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Category: Living Green

5 New Year’s Resolutions… For Your House

5 New Year's Resolutions for Your HomeIf you’re like most of us, you either made some resolutions or set some goals for yourself for the coming year. The start of a new year is a nice signpost for initiating a change. So we decide to lose weight, read more, eat healthier, watch less TV, save money and exercise more. But why stop there? Why not make some resolutions to improve the place you spend most of your time?

Here are some short-term and longer ranging goals you can set to give yourself a better home.

Defend Against Hidden Dangers

A safe home is a good place to be. That’s why you invested in smoke detectors, right? But there are other unseen dangers to be informed about.

Every time you do a load of laundry, you clean the lint trap. Or at least you should – studies show that almost a third of Americans don’t clean their lint trap – which costs you significantly in energy bills, as well as posing a fire danger. On top of that, even when you DO clean the trap, there’s 3-6 feet of dryer vent where excess lint can catch on its way out of the house. You should clean this out at least twice a year, but to truly ensure safety, experts recommend cleaning it every 3-4 months. Start now, then mark the next 3 dates on your calendar.

In addition to smoke detectors, many homes now have carbon monoxide detectors installed. If you haven’t, strongly consider it. Even in Florida, chimney flues and furnace vents get stopped up – especially since we use them less frequently – and can cause a CO leak that can silently kill you.

Similarly, 21,000 people each year die from lung cancer caused by radon. According to the EPA, 1 in every 15 homes has elevated levels, so the $20 cost of a test kit is well worth it.

Reduce Clutter

One thing most of us are guilty of is collecting and saving far too much stuff. Not only is it a bad habit, but it’s one our kids will also pick up on. That doesn’t mean you have to get rid of everything, or do some yearly purge. First off, be conscious and intentional about what you keep. Go paperless with your bills and take advantage of digital options for space stealers like DVD’s, books and music – especially if its material you only partake of once or twice a year or less. And when Christmas comes around again, consider giving or asking for one of these greener gifts!

And as much as doing a big spring cleaning or garage sale appeals to some, you may get overwhelmed with the amount of work you imagine it will take. Choose instead to go area by area – each month clearing out another room or closet and donating unneeded items to charity – the write off is likely worth more than the 25-cents you’d get at a garage sale anyways.

A word of warning – don’t clean one room by just mov— er, reorganizing it into another room. Actually go through everything. It’ll take less time than you think, especially if you get the whole family involved!

Work Out a Weekly Routine for Keeping Your House Clean

And speaking of the whole family… Nobody said that you have to clean the whole place by yourself. Nor do you have to be solely responsible for keeping it all clean. Everyone in the family can and should pitch in to keep the house presentable.

Start with making sure all dishes go in the dishwasher, if you have one. Or be like my grandparents who hand washed the dishes after each meal. Either way, don’t pile them up in the sink to attract bugs and rodents, or smell up the place. Similarly, everyone is responsible for making sure their clothes go in the hamper, jackets get hung up, and stuff like keys and backpacks and phones are placed in the appropriate spot each day before bed.

Assign each member of the family chores, and rotate them so everyone gets to do their most and least ‘favorite’ each month. Each person gets one or two tasks: dusting, sorting laundry, vacuuming, taking out the trash, filling & running the washing machine, changing sheets, cleaning the bathroom, hanging the clothes out to dry, turning on the dishwasher.  Once you get into the rhythm, you can get a whole lot done in just an hour or two.

Preparing to Entertain

How many opportunities to spend quality time with family and friends is lost because we’d be embarrassed to have them see how the house really looks? Hopefully, the weekly routine helps eliminate much of that problem. The next step is making sure your home is inviting to guests.

Now that our TV’s hang on the walls, it’s harder to hide them when company comes over, but they don’t have to be the centerpiece of your home either. Have a room that’s organized and ready for guests – plenty of comfortable seating, good lighting, some candles and floral accents can really open a place up and make it feel welcoming.

Wanna go a little further? Add a splash of color to the walls. Nobody likes to look at white or beige all the time. Add a little wine red, pastel yellow, or eggshell blue to one or more rooms – or all three – and make it feel like your home is an oasis from the boring and cliché.

Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

We’ve mentioned several of these in other posts, but it’s always good to remember – it’s never been easier – or cheaper – to be environmentally friendly than it is now. Install a low-flush toilet, low-flow showerheads, and only do laundry when you have a full load. Consider redoing your lawn with approved native Xeriscaping. Plus, some Florida counties have rebates you can take advantage of to defray some of the cost of water saving improvements, inside and out.

Replace your light bulbs – not only do LED and CFL bulbs last longer and use less energy, they also tend to give off more illumination without increasing the temperature in the room. And regardless, turn the lights off when you leave the room.

Set your thermostat at 80 for AC or 65 for heat when you leave the house – better yet, get a programmable thermostat that will turn on or off in anticipation of your return. Or, if you really want to go all out, get a Nest or similar device that you can control from your smart phone.

You’ll not only be saving the planet, you’ll be cutting down your utility bills too. We’re big proponents of the going green movement here at Good News Pest Solutions. In fact, we’re going to be highlighting several tips every month for the next year on how you can be more environmentally conscious throughout your home.

We would be remiss if we didn’t mention another green home improvement – 100% All natural pest control! Yes, for over 10 years, we’ve used green methods and found them to be not only safe for your family and pets, but also more effective than the chemical treatments of the past. Give us a call and we’ll come by and show you what your neighbors from North Port to Bradenton already know about our award-winning pest solutions.

By the way, statistics say we don’t stick to personal resolutions for as long as we’d like. A big part of that failure is a lack of accountability. The nice thing about these resolutions for your home – everyone can be a part of it – make a commitment with your family to keep these resolutions and we promise by next year you’ll have a cleaner, more inviting house and a whole lot less stress (about the house, anyways)!

Make 2018 Your Greenest Year Yet!

Your Greenest Year YetAs you’ve probably figured out by now, we’re pretty into being environmentally conscious and going green here at Good News Pest Solutions.

We’ve even found that by taking your time to research and do it right, going green can often be less expensive than the alternative!

We know a lot of you have taken steps to be more eco-friendly too. Or at least you’ve planned to start. So we thought we’d share a few simple tips, and challenge you to make 2018 your greenest year yet – no matter where you’re at now.

Go Green in 2018!

  1. Recycling – Yeah, we’re starting on the simplest step. Recycle cans, bottles, paper & plastic. Many communities have already implemented recycle bins that you can sort your recoverable trash into. Everything that you recycle is that much less material to be dumped into a landfill. Many stores have special bins outside to recycle your plastic shopping bags into. Collect your bottles and cans and take a trip to your local recycling unit to make some cash back. Take advantage of our increasingly digital world by taking notes on your computer or phone instead of paper. And if you do have to print something, use both sides of the paper whenever you can.
  2. Shopping Bags – Invest in a few reusable, preferably canvas, shopping bags. Canvas bags are sturdier than the flimsy plastic bags you get from the store, and they can hold and balance more weight, so you need fewer of them – and no chance that they’ll rip halfway to or from the car and dump your eggs on the ground. You can – and should – wash these bags periodically to ensure no bacteria growth.
  3. Go Back to Basics – Speaking of items to wash and reuse, do you know how much paper you waste wiping up spills? Back before they invented paper towels, our ancestors used bits of tattered cloth that they referred to as… Rags. That t-shirt that’s too old and hole-y to donate? Why not slice it up and keep it on hand to clean with? Even with sturdier paper towels that you can wring out and reuse, cloth rags last longer – and of course, you can rewash them. If you don’t have any clothes to use, you can buy a bucket of rags that will last you longer than even the jumbo size package of paper towels. New parents, you can also consider going old school and getting cloth diapers instead of the disposable ones.
  4. Thrift Store – Sure, you donate to Goodwill & the Salvation Army, but why not shop there too? While ‘popping tags’ may not be for everyone, it’s a great way to keep expenses low when you’re a new family. Clothing, accessories, dishes, even furniture can be purchased at lower prices. And that’s not the only benefit – you’re reducing the energy & resources it requires to create a new item by getting it secondhand, and in most cases, you’re helping provide jobs.
  5. Go to the Library – Not only do these public institutions (that your taxes help pay for) have plenty of books, nowadays they also carry DVD’s, audio books, have public computers, and provide classes and workshops on a variety of topics. Why buy the new Dean Koontz novel or the latest Marvel movie DVD that will just take up space afterwards, when you can just borrow it – for free – for 3-4 weeks and then return it?
  6. Reduce Your Water use – Shut off the faucet while you brush your teeth and the shower while you shampoo your hair. Get a reduced water use toilet. Instead of buying thousands of water bottles every year, invest in a water filter – either for your faucet or a filtered pitcher. Then get some BPA free reusable water bottles and you’re good to go!
  7. Replace Your Light Bulbs – You don’t have to run out and do this all at once, but start investing in longer-lasting, eco-friendly compact fluorescent (CFL) lightbulbs. Then as your old bulbs burn out, replace them with the better bulbs. And if you can afford it, just replace them all. You’ll see a significant reduction in your energy bill – CFL’s use less electricity AND run cooler, so your home needs less AC to offset the heat – and in most cases, they’re brighter as well.

