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Healthier Living | Child Safety | Eco Friendly Tips

Practical Ideas to Reduce Heating and Cooling Bills Now and In the Future

by Barbara 4. February 2014 06:37

Question about how to reduce my energy bills without spending a lot of money.

Q: "My gas bills this winter almost doubled with the very cold weather. Can you give me some ideas about how to reduce my bills without being cold? Thanks. Phil"

Answer: First, contact your gas company to learn if they have a one time free energy audit available to customers. If not, I suggest you contact several insulation contractors in your area to give you their opinions about the R values in your attic and side walls. You may choose not to add additional insulation. With some rebates available in some areas, adding insulation may not be as expensive as you believe.

Next, check for air leakage from your unused electrical outlets that are on the outside walls of your home. Safe Home sells a variety of plugs and covers to reduce the leakage. For examples, look at the electrical outlet covers and sliding door outlet covers such as CoverPlug Duplex Outlet Cover for Electric Outlets, the Plug Guard Energy Saving Safety Outlet Cover, the IVORY STD 3-Prg 1 Screw Outlet Cover,6/PK, the Kiddy Cop Outlet Covers, Leviton 12777, 12/Box, or the Sockit Lockets.  We installed the Care Cover outlet covers one bitterly cold January years ago and learned how much cold air was blocked from entering our home.

If you choose outlet plugs, I suggest you purchase insulating covers that install behind each electrical outlet. To install, remove your current outlet cover, push the insulation around the plugs and replace the liner and the outlet plugs.

Use insulating foam around all water lines into your home. Make sure the "flaps" seal tightly on exhausts from clothes dryers.

Purchase a set back thermostat for your furnace. Many utility companies have a rebate to help pay for this unit.  Do remember that setting the temperature back means that time is required to get the temperature to a comfortable level. We learned in June 2013 that our original furnace was undersized: the new one comes up to daytime temperatures much faster. We keep our nightime temperature set at 68 degrees and daytime at 72 degrees. The natural gas fireplace keeps the family room comfortable on the below zero days and nights.

Change your furnace filters regularly. Choose a MERV rating that works with your furnace. Too high of a MERV rating means you'll not get much air through your filter. Safe Home filters have two layers of filtration. When the white layer gets gray, it is time to change the filter. The second layer filters out odors and chemicals; the first, dirt, dust and pollen. Safe Home filters come in one inch sizes that are self-sealing due to an internal frame and in 4 inch filters that have a self-sealing perimeter.

Use supplemental electric heaters where you need them. We suggest the ECO SAVE Ceramic Heater that is compact and efficient and used only 750 watts of electricity. If your feet get cold while the rest of you feels comfortable, then consider the Toasty Toes Heated Footrest.

If you have the money and your furnace is 15 or more years old, consider replacing the furnace. Make sure you get at least three bids. If the BTU ratings vary a lot, get another bid or two. YOu don't want an oversized furnace nor an undersized one (like the one we had for over 20 years).

We replaced both AC and the main furnace this summer with next to the highest efficiency units. (Total cost was $5400 less the rebates.) The new furnace is two stage, i.e. two blower speeds. We got rebates from both the gas and electric companies. Also we did not choose the most expensive units available. Sometimes you have to choose between a few thousand dollars and paying your HVAC person annual AC and heating tune-ups.

This past month we did use an electric ceramic heater set at 65 degrees F in our tiled bathroom and another one in the kitchen (ceramic flooring). That took the chill off in those rooms. Unfortunately, our new kitten has yet to learn to keep his claws in. So the insulated window shades remain up even in the cold weather. (A toss up between ripped shades and more insulation or keeping Buddy from climbing them.)

If you have other questions, please contact us.

Sincerely, Barbara

How to Wash and Dry Snugglewool and Mediwool Baby Blankets, Mattress Pads, Lap Robes, etc.

by Barbara 25. September 2011 12:24

Question about best way to wash and dry Snugglewool products such as mattress pads, baby blankets, wheelchair cushion covers, etc.

Q: "Please let me know how to wash and dry Snugglewool products. I don't want to ruin my new Mediwool queen mattress pad. Thanks Judy.

Answer: We recommend a mild detergent or one specifically for use with wool. Since lambswool is naturally disinfecting, you don't need warm water. or heated drying.  All SnuggleWool and Mediwool products are packed with washing instructions. Machine wash on a gentle cycle in cool water with a mild detergent. Fluff in the dryer on an air setting and then air dry.  Lambswool also resists the development of bacteria and dust mites. We do not recommend washing with items. The friction and agitation of the wool fibers against the other clothing will cause more clumping of the wool which means less "fluffiness."

Thank you for your question.

