Best energy-saving tips
Trim utility and other bills with these energy-saving tips found on the Better Homes and Gardens blog.
Change how you use your appliances: Washing clothes in cold water can save you up to $40 a year in water-heating costs (and yes, your clothes will still get clean). To save energy and water, scrape dishes instead of pre-rinsing before you load the dishwasher – and always run a full machine.
Reconsider your heating needs: Heating and cooling accounts for half of the energy used in your home. Start by lowering your water heater’s temperature. Most homes don’t need water hotter than 120 degrees, and each 10-degree reduction can save you $12 to $30 per year. Also, consider whether its time to get rid of an old water heater, furnace or air conditioner. Replacing equipment that is at least 10 years old with Energy Star products can save you $115 per year. Make sure your home is properly insulated, so heat doesn’t escape easily. To locate drafts, light an incense stick and watch where the smoke blows.
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Beware phantom power: Even when some electronics (TVs, DVRs and computers, for instance) are turned off, they can still consume “phantom” energy if they’re plugged into an outlet. This trickling of electricity can add up to $100 per year. Avoid it by unplugging your devices when you’re not using them, or by using a power strip so you can cut off the juice with a flip of a switch.
Swap out old light bulbs: Replacing the bulbs in five of your most-used light fixtures with Energy Star-qualified lights can save you $70 each year.
You can see these tips and more at http://nando.com/li.
This is the last weekend to tour new construction homes during the annual Wake County Parade of Homes. Homes are open noon-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Learn more at paradeofhomeswake.com.
Best Halloween craft
Turn an ordinary food can into an extraordinary Halloween craft and display for the young ghouls in your life. The Craft Ideas Info blog gives details on how you can turn the can into a dead ringer (wink) for Frankenstein.
You will need:
• A 16-ounce can, cleaned
• Light green and red acrylic paint
• Black felt
• Saucer or small plate to trace around (and make the hair)
• Two large wiggly eyes
• Large wooden half-bead for the nose
• Black permanent marker
• Two short, flat-end screws
• Hot glue gun
• Stiff paint brush
• Paper towel
Step by step:
1 Paint the can green. Use a second coat if needed to cover. Let the paint dry completely.
2 Paint the half-bead green. Let dry.
3 Use a saucer or plate to outline a circle on the black felt. Cut it out using a zig-zag pattern to resemble hair. (You can cut the circle first and then cut triangles onto the outer edge of the circle)
4 Glue the hair, eyes, nose and screws onto the dried can.
5 Use the black marker to draw a mouth and scars onto the can.
6 Dip the brush into a bit of red paint. Wipe the brush on a paper towel until the paint is almost dry on the brush. Brush red paint onto the nose and cheeks until the desired look is achieved.
Check out the finished project at http://nando.com/lj.
Best for pumpkin seeds
As you carve pumpkins for Halloween, reader Evelyn Ullman of Pittsboro urges you to reserve the seeds for a special treat – Roasted Pumpkin Seeds (Pepita). She wrote in to share her recipe:
• Rinse whole pumpkin seeds in a colander; drain. Place them in a single layer on a paper towel to dry for a couple of hours.
• Toss the seeds in large bowl with 2 teaspoons of olive oil.
• Spread evenly in a large pan. Roast for 10 minutes in an oven preheated to 350 degrees. Stir and roast 5 minutes more. Sprinkle lightly with salt, if desired. Cool.
Best for silver
Real Simple offers a tip for preventing tarnished silver. “Slow the tarnish on your good silver by tying up a few moisture-absorbing pieces of chalk in cheesecloth and store them with your cutlery for shinier flatware that reflects well on you in no time flat.” Visit realsimple.com.
Best of the tube
Minnesota mansion: A couple has 8 idyllic acres where they envision the perfect weekend retreat for their growing family. They’ve found a 100-year-old farmhouse that they adore. Unfortunately, the massive house is 65 miles away on the flood-prone banks of the Red River. It’ll make for an ambitious mission, but supersize house movers say they’re up to the job. Are they? Find out on “Massive Moves” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
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