Foods That Don’t Belong In A Garbage Disposal

January 3, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Home Appliances 

Garbage disposal clog-freeWhen a garbage disposal clogs, a plumber’s service call in Mason can cost as much as $100 just for showing up. A “fix” could add even more to that bill.

To minimize the likelihood of costly repairs, therefore, be mindful of how your disposal works, and where its limitations lie.

Most clogs are the result of how certain food waste reacts with water and there’s some items you should never flush down your sink. This is because everything sent through the disposal eventually must make its way down the waste line and that can include a trap.

Over time, the trap can get blocked.

With that in mind, here’s a short list of food waste that’s better suited for the garbage can than the kitchen sink:

  • Rice and pasta : Small particles can never be completely pulverized, and will swell in the presence of water. This can clog pipes and traps.
  • Egg shells : Tiny, granular waste can get “bound” with pipe sludge, creating a thick clog.
  • Coffee grounds : Same as for egg shells. As a clog thickens, it’s harder for water to pass through.
  • Grease : Liquid fats turn to solid when in contact with cold water. Over time, this creates a clog like plaque on an artery.
  • Potato peels : Once ground, peels turn starchy like mashed potatoes. This can clog a drain pipe instantly.

With kitchen garbage disposals, the general rule for flushing food should be “when in doubt, leave it out”. Use your disposal for convenience, not for a trash chute substitute.


With The Start Of Autumn, An Easy Way To Save On Energy Bills

October 4, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Home Appliances 

Ceiling fans lower energy costsWith the start of autumn comes a chill in the Mt Lookout air, plus a simple way to drop your home’s energy bill. For homeowners with ceiling fans, it’s as simple as moving a button.

In this vintage video from The Weather Channel, you’ll learn how the blades of ceiling fan are meant to work, and how they amplify a home’s heating and cooling systems. You’ll also learn the optimal settings for blade rotation, and how to reverse your room’s air flow to take advantage.

A quick “cheat sheet”:

  • When a home’s heating system is on, rotate fan blades clockwise
  • When a home’s cooling system is on, rotate fan blades counter-clockwise

Running a ceiling fan consumes a nominal amount of energy as compared to adjusting your home’s overall temperature. On a warm day, for example, running a ceiling fan creates a “windchill effect”, reducing a room’s effective temperature by 4 degrees — all with the equivalent power of a 100-watt light bulb.

On a cold day, the fan pushes hot air back from the ceiling where it tends to collect.

If your home is without ceiling fans, installing them is inexpensive and easy.  There’s videos online to walk you through the steps, or you can call a qualified electrician. Need an electricians name? Call or email me — I’m happy to offer a referral in Mason.


Change Your Air Filters Monthly (But Don’t Go Cheap)

June 14, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Home Appliances 

3M Filtrete for HVAC units

As the mercury rises into the summer months, don’t forget to change your home’s air filters regularly.  It not only extends the life of your HVAC unit, but can help keep your energy costs down, too.

Not all air filters are created alike, however. Don’t go cheap.

Your local hardware store carries a variety of air filters ranging in price from less than a dollar to $20 or more per filter. They’re all purported to do the same job, but after watching this 1-minute video, you’ll see why cheaper isn’t necessarily better.

Airborne particles are smaller than most mesh filters. Pleated filters are recommended instead.


Most high-quality air filters start around $11 and can be purchased in bulk from Amazon at discounts of up to 20 percent.  3M’s Filtrete line of products is a popular, well-selling brand and can last up to 3 months.

If your home has shedding pets or is dust-prone, consider changing them monthly.


Your Microwave Wastes $70 Per Year And Other Vampire Energy Facts

May 10, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Home Appliances 

Even when they’re not “on”, a multitude of everyday home appliances continue to draw power from the grid, raising home energy bills and increasing atmospheric emissions. These so-called “Energy Vampires” cost U.S. homeowners $4 billion, collectively, in 2005.

In 2010, that figure is likely higher.

In the video above, some of the more common Energy Vampires are highlighted. As an example of how costly standby power can be, researchers show that idle microwave ovens consume enough energy each day to pop an entire bag of microwave popcorn. Annually, the kind of energy consumption wastes close to $70 per household.

Other household Energy Vampires include:

  • Idle battery chargers
  • Computers in “standby” mode
  • Remote control sensors

Simply being aware of home energy-suckers is one easy way to reduce your electricity bill and do something good for the environment. The video shows you how you can both.


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