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By : Brendan Mitchell, 05-16-2017
The 10 Best Indoor Plants for Your Home
House plants make your home look pretty, they clean the air of nasty toxins, and they're recommended by NASA. But with hundreds to choose from, what are the best and worst indoor plants? We did the research for you.
The 10 Best Indoor Plants for Your Home


House plants are awesome. They make your home look pretty, they can clean the air of nasty toxins, and even NASA recommends having them. However, there are hundreds of options, and picking hastily could be costly; there are many popular indoor plants that are dangerous to keep in a house with children or pets, not to mention the plants that require lots of care.

To save you some time, we did the research ourselves and put together this list of the ten best indoor plants for your home, especially if you have kids. We used the ASPCA’s free database of pet-friendly plants to verify which of the following are toxic to pets.

1. PEACE LILY

Peace LilySpathiphyllum Cochlearispatum; toxic to cats & dogs

If you think the Peace Lily sounds like a calming and easy plant to care for, you’re right. Peace lilies prefer only partial sunlight and don’t need much water - just a little bit once a week. They’re also highly recommended by NASA due to their ability to control the levels of formaldehyde, benzene and carbon monoxide in the air.  Aesthetically, they’re graceful. They bloom in the early summer – a tall white flower that will droop to let you know when it’s thirsty.

2. CAST IRON PLANT

Cast Iron PlantAspidistra Elatior

The cast iron plant is perfect if you have almost no time to care for another living thing in your life. Unlike your kids, the cast iron plant is extremely resilient and tolerant of neglect. It can survive under conditions that would make most plants wither and die, which makes it an ideal choice for anyone short on time. Keep it out of direct sunlight in a pot with good drainage.

 3. ALOE PLANT

Aloe PlantAloe Vera; toxic to cats & dogs.

Anyone who’s spent too long in the sun already knows the benefits of having easy access to aloe vera extract. It’s a common ingredient in consumer products, often marketed as a natural remedy for minor burns and sunburn. The aloe plant is also a popular indoor plant, and for good reason. It requires little maintenance when potted inside – ironically, it burns if exposed to too much sun – and too much water will cause the plant to shrivel.  The aloe plant is also a natural air purifier, helping to clear the air inside your home of certain pollutants.  Watch out for brown spots on the leaves that indicate there are too many pollutants in the air for the plant to handle.

Click here to learn how to extract your own aloe vera gel.

4. SNAKE PLANT

Snake Plant Sansaveria Trifasciata; toxic to cats & dogs

The snake plant has also been called the “mother-in-law’s tongue” plant, but don’t let that stop you from keeping this plant in your home.  The snake plant has stiff, sword-shaped leaves that grow up to 3 or 4 feet long, and is extremely easy to care for. They require very little water and sunlight, and while most plants convert carbon dioxide into oxygen during the day, the snake plant does so at night, so it’s an excellent choice for the bedroom.

5. CHRISTMAS CACTUS

Christmas CactusSchlumbergera Bridgesii

Even before you know its name, you can tell this plant exudes positive energy. The Christmas cactus has bright green hanging branches (that can grow over 30 inches long), and pink petaled flowers. The cactus blooms around Christmas every year, hence its name. Aside from its visual appeal, the Christmas cactus is also relatively easy to care for; partial sunlight and weekly watering will do the trick. For optimum care, follow these instructions.

6. AFRICAN VIOLET

African VioletSaintpaulia spp. 

African Violets are another stunning houseplant; however, they require a little more care than some of the other plants on this list. For optimum blooms, they should be kept in partial sunlight for only 10 to 14 hours each day. The best way to achieve this without moving your plant every day is to keep it in a south or west-facing window during winter, and a north or east-facing window during summer. The pot soil should be consistently moist (but be careful not to over-water), and like a picky restaurant customer, they prefer room-temperature water. It’s also recommended to re-pot them every year. While it takes extra care, once you have a blooming pot of African violets in your window sill, you’ll know it was worth it.

7. JADE PLANT

Jade PlantCrassula Ovata; toxic to cats & dogs. 

The jade plant is another plant perfect for your windowsill, and while it’s easier to care for than an African violet, it’s not quite as nice to look at. The jade plant loves sunlight, doesn’t need much water, and can live for over 100 years. They are also considered to be a symbol of good luck.

8. ZEBRA PLANT

Zebra PlantAphelanda Squarrosa

The Zebra plant is a striking choice for your home due to its prominent white veins and brightly colored flowers.  It requires similar care to the African violet – lukewarm water, moist soil and bright but indirect light for most of the day – and just like the violet, the beauty of this plant is worth the work.

9. RUBBER TREE PLANT

Rubber Tree PlantFicus Elastica

Outside, the rubber tree has been known to grow over 50 feet tall with a trunk up to 2 meters wide. Don’t worry, though, you don’t need to worry about it overtaking your living room if you choose to install this plant in your home.  The rubber tree plant does grow easily though, which means it’s a popular choice for homeowners who don’t have much time to devote to their plants. Bright, yet indirect light is best, so keeping this plant near a window or glass door with a transparent curtain is best, while watering once a week will keep it alive. This plant also helps keep the air inside your home clean.

