Top Stories

  • Fresh Facts About Water

    Updated: Tue, Aug 19, 2014

    This basic fact is well know: water is an essential component of human health. But why do we need it, how much is enough, and how can we ensure we’re getting the right amount? What about other liquids, like cola or wine? Can they substitute for water? And is there such a thing as drinking too much water? Benefits The hydrating effect of water is essential for the body’s day-to-day function – no surprise, given that two-thirds of our physical selves are composed of H2O. In particular, water plays an important role in the digestive processes – from the moment you first swallow a bite of food, aided by saliva, through to the natural consequence -- normal functioning of the bowels.

  • 7 FAQs about Whole House Water Filtration Systems

    Updated: Tue, Aug 19, 2014

    Do you know what’s in the water in your home? Depending on where you live, that clear liquid may well contain all kinds of nasties which are dangerous for humans to drink or even inhale. A whole house water filter might be advisable to provide your household with cleaner, healthier, and better-tasting H2O. Here we answer frequently asked questions about whole house water filtration systems and what they can do for you. 1. Q. What is a whole house water filtration system? A. A whole house water filter is a system connected to your home’s main water supply. All water used in your house, whether for drinking, cooking, washing, or bathing, will go through the central filter. This will eliminate the need to install individual

  • 11 Unexpected Results of Joining a CSA

    Updated: Sun, Aug 17, 2014

    Joining a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program is a great way to eat fresh, cheap, and local. The way it works is simple: You sign up for a share in the produce – predominately vegetables, but also fruit and possibly honey and eggs – of a particular farm. This paid-in-advance subscription entitles you to a box of healthy goodies weekly for a set period of time, usually 6 to 12 weeks. Besides entitling you to a lot of good eating, CSA membership carries with it some unexpected fringe benefits. Here’s what you’ll be able to do: 1. Channel your inner hippie. What goes around comes around and while most folks laughed at the hippies with their brown rice and organic veggies a few decades ago, nowadays boomers can brag a

  • The NEC and Your Home Remodel

    Updated: Sun, Aug 17, 2014

    Getting ready to remodel your home involves a great deal of planning – deciding how best to use the space, clarifying your budget, designing the project, and (the fun part!) choosing colors and materials. In the midst of all these preparations, remember to give adequate attention to revamping your electrical system. Planning and installing electric wiring and equipment is a complex business. It must be carefully done to protect the safety of both the building and its occupants. The National Electric Code has set the standard for electrical safety in the US for over a century, helping to shape state and local building codes. When you are planning to remodel, work with a licensed electrical contractor who is expert in all the ins and out

  • Keeping Your PC, Smartphone or Tablet Clean

    Updated: Sun, Aug 17, 2014

    PCs, Smartphones, and handheld tablets are essentials of daily life. However, these conveniences need some basic maintenance to stay in top working order. Obviously you can’t just scrub them with good old soap and water. So what do you do instead? Learn how to clean your electronic devices in the following easy, natural ways. PREVENTION Hopefully you are reading this because you just purchased a new electronic device and want cleaning info on hand for future reference. If so, there are plenty of preventive steps you can take to protect your device against dirt, streaks, dust, and even scratches. Seal your display screen – this does not interfere with visibility. A Smartphone or tablet can be carried in a protective case.

  • Tiny Home Repair

    Updated: Thu, Aug 14, 2014

    The tiny home movement of the last decade and a half is going strong. It holds a particular appeal for folks who want to reduce their environmental footprint, are interested in saving money, and have a generous dose of the pioneering spirit. There’s been a lot written recently on how to design, furnish, and live your daily life in a small-to-tiny abode. Most reports from tiny home dwellers are extremely positive, mentioning convenience and a feeling of freedom from physical and emotional clutter.

  • 8 Green Solutions to Garden Bug Problems

    Updated: Wed, Aug 13, 2014

    Munch! Munch! That should be the sound of you happily chowing down on organic veggies picked fresh from your home garden. But all too often, any munching that’s going on is being done by pesky little – or not so little – insects that’ve gotten to your crop before you. Here's how to get rid of these garden pests without spraying poison on your plants or putting your family and pets at risk. 1. DIY Organic spray. You can use herbs and spices from your garden (or your local market) to keep common crop-eating insects at bay. Experiment with infusions of chopped mint, catnip, sage, or thyme combined with garlic, cloves, or cayenne. Adding some castile soap will boost the mixture’s insect repellent powers.

