Monthly Archives: January 2016

4 Effective Ways to Clean Your Bathroom without Chemicals

cat-1052060_960_720The number of chemicals found in bathroom cleaners can be a little depressing. What makes this fact all the more shocking is that for virtually all homes and businesses harsh chemicals are not needed to achieve an effective cleaning.

Over the years cleaning product manufacturers have worked hard, and spent lots of money, in an effort to convince us that our homes are remarkably filthy and only they can save us from ourselves. In most cases this is an overreach, as simple cleaning products will work just fine for cleaning homes.


The issue of chemicals in bathroom cleaning products is no small issue. Not only are the chemicals potentially dangerous for human health, but also they are also bad for the environment. Not only are chemicals used to create these products, but the chemicals also make their way into the water supply harming both humans and wildlife alike. So let’s explore some of the best ways to clean your bathroom without chemicals.


Option One-Soap and Water Just Like Grandma or Grandpa Would Have Used


Soap has earned a good reputation over the years for one simple fact: it works! Soap and water are great cleaners, but somewhere along the way most of us started to believe that we needed something more “powerful” as though the germs that grandma and grandpa faced were somehow completely inferior to today’s modern super germs.


No doubt there are places where the supergerms do reside such as hospitals, but the odds that your home has MRSA or some other supergerm is probably very low. Powerful cleaners have their place, but often good old fashion soap and water will areas such as kitchen countertops, toilets, bathroom sinks and showers clean.


Option Two-A Water and Hydrogen Peroxide Mix


Hydrogen peroxide is a very effective cleaner and is far safer than many of the well marketed and shiny bathroom cleaners that are on the market. This mix is great for periodic cleaning of toilet bowls, countertops and more.


If you are cleaning with soap and water and feel as though an area might not be as clean as you would like, then a hydrogen peroxide and water mix will do the job. If you are cutting meat, fish or poultry on your countertops, then it is a good idea to go with a cleaner that is a little stronger than soap or water, or play it on the safe side and use a cutting board that you then toss in the dishwasher.


Option Three-Vinegar What Can’t You Do?


Vinegar is something of a household cleaning superstar. Vinegar and baking soda combine nicely and make for a great, all-natural cleaner. Vinegar wipes out mold, removes soap, stains and a great deal more. Simple, run-of-the-mill vinegar can be used to keep your entire home clean and best of all it is very cheap. When you dilute vinegar in water, it is possible to stretch a single bottle of vinegar for weeks or even months. While vinegar is, of course, very acidic, it is still far easier on the environment and far safer for people than virtually all mass producer chemical cleaner options.


Those looking for a safe way to clean everything from bathroom showers and tubs to countertops and toilets will find that vinegar does a great job. In addition to being very cheap, the vinegar and baking soda combo can be used for a wide variety of bathroom cleaning chores and can even help unclog sinks. So don’t reach for chemical drain cleaners when a clog comes your way, instead try this time honored option. As always, test a small area before using any cleaning product across your entire bathroom or kitchen area.


Option Four-Other Options for Tackling a Clogged Drain


One of the most dangerous chemical mixes that most people ever bring into their homes is when they need to unclog a drain. Clogged drains are a nightmare and that is why it is vitally important to periodically clean them out with our vinegar and baking soda mix. However, eventually you will run into some drain problems that vinegar and baking soda just won’t cut. When that day comes, first try to remove the u-shaped pipe under your sink. This area traps a lot of debris and build up. There are plenty of “how to” guides available online that can guide you through the process, and you might just save a small fortune over hiring a plumber.


Another big reason to tackle a clogged drain yourself and without chemicals is that drain cleaners put a lot of toxic chemicals directly into the water supply. Additionally, these products are quiet dangerous to have around especially if you have pets or small children.


The bottom line is that chemical bathroom cleaners are unnecessary, dangerous to people and pets, harm the environment and are expensive. You simply don’t need them for most household cleaning situations. If you feel that you need to “call out the big guns” then turn to simple rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide.


Keep in mind that most hand sanitizers, cleaning wipes and even hospitals use alcohol. Good old-fashioned alcohol is an amazing cleaner and cleans even the dirtiest and scariest germs. Don’t be afraid to clean like grandma and grandpa once did; after all, they survived just fine with soap and water and a little baking soda and vinegar and so will you!






Posted by January 18, 2016 at 10:25 PM under Home Living Tips
The 3 Most Effective Building Heating Systems Ever Devised


During the cold winter months, it is impossible not to think about indoor heating, unless, of course you are living in a warm, sunny and tropical climate. For the rest of us, wintertime heating is a frequent thought, especially when it comes time to pay utility bills. Today, there are more options than ever when it comes to heating one’s home. Over the years, there have been many novel and highly effective ways to heat both homes and businesses. In this article, we are going to explore some of the most effective ways to heat buildings. The world of heating goes well beyond heaters and heat pumps.


