Is a solar hot water system in your future? 

I love sunny days – and this picture shows another reason why:

That’s the temperature gauge on our home’s solar hot water tank yesterday (April 17).  It was a beautiful, sunny day and the solar system – which pre-heats water going into our electric hot water heater – was working so well it actually made the water hotter than my electric tank normally heats it!  In other words, free hot water from the sun.  The system works every month of the year, but works best in the spring, summer and fall.

My hot water is not entirely free, of course, because the solar system wasn’t free.  But many energy efficiency programs offer incentives to help bring the investment down.  And because sunlight is free, solar hot water offers protection against rising power rates.

Here’s a link to Thermo-Dynamics, the Atlantic Canadian company that manufactures systems like mine.

Rediscover pressure cookers 

Years ago, pressure cookers were a popular way to prepare food – and maybe it’s time for a comeback!  Here’s why:

  • Fast: pressure cookers can cook food in 1/3 the time ovens, microwaves or other stovetop methods would take.  (That’s because of a basic law of physics: the pressure raises the boiling point of water, and that hotter temperature makes for quicker cooking.)
  • Efficient: quicker cooking means you can reduce your cooking energy costs by 2/3.
  • Better nutrition: pressure cookers allow you to cook with less fat and oil, and they can help food retain more nutrients and flavours.
  • Less waste: many pressure cooker recipes offer great ways to use leftovers rather than throwing them out.

Pressure cookers won’t work for every dish, but they’re excellent for staples like rice, beans, potatoes, pasta, soup, meat, veggies and more.  Many of them even come with recipe books to help you get started!  And here’s a quick four-minute video of pressure cooker basics.