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4/3/2016

DIY Chimney Chase Cover Before 

Above: Before chimney chase cover installation

Chimney Chase Cover Installation After

Above: After chimney chase cover installation

Installing a chimney chase cover is a common project among do-it-yourself homeowners. Many homes were built with galvanized chase covers which rust after a few years – causing leaks and rust stains. Homes that were built with a masonry chimney eventually end up with a cracked and weathered mortar crown, also causing leaks and damage to the home.

Below, we will explain in full detail how to install a chimney chase cover. After reading, you will see how simple the installation is and know the basics for how to install your own.

1. First, remove the rain cap that is attached to either the chimney pipe or the chase cover. Typically, rain caps are installed with screws or a twist lock system. After the chimney cap is removed, the next step is to remove the screws or nails that are holding the rusty chase cover onto the chase. With the nails removed, gently lift the chase cover off.

2. Using a high temperature caulk, apply a bead around the top edge of the chimney chase. This will give the new chimney chase cover added protection.

3. Pre-tap holes in all four sides of the new chase cover. This will make it easier to screw into the chimney chase. If you prefer, you can do this step while you're on the ground before you bring the chase cover onto the roof.

4. Next, place the new stainless steel chimney cover onto the chase. Push all sides down firmly so that the cover makes contact with the caulk. After the cover is in place, put screws in all four sides to secure the cover to the chimney.

5. Add the rain cap, and you've successfully installed a stainless steel chase cover that will never rust!

We've included a before photo of a rusted chase cover that needs replacing and an after photo of a stainless steel chase cover that will never rust. Watch our DIY chase cover installation video as well to supplement this step by step info.

Photos and video by Rockford Chimney Supply

Jaquelin White is a Web marketer near Ann Arbor, Michigan. From helping local businesses increase their web presence to working for Rockford Chimney Supply serving the U.S. and Canada, Jaquelin loves the always-changing ways of the web, because there is always something new to learn and try. Find her on LinkedIn.
All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.


3/21/2016

 

Spring comes around in March and Earth Day follows in April, and while some of us are spring cleaning, others are looking at ways to save energy and helping to protect the environment. According to the Department of Energy, many Americans are leaching up to 30% of their heated or cooled air through leaks, cracks or poor insulation.

While you can hire a professional to perform a complete home energy audit, homeowners can conquer this important task themselves by following some simple guidelines, especially when it comes to checking and/or adding additional attic insulation if necessary.

With the advent of multiple consumer-friendly home improvement stores and “big box” chains, this job is easier than ever. It also comes complete with plenty of affordable supplies that were once available only to contractors and building professionals.

Knowing whether or not your attic is properly insulated is one of many ways to save money on power and reduce utility bills, in addition to lowering thermostats and shutting off items when not in use. So here are some tips on how to check your home’s insulation that can help to curb these rising energy costs.

Install the Right-Sized Insulation

If you have an older home, chances are the insulation installed at that time was less that what is recommended today. Levels and depths of insulation are also varied according to your location, with those in colder climates requiring more and warmer areas needing less.

While a rating of R25 was once considered the “norm” in the industry, levels as high as R60 are recommended for much colder environments like Minnesota or Michigan. EnergyStar has a convenient chart you can use as a reference for both your geographic location and the various areas of your home that require protection.

Barrier Bummers

There’s more to appropriate attic insulation than the traditional pink rolls, blown or foam types of coverage. When you’re checking the insulation, look underneath for a vapor barrier, which could be tar paper, plastic sheeting or Kraft paper attached to styrofoam batting.

This barrier helps to reduce moisture that can decrease the effectiveness of the insulation. It also helps to discourage unnecessary structural damage from mold and mildew. If this barrier isn’t present or is in poor condition, consider applying any of these choices. Another, easier option may be applying vapor-barrier paint to interior ceilings.

Batten Down the Hatches

The opening to an attic can sometimes be the culprit as a source of unnecessary leakage and seepage. The hatch, doorway or any other type of opening, should also be insulated, close tightly and have adequate weather stripping installed.

Look for other possible locations for potential leaks such as pipes, vents, ductwork, chimneys or other shared spaces.

