4 Tips for Cutting Your Home Energy Bills Even in Winter

(NewsUSA) – Sponsored by GAF – You know it’s cold when it snows in Florida.Which is exactly how the new year unfortunately began thanks to a "bomb cyclone" that hammered much of the East Coast with heavy snow, howling winds, and temperatures so frigid that Niagara Falls on the Canadian border actually froze. Meanwhile, Embarrass, Minnesota – yes, that’s really the town’s name – was busy winning the unofficial title of "The Last Place in the Freezing Midwest You’d Want to Go Skinny Dipping," by hitting a low of 45 degrees below zero on New Year’s Eve.Forty-five degrees. Below. Zero.While you’re imagining the heating bills in Embarrass and with winter far from over, read on for some tips for lowering your own home energy costs that you may not have thought of.* Easiest money-saver ever. "Aside from the furnace, a laser printer draws the most standby power in the house at $131.07 watts," SaveOnEnergy.com reports. And yet, even though that translates into about $131 a year, a new survey found that only 14 percent of respondents unplugged their printers when not using them.* Pellet stoves aren’t just for environmentalists. ThisOldHouse.com likens them to the family pet — "they require a regular feeding schedule" — but Fido won’t heat a 3,000-square-foot ranch house, say, for perhaps less than $120 a month. And with the weather turning chillier in most places, curling up with a glass of wine in front of one of these babies in the living room could be as appealing to romantics as their eco-friendly heating is to greenies.What’s a "regular feeding schedule"? Depending on the size of the hopper and how often you use the stove, you’ll need to load in pellets — made from super concentrated sawdust — every four or five days.* Make sure your attic is properly ventilated. Homeowners might as well just send utility companies a blank check if they lack what GAF’s Jason Joplin, program manager for the Center for Advancement of Roofing Excellence, calls "a continual flow of air to help protect the efficiency of your attic’s insulation."The culprit working against achieving that: excess moisture buildup that clings to your roof’s underside in winter from seemingly benign sources — i.e., appliances, showers and cooking vapors — before ultimately soaking the insulation when the condensed moisture falls.Don’t be one of the 86 percent.Joplin’s suggestion to help ward off the problem? A properly balanced ventilation system consisting of Cobra Ridge Vent (installed at the ridge) and Cobra IntakePro (installed at the eave) by GAF (gaf.com), North America’s largest roofing manufacturer. "Both products work in tandem to allow cool, fresh air to enter at the eave edge while forcing moist, super-heated air out of the ridge vent," he explains.* Adjust door thresholds. "Sneaky" is the word Popular Mechanics magazine uses to describe this hint. The theory being, if you can see daylight beneath your front door, it means the indoor air –which, remember, you’re paying to heat or cool — is escaping outside."A little light in the corners is okay, but don’t raise the threshold so high that it interferes with opening and closing the door," the magazine notes.

Seeing London in A New Light

(NewsUSA) – "People are looking for magic in their lives and to experience something that stays with them forever," says Helen Marriage, the director of Artichoke, the producers and creators of the Lumiere London festival."People respond to light in a special way," Marriage continues. "and in the middle of winter, when night falls early, it’s just so wonderful and uplifting."In January 2018, London’s most iconic buildings, streets and landmarks will again be illuminated artistically for the British capital’s largest night-time festival, Lumiere London.Lumiere last lit up London in 2016, when millions of people visited the city to interact with the art installations. In January, the festival returns to London much bigger and bolder than before.More than 40 international artists will work to transform the city into a vast, nocturnal exhibition space, offering dazzling new perspectives on London’s iconic landmarks and historic architecture with beautiful, thought-provoking installations.As an example, Westminster Abbey, which has stood at the heart of London for hundreds of years, has been the setting for every coronation in the British monarchy since 1066 and has hosted 16 royal weddings, will be one of the key festival locations again.It will be illuminated by the French digital artist, Patrice Warrener, who will present the second installment of The Light of the Spirit for Westminster Abbey, one of the most popular installations at Lumiere London in 2016.Other installations include: Love, a Matisse-inspired animation of two paper-cut figures who spend the evening kissing and dancing to a bespoke soundtrack at the Royal Academy of Arts; interactive illuminated singing see-saws in Mayfair and, at Kings Cross, an immersive work that imagines a world underwater.The artists will create bespoke light installations for each selected building in London, turning the capital into a gallery without walls. Lumiere London is about more than the art: it’s about people sharing public space and re-discovering the city."Lumiere London offers the chance for visitors and Londoners alike to see the city in a totally new light, explore new areas, and see a familiar city in different ways," says Helen Marriage."Our mission from the start," Marriage continues, "was to make great art accessible to everyone and to bring back the joy of experiencing it. Lumiere London is about reclaiming the streets and bringing a new dimension to the daily life of our city."Lumiere London will take place on closed roads over four nights between 18 and 21 January 2018 at locations around the city, including: London’s West End, Mayfair, Westminster, Piccadilly, St James’s, Fitzrovia and Kings Cross.To find out more about the festival and to plan your trip to London, see https://www.visitlondon.com/lumiere#7kk8D0owMHHw6OqU.97

