Nov 152012

Fiscal Cliff vs. Home and Office Maintenance

Today, as this newsletter is being written, Americans have their eye on the “Fiscal Cliff.”  Funny thing, before the election it was referred to as Sequestration.  As the Maintenance Guru, I have to admit that I really don’t understand the term sequestration and believe that few people do.  Change the term to Fiscal Cliff an even I can understand what’s ahead.  I have a few suggestions I could toss in the ring for avoiding the Fiscal Cliff but we have people much smarter them me working that problem.  My goal this month is to provide ways to help you can save a few dollars each month forever.  If we all jump off the “Fiscal Cliff,” you and I will at least know we are getting the most from the money we spend on utilities and maintenance.

1. Work on your utility budget by reviewing what you used last December, and pledge to cut that amount by 10%.
2. Conduct the scheduled maintenance reviews on your heating systems to keep them efficient
3. Conduct the scheduled plumbing and appliance inspections.  Remember, this month includes your water heater inspection and the last thing you need going into the holidays is a flooded home.
4. Turn lights off when you are not in the room.
5. Only wash clothes and dishes when there is a full load.
6. Run your ceiling fan when you are in a room and turn it off when the room is empty.
7. Use energy efficient light bulbs.

Getting your family involved is important too.  Remember when your parents nagged you to turn off your lights?  Remember how you responded?  I had a subscriber tell me as a mom trying to make ends meet, she was always looking for ways to save.  She sat her family down and showed them an electric bill from December the year before and challenged them to cut the bill by 10%.  She went on to say that she reminded them to take shorter showers, turn lights off when leaving a room, turn the water off while brushing their teeth so water doesn’t just flow down the drain.  For her part, she would adjust the thermostat when she left the house in the morning and then again when the first person came home after school.  She challenged the family with the promise of a dinner out if they achieved their goal of 10%.  To everyone’s surprise, she saved over 30% on her utility bill the first month.

Turn your personal Fiscal Cliff into your personal Fiscal Windfall by taking a few extra steps to save.  Build habits that last a lifetime, your children will thank you for it one day.


Turkey fryer hazards as reported by UL:

Source Data
UL is a global independent safety science company with more than a century of expertise innovating safety solutions from the public adoption of electricity to new breakthroughs in sustainability, renewable energy and nanotechnology. Dedicated to promoting safe living and working environments, UL helps safeguard people, products and places in important ways, facilitating trade and providing peace of mind.

Turkey fryer hazards 

  • Many units easily tip over, spilling the hot oil from the cooking pot.
  • If the cooking pot is overfilled with oil, the oil may spill out of the unit when the turkey is placed into the cooking pot. Oil may hit the burner or flames, causing a fire to engulf the entire unit.
  • Partially frozen turkeys placed into the fryer can cause a spillover effect. This too may result in an extensive fire.
  • With no thermostat controls, the units also have the potential to overheat the oil to the point of combustion.
  • The lid and handles on the sides of the cooking pot get dangerously hot, posing severe burn hazards.

Important safety information
If you absolutely must use a turkey fryer, please use the following tips.

  • Turkey fryers should always be used outdoors a safe distance from buildings and any other flammable materials.
  • Never use turkey fryers in a garage or on a wooden deck.
  • Make sure the fryers are used on a flat surface to reduce accidental tipping.
  • Never leave the fryer unattended. Most units do not have thermostat controls. If you do not watch the fryer carefully, the oil will continue to heat until it catches fire.
  • Never let children or pets near the fryer even if it is not in use. The oil inside the cooking pot can remain dangerously hot hours after use.
  • To avoid oil spillover, do not overfill the fryer.
  • Use well-insulated potholders or oven mitts when touching pot or lid handles. If possible, wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from oil splatter.
  • Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and be careful with marinades. Oil and water do not mix, and water causes oil to spill over causing a fire or even an explosion hazard.
  • The National Turkey Federation (NTF) recommends thawing the turkey in the refrigerator approximately 24 hours for every five pounds in weight.
  • Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby. Never use water to extinguish a grease fire. If the fire is manageable, use your all-purpose fire extinguisher. If the fire increases, immediately call the fire department for help.