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11 Tips For Spring Cleaning Your Home

 1. Inspect the AC, part 1.
For about $75 to $200, a technician will tune up your cooling system to manufacturer-rated efficiency — and you won’t sweat the first hot weekend with an out-of-commission air conditioner. Call your electric utility to see whether it offers incentives. Contractors may offer discounts early in the season for inspections or for annual maintenance contracts.

Look for a heating and air-conditioning contractor that belongs to the Air Conditioning Contractors of America, employs technicians certified by the North American Technician Excellence (NATE) program, and follows the protocol for the ACCA’s “national standard for residential maintenance” (or the “QM,” short for quality maintenance).
Note: Dirty filters make air conditioning work harder, increasing energy costs and possibly damaging your equipment. Contractors will put in new filters during a tune-up, but you should check monthly to see if they need replacing.

2. Inspect the AC, part 2.
Air conditioners draw moisture from interior air, called condensate, which must run off outside. If sediment and algae clog the drains, water may back up, making your home more humid or creating water damage. Technicians will check the drains during a tune-up; if they clean them out, it could cost up to $100. If you live in a humid climate, you may want to check and clean them yourself periodically.

3. Put the temperature on autopilot.
Energy Star says that for an initial investment of $50 to $150 for a programmable thermostat, you can save about $180 annually on cooling and heating bills — if you can live with higher indoor temperatures in summer (and cooler temperatures in winter). In the summer, that means setting your thermostat 7 degrees higher than usual when you’re away from home and 4 degrees higher when you’re asleep (the preprogrammed settings are […]

By |May 8th, 2013|BLOG, Cleaning Your House|0 Comments

25 Green Spring Cleaning Tips

Good For You, Your Home and the Planet
— By Liza Barnes, Health Educator

After being cooped up in a stuffy house all winter long, it’s finally time to fling open the windows, shoo away the cobwebs, and take on your annual spring cleaning. But often, the chemicals found in conventional cleaning products can be more dangerous than the dirt they’re intended to clean. And the way we clean (with lots of disposable paper towels) isn’t exactly earth-friendly. Thankfully, there are many alternatives available that can help you make your home squeaky clean—and green.

Green cleaning products
The last thing you want to do is dump toxic chemicals into the environment in the name of cleaning, right? These days, you don’t have to make a special trip to the natural foods store to seek out environmentally-sensitive cleaning products. Seventh Generation, Method and Biokleen are three companies that make full lines of household cleaners, and you can find them in just about every store. These products work just as well as their conventional counterparts. Or you can stock your natural cleaning kit with homemade cleaners—making them yourself is super easy.

The basic supplies you’ll need to make your own green cleaners include:

Distilled white vinegar (sold in the cooking section of most supermarkets)
Baking soda
Olive oil
Borax (sold in a box in the laundry aisle)
Liquid castile soap (like Dr. Bronner’s brand, found in most natural foods stores)
Essential oils (super concentrated natural plant oils found in natural foods stores, usually in the cosmetics section)
Microfiber cleaning cloths

Here are a few basic “recipes” and techniques to get you started:

Glass: Mix 1/4 cup vinegar with 1 quart of water in a spray bottle. Spray on glass and wipe clean with old newspaper or a lint-free cloth.
Countertops and bathroom tile: […]

By |May 3rd, 2013|BLOG, Cleaning Your House, News|0 Comments