Posts Tagged ‘preparing for seasons’
With winter upon us, our homes are much colder and our electricity bills are skyrocketing. Turning up the heater is the first thing we do as soon as we feel the cold, but there are other alternatives. If you invest in the appropriate window coverings, you won’t have to run the heater as often and will save a bunch of money. Although, purchasing blinds can require a large upfront payment, you are making an investment in your home and it will pay off.
Does It Really Work?
Of course it does! Windows are the greatest source of cold into and warmth out of your house. It has been said that windows account for 40% of heat loss in homes. You spend all this money on a heater, just to lose almost half of it to the outside. Installing blinds wouldn’t allow this loss to occur. If you are able to trap a layer of air in between blinds and the window, the heat won’t be able to escape and cold won’t be able to enter.
How to Make the Most of Your Blinds
Making the most of the newest addition to your home is actually quite simple. The best way to control the temperature in your home without touching the thermostat is to time the opening and closing of your blinds. During the day, you are going to want to open the blinds to let in all the sunlight and warmth. However, when dusk falls, close the blinds to keep the natural heat inside and the cold out.
The Right Window Coverings For You
Because every home and customer is different, there is not a one-size-fits-all window covering. The perfect window covering for you depends on the style you are looking for, the size of your windows, and the cold protection you desire. Louie’s Ace Hardware offers a wide variety of mini-blinds and basic rollers to fit any need. In addition, at Louie’s, you are able to special order products from Hunter Douglas. Whatever your style, we have you covered!
As the colder months are approaching, so are hefty energy bills if the proper preparations are not taken. Winterization is a key step in ensuring your home stays nice and cozy without spending a pretty penny.
We’ve compiled a handy checklist of easy ways to reduce your energy bill this winter, and ensure your home is winterized and ready to withstand dropping temperatures.
Weatherstripping and Draft Guards
Your doors and windows are major culprits of letting cold air into your home if they aren’t properly sealed. It is important that these areas are properly insulated, and the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that drafts in your home waste 5% to 30% of energy. Weatherstripping is great for drafty windows and can be easily applied and measured to fit any window. Draft guards can either be purchased or made yourself, and are adjustable depending on the width of your door, and its clearance from the ground.
Believe it or not, ceiling fans are designed to go in two different rotations, one is for hotter weather, the other for the cold. Make sure your ceiling fan is going clockwise during the winter months. This ensures warmer air is being pushed downward towards the center of the room and the walls, pushing cold air upwards.
Much like draft guards and weatherstripping, caulk can help you close up cracks that are letting a draft into your home. Use caulk to fill cracks or holes in non-movable components in your home like cracks in siding, or along windows that cannot be opened. Cracks can be often overlooked as a cause of drafts and cold temperatures within the home, and when filled can make a noticeable difference, but this is a winterization tip you shouldn’t skip out on.
Replacing the filters in your home will help to make your central air and heating system work a little less. When filters are clogged, it requires a lot more energy to push out your desired heat levels. An added benefit; you’ll be breathing much healthier air with a brand new filter as well.
Believe it or not, the glass on your windows themselves can be letting cold air through. If you’re looking to save extra money on energy costs, or you’ve taken other winterization measures and they’re still not helping, it may be worth it to consider window insulation. There are many kits containing film that you can easily place over the glass surface of your windows that are designed to help insulate. If you’re not concerned with the appearance, bubble wrap also works well and provides extra insulation these film kits do not provide.
Outdoor Faucet Covers
A crucial step in ensuring your pipes don’t freeze, and subsequently burst, outdoor faucet covers are one of the most important winterization steps. It’s first important that you drain these faucets and detach any hoses or other attachments. Afterward, attach a faucet cover and you’re set for the rest of the winter!
Stop by Louie’s ACE today to pick up all the supplies you need to save on energy costs this winter. We have everything you need and more for home winterization.
When it comes to lawn mowers, there are a surprisingly large number of options available. Mowing the lawn can be a pain, so when it comes to choosing your tool it is important to choose the one that can help you tackle your yard the best.
Electric and gas mowers each have their own benefits that largely depend upon the type of yard you have, your personal choices, costs, and the level of maintenance you’re willing to take on.
When you think of lawn mowers, it’s likely that a gas mower is what first comes to mind. These mowers provide the power needed to easily tackle tough grass and mow larger areas without troublesome cords or having to re-charge a battery. A little gas can go a long way! Gas mowers also can be more durable and long lasting in comparison to some electric models.
If you’re looking to be environmentally friendly, a gas powered mower is not the top option as it emits carbon monoxide and dioxide into the atmosphere. They also tend to be much noisier than electric mowers. Due to the additional mechanisms and pieces, gas mowers tend to be heavier as well.
A popular alternative to gas lawn mowers, electric mowers a great option for those looking to avoid some of the downsides to using a gas powered tool. Not only are electric mowers quieter, you also avoid the frustrating pull-to-start process of turning on a gas mower. Electric mowers also don’t require sparkplugs or fuel filters eliminating the additional accessories needed with gas powered mowers. While they can be pricey up-front, electric mowers also can become cost effective over time.
Despite these benefits, electric mowers are not the best option if you have a large area to cover because they either come with cords or rechargeable batteries that last for only about an hour. They also can be dangerous when used in wet conditions as the electrical components can cause electrocution if they come into contact with water. An electric lawnmower isn’t the best choice for lawns with tough grasses or for someone who may wait for their lawn to look like a jungle before taking out the mower.
Looking to upgrade your mower? Keep an eye out for Louie’s ACE Home Center’s “cash for clunkers” program this September!
Long a tradition for some families, canning has seen resurgence in popularity alongside the growing admiration for mason jars. Food that has been canned can last for years, extending the life of your food and preventing waste, and now even more so than ever there are great ways to add personal touches to your canned food making them great gifts for friends and family.
