“Green” Your Home This WeekendHome Tool Kit
Unless you’re the bad guy from some environmentally-conscious 90’s cartoon show, you probably give a hoot about the planet. But you don’t need to compost in the backyard or buy an electric car to be awesome to the environment. Basic changes around the house can make your home more environmentally friendly, and added bonus, dramatically cut your energy bills!
Here are 5 easy things you can do this weekend to make your home more energy-efficient, reduce greenhouse gases, and save some money to boot:
1. Change five light bulbs
They may look a little funny and cost a little more up front, but the new generation of LED lightbulbs are much more efficient than their incandescent brethren. They use less energy, last longer, and actually cost less over their lifetime than incandescents and CFLs. So try replacing 5 light bulbs in your house this weekend to put a dent in your electricity bill and reduce waste. And if the brighter color bothers you, just put them in closets, your laundry room, or out of the way areas.
2. Use more power strips
New gadgets and devices are awesome…but they can skyrocket your energy bills if you let them. That’s because anything with a digital readout or transformer box on its power cord still cycles and uses electricity, even when it’s not in use! To stop the hemorrhaging, try plugging all your electronics into power strips. When no one’s using them, turn off the strip and you could save up to 10% on your energy bill just like that.
3. Clean your fridge coils
Dirty refrigerator coils have to work harder to keep your food cool, so they’ll use more energy. And between dust and general house grime, coils can get pretty filthy over the years. This weekend, grab the vacuum, a duster, and a damp rag and clean off your refrigerator coils. Just please, wash your hands afterwards.
4. Forget the answering machine
For decades, answering machines were a staple of the modern home. But these days, with digital voicemail services (and the fact that so many people use mobile phones) they’ve become pretty passé. Problem is, a lot of people still keep answering machines at home…and they’re sucking up unnecessary energy 24/7. So skip the answering machine, use voicemail systems, and save energy and money!
5. Get Energy-Star rated appliances / equipment
Thinking about replacing that old lamp, microwave, stove, or even a busted heating and cooling system? If you’re shopping this weekend, consider appliances or equipment with an EPA ENERGY STAR label. Available on all kinds of things, ENERGY STAR rated products are tested and approved to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and use less energy than their non-rated equivalents.