Indoor Air Quality

I am a residential designer who is researching this very subject on the internet for a presentation to a builders' association meeting. I found the United states E.P.A. website and a news group about indoor air quality (I.A.Q.). I learned a lot of interesting things:
Don't get those ozone air cleaners. For them to work they have to put out enough ozone to be harmful to your lungs and your home. Experts recommended electrostatic filters.
Some other ways to improve your indoor air: Do not burn scented candles. Most contain lead and solvents that settle all over your house including inside your air conditioning system. Make sure you have no moisture problems in the walls, ceilings or floors. This causes mold to grow, which is a common source of serious air quality problems. Also, do not smoke in the house. Don't have too many plants in the house because the soil is an excellent mold culture. Use as few pesticides as possible. Many do not break down as fast inside as they do outside in the sunlight. Also, since most homes have a much higher level of pollution inside than outside, open the widows whenever possible (except when pollen counts are high).
If you want more specific information I would suggest you search indoor air quality and air cleaners on the internet search engines.
Richard M.

Air Purifier Recommendation

I suggest Holmes brand, model HAP-240. You can buy it at Wal-Mrt for about $50. It is a HEPA filter purifier and is large enough to filter a bedroom but small enough to move easily. The HEPA replacement filters are about $15. I try to replace mine about every six months. My kids have allergies so we bought one for each room - three total. We bought the first one about five years ago and we have had no mechanical problems with it so far.

Resources for the Physically Challenged

I have two mentally disabled grown daughters who have been on SSI and SSD for more than 20 years. There are many discounted or FREE programs available to physically and mentally challenged/disabled citizens. Here are some suggestions:

  • Consult with Social Security to see if you qualify for SSD benefits rather than SSI. It may provide increased income.
  • Check with your County Health agencies for access to home health care, social programs and other assistance they may provide.
  • Contact the local United Way Help Line to see what free/discounted services your local community might provide.
  • Call your local bus company to see if you qualify for a free or reduced rate bus pass.
  • Call your telephone and electric utility companies to apply for a reduced service rate offered to disabled/handicapped citizens.
  • Contact your State's Vocational Rehabilitation Office to see if you qualify for job training in a limited capacity.
  • Contact local Temporary Employment agencies. They often hire handicapped people for limited temporary work assignments.
  • Contact local Social Services Agency to see if you qualify for AFDC, Food Stamps, Health Care or other services.
    Donald P.

    A 'Friendly' Vacation

    We live in New Mexico, and have very dear friends in Texas, 12 hours away. None of us have much money since we have plenty of kids, so in order to see each other at least twice a year, and to ensure that we all get away at least once, we split the gas for trips between families. That way either family needs only half the gas money saved at one time. No one ever pays to stay with the other, or eat there either.
    Works awesome!

    Free Entertainment

    If you like folk festivals and other festivals, try working for your admission. We just did that at the Florida Folk Festival in White Springs. My husband worked sound on one of the stages and I was the MC. We got free admission and a prime parking spot for about six hours of work, and we even enjoyed the work. Some of the work is not as much fun, like tidy bowl duty, but it is just a few hours and then you can enjoy the rest of the festival. Most festivals need help, and are happy to get it. We could have had a free camping spot if we had wanted it, but we stayed at a friend's house, which was much quieter (there are jam circles in the camp ground all night). We will do the same sort of thing for the Will Mclean Folk Festival in March; at that one we run the poetry stage part of the time, and let the story tellers take their turn too. Most festivals require at least four hours of work and many people do more if they enjoy the job.
    Judy in Florida

    Smoke Detector Safety

    Last night our local news had a consumer alert regarding smoke detectors. Everyone knows you should replace the batteries twice a year and check the detector monthly. Everyone doesn't know, however, that smoke detectors should be replaced every 10 years. The reason for this is inside the machine there is a sensor that contains radioactive material that has a life expectancy - sometimes shorter than 10 years. If you have old smoke detectors, you may find the warning in your owner's manual in very fine print or inside the machine underneath the battery - also in very fine print. Today when you purchase a new one, this warning is on the front of the box in big black letters. Thought your readers might be interested in this. After all, you purchase smoke detectors to protect yourself and your family.

    Experienced Bargain Hunter Suggests...

    As a Thrift Shopper of 40 years, my sources of choice are now garage sales. Thrift stores have quantity, but not, for the most part, quality. The good stuff goes to jobbers and consignment store owners. Must share my latest coup ..... last weekend I purchased 17 Liz Claiborne sportswear items for $100, most of them still with tags on!
    Know your neighborhoods, and choose the better ones. Thrift stores certainly have bargains, but if you can WAIT, and love the adventure of the hunt, garage sales definitely have the better-for-less merchandise!