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Some Winter Tips

I have been coming across various tips on dealing with wintertime issues. Some of them are pretty good. Some are not. I have done some investigation and can pass along some tips that you can trust.

De-Icing Windshields

Sometimes, it is better to use a commercial product than a DIY alternative. De-icing windshields is such a case. Alternative recipes abound on the ‘net, including ones using vinegar or rubbing (Isopropyl) alcohol mixed with water. These products can de-wax or otherwise damage your car’s paint. Commercial products are inexpensive and safe for your car. It is penny-wise and pound foolish to not use a common inexpensive product on a multi-thousand dollar car.

Some other tips include:

  • Raise your wipers when you come home at night. It makes the windshield that much easier to scrape.
  • Pre-warm your car several minutes with the defroster running before going out with the scraper.
  • Cover the windshield when you come home.

Starting Fires the Easy Way

Starting a fire in a wood stove is somewhat of an art. We have found that if you surround the small kindling fire with large blocks of wood (basically making a wall surrounding the fire), it reflects the heat and … Read the rest

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Lower Your Heating Bills – Comparing the Cost of Heat Sources

Outdoor Furnace

With today’s constantly fluctuating costs for energy, it is more difficult than ever to determine the best way to heat your home or shop. Being able to compare the costs of different sources of heat can be very helpful in lowering the high prices of dispelling the discomfort of a frigid Winter. To that end, this tutorial will help you understand how to evaluate energy sources and convert their prices into a standard unit for comparison.

Understanding Heat Energy

As with most measurements, there are two different units used for quantifying the amount of heat: BTU and kilocalories. I prefer to work in BTUs, so that is the unit I will use for this discussion. The term BTUs stands for British Thermal Units. It is a very handy unit to use for heating calculations. It is defined as the amount of heat needed to raise one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit. To use a very simple example, if you want to boil a gallon of 72 degree tap water, you would need: 8 (pounds) \times (212-72) (^{\circ}F) = 1120 BTUs of heat.

Another useful unit for representing energy (not just heat) is the kilowatt-hour. A watt is a unit of power, and watt-hour is a unit … Read the rest

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