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California Redwood Association
California Redwood Association

gentools
gentools

Hawaiian Lomi
Hawaiian Lomi

OverTheHill Fitness
OverTheHill Fitness

Re-Bath
Re-Bath

RheemTankless
RheemTankless


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KAREL’S KORNER: Exercise the Brain

Consumers are expected to spend 80 million this year on brain exercise products, up from 2 million in 2005.  One form of training however , has been shown superior in maintaining and improving brain health.  Physical exercise done in certain sequences and challenging your Vestibular (inner ear), somatic (touch), and vision improves "executive function".  Executive function is the set of abilities that allows you to select behavior that’s appropriate to the situation, and inhibit inappropriate behavior and it allows you to focus on the job at hand, despite distractions.  It also includes functions like processing speed and response speed and working memory.  These functions start to decline after the age of 70 but people who have been active have much better executive function than those folks that have been sedentary.  Even such small things as going for a 30 minute walk helps, Exercise is also strongly associated with a reduced risk of dementia  late in life, and active Boomers are one-third less likely to get Alzheimer’s.  So it’s not too late even people who started an exercise program in their 60’s have their risk reduced by 1/2.

Live with purpose.

For more fitness tips and to order a copy of my ‘Living Proof’ DVD, go to www.overthehillfitness.com.

Live long and prosper!


Ways to save energy and lower your utility bill

Insulation, energy-efficient windows, weather stripping and caulking, and high-efficiency heating equipment are obvious and effective means of saving energy, improving comfort and lowering your utility bill.

But there are lots of small steps, some just everyday habits to acquire, that you can take to combat soaring bills and help save the earth. Following are some measures that will give you a head start.

  • Wrap the water heater with an insulating blanket: Most new water heaters have sufficient insulation built into the walls to minimize heat loss. However, older water heaters lose a significant amount of energy as heat escapes through the walls of the tank.

If your tank is warm to the touch, you would benefit by having the tank wrapped with an insulation blanket.

A couple of cautions to keep in mind: Never cover the pressure and temperature relief valve, or associated piping, with insulation. Note, too, that the warranty for certain water-heater models can become void if the unit is wrapped with insulation. Check the owner's manual, look for a warning label on the tank or contact the manufacturer.

  • Install low-flow shower heads: Energy-efficient shower heads have been required in new and remodeled homes since 1994. A good-quality, low-flow shower head will save a substantial amount of water and the energy used to heat it, without sacrificing the feel of a traditional shower.
  • Take shorter showers: While installing a low-flow shower head can be a big energy saver and lower your utility bill, you can also increase your savings by taking shorter showers.
  • Maintain your water heater regularly: Regularly scheduled maintenance will not only save energy, it will also extend the heater's useful life.

Perhaps the best thing you can do for your water heater is to flush sediment (which collects at the base of the tank) at least once annually. Sediment is your tank's biggest enemy. It serves as a breeding ground for odor-causing bacteria; it prevents gas burners from doing an efficient job; and it hastens tank deterioration. Refer to the owner's manual, check with the manufacturer or contact a service professional for information on how to safely flush your water heater.

  • Insulate hot-water pipes: If your pipes are hot to the touch, then heat is being lost. Insulating hot-water pipes will reduce heat loss and your utility bill. And you won't have to wait as long for hot water to arrive at the tap. That means less wasted water, and more savings on water and sewer bills.
  • Wash full loads of dishes when possible and air-dry dishes: Unless you have a modern dishwasher that will allow "compartmentalized cleaning" using a special cycle, your automatic dishwasher consumes the same amount of energy regardless of how many dishes are being washed. Running full loads reduces energy consumption, by reducing the total number of loads washed. Save energy by turning off the drying heater and letting your dishes air-dry. It will take longer, but the dishes will dry just as well.
  • Dry full loads of clothes when possible: You can save energy by doing this, and keeping your dryer's lint filter and exhaust duct clean will also pay energy saving dividends.
  • Turn off your computers overnight: Computers use energy when they're left on all the time. Computers and monitors qualify for an Energy Star rating if they can enter a low-energy "sleep" mode when not in use. If your computer has this feature make sure that it is enabled.

(Energy Star is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy whose aim is to help people "save money and protect the environment through energy-efficient products and practices." http://www.energystar.gov)

Screen savers are effective in preserving the monitor but they don't save energy. The best way to preserve the monitor and save energy is to turn it off.

  • Avoid heating unoccupied areas: Closing heat registers in rooms that are rarely used can reduce energy use. But keep in mind that closing more than one heat register can restrict air flow and damage your furnace. When in doubt, check with a professional heating contractor. Consider installing a "zoned" heating system that will heat only the space you occupy.
  • Seal leaks and insulate your air ducts: As heating systems age, leaks can develop in the ducts. Many duct systems are leaky even when newly installed. Inspect ductwork for loose joints and/or peeling duct tape. Silicone caulk or mastic are more durable alternatives to duct tape.

Most homes contain large portions of duct work that are hard to access. If this is the case in your home, consider hiring a heating pro to do the job for you.