It Pays to Prep Your Tires for Winter Roads

Seasonal Workers Could See Major Boon from 2017 Holiday Hiring

’Tis the season for holiday hiring.

Early predictions indicate a holly, jolly Christmas for retailers, with total sales expected to grow as much as 4.5 percent versus last year’s 3.6 percent. To help, according to the National Retail Federation, 500,000 to 550,000 season workers will need to be hired.

And while some companies are making it attractive to apply, there are still some things that applicants need to be aware of:

• The economy may not be your friend. Rather than hire a slew of temps, some employers such as Walmart are offering extra hours to existing workers.

London Unveils Autumn’s Can’t-Miss Cultural Events

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – London’s Autumn Season remains a highlight of the country’s cultural calendar, and this fall is no exception.
“With a strong dollar making a dream trip to London more affordable, the city is projecting a sharp increase in visitor arrivals up to 2025, including 3.3 million visitors from the United States,” according to London & Partners, the Mayor of London’s official promotional agency.
“But the benefits of visiting London in the fall include smaller crowds and an incredible lineup of events right across the city,” the agency adds.
Highlights of this year’s autumn season include:
-Magical museums. The British Library celebrates the anniversary of the publication of the first book in the Harry Potter series with a special exhibit, Harry Potter: A History of Magic.
Other museum gems include the diving blue whale at the Natural History Museum and an intimate look at Ferraris at the Design Museum.
-Extraordinary events. Broadway arrives at London’s West End with an installment of Hamilton: An American Musical, and the London Symphony Orchestra introduces its new director, Sir Simon Rattle, at the Barbican Theatre.
In addition, Wembley Stadium will play host to the MTV European Music Awards, and the NFL’s London Games brings American football to the city.
-Past, presents, and postage. This fall, Buckingham Palace showcases gifts presented to Queen Elizabeth during the last 65 years.
In addition, tourists can now travel via the Mail Rail — the underground line between Paddington and Whitechapel used to deliver the Royal Mail — and visit London’s new Postal Museum to explore reviews of postal design and technology and the intimacy of personal letters.
-Charm for children. The V&A Museum of Childhood includes an exhibit on the story, War Horse, and other beloved children’s characters in an exhibit saluting author Michael Morpugo.
-Sunset shifts. Visitors and locals with a second wind at the end of the day can take advantage of London’s Museums at Night festival, which allows access to the city’s cultural treasures after hours.
And this year, visitors to London can enhance their stay by consulting video guides for tips on how to experience the city like a local.
Celebrity narrators who share their secrets include Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of the musical, Hamilton; vocalist and broadcaster Jumoké Fashola; author and fashion historian Amber Buchart; and Blue Badge Tour Guide David Mildon.
Find more details about cultural highlights of London in autumn at www.visitlondon.com

