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

Grab Bars Reduce Falls for Elderly and Others When Installed in Bathrooms

by Barbara 1. July 2012 07:56

Question about standard and ADA grab bars types and installation.

Q: "My mother is sometimes unsteady on her feet. We have installed a Locked toilet seat riser. Now we are looking for grab bars to install in her bathtub shower combination and along side the toilet. What are some of our options? Thanks. Mary."

Answer: According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards for grab bars near toilets are:

For commercial projects, ANSI 117.1 requires three grab bars:

  1. a 36" horizontal grab bar behind the toilet, starting 12" from the corner. The bar should be mounted at 33-36" above the floor.
  2. a 42" horizontal grab bar on the side wall, starting 12" from the corner
  3. an 18" vertical grab bar 39 to 40" from the corner, starting 39 to 41" above the floor.

Until recently, most jurisdictions required only two horizontal grab bars. Some regulations now require all three bars. For home use, you have more flexibility in how and where grab bars are placed.

Home grab bar installations can be vertical, horizontal or diagonal.

1. Vertical grab bars  (straight up or down).  Have a handyman or carpenter install grab bars into studs or use anchoring devices.  A shorter vertical bar mounted at the tub or shower entrance helps the person to enter or exit without losing their balance and falling..  Two more grab bars in the shower or tub let the person rise from the tub or bath chair or give more stability when the person is washing herself or himself. Usually the grab bars are 12, 16 or 18 inches long. We also sell Lumex Chrome Grab Bars - 32 Inch, Knurled that have better gripping surface and have a 250 lb. weight capacity. Save if you need several by buying the Chrome Grab Bars, 32 In Knurled, 3/CS by Medline.  For those with glass sliding tub doors, the grab bars offer a secure way to regain balance.  In order to install this grab bar for my mother, the handyman had to remove the 1950's glass sliding doors as the door track interfered with the mounting.

2. Horizontal handicap grab bars. This installation gives the option of using the grab bar as a towel bar, too.  Typcially wall studs are 16 inches apart on center. If you examine other exposed areas of your home, you can determine more accurately where the centers are in the studs. Otherwise use a hollow wall anchor system available at hardware stores.  That is why 16 inch, 32 inch and 48 inch grab bars are most common.

3. Diagonal  installed. At the side of my Mom's toilet, there is a diagonally installed 32 inch grab bar. Installation may be more difficult. The positives are that grabbing a diagononal bar puts less stress on one's wrist. If installed in a shower, the diagonal bar is preferred by those who face only the shower head.  The horizontal bar has can be used facing forward or backward but the height if obviously the same no matter where one grabs.

Grab bars are  measured from the center of one flange (the round area that conceals the screws) to the center of the other flange. The flange covers typically measure about 1.5 inches on either side of the grab bar. So add three inches to the total length of the grab bar you need.

Safe Home sells quality grab bars from Lumex (Graham Field Health Products) and Medline Industries. Most are sold in packages of 3, all the same size. Lumex has individual packages as well. Your material/color choices include Chrome plated, White enamel over steel and Nickel Plated Steel. ADA compliant grab bars include the Carex brand from Medline in 12, 16, 18, and 24 inch sizes. Additional lengths are available. Just send us an email if your grab bars must be compliant with ADA.

Safe Home also advises that you treat ceramic flooring and porcelain bathtubs to reduce the risks of slip and fall accidents. Both are slippery when wet. GripOn is easily applied by anyone who can use a mop and a bucket. Us of Grip On anti-slip treatment also means no need for suction cup bath tub mats!

Thank you for your question. Please look at the options on and email any questions to or phone us at 877-358-0900.

Safety Tip: Increase Warehouse and Industrial Safety with Edge Pads on Sharp Edges

by Barbara 19. June 2012 04:16

Question about Kids Edge Cushion Pad Large Profile 2 3/8 x 2 3/8 x 36 Inches, Black 100/Case

Q: "Is this the correct product to cover sharp edges of warehouse shelving? Are there other options? Are there corners to match? We need to increase our warehouse safety. Thanks. Sam."

Answer: To choose the correct product or products, first determine the width  or widths you need to cover. Once you have decided that, then choose a color.

For example, the most economical way to purchase the wide edge cushioning is in the 2 3/8 inch x 2 3/8 inch x 36 inch lengths either in boxes of 48 or 100 pieces. That edge padding comes in ivory, gray, taupe , brown and black. Gray and black are currently the more popular colors. If you do not need the width, then the Kids Edge Cushion Padding 1x1 in.YELLOW 100 Ft. with Tape or the Kids Edge Cushion Pad 1 x 1 in. 400 Ft. YELLOW NO TAPE that you attach with adhesive from a caulking gun. Both products come in brown, gray, ivory and black as well.