  1. Geothermal Heat Pumps


Geothermal heat pumps have a lot going for them. The concept of a geothermal heat pump is fairly straightforward, in that they work to concentrate heat naturally found in the earth. Pipes are buried a few feet under the earth, where it is warmer. Then that heat is transferred through the heat pump. This approach saves both energy and money.

While businesses both small and large can receive their power from geothermal energy, increasingly homeowners are realizing that they can benefit from the same approach. There is a substantial upfront investment to get your geothermal heat pump up and running, but in the near future the system should pay for itself.


  1. The Wonders of Passive Solar and Solar Heating


Solar power is quickly becoming a reality. In fact, solar power technology is moving forward so quickly that regional monopoly power companies are scrambling. The idea that millions of people may soon be putting solar panels on their roofs has become a true reality. Solar home heating is a spectacular option for those looking to save serious money while at the same time help the environment.


Solar energy utilizes the sun to great effect, turning sunlight into energy and then into heat. Adding passive solar to the solar heating equation makes for a powerful one-two combination. Those looking for the most impressive way to heat one’s home using today’s technology are turning to solar power and passive solar. It is no accident that large corporations are beginning to place solar on the rooftops of their stores, warehouses, factories and beyond!


The simple fact is that passive solar is quite incredible. Passive solar, as the name indicates, is about taking advantage of what the sun has to offer, passively. Passive solar is all about thinking ahead and designing a home so that it takes full advantage of sunlight. The sun’s energy is used to heat a home and in sunny locations such as Colorado for example, passive solar can do wonders in both saving energy and cutting down on electric bills. Of course passive solar does have some requirements.


Just how good can passive solar homes be? Some proponents of passive homes and builders state that passive solar homes can heat and cool so efficiently that little or even no additional heating or cooling sources are usually needed. Of course this depends on factors such as region and the availability of sunlight. That stated, this approach to solar energy is remarkable in that it can help homes stay warmer and cooler without any additional energy use. Every dollar spent towards passive solar will save a tremendous amount of money in the long run. Those looking to substantially lower their carbon footprint may want to begin with looking at the passive solar options.


Frequently people feel that taking advantage of passive solar is something that one must do in the initial building stages of a home; however, it is often possible to take advantage of passive solar in existing homes. A good example would be building a sunroom or adding a skylight or windows in the optimal location. Beyond making sure that a home has enough strategically placed windows, passive solar also benefits greatly from a home being well insulated. Adding high quality insulation to your home in the attic and insulating spaces such as crawl spaces and wall interiors with blown in insulation helps to make passive solar more effective. A well insulated home is a must for any home regardless of how it is heated and that is why passive solar is a true “no brainer” when it comes to heating your home.


  1. Underfloor Radiant Heating

Installation of underfloor heating- orange panels and white plastic pipes.

Underfloor heating can be seen as being one of the most energy-efficient methods of heating a home. Heat is spread throughout a home from underneath piping installed under floors. If you love having warm cozy feet, radiant heating may very well be something you want to consider. The idea is that the warmth not only heats up your feet, but that it spreads to your whole body. While this may seem like a new and novel approach, the truth is that it has been around since the days of the ancient Romans. A common practice was to have people fan small fires under their marble floors.

The only drawback to this highly-efficient system is that it must be installed when either a home is being built or remodeled. The good news is that the cables are very thin and don’t raise the height of the floor at all. Often this type of heat is installed where people will appreciate it most- bathrooms, mudrooms and kitchens.


A Promising Future for Efficient Building Heating Approaches


You may not feel that the systems outlined in this article are right for your immediate needs. That’s okay, but just remember that there are steps you can take today to decrease your energy usage and put more money in your pocket. If you do buy a new HVAC system, look for an energy efficiency one or consider a heat pump which is a more energy efficient way to heat and cool your home.


Geo heat pumps may be more expensive but they can dramatically reduce your overall heating bills for decades to come. Insulating your home with eco-friendly insulation such as wool or blue-jean insulation is another way to start seeing a return on your money from day one. As soon as you invest in insulation, you start saving, which helps to make insulation one of the best home improvement options around.


In the future, a combination of solar, passive solar and geothermal heat pumps will likely play a huge role in heating and cooling around the world. These technologies and building approaches have a vital part to play in lowering carbon footprints and helping the world avoid potentially dangerous climate change.

Posted by January 02, 2016 at 2:51 PM under Alternative Energy