Sincerely, Barbara

Real Lambswool Wheelchair Cushion Cover and Arm Rest Covers Superior to Synthetic for Comfort

by Barbara 15. May 2011 09:17

Question about the Lambswool Covers for Wheelchair Arm Rests and for Lambswool Wheelchair Covers for Wheelchair Cushions.

Q: "I want my mother's wheelchair to be as comfortable as possible. What is the advantage of real lambswool over synthetic? How large are your Rittenhouse Mediwool lambs wool arm rest covers and cushion covers? Thanks. Sandy.

Answer:  The natural lambswool products we sell are made from a very soft lambswool sliver knit into a polyester backing. That means that the products are machine washable. They can be air dried or dried on delicate in your dryer.  Natural lambswool is absorbent yet keeps arms cooler in hot weather and warmer in cold weather. The lambs wool helps to prevent pressure sores as well as making the surfaces more comfortable for arms and backside. Lambswool is a naturally disinfecting fiber so heat is not needed to disinfect. Plus lambswool resists bacteria and dust mite development. Artificial lambwool does not have these qualities. The lambswool looks and feels like a one inch lamb pelt without the problems associated with that, i.e. no machine washing and a lamb dies to give the pelt.  Mediwool merino wool products by Rittenhouse Industries and Snugglewool are Made in USA.

The cushion cover measures 19 inches by 19 inches so it fits most wheelchair cushions. The arm rest covers measure 18 inches long by 8 inches around and are secured by velcro strieach velcro closure is 4 inches in from the end. The closure strip itself is 3/4 inch wide and about 1 5/8 inches long. The strip attaches to a sewn on strip that is about 1.25 inches long. That means you get the full 8 inches for the wheelchair arm rest.

If you have more questions, please contact Safe Home.

Thanks for your question.

Sincerely,

Barbara

Choosing Urinary Incontinence Mattress Protectors or Disposable Underpads

by Barbara 24. October 2010 06:50

Question about choosing between Protection Plus Polymer Underpad Deluxe 23X36,75/csProtection Plus Polymer Underpad 23x36,100/csProtectionPlus Fluff-Fill Underpad Economy 23x36 150/CS,and  Ultrasorbs Air Permeable Disposable DryPads, 70  

Q: " I need to buy incontinence mattress protection underpads for my son who is a bed wetter. Despite the pull-ups, urine usually leaks through and the whole bed needs changed most days. I looked at the products above and am confused as to the differences. Which would you suggest? Thanks. Susan"

Answer: These are all pads that are 36 inches by either 23 inches or 24 inches. For an older child, I would recommend a larger pad as children tend to move around more at night.

The main differences between the pads are in absorbency and comfort: some of these incontinence supplies feature extra absorbent material, some have non-slip type backs, some are more air permeable, etc.. If your son is wearing pull-ups and empties his bladder prior to going to bed, he may not need the protection offered by the ultra absorbent underpads. However, the more expensive underpads are also more comfortable because they made of "breathable" materials so are less likely to be uncomfortable when wet.

There are larger pads that have wings that tuck in so a person active during sleep is less likely to move the pad.  For example, the Protection Plus Polymer Underpad 28x36,35/cs.

Another choice is a larger pad, one that is air permeable for sleeping comfort and is 31 inches by 36 inches. An example is the Ultrasorbs Air Permeable Disposable DryPad 31x36"40.bx 

For babies, what we recommend instead is the Crib Mattress Cover Rest-Guard Waterproof 6 In.. You can buy several and use them as fitted crib sheets since they are very comfortable for babies to sleep on. 

For older children in twin beds or in larger beds, you could also use the twin sized or larger waterproof mattress covers that are cotton with polyurethane backing as the bottom sheet. These cost no more than a decent quality bottom sheet. Using these as a bottom sheet would save your mattress and mattress pad from wetness and not have your child feel different because of the underpad use.

Please send more detail and I'll be able to help you more. Thanks for your question.

Sincerely, Barbara

Replacement Covers for 24 Inch Bona Commercial Microfiber Mops.

by Barbara 13. June 2010 07:42

Question about the MicroMax Microfiber Wet Mop Cover, 24 In., BLUE

Q: "I bought a 24 inch BonaKemi microfiber mop last year. I need more covers. I understand the mop was discontinued. Will the MicroMax covers fit? How are they different? They are much less expensive. Thanks. Mary."

Answer: The MicroMax covers are made by Medline, one of the nation's leading manufacturer's and resellers of medical products. Medline MicroMax are super absorbent microfiber mop covers that fit all 24 inch long commercial mops that are 24 inches long by 4 inches wide. The actual size is a rectangle 25.5 inches by 5.5 inches. These are double layered covers.

