Tag Archives: Green

How To Install A Water Heater Jacket
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Water heater savingsA simple way to save money is to improve your home’s energy efficiency rating.  For example, Sedona homeowners can save up to 9 percent per year on water heating costs simply by installing a water heater jacket.

Water heater jackets are easy to install. Here’s how you do it :

First, before you go shopping, check whether your water heater is a gas model, or an electric one. Then, write down your water heater model number. Most water heater jackets list compatible water heater models on their respective packaging. Look for jackets with a value of “R-8”.

Then, as you start your project, be sure to turn the water heater off.

Water heater jackets are pre-cut to make installation simple. Remove the outer packaging and separate the jacket’s pre-cut pieces. There will likely be a top, a body and belts. You’ll want to have plenty of duct tape on hand, too.

Next, shape the top of the water heater jacket to fit your appliance.  Trim around the pipes which enter the water heater, then tape the areas closed. This will form a strong seal.

Tape the top edges down to the side(s) of the water heater.

Then, take the body of the water heater jacket and wrap it around your water heater’s mid-section. Have the belts ready and secure them, taking care that the belts don’t push the insulation down more than one-quarter of its thickness.

Lastly, outline the access plate with a pencil on the insulation exterior, and use scissors or a knife to cut the insulation out. Tape the edges to avoid fraying and set the water heater to a temperate no higher than 130 degrees.

Note that outfitting a gas water heaters with jackets can be more complicated than with electric water heaters because of construction. If your water heater is a gas model, consider hiring a professional to handle your installation.

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How To Use Newspapers To Kill Garden Weeds
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Kill weeds with newspapersApril 22 is Earth Day, a day to raise awareness about, and to celebrate, the Earth’s natural environment. It’s also a day for people of Sedona to do something good for the planet.

There are lots of ways to help the environment, including by reducing your net electricity usage, by conserving fresh water supplies, and by planting trees. You can also reduce the use of chemicals and pesticides in your home’s garden or yard.

One such trick is replace chemical-heavy pesticides used for weed killing with your local newspaper instead. Newspapers can be effective in killing weeds, and preventing new ones from growing, while also protecting the Earth from contaminants.

The method is basic — use a wet newspaper “carpet” blocks both sunlight and oxygen from reaching the soil, starving weeds that have already grown, and those that have yet to break soil.

Here’s how to do it :

  1. Confirm that your newspaper uses soy-based ink — most local dailies do.
  2. Stack a dozen pieces of newsprint and thoroughly wet it
  3. Place the wet pages on the area affected by weeds
  4. Cover the wet pages with a thin layer of mulch

That’s it. Over several weeks, the covered weeds will decompose into the soil, providing nourishment to other plants and vegetation. If you find that the initial newsprint stack “failed”, repeat the above steps, doubling up on the number of news pages and mulch.

Make sure that your newsprint is the “standard” newsprint, too. Avoid glossy circulars and coupon pages which use different paper and often use less Earth-friendly ink.

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Build Your Own Rain Barrel To Save Money, Environment
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Rain barrelAccording to the EPA, during summer months, lawn and garden watering account for roughly 40% of a typical home’s water use.

It’s a statistic that reminds us how “green lawns” can be wasteful to both the environment and household budgets  — especially with drought conditions expected and water costs rising in many U.S. municipalities.

As a homeowner in Cornville , to help Mother Nature and your wallet, consider added a rain barrel to your home.

A rain barrel is a rain-capturing system that collects and stores water runoff from your roof. Often attached to a home’s gutter system, a standard rain barrel collects and holds 55 gallons of water which can then be reused to water plants, wash cars, and clean driveways among other uses. Because the water is natural (i.e. not treated with chlorine or lime), it’s also ideal for window washing.    

Rain barrels can be purchases at most hardware or garden stores, or online via Amazon.com, for example. Or, they can be hand-built.

To install your rain barrel, first find a location for it, either under a downspout or near one. Make sure to select a stable location because water weighs roughly 8 pounds per gallon. A full rain barrel will weigh over 400 pounds, therefore, so be sure the ground beneath the it is solid and flat.

Next, if your rain barrel is hand-built, use PVC piping to reroute falling water into the mouth of the barrel itself, making sure to create a water-tight seal between the piping and the downspout. Or, if you’re using a store-bought rain barrel, follow the manufacturers instructions to “connect” the rain barrel to the downspout.

And, as the last step, be sure that the mouth of the rain barrel is protected from outside debris such as leaves, flowers and bugs. A formal lid or a covering made of wire mesh makes for a suitable protective cover. Most store-bought rain barrels will be sold with a covering.

That’s it. Just remember that basic maintenance will be needed. Water caught by a rain barrel should be used regularly to prevent “standing water” and protective screens should be cleaned regularly.

For a step-by-step guide to building your own rain barrel at home, click here.

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50 Creative Reuse Ideas For Your Home And Garden
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Creative reuse“Creative Reuse” is the transformation of everyday items that would otherwise be thrown out into something useful. It’s where being “green” and the arts can converge. 

In every Verde Santa Fe home, there are literally hundreds of items that be reused and repurposed, including such disparate items as chipped coffee mugs, step ladders, and bubble wrap. After transformation, for example, these three items can become a simple storage container, a plant stand, and greenhouse insulation, respectively.

Real Simple made a list of “50 All-Time Favorite New Uses For Old Things“. It’s a list of Creative Reuse projects from which you’re bound to find inspiration.

For example, the magazine suggests using an old Twister Mat as a children’s party tablecloth; or an old eyeglasses case to hold nail care essentials such as clippers, files and scissors.

Some of Real Simple’s other top ideas included :

  • Distinguish your glass from other party-goers’ glasses at a party with peel-on/peel-off window decals
  • Protect counter tops from hot dishes with and old mousepad-turned-trivet
  • Eliminate travel bulk. Carry non-prescription medicines in an old contact lens case.
  • Use Play-Doh as a candle or sparkler holder
  • Pour pancake batter into an old ketchup bottle for no-mess cooking

With Creative Reuse, you’re limited only by your imagination and, even then, Google can be a terrific project resource.

Check the Real Simple list for 50 great ideas.

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