My latest projects

Hi All,


It’s been awhile since I posted on this page as I was hosting a radio show for Mother Earth News and blogging for them weekly. That program has recently changed names and is now The Earth Train. I am also working as a field reporter on Dig In, a new TV show on Fox 4 in Dallas/Ft. Worth, hosted by Neil Sperry. My team and I are also in development on a new, eco-friendly TV show for public television. Hope everyone is doing well! Please send your news and comments to: andrea (the at symbol) ask andrea dot com. Run that all together and you’ll have my email address!

Posted in Ask_Andrea_News | Leave a comment

Fox 4: How to avoid costly problems because of the cold

Thursday morning, I was on Fox 4 in DFW offering tips on how to avoid costly problems because of the cold. Here are my hints in a nutshell…


1. Indoors, open the doors on all cupboards on exterior walls where pipes are (or may be) located. This allows room heat into the cabinets and may be enough to help keep the plumbing from freezing.

2. It may be helpful to leave a *small* drip of cold water running from interior faucets where pipes to those faucets are located on outside walls. To be eco-friendly, put a bucket underneath and use that water for houseplants or pets.

3. If your water heater is located in the garage, adding insulation to pipes and the water heater will save heat and energy. Keep the garage door closed as much as possible to keep heat inside the garage.

4. Disconnect all hoses from ouside spigots. Cover all exposed spigots with insulative caps. These typically are made from styrofoam, or have styrofoam or other insulation inside. Make sure the cap seals tightly against the building. I prefer plastic caps with internal insulation. I even stuff additional fiberglass insulation inside the protective caps we’re using. The more you can “blanket” the spigot, the better. Cloth wraps are not as good and should only be used in a pinch.

5. BEFORE it freezes .. learn where the water shutoff is for your home and how to use it! If you *do* end up with damaged pipes, you’ll need to know how to shut off the water to minimize further damage. Make sure you know where your key is located, if you need one to open the box. Also, it helps to have a slotted key to turn off the water valve.

6. If you will be out of town during cold weather, shut off your water at the street, just for safety sake. Then turn on a few faucets inside the home to bleed the system. That’s much better then coming home to a flood!

7. DO NOT use a torch or other device in an attempt to thaw frozen pipes. If they’re split, you’ll likely need a pro to fix them. DO NOT use an electric hair dryer or other heating device to thaw frozen pipes. Risk of electric shock is a concern, especially if water sprays out.


DO NOT use charcoal or any other “outdoor” heating system inside. They all emit carbon monoxide. It’s colorless, odorless, and is more readily absorbed into the blood than oxygen. CO suffocates victims. If you’re in a home with natural gas or other combustable forms of heat, make sure you have a *working* CO detector. If the alarm goes off, don’t ignore it! Get everyone out of the house and call an HVAC service company immediately. Test the CO detector and learn what it sounds like. A Dallas family nearly lost their lives recently because on moving into their new home, they mistook the sound of the CO alarm for another alarm .. and ignored it. Carbon monoxide is not an issue in all-electric homes UNLESS you introduce some form of combustable heat (anything burning) .. in which case you could be at risk. This includes propane heaters, camp stoves, charcoal BBQ, fireplaces, and so forth. Only purchase space heaters that shut off automatically when they tip over.


It is also very important to winterize your sprinkler system. The City of Dallas is apparently slapping fines on folks whose sprinklers burst because they create a hazard when they leak into roadways. Click here for some great info on this topic.

Cracked pipes outside (hose bibs) – most people wont know these are cracked until Spring when they begin watering with their hoses again.


The most important thing is to keep the equipment running so that the water is circulating through the equipment. Empty all skimmer baskets to minimize obstructions through the system. Empty all exposed pipes, even water hoses and fill lines. Do not run your heater. Use caution if you are running your pool sweep as it can spray a fine mist on walkways and make them very slippery!


Most fireplaces let more heat OUT of the house through the chimney than they add to the home, and should not be used for heat.

When you are not using the fireplace, close your damper and consider inserting a fireplace plug to help seal it.

Thanks to everyone who helped with this segment:

Elliott’s Hardware (provided props)

John Simonetta at Proforma Simonetta (provided my recycled embroidered jacket and apron)

Phil McEwan at Gold Medal Pools in DFW for the pool tips

Norm Alston, Architects and Dan Lepinski for helping with tech support

And Tom and Kathi Lind for allowing us to shoot this segment at their beautiful historic home, The Parks Estate, in Lakewood

And my mom and dad, of course.