The baby rubber plant, Peperomia obtusifolia, also makes a great houseplant, but belongs to a different plant family with small, blunt leaves.

10. SPIDER PLANT

Spider PlantChlorophytum Comosum

The spider plant is another great air purifier, and its green foliage and small white flowers make it an aesthetically pleasing choice. It’s also hard to let this plant die, as they only require indirect sunlight and the occasional watering. Plus, if you like this plant so much that you want another one, all you have to do is cut off a “spider” frond and plant it in its own pot. Before long, you’ll have two pretty little spider plants that you keep forgetting to water.

Looking for a local nursery or store where you can get an indoor plant? The EZBZ app can help. Just type in what you’re looking for and we’ll connect you with businesses in your area that can help, who will reply to you directly through the app. You can also call our concierge team toll-free on 1-855-461-8619 for a local recommendation.

Download the EZBZ app for free!
Download the EZBZ app for free!
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By : Brendan Mitchell, 02-05-2016
Pros and Cons of Solar Power
As a renewable energy, solar power is the obvious choice for homeowners interested in dramatically reducing their impact on the environment. But what are the other perks? Are there any downsides? Click here to learn more.
Pros and Cons of Solar Power

As a renewable energy, solar power is the obvious choice for homeowners interested in dramatically reducing their impact on the environment. But what are the other perks? Are there any downsides? In this blog, we have attempted to present an objective analysis of the pros and cons of investing in solar energy.

Advantages of Solar Energy

Save and Earn Money

Once your home is powered by solar energy you will notice that your electricity bill is smaller each month, primarily because a portion of the energy you are consuming is being taken directly from the sun via your solar panels. If you have large enough solar panels, you may even be generating enough energy to sell it to a third party. In some states, there are also tax incentives available to encourage homeowners to use solar power.

Eco-Friendly

Production of solar energy is clean and safe for the environment, and as the threat of global warming becomes increasingly clear, more and more environmentally conscious homeowners are investing in solar power. Aside from being detrimental to the environment, non-renewable energies will inevitably dwindle, so it’s likely that within one hundred years most homes will be adorned with solar panels.

Increase the Value of Your Home

Energy-efficient homes are in high demand in today’s real estate market. By investing in solar energy, you’re also investing in a home improvement that may pay off down the line if you decide to sell. Houses on the market that already have solar panels installed mean that the new buyers can also instantly start saving on their monthly bills, with the cost of the solar panels likely absorbed by the property value.

Disadvantages of Solar Energy

Up-Front Costs

While in the long-term solar panels may help you save on your monthly energy bill, installation of solar panels can be quite expensive up front. This means it’s not always possible for a homeowner on a tight budget to afford converting to solar power.

Weather Dependent

If you live in an area that gets very little sunlight, it may not be wise to invest in solar energy. Unfortunately, most areas will occasionally have cloudy days, and if you happen to have several in a row, this could mean you don’t save as much money on your electricity bill for that month.

Ultimately, there are more advantages then disadvantages to investing in solar energy, but that doesn’t mean it’s right for everybody. Consider the above points before investing so that you can make an informed decision. If you are looking for a solar power professional or contractor in your area, consider submitting a request through EZBZ. It’s free, quick, and easy.
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By : Elizabeth Humbal, 11-03-2015
Tiny House Movement and Merits of Downsizing
We are living in a society that is still recovering from mortgage upheaval, including the ramifications of predatory lenders, abandoned properties and foreclosures. Many want to own their own home, but with skyrocketing prices or hard to obtain mortgages, many aren’t able to buy or build the house or apartment of their dreams. Others still don’t want to be shackled with the expenses, debt and responsibility that comes with owning the average home. So, some have taken to building a tiny home instead.
Tiny House Movement and Merits of Downsizing

People are talking about the tiny house movement. What is it? Is it small houses that are being moved down the street to tiny lots? Is it a political movement? This movement is all about a segment of society that is actively downsizing the spaces they live in to square footage often associated with a studio apartment.

The average size of a tiny house is between 100 square feet and 400 square feet. By comparison, the average size of new houses recently built in the United States was 2,600 square feet. The tiny house movement is not age specific. A compact living space has proven attractive to individuals of all ages, including college graduates, newlyweds, and retirees.

We are living in a society that is still recovering from mortgage upheaval, including the ramifications of predatory lenders, abandoned properties and foreclosures. Many want to own their own home, but with skyrocketing prices or hard to obtain mortgages, many aren’t able to buy or build the house or apartment of their dreams. Others still don’t want to be shackled with the expenses, debt and responsibility that comes with owning the average home. So, some have taken to building a tiny home instead. 

Many people have started building these tiny homes on themselves, while others turn to companies and general contractors that specialize in them. The latter options are often preferred given they are better versed in special design and more complicated matters such as plumbing, electricity and insulation.

