Dear Readers: Did you know that conserving water now can REDUCE YOUR WATER BILL later? Most water companies do “winter averaging.” To determine the sewer portion of your bill, the water company monitors the water usage in the winter months, usually mid-November to mid-March. This helps you save money, because this is the time of year when water usage usually is the lowest. (No lawn watering, pool filling, etc., depending on where you live.) But you still can conserve more during this time and lower your bill. Here are some hints for how to reduce the amount of water you use:
* Check toilets and pipes for any leaks.
* Turn off the faucet while brushing teeth.
* Fill a sink with water to wash dishes instead of letting it run.
* Limit your time in the shower.
* Run only full loads in the dishwasher and washing machine.
Dear Heloise: When on an extended trip and in a different hotel each day, keeping dirty clothes separate from clean is a chore. I turn the clothes I remove inside out and roll them up. Now I know what is clean and what is used. The socks I roll up to make a ball, whereas clean ones are just folded. -- Don S., The Villages, Fla.
Dear Heloise: Can you please tell me how to clean the burners on my stove? -- J.C., Colorado Springs, Colo.
I have a hint that may help! Take the burners off and put them in a large, plastic garbage bag. Carefully pour in 1 / 2 cup to 1 cup of ammonia. Tie the bag (make sure it is sealed securely) and place it in a ventilated area. Leave it overnight. Take the burners out and rinse with hot water. The grime should come off easily. Ammonia also can be used as a cleaner for things like windows, mirrors and stainless steel. If you would like to get my recipe for how to make an ammonia-based cleaner and other household cleaners, order my pamphlet Heloise’s Homemade Cleaning Solutions. Just send $5 and a long, self-addressed, stamped (66 cents) envelope to: Heloise/Cleaners, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. Have pots with burned-on food? Cover the bottom with water and add 3 tablespoons of baking soda. Simmer until the food comes off. -- Heloise
LIGHTEN THE ROOM
Dear Heloise: We’ve had lots of storms in our area, and we were without power. Take a small flashlight -- you can get them at a discount store -- put it in a glass to hold it upright and shine it on the ceiling. It will lighten up the whole room. Get one for each room, since they are so cheap. -- Marsha B., Wabash, Ind.
Dear Heloise: I take old mascara brushes, wash and dry them, and use them to clean ports on hummingbird feeders. -- G.T. in Kansas