Seven Ways to Save on Heating Costs

Once again, it’s the time of year when the sudden spike in your monthly heating bill leaves you feeling cold inside. But you do not have to live with the increased prices. There are various ways you can reduce your heating costs. The tips that will be most useful to you will vary depending on your heating system, location, and lifestyle, but by applying even a few of them, you can save money and stay warm.

  1. Bundle Up

 

If you don’t mind adding a sweatshirt and slippers to your around-the-house fashion ensemble, you can save a few bucks by layering up instead of turning up the heat when you are chilly.

 

  1. Change Settings While You Sleep

 

You don’t need to keep the whole house toasty while you snooze. The U.S. Department of energy estimates that you can save ten percent on your yearly heating bills by lowering the thermostat ten degrees for eight hours a day. So turn down the heat, cuddle up with some extra blankets, and have sweet dreams of saving money.

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  1. Make Sure Vents Are Clear

 

If your vents are blocked by furniture or other objects, you will need to turn your heat up higher in order to heat your room sufficiently. So make sure the space in front of your vents is clear to maximize air flow.

 

  1. Seal Cracks

 

By properly weatherizing, you can eliminate heat loss through small cracks in your house. You can use caulk to seal cracks in walls and other stationary parts of your house. Weatherstripping seals leaks in movable pieces, like doors and windows.

 

  1. Cover Windows With Plastic Wrap

 

This is a simple and inexpensive way to save a lot. Covering your windows reduces the amount of heat lost through them, but since the wrap is clear, you will barely notice a difference in your view. There are various DIY window wrap kits available at hardware stores, and by using them you’ll end up slashing your bills by about 14 percent.

 

  1. Get a Furnace Tune-up

 

It may seem like an up-front cost you don’t want to pay, but treating your furnace to preventative maintenance will help it run more efficiently. This will save you money each month, as well as help prevent any huge costs incurred from major repairs. Some companies, like Reimer HVAC, even have seasonal promotional specials to help you save money on your tune-up. This is an important investment in your furnace’s long-term health.

 

  1. Upgrade to a Hybrid System

Hybrid cooling and heating systems use smart technology to regulate your home’s temperature. They sense what temperature your home needs to be and turn on the gas or electric according to which is more cost effective. In the winter, this can save you up to 33% on heating costs. You can also program these thermostats to change their settings according to the time of day, so you don’t have to remember to turn down the heat night after night. Upgrading your system is an investment that will pay for itself many times over.

 

These are just a few of many ways to reduce your heating bill. With some extra effort and thoughtfulness, you can save money on heating and have more money for fun activities, like seeing Star Wars—again.

 

Testing a Window or Door Installation – Faulty Panes

 

In an economy where rising costs mean it’s “kill or be killed”, it’s important to realize that everybody, from the lowliest leaflet distributor all the way up to the loftiest boardroom exec, is trying desperately to stay ahead of the competition. And usually at the expense of time. The world of windows and doors sales and installation is no exception. Installers will often rush jobs as they are working constantly against the clock. In this brief, informative article we take a look at how to test for a faulty pane.

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Remember that a window or door’s job is to keep cold out and warmth in. So after your installation has been completed you should be asking the installer to double check everything. For example, a double glazing unit (whether a window or door) has argon gas between the panes and will not cause internal sweating (gathering of moisture on the glass) when cold air hits it. This is because there should be zero humidity (moisture in the air) between the panes of glass. One indicator that a pane is faulty is debris or dust between the panes. This usually means a seal is faulty.

But you will need to confirm this to be able to approach your installer about the problem. So, how do you test for and confirm a faulty pane? Thankfully it’s actually quite simple. To begin with, pop to your local hardware store and pick up a can of compressed air (with a straw for the nozzle.) Then take the aerosol can, turn it upside down and keep swirling it around. The object of this exercise is to gather all the coolant in the can together. Keeping the can turned upside down, and with your straw inserted in the nozzle, spray a decent sized circle (three or four inches) of the aerosol onto the glass. Keep the straw a couple of millimeters from the glass as you spray – you need to concentrate the aerosol onto the glass so that the glass itself freezes. (Watch out for the coolant dribbling out of the straw at the top of the nozzle and on to your fingers.)

