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Save Electricity in the Home

Energy Saving Tips for the Kitchen

Household electricity costs can be cut by saving energy and the kitchen is a good place to start. There are simple energy efficient practices that can be adopted.

There are a plethora of electrical appliances in a home and the kitchen has many that are used constantly. By following a few simple energy saving methods the household can save electricity, money and the environment.

Common Electrical Appliances in a Kitchen

Every kitchen has all or a combination of the following major appliances:

Combination Refrigerator/Freezer
Freezer only
Hotplate
Combination Oven/Grill
Oven
Grill
Microwave Oven

In addition, there are the small appliances which are used daily. Some of them are:

Toaster
Kettle
Mixer
Coffee Maker

Saving 'Standby' Power

When electrical appliances are plugged-in they use standby power even when the appliance is not in use. It is not convenient or practical to turn off major appliances at the power source. For instance it is not practical to turn off the refrigerator or freezer for obvious reasons. It is not convenient to turn off the electric oven or the microwave oven because, in most homes, the power source is hidden when the unit is connected.

However, this does not apply to the small appliances. The toaster, kettle, mixer, coffee maker, etc., can be turned off at the power source to help save electricity.

Other Energy Saving Tips

Refrigerators/Freezers

  1. Run the refrigerator/freezer at the optimum temperature recommended by the manufacturer.
  2. Avoid leaving the refrigerator/freezer door open for long periods of time.
  3. Do not over-fill the refrigerator or freezer.
  4. Make sure that the cooked food is cooled down before putting in the refrigerator or freezer. Putting hot food in the fridge/freezer raises the inside temperature and in turn needs more energy to cool down the appliance.

Hotplates

  1. Match the right size hotplate to the pot being used. Using a large hotplate to heat a small pot wastes energy.
  2. Use the minimum quantity of water required and keep the lid on the pot to avoid the steam escaping.
  3. Simmering uses less energy than boiling.
  4. Cook all vegetables at once by using pot dividers and/or steamers.

Oven

  1. Make sure the seal on the oven door is tight. A loose seal will allow the heat to escape.
  2. If possible plan to use the oven fully by cooking multiple dishes at any one time.
  3. Keep the oven door shut as much as possible by not checking the food too frequently.
  4. Turn the oven off about ten minutes before the cooking is finished and use the residual heat.
  5. Where possible use a microwave oven to heat food. This takes less time and therefore less energy.

General

  1. Completely thaw food before cooking.
  2. Use a small appliance where possible. A toaster uses less electricity than a grill.
  3. When using aluminum foil, it should be applied with the 'dull' side up.
  4. Surfaces of the appliances should be kept clean to maximize heat reflection.
  5. Appliances should be serviced regularly to maintain optimum performance.

Fireplaces & Stoves

Using a stove or open fireplace as a heating source will help reduce your electricity bills.

You can chose between a gas stove or one of the modern multi fuel stoves that also burn wood. This will go a long way to slashng your bills.

Implementing some simple energy efficient practices in the kitchen can save the household electricity, money and help save the environment.

Calculate How Much Paint to Buy

One of the most frustrating things to happen when painting your home is to run out of paint and have to stop what you are doing to go to the hardware store and buy more. This article by radiator paint suppliers Arcrite paints will list basic steps when determining how much paint to purchase when painting your home. The following refers to feet and inches:

MEASURE YOUR WALLS: Measure the width and height of one of your walls in total inches, not feet and inches; Multiply those numbers together to get the overall area of that wall. Do the same for all the other walls in your room and add all the numbers together.

MEASURE YOUR WINDOWS AND DOORS: Measure the windows, doors, and openings in your walls like you measured the walls. Subtract those numbers from the number in the first step Your number will be in inches alone, so you should then divide by 144 to give you square footage (1 sq ft is 12"x12" = 144) this will be the overall square footage of walls that need to be painted.

GO SHOPPING: Go to the store and read the paint cans. Most paints will cover 350-400 square feet per gallon. Primers usually cover 200-300 square feet per gallon. Usually one coat of primer and one of paint are required. If you are changing to a darker colour, you may need an additional coat. If you are covering a dark colour with lighter, you will probably need 2 coats of primer, and possibly 2 of paint, but unusual. 
 

Tips
It is better to buy a little too much than to be short; besides, it is always good to have a little in store for the occasional touch-up due to wear and tear or hard knocks. Consider using NO VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) paint, so you don't add to the air pollution inside your home.

Budget Home Decorating Tips

Budget Home Decorating Tips - Cheap and Easy Interior Design: How to dress up your home in a stylish and modern way, without breaking the bank.

You have finally bought your dream home, and you've moved in and got yourself settled. Now comes the fun part, decorating your new home, but there's one problem. You're on a budget and don't have a lot of money to splash about on decorating. So what's a person to do when it's time to shop for decorative items?

Have a Gameplan

Start by making a plan: Write down your decorating ideas room by room. Look through decorating magazines and clip out pictures of things that catch your eye and put them in folders for each room. Decide what type of wall decorations you want; drapes and curtains, lighting, etc.

