Lewis Maclean July 2017


Though B.C. isn’t known for the hottest summers, this summer is expected to be warmer than average. That means more people than usual will be relying on their air conditioners. It also means more people will be worried about their energy bill. Luckily, there are ways you can keep cool while still maintaining an energy- efficient household. Here are two upgrades to consider. Upgrade your thermostat. Today’s thermostats have more programmable options than ever before. There are even smart thermostats you can control and monitor from your smartphone or computer. These thermostats give you direct and constant control over the way your AC cools your home. Plus, smart thermostats learn your temperature preferences; they know when you’re at home or away and are incredibly easy to use. If your AC already has a programmable setting, be sure to take advantage of it. Make sure you aren’t running cool air when nobody’s home. With programmable AC and smart thermostats, you can set exactly when you want the AC to run. When you run your AC mindfully, you can save a lot of money. Upgrade your insulation. Many homeowners forget about the necessity of insulation. Good insulation is just as important during the summer months as it is during the winter months. If you haven’t checked your home’s insulation recently, now is a great time to inspect it. Make sure all the ductwork that runs through attics and crawl spaces throughout the home is adequately insulated. In the attic, for instance, insulation should completely wrap or cover the ducts. You lose a lot of cool air through your attic if overhead ducts aren’t properly insulated and if the attic itself isn’t properly insulated. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers estimates that poorly insulated ducts are responsible for a 20–40 percent loss in a home’s energy efficiency. Over the summer, that can add up to considerable costs. 2 Upgrades for Better Cool-Air Efficiency GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR AC THIS SUMMER

A mentally sedentary summer can cause your child’s learning to stagnate and backslide, erasing the equivalent of as much as two months of in-school learning. But you can have fun with your kids

this summer and help them learn at the same time. Try this project from sciencebob. com, which demonstrates how geodes are formed and gives a primer on the science of crystals. The results are stunning!

All you need are some clean eggshells, water, several different soluble materials (salt, sugar, baking soda, borax, cream of tartar), coffee cups, spoons, food coloring, and egg cartons. First, crack the eggs as close to the narrow end as possible. Then, clean the eggshells in hot water, which allows you to pull the skin out of the inside. Place the shells in an egg carton lined with wax paper to hold them upright. Boil the water and pour half a cup into each coffee mug, followed by ¼ cup of one of the soluble materials, stirring until it dissolves. Keep adding the solid slowly until the water is supersaturated — this simply means that the water has absorbed all it can and any additional solid won’t dissolve. Carefully pour the solution into an eggshell, filling it as full as you can without the solution overflowing or the egg tipping over. As the water evaporates (be patient!) crystals will begin to form inside the eggshells. But how? As the water is heated, it expands, allowing more space for the dissolved solution. When it cools and evaporates, that space goes away, and the solids are forced to become solid again. See, science is fun and educational! Check out further science experiments on sciencebob.com, sciencekids. co.nz, or redtri.com/classic-science-experiments! Then, add food coloring to the solutions. See what creative color combinations your child can come up with.

2 • www.lewismaclean.com

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