Volunteers Step Up to Protect their Community

Five words or less(NewsUSA) -September is National Preparedness Month, and individuals across the country are stepping up to ensure that their neighborhoods are ready for the next disaster.
One way they can do this is to join their local fire or emergency service department.
Seventy percent of U.S. firefighters are volunteers, dedicating their time and service to help their communities in an extraordinary and rewarding way. Nearly one million people have made the commitment to protect their community as a volunteer firefighter or EMS provider.
“Anyone can be a firefighter. We come from all ages, genders, races, ethnicities, and professions. All you need is the commitment and desire to serve. The department will provide the training,” says National Volunteer Fire Council chair Kevin D. Quinn.
Volunteer firefighters make up a crucial component of the emergency services in many communities and save taxpayers across the nation $140 billion per year. They respond to all types of emergencies, including fires, medical emergencies, search and rescue, natural disasters, terrorist threats, hazardous materials incidents, and more.
In addition, support volunteers can help the department provide services such as fire prevention education and preparedness efforts.
Learn more about the volunteer fire service and find local opportunities by visiting www.MakeMeAFirefighter.org.

How to Turn Volunteering Into a Family Affair

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Want to volunteer to make things better, but think you lack the time? You’re not alone.

A new survey conducted by State Farm found that busy lifestyles is one of the biggest barriers keeping people from getting as involved as they’d like. And since 77 percent say they prefer volunteering with those they know, the summer months -; with kids off from school -; offer parents the ideal opportunity to perform their good deeds with the entire family.

Two of the best suggestions that take maybe an hour each? Drawing pictures to send to veterans, and cleaning up a local beach or park.

How to Stay Hydrated Like a Pro All Summer

(NewsUSA) – Many of us spend our summer soaking up the sun. Kids are out of school, outdoor sports are plenty, and people are enjoying warm weather activities. However, spending a lot of time outside in the elements puts you at risk for dehydration-related concerns.While most people know that water is critical for your health, what you may not know is that water makes up about 55 to 65 percent of your body. Many may be surprised to know that losing only four percent of your body weight — roughly the equivalent of riding a bike for three hours in extreme heat without rehydrating — may cause you to faint.1The following simple tips from Dr. Ralph Holsworth, a board-certified family medicine physician and head of clinical and scientific research for Essentia Water, will help you stay well hydrated this summer:* Sip with purpose; don’t chug. — When you drink too much water at once, it passes through your system too quickly, failing to go to the kidneys. This can lead to dehydration despite the amount of water you may be drinking. Drinking too much water can also cause cramping, as well as bloating and stomach pains, due to loss of electrolytes. Aim to take a sip of water every 15-20 minutes when you’re playing sports or when it’s hot outside and you should be right on track.* Aim to drink 3 liters a day. — The age-old 8-glasses-a-day rule doesn’t always suffice in the hot summer months. People should try to drink 12 glasses a day, especially if they are planning on working out, playing sports or spending excessive amounts of time in the sun. A good trick to know if you’re drinking enough water is to keep your urine the color of straw (or transparent yellow).* Bring water with you. — Spending more time out of the house often means less easy access to water. When you leave for a day at the beach, make sure you throw enough bottles of water in your beach bag to last throughout the day. Keeping a case of water in your car is another way to ensure you’ll always have water on hand.* Limit sun exposure. — Not shielding yourself properly in the sun causes you to sweat more, which can lead to quicker dehydration. Wearing cotton clothes that are breathable in the heat and a hat that covers your ears will help protect you from potentially dangerous health issues such as heat exhaustion.Whether you’re an athlete, a weekend warrior or just want to take better care of yourself, staying hydrated is essential to a healthy body, especially during the hot summer months. John Ross III2, wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals, knows a thing or two about the importance of staying hydrated, especially during the summer heat."I push my body to the max every day and sometimes it can get into the 90s during practice," says the recent first-round pick in this year’s NFL draft."If I’m planning to exercise outside in the heat, I always prioritize two things — sleep and staying hydrated. I always get at least 8 hours of sleep and always have a bottle of water by my side."For more information about Essentia Water, visit www.essentiawater.com. 1 Research from Stavros Kavouras, director of the Hydration Science Lab at the University of Arkansas.2 John Ross III has a paid sponsorship agreement with Essentia.  