  • Adaptor, Converter or Transformer? Which Do You Need?

    Updated: Wed, Aug 13, 2014

    Even though today’s instant communication has made the globe seem smaller, there are still differences among various parts of the world. One difference you’ll notice when traveling is that not all countries have the same electrical system as the United States. Wall outlets may be unfamiliar sizes, while plugs might remind you of something from outer space. Whatever small appliances you tote along on your trip – or buy abroad and bring home – will need to be adapted to the appropriate electric system.

  • 4 Bizarre Bee Problems You Should Learn to Fix

    Updated: Tue, Aug 12, 2014

    Bees are an amazingly diverse insect species, comprising some 20,000 different varieties. These flying creatures live wherever they have access to their food source -- flowering plants -- and are to be found on every continent but Antarctica. Although bees play a crucial role in biodiversity, many humans dislike them due to the painful stings with which they defend themselves. Beyond their stinging capability, bees can cause some lesser known disturbances. Here are 4 bizarre bee problems and how to deal with them. 1. Round holes appear in your wooden siding, window sills, trim, or deck … or piles of sawdust are found nearby. A carpenter bee infestation may be the source. Carpenter bees dig into wood to make their nests.

  • 4 Little-Known Disadvantages of Exercise

    Updated: Sun, Aug 10, 2014

    Exercise: it’s got to be good for you … and the more the better, right? Wrong. While a moderate amount of exercise appropriate to your age and state of health is beneficial, too much or the wrong kind of physical exertion may do you more harm than good. Here are 4 potential problems with exercise. 1. Pain “No pain, no gain” was a popular exercise slogan in the 80s … but by now it’s as old fashioned as the mullet or the big-shouldered power suit. Far from being the sign of a successful workout, intense pain is your body’s way of signaling that something is wrong. Never begin an exercise program without first clearing it with your physician, especially when you are pregnant, out of shape, or already suffer from ch

  • DIY: Repair, Don’t Replace, Rotten Wood

    Updated: Thu, Aug 7, 2014

    Wood anywhere in your home is vulnerable to decay in the form of either wet or dry rot (both of which are actually fungal infestation). A rotten wooden door, floorboard, section of trim, window sill, or column, may be just the beginning of potentially serious problems to your home. As a fungus, rot can and will spread rapidly unless you take care of the trouble right away. Although replacing damaged wood is often a major hassle, not to mention the strain it puts on your wallet, cheer up! A complete replacement is often unnecessary for non-structural-support woodwork. Instead, you can build up the weakened area with the help of several easy-to-use products. Here’s how. 1. Eliminate the cause.

  • Recycling Kitchen Cabinets – How It Works

    Updated: Thu, Aug 7, 2014

    Reusing, recycling, and repurposing have caught on among Americans in a big way. Recycling usable materials, especially large, high ticket items like kitchen cabinetry, cuts down on waste and keeps our landfills from growing. In fact, recycling kitchen cabinets is a win-win proposition that offers many benefits to the present and future owners. Why Sell (or Donate) Cabinets Most people who are looking to find new homes for perfectly good – or even luxurious – used kitchen cabinets plan to upgrade their house or condo with still more lavish versions. Certainly making a few dollars on their old cabinets can’t hurt. But beyond the appeal of cold, hard cash, there is the advantage of stress reduction.

  • Best Reusable Beverage Bottles

    Updated: Thu, Aug 7, 2014

    With approximately 38 billion single-use water bottles added to our landfills annually, it’s no wonder that many towns and universities are moving to ban their sale. Whatever your local laws on the matter, purchasing reusable beverage bottles offers many advantages – healthier materials, convenient shapes, and some really cool special features. What should you look for? Here’s a guide. Material Plastic. Plastic is the cheapest, lightest weight material for reusable water bottles. In 2010, the FDA identified BPA (Bisphenol A) as hazardous to human health. Nowadays, most plastic bottles are marketed as BPA-free, but BPA content is not yet regulated and this type of bottle can still leach chemicals. Don’t use plastic for

  • The Best A/C Temperature: Stay Cool and Save Energy

    Updated: Mon, Aug 4, 2014

    In the heat of the summer, it’s tempting to run the air conditioning full blast 24/7. However, that’s not exactly environmentally friendly – or easy on your wallet. So what to do? How can you find that happy medium: an A/C temperature that will keep your home comfortably cool without turning you into an energy hog? Try the Energy Star Recommendation Energy Star recommends running your air conditioner at no lower than 78 degrees Fahrenheit (25.5 Celsius) to maximum your home’s energy efficiency (which, in dollars and cents, translates to lowered electricity costs). This is very close to the national average high temperature for the month of May – in other words, a pleasant spring day.

