1:5:10:365 EcoTip Blog

November 30, 2008

:335 Trim Dead Growth

Filed under: :335 Trim Dead Growth — Tags: , , , , , , , , — John Banta @ 12:46 am

Take the 1:5:10:365 challenge: Do one thing – for 5 to 10 minutes – 365 days a year to make our home and planet environment better.

1:5:10:335 EcoTip: With winter nearly here and the leaves off the trees. This is a good time to trim dead growth and prune back your trees while they are dormant. Winter ice, snow and heavy winds place a lot of stress of tree branches. Pruning at the beginning of winter helps reduce the risk of damage to the tree and your property when outdoor conditions get severe. It is also easier to prune while the leaves are off. 

Another advantage to winter pruning is eliminating diseased sections while they are dormant. This a good organic way to deal with over wintering pest problems and disease. Make sure you don’t leave the waste laying around your trees or it may spread back to the plants when they become active again.

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November 27, 2008

:332 Mulch Plumbing

Filed under: :332 Mulch Plumbing — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — John Banta @ 12:35 am

Take the 1:5:10:365 challenge: Do one thing – for 5 to 10 minutes – 365 days a year to make our home and planet environment better.

1:5:10:332 EcoTip: If your part of the country routinely experiences freezing conditions, your in-ground plumbing is probably installed so it is protected. If your in-ground plumbing isn’t adequately protected, throwing a couple of feet of mulch over the area at risk may provide the extra insulation necessary to keep the pipes from freezing.

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Suggested Review: :331

Sprinkler systems should be drained and blown out. When sprinklers are installed in areas that routinely freeze – they should have drain plugs built in at the lowest points. If the system doesn’t have a good way to drain it and blow out the water – mulching over the lines may do the trick. This is also true for points where the water supply line isn’t burried deeply enough. Simply add mulch over the top of the area to be protected.

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November 26, 2008

:331 Mulch Trees & Shrubs

Take the 1:5:10:365 challenge: Do one thing – for 5 to 10 minutes – 365 days a year to make our home and planet environment better.

1:5:10:331 EcoTip: Adding home-made mulch around your trees and shrubs and to your garden is a good way to reduce your contribution to the landfill while adding nutrients to the soil and helping to insulate the roots from winter damage from the cold. 

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Suggested Review: :082, :093, :094

Instead of raking up leaves I run the lawn mower over the leaf covered yard. This picks up the leaves and chews them to bits at the same time   – making mulch. Then I can add the mulch back where I please.

In our community – we put our yard wastes out separately for curbside pick-up. The trimmings are turned into compost and are available free for members of the community to use as mulch. If you don’t have enough mulch from your yard to satisfy your needs – check to see if your community has a similar program.

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November 16, 2008

:321 Winter Fan Blade Direction

Filed under: :321 Winter Fan Blade Direction — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — John Banta @ 12:10 am

Take the 1:5:10:365 challenge: Do one thing – for 5 to 10 minutes – 365 days a year to make our home and planet environment better.

1:5:10:321EcoTip: If you use your home ceiling fan in winter – the direction of the fan blades should be reversed from the way it is operated in summer. This can help reduce your winter heating bill by helping to circulate the warm air so it doesn’t just sit up at the ceiling. You also don’t want the fan blowing down on you which increases the evaporative cooling on the skin and can make you feel colder. During the winter, operate your ceiling fan so that it is sucking air upward at a slow speed. To check to see if it is rotating in the correct direction – stand directly beneath the fan while it operates on high. If you feel a breeze, the blades are spinning in the wrong direction for winter.

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November 10, 2008

:315 Defrosting Frozen Pipes

Take the 1:5:10:365 challenge: Do one thing – for 5 to 10 minutes – 365 days a year to make our home and planet environment better.

1:5:10:314 EcoTip:  If your plumbing does freeze – open the spigot anyway, it may relieve enough pressure to prevent the bursting of the pipe. Monitor the situation carefully so that if the pipe has burst, you will catch it quickly after the pipe defrosts. To melt the frozen plug use a blow dryer (not an open flame) and begin heating the pipe at the spigot working backwards towards the frozen point. If it starts to run from the spigot (even slowly) that will usually be enough to help melt the blockage.

192d-defrosting-frozen-pipe-replacement

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Suggested Review: :312, 313, 314

Climate change isn”t only about warming. In my book- Extreme Weather Hits Home: Protecting Your Building From Climate Change, I discuss how to prepare your home for cold snaps and other extreme weather conditions.

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November 9, 2008

:314 Emergency Pipe Protection

Take the 1:5:10:365 challenge: Do one thing – for 5 to 10 minutes – 365 days a year to make our home and planet environment better.

1:5:10:314 EcoTip:  If you believe your plumbing is at risk of freezing and bursting, you may be able to prevent that from happening by opening the spigot at the furthest faucet along the plumbing line and let it drip. Of course this wastes water, but it is likely to waste far less than if the plumbing were to burst. If you decide to catch the water in a bucket for later use, let it run directly into the bucket. Never leave hoses connected to spigots in the winter. The hose is more likely to freeze all the way back to the spigot causing a rupture.

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :312, 313

Climate change isn”t only about warming. In my book- Extreme Weather Hits Home: Protecting Your Building From Climate Change, I discuss how to prepare your home for cold snaps and other extreme weather conditions.

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November 8, 2008

:313 Winter Thermal Imaging

Take the 1:5:10:365 challenge: Do one thing – for 5 to 10 minutes – 365 days a year to make our home and planet environment better.

1:5:10:312 EcoTip: Winter thermal imaging can be effectively performed anytime the temperature difference between the inside and outside 20 degrees F or greater. The temperature difference is necessary so that cold spots such as missing insulation and air infiltration can be observed. This is a good way for checking to see if insulation in wall cavities or attics with plumbing are adequately insulated to prevent freezing of pipes.

184-missing-insulation-ir1 

The missing insulation shown in this Fluke thermal image shows up as being cold. If there were plumbing in the area where the insulation is missing – there would be a risk of it freezing in a cold snap.

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :311

A thermographer qualified to perform energy audits should be able to take the information gathered during a thermal imaging scan of exterior walls with plumbing and calculate the outdoor temperature that would be cold enough to cause plumbing pipes to freeze. By having this information you can monitor weather reports and take additional precautions during cold snaps when your plumbing is at risk.

Climate change isn”t only about warming. In my book- Extreme Weather Hits Home: Protecting Your Building From Climate Change, I discuss how to prepare your home for cold snaps and other extreme weather conditions.

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October 26, 2008

:300 Reset Thermostats

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:300 EcoTip:  Today I reset my thermostats for winter. According to the US Department of Energy – They are recommending a temperature of 68 degrees F. During the day while you are occupying your home. At night and while you are away they suggest turning it back ten to fifteen degrees. For more information (and to see their recommendations for homes with heat exchangers and other specialty equipment check out the EERE website.

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Suggested Review: :116 Programmable Thermostats

It is important to never set back the thermostat so that the temperature reaches the dew point. I will show you how to determine this in tomorrow’s 1:5:10:365 EcoTip. 

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