Can’t Afford Solar Panels? Do This Instead

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With our recent dropping out from the Paris Climate Agreement, the green at heart may be, well, disheartened.

But we don’t need to wait for change to happen. We can make positive changes happen, one small tick at a time.

One excellent example of this is solar. Solar energy is, without a doubt, the way of the near future. Who wouldn’t love to sustain their lives and needs off the energy of the ever-present sun? But, solar panels are also a huge initial investment. Sure, they save you money over time, but the upfront costs are prohibitive to many people. So does that mean clean, affordable energy is only for the upper classes? Absolutely not!

Across the country, there are companies who actually provide solar electricity into the grid, and others who offer renewable energy credits (popular for businesses). Take Green Mountain Energy, for instance. This New England-based company has a grid supply program. Depending on how much electricity you use, the company pumps the same amount of clean energy into the grid.

While that particular energy might not make it directly to your house, it does reduce the amount of traditionally produced energy in the grid. You have the option of choosing what type of renewable you’d like to support wind, solar or a combination of the two. Plus, you don’t have to switch electricity providers, which makes it really convenient. And it seems to be effective. As a company, they claim to have avoided production of over 58 billion pounds of CO2. And the cost? On average, your electricity bill will only increase by $5 a month—a hugely reasonable price for more responsibly generated electricity. If you go to a coffee shop once a month, then you can afford renewable energy.

Buying renewable energy in this manner is an option that is especially great for those who rent homes, have shady property, cannot afford solar panels or live in apartment buildings. Green Mountain Energy currently provides to Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Texas. Hawaiian Electric, in a similar vein, provides services to Hawaii. Look for an option in your area, either with your current provider or beyond. If there is nothing like this in your area, consider looking into renewable energy credits, which means you pay for an equal amount of clean energy to be produced somewhere in the country in order to offset your own production.

As climate change presses onward, this is a relatively easy swap that can push our country more and more towards renewables. Even though we are no longer in the Paris Climate Agreement, that doesn’t mean we should each individually shrug off our end of the deal. Remember, big change only happens only after a lot of nearly imperceptible changes have occurred.

What are you waiting for? Take your fate into your own hands. For the price of a trip to the coffee shop every month, you can clean up your energy usages while creating unstoppable momentum into a greener future.

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4 Home Remedies For Restless Legs

This post was originally published on this site

When I was pregnant with my first child, I had my first bout of restless legs. I felt like a marionette puppet whose strings were being pulled and had no choice but to move.

This condition was devilishly frustrating as it only bothered me when I lay down to sleep for the night, and as anyone with restless legs knows, this made it nearly impossible to go to sleep. I would lie awake with my bulging belly for hours upon hours desperately trying to drift of to dreamland only to to have one my my “strings” yanked every 10 seconds.

This happened night after night, with precious few nights of reprieve in between. I referred to this condition as “jumpy legs” and had no idea that others suffered a similar form of self-torture at bedtime.

I did soon discover that about 10 percent of people suffer from restless legs and that this nervous system disorder is officially referred to as Restless Leg Syndrome, or RSL. Some describe it as an itchy feeling, while others refer to it as a pins and needles sensation or the feeling of having ants crawling on their skin. However you describe it, it isn’t pleasant. Since it usually interrupts sleep it is also considered a sleep disorder. The cause, however, is unknown and there is no cure. Some experts believe the syndrome is related to abnormal iron uptake by the brain.

While you can take some hardcore drugs to mask symptoms, there are numerous other strategies that can be employed first that will not have nasty potential side-effects or require a trip to the doctor. If you are pregnant, you most definitely should try non-drug options. All of these strategies I discovered on my own in a half-maniacal attempt to relieve my symptoms so I could just get to sleep. They can be employed individually or in any combination that works for you.

1. Hot (as hot as you can tolerate) shower right before bed. Scrub legs vigorously with shower brush. Towel dry and jump into bed.

2. Leg lunges at bedtime. I would do about 30 lunges on each leg, alternating from one to the other. This had the side benefit of adding some lovely tone to my thighs.