Wall Insulation and Home Energy Auditing

Checking wall insulation is a whole different ball game and is often a task best left to professionals and can become costly very quickly. But while you’re looking for air leaks and insufficiencies upstairs, don’t forget about the rest of your home. You don’t have to tear down walls to check for adequate insulation there, but take some time to look for other sources of leaks around your home.

Check doorways, windows and the garage for other possible sources of escaping energy. A little bit of inexpensive caulking and weather stripping can go a long way towards reducing energy bills and conserving resources. Read “Home Energy Audits: Measure Your Energy costs and Add Up the Savings” from the December 2011 issue of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for more information.

This MOTHER EARTH NEWS guest post was provided by Uma Campbell, a green-loving yoga instructor and freelance writer. She currently lives in Southern California where she enjoys writing about natural living, health, and home design. Find Uma on her blog and Twitter.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.



3/3/2016

The first time I saw a living roof, I wanted one. A meadow on the top of your house? Who wouldn’t want that? I discussed with friends how I’d grow fruit up there, and imagined myself laying in the lush green grass plucking strawberries. I forgot of course I was living on Turkey’s Mediterranean where it doesn’t rain for five months a year. Green roofs are perfect for cool, wet climates. But for the hot and the dry?

Unfortunately, I’m a stubborn sort, notorious for paying zero attention to advice or practicalities. The benefit of such a character is that occasionally you come up with new ways of doing things. My living/dead roof is one of them.

My roof is constructed the same way as a conventional living roof, with one small adjustment. Half of the year it’s dead.

 

How to Make a Living Roof

Before you do anything at all, make sure your joists are strong enough. Earth roofs are heavy, and depending on how much soil, water, plants and what type of membrane you’ve used, it could weigh anywhere between 100-250 kg/square metre. You can check these figures in more detail here.

Also make sure you have the correct incline, (mine is 10 cm from front to back on a roof about 7 metres diameter, and I’d say that’s perfect). If there’s no incline, the water can’t drain away leaving you with a pond sitting on your roof. If the incline is too steep, you may have erosion issues.

A living roof is constructed with the following layers:

1. Plywood or OSB nailed to your roof joists.

2. A layer of thick (I used 4mm) waterproof roofing membrane. This is often made of rubber or modified bitumen.

3. A root barrier (greenhouse plastic works fine here). You need the barrier to stop plant roots burrowing into the membrane.

4. A drainage layer. Gravel and pumice are the least expensive and most natural options. Pumice may be preferable, because it’s lighter. Alternatively, you could purchase a synthetic drainage layer, such as a dimple mat.

5. A layer of blankets stops the soil clogging up the gravel/pumice. This layer may not be necessary if you use a synthetic drainage layer which has a soil barrier within it.

6. Earth mixed with compost. If you are worried about the weight of your roof, consider adding perlite or coconut husks to lighten the load, as well. Alternatively, leave a space in the middle of the roof, like I did, so the weight is concentrated on the supporting walls.

7. Plants. What you want is quick spreading, short plants like grass. Succulents can also work well. What you don’t want is a tree.

You also need to frame the sides of the roof to stop the soil falling out. I used wood. You could also use mesh guttering.

My Roof Both Lives and Dies

I made my roof back in 2012. How happy I was when I planted my flowers and succulents. Three months later, I had lost my smile, and so had my roof. There is no rain for five months of the year where I live, and of course the top of a roof is blazing hot. Everything died. So I came up with another plan: the semi-dead roof.

In summer, I cover the soil in dry grass cut from my garden. I have learned it’s easy to shape the straw by spraying water over it. The straw effectively insulates the house from the furnace-like heat. When winter comes, the dry grass rots and seeds, creating a lovely green roof. The fresh green growth prevents the earth from eroding in the heavy rain, too.

Myths About Living Roofs

There seem to be a lot of preconceptions about living roofs, most of which are wrong. Here’s some myths you may have heard.

1. Living roofs are hard to maintain. A living roof requires very little maintenance. The grass and earth protect the waterproof layers from sun damage, so the roof lasts indefinitely. And you never have to paint it or replace tiles.

2. Living roofs will leak. As long as your waterproof membrane is laid correctly, and you have a decent root barrier, all is well. This is the driest roof I’ve ever lived beneath in all my life.

3. Expensive and tricky to make. I had no money and no building experience when I built my house. The living roof is probably the most inexpensive and easiest roofing option going, especially if you use a basic pumice/gravel and blanket system.

