Air flow

A central air conditioner or a room air conditioner will lower indoor humidity levels during the cooling cycle.When an AC unit is oversized, it is possible the unit will cool but not dehumidify the air. A rule of thumb for air conditioning is to use 1 ton of cooling per 1,000 square feet of conditioned space. If your home has a cool, damp basement or an attached garage that is not conditioned by the home's AC unit, a dehumidifier can be used as a separate appliance.

Humidifiers may be necessary for homes in cool, dry regions of the country, but when improperly installed they can become a problem. A humidifier adds moisture to the home's conditioned air. Humidifiers create a damp, dark and warm environment, especially suited for the growth of mold spores, mildew, fungus and all kinds of unhealthy airborne contaminates.

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Kitchen tips

Author and HGTV host Joan Kohn provides

budget-friendly ideas for improving your kitchen from her book, "It's Your Kitchen":

n Refinishing or replacing cabinet doors can make a huge improvement at a fraction of the cost of new cabinets. Noting that fine finishes cause cabinetry prices to soar, one shrewd home enthusiast I know recommends selecting less-expensive cabinets and then painting over the finish.

n Resist the temptation to fill all available wall space with cabinets. Buy only the cabinets you need. Don't build so many that you are forced to shop to fill them when the kitchen is complete.

n Real life makes any kitchen more beautiful, often at little or no extra cost. Plants and fresh flowers enrich any kitchen design. Books are also wonderful signs of life.


Late spring signals the arrival of special visitors - those flighty little jewels called hummingbirds. If you haven't put your hummingbird feeder out yet, you may want to do it in the next few days because those gorgeous birds will soon look for food and nesting sites.

Hummingbird experts recommend this recipe for your feeder: Use one part white cane sugar to four parts water. Some say boil the water, some say don't boil the water, so take your pick. Never use honey or artificial coloring.

Always keep the feeder clean because disease-causing mold appears quickly during hot weather. In addition to a feeder or two, fill your yard with plants that entice them. Although red flowers are supposed to attract them best, hummingbirds are enticed to many other colors, including blue, yellow and purple. Hummingbird flowers often have long tubes for the birds long bills and tongues.

Hummingbirds like to be around people and have no trouble flying close to where you sit, so put feeders and flowers close to where you can sit and enjoy them.

Their nests, on the other hand, are not easily seen because they are so small and in out-of-the-way places like a small tree branch 10 to 20 feet tall. Shaped like an open cup, the nest of a ruby-throated hummingbird is fashioned from thistle and dandelion down.

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