Superior to standard commercial mop covers for microfiber mop bases, these wet mop pads are double layered. The outer layer is 100 percent twisted microfiber and is made from 100 percent polyester and 80 percent polyester/20 percent polyamide fibers. The inner layer is made of high-density foam for increased absorption. Wash these micromop pads in detergent and hot water up to 140 degrees F. Lasts through 250-300 washes. They are available in quantities with discounted prices. For example, a box of 12 coverscan save you a lot of money.

Thanks for your question.

Sincerely,

Barbara

Help! My Mattress is Infested With Bedbugs!

by Barbara 18. September 2009 08:40

Question about the king bedbug mattress and box spring protectors

Q: "What do I do now? My husband must have brought home bedbugs in his suitcase. We are itching and scratching. We've called an exterminator but he says there is no way to treat the mattress and box springs which were very expensive pillow tops." Thanks. Karyn

Answer: I recommend you cover both the mattress and box spring with individual Rest-Guard Deluxe King Bed total encasements that are 20 inches high. Also use Rest-Guard total encasement pillow covers on all your pillows in the bedroom and then cover your mattress with a fitted Rest-Guard waterproof mattress cover.

Any bed bugs you seal up in the Rest-Guard "Fully-enclosed" mattress covers will be trapped inside and will not be able to escape and will eventually die, the reason is because the inside of our covers are specially designed with a waterproof polyurethane backing on all six sides and have a re-enforced zipper liner which have smaller teeth, this prevents bedbugs and their eggs from escaping through the zipper teeth, which means you will not have to dis-guard your bed bug infested mattress or Box spring. Our manufacturer Rest-Guard recommends keeping the mattress covers intact for at least 12 months (bed bugs can live a very long time without feeding). The bed bugs and eggs inside will die, and the mattress is protected from further infestation.

Below are some notes from their website:

** Note: For cleaning & hygienic reasons, we suggest purchasing the Rest-Guard Fitted sheet Mattress protector, and place this cover over the fully-enclosed cover, simply remove the fitted sheet protector cover every 2-3 weeks and machine wash & dry as mentioned above and replace for continued protection.

** Note: Mattress covers can only trap bed bugs that are hiding on your mattress. You should also fully enclose your box spring as well to complete your bedding protection for both bed bugs and allergens. However, these covers will not protect you from other bed bugs hiding in your bedroom. For complete elimination of bed bugs from your bedroom and your home, you will need to contact a pest extermination specialist who understands how to rid your home of bed bugs.

Hope this helps. All is saved, not lost.

Thanks for your question.

Sincerely, Barbara

Safety Electrical Outlet Covers Needed for 2009 Hospital and Medical Clinic Waiting Rooms for Joint Commission Accreditation for Medicaid and Medicare

by Barbara 4. August 2009 06:34

Question about Standard 3 prong ivory sliding door outlet covers and Decora outlet covers.

Q: "Our hospital and affiliated communicty medical clinics were advised that the Joint Commission now requires electrical safety proofing of all patient waiting rooms in order to get Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement. This includes installing child resistant electrical outlet covers. Do you sell these in various colors and do you accept purchase orders for larger quantities?"

Answer: Currently the more popular sliding door outlet covers are in ivory and white. We do have red available only in the 3 prong standard outlet type. Most hospitals and clinics need the standard sliding door covers. One hospital has ordered both Decora and standard in ivory and white to match the walls more closely. We do accept purchase orders from hospitals for purchases $250 or over. Otherwise, we do accept credit cards and prepayment by check. Depending upon the quantities ordered, shipment time may be up to 15 business days. One of our hospital customers in Utah is ordered per clinic which means smaller quantities shipped per order and less lead time. Another customer recently ordered over 1000 units which should ship within two weeks. More...

Reduce Home Air Leaks, Save Money with Sliding Door Outlet Covers.

by Barbara 1. November 2008 15:39

Question about the electrical outlet covers and sliding door outlet covers such as CoverPlug Duplex Outlet Cover for Electric Outlets, the Plug Guard Energy Saving Safety Outlet Cover, the IVORY STD 3-Prg 1 Screw Outlet Cover,6/PK, the Kiddy Cop Outlet Covers, Leviton 12777, 12/Box, or the Sockit Lockets.

Q: "What kind of energy savings am I likely to have if I replace my standard outlet covers with the ones that slide open and closed? Is it enough to insert those round plugs? Or should I put complete covers such as the CoverPlug onto outlets I am not using? I've noticed cold air coming in through the unused outlets in cold weather."--Jerry

Answer: Reducing air leakage would immediately improve your comfort. To get a dollars and cents number, you'd need to figure in costs of natural or propane gas, oil, etc. Get a professional energy audit: you may need more than outlet covers for significant savings. CareCovers will reduce leakage, though, as I personally learned.

