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Baking Soda and Vinegar: In the Home and Garden


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Baking Soda and Vinegar: In the Home and Garden

Like many of us, I like to keep a clean house. Cleaning my kitchen and bathroom sinks, counter tops and vanities once presented a challenge. How so? I refuse to use harsh chemicals, mainly because of my children's allergies and asthma. I also prefer an environmentally-friendly cleaning solution. I've found all this and more, by cleaning with a homemade paste I make from baking soda and vinegar. This all-natural cleaning solution removes most of my everyday stains and grime with ease. I just scour the surface with a scrubby-type sponge and it's a breeze. In addition to kitchen and bathroom surfaces, I use baking soda and vinegar cleaning paste on my parrot's cage. There are no harsh chemicals or fumes, so it's also perfect for cleaning the toddler's room. Try the same solution diluted with a bit of water to kill your garden weeds. You'll be amazed!

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How A Creeping Heating Bill May Mean It's Time For A New Furnace

Sometimes, the cost of heating your home can creep up so gradually that you barely notice the change, while at other times, a sudden jump in your heating bill can give you a few sleepless nights. Natural gas and propane prices have been declining with relative consistency for several years, so if your costs for heating your home are still on the rise, it may be time to take a closer look at your furnace. As furnaces age, they begin to develop minor problems that eventually add up to significant lost efficiency. If you suspect that your furnace is no longer running at peak capacity, follow these four steps to determine whether it is a small issue or one that may require a total furnace replacement. 

Ruling Out Minor Repair Issues

Like any piece of machinery, furnaces need to be maintained every year to operate at optimal efficiency and prevent costly repair work. If it has been a while since you thought about your furnace, make sure that its filters are fresh and schedule a routine cleaning with a furnace repair specialist. This may be all it takes to buy your furnace a few more years and bring your energy bills back down to normal, and it can help you catch any impending catastrophes before they become an unpleasant surprise. 

Monitoring Your Heating Usage

In some cases, your furnace is not so much to blame for a high heating bill as the people in your home. Start paying attention to how warm you keep your house and examine rooms for places where heat may be escaping. Cracks in windows and doors are common culprits, and if you are your family are spending more time indoors, your heating needs will inevitably rise as a result. 

Sealing Your Furnace's Seams

One of the major sources of lost efficiency in a furnace is loose seams, which grow apart after years of service and allow heat to seep out and dissipate near the furnace itself instead of in your rooms. A furnace repair company can reseal these seams while running maintenance on your furnace, providing you with an additional boost in efficiency to tide you over until you are ready to commit to a new furnace. 

Saving Money With New Technology

During this whole process, you may want to keep the maintenance and repair estimates in mind and compare them to the cost of replacing your furnace entirely. Although more expensive initially, upgrading to a newer and more efficient furnace could end up saving you money over the course of several years. Older furnaces have a fuel-to-heat ratio as low as 56 percent, while a modern, high-efficiency system boasts a ratio as high as 98.5 percent. With such dramatic increases in efficiency available, the lower demand for fuel may save you hundreds of dollars per year in heating costs.

For more information, contact HomeSmart From Xcel Energy or a similar company.