Try Out this “TIE DIY” Spin Art!

Bored with the same old, same old DIY art projects? Here’s a super easy activity that is sure to make your kids happy (or should we say: “hippie?”)—tie dye spin art!

It’s fast, easy and totally far out, dude! Go for a spin and try it out yourself.

We got this project from Good Housekeeping. They have lots of other craft ideas too, so check them out and keep your kiddos busy all summer long!

Materials:

  • Salad spinner
  • Washable paint (we recommend Crayola Washable Fingerpaint)
  • Squeeze bottles (travel-size shampoo bottles work)
  • Coffee filters

Directions:

  1. Fill squeeze bottles with washable paint.
  2. Place the coffee filter “canvas” in the basket of the salad spinner.
  3. Squirt colors onto the coffee filter canvas.
  4. Close lid and spin salad spinner. Continue to spin as much as you’d like.
  5. Hang on a clothespin and display in your home!

It’s tie dye to DIY for! Try it out and you’ll have your own little Picasso’s in no time. 

Ask the Expert: “What Upgrades Add the Most Value to my Home?

Want to upgrade your home to be more energy efficient?

First: Good for you! You’re awesome.

Second: You probably want to get the most bang for your buck. While every energy-efficient upgrade helps you save energy and money, some upgrades add more value to your home than others. This is true whether you decide to sell your home, or if you just want to add upgrades that will eventually pay for themselves.

Which ones are they? Glad you asked!

Upgrade with Energy Star® certified appliances

How many times have you toured a house and said: “If we buy this I’m 100% replacing the [insert appliance here]?” Trust us, people touring your home are probably saying the same thing. Nobody wants a clunker, so replace your old appliances with Energy Star-certified units. Not only will you improve your home’s value, you’ll save a ton of energy too. Another bonus: you can always take your new appliances with you. See available rebates on appliances. 

Don’t wait to insulate

Insulation is not something people think about when buying a home. But you really should. Properly insulating your attic and ceiling improves energy efficiency by keeping heat from escaping where the loss is the greatest. The recommended insulation is R-38, about 10 to 14 inches, but you can get as high as 15 to 20 inches. The more the merrier! We also offer rebates to help you out, plus you could qualify for a 10-percent tax credit on the cost of the insulation too.

Switch to WiFi programmable thermostats

These days just about everything is connected to WiFi. Shouldn’t your thermostat be too? Instead of heating or cooling an empty house, WiFi thermostats let you program your thermostat to only run during certain times. Plus they’re super affordable too, especially when we help you pay for them with a $110 rebate on any eligible Honeywell WiFi thermostat (making some models free).  

Install new doors or windows (or seal the ones you have).

Open up to major savings…literally! A new front door or windows not only adds curbside appeal, they also keep energy in the home where it belongs, saving you money in the process. Don’t want to spend the money on new doors and windows? Seal the ones you have to prevent air from escaping. 

Don’t forget your ducts

Leaky ducts are bad news. In fact, you can lose as much as 40-percent of your home’s heated or cooled air before it ever reaches the destination due to leaky ducts. Yeah, they’re the worst. Do yourself a favor (and any future owners a solid) by having your ducts professionally sealed. It’ll only set you back about $750, give or take, which will pay for itself in a few years if you run your A/C or furnace a lot. 

Whether you’re moving out or staying put, these energy-efficient upgrades will make your home more valuable and you more comfortable.

Beat Peak Hotness: Here are 10 Tips to Beat Triple-Digit Temps!

Summer time is the best time: swimming pools, backyard BBQs, road trips, fireworks…and utility bills. OK, so maybe that last part isn’t the best.

Sure, summer may not be all sunshine and rainbows, but you don’t let high energy wreck your fun—here are 10 tips to save energy and money this summer.

Pick a Heat Pump Water Heater

Thinking about taking cold showers? We’ve got a better idea—switch to a heat pump water heater (HPWH) instead! While conventional electric-resistance water heaters generate heat directly, a HPWH moves heat from one place to another. Basically, it’s recycling heat throughout your home, saving you money in the process. In fact, a HPWH is 2-3X times more energy efficient than conventional heaters. Plus, if you get a qualifying Energy Star® certified HPWH, you can also get a $500 rebate from us. See how!

Turn out the lights during the day

You’ve got access to the best overhead light there is—the sun! So for an easy way to save this summer, turn off your home lights during the day. This works well even when you’re working from home, but is especially beneficial if you’re back in the office and the house is empty. If it’s not too hot, you can also leave the windows open to let in more sunlight.

