Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Beat the Heat

Baby it's hot outside! In Southwestern B.C. we are experiencing a heat wave. I don't know what the official temperatures are, but it's 90 degrees in the shade on my patio! I think my laundry will be dry in minutes, not hours.

So - here's the question. Just how do you keep cool when it's hot and humid? I thought about a portable a/c unit. Apparently they come energywise certified now. But you know what - a little planning would have gone a long way. They are sold out - everywhere. Then I thought - a big fan! Nope, also sold out. hmmm. We have three small fans for the bedroom and our room has a ceiling fan (which I reversed to pull the heat up) Our nursery is the coolest room in the house so the baby is good, but our toddler, not so much.

I have been shutting the blinds, opening windows after the sun is going down and shutting them in the day (opening them a bit now for the breeze, which is better than the still warm air inside the house now).

I'm thinking a cool bath for the kids, a cool shower for us big people would work. Lots of water for all the living things in our house. I've been watering the pots of tomatoes/peppers in the morning and evening. The veggie garden when it's shady, and I have drip hoses in the side beds I'll use tonight for a little while. I'll have to water the rest of it by hand and the grass can wait until the evening of our watering day. Dogs and kitties are lying all over the floor (too hot for their beds). I think ice-cubes might be good in their water.

I got to thinking about that a/c unit. Here we get heat only for a little while - is it worth the money and the energy behind it all (making, transport, use) to get one? I'll decide tonight if we get those two fans I'm hoping for.

What do you do to beat the heat?? Any ideas for us here since we aren't used to this in our neck of the woods? (trivia - there has been only 3 other heat waves that lasted as long as this one is supposed to since the early 1920's)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Much Ado about Laundry

It's something we have to do - day in and day out the laundry just keeps on coming. And yes, no sooner do you finish the load, than someone puts something back in the basket. With all this laundry, just how do we do it so that we can save energy and even save some money?

First I suggest a cold wash cycle. I do pretty much everything on cold, except for diapers. Oh, and the odd time I don't get the towels done quickly and they sit damp - they get a warm wash. I try to make up for the hot wash for diapers by hanging them to dry. When they are done, I tumble them on air with some dryer balls to soften them up. I just can't bring myself to put stiff diapers on my baby's butt, lol.

It's summertime - and that means great opportunities to hang things to dry. I have a small laundry line - an umbrella style with three sides. (I covet one with four sides!) and I also have a portable drying rack that I can use. In my laundry room there is a pole over the washer/dryer that I can use to hang things on, too. I've been hanging about 80 % of the laundry these days. If you can't hang a line, there is always over the shower curtain rod or a small portable rack. In fact they even make ones that pull out from the wall now, and push back flat against it when you are done.

And then there is the detergent you use. I personally prefer Seventh Generation. I also use Nature Clean and have found both to be great - no itchies! We used Purex and I had to give it away as it made me itchy. I have Nellies dryer balls in the dryer and I never use dryer sheets or fabric softener. Both my sons have eczema, so I'm careful about what I use on things they will touch. I just received some President's choice cold water phosphate free laundry detergent so once I decide what I think about it, I'll share. So far it seems OK, although it has a wide open mouth and it spilled all over when I went to use it. Technical design wasn't so hot
there. I prefer liquid as I find I usually end up with a residue when I use powder.

Another thing to think about is your next machine. Mine came with the house and they are old - very old. But they work and I am careful to use the right water level to the amount of items and since I don't use the dryer much in the summer, they are keepers for now. But when they die, I will be getting Energywise appliances and preferably a high efficiency front loader for the washer. I'll definitely do my homework before we buy that, though, as the choices are mind boggling and I want the best item for the best price I can afford.

In a nutshell - since the laundry isn't going anywhere, I'm doing the best I can to be thoughtful about how I do it. Watching water levels in the washer, cold washes, hanging to dry and using laundry soap that is better for the environment helps to make this task a little more earthwise (and in the long run, energywise is also moneywise!)

What detergents do you use? And do you have a fabulous washer/dryer? If so, tell me more!!