3. Hyland’s homeopathic Restful Legs remedy for RLS. Inexpensive, gentle and non-addictive, these little tablets could work miracles by calming my jumpy legs within minutes. I have noticed however that over the years this remedy has become less effective for me. I do give these tablets to my daughters when they get jumpy legs at bedtime and they work beautifully.

4. My most recent discovery that works wonders—any menthol cream or ointment. I have used Tiger Balm, Vics Vapor Rub and IcyHot Pain Relieving Cream. I rub a generous amount of the menthol cream/ointment on my legs and jump into bed. Relief is immediate and within minutes I am joyfully asleep—no counting sheep required! The only downside of this method is that the menthol has a very strong smell that is long-lasting and anything but romantic!

I hope one or more of these simple home remedies can help you or a family member with jumpy legs! If you have had success with other home remedies, please share in the comment section below. Or if you try one of the above methods let us know the results. However, you approach the jumpy legs in your life, I wish you many nights of quick and blissful sleep!

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Keep Your Home And Yourself Cool Now That Heatwave Time Is Here

This post was originally published on this site

Who doesn’t love summer? Wait, do I see a few hands being shyly raised? Well, go head and admit it: summertime is absolutely incredible …. until it’s not. When the thermometer starts to climb up past that 90-degree mark, the heat is on and suddenly sunny turns into steamy. Your electricity bills start to shoot up too, and you worry about the effect on the environment. Fortunately, there are ways to keep cool at home without cranking the thermostat up, up, and away.

Refresh yourself fast.

After commuting home from the office or doing some work in your garden, give yourself a quick, cool lift without cranking up the ol’ A/C. Take a mini “shower” by spritzing face and neck with cold water from a plant sprayer. Alternatively, change into a T-shirt that you stashed in the freezer before you headed out. Or you can simply cuddle up with an ice pack. (Wrap it in a dishtowel to prevent skin damage, please.)

Stay hydrated.

Drink lots of water during a heatwave, even indoors. Remember that if you begin to feel thirsty, that’s a sign you’re already beginning to dehydrate. As well as watching your fluid intake, replenish your electrolytes with natural yogurt, coconut water, or miso broth (lukewarm if the very idea of hot soup gives you the heebie-jeebies). Think of your animal friends, as well – make sure your pet’s water dish is constantly full of clean water.

Tune up your air conditioner.

Make your air conditioning run more efficiently: give it a tune-up every summer and clean the filter at least once a month in the warm weather, more often if you live on a dusty area or have furry pets. To save even more energy, set the temperature two or three degrees higher than you normally would and supplement with a fan.

Dehumidify.

You will feel cooler if the relative humidity indoors is fairly low. Forty degrees is comfortable for most people. To reach this level, use the dehumidifying function on your A/C or a separate dehumidifier.

Don’t add useless heat.

Turn off as many electrical appliances and lights possible when not in use, to avoid adding unnecessary heat to your home. A timer, smart home system, or power strip will make this task easier. Include your fan in the list of appliances to switch off; it cools people not air, so it can only do its job when someone is in the room.

Hang thermal window treatments.

Hanging sun- and heat-blocking curtains and blinds is an inexpensive, eco-friendly way to keep your home cooler. They are especially useful when you have unshaded south or west facing windows. These exposures tend to make your house nice and sunny, which is pleasant when the weather is mild, but HOT in the summer.

Take advantage of cooler nighttime air.

Open draperies and windows themselves at night. This works when both the dew point and pollen count are low, usually below 50. The pollen count starts to increase shortly after the sun comes up, so close all those open windows as early in the morning as you can.

Insulate your attic.

Attic insulation is not just for winter. It will also help reduce heat exchange in summer, increasing your A/C energy efficiency by keeping hot air outside and air conditioned air inside your home. You will feel more comfortable while using less electricity. No wonder this upgrade offers the best return on investment of any home improvement, according to Remodeling Magazine’s annual report. HANDY HINT: If you already have insulation but it’s not enough for your needs, you can install more right on top of the existing insulation. Just don’t put a vapor barrier between the two.

Handle your thermostat with TLC.

Test this useful device to make sure that it is functioning as it should. Move heat-producing appliances like lamps or TV sets away from the thermostat so that they don’t trigger it to get the air conditioner going needlessly.

