Condo Blues

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Save Some Bucks – How to Seal Heating Ducts!

I am on a mission to seek out and destroy air leaks in The Condo so I can save money on my heating and cooling bills this year. According to it will be worth it too:
“EPA estimates that homeowners can typically save up to 20% of heating and cooling costs (or up to 10% of total energy costs) by air sealing their homes
and adding insulation in attics, floors over crawl spaces, and accessible basement rim joists.”

One place to look for air leaks is in the heating and air-conditioning (also known as HVAC) ducts in your home (or Condo.) Air leaks make your HVAC system use more fuel and work harder to do the job it’s supposed to do. And that can cost you money. Especially if those air leaks are in the unheated/uncooled areas of your home such as a basement, or in my case, in an unheated utility room.

There are generally two places where air leaks occur and that you need to seal:

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

How to Freeze Fresh Tomatoes

I like to eat fresh tomatoes. When my friends and neighbors have an overabundance of tomatoes growing in their gardens and ask me to take some of their extra tomatoes off of their hands the correct answer is always “yes!” because I only have room on my patio for one hanging tomato plant.

Luckily, a generous soul gave me a big ol’ bag of tomatoes this summer. Unluckily, it was two days before I planned an out of town trip. I knew if I left those fresh red beauties in my refrigerator while I was on vacation a week later I’d come back to a bunch of spoiled tomatoes, ready for the compost bin. I don’t have super duper canning skills, equipment, or knowledge. Time was also at a premium. What do to do? I sent those tomatoes to the deep freeze. Yes, it’s true. You can freeze tomatoes.

Here’s how.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

How to Make Moth Repelling Lavender Sachets

I love the look and smell of the lavender growing in my front yard. I also love that lavender is a natural moth and pest repellant.


This year, I had a good crop of lavender and decided to make sachets that I could hang up in my closets to keep the moths at bay.

First, I dried the fresh lavender. Once it was dry, I removed the flowers and cut the stalk and leaves into tiny bits.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Save Travel Time and Money with a Zero Waste Road Trip

Husband, Blitzkrieg, and I took off for an 8-hour road trip from Ohio to a tiny mountain town in Northern Georgia. When we travel with our dog, we bring a picnic lunch because we don’t want to leave the dog alone in a hot car for health and safety reasons. I wondered if we could do it as a Zero Waste or Low Waste road trip beause depending up whom you read on the Web or watch on TV (hello Planet Green!), doing something the Green Way is always:

· More expensive
· More time consuming
· More difficult
· but better for the environment

Long story short – we did it! And guess what?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Make a Denim Beaded Cuff Bracelet From a Coffee Cup Sleeve

Here's another idea on what to do with those leftovers when you make a pair of shorts from a pair of pants. Grab a cardboard coffee cup sleeve, some thread, and some beads and create a bejeweled cuff bracelet!

Beads by Lilli uses denim for her bracelet but I think any fun scrap fabric will work for this project. In fact, you could wrap some tin foil around two of those coffee cup sleeves and make yourself a set of Wonder Woman bracelets for Halloween!

Is it too early to think about this year's Halloween costumes?

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

How to Plan For/Survive an Extended Electrical Blackout

I’ve experienced quite a few short term and long term weather related power outages and blackouts. The worst one was in 2004, when an ice storm took down power lines and left most of my city in darkness for a week. Christmas week. With a big plan for the worst and hope for the best, I give you five things to consider and plan for when the power lines go down and electricity is out for an unknown extended period.

1. Consider Shelter
Staying at Home
· If it’s a summer blackout, it may be too hot to stay inside your house. The easiest thing to do may be to just grab an extra chair or blanket and step outside. Chances are your neighbors are doing the same. This may be a great time to get to know your neighbors a little better and do an impromptu block party, or play a game of Frisbee, baseball, or cards.

· Even if you use natural gas to heat your home, you may not have heat during a winter electrical outage. Some natural gas furnaces use an electrical fan to blow the heat through the ductwork to heat your home. Therefore, even if the heater may still be working, without electricity you’re not going to have the little fan that. And without a working fan, you may have a cold house. (I found out about this one the hard way.)