There are corners to match each width of edge pad. Custom sized corners are available as well.

Another option is more expensive. That is to use the Boing Skin Urethane Corner Cushion Strips which are wider and a little longer. The favorite for warehouses is the Boing Yellow Corner Cushions each of which measures approximately 39.4 inches long by 2.25" x 2.25" x 1/2" thick. Each strip is made from skinned urethane foam which gives it more resilience.

Thank you for your question.



Wear Compression Stockings On Long Flights To Help Prevent DVT (Deep Vein Thrombis, i.e. Blood Clots) and Swollen Legs

by Barbara 9. May 2011 06:05

Question about Anti Embolism Stocking Knee High M Long, 1PRand Compression Stockings, Stirrup, Lycra, X LG

Q: "My ankles and legs swell on long airplane flights such as LA to Tokyo. I am concerned about deep vein thrombosis, too. I understand these blood clots can occur weeks after you fly and sometimes people die from them. I am afraid this could happen to me. Would these be the best compresion stockings to purchase to avoid those problems? Thanks. Bill"

Answer: Thank you for your very timely question as we are entering the summer travel season. Your physician is your best source of information. See excerpts from  New York Times article from 2007 that confirms your fear is real.

From that article,

"Life-threatening blood clots and flying have been linked for more than 50 years, but a new study of business travelers confirms the risk, particularly for those who take long flights or fly frequently.Immobility is considered a major factor behind the condition, called deep vein thrombosis. But while it is often referred to as “economy-class syndrome” because of the cramped seating there, D.V.T. also occurs among those who fly in business class and first class, the researchers found.

People who fly four hours or more, the study found, have three times the risk of developing clots compared with periods when they did not travel."often referred to as “economy-class syndrome” because of the cramped seating there, D.V.T. also occurs among those who fly in business class and first class, the researchers found. People who fly four hours or more, the study found, have three times the risk of developing clots compared with periods when they did not travel.   D.V.T. occurs when a blood clot forms within the large deep veins of the body, usually in the leg. If untreated, part of the clot may break off and travel to the lungs, where it can cause a pulmonary embolism, a potentially fatal condition.

Frits R. Rosendaal and Suzanne C. Cannegieter of Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands, the study’s lead researchers, tracked almost 9,000 employees of large international companies and organizations over a four- or five-year period, in what they call the most comprehensive study of its kind to date. The results were published this fall in the online journal PLoS Medicine; preliminary findings were reported in late June by the World Health Organization.

“We now know out of 4,500 people who fly, one will get a D.V.T. within eight weeks after travel,” Dr. Cannegieter said. “It’s not really a huge amount,” but, she said, the risk increases with the duration of a flight and the number of flights in a short period. Obesity, a person’s stature, oral contraceptive use, hormone replacement therapy and inherited blood clotting disorders also increase risk. A combination of these factors “may increase risk twenty- to fiftyfold,” Dr. Rosendaal said." End of excerpt from NY Times.

Safe Home recommends you consult your physician to learn whether thigh high or knee high compression stockings would be appropriate to reduce your leg swelling. The other options include walking around the plane several times frequently during the flight. Buying off the shelf anti embolism stockings is not the best choice because the compression may be too much for your needs or too little. Thigh high stockings are designed primarily for those who are bedridden or sitting for long periods of time. To get the proper fit, you need to have someone measure your leg length and your calf circumference.

Safe Home sells two brands of anti-embolism or compression stockings at this time. Medline and Graham Field offer knee length and/or thigh high. The knee length come in a stirrup style and in a full compression to the knee style.These come in flesh tones and in white.

Stirrup stockings by Graham Field are sized in Small 13” – 14”, Medium 15” - 16”, Large 17” - 18” and  Extra Large 19” - 20” according to calf circumference:

  • Form fitting compression stocking helps to control varicose veins and relieve tired aching legs
  • Ideal for people who spend a lot of time on their feet
  • One-way stretch Lycra material
  • Measure calf to determine stocking size
  • Made in USA

The Medline Anti-Embolism Stocking in knee length is an elastic stocking i white are made of 80% nylon/20% spandex. Sizing is as follows:

