Purdue University experts have discovered a great approach to lowering 50 percent of winter heating costs!  They're at work on a new research project that promises to reduce heating bill by 50 percent for those of us who live in very cold climates. The study, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, builds on previous work that began about five years ago at Purdue's Ray W. Herrick Laboratories.

Heat pumps provide heating in winter and cooling in summer, but they aren't very efficient in extreme cold climates. The Purdue research involves changes to the way heat pumps operate to ensure they are more cost-effective in very cold climates.

The modern technology works by modifying the conventional vapor-compression cycle behind standard air conditioning and refrigeration.

The common vapor-compression cycle has four stages:

1° Refrigerant is compressed as a vapor, then

2° Condenses into a liquid, and

3° Expands to a combination of liquid and vapor, and finally

4° Evaporates

The project investigates two cooling approaches during the compression process.  For the first experiment, relatively large volumes of oil are injected into the compressor to absorb heat generated throughout the compression stage. In the second, a mixture of liquid and vapor refrigerant from the expansion stage is injected at various points during compression to supply cooling.

The new heat pumps might be half as expensive to operate as heating technologies now utilized in cold regions where natural gas is unavailable and people use electric heaters and liquid propane.

As we wait for the results of the Purdue research, here are some suggestions to improve you home air quality and save energy:

    Ensure your thermostat is located in an area that is not too cold or hot. 
    Install an automatic timer to maintain the thermostat at 68 degrees during the day and 55 degrees at night. 
    Use storm or thermal windows in colder areas. The layer of air between the windows acts as insulation, helping to keep the heat inside where you want it. 
    If you haven't done so already, insulate your attic and all outside walls. 
    Insulate floors over unheated spaces, e.g., your basement, crawl spaces, and your garage. 
    Close off the attic, garage, basement, spare bedrooms and storage areas. 
    Heat only the rooms that you use during the winter. 
    Seal gaps around pipes, wires, vents or other openings that could transfer your heat to unheated areas. 

Most people are unaware that common indoor air quality practices help reduce home air heating costs too:

    Rain can bring moisture indoors, creating dampness and mold spores, which are bad healthy indoor air. Check your roof, foundation and basement or crawlspace once a year to catch leaks or moisture problems and route water away from your home's foundation. 
    Help to keep asthma triggers away from your house by fixing leaks and drips as soon as they start. Standing water and moist encourage the development of dust mites and fungus, both common triggers that can worsen asthma. Make use of a dehumidifier or AC unit when needed, and clean both regularly. 
    High levels of moisture in your home increase dampness and mold growth, which not only damage your house but threaten health. Install and run exhaust fans in bathrooms to remove unhealthy moisture and odors out of your home. 
    Ventilate your kitchen stove directly outside or open a kitchen window when you cook. Keeping exhaust -- including cooking odors and particles -- outside of your home prevents dangerous fumes and particles from harming you or your family. 
Our Guest Blogger, Rosalind Dall, writes for split system air conditioner.  Rosalind's personal hobby blog help people consume less energy and purify indoor air.




Posted by: Laurence Harmon on 10/7/2010 | 0 Comments

In biblical times, people were long-lived.  It is said that Adam lived 930 years, and his son, Seth, lived to be 912.  Seth's son, Lamech, lived 777 years, and Noah, Lamech's son, lived to be 950.  Noah's son, Shem, lived to be 600, and his son, Arphaxad, lived 438 years.  Skipping a few generations, Abraham lived to be 175; jumping a few more, Moses lived 120 years. 


Recently, experts have generally agreed that humans have a theoretical maximum lifespan of 125 years--similar to Moses.  Even if that estimate is correct, we know that our health declines many years--even decades--before that. 

Many scientists believe that the 125-year lifespan, as well as the earlier decline in health, is caused by the gradual shortening of our "telomeres," which are the structures at the ends of our chromosomes.  This shortening is believed to be the so-called "clock of aging" in our bodies. 


The good news is that a human cell that does not undergo this shortening will divide indefinitely, which means that it would be literally immortal.  Bottom line:  If we could find a way to stop--or reverse--this shortening, we could live forever!

Enter Sierra Sciences, LLC, a biotechnology company founded in 1999.  The company is dedicated to preventing--or reversing--cellular aging, ultimately curing diseases associated with human aging, including the aging process itself.  Here's how:  Our reproductive cells don't experience shortening of telomeres; they don't age.  They have an enzyme, "telomerase," which re-lengthens the telomeres as they shorten.  Sierra Sciences is searching for pharmaceuticals that will produce telemorase in all our cells. 

If successful, the
Fountain of Youth that Ponce de Leon thought he had found when he landed in St. Augustine, Florida, is actually 2,800 miles northwest, in Reno, Nevada.  That's where you'll find the home of Sierra Sciences.

Posted by: Laurence Harmon on 10/5/2010 | 0 Comments

Cafe Baby Boomers provides tips specifically for the Boomer generaton.  Topics include Health/Fitness, Relationships, Travel/Leisure/Sports and Recreation, and Retirement--plus a "Boomer Blog."

Here's an example of the Cafe's content.  The subject:  Snoring.


Causation.  Snoring is caused by a tightening of the airway so that air cannot pass freely, which causes the snoring noise.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea.  A completely closed airway that prevents breathing.  Obstructive sleep apnea requires the attention of a medical professional.  

Suggestions.  Researchers have concluded that smoking and drinking make snoring worse.  Avoiding junk food helps, too.  Sleeping pills ar culprits as well.  Changing the sleeping position may also provide temporary relief.  

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