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Tips & Secrets to Buying a New Heating & Cooling System

Are you in the market for a new heating and cooling system?  Authorities say, be careful.  Many homeowners who have invested in new high efficiency heating and cooling equipment didn’t get the comfort and energy efficiency they paid for.

Information is the key to making a wise decision.  This report will teach you what you should know before talking to contractors, and it will let you in on some little known facts about heating and air conditioning. Unfortunately, even many contractors aren’t aware of this important new knowledge.

This report is based on important new research undertaken by the federal Department Of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, and electric and gas utilities nationwide.  It also draws on the training resources of heating and cooling equipment manufacturers and trade associations.  And it shares advice from consumer protection groups, publications and TV investigative news stories.

This report will teach you the three common reasons most new heating and cooling systems don’t … Read Full Post »

How to Make Your Own Garden Compost Bin for Free

If you do not have $80 – $200 dollars to spend on a composter from Lowe’s or Home Depot, here’s some information for you on how to make a fast and easy DIY composter at home for free.  Have you heard of Austin Craigslist?  If you have visited this website, you have probably seen several postings for free wooden pallets.  And you have probably wondered, why would anyone want that?  You can create a DIY composter with 4 to 5 wooden pallets.  You will need the following materials: 4-5 wooden pallets, nails, hammer, wire or rope, and paint (optional).

Pick out a spot in your backyard that has enough space for about a 4’x4’ box.  Take one of the pallets and stand it up right in front of you, then you need to take another wooden pallet and place it side by side with the first wooden pallet forming a 90 … Read Full Post »

25 Organic Gardening Tips

1. Mulch your flower beds and trees with 3″ of organic material – it conserves water, adds humus and nutrients, and discourages weeds. It gives your beds a nice, finished appearance.

 

2. Mulch acid-loving plants with a thick layer of pine needles each fall. As the needles decompose, they will deposit their acid in the soil.

 

3. The most important step in pest management is to maintain healthy soil. It produces healthy plants, which are better able to withstand disease and insect damage.

 

4. Aphids? Spray infested stems, leaves, and buds with a very dilute soapy water, then clear water. It works even on the heaviest infestation.

 

5. Compost improves soil structure, texture, and areation, and increases the soil’s water holding capacity. It also promotes soil fertility and stimulates healthy root development.

 

6. Look for natural and organic alternatives to chemical fertilizers, such as the use of compost. Our use of inorganic fertilizer is causing … Read Full Post »

How to Control Fruit Flies and Fungus Gnats

Fruit flies and fungus gnats are the most common flying insects found in and around compost bins. These insects are not dangerous or harmful; however, their presence can be a nuisance, particularly indoors. A little information about the food and environments these insects are attracted to can be used to help us control their presence in places where they are not wanted.

Fruit flies

There are many species of fruit flies, ranging in size from one to two millimeters. They can be recognized by the rather bulbous shape of their lower bodies, which is frequently an orange or light brown color. They are relatively slow flyers, often hovering around fruit or juice.

Indoor compost bins (worm bins) provide favorable conditions for the reproduction of these insects, but occasionally fruit flies seem to appear in our kitchens as if by spontaneous generation, even without the presence of a worm bin. This is because they … Read Full Post »

Chigger Bite Prevention & Skin Care

Probably no creature on earth can cause as much torment for its size than the tiny chigger. Tiny six-legged chigger larvae attack campers, picnickers, hikers, bird watchers, berry pickers, fishermen, soldiers, and homeowners in low, damp areas where vegetation is rank such as woodlands, berry patches, orchards, along lakes and streams, and even in drier places where vegetation is low such as lawns, golf courses, and parks. They are most numerous in early summer when grass, weeds and other vegetation are heaviest. Chiggers do not burrow into the skin, but insert their mouthparts in a skin pore or hair follicle. Their bites produce small, reddish welts on the skin accompanied by intense itching as irritating as acute cases of poison ivory or poison sumac. These symptoms often are the only way of learning that an outdoor area is infested since chiggers are so small that most cannot be seen without … Read Full Post »