Next, take a rag and wipe away the frost that you just created. Inside the panes will be very cold at this point so what you are looking for here is sweating on the inside of the unit. Where you have just wiped with your rag will probably refreeze as the coolant in an aerosol can is extremely cold. In fact you may have to wipe away the frost several times before the glass on the outside is clear.

(One little tip here is to wet the rag with tepid water to wipe away the ice a little quicker.)

Once the ice has been completely wiped away, you need to be looking for water droplets on the inside of the glass. This indicates the formation of dew and is an indicator of a broken or faulty seal. At this point, you should be snapping off a few photos and going directly to your installer.

A Recipe to Cooking Up The Perfect Kitchen: Achieving Ergonomics & Style in 5 Simple Steps kitchen renovation melbourne

1.Function is key

There is no perfect kitchen shape. However, a kitchen must always be practical and ergonomic. Design a layout based on practicality – make sure your fridge is accessible and that your dishwasher doesn’t block any paths. Ample bench space is also a must. If you’re dealing with an old kitchen, consult the kitchen renovation experts in Melbourne who can help you re-design a stylish and convenient space.

Beautiful Fitted Kitchen In Modern House

2.Utilise natural light

Natural light is your friend! Unlike other areas of the house, overhead lighting alone is insufficient in kitchens. You need more than backlight, as you don’t want to cast a shadow over your workspace. Plan to have big windows and an open floor plan to make the most of natural light. If natural light is scarce, under-cabinet kitchen lights are a handy way to position light to fall in front of you.

3.Safety first

If you have a family or young children, safety is especially important to consider when designing your dream kitchen. Consider safe design elements such as rounded bench tops, ovens located at adult-height and slip-resistant flooring. It may also be worth considering positioning the kitchen with a good visibility of back yards and play areas.

4.Ensure there’s enough storage space

Having enough storage space is pivotal to a functional kitchen design. Design your kitchen so white goods such as microwaves, toasters and hot water jugs have a home, and make sure there is plenty of bench space for prepping meals. Put drawers wherever possible – they can store up to 30% more items than shelves. Pull-out pantries, hidden drawers and pull-out corner solutions are a crafty way to make the absolute most of the space available to you.

5.Push the style boundaries of your kitchen needs

Get creative and have fun with your kitchen design! Think about what you like preparing most – is it stovetop, oven or fresh meals? Cater your kitchen design to your needs, but allow for experimentation. Don’t forget there is a plethora of designs when making your kitchen your own; try some new designs with flooring, ceiling, splashback and lighting.

The kitchen is a meeting point for the whole household. It’s where you go to refuel, relax and converse. It’s your destination first thing in the morning and the last place before bed at night. Take heed of these 5 helpful tips to ensure you design the best kitchen for your family.

How to Decrease Water Usage in Your Home

 

When you want to cut the amount of water that you are using in your home each day, there are some simple steps that you can take to make sure your home is water efficient. From buying new showerheads to stopping annoying drips, you can use practical ways to decrease your water consumption. Review some of the ideas below to see which ones you can use in your home to make your water bill more affordable.

Showers and Baths

One of the most economical ways to decrease water usage in your home is to invest in a shower/bath combination. This provides you with the ability to take either a shower or bath depending on your preference. The Carron Axis Bath collection offers a bathtub made from quality materials that holds the heat in your water longer so that you can enjoy your hot bath without having to add more water. After you have finished bathing you can use the water from your tub to water the house plants or flowers in your garden. Think about investing in a showerhead that will conserve water and look for a shower that has a timer feature that you can use to control the amount of time that you spend in the shower.