  • Natural Fixes for Hardwood Floors

    Updated: Mon, Aug 4, 2014

    Stuff happens. If you have beautiful wood floors, no matter how careful you try to be, they will end up with signs of wear and tear caused by kids, pets, parties, and … well … life in general. Fortunately, you can fix minor types of hardwood damage yourself, using these simple tools and natural, non-toxic supplies. (Be sure to read the installer’s instructions before using any product on a new floor, so that you don’t end up voiding your warranty.) Broom and mop. Sweep your hardwood floor with a soft broom or Swiffer-style tool. A quick daily sweeping will remove normal dirt, dust, and grit; this avoids scratching the wood. When your floor needs additional cleaning, go over it with a mop that is nearly dry.

  • 9 Steps for Green Back-to-School Preparation

    Updated: Thu, Jul 31, 2014

    As you get ready to send your kids back to school, why not take the opportunity to educate them about safeguarding our planet’s environment? Reuse any school supplies you might already have, and supplement, if necessary, by buying eco-friendly versions. Don’t forget to take care of your children’s precious health while you’re at it! Shop your home first. Start by checking what you have on hand now. Think unneeded home office basics or school supplies which were leftover at the end of last year. Be realistic about what your children will actually use; for example, it would be insensitive to suggest that shy, self-conscious youngsters take to class a stock of old notebooks with the used pages torn out. Save these for scratch

  • Add Insulation to Your Garage Door and Save

    Updated: Wed, Jul 30, 2014

    Insulating your garage door is a simple procedure that has the potential to save you money in many ways. Whether you retrofit insulation as a DIY project, hire a pro to do the job, or buy an already-insulated door, it will conserve energy and safeguard your possessions. Why Should You Insulate? Garage door insulation protects against all sorts of severe weather – heat waves, cold spells, heavy rain, and snowstorms. And not only your garage is sheltered, but the adjoining room of your house, as well. As a result, you’ll need less air conditioning or heating, according to the season, which will reduce your utility bills. It’s not just the garage that suffers due to temperature fluctuations.

  • Natural Fixes for Poor Garden Soil

    Updated: Mon, Jul 28, 2014

    If your garden plants are flopping instead of flourishing, the problem could well be your soil. Many enthusiastic amateur gardeners believe that any soil problems can be fixed by adding organic matter, but in fact this is not always the case. It’s important to first identify the specific nature of the problem before taking action to remedy it. Patience is also essential, because restoring poor soil to health takes time. Have Your Soil Tested To begin, soil testing is an excellent idea. This can be done by submitting a sample to your county extension service, for no cost or a very minimal fee.

  • Repurposed Money! How to Upcycle Old Coins

    Updated: Sun, Jul 27, 2014

    Nowadays the Internet is full of bright ideas on how to save money by repurposing just about everything, from furniture to food containers. One type of tip we haven’t seen so far, though, is how to upcycle cold hard cash itself. So without further ado, here are our suggestions on how to repurpose old coins for fun and profit. 1. Make money. Check your hoard in a rare coin catalog to see whether you have a treasure trove on your hands. Until you are sure that your coins have no exceptional value, take care to handle them gently and do not alter them in any way – avoid even polishing them for fear of causing damage to their monetary worth.

  • Bumper Crop of Cucumbers? Here’s What to Do

    Updated: Sun, Jul 27, 2014

    Now’s the time when (hopefully) your vegetable garden seems to start exploding with produce. Cucumbers are one of the most prolific veggies, to the point where you may feel overwhelmed thinking of ways to use them up. Here are some suggestions to help you deal with nature’s bounty. Eat Them Cold There is an immense array of salads featuring raw cukes. Paper-thin slices shine when simply drizzled with a little lemon juice or vinegar and a drop of oil; shredded onion or a handful of dill is optional. To crank them up a notch, combine with vine ripe tomatoes. Dairy and cucumbers, as in Hungarian sour cream-cucumber or feta-studded Greek salad, are a match made in heaven.