Be Creative

Once you have a general idea of how you want to decorate each room of the home, you can start looking for those canny sales items. You can find wonderful used items at flea markets and yard sales, at huge savings. Estate sales often offer fantastic vintage items that make wonderful decorations. You can often find seasonal items at a huge discount immediately following the end of a holiday, and this is a great time to stock up for the next year for decorative seasonal items.

If you sew, you can make your own curtains and drapes and save a lot of money, plus have better quality material. If you enjoy making crafts, the ideas are endless on how to spruce up used items you find at yard sales or second hand stores

An old wooden chest found at a thrift store can be repainted into a beautiful piece for the guest bedroom. Plates found at yard sales can make a beautiful collection for the buffet. You can save money on paint by buying paint that was not mixed to the specific colour someone wanted and therefore was marked down and shelved.

Old picture frames can be repainted and decorated into pretty new designs, adding new life to treasured photos. Decorative foils wrapped around the frames add a nice touch.

Make Space

If you have a large room that will serve dual purposes, a room divider offers an inexpensive and easy way to give the appearance of an enclosed section of the room. Placing a sofa or love seat in the middle of the room also gives the appearance of dividing a larger room into a smaller area.

Smaller rooms can be made to appear larger by placing decorative etched mirrors on one of the walls. This gives the illusion of added space, while adding the decorative touch to the wall.

Outdated but stylish calendars make wonderful framed posters for almost any wall in the home: Instead of tossing out last year's old calendar, save it and clip out the photos you like. Measure the size of the photos and find frames, and arrange them in your rooms. These are great for smaller areas that need a little something to spruce up the walls.

Finishing Touches

Adding artificial flowers and greenery over doorways and walk-through areas can add colour to a room and give it a fresh and inviting appearance. Be careful not to overdo it or what's intended to be decorative could come across as looking tacky.

Wall tapestries offer an elegant decorative look. If you are in luck and happen upon these at an estate sale, they add a nice touch to your home. Small throw-size quilts are often also used as wall hangings and add a nice homey feel.

Ten Tips for Staying Sane During a Loft Conversion

Article by Peter McNiff from Loft Conversions in Lichfield.

You and your family are about to embark on the exciting and messy adventure of a loft conversion. Here are a few survival tips to protect your family, pets and your sanity.

Schedule a pre-construction walk through with your contractor because if you are planning even a minor remodeling project, your home is about to become a construction site. Decide where they can drop lumber and store materials and where you and the crew will park for the duration. Where does the trash get stashed, and where, if at all, is smoking permitted? Which bathroom will be available to the crew?

Discuss how the contractor will protect floors and carpets in areas of the house that are not involved in the construction from dirt and dust. Pack away antiques, fragile and/or valuable items. Consider sending window treatments to the dry cleaner or packing them away for the duration.

Temporarily close off the job site from the remainder of the house. A plywood or plastic blockade keeps the kids from being in the wrong place at the wrong time and cuts down on the dust and dirt that inevitably gets dragged into the areas you are still living in.

Collect on babysitting favors. Don’t wait until you’re in the thick of things to call on friends and family who might be available to help with the kids. Pre-plan play dates for your kids off-site. Or try to schedule the project to happen during the summer months when the kids can be away at camp or visiting grandma or Aunt Liz, at least during the most dangerous phase of construction, usually from the start of demolition until the walls are enclosed.

Make sure the fence is in good repair. And that latches and locks are in working order before the project begins if you’re relying on existing fences and gates to protect neighborhood children from harm.

Make plans for pets too. Don't assume your dog will behave well during the stress and general upheaval. Contractors can’t carry long lumber through a gate or door without propping it open, which means the dog could run off unless he’s securely leashed or in a pen. Confine indoor cats to an out-of-the-way room with food, water and litter. Tape a large sign on the door at eye-level to alert everyone that the cat is temporarily in residence there.

Set up a temporary kitchen. But not in the bathroom or you’ll disrupt the two most crucial family spaces at the same time. Better possibilities: the laundry room, basement, garage or even the deck in the summer months. Don’t discard the old refrigerator. Move it to your temporary kitchen. Ditto for the base cabinets and countertop. Keep cooking utensils in covered containers so you don’t have to wash them all before you cook each time.

Simplify life for a few weeks. Live on soup, sandwiches, salads and take-out. And use disposable paper or plastic plates and cups. If you must cook, plan meals that can be prepared in an electric fry pan, the microwave and/or a charcoal grill. (Always set up outdoors.) If you have time make up a few of the family’s favorites (meatballs, chili, meatloaf, a casserole) ahead and stash in the freezer in microwavable containers

Don't move into your new space too soon. Wait until the loft is completely finished and for the construction dust to settle a bit or you'll clean shelves and everything you put on them four times.

Most importantly, keep your sense of humour. If you can implement these suggestions they'll go a long way toward helping you stay sane during the exciting, but messy process of a loft conversion.