City of Austin Waterwise Landscape Rebate Program: Conserve Water and Save Money

Austin Water began a new rebate program on July 1, 2010, named the Landscape Conversion Incentive Program. This program is part of Austin’s larger plan to become one of the greenest cities in the nation. It is also a great way to promote efficient use of water in our landscapes and help us to the road to sustainable living. Not only that, but you get free money for participating in the program, too. Austin Water provides resources to help you determine the best native plants and designs for your landscaping projects. If you are interested in participating in the program you can visit the Austin Water website or access the form by clicking on this hyperlink, Landscape Conversion Incentive Rebate Form.

To be eligible for the program, you need to have started your xeriscaping project after July 1, 2010. Requirements include before and after pictures, a minimum of 500 square feet used for … Read Full Post »

Managing Large-Sized Pests in Texas

Large sized pests can cause serious property and health risks to home owners and should be dealt with carefully. These types of pests are usually always attracted by food, whether it comes in the form of food scraps, garbage, or even composting. The two most common types of large sized pests include raccoons, and coyotes. You should use extreme caution when dealing with pests of these size and call control professionals if the situation seems dangerous.

Raccoons
Raccoons are nocturnal creatures, and they are the bandits of the animal kingdom; these rascals will locate and steal anything that is of value or use to them. The raccoon can grow to be almost 3 feet long and can vary in weight from 10 pounds up to almost forty pounds. The raccoon typically lives for 8 to 10 years. These creatures are generally passive, but if they are cornered or feel endangered they can … Read Full Post »

Texas Mosquito Myths

With so many families spending time outdoors, it’s important to stay protected from unplanned summer mishaps. In fact, adults named insect-related (25 percent) concerns like stings, bites and contracting the West Nile virus from infected mosquitoes among their top protection concerns during the summer.

When it comes to summer most of us can’t wait to hit the beach, hike local nature trails or even lounge in the backyard. In fact, according to the OFF! PowerPad survey, adults say they and/or their families plan to attend a barbecue (73 percent), watch fireworks (59 percent), attend outdoor concerts (33 percent), go camping (28 percent) and go to amusement parks (32 percent) this summer.

With so many families spending time outdoors, it’s important to stay protected from unplanned summer mishaps. In fact, adults named insect-related (25 percent) concerns like stings, bites and contracting the West Nile virus from infected mosquitoes among their top protection concerns … Read Full Post »

3 Tips to Having a Pest-Free Vacation

After that nice cold winter we had summer wasted no time in letting us know we were still in Texas. 100+ degree days already and it’s only June! It’s defiantly vacation time .On top of that the bugs are moving and just like you they are looking to beat the heat. Here are a few thing you might check before you head out the door for cooler climates.

1. Security Lighting: Most people like to deter snoops and thieves by leaving exterior lights on while they are out of town. It may help keep the crooks away, but those same lights shine like a beacon calling bugs to your home. The longer the light shines the more bugs that come. And getting that many bugs together is too much of a temptation for hungry spiders. You’ve created your own little pest house party when all you really wanted to do is … Read Full Post »

How Energy Efficient Are Solar Screens?

 

Solar screens are the most effective window treatments that you can apply to your home. They are great for lowering energy bills by stopping the heat transfer through your windows and doors while still maintaining your view. Window film, interior products, or awnings cannot compete with the energy efficiency of solar shade screens. The best product to install is the 90% shade factor solar screens which are and incredibly pet resistant pvc coated polyester material. What color of solar screen should you choose? The darker colors are more efficient and also have the best view. However there are many different colors and you should pick the color you will be most happy with. Remember, the darker the color the better the view.

Which windows or doors on my house should you do? Many companies will tell you for maximum energy efficiency, solar screens should protect all windows and doors. This is … Read Full Post »