Fix Dripping Taps

A tap that is always dripping can waste up to 5,500 litres of water in your home. If you fix these taps immediately, imagine the amount of money that you can save. Washers are generally inexpensive to fix when they cause dripping taps, but the water waste in this part of your home can add up to £18 yearly. You can always invest in water efficient taps or tap aerators which tend to be simple and cheap fixes that you can handle.

 

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Brush Your Teeth without Running Water

Did you know that as you brush your teeth with the tap running you are wasting about 6 litres of water each minute? Remember to turn off your tap whilst you’re brushing your teeth. This could amount to quite a savings if everyone in the UK did this simple thing each day.

Washers and Dishwashers

Doing a full load of dishes or clothes can save you a great deal of water each time you use them. Instead of doing half a load of clothes, wait until you have enough laundry to fill up the machine. You should also look at your owner’s manual for cycles that help to save water usage. Get familiar with the cycles on your dishwasher and remember to wash only a full load of dishes when you run it. To save even more water, avoid using the Pre-Rinse cycle since your model is probably very efficient at cleaning dirty dishes.

Pipes and Leaks

Frequently check the pipes under your sinks and around your home for leaks that can cause water waste. Repair them immediately or, if you aren’t proficient at doing this type of work, hire a trusted plumber to do the work for you. Know where the main valve for your home is so that in an emergency you can cut it off immediately.

 

Image courtesy of John Kasawa/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

How to Choose the Best LED Lighting for Your Needs

Nowadays, you may have noticed that there are many different types and models of LED lights to choose from. You can now buy LED lights almost anywhere (although the best place to find them is still in electrical supply firms), and you only need to choose the most ideal LED lighting based on what it is that you need and require. Continue reading How to Choose the Best LED Lighting for Your Needs

7 ingenious ways to upcycle your old gutters

source: http://thewhoot.com.au/

If you have just renovated your home and have a surplus of guttering, you might be reluctant to throw away all of that perfectly workable metal – given that it’s just going to be scrapped. It would be far better if you would be able to up-cycle the metal and get something new for your garden or home out of the leftovers, right? After all, your gutters have been made to hold water and be durable, so you’re definitely going to be able to do a whole host of things with these metal pieces. Take a look at these beautiful gutter crafts to give your old gutters a new lease on life.

 

Grow a gutter garden

A great thing to do if you’re short on space is to make a garden out of your old guttering. Not only are these long, thin metal beds going to be easy to install, but they’re deep enough to house herbs as well as things like lettuce and even strawberries. Begin by drilling some holes into the base of your gutters, and then either affix them to the side of your desk with some screws, or pop them on the outside of your window ledge if you’re in an apartment by adding some brackets. You can also use your gutters for a great place to start your seedlings off, because you can slide the seedlings – earth and all – out of one end of the gutter and straight into the ground.

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Make old guttering into a storage container for the workshed

Guttering is a great way to store screws, drill bits, nuts and bolts, and because you can cut the pieces of gutter to size, or section them off, it means that you can customise the guttering to suit your needs. Look into a way to section off the gutter with a piece of cardboard or flexible plastic, and then simply affix the gutters to a wall in the work shed or bench and enjoy having everything at your fingertips.

 

Make a fantastic toy for kids

Make sure you have no sharp edges on the guttering before you give to kids to play with, but you can turn an old length of gutter into a great toy for kids – either a water luge or a marble run – and watch them enjoy sliding objects down the gutter. If you’re more handy with the tools, perhaps you could construct a luge with twists and turns!

 

Make a rustic jewellery holder

A nice piece of old guttering could double as a great holder for jewellery if you polish it up a little bit. Metal gutters are great for this as they lend a slightly aged look to your dressing table aesthetic. You simply need to cut the length of the guttering that you like, and either add in some mesh at the end to keep everything contained, or use fabric or wood cut to size.

 

Wall shelves

Many types of guttering are beautiful and ornate, and with a coat of paint in your chosen colour, guttering can be updated to make some sturdy and unique wall shelves.