Other Advantages of a Living Roof

1. Flood prevention. Living roofs slow surface run-off and reduced flooding around your property.

2. Camouflage. I admit, my roof, with its huge straw flower, wouldn’t fool a spy plane. But most green roofs blend into their environment making them less obvious from the air.

3. Sound proofing. If you’ve ever lived under a tin roof, you know how noisy rain can be. Tiles are not much better. A living roof is quiet.

4. Fireproofing. Living roofs, when they’re wet and alive, are not going to burn. Obviously, the semi-dead option, comes with no such guarantee. Though don’t forget, there is 15-20 cm layer of earth under the straw to slow a fire down.

5. Wildlife habitat. This is my favourite part of the roof. It’s a haven for birds, lizards, squirrels, and other creatures.

Atulya K Bingham is an author and sustainable building addict. She lives semi off-grid in Turkey in her beloved earthbag house. Her days are spent growing her own food, experimenting with natural building techniques, and writing. For a limited time you can download her ebook Mud Mountain, The Secret Diary of an Accidental Off-Gridder for free!You can also find a free earthbag building PDF and other natural building tips from her website, The Mud Home. Read all of Atulya's MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.



3/3/2016

BathroomRecycling

When it comes to recycling household products, most people only think about the kitchen: the soup cans, the pasta jars, the cardboard cereal boxes and snack packaging. While recycling bins are commonly found next to the kitchen trash, you should also consider adding some to your bathroom.

Sound strange? Not when you realize those tissue boxes, cardboard toilet paper rolls and plastic shampoo bottles that usually end up in the trash are all recyclable. Most people don’t consider their bathroom beyond basic decoration and functionality, but it takes just a few minutes and very little space to set up a convenient station that can help save the earth and keep a lot of waste out of landfills.

Setting Up Your Recycling System

1. Gather three small baskets, bins or boxes (old shoeboxes work great in a pinch!). If you aren’t hiding the system away, or you’re concerned it won’t match your bathroom decor, consider purchasing three decorative wastebaskets instead.

2. Label each box or basket: one for plastic, one for aerosol cans and one for cardboard.

3. Place your baskets or boxes under the vanity, tuck them in an unused corner, or stack them in the linen closet.

4. Make sure your family knows which items can be recycled—some are surprising! My children didn’t know they could recycle the plastic bag that held cotton balls or the sunscreen bottle, and my husband didn’t realize that his shaving cream can and deodorant container could be salvaged, too. To avoid confusion, consider printing a list of eligible recyclables, then laminating it and hanging it on a towel hook in the bathroom. Here are a few to get you started:

• Hairspray cans
• Plastic combs
• Hand lotion tubes
• Cardboard boxes from toothpaste, bars of soap, etc.
• Mouthwash bottles
• Plastic packaging
• Contact lens solution bottles

Note that plastic bottle pumps cannot be recycled. To help prevent any mishaps (and cut down on waste), purchase non-disposable soap and lotion dispensers and buy your hand soap and body lotion in refill packages.

If you are currently remodeling your bathroom, have your recycling system in mind when picking out your furnishings. A vanity with spacious cabinets is the perfect place to stow recycling bins, keeping your bathroom looking neat and tidy.

Make Recycling a Habit

It can take some time for this shift in behavior to take root with your family. If you’re used to throwing away the shampoo bottle, you’ll have to make a conscious effort to change that habit and place it in the recycling box instead. When my family started, I’d regularly see items in the trash can that needed to be moved. It became easier after a few reminders, and now it’s a natural habit.

It’s an important habit, too—the average American generates 4.3 pounds of waste per day. With the number of personal care products used in most homes, it only makes sense to recycle. In fact, the Environmental Working Group reported that a quarter of all women use at least 15 different toiletries daily. Think of all those plastic bottles, boxes and aerosol cans that just get tossed into the trash. What a difference it would make if we all had a bathroom recycling station!

Green and Clean Mom Sommer Poquette is a recycling maven who shares her tips online for The Home Depot. Sommer’s advice on bathroom recycling aims to keep this most important room organized and eco-friendly. To review bathroom vanities that can help you set up your recycling system, you can visit Home Depot's website. Read all of Sommer's MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.