While you may not try all of these suggestions at one time, you’d be amazed how easily you can integrate these earth-saving ideas into your everyday lives. We’ve been doing it for close to 20 years, and we even discovered that green pest control is actually more effective than doing it the old fashioned way.

While we’re on the subject, another great way to go green is by giving us a call. Our revolutionary Go Green Plus 3 protects your whole house from creepy crawlies with proven 100% organic products that are safe for the planet as well as your family and pets. And it’s easily combined with our Termite protection to fully protect your home against all insect invaders for an affordable price. Your neighbors from Lakewood Ranch to Punta Gorda are already enjoying our first-class coverage.

So how about it? Will you accept the challenge to make 2018 your greenest year yet? And, have a very Happy New Year!

The Art of Giving “Green” This Holiday Season

The Art of Giving GreenThis time of year, most people’s thoughts turn to giving gifts. And don’t get us wrong, we love giving and getting presents. Especially since the Christmas season is about celebrating God giving us his most precious gift for our sake. But a lot of times, what we’re giving is just “stuff.” We know people appreciate it, but we’ve found some of the best gifts over the years are the ones that have personal significance.

So, maybe this year, instead of adding to the clutter, why not give the gift of great memories?

The Gift of Hospitality

There are a lot of lonely people in the world, and it can be especially poignant this time of year, when the majority of us are spending time with family. When you’re alone, even overhearing someone else talking about it, can become painful. It’s not intentional, but oftentimes, wrapped up in our own world of the stress of party planning, we forget that. But consider the old adage, “the more the merrier.” Host an open house, and let everyone know they’re welcome, even to stop by for a few minutes.

Don’t assume everyone has other plans, make an effort to remember and invite people who might otherwise be alone for the holidays to join you for Christmas dinner, or even just Christmas Eve services. A little kindness goes a long way.

The Gift of a Personal Touch

Growing up, almost all of us had one of those years where we gave handmade gifts to our family members. Handmade gifts can be cheaper, but are imbued with extra love because you made it personally for your loved one. You can craft homemade candles, jewelry, even the classic knitted sweater or baby booties. It’s a great way to contribute to their positive memory bank.

The Gift of Deliciousness

In the same way, if you’re good in the kitchen, food is a wonderful gift to share. Homemade jams or preserves, candy or cookies are all welcome options. Or get a little more creative and try some less traditional foods like candied orange peel, roasted nut mixes, homemade marshmallows, apple butter, pickled vegetables, popcorn balls, or chocolate bark.

If you’re not a whiz in the kitchen, how about making baking jars? You look up some recipes online and carefully measure out all the ingredients into mason jars. Hand write the recipe instructions on a half a 3×5 card, decorate and tie it to the neck of the jar. Voilà!

The Gift of the Great Outdoors

Between video games and big screen TV’s, most of us find ourselves spending more and more time inside than out. So why not give someone rock climbing lessons, a visit to the hot springs, a gym membership, kayaking or camping vouchers? Or take it one step further and make it a family or friend outing? Spend the day in Myakka River State Park, see the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, or even drive down to the Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge.

The Gift of a Night Out

Want another great gift option that builds memories instead of taking up shelf space? How about tickets to a show? It doesn’t have to be Hamilton or the new U2 tour. See a local theater or dance production. Give tickets to one of our great museums: Ringling, Mote Marine, or the Classic Car Museum. And don’t necessarily go alone. Expose your kids to culture besides watching PBS and they’ll thank you later.