Don’t Discount Safe Driving This Summer

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Summertime brings longer days and ideal driving conditions to much of the United States. However, summer weather can also lull drivers into a false sense of security, according to data from a survey conducted by Michelin.
Approximately two-thirds of the drivers surveyed (67 percent) reported feeling safer while driving during the summer; their top reasons were better weather (81 percent) and better road conditions (83 percent).
However, more car accidents occur during the summer months than at any other time of year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The Michelin survey found that 81 percent of drivers said they drove less cautiously in the summer, while 72 percent said they were less likely to pay attention to fellow drivers. Also, drivers were nearly three times less likely to check their tires during summer months.
“Drivers tend to think about their tires in the winter, when slippery, icy roads require maximum traction. But heat is the enemy of tires,” Sarah Robinson, driving safety expert at Michelin, says in a statement.
“Some of the most severe tire-related incidents are due to under-inflated tires in summer months.”
To combat potential hazards, Michelin offers several tips for safe summer driving:
– Give your car a tuneup. Before a summer road trip, check your car’s oil and fluids, battery, windshield wipers, and tires.
– Check your tires. Use the penny test to ensure your tire tread, and check tire pressure using the manufacturer’s setting found on the driver’s door.
– Focus fully on your driving. Avoid using your phone, eating, or tending to children or pets in the backseat. Furthermore, pull over for a break when you start to feel tired, and switch drivers if possible.
– Watch your distance. Always keep a safe following distance to maneuver in case of emergency, even on dry roads.
– Carry an emergency kit. Keep an emergency bag in your car with water, blankets, flashlight, jumper cables, and non-perishable food.
Visit MichelinMan.com for more driving safety information.

Stop Pests This Spring With These Safe, Simple Steps

(NewsUSA) – Spring is here, and that means not only getting a jump on your cleaning, but also having a reason to check all areas of your house and garage for signs of pests that might have made themselves at home over the winter.Take a tour through your house and try these simple steps suggested by Kari Warberg Block, pest prevention expert and founder of EarthKind and Stay Away natural pest-prevention products for a few pest-proofing techniques for each room of your house* Outside: The best defense is a good offense when it comes to protecting the outside of your home from pests. Inspect the exterior of your house and patch any cracks or other openings that may have developed over the winter.* Living room: Keep ants from becoming unwanted guests in your living room by vacuuming the entry/living room areas thoroughly to get rid of any crumbs, and clean up any sweet, sugary spills which are the number one culprit for attracting ants in this area. Also, try a non-toxic ant repellant such as Stay Away Ants pouches. All Stay Away products are made in the USA from essential oils and plant fibers, so they are eco-friendly and have no known risks associated with use in the home.* Kitchen: Use natural ingredients to keep your kitchen clean and repel rodents and other pests. Be sure to clean under refrigerators, stoves, and sinks because these are the areas where rodents frequently make their nests. Dog food is the number one attractant to hungry rodents. Try using a plant-based Stay Away Rodent repellant pouch, and you may avoid becoming one of the 21 million American homes invaded by rodents each winter (according to the National Pest Management Association). After pest-proofing your kitchen, proceed to the pantry, where moths might try to make themselves at home. Prevent problems by storing food in airtight glass, metal, or plastic containers; cleaning and checking packages for signs of holes; and placing a non-toxic Stay Away Moths pouch nearby.* Bedroom and Closet: Moths also can consider closets a place to call home, but a Stay Away Moths pouch can keep them at bay. In the bedroom, the non-toxic Stay Away Spiders repellant offers a similar strategy. After vacuuming to remove any existing webs, use the repellant to prevent additional infestations.* Garage and Basement: These areas can harbor a variety of pests. To keep them out, avoid storing items in cardboard boxes, which can attract rodents (they use cardboard to build their nests) as well as cockroaches (they like to feast on the glue ). Also, repair any leaky pipes to prevent the development of mold and moisture.Visit earthkind.com for more ideas for safely pest-proofing your home.