Tiny homes are not just a living arrangement, they represent an entire social movement which is believed to have originated in 1997, not long after Sarah Susanka published her book The Not So Big House. Today the movement has gained significant ground, with many starting to see the benefits of living small, among them the possibility of a loan free future. The costs of building a tiny house are significantly less than that of a traditional home and many are able to draw the funds from savings they had for a traditional down payment or loans they can pay off in significantly less time than a traditional mortgage. General contractors have assessed the cost of a home under 500 square feet at a maximum of 20,000 dollars. Another advantage is that corresponding utility bills are considerably less, taking into account that tiny homes are a quarter the size of a regular home.

Possible downsides to such a home are that they aren't ideal for families or those who enjoy entertaining. They typically can accommodate a maximum of two people, a couple preferably as the tight space might make it harder for two people who aren't emotionally committed to stand by one another. Regulations are can also be an issue, given some towns will deem the houses too small to be a residential dwelling; some owners have solved this issue by adding wheels to their homes so they might fall into the category of mobile home.

With new housing market trends paving a road toward tiny house living, not everyone feels that bigger is better anymore when it comes to your house. When looking for a house, more and more people are putting "affordable" at the top of their dream home checklist. If tiny home ownership is a path you’d like to pursue, you can always submit a free request to EZBZ to find tiny home builders.

Tags : Home, Finance
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By : Kristen Glehan, 05-21-2015
Everyday Recycling and Conservation – Going Green
Anyone who steps foot outside of their home and into the public, can quickly see the mass amounts of waste we generate as a society. The statistics are staggering. According the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) we produce 32 million tons of plastic waste alone. Remember the last bottle of water you replenished with after exercise, or while on lunch? Yep, it’s in there and when multiplied by the millions of other people just like yourself doing the same, it adds up fast.
Everyday Recycling and Conservation – Going Green
Anyone who steps foot outside of their home and into the public, can quickly see the mass amounts of waste we generate as a society. The statistics are staggering. According the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) we produce 32 million tons of plastic waste alone. Remember the last bottle of water you replenished with after exercise, or while on lunch? Yep, it’s in there and when multiplied by the millions of other people just like yourself doing the same, it adds up fast.

It never ceases to amaze me the number of people who declare themselves to be green-minded or focused on environmental sustainability, yet don’t reflect their sentiments within the majority of their own actions. It’s a little bit of the “do as I say, not as I do” mentality, which is really a shame given the easy changes than can make each and every one of us a little bit more green.

Take every day garbage disposal for example. If you really examine your usage, how much is really pure trash and how much is recyclable? Do you recycle? Or, do you mix everything together, assuming someone else sorts it later? (If you are that person, a little secret for you… 99% of the time, they don’t sort it and it ends up polluting a landfill). According to the EPA, the national recycling rate is 34% which seems a bit low to me, for what we all can be doing.

In my house, trash amounts for only a quarter of what I dispose! I know this because I live in an area that requires I take my own sorted trash to the dump, or pay a hefty price to have someone else do it. It doesn’t take much effort at all and at the end, I get to feel as if I’ve done my part for the environment. At least I can feel good about being 2x ahead of the national rate in my own home!

Recycling isn’t just about trash. It is about making smart choices about what can be reused and how. Here are some easy suggestions a family can enact to recycle and also conserve:

Beverages: If you enjoy a daily hot drink each morning on the way to work and commute in such a way that bringing your own mug works, do it. The same holds true for bringing your own re-useable water bottle. This is part recycling and part conserving, both these actions prevent trash from mounting up! If you do purchase your coffee in a disposable cup, pay attention when you receive a double cup. Do you really need it? Can you save it for your next on-the-go hot beverage?

Paper: Have a bunch of print outs or junk mail? Every sheet of paper has 2 sides and unless you’re writing correspondence or creating documents to be shared with others, that’s still good paper for children’s crafts, scratch notes, etc. Even better, challenge yourself to go digital and avoid printing things as frequently as possible and unsubscribe from those mailing lists that litter your mailbox.

Parenting: Opportunities to recycle abound when you have kids and a little creativity. Left over poster-board quickly converts to being a mailing envelope! Coloring book pages make creative wrapping paper. Clothing and toys can be swapped with friends, family and even strangers as children age out of them; join a local parents group on Facebook, there are parents who can use them!

Food: Learn how to really cook. Doing so enables the ability to use left overs and straggling ingredients in brilliant ways to make the next meal. This type of recycling can really make you feel good too! There is a sense of pride that comes from knowing you’ve used all the food you’ve purchased, rather than discarded a significant portion of it.

Clothing: According to the EPA 12 million tons of textiles end up in landfills, contaminated and unable to be reclaimed/ recycled. It’s so easy to avoid contributing to this. Participate in clothing swaps with friends, and families, or donate excess clothes to one of the many local organizations set-up to take them, such as Goodwill or the Salvation Army. If you do submit clothes to town collections for textile recycling, make sure they don’t get wet or exposed to moisture that can generate mildew.

If you’d like some help with recycling or trash removal, you can always submit a free request via www.myezbz.com to be connected with a local waste professional.

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Go Green
Waqqas Anwar
03-10-2017
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