Another option is to help your friends with kids. Why not get them movie passes or a treat them to a dinner out? Cover the cost of a babysitter – or better yet, volunteer to be the babysitter yourself and grow the bond you have with their whole family.

The Gift of Giving Back

As we remember the ways we are blessed, consider sharing that blessing with those less fortunate. This can take many forms – the whole family can volunteer to serve meals at the local food kitchen, collect or deliver donations to needy families and children stuck in the hospital over the holidays. Some families have even opted to take the money they’d spend on gifts for each other and donating it to a local charity.

For a more global impact, consider donating to charities that help fund clean water wells, provide cookstoves to third world families, or livestock in a person’s name. You can also donate to purchase and preserve rainforests and nature preserves. There are even charities that will let you buy down a person’s carbon footprint.

Here at Good News Pest Solutions, we are big fans of the “going green” movement. We were even early adopters, using 100% all-natural pest control methods that are safe and effective, and often cheaper – saving our customers some of that other green.

We hope whatever you choose to give this Christmas season, you’ll take a moment to reflect on the joy of the season and the Good News that the shepherds took to their neighbors in Bethlehem– good tidings of great joy, for born to you, this day, in the City of David, is the Savior who is Christ the Lord.

Keep Your Cool in the Summer Months!

Green Ways To Keep Cool this SummerAs we move into the hottest months of the year, we thought we’d share some green tips on how to keep your cool in the house while still keeping your electric bill in check.

Cool Your Rooms!

For starters, cover your windows. As much as we enjoy a little natural light during the day, experts say that 30% of your home’s excess heat is coming through your windows. Using blinds, shades or curtains can reduce the temperature in your home on a hot day up to 20-degrees. Not to mention the electricity you’re not spending on air conditioning and fans.

Speaking of fans, make sure all your ceiling fans are turning counter-clockwise. This circulates the air and creates a wind-chill breeze effect, making you feel cooler, especially at higher speeds. In the winter, you can reverse the fans back to clockwise so the warm air that naturally rises is pushed down into the room. (Most ceiling fans have a switch in the base that changes the direction.)

If you don’t have ceiling fans, how about creating your own homemade DIY air conditioning. Fill a mixing bowl with ice or a frozen ice pack and position it at an angle behind a box or table fan. The fan will draw the cool air into the room, rapidly reducing the temperature. Or, if you’re feeling particularly industrious, check out these steps on how to build a “swamp cooler” that can reduce the temperature in a small apartment for only $25!

Cool Your Furniture!

Make sure your sheets are fresh – used sheets absorb sweat and body heat and hold onto it for longer than most people think. Cotton sheets breathe easier and stay cooler.

Water works! While you’re pulling off your sheets to change them, lay a large towel or two down before sliding the fitted sheet into place. Then take a clean, empty spray bottle and fill it with cool water. Spray the top sheet with a light misting of water from the bottle and the dampness will draw heat away from your body. And store the spray bottle in the fridge for the next night!

Also consider investing in a buckwheat pillow. Not only does the pillow not collapse under the weight of your head and neck, helping promote a more comfortable sleep, the buckwheat hulls also don’t hold onto heat – so both sides are the cool side!

Cool Yourself!

Sometimes the best way to beat the heat is by reducing your own temperature! We’ve heard lots of old wives tales about licking your wrists or plunging your head into an ice bucket. We’d like to think our methods are a little more sensible.

Of course, we endorse the standard approach of keeping yourself well hydrated through hot days. Technically, any liquid will do, but we recommend light and healthy beverages like iced tea, lemonade, and, of course, cool refreshing water!

Rather than licking your wrists, a cool compress on pressure points like your wrists and neck will make you feel cooler.

Consider a cold shower. The cool water is bracing and can reduce your body’s overall temperature. It’s especially effective right before bed, even if you don’t dampen the sheets.

(Don’t) Cool It on the Home Improvements!

Certain renovations may take longer to feel the effects from – but are definitely worth the expense for the long-term savings.

Trees can be valuable for shade, but also help cut down on the sun’s heat even when it’s not directly shining on them. Palm trees are less effective, but there are many native Florida fauna that will work well.

Switch to Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) bulbs – you know, the curlicue ones. The standard incandescent bulbs we’ve been using for generations expend 90% of the energy they use (which itself is much higher than CFL’s) on generating heat. CFL bulbs use less energy, last longer and will reduce the temperature in your home considerably.