Use heavy drapes

The sun is an awesome overhead light, but it’s also the galaxy’s most powerful heat lamp too. So hang heavy drapes in front of your windows to keep the sunlight from warming your house, and making your A/C work that much harder. Pro Tip—hanging heavy drapes is also a good idea in the winter, because it keeps heat in the house too.

Shut the doors on your second story

When you run your A/C on your first floor you’re also cooling the second floor—even if nobody is up there! So if nobody’s upstairs, shut all the doors on your second (or third) floor. When your A/C has less work to do, it will cool your first floor more quickly and easily. You’ll also save energy and money by not having to cool an entire floor.

Turn off your A/C when you don’t need it

To save the optimum amount of energy and money, it’s best to limit your A/C use to super hot days (you know what we’re talking about). Turning off your A/C at night when it’s cooler can also result in huge savings. Not quite ready to turn it off completely? Adjust the temp at night or when you’re not at home. For every degree you raise the thermostat, you can save between 4-8% on cooling costs.

Use a programmable thermostat

Now that you’re an adult you can totally understand why your dad didn’t want you to touch the thermostat. With a programmable thermostat you won’t have to! A programmable thermostat automatically adjusts your home’s temperature based on its settings. Plus, when you enroll in the Power Hours program, you can get a $110 instant rebate on any eligible Honeywell Wi-Fi and ecobee thermostats, which makes many models FREE! See how to enroll.

Fans are fantastic

We’re big fans of fans! Just because you’re limiting your A/C use doesn’t mean you have to sweat it out—run fans instead! Fans use a fraction of the energy as an A/C unit, but they circulate cool air throughout the room. Remember, fans cool people, not rooms, so if you’re not there, remember to turn off the fan.

Clean your A/C

Your air conditioner is a machine. And like any machine, it can get messy, especially during the fall and winter. A clean A/C is a happy A/C, so it’s important to routinely replace or clean the air filters. Clogged or dirty filters block airflow, meaning your A/C has to work harder to cool your home, costing you a lot of money in the process. You can reduce your A/C’s energy consumption by up to 15% just by replacing a dirty filter with a clean one.

Take advantage of natural ventilation

We talk a lot about how hot Oklahoma summers are, but our state is also known for its cool breezes. So take advantage of nature’s air conditioner—when it’s cool outside and there’s a nice breeze, turn off your A/C and open a window.

Do what you were doing anyway

You know all those energy-saving habits you’re already following? They still work during the summer! So unplug your electronics. Switch to an ADVANCED power strip. Load up your washing machine and dishwasher. Check your insulation. Switch to LED light bulbs. Follow these habits (and more) to lower your energy bill during the summer—and all year long!

Try these 10 simple tips so you can worry less about your utility bill and more about what really matters—having the best summer ever!

A New Spin on Efficiency — How to Clean Up your Laundry Room Routine

You’re probably a seasoned pro at saving energy in your home’s busiest spots, like your living room and kitchen. But what about rooms in your house where there’s less activity—like the laundry room?

Even if you don’t spend a lot of time in there (though probably more than you’d like) your laundry room uses a lot of energy. Here’s five tips to remove any “stains” on your laundry room’s energy use:

Wash with cold water.

This is one of the easiest things you can do, and definitely the most beneficial. In fact, cutting out hot water can save you 50% more energy! Your clothes won’t complain about bathing in the cold either. Just use cold water detergents, or high-efficiency detergents (look for the “he” symbol). 

Use the right size load for your washer and dryer.

Your washer uses the same amount of energy no matter what, so wash a full load. But be sure to use the right-sized load for your dryer. Too much and it will take your clothes longer to dry. Too little and you’ll waste energy drying only a few things.

Try these hacks to dry for.

What’s better than one dryer hack? Three!. Try switching loads while the dryer is still warm so you can use the remaining heat for the next cycle. You can also separate your towels and heavier-weight cottons from your lightweight clothes (the light-weight ones take less time). And remember to take advantage of your dryer’s moisture-sensing dry cycle, which helps you avoid over drying your clothes. 

Use dryer balls.

Never heard of them? These nifty little numbers separate your clothes in the dryer, getting more air to them and cutting down your drying time. Wool dryer balls even absorb some moisture too. So yeah, dryer balls are the best. 

Get an ENERGY STAR® certified washer and dryer.  If it’s time to retire your old washer and dryer, be sure to look for ENERGY STAR® certified models! ENERGY STAR certified washers and dryers can save up to 25% more energy, plus with our rebates you can save even more. Yep, it all adds up to awesome!