The best and easiest way to childproof and reduce air leaks are to install the sliding door outlet covers, the Plug Guard Energy Saving Safety Outlet Cover, the CareCover probably in warm white or similar sliding door units. The PlugGuard outlet covers fit only standard three prong outlets and come only in white. The CareCover come in cream, brown, white, ivory and sometimes red depending upon if the duplex unit is a Decora or standard outlet. Carecovers also come in non-grounded two prong covers. These units insulate not only the plug holes but the outlet itself as each unit has a foam strip around the exterior to keep air leaks around the exterior of the cover, too.

The CoverPlugs fit over existing unused outlets. They can be painted or wallpapered. When you need the outlet, just pull out the cover as the original outlet is there.

The advantages of the Levitron units is that they are UL listed.  The PlugGuard doors move up and down while the other sliding door covers move from side to side. A less expensive option that is more difficult for kids to remove are the Sockit Lockets. CareCovers were tested using the Minnesota Blower Door Test that showed a 15% decrease in air leakage with Carecovers. Family Handyman magazine in 2008 recommended CoverPlugs.

I quickly installed CareCovers on all my exterior wall outlets several years ago when I felt cold air coming through outlet holes one January day. (My house was built in 1990 with insulation updated in 1994). There was an immediate increase in comfort without raising the thermostat.

All these units will save on energy just by blocking unused outlet holes. If you use the round plug inserts, remember to install foam gaskets behind each outlet cover.

If you have other questions, please contact us.

Sincerely, Barbara

What Mop Covers Work with the Sh-Mop?

by Barbara 22. June 2008 06:49

Question about the product Product Code: SH-MOP Original Floor Mop w/4 Cotton Covers

Q: "What other mop heads do you have for the mop?" -Emily

Answer: This Sh-Mop kit includes one platform base (15 x 8 inches), one extending mop pole and 4 cotton covers that are elasticized to fit tightly on the base.

We offer 5 different covers for the Sh-Mop. These covers also fit the larger Bona Mop, the similar O'Cedar mops, etc. In other words, they fit any platform based mop with a 15 inch by 8 inch base.

  1. Sh-Micro Dusting Head for 15x8 Mops, Yellow. This is a 100% microfiber cover. Use wet or dry for hardwood floor, tile or laminate floor cleaning. This thinner flat woven micro fiber mop cover glides easily whether wet or dry. Elasticized.
  2. SH-Duster (Natural Cotton Loop) Cover . This is a 100% natural cotton loop dust cover for the Sh-Mop and all 15 x 8 inch based platform mops. Use wet to clean satillo and other irregular tile or dry for dusting. This cover is not elasticized but slips over both ends of the mop.
  3. Sh-Duster Synthetic Looped Dust Mop Cover This is a yellow acrylic looped dust cover. This is not elasticized but slips over both ends of the mop head.
  4. Sh-Wooly Plush Duster Cover This cover is a synthetic lambs wool duster. Use the Sh-wooly wet to wash cars, RV's, trailers, boats, etc. Highly absorbent, retains water.
  5. Sh-Wipes, the original cotton mop covers.

Thank you for your question. Remember we also offer packages of these covers in 3's, 12', 36's and 100's.

Sincerely, Barbara

Buying Allergy and Waterproof Mattress and Pillow Covers

by Barbara 25. July 2007 03:25

Q: "Hi, I am interested in a Rest-Guard total encasement queen mattress cover and two queen pillow protectors. Do you have a package price with shipping to Orlando, FL 32825? Also are these unopened in the original packaging from a smoke and pet free home? Thank you for your consideration. J."

Answer: J, Safe Home Products sells only new, unused Rest-Guard bedding products from Taperly Products in Canada. Our business is not home-based. Our offices and warehouse are located in Iowa City, Iowa. Our building is smoke-free and the warehouse is about 5 years old, dry and heated. We sell our mattress covers and pillow covers separately rather than in packages. However, shipping to your zip code is about $11 to $12 via United Parcel Service.

We also sell Vinyl Pillow Covers, Frostlite, Zippered, 11X27,12/BX

Please contact us if you have additional questions. We also sell EnviroSept whole house air filter panels that fit a standard one-inch HVAC slot, the SolAire air purifier with two UV bulbs or two combination UV and ozone bulbs and room air purifiers that might help your allergies.

Sincerely, Barbara

Comments: Rest-Guard mattress covers are available for crib, twin, extra long twin, full, queen, king and California king mattresses in 3 different mattress depths. Pillow protectors are available as well.