Thomas Murphy - Pine Shores Real Estate

Posted by Thomas Murphy on 2/16/2014

Did you know that according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) most store-bought air fresheners contain formaldehyde, petrochemicals, p-dichlorobenzene and aerosol pollutants. There seems to be some kind of connection between air fresheners and Asthma problems. It is also thought that air fresheners containing these chemicals can accelerate respiratory diseases and reduce lung capacity. The EPA has not advised against purchasing these air fresheners, but suggests using them with care. If you have concerns about the health risks associated with these products, why not try a natural air freshening alternative. If you have a musty basement or smelly closet, a tray of natural clay cat litter may be helpful. The main ingredient in cat litter is a natural occurring mineral that absorbs odors and moisture from the air. If you prefer an alternative to cat litter, try diatomaceous earth which you can purchase at a garden supply store. Place it in a bowl or other open container in foul smelling areas. Placing fresh or used (dried) coffee grounds in a bowl or stocking will help to cut the odor of winter mustiness. Fill your home with subtle scents and refresh the air by simmering some sweet smelling ingredients in a little water on your stove. Try to keep your supply list simple and use items found at the grocery store or even in the yard. Citrus fruits like lemons and oranges make very fragrant scented waters. Herbs such as rosemary and thyme are good choices as well. Pine or cedar twigs and needles collected from the yard will give off a fresh, natural fragrance. Almond and vanilla extract and spices like cinnamon and cloves when simmered together add a wonderful fragrance to the air without the dangerous chemicals.

Posted by Thomas Murphy on 7/15/2012

With home heating costs on the rise, many homeowners are seeking to lessen their dependence on oil and gas products to get them through the winter months. Pellet stoves are one of the newest home heating appliances on the market today. In this article, I will explain exactly what a pellet stove is, the types of fuels used, and the benefits you may reap in becoming part in the emerging world of sustainable energy use. 1. Pellet stoves utilize a renewable resource as a fuel. The most popular pellet stoves on the market today utilize high-density wood pellets as a fuel source. These wood pellets are produced using the by-products of various kinds of wood manufacturing, from the sawdust at a wood mill, to logging residue, paper packaging plants, and even scrap materials accumulated through recycling. These by-products are then taken to a pellet manufacturer, where they are processed into small, high-density cylinders for use in pellet stoves. The concept of utilizing a by-product as a fuel source is an attractive idea for people who are looking to make an effort to be more "green" in their lifestyle, as the waste generated by wood pellets stoves seems to be, at least for the moment, a much healthier alternative for the planet than the process of extracting crude, highly toxic materials from pristine natural environments in order to accomodate our home energy needs. While the initial pollution created from combusting these materials exceed the levels you would normally get from combusting fossil fuels, the ecological benefits are definitely on the side of biofuels. 2. Pellets are cost-stable. If you currently own a home that utilizes oil or gas in order to meet your home energy needs, then you are all too familiar with the wildly fluctuating prices of those fuels in the winter months. One of the most attractive aspects of making a switch to a pellet-burning stove is the stability in cost. Because pellets are easy to produce, and are made from the byproducts of many different fields of manufacturing, cost-and-demand doesn't play too heavily in the area of pricing the fuel. While the more common uses for pellet-burning stoves currently fall under the supplemental heating category ( replacing fireplaces, space heaters, etc...) there are many households making the switch to relying on pellet stoves to supply ALL of their home heating needs. 3. Innovation With the increasing popularity in biofuel-based heating alternatives, there is a strong incentive for the companies involved to create better products for the home consumer. As previously mentioned, many wood pellet manufacturers are looking to other sources of biomass in order to increase the diversity of fuel used in their heaters. Materials such as corn and agricultural waste are currently being utilized in smaller scales as a fuel source. Given time, pellet stoves may prove to be more cost-effective, environmentally friendly, and easier to maintain than what we currently use for our home heating needs. If you are interested in purchasing a pellet stove, there are currently two options on the market for you to consider. If you already have a fireplace, you can purchase what is called an "insert pellet stove." These are installed directly into your already-existing fireplace, and are in many instances, easier to maintain than traditional wood-burning models. The second option is to purchase what is called a "freestanding" model. These can be put in any room in your home, and many people prefer these models to say, an electric space heater or baseboard heating. These will also serve to give you more control in properly heating the rooms that you frequent most, such as a bedroom or living room. For more information on using pellet stoves in your home, explore the links provided.