Sara’s Blog

Tips to Improve Home Air Quality

There are so many different methods that can be used to improve the air quality of your home and, in the long run, strengthening your family’s health. While we all know of many of the basics like changing the air filter in the furnace and having the vents and ducts cleaned, there are plenty of options to help ensure that your family is consistently breathing in the highest quality air.

There is always the option to first apply a certain air tester throughout the home to help determine exactly what details are most in need of improvement and what can be done to clean. These testers can be purchased at a number of online locations as well as any local home supply store. Some tests are specifically for mold, while others are kits that contain multiple tests for chemical pollutants and other dangerous air contaminants.

Once the air has been tested by the best for your area or region, then it can be determined what will best be done to help cleanse the air of any pollution that exists within the home. Some of those things may be the mold that has attached to walls, floors or within vents. There is also the possibility that outdated flooring, wall coverings, paint or other contracted or decorated items may contain those pollutants that are being released into the air. A minor remodel may be needed to update those items or make sure that the adhesives or paint on the floor or walls do not contain chemicals that are being released into the air and dangerous to the family’s respiratory systems.

If you have found a reduction in the quality of air in your home, then there are a number of specific filtration systems that can help with a long-term improvement process in addition to the basic change of the HVAC filters or cleaning of the ducts and vents in your system. A list of some of the nation’s leading air purifiers exists, in case there is a specific room that needs improvement in air quality. Additionally, there are a number of large and overall improvement systems that can help the entire home as a whole. These include Wave Home Solutions, Blue Ox Air Cleaners and many others that may be sold specifically close to your town or region.

If any of these seem to be time consuming or costly, another simple method to help keep the air in the house clean is to maintain a regular clean sweep. Whether it is weekly or monthly, there are always important chores that can be managed like dusting, vacuuming and cleaning of windows and hardwood and tile floors to keep all the allergens, dust and other irritating air fillers from clogging up the home. It will maintain an overall breathing-friendly environment and allow a longer period of time until actual contractual updates needed to be made to the home. Just make sure that some of those basics like the air filter of the HVAC system and the inside of the vacuum are kept up-to-date and clean as well. Good luck!

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Ozone-Friendly Washing Machine

Both energy and air use of the machine are protective of the ozone and pollution. Therefore, knowing in advance that you are buying a laundry washing system that can help save both your money and the environment provide a great positive feeling. These washing systems can clean even the dirtiest clothing with no exhaust that pollutes the ozone or no chemical-containing detergents that would pollute the environment in the long run. There is so much of a benefit to consider in the gained environmental support of these machines now available for residential customers.

Apparently commercial buildings have been using ozone machines for years, and just now there are plenty of residential areas available for the installation of these machines so that they are going on the market to homeowners. Plenty options to buy used machines in that case, from hotels, restaurants and plenty of other locations that are replacing or upgrading, or even have closed. With the number of uniforms and other materials that would have to be washed, it is beneficial to know that many of our companies have been using ozone washing systems for several years now and working toward the preservation of a safer and cleaner environment.

One of the best things about this, beyond the energy savings and reduction of air pollution is that there is no detergent needed whatsoever, and that there is an even cleaner result in the dirtiest clothes… even the whites! Some publications have been posted online where children today have completed science fair and other school projects in researching the advanced cleaning abilities of these ozone washing systems. The presentations are incredible. There are the dirtiest white socks or t-shirts placed in different washing systems, and the ones washed in the ozone system come out the cleanest and fastest of them all.

Some brands such as EcoWasher and Residential Ozone Laundry have become highly available to homeowners, while there are also additional multi-sales online locations where used systems can be purchased for even less than what is often spent on a traditional washer-dryer system… along with the annual savings that will be recovered through the reduction of both energy and no need for detergent.

It’s amazing to see what is moving forward in all the advantages of energy and ozone savings around this world!

Native Landscaping

The basic principles of native landscaping mean that you use plants, trees and shrubs that are native to your area to help maintain a garden that is both easier to care for and more efficient for your region. Considering the wetland areas of Florida and other specific qualities, it can be very important to have plants that can handle that climate and land mass effectively. There are several websites where you can look up eco-friendly plants for your garden and landscaping design, including here. All it takes is a quick search and the entry of your city and state, and you can find your answers.

Basic principles to native landscaping consider the large amount of natural groundwater you have, which also supplies municipal drinking water. One of the primary things to remember when native landscaping is to minimize or eliminate fertilizers and pesticides to help reduce pollution of local natural water sources. native landscaping

Whether you work to protect the overall environment with an eco-friendly home or to save our natural environment with protection of the ground water and lakes, appreciation and respect are gained from enhancing your yard with native landscaping. Including the minimization of fertilizers and pesticides there are eight additional principles to maintaining native local landscaping in your own yard. Help your plants grow healthy and smart… just like your family!