  • Maintain your refrigerator regularly: Proper maintenance will save energy—and extend the useful life of your refrigerator. Brush and vacuum the coils of your refrigerator at least twice a year. Check the door gaskets by placing the end of a dollar bill against the door seal and then closing the door. If you can easily pull out the dollar bill, the seal needs to be replaced. You can get a replacement seal from most appliance parts and supplies stores.

Caution: Before doing either of these task, unplug your refrigerator to avoid electric shock and possible damage to the refrigerator.

On The House Names 2007 Sales Contest Winner

The reward for Shannon’s monthly win in October was a $500 American Express Gift Check and a beautiful wall plaque award. But that was just for starters. Along with her title as the 2007 Sales Contest winner, Shannon also receives an impressive trophy and a state-of-the-art 50” flat screen TV – as well as a live Carey Bros. remote broadcast for the client of her choice. The total value of cash and prizes are nearly $40,000.00.

“We wanted to find a way to increase our awareness with our affiliate sales teams by offering them an incentive to sell our show,” states On The House co-host, Morris Carey. “We win by becoming more important to our affiliate, the salesperson wins by having the potential to win a big prize and the station wins when the sales team works harder.”

According to Shannon Angel, the “On The House” personalized approach played a big part in motivating her to become the 2007 Sales Contest winner. “Our sales team had a nice conference call with the Carey Brothers...and it was just what I needed to feel they were just the right fit for my client,” she notes.

Shannon Angel is the mother of three girls, ages 4, 7 and 16. Commenting on her extremely supportive husband, she beams, “I married an Angel.”

In every respect, “On The House” is “on the move” – with a brand new look, a new feel and an inspired sales team. Stay tuned.

Steam is more than just clean

The ancient Romans were famous for their baths.

In those days, taking a bath was a very different experience from ours. Most bathing was communal, not as private as it is today. Bathers enjoyed hot and cold rooms, and medium-temperature lounging rooms with extra services such as food, wine and exercise.

Today, we call such places health clubs, gyms or spas.

History also tells us that bathhouses, specifically sweat baths (hot-air or steam sweating, followed by washing or cold plunges), were a favorite way of getting clean. Interestingly enough, the basic procedure of pouring water over heated rocks to create steam is still used; you can buy sauna and steam units on the Internet.

And modern aficionados of such baths also believe that steam not only helps you get clean outside, but enhances health and is therapeutic as well.

However, it is wise to ask your doctor first if such therapy is appropriate for you.

If you decide to try setting up a steam bath at home, here are some basics to keep in mind.

A modern, compact steam shower unit installed in a closet, within a vanity cabinet or a heated attic space, can provide warm, moist steam heat in a shower. But there are considerations and precautions that must be taken.

Steam can easily be introduced into a shower enclosure with a modern steam generator, but the shower must be completely enclosed to prevent the steam's escape. A conventional shower door can be used, but a fixed panel must be added so that the normal opening above the door is converted to a completely sealed configuration.

Most shower-door companies can make such a panel for a very small cost.

Also, the walls and ceiling within the shower should be tiled or surfaced with a waterproof material such as stone or a manmade sheet product (almost any one will do). If you decide on tile, pay heed to what the experts say: Fixing tile to wallboard is a big mistake. If you intend to create your own "steam world" you will want to use an old-fashioned mortar-backed shower or one with cement-tile backer board—no wallboard.

Personally, we would not build a steam shower without first creating a waterproof barrier on all walls and the ceiling, before adding backer board or mortar. There are several sheet products used by tile companies to seal shower pans, which would double beautifully for a steam shower.

Once the backer board is in place, use a "latex-modified thinset mortar" as an adhesive to set either tile or stone.

For stone, be sure to butter the back of each piece (in addition to the wall) to create a top-notch seal. Stone can be very porous and the extra layer of thinset will solve that problem.

Also, it is wise to use latex-modified grout in a steam shower. And remember, you can't use epoxy (another alternative) if you choose limestone. But we would never use limestone in a shower steam or otherwise—it's too porous.

Finally, nothing is more important in a steam shower than a good grout, and tile or stone sealer or impregnator, depending on what the finish is. Go to a shop that sells tile (not a big-box store) for good advice on the best product for your particular project.

Keep these features in mind when looking for a steam shower:

  • Quiet operation is important. Many units are very noisy.
  • "Instant-on" also is an important feature. Many units can take up to 20 minutes to warm up.
  • An adjustable steam-shower mist control is helpful, too. Not every shower is the same size and being able to dispense steam in a way that prevents body contact is important. Some units plug right in to the existing electric system. This may be your cup of tea, but such a unit may not be powerful enough to generate enough steam for a large shower stall.
  • An aromatherapy attachment is a great addition.
  • UL approval also is a must for any electric contraption.

Check out the following companies and Web sites to learn more about steam showers:

Acquinox, www.acquinox.com

Kohler, www.kohler.com

Luxaris, www.luxaris.com

Mr. Steam, www.mrsteam.com

ThermaSol, www.thermasol.com