Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Pets and Indoor Air Quality

Pets are members of the family, so it is only natural to want to include them in everything. When I was growing up my family always had a cat. But about 6 months ago, we actually got a dog, so now we are a two-pet family. Until the dog joined our family, I never knew how much fun a dog could be. We are realizing how much work a dog is, too. While we are really enjoying our pets now, we are also becoming aware of the effects on the air quality in the home. Follow the tips below to keep air quality under control when you have pets in the house.

Pets and Air Quality
 

Image via Flickr by BryanAlexander

Contrary to popular belief, dander isn't pet hair. It's actually dead skin cells. People who are allergic to animals are most likely allergic to pet dander. This can get on furniture, in your home's air supply, and even in your air conditioner.

Along with dander, pets can track in allergens and dirt from outside. They pick these up from rolling around in the grass or walking around the neighborhood. These allergens can accumulate on the air conditioner's motors and fans, which then circulate the allergens throughout your home. This can drastically reduce the indoor air quality. That's why it is important to have your HVAC system inspected and cleaned regularly.

Grooming
Grooming your pets will help reduce the dander and other allergens they may bring in the house. The ASPCA recommends that you groom your pets frequently. Dogs need a bath at least once every three months, and usually more often than that. If he or she spends a lot of time outdoors, then bathing more often is a good idea. Use a good shampoo to get rid of dirt and dead skin cells, which will limit pet dander.

Brushing pets often is also useful in reducing allergens. Long-haired pets, including many cats, need brushing at least once a week. This will help remove dirt and hair before it ends up in your HVAC ductwork.

Designated Pet Areas
Keeping your pets outside isn't always realistic, but having outdoor pets will limit allergens indoors. At the very least, keeping pets outside your bedroom is a good idea. This will reduce the allergens in your bedroom and improve the air quality. Since since most people spend about eight hours a day sleeping, you should see some benefit from resting in a pet-free bedroom.

If a family member or a frequent visitor is allergic to your pets, consider creating a pet-free zone. This could be an area or room in your house where pets are not allowed. That will improve the air you and your guests breathe while indoors.

If you love your pets, you don't want them to be left out of the family. Taking proper care of them and cleaning your house of dust and pet dander should eliminate most allergens. Turning your air conditioner on can also reduce allergens, so it's essential to get appropriate maintenance and cleaning for your HVAC system.


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Blog Tour: THEIR PRETEND AMISH COURTSHIP

Today's book is THEIR PRETEND AMISH COURTSHIP. by  Patricia Davids 

 


Here is a recipe from the author

  1. Bon Appétit and a Book:
In Their Pretend Amish Courtship, my heroine Fannie offers the hero Noah some cinnamon raisin biscuits she’d made when they returned home from their first date. When she asks him how they are, his response is, “They won’t choke me.” These won’t choke you, either.
Glazed Cinnamon Raisin Biscuits

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Why to Hold Off on Turning on Your A/C This Summer

Now that summer is almost here, you may want to start thinking about turning on the air conditioning. When the temperature rises, your first inclination may be to cool your house with the HVAC system. But there are some alternatives to air conditioning that can save energy and money. 

Landscaping for Shade 
















Image via Flickr by K i N

Energy efficiency is possible with proper landscaping methods, according to Landscaping for Life, a site promoting sustainable living. An easy way to get results is to shade the HVAC unit itself. Shading the air conditioner from the hot sun will save energy, even when you do turn it on. In fact, shading the outdoor unit can increase the system's efficiency by as much as 10 percent.

If you can landscape with trees, shrubs, and groundcover, then you can reduce the heat that radiates to your home. Evergreen trees, or trees with high crowns, will shade your roof and windows, lowering your air conditioning costs throughout the summer.

Lower Humidity Levels
Another way to cut down on air conditioning use this summer is to lower humidity levels in your home. The optimal range for humidity inside your home is between 40 to 50 percent. Keeping the humidity level low will keep you comfortable, even as you wait longer to turn on the air conditioner. When the indoor air is too humid, it can cause the inside of your home to feel hot, sticky, and steamy.

