Archive for November, 2010

What is your water footprint?

You’ve probably heard about our carbon footprint, or the measure of the impact our lives have on the environment, particularly climate change. But what is our water footprint? On the National Geographic website you can take a water footprint survey and actually calculate your water footprint to discover how your daily water use compares to the national average.

The survey takes into consideration where you live, your household water usage, outdoor landscaping, driving, diet and shopping habits. Along the way, you can click on tips to find out more about water saving. For example, by installing a low-flow shower head, you can save 15 gallons of water during a 10 minute shower.

At the end of the survey, you can determine where in your life you can cut back on your water usage and sign a pledge to save that percentage of water. Little things, such as cutting down on the time you spend in the shower, installing low-flow shower heads, faucets and toilets in your home, and by reconsidering your diet choices, each person can make a significant pledge to cut their water usage.

Take the National Geographic Water Footprint Survey at

November 30, 2010 at 4:29 am Leave a comment

Hit The Road, Jack

Driving somewhere for the holidays? Give your car a quick check up with these tips from Napa Auto Care Center:

‎1) Engine Oil – if you can’t remember the last time you checked, changed or topped off your engine’s oil, make sure you ask for brand new oil with a high quality filter.

2) Air Filter – Have your air filter checked every six months and replace when needed.

3) Tire Inspection – At this time of year you may be driving in the rain. The tread on your tires must be adequate for rainy weather, or you could end up in an accident. Ask your technician to check the tread depth on your tires as well as your tire pressure.

4) Windshield Wipers – Your windshield wipers can get worn out. Replace them at the beginning of your road trip.

5) Brake System – You should inspect your brakes twice a year for safety, so have your technician inspect your entire brake system before any road trip. Damaged brake hardware can cause brake pads and shoes to drag, resulting in lower gas mileage.

6) Battery – Corosion is very likely to build up during winter-weather driving. Your technician should check your battery posts and cables to ensure you’ll have no starting problems as you begin your road trip.

7) Headlights – Sometimes you don’t notice that you have a bulb out. Before a road trip is a good time to see if you need to replace a headlight bulb.

November 25, 2010 at 4:49 pm Leave a comment

Water conservation tips

Courtesy of

California’s main water sources have been severely impacted by record dry conditions. And we’re already using our reserves to supply our everyday water.  Our water situation is serious. But here’s how you can help.

The following are steps you can take indoors to save water every day. By turning off the water when you brush your teeth you can save 3 gallons of water per day. If you shorten your showers by one or two minutes you’ll save 5 gallons per day. Fix leaky faucets and save 20 gallons of water per day. Wash only full loads of laundry and dishes and save a whopping 15 to 50 gallons per load! Talk to your family and friends about saving water. If everyone does a little, we all benefit a lot.

Outside, water your yard only before 8 a.m. to reduce evaporation and interference from wind. This can save 25 gallons of water per day. Better yet, install a smart sprinkler controller and save 40 gallons per day. When you use a broom instead of a hose to
clean driveways and sidewalks you can save 150 gallons each time. Regular maintenance of your sprinkler system can do wonders, so check your sprinkler system for leaks, overspray and broken sprinkler heads which can save 500 gallons of water a month.

November 20, 2010 at 5:43 am 2 comments

Top Gear premieres on the History Channel Nov. 21

So maybe your friends wouldn’t describe you as a gear head,  but contrary to your mild-mannered image, you like fast cars. And thanks to friends who are car aficionados, you may find yourself noticing beautiful, classic cars and exclaiming when you see a particular beauty. You’ve subtly developed an appreciation for the art of the automobile.

Segue to BBC’s Top Gear, a TV series that “tracks the colorful history of the automobile and showcases an offbeat celebration of the art of driving, featuring super-cars, extreme stunts and challenges, car reviews and celebrity interviews, as well as the eccentric adventures of its hosts with Top Gear’s customary wit and humor,” according to the History Channel’s website. What they’ve managed to do with this humorous, fast paced history of the automobile show is draw in viewers, such as Mr. Mild Mannered, and create something that is enjoyable for everyone from experts to the most novice of car buffs.

Will you be watching the series when it premieres on Nov. 21 on the History Channel?

November 13, 2010 at 6:03 pm Leave a comment

5 Steps to a “Greener” Car

It doesn’t matter if the car you’re driving is new or old, big or small. There are preventive maintenance steps every vehicle owner can take to make sure their car is as “green” or environmentally friendly as possible, according to the Car Care Council.

By following five simple preventive maintenance steps, you can help protect the environment by improving gas mileage, which in turn saves money at the pump.

1. Keep your car properly tuned for optimum performance. A well-tuned engine delivers the best balance of power and fuel economy and produces the lowest level of emissions. A 21st Century tune-up can improve gas mileage by an average of 4 percent. Fixing a serious maintenance problem, such as a faulty oxygen sensor, can improve gas mileage by as much as 40 percent.

2. Regularly check and replace dirty air filters. An air filter that is clogged with dirt, dust and bugs chokes off the air and creates a “rich” mixture – too much gas being burned for the amount of air – that wastes gas and causes the engine to lose power. Replacing a clogged air filter can improve gas mileage by as much as 10 percent, saving about 15 cents a gallon.

3. Have spark plugs checked and replaced if necessary. A vehicle can have four, six or eight spark plugs, which fire as many as three million times every 1,000 miles. This results in a lot of heat, electrical, and chemical erosion. A dirty spark plug also causes misfiring, which wastes fuel.

4. Maintain the cooling system. A cooling system thermostat that causes the engine to run too cold will lower the fuel efficiency of a car by as much as one or two mpg. There also are improved radiator caps on the market today that allow the cooling system to operate at a higher temperature before boiling over, increasing the system’s efficiency and reducing emissions.

5. Maintain and repair your car as outlined in the council’s Car Care Guide. The guide helps drivers understand their car, the care it needs, and when it needs it and why. Single copies of the free guide may be ordered on the Car Care Council Web site,

In addition to proper vehicle maintenance, vehicles can be more fuel-efficient if tires are properly inflated and if drivers observe the speed limit, avoid aggressive driving and excessive idling, and adhere to an errand list to eliminate extra trips to the store for forgotten items.

Courtesy of

November 11, 2010 at 2:54 pm 1 comment


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