You might already be considering insulation, but what about insulation that saves you considerably on your energy bills, reduces sound pollution AND helps control pests access to your house?

Our Thermal Acoustical Pest Control (TAP)  system is 32% more efficient than standard fiberglass insulation and provides a barrier for roaches, ants, silverfish and the sound of your neighbor’s dog that just won’t stop barking. It reduces heat in the summer, cold in the winter and, like all of our products, is 100% safe for your whole family, including pets! And while it’s not pink and doesn’t have a cartoon mascot, it is made with 87% recycled materials that would otherwise be filling a landfill – and is EPA certified!

Call us today to get more information on this remarkable product or any of our natural pest solutions!

Going on Vacation? Make it a GREEN One!

How to Take a Green VacationIt seems like the calendar just changed from winter to spring, but before too long, the Summer Solstice will be here. At these times of the year, we often start planning for vacations.

Here at Good News Pest Solutions, we’re always looking for innovative ways to better steward our planet, for ourselves and our future generations. So, whether you’re planning a short trip for when your kids go on spring break, or a full-fledged summer adventure, we’ve got several ways to go greener when on vacation!

Let start with how you’re getting there.

Travel Arrangements

    • If you’re flying to your vacation destination, try to fly as direct as possible, non-stop flights cause fewer carbon emissions than several connecting flights.
      Of course, it’s impossible to eliminate carbon emissions when flying, but there are several non-profits that will accept your donation and use the money to offset carbon emissions by planting trees or promoting programs that educate about cutting down on emissions.
      One of our favorites is Climate Stewards that supports community forestry and clean water projects in Ghana, Kenya and Mexico, not only helping the planet, but also the people in less industrial areas.
    • Once you’ve arrived, if you need to rent a car, ask for fuel efficient options – most rental companies provide hybrids if not purely electric cars to rent. The cost might be a little higher, but isn’t it  worth it to keep the air cleaner?
    • If you can avoid using a car, even better! Not only is walking and bicycling better for your personal health, but it helps preserve the environment while giving you a first-hand view of the city and a stronger connection to the place you’re visiting – not to mention the opportunity to discover a hidden local gem!

While You’re There

    • But where will you stay? With family or friends is great or consider doing an AirBnB! But if those aren’t an option, check out the local hotels to see which ones emphasize and utilize green programs. That could be anything from LED lighting, extensive recycling programs, and some hotels even use alternative energies like solar to reduce their impact on the environment. A popular program in many hotels cuts down on water and electric by offering guests the option of only changing out the towels and sheets once or twice per stay.
    • Consider e-receipts. Many hotels, department stores, and banks now offer the option to have your receipt emailed or texted to your mobile device. It’s easier to keep track of (and digitally search) for needed receipts – whether it’s for returns or reimbursements, they’re all in one place and not dependent on remembering where you stuffed everything.
    • Carrying reusable bags with you helps cut down on excessive plastic bag pollution as well as the fossil fuels that are used to create the bags. Reusable bags are great for your souvenir shopping as well as food purchases. And in some states like California, stores charge additional fees if you don’t bring reusable bags.
    • Speaking of food purchases – eating at local restaurants not only puts money back into the community you’re visiting, but those great hole in the wall places often use locally grown and sourced vegetables, meat and dairy, cutting down on transportation costs and the branded napkins, etc., that you see at a chain restaurant. Not to mention, you’re on vacation – it’s a time for new experiences not the McDonald’s or Chili’s you could stop by anytime on the way home from work.
    • Avoid plastic water bottles. Yeah, we know they’re convenient, but they’ve become one of the highest sources of pollution and oil use, almost outpacing cars! Even if you don’t believe the stories of companies using tap water to fill their bottles (they’re mostly true), consider the cost – your 8 glasses of water a day costs less than a dollar a year, even if you’re using a filtered pitcher. The average cost for the same amount of bottled water = $1,400/year.
      Bringing a reusable water bottle from home (or getting one from your hotel) and refilling it yourself with purified water can save your pocketbook and the environment.

We love being green and there’s no reason that has to stop when you leave the house. Even if you only implement a couple of these tips, you’ll be doing your part to make the world a better place and save yourself a few bucks in the process!

Are there any we missed? Share your tips for a greener vacation in the comments!

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