TRIB TOTAL MEDIA SATURDAY, DECEMBER 1, 2018 · 7
What to consider when selecting a Christmas tree
It’s time to visit your local garden
center and select this year’s Christmas
It’s the best place to buy a fresh cut
tree, wreaths and greens. Who else
knows trees and greens better than
your friends at the garden center?
After all, this tree has to be the right
tree to display all your memoryfilled
ornaments from Christmases
When selecting a live Christmas
tree, there are several things to
consider, such as overall appearance,
ease of decorating, fragrance, needle
retention, freshness and where the
tree was grown. The freshest trees are
farmed locally and harvested closer
Be sure the trees were grown in
Pennsylvania and the wreaths made
there, too. It’s important to support
local businesses and suppliers.
Look for flexible needles that
remain firmly attached when you
tug on them. Knock the base of the
tree on the ground and check for
excessive needle drop. Keep in mind
that older needles on the interior of
the tree are naturally prone to shed
as the tree ages. These needles will
be on the brown side. You don’t
want to see too many green needles
falling off the tree.
The three most common types of
cut Christmas trees sold in our area
are fir, pine and spruce.
The most common is the Scotch
pine. The National Christmas Tree
Association notes “the Scotch pine is
known for its excellent needle retention
and good keepability. It resists
drying and, if permitted to become
dry, does not drop its needles.” The
needles are of medium length on
semi-stiff branches, which makes for
easy decorating. The tree has nice
color and somewhat of a fragrance
and is reasonably priced.
Colorado spruce has that
Excessive heat and
dry air can hasten
the demise of a
Christmas tree. Close
heat registers near
your tree and avoid
south- and westfacing
near an often-used
fireplace. If possible,
turn your thermostat
down at night.
For trib total Media
TREES · 9
Dear Jim: Several of my
children have allergies, so I
want to use room air cleaners
in their bedrooms. I have
seen many advertisements
with great claims for effectiveness.
What type of room
air cleaner is really best?
Dear Randy: It can be quite
difficult to separate the truth
from the advertising hype
about the effectiveness of
various room air cleaners. The
sheer size or price of a specific
unit does not necessarily indicate
it is effective.
The type of filtering material
inside is what is most
For the most effective air
cleaning, particularly during
winter, it is wise to use both
a high-quality central furnace
air cleaner along with room
air cleaners. Some of the
newer central air cleaners are
very effective, but they remove
only the particles which actually
get into the duct system.
When your children plop
down on a sofa or walk on
the carpeting, a cloud of allergen
particles comes up. Some
of these particles are relatively
large and settle out of the air
before they ever get near the
furnace return air registers. A
room air cleaner can remove
many of these particles.
Instead of relying on
advertising information, use
the clean air delivery rate
(CADR) to compare various
air cleaners’ effectiveness. This
rating is determined by testing
procedures sanctioned by the
Association of Home Appliance
Manufacturers. The U.S.
EPA and the American Lung
Association recognize the
CADR data as accurate and
The first step is to have your
children tested to determine
what airborne allergies they
have. This is because the effectiveness
of different designs
of air cleaners and filtering
methods varies depending
upon what particles you need
to remove from the room air.
Three of the most common
types of particles in room air
are household dust, tobacco
smoke and pollen. These
cover the size range of most
other typical airborne particles.
The CADR ratings have
three separate numbers which
refer to these three particles.
You might find an air cleaner
which is very effective for
pollen, but not as effective for
The CADR indicates the
maximum size of room for
which the air cleaner will be
effective. A guideline is the
CADR rating for the specific
particle of interest should be
at least 2⁄3 the square footage
of the room. For example, a
10-by-10-foot room would
need a CADR of 67 or greater.
In general, I prefer a HEPA
filter with a carbon element.
A HEPA filter is effective for
almost all sizes of common
allergens, and the carbon removes
odors and chemicals.
A large carbon element is
best. Select one with several
fan speeds for rapid air cleaning
before bedtime and quiet,
slow-speed operation at night.
The following companies
offer room air cleaners:
blueair.com; Holmes, 888-
com; Kaz, 800-447-0457, kaz.
com; LakeAir, 800-558-9436,
lakeair.com; and Whirlpool,
Dear Jim: I need some
additional insulation in my
attic, and I plan to use fiberglass
batts. It will require
quite a bit of cutting and
fitting. What is a good way
to cut fiberglass insulation
crisply and straight?
— Sean M.
Dear Sean: You are correct
in trying to get a tight fit of
the batt insulation without
many gaps on your attic floor.
Just several gaps can reduce its
Always wear gloves and a
Get a piece of scrap
plywood that is longer than
the insulation width, and
saw a narrow slot in the plywood.
Lay the plywood over
the insulation to compress
it, and then run your knife
through the slot for a straight
Send inquiries to James
Dulley, Trib Total Media,
6906 Royalgreen Drive, Cincinnati,
OH 45244, or visit
Check test ratings for air cleaner capability