One way to lower the humidity level is to use a dehumidifier during the summer months. You can place units in certain rooms, such as damp basements, where the humidity levels are too high. A few other things that can help ease humidity include limiting hot showers, cooking, and boiling hot water on stove. Putting lids on pots and pans can help prevent your home's humidity level from increasing.

Survey the Home
Do a quick survey of your home, and you'll see if there are some areas that need improvement to help fight the heat and keep you from having to turn on the air conditioner. One strategy could be to switch off some of your electrical appliances when not in use, such as the TV or computers. Keeping lights off during the day can also help, since lights can generate heat that adds up during the day.

Also, you can check if your celing fans are working properly, especially in the bedrooms. Turning these on at night can make you more comfortable while sleeping and lessen the need for the air conditioner. If you don't have ceiling fans, consider investing in some to beat the heat.

Having the option to turn on your air conditioner is useful, especially during the hottest months of the year. But being able to reduce your energy usage and save some money is also a favorable prospect for homeowners. Following these constructive suggestions and keeping your cooling system running efficiently with proper repair and service will allow you to hold off on turning on your air conditioner.



Tuesday, June 13, 2017

IN THE COWBOY’S ARMS: June Book Tour

The heat is on this Summer already, so it is time for another book on the June Harlequin blog tour. So today's book is In The Cowboy's Arms by Vicki Lewis Thompson



Here is some info on book:
Matt Forrest was born to be an actor, but grew up at Thunder Mountain Ranch as a cowboy. So when things go haywire after shooting his first Hollywood movie, he retreats to his childhood home where he knows his parents and foster brothers can help him figure out what he really wants out of life.


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

WANTED: TEXAS DADDY blog tour & #giveaway

Guys, are you ready for Summer? Well I am. And I'm also ready for the June Harlequin book tour. The book on today's schedule is Wanted: Texas Daddy, by Cathy Gillen Thacker



Here is a Q&A from the author:

  1. What was your favorite part about writing WANTED: TEXAS DADDY?  
I loved having a pregnant heroine, and doting daddy-to-be.

  1. What was challenging about writing this book?  
I covered the entire pregnancy, from the first mention of having a child together, to bringing baby home from the hospital.  A lot of ground to cover in 55,000 words!

  1. How would you describe the relationship between Sage and Nick?  
Committed.  They started out as great friends, became lovers and then finally husband and wife.

  1. How did you come up with their names? Do they mean anything specific?  
Nick is a guy’s guy, so I wanted him to have a name that was both masculine and accessible.  Sage is a popular girl’s name in the southwest—probably because the plant is both hardy and evergreen and beautifully blooming.  Sage really blossoms in response to Nick’s love and attention.
  1. When did you first realize that you wanted to be writer?  
I started dreaming up stories when I was eleven-adding details to the story was how I put myself to sleep most nights.  I got serious about putting words to page when my children were toddlers.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Kid Friendly Healthy Home Infographic

I want to share this infographic with you. There's some important information provided in it for families. This could help parents maintain a healthy environment for their children. Some products that are believed to be safe may actually be harmful to you and your family. You can start by updating some of the products and items you use in your home everyday. One thing your family can do is reduce the amount or the type of plastics you use. According to Family Education, swapping out plastics that contain BPA with better alternatives will be healthier for you and your family. 

Something you can do at home is substitute plastic with glassware or plastics marked 1, 2, or 5. Also, instead of aluminum canned goods, which can be harmful because they are lined with plastic, switch to frozen or fresh foods. Some cleaning products have hazardous chemicals, but you can replace them with DIY cleaners. You can make them with vinegar, baking soda, and borax, which you may already have in your cabinet. You can swap out certain soaps, too. Going fragrance-free is best, and avoiding too many antibacterial soaps is also a good idea.

Following some of the tips shown will also help boost the air quality in your home. Be sure to avoid commercial air fresheners, change your HVAC filter regularly, and schedule annual HVAC maintenance. All of this information is outlined in the infographic below, and it will help you create a healthier environment for you and the little ones in your home.