2/22/2016

The natural building movement aims to change the paradigm of how homes are currently built, from expensive, toxic, resource-intensive boxes to elegant, affordable, healthy homes that make sense for the planet and us.

 -  Conrad Rogue          

When I was first getting started in Natural Building there were several books that were instrumental in my pursuit of knowledge in the field: The Hand Sculpted House, Shelter, and A Pattern Language were a few of them. Each inspired me to learn and do more and transformed how I saw homes and building in general.

Cob cabin interior

Conrad Rogue’s new natural building book, My House of Earth (self-published, 172 pages) is another foundational work that is sure to inspire, inform, and propel the next generation of natural builders. It is a comprehensive work with a companion website chock full of pictures and videos from which both novice and experienced builders will benefit.

House Alive!

I’ve known Conrad since late 2009 when my family moved onto his House Alive! homestead. We initially reached out to Conrad and his wife through an online posting of theirs about their unschooling efforts with their own children but were struck by the cob wonderland that is his homestead. The main house and a dozen or so cabins and landscape walls from workshops past are sprinkled among the gardens, paths, and forest of this natural building nirvana.

We were so inspired that we moved onto his land and lived and learned there for six months. Since then, we have worked together on several builds including two in our Reno neighborhood (see the One Day Cob House video).

I am happy to recommend his book not just because of our friendship but because he is great builder, teacher, and philosopher. He is original in his thinking, skilled in his techniques, and passionate about the beauty and potential of natural building. And, above all, he has the rare ability to skillfully convey all of that in his writing and teaching. 

Conrad told me he has taught more than 1,000 students through apprenticeships and workshops since 2000.  That experience shows in every chapter of his book.   I’ve read scores  of natural building books over the years and most authors do a passable job of describing techniques:  how to build a cob wall, how to determine if you have enough clay, how to tamp an earthbag… Conrad happens to do so in the way he teaches – straightforward and easy to understand with the joy and love of the work coming through on each page.

Notable Contents

Here are some particular goodies from My House of Earth:

Earthen Floors (page 143): Conrad gets earthen floors. Over the years as I’ve observed the transfer of knowledge in the NB world I am always surprised at how slow this knowledge makes its way around the globe.  NB is still a fringe practice (although growing!) and it shows with how few people understand how to make an easy and great earthen floor.   I’ve lived with Conrad’s floors and built more of my own and they are little wonders of beauty, functionality and simplicity.  Conrad’s explanations and videos online relate this well.  (His House Alive! partner, James Thomson, recently co-authored the bible of earthen floors: Earthen Floors: A Modern Approach to an Ancient Practice)

Earthen Ovens (page 163): Cob ovens are often a gateway project for new natural builders and they have the mysterious and unusual capacity to evoke deep emotions in the people who want to build them. For whatever reason (maybe it’s the tasty and addictive gluten in the bread folks hope to bake in the ovens) people go ga-ga over them. More often than not, unfortunately, they wind up unused and neglected and slowly melt back into the earth. My opinions aside, Conrad perfectly describes how to build them in about 5 pages.

“This may be helpful” sections throughout the book: For me, these are the best nuggets in the book, where Conrad’s wisdom and experience come through in spades. It’s almost like having a conversation with him: Conrad, how do earthen buildings moderate temperature? Well, Kyle, they…(page 106)

 

Lastly, I think what I appreciate most about Conrad and this book is the underlying notion that quality of life is the end goal in our building of homes and shaping of space. The type of materials we use and how they age over time, our connection to place and people while building with earth, the simplicity of the materials and how they contribute to a pleasant, non-toxic, and regenerative life. Conrad understands and conveys in his writing why we build this way and why, for so many of us, Natural Building feels like a homecoming in our bones, our hands, our souls to an ancient human practice and to the very fabric of the Earth itself.

More Info…

Conrad has spent a lot of time developing accompanying web content for each chapter in the book.  These are full of videos and pictures that allow readers to see the techniques in action in the same clear and concise way that makes Conrad such a great workshop teacher. 

My House of Earth is available in as a digital e-pub or Kindle book for just $8 (he even offers it for free if you are strapped for cash!).  Give it and the accompanying website a try – you will be a better builder because of it.

