Window Tips

October may still be warm enough to have your windows open, but it’s already time begin thinking about the cold weather ahead. Early fall is a great time toinstall storm windows and reap the benefits of lower heating costs this winter.

In colder climates, storm windows on single pane glass can reduce heat loss through the window by 25% to 50% and lower your heating costs by as much as 13%! And the savings jump to 20% if the storm windows have a low-E coating.

If your home already has storm windows, this is a great time to clean and close them. Removable screens can be taken down, scrubbed, and put away until spring. While it’s not necessary to remove screens in winter, the added light can help brighten up your house on dark winter days.

If storm windows aren’t an option for you, an alternative is to seal out cold drafts using plastic window insulation kits. These are applied over the inside of the window with self-adhesive tape. A warm hair blower is then used to heat and shrink the plastic to make it tight and nearly invisible.

For more information, visit our website at Biowashing.com

Checking Toilets For Leaks

A constantly running toilet can waste thousands of gallons a water a year and drive up your utility bills. Check your toilets regularly, and replace any parts that are no longer functioning as they should. Most toilet repair jobs are fairly easy to do yourself.

To Check & Repair a Toilet

    • Adjust Water Level in Tank: If your toilet runs when it hasn’t been flushed, remove the lid and check the water level inside the tank. If it’s set too high, the water will spill into the overflow tube and cause the intake valve to keep running. To adjust the water level, turn the adjustment screw located either on top or at the base of the water intake mechanism in the tank. Set the water level so it stops filling 1/4″ or more below the top of the overflow tube. Many intake valves are marked with a recommended water level for maximum effectiveness with minimum waste.
    • Replace Flapper: Put a few drops of food coloring in the water in your toilet tank, and allow it to remain without flushing for a time. If the water in the toilet bowl changes color without being flushed, the rubber flapper valve at the bottom of the tank needs to be replaced. These are easy to replace by shutting off the water to the toilet, flushing the tank to empty it, and replacing the old flapper with a new one.
    • Replace Flushing Mechanism: If the above fixes don’t work, it may be time to replace the entire flushing mechanism. Look for a packaged replacement kit, so you’ll have all the parts as well as installationinstructions. Turn the water off at the shut-off valve and flush to empty the tank before removing and replacing the water intake tank mechanism.
    • Fix Toilet Floor Leak: If your toilet is leaking at the floor when flushed, first try gently tightening the bolts that hold the bowl to the floor. Be careful not to over tighten – you don’t want to crack the ceramic bowl! If this doesn’t stop the leak, you’ll need to remove the toilet and replace the wax ring around the drain pipe. Check out our article on How To Remove and Replace a Toilet for more info.
    • Fix Toilet Tank to Bowl Leak: Toilets can also leak between the tank and bowl when the toilet is flushed. To fix, turn off the water, drain the tank, remove the bolts in the bottom of the tank that attach the tank to the bowl, and replace the rubber gasket between the tank and bowl, as well as the bolts and gaskets which hold the tank and bowl together.

For more information, visit our website at Biowashing.com

Complications of Mold Allergies

Most allergic responses to mold involve hay fever-type symptoms that can make you miserable, but aren’t serious. However, certain allergic conditions caused by mold are more severe. These include:

  • Mold-induced asthma. In people allergic to mold, breathing in spores can trigger an asthma flare-up. If you have a mold allergy and asthma, be sure you have an emergency plan in place in case of a severe asthma attack.
  • Allergic fungal sinusitis. This results from an inflammatory reaction to fungus in the sinuses.
  • Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis. This reaction to fungus in the lungs can occur in people with asthma or cystic fibrosis.
  • Hypersensitivity pneumonitis. This rare condition occurs when exposure to airborne particles such as mold spores cause the lungs to become inflamed. It may be triggered by exposure to allergy-causing dust at work.

Besides allergens, mold may pose other health risks to susceptible people. For example, mold may cause infections of the skin or mucus membranes. Generally, however, mold doesn’t cause systemic infections except for people with impaired immune systems, such as those who have HIV/AIDS or who are taking immuno-suppressant medication. Exposure to mold may also irritate eyes, skin, nose and throat in some people. Other possible mold reactions are the subject of ongoing research.

A number of factors can make you more likely to develop a mold allergy, or worsen your existing mold allergy symptoms, including:

  • Having a family history of allergies. If allergies and asthma run in your family, you’re more likely to develop a mold allergy.
  • Working in an occupation that exposes you to mold.Occupations where mold exposure may be high include farming, dairy work, logging, baking, millwork, carpentry, greenhouse work, winemaking and furniture repair.
  • Living in a house with high humidity. If your indoor humidity is higher than 60 percent, you may have increased exposure to mold in your home. Mold can grow virtually anywhere if the conditions are right — in basements, behind walls in framing, on soap-coated grout and other damp surfaces, in carpet pads, and in the carpet itself. Exposure to high levels of household mold may trigger mold allergy symptoms.
  • Working or living in a building that’s been exposed to excess moisture. Examples include leaky pipes, water seepage during rainstorms and flood damage. At some point, nearly every building has some kind of excessive moisture. This moisture can allow mold to flourish.
  • Living in a house with poor ventilation. Tight window and door seals may trap moisture indoors and prevent proper ventilation, creating ideal conditions for mold growth. Damp areas, such as bathrooms, kitchens and basements, are most vulnerable.

