Dear Readers: If your energy bills seem to be higher this winter, there are small, easy steps you and all family members can take to help conserve and decrease your heating usage. Try these hints.
First, turn the heating down. While this might seem obvious, you might forget to do it. Turn the heating temperature lower when you leave your home for any length of time and when you go to work. Energy experts say to keep the heat temperature at around 68 degrees or lower.
When it's sunny outside, open up the curtains and blinds to let the sunshine in your home, especially on the west side of the home. It will help warm the room, which means using less heat and saving money.
Make sure your furnace is operating well. If it doesn't seem to be doing a good job, get a heating pro to check it out to make certain it's clean and that all parts are lubricated. The better shape it's in, the more efficient it will operate, thus the less money spent. -- Heloise
Dear Readers: Some basements are damp, and that creates a musty smell. Here's how to remove the odor. Buy activated charcoal, which can be found at pet stores. Put the charcoal in several net bags (like potato or onion bags) and hang them around the basement. This will help remove the smelly odor. -- Heloise
Dear Readers: If you have pets, there can be many emergencies and accidents. Sometimes dogs just don't make it outside in time or cats don't get to the litter box to do their business. Use these hints to clean up these messy situations right away.
For solids, scoop up the material ASAP. Mix 1/4 teaspoon of liquid dishwashing detergent with 1 cup of mildly warm water and apply to the stained area. Rinse several times with warm water to get rid of all the soap residue and then blot dry.
For liquids, soak up as much of the urine as possible using old bath towels. Stand on them to really absorb the urine. Rinse the area with cool water and blot well. Apply the above mixture, rinse completely with warm water and blot well. Then dab with a solution of 1/3 cup white vinegar and 2/3 cup of water and blot dry. -- Heloise
Dear Readers: When you bake cookies and want them to come out soft instead of crispy, take these steps. Mound the dough on an ungreased baking sheet. Keep the moisture content high by adding a drop of corn syrup or honey. Bake the cookies for a shorter time than the recipe calls for, and take them off the baking sheet and put on a cooling rack right away. -- Heloise
Dear Readers: If you have vegetables or stew that you want to keep warm on your way to a party, here's a good idea. Put the hot food in a wide-mouth, half-gallon thermos. It will stay hot and won't spill all over the car. -- Heloise
Dear Readers: Do you have a funny and furry friend to share? Email a picture and description of your pet to HeloiseHeloise.com. To see our Pet Pals, go to www.Heloise.com and click on "Pet of the Week." -- Heloise
King Features Syndicate