Kyle Chandler-Isacksen is a tinkerer, natural builder, and community organizer in Reno, Nevada. He and his family run the Be the Change Project, a fossil fuel-, car-, and electricity-free urban homestead and learning space dedicated to service and simplicity and inspired by the principles of Gandhian Integral Nonviolence. They were honored as one of MOTHER’s Homesteaders of the Year in 2013. Read all of his MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.



2/11/2016

Cat watching a wood stove

For the last five years, my husband and I have enjoyed the radiant heat from homegrown wood burned in our efficient wood stove. We've learned a lot in the process. Here are my top ten tips if you want to follow in our footsteps.

1. Choose a modern, right-sized stove. Whether you go for a catalytic or non-catalytic stove, you'll make more heat and less pollution if you choose a stove that fits your space. Many sources suggest planning on 50 to 55 BTU per square foot in the extreme north of the U.S., on 30 to 35 BTU per square foot in the deep south, and around 40 to 45 BTU per square foot in the middle states. Here in zone 6, we chose a 28,000 BTU Jotul F 602 to heat our 500-square-foot mobile home, and the stove has been perfect except during the few days when temperatures dip below 0 Fahrenheit.

Smoke from an efficient wood stove

2. Burn hot fires. If your stove is the right size, it's much easier to light fires that burn without being damped down at all during the daytime. This type of fire will produce the most heat and, if your stove includes baffles to increase efficiency, will produce next to no particulate pollution.

Coals in a fire

3. Learn to damp down a stove. There are times when it makes sense to damp down a stove, though. I close our damper to reduce air flow right before going to bed, which leaves me with enough coals to make lighting the morning fire very simple. If I'm going to be away from home all day, I do the same. If you're planning to damp down a fire, it's important to first develop a bed of hot coals then to fill the entire stove up with fresh wood. Burn the new wood as hot as you can for about fifteen minutes until any moisture has been driven off and the logs are fully lit. Then damp the stove down all the way so nearly no oxygen enters the firebox. The result is a fire that will smolder for ten hours or longer, slowly radiating heat out into your cooling home.

4. Learn the different types of wood. Your local forest will determine which trees you choose to burn, but you'll soon realize that wood can be divided into three categories. Very soft wood --- like box-elders --- is extremely easy to light and burns fast. This type of wood is good for small fires during the shoulder season and for making kindling to start winter fires. Medium-weight wood like walnut and tulip-tree, is a little harder to light and creates a bit more heat, while hard wood like oak, apple, and locust will give you lots of heat but can be a bear to start without adding in other types of kindling. In our moderate climate, we mostly burn medium-weight wood but try to have a few really hard logs on hand for the dead of winter.

Firewood shapes

5. Understand splitting. How to split wood would be another post in its own right. But the shape your wood ends up in is relevant to building and maintaining a fire, so I'll mention a few pointers here. Small branches --- perhaps five or fewer inches in diameter --- can be added to the fire unsplit. These will burn slower than you think they would because of the round shape and barked exterior. In contrast, a rectangular or triangular chunk of wood from the interior of a larger log will light and burn much faster. So save those branches for chinking the gaps around larger logs when building an overnight fire.

Air flow in a wood stove

6. Understand air flow. Lighting and maintaining a fire is all about air flow. There's a sweet spot where plenty of oxygen can eddy around your logs but where nearby flammables are still close enough to bounce heat back and forth between them --- this is the perfect setup for getting a new fire up and running fast. If you want to slow things down, pack the logs in tighter together, which reduces air flow even before you damp the stove down.

7. Manage your kindling. Top-notch kindling is the difference between an hour spent muttering over a smoldering flame and a fire that leaps to life in the time it takes to gulp down a plate of scrambled eggs. I collect the slivers that spray out in all directions as we split wood and save them in a dry place for tinder. Two small logs --- about two by two inches --- arranged on the two sides of the fire box, a couple of sheets of junk mail (non glossy paper only) crumpled up in between, three or four of those slivers carefully laid atop the mass so they won't fall flat when the paper burns, and then one more small log on top is all it takes. Open the damper, light a match and let the fire catch hold with the stove door open, then shut the door and watch 'er rip.

Cooking down maple sap

8. Put a kettle on top. Hot dry air in the winter can make your nose bleed and your lips chap. So fill a kettle with water and put it on top of your wood stove for electricity-free humidification. Or, better yet, mix up a winter soup to simmer all day, filling your air with both moisture and the aroma of homegrown food. You can even use that hot surface area to boil down maple sap into syrup!

