Kathy Kelley's Blog
Everyone likes to keep their home smelling fresh. At the very least, it assures us that when our guests come they have a pleasant aroma that welcomes them into the home. However, fragrances can be beneficial in other ways.
Some are calming, while others stimulating and invigorating. They can help you set the tone you’re aiming for, whether it’s a relaxing bath or sitting down to get some work done in your office.
At one time, you didn’t have many options when it came to giving your home a pleasant fragrance. You could burn candles, which can be dangerous if you have children or pets running around. Or you could use a plug-in air freshener, which are expensive and smell artificial.
Recently, however, a third option has been gaining popularity--essential oil diffusers.
Essential oils have a number of uses. They’re in the cologne and perfume we spray on our bodies, they’re in the room spray we use to freshen up our homes, and they’re an ingredient in a number of other cosmetic and therapeutic products.
Many are said to have medicinal value, such as a decongestant or a sleep aid. Others are used simply because they smell great.
In this article, we’re going to talk you through using an essential oil diffuser in your home and what oils you might want to start with.
Methods of oil diffusion
There are a number of ways you can spread the aroma of essential oils in your home. One of the quickest and easiest ways is to put a drop or two of essential oils on a tissue and simply wave it around in the room.
For a more far-reaching effect, you’ll need to find a longer lasting way of diffusing the oils. Many people choose steam. You can either purchase a steam oil diffuser or just put a few drops into boiling water.
Another option is to use a heat source. You can buy tea light to heat the oils or, if you want to avoid open flames, buy an electric heat diffuser.
Each method has its advantages and disadvantages, and if you’re new to essential oils, it might be a good idea to start small by simply buying a starter pack of oils, smelling them to see which you like, and putting a couple drops in a boiling pot of water or dabbing them on a tissue.
A note of caution: essential oils are strong. Getting them on your hands or clothing, especially if undiluted, can mean your hands or clothes smelling like that oil for several days. You should also avoid putting them near your eyes or mouth as many essential oils can be dangerous.
Which oils to use
Oils have a range of scents--floral, citrus, earthy, spicy, minty, and so on. Knowing which oil you want for a given scenario is a matter of preference and trial and error. However, there are several blends or “recipes” that people prefer.
Common pairings include:
Orange and peppermint
Lavender and lemon
Bergamot and patchouli
Basil and sage
Cypress and cedarwood
Lemongrass and eucalyptus
Going green sounds like a big, lofty goal. For many, it brings thoughts of installing solar panels or upgrading entire HVAC systems to be more eco-friendly. While these are helpful tasks, there are many little things you can do right now to “go green” at home. If you want to make a big difference in the environment, start small with these surprising electricity savers.
1. Install a Programmable Thermostat
Your AC uses quite a bit of your energy, and so does electric heat. In fact, the Residential Energy Consumption Survey indicates that 48 percent of the energy use in American homes comes from heating and cooling spaces. A programmable thermostat allows you to set your system to a more eco-friendly level, so you’re not heating and cooling it too much when you’re sleeping or away from home.
2. Turn on the Ceiling Fan (and Turn It off Too)
A ceiling fan is a great way to make you feel cooler in a room even when the air conditioner is set at a higher temperature. However, ceiling fans only help if you’re actually in the room, because they don’t actually lower the temperature. They simply change the way you feel. When you leave the room, turn the fan off. You’ll save about $7 a month on electricity by not running it when you’re not enjoying it.
3. Vacuum Refrigerator Coils
A refrigerator’s coils, often on the back of the refrigerator, are essential to its cooling process, and they’re also a dust and dirt magnet. Many people forget about them, because they are completely out of sight. Once every three months, pull the refrigerator out and clean the coils with the vacuum. This will help your refrigerator use less energy. Set a reminder on your phone so you don’t forget this important task.
4. Check for Energy Vampires
When you plug an electronic into the wall, your electricity will constantly flow through the cord, to the device, and back to the wall. If the device is off, this cycle continues, and some of the electricity is lost. In fact, as much as 75 percent of the electrical use from your home electronics occurs when the device is off, and these are called “energy vampires.” There are two easy ways to stop this problem. First, consider plugging all of your devices into surge protector power strips. When you’re not using them, switch the strip off. A smart power strip is another option. These will cut the power to the devices when you turn the device off, so you don’t have to remember to switch the strip on and off.
Saving electricity at home starts with making smart choices. Use these ideas, and start watching your energy bills drop.
31 Beecher Pl, Newton, MA 02459
31 Beecher Pl, Newton, MA 02459
The phrase “the joys of homeownership” is a staple in most households. But sometimes, you think you hear a snicker behind the smile. Now that you’re finally ready to become an owner, you might be wondering if that term is truthful or sarcastic. The answer is “Both.”
How can it be both?
No doubt about it, buying a home and making it yours is a fantastic achievement. Taking on part of the American dream builds your confidence, creates community stability and sets your household’s future on a positive trajectory. However, a home can also become an albatross. That could be what happens when you blindly purchase a home without an upfront and thorough inspection. Even a home that a relative or friend sells to you needs a professional home inspector to give you a baseline of what maintenance and repairs it may need.
How do you stay "joyful?"
- Insist on a home inspection. As mentioned earlier, even if someone you know sells you the home, paying for an inspector to report on what’s up with the home’s major systems means you can plan for your future. If the inspection says the roof needs replacing in five years, you can factor that into your budget and not be surprised or upset when, in five years, you need a new roof.
- Ask for a warranty. As part of the negotiations, have your agent request a home warranty for at least a year. You may even opt for renewal after that year. Get a warranty that covers problems with major systems such as the electrical panel and wiring, plumbing, water heater, HVAC and sprinkler systems. The cost to the seller is typically low, and helps maintain peace of mind when things start to get a little worn.
- Stay on top of maintenance. If you’re handy, this is your moment to shine. Get a list of the most common maintenance issues in a home and schedule it into your free time. These include monitoring for water leaks, changing air conditioning and furnace filters and clearing out the gutters and downspouts before the winter weather wreaks havoc. If you’re not the do-it-yourself type, then ask your agent to recommend someone to keep an eye on things for you so that they don’t turn into major problems.
Is homeownership a reason for joy? Of course. But don’t let unexpected expenses and maintenance issues dim your happiness. Ask your agent about home inspections, warranties and repair contractor referrals.