Methods of Canning
There are two methods of canning, each corresponding to the type of food you are looking to can. It is important that you choose the correct method for what you want to can, as it can be crucial in ensuring your food isn’t susceptible to bacteria.
Water Bath Canning: This method is used for foods and vegetables with acidic content. This is what you use for jams and jellies as well as for pickles. The process of water bath canning is fairly easy, and is a great starting point for beginner canners.
Pressure Canning: Using the pressure canning method is for foods with low acidic content including vegetables, meats and poultry, and seafood. This particular method requires a lot of attention because if the process is done incorrectly, this food can spoil very easily.
Protect your Canned Goods
While there are two different methods depending on what you’re planning to can, there are things to keep in mind with both methods that are important to making sure your food is properly canned, thus making sure your food is optimally protected.
- Make sure the jars you’re using are free of cracks and that the lids and bands are a snug fit to the jar. If you notice any discrepancies in the seal or jar, don’t use it as it may have a leak that will leave your food susceptible to bacteria.
- Be sure to wash each jar, lid, and seal thoroughly with soap and hot water before adding your ingredients.
- Keep your jars warm at all times prior to adding ingredients. This helps prevent the jars from breaking when adding hot contents later on.
- Fill a pot half way with water and bring it to a simmer. The water should be hot, but not boiling. To keep jars from floating, add water inside them.
- An alternative to this method is running the jars, without lids, through the dishwasher. Keep the dishwasher closed until you need the jars.
For both methods, be sure to select your favorite recipe and follow those instructions carefully. It is important to reduce the entry points for bacteria before the food is placed within the jars. When done correctly, food is edible for one to five years depending on what you’ve canned.
With the Mason jar trend at a peak, there are more options than ever to add a personal touch to your canned foods. Lots of DIY elements including chalkboard paint on the lids or die-cut labels are great ways to add a personal touch, especially when gifting things such as jams to friends and family.
One thing we have here at Louie’s ACE that we love are the purple heritage jars; they resemble desert glass and are special edition, which means as soon as they sell out, they’re gone!
Visit Louie’s ACE today to see all of our food canning supplies!
The Debate is on!
Summer means two things; charcoal or gas grills. Whichever you lean toward, there are a couple of things to consider on your to-do list before shopping for a grill. Before heading down to Louie’s ACE consider the cost, convenience, safety, and flavor.
- Charcoal- having to mess with briquettes, inhaling starter fuel, and having to wait for the coals to turn orange can be a hassle. After the grilling has been done, the clean-up can be very messy with all of the ash left at the bottom of the grill.
- Gas- gas grills start with a simple knob turn and the heat source is adjustable. As for clean-up, turn to off and a scrub with a metal brush.
Grill and Operating Cost
When thinking about basic models, charcoal grills will be less expensive than gas grills. When considering the operating cost between the two, it is less expensive to have a gas grill. Gas grills run on either natural gas or propane canisters and it is less expensive to operate a gas grill than a charcoal grill since charcoal is an expensive fuel type.
According to the National Fire Protection Agency, more accidents happen with charcoal grills than gas grills but serious injuries are said to occur with gas grills. Charcoal grills are light in weight and tend to tip over more often than gas grills. For the most part, injuries occur due to the use of starter fuel.
Fuel the Flames Responsibly
When starting the grill, people tend to put too much fuel on charcoal causing huge flare ups. Avoid adding more fuel to the charcoal after it has already been lit. Also, buying charcoal that has already been soaked in starter fuel can reduce the risk of injuries with charcoal grills.
As for gas grills the use of starter fuel is out of the picture but there are some things to consider. Always read the user manual before operating your grill and learn basics like how to turn it on and off properly. Be mindful of leaving the gas on too long before pressing the ignition button could cause a flare up. Make sure there are no leaks coming from the gas container or hoses before you start the grill.
For more on safety ask the good folks at Louie’s Ace for assistance.
Flavor- It is all up to your taste buds
This part is really up to you and your guests. If you are looking for the smoky taste, then charcoal grills are the way to go. This type of grill is considered to have a more natural flavor. By adding flavored wood chips to charcoal grills, you will have everyone asking for seconds and maybe thirds! Charcoal grills are more convenient for red meats whereas gas grills are better for chicken, fish, and veggies.
Which side are you on?
If it still seems like a tough call, contact Louie’s Ace or come on in and ask one of our friendly staff members.
What’s Cooler than Being Cool?
For those on the fence, we put together a list of the best reasons to buy a swamp cooler this summer.
Monthly Operating Costs
Let’s be honest, sometimes one of the best reasons to get a swamp cooler in Fallon is to save money. According to ConsumerEnergyCenter.org, swamp coolers use up to 75 percent less energy than air conditioning, saving on average about $150 a year. Use those savings for the next vacation with family and friends.
Choose Where Cool Happens
An air conditioner will generally take longer to cool the house and it may take a while to meet your level of comfort and satisfaction. Mobile swamp coolers eliminate that problem by targeting your area of recreation, cooling the air in a few minutes.
This benefit is for those choosing a mobile swamp cooling system.
Big Swamp Coolers are Much Cheaper than a New Air Condition System
For those considering a big swamp cooler to replace an air conditioning unit, you’ll find the savings to be worth it. According to the National Association of Home Builders, a big swamp cooler costs between $700 and $1,000, whereas central air conditioning units tend to cost several thousand dollars.
Better for a Dry Climate
Simply put, swamp coolers use moisture to produce fresh, clean air. Nevada has always been a dry climate, but adding a little moisture to your room can benefit your skin’s complexion.
If you’re ready to join the swamp cooler revolution, come in to Louie’s ACE Home Center today and ask us how we can keep you cool this summer.