Home Remedies for Head Lice

If your child just got back from an sleepover with friends or school and your child or a parent tells you that one of the kids has lice, there’s no need to panic. While they can spread, they don’t carry disease—and it doesn’t mean that you or your child are in any way “unclean/dirty.” To treat lice, there are times when all you need to do is use a lice comb to comb your child’s hair every morning and evening for three weeks. You can combine the combing with some easy—although sometimes messy—home treatments. From tea tree oil to simple olive oil, there are numerous home remedies.

Nearly all home remedies rely on some method to suffocate the lice. Using an effective home remedy is probably preferable to putting harsh chemicals on your child’s head. Here are some of the natural “suffocating” or “smothering” treatments that work well if you follow the instructions. It’s important to note that some experts believe that the combing does most of the work. The “suffocating” treatments just stun the lice and make them slower and easier to catch on the comb.

Coat the hair with olive or almond oil. (Vaseline and mayonnaise are not recommended—they are unnecessarily messy, and both can be difficult to wash out.) Some people suggest coating the comb instead of the hair and re-applying the oil as needed. You may have to try both methods to see which works best for you. Separate the hair into small sections, using a hair clip to move them out of the way. Work under a good light so you can see what you’re doing. Rinse out the comb often under running hot water as you go. Once you have completely combed out your child’s hair, use their regular shampoo, rinse, and repeat. Make sure you wash all the towels used and clean out the lice comb. You can soak it in a 10 percent bleach solution or 2 percent Lysol solution for 30 minutes and rinse very well. Alternatively, you can soak the comb in vinegar for 30 minutes or boil it in water for 10 minutes. Follow this procedure every day for a week. Then, for the next two weeks, comb through your child’s hair every night to make sure the lice are gone.

A number of essential oils have been shown to be effective—along with combing—in eliminating head lice. Before you use any essential oil, put a small drop on the back of your child’s hand. Although it’s rare, some kids have allergic reactions to these oils—specifically tea tree oil. If your child is allergic to one, move on to the next oil on the list.

n order of most to least effective, the essential oils to try include:

  • Tea Tree Oil
  • Lavender Oil
  • Neem Oil
  • Clove Oil
  • Eucalyptus Oil
  • Aniseed Oil
  • Cinnamon Leaf Oil
  • Red Thyme Oil
  • Peppermint Oil
  • Nutmeg Oil

Mix 2 ounces of olive oil with 15 to 20 drops of the essential oil. Apply to the scalp using cotton balls. Leave this mixture on the scalp and hair overnight—at least 12 hours. Alternatively, mix the 15 to 20 drops of essential oil in 4 ounces of rubbing alcohol. Place the mixture in a spray bottle and saturate the hair with it, leaving in 12 hours. The following morning, comb out your child’s hair. Then, shampoo, rinse, and repeat. Once the lice have been eliminated, the alcohol – essential oil spray can be used as a preventive treatment. Remember—combing out the hair is absolutely essential to removing the lice!

For more information, visit our website at Biowashing.com

Asthma Triggers Conclusion – Wood Smoke

Smoke from wood-burning stoves and fireplaces contain a mixture of harmful gases and small particles. Breathing these small particles can cause asthma attacks and severe bronchitis, aggravate heart and lung disease and may increase the likelihood of respiratory illnesses. If you’re using a wood stove or fireplace and smell smoke in your home, it probably isn’t working as it should.

Actions You Can Take:

  • To help reduce smoke, make sure to burn dry wood that has been split, stacked, covered and stored for at least 6 months.
  • Have your stove and chimney inspected every year by a certified professional to make sure there are no gaps, cracks, unwanted drafts or to remove dangerous creosote
    build-up.
  • If possible, replace your old wood stove with a new, cleaner heating appliance. Newer wood stoves are at least 50% more efficient and pollute 70% less than older models.
    This can help make your home healthier and safer and help cut fuel costs.

For more information, visit our website at Biowashing.com

Asthma Triggers Part 8 – Chemical Irritants

Chemical irritants are found in some products in your house and may trigger asthma. Your asthma or your child’s asthma may be worse around products such as cleaners, paints, adhesives, pesticides, cosmetics or air fresheners. Chemical irritants are also present in schools and can be found in commonly used cleaning supplies and educational kits.

Chemical irritants may exacerbate asthma. At sufficient concentrations in the air, many products can trigger a reaction.

Actions You Can Take:

If you find that your asthma or your child’s asthma gets worse when you use a certain product, consider trying different products.

If you must use a product, then you should:

  • Make sure your child is not around.
  • Open windows or doors, or use an exhaust fan.
  • Always follow the instructions on the product label.

For more information, visit our website at Biowashing.com

Check Back for Part 9