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If you live where winter temperatures drop below freezing for long periods of time, listen in. The risk of pipes freezing is a major concern. Professionals like the Plumbing Detectives, a busy plumber in Lane Cove, have seen this a thousand times. They’ve sent us a few suggestions to protect pipes from freezing up your money too.
 
More can happen than stopping  water flow. Water expands when it freezes, meaning pipes and fixtures can burst and crack too. More damage, means more expensive repairs. There’s even the risk of serious damage with water flowing into plaster in the home. Now that’s a costly lesson. 

Insulate

This is the most common way to deal with pipes that might freeze. Wrapping pipes in insulation will protect them from the cold.
 
 Yo can use heavy-duty tape and flexible foam batts to wrap  pipes. Otherwise, you can use pre-formed tubes. These are usually light-weight foam , which you can cut with scissors to fit along the length of the pipe. An added bonus is you will save money on hot water costs, as the pipes will hold the heat for longer..

Warm Them Up

If simple insulation isn’t enough to keep out the cold out, you can take this step to warm them up. Use a space heater for exposed basements or under cold kitchen cabinets. Do this if this is the best place to access your pipes. Applying specialised heating wires or wraps directly to plumbing will also work.
 
Tip: To use heaters or warming tape, you need to have easy access to electrical outlets. Pipes that are difficult to get to, will make this job too hard.

A Last Resort Fix

As a last resort you can leave water running – until you can get some professional help in. This is not ideal at all, but in an emergency you could consider this.
 
Moving water is less likely to freeze up. A slow trickle is enough to save the day.
 
Note: No – don’t do this for longer than a day or even a few hours or you’ll get an astronomical water bill. For that one night when temperatures to drop too low, this might save the day.

Move the Pipes

If you’ve been battling this issue for a while, consider getting this problem fixed – for good. If the insulation or heating wraps aren’t the answer, consider doing some work to move the pipes.
 
Does the plumbing in your home run through unheated crawl spaces? Or along the inside of an exterior wall? If so, you will fight to keep the water flowing well. Rather than struggle year after year, talk to a professional plumber. Consider re-routing the pipes to a better area. At least, move the pipes to a place with good access so you can use the cheaper ideas mentioned here.
 

terimakasih0 / Pixabay

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Running a business is a tough gig. You have to be all people. The boss, the receptionist, the cleaner, accounts receivable, payroll and much more. Energy costs don’t help either. If you’re a startup, these can throw a small business over the edge.
The good news is you’re not alone. There are plenty of business people feeling the pinch. Keeping overheads down is key. In terms of energy, there are ways to cut energy costs and divert money to other vital areas of your business. Read on to discover some essential tips on how to cut business energy costs now.
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Set Energy Efficient Rules

Whether you have one employee or ten, cut the cost of excessive energy bills by setting a few ground rules around usage. Most energy companies offer low-costs at off-peak times. Train staff to think about this. For example, if there’s a dishwasher in the office ask them not to turn it on. Instead get the cleaner (could be you!) to turn the dishwasher on at a non-peak time.

Turn off appliances

As part of their induction ask staff to turn off appliances at the wall when not in use. Also stick a note up on the wall as a reminder. Switching appliances off at the wall produces big savings over time – so do this at home too and you’ll have a win-win scenario.

Pexels / Pixabay

Audit Energy

Consider getting an energy audit. You’ll learn which items are the biggest offenders. An auditor will offer smart recommendations on how to improve efficiency. Electricians also have a savvy little device for testing this out. Our electrician told us our kettle was a huge energy sapper. Sometimes, the appliances you least expect are the culprits.

sumanley / Pixabay

Install LED Lights

LED lights can be as much as 75 percent more efficient than CFL bulbs. If you’re still using older bulbs, now is the time to change. It’s often free to get this done. Google a reliable technician in your area and take this step today.

Pixies / Pixabay

Install Lighting Control Systems

Lighting control systems enable you to wirelessly control every light in the building. You can turn them off and dim them remotely at the touch of a button. Some systems will even detect whether there are people around and turn the lights off if there’s no movement in the room.

kloxklox_com / Pixabay

Don’t Print

Many businesses waste money printing out unnecessary documents. In our tech era this is unnecessary. Documents can be easily photographed, emailed, stored in the cloud or published on a website. Not only does this cost more in ink and paper, but printing increases energy bills too. It is much better to print out only the vital documents you need and leave the rest to the wonders of the digital world.

stevepb / Pixabay

Install a Programmable Thermostat of Air Conditioner

Programmable thermostats and air conditioners allow direct control of the amount of energy use when you’re not around. Most modern devices can change the temperature remotely from a phone or tablet. They also adjust the temperature depending on how hot or cold the room is. Don’t do this job if a device can do it for you. Put your savings on autopilot.

TBIT / Pixabay

Keep Changing It

Life changes. Technology changes even quicker. So, even if you do all of the above, do this:
Take some time (say once a year) to look at your energy situation. There are always more savings to be made.

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Going green is a lifestyle choice everyone can achieve. People put off the idea because they think they have to completely change the way they live day-to-day. This isn’t true though. Living an eco-smart life is much easier than you might think. The best part is there are a lot of savings to be made living an eco-friendly life. Read on to discover how you can do it with minimal effort.