By Laura Firszt, Networx.

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Keep Your Home And Yourself Cool Now That Heatwave Time Is Here

This post was originally published on this site

Who doesn’t love summer? Wait, do I see a few hands being shyly raised? Well, go head and admit it: summertime is absolutely incredible …. until it’s not. When the thermometer starts to climb up past that 90-degree mark, the heat is on and suddenly sunny turns into steamy. Your electricity bills start to shoot up too, and you worry about the effect on the environment. Fortunately, there are ways to keep cool at home without cranking the thermostat up, up, and away.

Refresh yourself fast.

After commuting home from the office or doing some work in your garden, give yourself a quick, cool lift without cranking up the ol’ A/C. Take a mini “shower” by spritzing face and neck with cold water from a plant sprayer. Alternatively, change into a T-shirt that you stashed in the freezer before you headed out. Or you can simply cuddle up with an ice pack. (Wrap it in a dishtowel to prevent skin damage, please.)

Stay hydrated.

Drink lots of water during a heatwave, even indoors. Remember that if you begin to feel thirsty, that’s a sign you’re already beginning to dehydrate. As well as watching your fluid intake, replenish your electrolytes with natural yogurt, coconut water, or miso broth (lukewarm if the very idea of hot soup gives you the heebie-jeebies). Think of your animal friends, as well – make sure your pet’s water dish is constantly full of clean water.

Tune up your air conditioner.

Make your air conditioning run more efficiently: give it a tune-up every summer and clean the filter at least once a month in the warm weather, more often if you live on a dusty area or have furry pets. To save even more energy, set the temperature two or three degrees higher than you normally would and supplement with a fan.

Dehumidify.

You will feel cooler if the relative humidity indoors is fairly low. Forty degrees is comfortable for most people. To reach this level, use the dehumidifying function on your A/C or a separate dehumidifier.

Don’t add useless heat.

Turn off as many electrical appliances and lights possible when not in use, to avoid adding unnecessary heat to your home. A timer, smart home system, or power strip will make this task easier. Include your fan in the list of appliances to switch off; it cools people not air, so it can only do its job when someone is in the room.

Hang thermal window treatments.

Hanging sun- and heat-blocking curtains and blinds is an inexpensive, eco-friendly way to keep your home cooler. They are especially useful when you have unshaded south or west facing windows. These exposures tend to make your house nice and sunny, which is pleasant when the weather is mild, but HOT in the summer.

Take advantage of cooler nighttime air.

Open draperies and windows themselves at night. This works when both the dew point and pollen count are low, usually below 50. The pollen count starts to increase shortly after the sun comes up, so close all those open windows as early in the morning as you can.

Insulate your attic.

Attic insulation is not just for winter. It will also help reduce heat exchange in summer, increasing your A/C energy efficiency by keeping hot air outside and air conditioned air inside your home. You will feel more comfortable while using less electricity. No wonder this upgrade offers the best return on investment of any home improvement, according to Remodeling Magazine’s annual report. HANDY HINT: If you already have insulation but it’s not enough for your needs, you can install more right on top of the existing insulation. Just don’t put a vapor barrier between the two.

Handle your thermostat with TLC.

Test this useful device to make sure that it is functioning as it should. Move heat-producing appliances like lamps or TV sets away from the thermostat so that they don’t trigger it to get the air conditioner going needlessly.

By Laura Firszt, Networx.

{ 0 comments }

4 Home Remedies For Restless Legs

This post was originally published on this site

When I was pregnant with my first child, I had my first bout of restless legs. I felt like a marionette puppet whose strings were being pulled and had no choice but to move. This condition was devilishly frustrating as it only bothered me when I lay down to sleep for the night, and as […]

{ 0 comments }

Keep Your Home And Yourself Cool Now That Heatwave Time Is Here

This post was originally published on this site

Who doesn’t love summer? Wait, do I see a few hands being shyly raised? Well, go head and admit it: summertime is absolutely incredible …. until it’s not. When the thermometer starts to climb up past that 90-degree mark, the heat is on and suddenly sunny turns into steamy. Your electricity bills start to shoot […]

{ 0 comments }

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