 

An interesting light installation

Gutters can be used to house fluorescent bulbs or other kinds of lights, and the effect of the light spilling out the top of the gutter would be lovely when up against a wall or hanging from the ceiling. You could also use guttering as a way to hold tea light candles or citronella candles in the garden and enjoy the safety of knowing that the flame would be safe in the metal housing.

 

A shoe rack

Gutters are great for storing shoes once they have lived their life catching water on your roof – so upcycle them for a great space saving shoe rack. Simply bolt three or four lengths to a frame or directly to the wall, and then you can slot shoes in, toe or heel side down, to keep your entryway clear of clutter.

 

Remember to keep your gutters clean and in great condition, and when it’s time to update them be sure to consider some of these upcycled methods to give your gutters a new lease on life.

 

 

 

 

 

Top 5 ways to optimise your warehouse management system

Improving the operational efficiency of your warehouse can lead to big savings and even bigger profits. As your warehouse grows, it can be challenging to continually optimise your supply chain process so that you maintain and grow your warehouse’s profit margins. As a warehouse manager, you need to be proactive with managing processes that will enhance your warehouse management processes. Below are a few ways to successfully implement processes that will improve your warehouse’s operational efficiency.

Control the labour costs.

One of the most expensive areas in your warehouse management is the cost of labour. Depending on the market you are in, you may be facing increases in the minimum wage for your warehouse, which will impact the productivity cost. You want to implement systems that will maintain or reduce the productivity cost for your warehouse. One of the ways to achieve this is through incentive pay schemes for your employees. For example, among your picking and packing staff, you can engineer more productivity by measuring their performance level and paying a bonus for an exceptional target. Woolworths would offer this type of incentive in some of their warehouses where employees that performed at 140% of the warehouse’s productivity average would earn an extra $200 per week. Additionally, managing the work roster among your staff to ensure that you didn’t’ have too many people that were rostered on to work so that your labour costs sends your balance sheet into arrears.

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Invest in equipment that will make working processes more efficient.

The more efficient your labour staff becomes with delivering the warehouse’s needs, the more profit the warehouse should earn over the long term. Investing in machinery such as new forklifts, pallet trucks and pallet wrapping machines are great ways to optimise the working efficiency in your warehouse.

Seek to improve tracking and measurement within your warehouse.

The better your warehouse tracks, measures and manages your warehouse’s supply chain, labour management and overall warehouse management, the better the warehouse will become with improving its operational efficiency. There are critical metrics that must be monitored and managed if the warehouse is to have a chance at achieving KPIs and becoming more efficient. Seek ways to get feedback from employees and suppliers and keep a lookout for any systems that can improve how your warehouse monitors intrinsic processes that affects profitability.

Empower frontline managers that will execute your strategy.

It is vital that the strategy that you put into play is filtered into your warehouse team that will execute it successfully. This means empowering your warehouse’s frontline managers to oversee and manage processes on the floor, order fulfilment, worker morale and costs. These managers can successfully execute your tactics and provide you with valuable feedback to further improve your warehouse strategy to allow you to hit your goals.

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Investing in SAAS vs Licensed warehouse management systems.

Warehouse software is expensive. Ideally, each warehouse would like to develop a software that is customised to their warehouse’s needs. The cost of doing so may reach hundreds of thousands. It is likely that the ongoing management cost with developers to fix bugs and to make further amends to the software will add tens of thousands in unforeseen costs. The other downside is the software will need to be updated every few years, so there will be a recurring cost. Investing in a SAAS provider can greatly reduce the costs, however it will be an off-the-shelf solution meaning that there may be minimal customisations depending on what the provider can offer. The benefit is ongoing update costs will be managed by the service provider and it can save your business thousands of dollars over the long-term.

 

Effective warehouse management is critical to maintaining profits. Seek to stay on the front foot with managing staff, labour and processes to maintain good operational efficiency and warehouse profits.