracks and door drafts allow warm air to escape, which means you’re leaking both energy and money.

Seal those areas by using caulk to shore up any drafty windows and put plastic wrap over the window surface to keep out the chill. For the door jambs, you can purchase a door stopper to plug the gap or you can use a towel at the base to block the opening. Try to close off the bottom of any exterior door, particularly the doors you seldom use.

Make sure your other heating options are running efficiently

When you’re not using your fireplace, it’s good to know your backup heating options are operating efficiently. Have your furnace inspected routinely and make sure you change the filter each month. You should also invest in a smart thermostat. This technology allows you to set the temperature of your home for different times of the day so you can lower it when you’re sleeping or away. The calendar option means you can program your home’s temperatures ensuring you never waste energy.

Although it’s still nice outside, colder temperatures are on their way. That doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your green lifestyle when you cheeks turn red. By using the tips above, you’ll still enjoy the same warmth and comfort without the additional environmental impact. To learn more about Tulikivi, visit Tulikivi.us or find them on Facebook and Twitter.

4 Steps Greener

4 steps toward greener living

(BPT) – Living a greener lifestyle isn’t just about conserving natural resources, it’s also about saving money. Whether you’re renovating your existing home, or building from the ground up, you can create a home that’s more efficient, cost effective and “green.”

4steps-Insulate

1. Insulate against air

In terms of heating and cooling, a well insulated home conserves the most energy by creating an airtight seal, locking out any potential hot or cold air drafts. To properly insulate, replace old windows and doors with more energy efficient options, such as those made by Pella, including triple-pane glass, and add extra insulation to the walls, roof and basement.

2. Make energy-efficient choices

Inefficient appliances can cause a spike in your gas, water and electric usage. For a simple change, choose LED bulbs for all your light fixtures. To conserve even more energy, opt in for high-efficiency upgrades for your larger appliances, like refrigerators, dishwashers and clothes dryers, and install water conserving bathroom fixtures to help cut down your home’s overall water usage.

4steps-light

3. Maximize natural light

When you’re able to rely on natural light for most of the day, the cost of your electric bill decreases. If you’re renovating, think about ways you can incorporate new window openings to increase the amount of natural light your home is currently receiving. If you’re building, think about incorporating an open floor plan with lots of windows to maximize the flow of natural light from room to room.

4. Design it to last

Trends come in and out of style quickly. For the larger architectural features of your home, choose design elements that will stand the test of time — reducing the likelihood of another renovation. Leave the trendy design choices to smaller decor pieces that can easily (and inexpensively) be switched out when it’s time for a change.

For more design inspiration, visit Pella Windows and Doors on Houzz or visit Pella.com to schedule an in-home consultation with a local Pella expert.

No Stress Laundry

Take the stress out of laundry with these timesaving tips

Laundry(BPT) – Laundry doesn’t have to be a dreaded chore. With these effective and efficient tricks of the trade, you’ll be able to take down laundry one load at a time. While the clothes won’t fold themselves, the experts at Faultless Starch Company are sharing advice to help ensure your laundry turns out perfectly every time.

Decode the clothing label

When you have a long list of chores, it’s easy to rush through loads of laundry in order to get to the next items on the list. But, this often results in discolored, faded or damaged garments. Many of these issues can easily be avoided by reading the clothing tag and following the proper instructions. From sorting clothes by color and texture, to using the correct amount of detergent, reading the label can help keep your favorite go-to pieces looking fresh.

Prevent Fading

After you’ve read the instructions and sorted your clothes by color and fabric, prep your clothes to prevent further problems. Remember to always wash clothes inside out to preserve colors — this is especially important for dark clothes, like jeans. To keep your bright colored fabrics from fading, try tossing one cup of salt into the washing machine with your load. For whites, add one cup of white vinegar to a load during the rinse cycle. As a bonus, the vinegar acts like a natural fabric softener.

Troubleshoot tough stains

The key to successful stain removal is to fight back before it sets in. From vinegar and table salt to club soda and lemon juice, many stains can be eliminated using basic household products. No two stains are created equal, so identify what type of stain you’re dealing with first.

While coffee and tea stains require cold water and sponge treatment, pesky red wine spills require a little more effort. First, soak in enzyme pre-soak using the hottest water safe for the fabric. After laundering, if the stain still exists, try covering the spot with table salt and let it set for a few minutes. Then, rub vigorously with half a lemon and run through the laundry as you normally would. Perspiration stains should be treated as soon as possible using warm water and detergent before washing. If colors have changed, it’s possible to restore them by sponging fresh stains with ammonia or vinegar and rising with water and then launder with hot water.

Try do-it-yourself dryer balls

When drying towels or bedding, ditch the standard dryer sheets in favor of tennis balls. Using one or two tennis balls as dryer balls helps evenly circulate air in the dryer to keep fabrics soft and reducing the dry time. Plus, tennis balls are long lasting — eliminating waste and expense.

Keep your clothes looking their best

Help your outfits live up to their stylish expectations by keeping them freshly ironed. It’s not only an easy way to elevate your outfit and extend the life of your clothes, but also will help you save money when compared to taking clothes to a professional dry cleaner. Before you begin pressing, set the iron to the correct temperature. You can find this information on the tag. Whether you’re wearing shirts, slacks, skirts or dresses, make them look extra sharp by using Faultless Premium Spray Starch. Spray starch will keep clothes crisp by helping create a smooth finish and sharp creases.

For more laundry tips and tricks, visit www.faultless.com.