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Six Ways to Stay Warm without Central Heating

Whether you’re looking for ways to save a few bucks or to be kinder to the environment, these are some fun tips to fight the cold.

Here are a few extremely DIY ways to save on your heating costs this winter.

1. COVER THE WINDOWS:

Feel your windows, if they're cold, that means they're making your whole house cold. The smart, cost-effective solution is to insulate your doors and windows for extreme weather conditions. Proper insulation cuts your electric bill and makes your house more energy-efficient. If you don’t have time or short on money then nail heavy blankets over the windows. One important tip: make sure the windows are shut all the way before you cover them.

2. HOT WATER BOTTLE:

They're not just for sick cartoon characters any more! Water has a high heat capacity, which means it takes a lot to change its temperature. A bottle of warm water will hold its heat for a while even in a cold house, acting as a very cheap mini-furnace. The rubber bottles made for this purpose may be better insulated and more comfortable to hug, but any bottle will do in a pinch. A quick and dirty DIY cover made out of an old sweater improves warmth storage and snuggliness.

3. HOT BEVERAGES:

This one is hardly a secret, but cup after cup of tea, cocoa, and/or coffee are an integral part of any winter survival plan. It seems important to mention here that, despite what you may have heard, liquor doesn't actually make you warmer. However, for those so inclined, the right drink can make you feel warmer. A cup of just about any kind of non-fruity tea with a shot of whiskey combines the best of both worlds.

4. FORTS:

Living-room forts should be familiar to anyone who has ever been or met a child, but here's how they work: gather as many pillows and blankets as you can from around the house and pile them into an inhabitable structure. They're not only a fun way to make a mess of the house, forts can keep you warm for free. As long as you're willing to confine yourself to one room that you leave for food and cocoa, a fort is a great way to make a final stand against the cold since it concentrates all the available insulation in a smaller space. Fort building is also a fun group activity to combat Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as seasonal depression.

5. LAYERS:

Anyone who puts on one sweater and then wants to turn on the heat just isn't trying hard enough. If one doesn't work, try two, three, seven sweaters or pairs of socks. This is basically the same operating principle as step four: concentrate available warming materials. If you're cold under a blanket or two, add more. If you've nailed all your extra blankets to the walls in accordance with tip one or constructed them into a fort as in tip four, put a few clean towels in between layers. Sure, you may not be able to put your arms at your sides wearing all your flannel and sweaters at the same time, but you won't be cold.

6. COMPANY:

The most efficient, least costly, and most fun way to stay warm in the face of winter's chill is to hang out with friends and family. Besides distracting you from the cold, people produce their own heat. Crowd everyone into a small room or a fort in accordance with step four and feel the literal and figurative warmth. A concentrated crowd can turn an icebox into a party sauna, and everyone can bring their own sweaters and blankets, increasing the collection of warmth beyond your physical into your social network. All the hot water bottles in the world don't hold a candle to sharing the cold with others.

15 SIMPLE PLUMBING TIPS TO HELP YOU SAVE MONEY

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Spring has sprung, which means it’s time to do some “Spring Cleaning” for your home’s pipe and drainage systems. Here are 15 quick and simple Spring Plumbing Tips to protect your home against plumbing problems:

  1. Check faucets for drips or leaks. Make repairs to save water.
  2. Check toilets for hidden leaks. Add six drops of food coloring to the toilet tank. If the toilet is leaking, the color will appear in the bowl within 30 minutes
  3. Ensure that all drains have strainers to prevent hair, soap, and debris from clogging the drain lines.
  4. Inspect toilet tank and bowl for cracks or leaks.
  5. Exercise water supply valves under sinks and toilets to prevent them from sticking.
  6. Make sure toilets flush properly. If the handle must be held down for a thorough flush or jiggled to stop the water from running you may need to replace worn tank parts. They’re inexpensive and you’ll notice a lower water bill.
  7. Check the temperature setting on the water heater. It should be set no higher than 120°F to prevent scalding and reduce energy use.
  8. Carefully drain several gallons from the water heater tank to flush out corrosion causing sediment, which reduces heating efficiency and shortens the life of the heater. A great Spring Plumbing Tip.
  9. Consider replacing a water heater more than 15 years old. (The first four numbers of the serial number represent the month and year it was made.) Newer water heaters are more energy efficient
  10. Pour a gallon of water into infrequently used drains (including floor drains) to fill the trap and prevent odors from entering the house. Slow floor drains should be snaked to ensure they will carry away water quickly in the event of a flood.
  11. Check exposed pipes under sinks and in the basement for signs of leaks.
  12. If your home has a sump pump, make sure it operates properly by pouring a few buckets of water into the sump pit. The pump should quickly turn on, discharge the water then shut off without any problems.
  13. Install a backflow valve in the floor drain if you live in an area where sewers sometimes back up into homes. This device will prevent future backups
  14. Make sure yard drains, gutters and downspouts are cleaned out, open, and free of debris.
  15. Check faucets and hose bibs to make sure water flows freely. If an outdoor faucet drips or if there is leakage inside your home the first time the hose is turned on, you may have had a frozen pipe that cracked and needs to be replaced.

This list of Spring Plumbing Tips is just a handful of the useful services and solutions that McCoy's Heating & Air can provide your home this spring. If you are interested in the full rundown of our plumbing services you can schedule a service maintenance of your plumbing and drain systems by calling us!