  • Small regular  Calf Circumference 10” - 13” (25.5 - 33cm) Leg Length 14” - 16” (36 - 40.5cm
  • Small long Calf Circumference 10” - 13” (25.5 - 33cm) Leg Length16” - 18” (40.5 - 46cm)
  • Medium regular Calf Circumference 12” - 15” (30.48 - 38.1cm) Leg Length15” - 17” (38 - 43cm)
  • Medium long Calf Circumference 12” - 15” (30.48 - 38.1cm)Leg Length 17” - 19” (43 - 48.5cm)
  • Large regular Calf Circumference 14” - 17” (35.5 - 43cm) Leg Length16” - 18” (41 - 45.5cm)
  • Large long Calf Circumference 14” - 17” (35.5 - 43cm) Leg Length18” - 20” (45.5 - 51cm)
  • X-large regular Calf Circumference 16” - 19” (40.5 - 48cm) Leg Length 16” - 18” (41 - 45.5cm)
  • X-large long Calf Circumference 16” - 19” (40.5 - 48cm) Leg Length  18” - 20” (45.5 - 51cm)

White is the only current choice for the thigh length Medline Anti-Embolism stockings. Designed by leading vascular specialists, Medline's EMS anti-embolism stockings provide a tailored, contoured fit with just the right amount of gradient pressure. Pressure is greatest at the ankle and gradually reduces throughout the length of the leg. Stockings are constructed of 85 percent nylon and 15 percent spandexare sized this way:

  • Small short Calf circum.     10” - 13” (25.5 - 33cm)    Leg length 26"- 29" (66 - 74cm)
  • Small regular Calf circum.  10” - 13” (25.5 - 33cm) Leg length 29" - 31" (79 - 86cm)
  • Small long Calf circum.      10” - 13” (25.5 - 33cm)     Leg length 31" - 34" (79 - 86cm)
  • Medium short Calf circum.  12” - 15” (30.48 - 38.1cm) Leg length 26"- 29" (66 - 74cm)
  • Medium regular Calf circum12” - 15” (30.48 - 38.1cm) Leg length 29" - 31" ( 74 - 79cm)
  • Medium long Calf circum.   12” - 15” (30.48 - 38.1cm) Leg length 31" - 34" ( 79 - 86cm)
  • Large short Calf circum.     14"- 17 " (35.5 - 43cm) Leg length 26"- 29" (66 - 74cm)
  • Large regular Calf circum.  14"- 17 " (35.5 - 43cm) Leg length 29" - 31" (79 - 86cm)
  • Large long Calf circum.      14"- 17 " (35.5 - 43cm) Leg length 31" - 34" (79 - 86cm)
  • X-large regular Calf circum.16" -19" ( 40.5 - 48cm) Leg length2 6" - 29" (66 - 74cm)
  • X-large long Calf circum.    16" -19" ( 40.5 - 48cm) Leg length 29" - 31" ( 74 - 79cm)

The White thigh length stockings are primarily for those who are bedridden or do little walking. and are 16 to 18 compression. We will be selling higher compression stockings in the future in the 20 to 30 compression range for those who walk more as these reduce blood pooling in the legs.

Thanks for your question.



Source of Steam for Mabis Steam Inhaler for Relief of Sinus Congestion and Cold Symptoms

by Barbara 8. September 2008 05:43

Question about the Product Code: =40-741-000 Steam Inhaler by Mabis Heathcare

Q: "Does The Steam Inhaler Only Use Water As Its Source Of Steam Or Does Some Sort Of Medication Come With It?-Edward."

Answer: No medication comes with the steam vaporizer which does use water as its source of steam. Taking a long steamy shower can have a similar benefit but is time consuming and uses a lot more water. Using the Mabis unit means you can relieve nasal and sinus congestion whenever you need it without using drugs or having to take time away from work or home tasks to shower. Plus you can control the droplet size and the amount of steam. Morning sinus headaches are often viewed as migraines: inhaling steam relieves the pressure for most people without having to take strong medications. Steam is produced within a minute or so. The comfortable, flexible mask lets you inhale without having to put a towel over your head and try to inhale steam from dangerously hot water. If there are several people in your family who need to use the steam inhaler, we suggest you buy another mask or wipe off the mask with alcohol or wash in sudsy water to avoid spread of virusses or germs.

There is an aromatherapy tank where you may add eucalyptus, lavender or your favorite scent. For aromatherapy, the steam inhaler unit does not have to be inhaled as the steam will disperse the scent into the room over the 6 to 9 minute steam time.

This unit does not have a "dish" or depression at the top where you might put Vicks or a similar substance.

As in any "vaporizer" or "steamer", using distilled water is the best choice to avoid clogging or mineral deposits.

Thanks for your question.

Sincerely, Barbara