First, by using the website above you can help choose the right plants for your yard based upon the region where you live. This will help the natural environment keep the plants healthy and take less work from watering, fertilizers and other chemicals. Additionally, there is the ability to only water when your lawn or garden needs it. By choosing plants that are native to your region you will not need to water as often.

There is also the need to fertilize properly; less often is usually better. Fertilizing too much can be harmful to your yard, family and the environment. With native landscaping and reduced fertilization, the use for mulch is even more effective to help maintain moisture in the soil and prevent weed growth.

Some additional benefits of native landscaping include plants that attract and feed local wildlife along with the ability to more easily manage yard pests. With the use of native plants their clippings and leaves can be used on site as nutritious supplements to the growing plants.

And the final principles to help maintain native landscaping and the health of your yard and garden are to reduce storm water runoff because of the pollutants and other dangerous chemicals it may carry. You also have the option with native landscaping to protect the waterfront nearest your property by helping to maintain clean freshwater locations. So, help keep the land healthy with your own yard!

Non-Toxic Pesticides for Landscaping

There are many different options for organic, non-toxic pesticides in maintaining your home landscape and garden. With the use of these non-toxic pest control methods there are several advantages, including a lower expense, reduced health damage on pets and family members and being better for the environment.

There is one strongly effective option to battle off certain bugs, caterpillars, worms and other mild pests with tobacco or nicotine spray. If you can mix one cup of natural tobacco with one gallon of water you can naturally protect some of your flowers and other plants. Create the mixture, let it sit about 24 hours, check that it is about the color of weak tea and spray on flower or plant gardens. However, make sure not to use this on gardens with tomatoes, peppers or other members of the solanum vegetable family, as the plants will also be killed by exposure to tobacco. non toxic pesticides 2

There are some other household items that can be mixed together to create natural sprays or solutions for insecticides and pesticides in your gardens. One option is combining one teaspoon of liquid dishwashing detergent with vegetable oil to help ward off white flies, spider mites and other aphids by spraying directly on the insects. There is also the option of mixing liquid dishwashing detergent with one cup of rubbing alcohol in one quart of water, and this solution can be sprayed directly on the leaves of plants to help prevent attack of various pests. There are also other liquid detergent mixtures that can be created in order to protect various types of plants from different pests and insects that may overcome your garden.

Another item that can be a solid preventative core ingredient is garlic. It can be mixed with raw onions in the blender to create a puree, then soaked overnight in warm water and sprayed on such plants as roses, fruit trees and other flowers. Sometimes this can be made into a paste with wood ashes and applied to tree trunks to help prevent aphids and apple borers. Garlic can also be soaked in mineral oil overnight, then strained and sprayed directly on pest-infested plants.

Additionally, some easy combinations right out of the refrigerator can be made from baking soda and vegetable oil, milk and water, beer and apple cider vinegar. While the mixtures of these ingredients need to be made at specific ratios and sprayed onto plants every few days, they are safer for your children and pets and much better for the environment!

Compost Power

While we all know that compost can be collected to strengthen the amenities of farm and garden soil, empowering the growth of all planted items. There have been numerous additional studies for several decades now that have worked to present the energy of compost and its ability to produce usable heat for barns and greenhouses. As time progressed, research has led into the study of compost heat energy created in large enough amounts to heat the entire household. Aside from saving extreme amounts of energy cost when heat is necessary, this renewable energy source could be extremely useful for those who already need to determine the best disposal method of manure and other compost contents. compost power 2

Study results published by Cornell University have proven an incredible amount of power that can be provided by the various types of waste, or compost, collected on the farm. I know that from my own memories, no matter what effort was ever taken there was never enough heat within a barn or outdoor venue in the winter to make it even the slightest bit comfortable. But the study mentioned previously has proven otherwise. I know that it makes me curious about the benefits of compost and what I myself would be able to do on heating my own house much more simply and affordably at least part of the winter.

I know that even my family has always used generous amounts of compost to maintain healthy soil among the garden and flowerbeds, but this discovery is incredibly exciting for the cost and energy savings it will allow for anyone who opens to the idea. Looking at several pictures provided from the research of Compost Power, I wonder if I would be able to take advantage of this new step in my own small yard.

When the details of the foundation and building of the compost pile, as well as the maintenance of its structure to help create power, are defined it makes me wonder whether I would be able to complete all of this on my own. With the research completed by the Compost Power team, made up of farmers, engineers and many other more skilled and talented individuals in this field, I think that the compost mound would end up looking like a huge pile of mud in my backyard eventually. However, I know I would love to learn more about this process and see if there is some way that I could take advantage of it to help my own energy savings.