Ash bucket

9. Manage your ashes. I scoop the ashes out of my stove each morning before lighting a new fire, tipping any coals back into the fire box to make new logs light easier. The ashes go into a metal bucket (careful --- some coals will still be smoldering!), and when the bucket's full I take it all outside to sift out the biochar for use in my garden. If your soil is more acidic than mine, you may use the ashes in your garden plot as well.

Writing by the fire

10. Don't forget to enjoy the flames! I have to fight the cats over the warm spot in front of the fire and it's a bit tricky to make sure my laptop screen doesn't melt when I write there. But it's all worth it for the happy glow of a warm fire on a cold night.

Anna Hess is the author of The Weekend Homesteader, The Naturally Bug-Free Garden, and Trailersteading. She and her husband also blog about their homesteading adventures daily at the Walden Effect blog. Find all of Anna's MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.



1/29/2016

 

The dog days of summer may be over, but the freezing cold weather has just begun. Whereas you’ll need to worry about the cooling costs in summer, winter is the time when your heating costs start to climb. Because heating and cooling contribute to as much as half of the energy consumption in any home, EnergyStar recommends homeowners to pursue a number of smart energy-saving practices to keep their energy bills in check. This includes changing the air filter every 3 months, tuning up the HVAC equipment yearly, and investing in eco-friendly appliances. However, there are also a few things you can do right now to remain eco-friendly in winter while enjoying a reduction in energy costs:

1. Smart Thermostat Operation

Knowing how to properly operate your thermostat can help you to reduce your energy cost without compromising any personal comfort. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can save 5 percent to 15 percent a year on your heating bill by turning your thermostat back 10 degrees to 15 degrees when you are asleep or away from home. This can translate to“a savings of as much as 1 percent for each degree if the setback period is eight hours long.” For families who may be swamped up in the hustles and bustles of life (and holiday shopping spree), a programmable thermostat can seamlessly “learn your family habits” and save you the trouble of setting and resetting the system.

2. Knock Out the Drafts

If you have leaky windows and doors, your home may be intruded by cold air without you ever knowing it. Depending on the severity of the situation, drafty windows can cost you anywhere between 5 percent and 30 percent of your home’s energy. Thankfully, the solutions are relatively easy and affordable. As Consumer Energy Center points out, while improperly sealed homes can lead homeowners to waste 10 to 15 percent in heating costs, homeowners can take immediate actions by weatherstripping and caulking the leakage. Besides using window treatments and coverings (like heavy drapes and curtains) to improve your home’s energy efficiency, the U.S. Department of Energy also encourages homeowners to remember to open curtains on their south-facing windows during the day to allow sunlight to heat up the home naturally.

3. Reduce Water Heating Costs

A hot shower or bath in winter may be a much-anticipated luxury, but it also comes with a heavy price tag. When interviewed by Money US News, Marianne Cusato, the housing advisor for HomeAdvisor.com, explains that homeowners can easily winterize their home by lowering their water heater temperature from 140 degrees to 120 with no ill effect. The U.S. Department of Energy also advises homeowners to check for leaky fixtures (faucets and showerheads) to save approximately 1,661 gallons of water and up to $35 per year. As a general eco-friendly practice, homeowners can purchase quality, low-flow fixtures for approximately $10 to $20 a piece and experience a generous water-saving of 25 percent to 60 percent.

4. Heat Up the Room Sparingly

Staying warm is undoubtedly a priority in winter. However, instead of heating up the entire room, you can focus on a few popularly occupied rooms with a space heater. Doing so will eliminate the possibility of overheating your home and keeping the heat concentrated in the areas you need the most. Finally, putting on quality layers of clothes will also help you to fight the cold and maintain a reasonable room temperature.

Paul Kazlov is a metal roofing expert and has grown Global Home Improvement to be the Mid-Atlantic's largest installer of residential metal roofing, saving the everyday homeowner money on energy costs. He has installed more than 1,000 metal roofs and more than 2 million square feet of standing seam, metal slate, and metal tile, helping the Philadelphia-New Jersey-New York area. Follow Paul on Twitter @PaulKazlov. Read all of his MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.









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