Collect Rainwater in the Garden

Consider installing a regular plastic rain tank. Set up in your backyard, and collect up precious water every time it rains. This water can then be used to water the garden to keep that garden looking lush.
Here are the benefits: 

  • Skip spending money turning on the tap
  • Be good to the environment
  • Get some good karma
  • Feel better about your footprint on the planet

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Install Dimmer Switches

Dimmer switches might not seem high on your priority list this week. But think about your last electricity bill and you may wish to reconsider. These save much money in the home over the period of one year.
Here are the benefits of dimmer switches:

  • Reduce the cost of having a light on at full capacity
  • Add some ambience to your home
  • Control the light in your home generally
  • The small cost of fitting them will more than pay for itself
  • Save big on electricity all year round

Pixaline / Pixabay

Use Water Saving Devices

It’s easy to get your home sorted for using less water. Spend a little time putting measures in place and you’ll thank yourself.
Think water saving taps, water dispensers and showers that limit the amount of water released. Also consider timers for the kids and put a limit on family shower time.

Plant Trees

Planting trees around the outside of your home is a smart idea if you live in a hot location. Trees add shade that protect your home. They also save stacks on airconditioning costs. Keep your home cool in summer while you plump up you wallet.
Tip: Also look at the insulation in your home. Add insulation in the roof to start with and you’ll notice a big difference in temperature in both summer and winter.
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Energy costs are through the roof.  They rise and fall with the seasons, but generally they’re super high. Are you checking your gas, electricity and water bills and experiencing a sense of shock?

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Don’t worry. You’re sure not alone.
 
The great news is, you don’t have to take this lying down. You can fight the price hikes by making a conscious effort to get your money back. Aim for happy surprise instead of horror when opening your energy bills.
 
You don’t even have to do the legwork, because we’ve done it.
 
Read on to discover a bunch of ways to save money and put some wow in your wallet again while you stay cool and warm.

Get Planting

Natures a beaut invention. The humble tree is a good start. While it might take a little while to get trees going – make a start. These natural wonders are awesome for reducing a home’s energy bill.
 
The biggest consideration is where to plant them. One of the best spots is actually in front of your AC unit. The more love and shade you give your air con, the less strain you’ll put on it to produce cool air.
 
Don’t stop there.
 
Consider planting trees in front of windows that seem to be turning your home into an oven.
 
Beware: As nursery experts, which tree is best. Root systems can affect a home’s foundations, so make sure you get the best advice.

Pexels / Pixabay

Cover windows

These are a fast and instant way to reduce your energy consumption. These beautiful shutters also make your home look modern, quaint or homely depending on your style. Think shutters, block out blinds and sheer blinds for blocking out light. Keep blinds shut on hot days until the cool change comes through. You’ll notice a drastic reduction in heat in the home, which in turn will reduce your AC bill.

Bingo! More savings and dollars in the bank.

Insulation

Insulation gets overlooked. We made the simple move of putting extra installation in our roof. This has made such a difference that we don’t actually need an air-conditioner. The savings have been incredible.

Pexels / Pixabay

Air-Conditioning

One of the main culprits of high utility bills is air-conditioning. Use these tricks for getting to know your AC and reap the rewards in savings.
 
Don’t set your AC any lower than 25 degrees celsius. Don’t pump that thing at 18 degrees. Most people can hang out happily at 25 degrees. Just step outside on a super hot day and you’ll love the cooler air inside.
 
Change the filter in your aircon. These can get clogged and restrict airflow. If the filter clogs your AC will have to work harder and will be more expensive to run.

Head to the basement

If you are lucky enough to have one, use it. Heat rises so, basements are cooler than the rest of your house. Deck your basement out into a happy and inspiring place and somewhere you will want to hang out.

JamesDeMers / Pixabay

Live in lower levels

The same goes for lower levels in your home. During super hot days, consider hanging out on the ground floor.

Paddle Pool

Consider purchasing a cheap paddle pool with a filter. Add some chlorine and you and the family will reap the benefits that pools bring on hot days. I purchased mine this year for $49. The whole family can sit in it and it’s been a life-saver. Plus – the kids swam all day while I read magazines.
 
Win-win.
 
Paddle pools are great because you can put them away in winter. This avoids the ongoing cost of keeping a pool clean when not in use.

markusspiske / Pixabay

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It’s the little less exciting consumer items that all add up. These are the expenses we don’t care one hoot about because they’re boring. But not watching or monitoring these is like driving down a highway and throwing your cash out the driver’s window.
I love solving any problem that can burn a hole in my purse.
Read on to discover some super fast tips for reducing the cost of heating and cooling in your home. Also check out some quick solutions that will make your car a less expensive gas-guzzling drive.  
Also be sure to check this out: 5 simple ways to slash home expenses  

Get less heater happy

Problem:
I get it. It’s cold outside in winter and those days can be long. But coming home and pumping up that thermostat to its highest setting during winter isn’t effective.
Here’s the truth about heaters:
Heating systems take the same amount of time to reach 18 degrees as they do to reach 22 degrees. They won’t work faster to reach those temperatures. Simply, heaters will actually work harder to reach the 22 degree mark, using up more energy and money in the process.
Solutions:

  • Pop your heater on to the temperature you desire or set a timer to automate this.
  • Close doors within the home so rooms can heat more quickly and efficiently.
  • Set your heater to just ‘take the chill out of the air’ rather than roast people
  • Don’t use electric heaters like the one below –