Please visit my new radio show at

Posted in Ask_Andrea_News | Leave a comment

Mother Earth & Other News

I feel a bit guilty – I have been neglecting this blog for months. But I have been rather busy. I recently partnered up with Mother Earth News Magazine to start a new radio show called Mother Earth News Radio. It’s been a blast. Our flagship station, CNN-1190 in Dallas/Ft. Worth, helped launch the show with us on Nov. 7. In just a few short weeks, we have been picked up by several stations around the country. Just added three more yesterday. For all of my Ask Andrea friends, please visit my new home, I have a blog there as well. Plus I will try to keep this one a bit more current. You can also email me directly. Simply type “andrea” and the “at” symbol at “”.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all! – Andrea :)

Posted in Ask_Andrea_News | Leave a comment

Fox 4 Recycling Segment

For those of you who would like information about the City of Dallas Recycling Roundup feature that I did on Thursday, August 27th, visit my other website at for a PDF file which lists all of the products that I included in the segment. The link is at the bottom left of the main page. Thanks to everyone who contributed products. Kudos also to Elliott’s Hardware in Dallas for hosting the shoot and for Fox 4 for having us on. It was a very fun segment to do! – Andrea :)

Posted in Ask_Andrea_News | Leave a comment

Taking a break

Hello dear listeners and friends – I am going to take a break from Ask Andrea for awhile and work on some other things such as writing more magazine articles and even a few new book projects. In place of my show, I will be inserting a green radio program that I started in Dallas called energizeGreen. It just got picked up by CNN-1190 in north Texas and will also play nationally through the USA Radio Network. Listen for it beginning July 11th at noon Eastern Time. For more information, visit Thanks for listening! – Andrea :)

Posted in Ask_Andrea_News | Leave a comment

Show – 16 May 2009

The weather is beautiful and it’s time to get outside!

  • What could be more fun than using Krylon Paints to create some colorful spring projects? My friend, Paula DePasquale, visits with some easy tips to make your painting projects just perfect.
  • Then Justin Kalvitz drops in to explain how makes expressing yourself with ImaginIt Wall Expressions is quick and easy.
  • And last but not least, HGTV’s gardening guru, P. Allen Smith, buzzes by to demonstrate that Stihl chainsaws aren’t just for boys anymore. I have one myself – and I just love it!
Posted in Ask_Andrea_News | Leave a comment

Show – 9 May 2009

Today’s show is a special Mother’s Day treat! Since spring is just around the corner, HGTV garden expert, P. Allen Smith, has teamed up with STIHL, a leading manufacturer of outdoor power equipment, to offer timely advice on pruning, planting and tool care to ensure that Mom’s garden gets the treatment it deserves.

More tips & information on the best products for each job and some fun ideas for Mom’s Day can be found at and

Posted in Ask_Andrea_News | Leave a comment

Show – 2 May 2009

Spring is sprung and it’s time for updating your decor. No cash? No worries. My first guest today helps out when times are tight. The second one keeps you from getting ripped off.

Posted in Ask_Andrea_News | Leave a comment

Show – 25 April 2009

Bad news in your town? Don’t let it stress you out. This week’s show is about keeping your cool.

  • Dr. David B. Hawkins of The Marriage Recovery Center helps us all stay calm in the face of crisis.
  • Robert von Goeben with Green Toys makes playtime out of sustainable living.
  • Our non-profit for the week,, is one of my favorite blogs on green living.
Posted in Ask_Andrea_News | Leave a comment

Show – 18 April 2009

You’ll stick around for this show.

  • Justin Kalvitz from MacTac has some news about a new glue (UGlu) that will bond almost anything.
  • Pat Goss, national radio host and the new spokesman for Carchex, motors in with news on why we all need an automobile warranty.
  • Last but not least is Adam Schlachter with Norseman Plastics with some Earth Day tips on rainwater collection.
  • Our non-profit of the week is The Soil & Water Conservation Society,

Happy Earth Day next week to everyone – and Happy Birthday to Rob Courter the engineer at Ask Andrea.

Posted in Ask_Andrea_News | Leave a comment