Power Out!

As a result of our recent power failure due to a 10 minute storm with 90 mph winds blowing in from the west – I am sharing tips related to a few of the appliances affected by my lack of electricity, mainly, the refrigerators, freezer and central air conditioner in my home.  The portable generator did not keep us from losing food over the 3 days without electricity.  These tips are taken from “1001 ways to save the Earth, by Joanna Yarrow…a leading expert on sustainable living who lives in the United Kingdom.
Interior  air

  • Modern furniture and electronic equipment can emit chemicals to make the air in our homes more hazardous than the air outdoors.  Plants can help by cleaning up the air of these harmful pollutants  – Yarrow suggests using spider plants, boston ferns, palms and rubber tree plants.  They also brighten up the spaces. http://www.zone10.com/nasa-study-house-plants-clean-air.html

Put mothballs into mothballs

  • The smell of mothballs comes from the evaporation of their toxic chemical ingredients, naphthalene and dichlorobenzene, which are both bio-accumulative.  Instead, try using a natural moth-repellant?  Use cedar disks, lavender bags, or mixtures of rosemary, cinnamon, cardamom and cloves to keep bugs at bay.

Refridgerators and Freezers

  • Cover food (or ice cubes) in your refrigerator or freezer with lids or plates rather than foil or plastic wrap, it not only stops the food from drying out, but prevents the moisture it contains from condensing as ice on the walls of the appliance.  A refrigerator or freezer with iced-up walls uses more energy and needs defrosting more often. Refrigerators and freezers could be the most expensive electrical items to run, so keep them energy efficient by keeping the internal temperature between 37-41 degrees Fahrenheit and freezers at minus 5 degrees.
  • Keep the coils clean of dust and defrost regularly – especially when the ice is 1/8-1/4 inches thick.
  • Position the appliance in a cool spot well away from a stove and with a gap behind of at least 2-1/2 inch for the air to circulate.
  • Check to see if the door seal is s tight by putting a piece of paper in the door, if the paper slips out when the door is closed, it’s time to change the seal to prevent the cold air from escaping.
  • Wait for hot foods to cool before adding it to the refrigerator or freezer and don’t leave the door open longer than necessary – my kids like to keep the door open as they are pouring beverages or looking for something to eat inside the fridge which often takes minutes.

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