Archive for September, 2015

What’s the best setting for your air conditioner?

What's the best setting for your air conditioner?Air conditioning can account for 60% to 70% of the total cost of electricity during the summer months. Consumers pay a lot of attention to electricity costs as well as comfort in their homes. For most people it is a balance between comfort and overall cost that dictates the setting for your air conditioner. Another factor is that women seem to like the AC temperature set lower, while many men find it too cold especially as they get older. Bottom line is that the best setting for your air conditioner is one where you are comfortable in your own home and you are not worried about the cost of the electricity being used. However there are ways to use your Air conditioning efficiently, live comfortably and minimize your total cost of electricity.

What’s the best setting for your Air Conditioner

The basic rules is if it is not running, then it is not costing you money. Let’s assume you set the AC at a particular temperature. Can you increase the temperature by one or two degrees? Can you close window blinds to reduce thermal warming from the sun? Can you set the thermostat higher during the day when you are not at home? Can you take advantage of lower electrical rates in the evenings vs. during the day if offered in your area? Did you locate your outdoor unit in a shady spot that is clear of plants and other obstructions? Have you cleaned all filters?

If you have answered yes to these questions, then you are probably doing everything you can to decrease the cost of air conditioning short of just turning it off completely. Your AC costs will not be lower if you maintain the same temperature all day long whether you are at home or not. Cold homes act as a heat sink and will attract heat from outside. Set your AC at a reasonable temperature during the day to avoid huge electricity bills during the summer months.


How to Get Rid of Ants

How to Get Rid of AntsThis year ants have invaded our yard building nests wherever they can. We have interlocking stones for our patio and they just love to build their nests under these with the entrance between the joints. There is lots of sand excavated on top. Sand even gets washed into the pool when it rains and we have found thousands of ants in the pool which get cleaned up by the pool skimmer. We are doing research to figure out How to Get Rid of Ants and what we can do and have also tried a variety of chemicals to get rid of them in addition to natural solutions. The only thing that seems to work is the real stuff, Raid!

How to Get Rid of Ants

Basically if the ant entrance is between the bricks, I spray raid all around the entrance and into the entrance. This kills them almost immediately! If the ant hill is in the lawn or around shrubs, we have used a lawn spray that is mixed with water to kill the ants and many other insects including grubs. We have a grub problem also so this solution does double duty in killing the ants as well as grubs.

But it is a never ending battle. It is impossible to get rid of all of them and they just keep breeding and creating new ant nests. You see there is a little leaf linden in our back yard that is infested with aphids. The tree is far to big to spray and the ants just love the aphids as well as the sweet sap that leaks from the leaves. This as it turns out is one of their primary food sources and provides a breeding ground as well as lots of food for them to consume.

The best we can do is control the number of ant hills we have. By the way we also placed ant traps near the entrances to our home inside so that any ants that do come in find the traps and take the poison back to the nest. At best we have ongoing skirmishes with no one really winning the battle.

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How to Adjust Air Conditioner Thermostat

How to Adjust Air Conditioner ThermostatNext to pools and hot tubs, running an air conditioner during the summer is by far the largest energy user in your home. That also means that it is also the highest cost device in terms of electricity used by your home over the summer months when it is hot and you need relief from the high temperatures and the humidity that usually goes along with it. There are lots of theories about how to adjust air conditioner thermostat in your home to reduce the overall cost. We investigated many web sites and found a great deal of information which makes a lot of sense when you think about it. Even the department of energy weighs in on this topic and had some good ideas. We will summarize all of them in the following paragraphs.

How to Adjust Air Conditioner Thermostat

The basic rule is that if your AC is running it is costing you money. If it is not running you are saving money. There are various approaches you can take to decrease the amount of time it is running to reduce your cost and make them more efficient. Here is the list that we gleaned from a number of web sites.

  • Set the temperature on your thermostat higher to a level your family is comfortable with
  • Turn off the AC or set it higher when you are not at home.
  • Set the thermostat higher during the day, lower at night and when the family arrives home
  • Use the Thermostats timer to control the temperature at various times of the day
  • Use fans to move the air around in your home, they draw less energy
  • Make sure your ceiling fan is blowing air down towards you instead of up to maximize the cooling effect
  • Close blinds and curtains to decrease the amount of heating via windows.
  • Size your Air Conditioner for your home. Too small and too big are both bad ideas causing inefficiency in terms of energy use
  • Locate your AC outdoor unit in a shady spot away from the sun
  • Make sure there is lots of ventilation around your outdoor unit, avoid shrubs etc
  • Keep all filters and outdoor unit clean to increase efficiency
  • Keep all air ducts open and make sure your cold air return ducts are open and clean
  • Utilize shade trees to shade your home

Money Saving: Spending more to obtain credit card rewards

Spending more to obtain credit card rewardsSpending more to obtain credit card rewards is one of the worst financial strategies that consumers could possibly follow. Spending more usually means that you do not have the cash to pay the credit card bill. When the credit card statement arrives the due date is clearly shown. If you cannot repay the balance by the due date, consumers are charged anywhere from 15% to 30% interest depending on the card that is being used. Any savings in terms of sales or rewards will quickly be used up in interest charges.  Sure you have your reward, but it would have been cheaper to not buy the item at all and purchase the reward itself instead of trying to obtain enough points to gain the reward.

Spending more to obtain Credit Card Rewards – The Right Way

Credit card rewards can be worthwhile provided you only purchase the things you need, always charge your purchases to the credit card and always pay the balance in full on the due date. Once you need to pay interest, you have lost any savings from the original purchase and perhaps your item will even cost more than the full price due to the interest charges. The Credit card companies are counting on you to miss your payment so they can begin billing interest charges. In addition to collecting a commission on every sale from the store owner, they make billions from consumers by charging interest on overdue accounts.

Credit card rewards can be very lucrative, especially if they save you money for something that you would do anyway. For example a card that provides rewards for travel to places you were planning to go anyway can be a good deal. If the rewards cannot be used for something that you like and enjoy, cancel the card and get one that does meet your needs.

Be patient the rewards will build over time and save you money in the long run if used in the proper way. Whatever you do, avoid spending more to obtain credit card rewards!

 

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