Personally, I know that in the winter my region of the country is not often very sunny, and that makes me worried about relying on solar panels when the coldest months of the year around my house are often quite dim and gray. I think this could be an additional power assistance method worth some intense study as to how it could help a great number of homes, as well as businesses with access to compost, to reduce their energy costs during those frigid winter months.

Compost Bin Water Heater

With the natural bio-degradation of waste from the kitchen, there is much to be said for the hot water that can be developed from your compost. Not only are you saving the waste sent off to the city or county facilities, but the energy used to heat water for all locations across your property. With the bacteria and fungi that develop through the processing of these eventually large piles of waste, decomposing and releasing heat through this process. With the ability for faster decomposition to heat these piles to as much as 160 degrees, or even a little more, water pipes can be run through them to naturally heat this water and reduce your electrical or gas costs greatly. compost bin water heater 2

With a number of compost bins available to help decompose waste safely and efficiently right outside your home, there is much to be said for the method of layering these items properly. With effective practice of layering compost there is much to be said for the speed of decomposition that will occur, releasing more and more heat over time.

While the largest effort is to save money along with the efficient energy with the use of compost, there is basically the ability to add free hot water into a more natural lifestyle with many different devices created for this specific purpose. There is much to save in reserving the use of natural gas in the constant management of a hot water heater, where this one can be consistently producing eco-friendly heat and energy without adding to your bill from the energy company.

We all know that it is easy to assume that the compost process just happens, both for the creation of nutrient-heavy soil as well as the energy to add to the home, shed, barn and other buildings that may be on your property. If there is a desire to ensure that the compost pile is properly set up to create energy strong enough to heat water up to 160 degrees. There are a number of instructional books and videos that can be viewed to help determine the best compost device or process that would work with your property.

If you are looking to save the amount you spend monthly on energy, especially with the increase of needed air conditioning in the summer and heat in the winter, the saving of hot water costs can be helpful. This could be an incredibly informative topic, along with the excitement that hot water can be gained from a wheelie style device. The option to increase this energy is up to you!

LED Lighting

I read an interesting article by a controversial naturopathic doctor claiming LED lighting has some negative health impacts…can you do some research and see what you can find confirming this?  Even better- if you find research/evidence in favor of LED lighting or what people can do to manage these supposed health risks that would be great.  We both know everything is like a pancake…it has two sides

With the advancement of LED lighting into contemporary society, we all know that there is much to be considered regarding all its uses as well as the effects it can have on health and life as a whole. While many articles have been published, stating bringing about a fear of the negative health impacts of LED lighting, we have to remember that there are several sides to each story, and make sure that we consider them all when determining the best light source to use for a home, office or other location. led lighting 2

First off, the most important thing to remember about LED (light-emitting diode) lighting is that it emits different, balanced rays of light when all three diodes are combined. However, when one color of these three light is the main source of lighting it can produce some eventual harmful effects if experienced regularly. Considering the fact that variations of LED lighting are used for different industries including aviation, automotive, general lighting, traffic signals and public lighting, as well as even more coming in the future.

Certain articles have mentioned the danger of the use of LED light among several different technologically advanced products, especially to the blue light emitted by several of these items when we are using computers or phones, watching television, or completing other light-necessary tasks at night. While there have been many decades of research in advancing the capabilities of the LED light source there are some dangers within the rays emitted. Alongside this question is the proposal that street lamps and public lighting will be part of this, and relying on this blue ray of light will cause several eye and other health damages to the public in the long run.

While several articles have presented what is considered the dark side of LED lighting, there is also much to be said for the advantages it can provide to the home, from energy and finance to health as well. While there may be reluctance to switch to LED lighting within the home because of these research publication, there is much more to consider based upon the different variations of LED lighting and how it is used in different locations.

One of the many other considerations of LED lighting is the overall positive effect upon these bulbs in nature as well as the reservation of our overall energy use within the home. There has also been a great deal of research on the broad advancing benefits of LED lighting across many aspects of everyday life. Considering the fact that LED bulbs have been so developed over the years to last longer in the home while also saving energy and helping reduce electricity bills wherever they are used.

While LED’s have been proved to be energy efficient, there are health benefits (seen below) as well that have been proved within different publications:

  • Increased employee or student motivation and commitment;
  • Improved concentration and energy;
  • “Mood support” in wellness and dining areas;
  • Enhanced drug efficacy, e.g., of antidepressants (in hospitals);
  • Reduced therapy times and capacity requirements.

While these benefits are presented by certain researchers, they may not be the same among all different researching groups, publications and others. Considering the back and forth of this argument it is easy to see that this form of lighting will likely have a great deal of development to advance for much more time, while we know that it has benefits and dangers alike. Maybe it has been proven to be like many other of our products handled in daily life… both good and bad at times!