* Check the pilot light on gas appliances. If it is blue, then it is working properly. If the flame is any other color, contact a professional immediately. An improperly working gas appliance can be dangerous, an energy waster and even deadly!
* Put a lid on a pot when you need to boil water or other dish. The liquid boils faster this way, which saves time and energy.
* Electric stove burners stay hot awhile even after they have been turned off. So turn off the stove a minute or so early to save energy.
* Using a toaster oven instead of an oven can save energy, too. So, if you have only one or two potatoes or a small meatloaf, use the toaster oven, and you will save a lot of energy, which means saving money.
Dear Heloise: I love to feed the birds, and after years of pulling the “sunflower” shoots that sprouted under my feeder, I got a brainstorm idea.
I purchased a hard-sided kiddie pool, drilled some holes in the bottom so that rain would drain out, and “nailed” it to the ground. I now have the seeds that fall from the feeder contained in the “pool.” Voila -- no more sprouting “sunflowers.” This is a very inexpensive way to catch the seeds, and it also allows the ground-feeding birds and squirrels access to food. -- Janice Ferry, Youngstown, Ohio
Dear Heloise: It’s not always possible to have fresh lemons on hand when I need them. I juice a few lemons and put 1 tablespoon into each compartment of an ice-cube tray, then place the tray in the freezer. When solid, I place the cubes into a zipper-top bag or other airtight container and store in the freezer. I now have fresh lemon juice anytime I need it, premeasured in 1-tablespoon amounts. Works great! -- Gisela in Texas
This is NOT a “lemon of a hint,” but a smart way to always have lemon on hand. -- Heloise
HANDY VOTIVE-CANDLE LINER
Dear Heloise: For my votive candleholders, I line them with an aluminum cupcake liner. So when the candle has burned down, I simply remove the liner and either dispose of it or, if I can, peel off the wax and reuse the liner. This way, my candleholders stay clean. Thanks! -- Jennifer in Bay City, Mich.
Send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Tex. 78279-5000, fax it to 210-HELOISE or e-mail it to Heloise@Heloise.com. Please include your city and state.
, King Features Syndicate