Being environmentally-friendly is always a good thing for your home and your budget (and of course for the earth). So, what can you do in your home to reduce landfill waste, minimize pollution, and preserve nature?
Here’s 10 simple things you can do to help make your home a little greener:
- Plant a garden. It doesn’t have to be large, or you could just focus on herbs. You can even use some recyclable materials (newspapers or compost) to discourage weeds from growing in your garden and encourage plant growth. Just try and avoid synthetic fertilizers. If you’re limited to outdoor space, then support your local farmer’s market which helps minimize your environmental impact.
- Conduct a quick energy audit of your home. Check things like—if your attic door (or hatch) closes properly and is insulated, if your refrigerator seal is working properly to seal in the cool air, look into power strips versus wall outlets, and even think about switching to a low-flow water head in your showers. An annual indoor checklist is also helpful.
- Lower the temperature on your hot water heater. A lot of people have the temperature set at 140 degrees. It’s fine to drop it down between 120 and 130 degrees to save some money and slow down mineral build up, which ultimately prolongs the life of your tank. It’s also helps to wrap an insulation blanket around your hot water heater.
- Check for leaky faucets. Don’t forget to check your outdoor spigots too! Unless it’s a big leak, you won’t necessarily save a bunch of money here, but you could be wasting up to 5 gallons of water per day based on a faucet just dripping once per second.
- Make sure your weather-stripping on all doors and windows are doing their job. You’ll want to check for drafts and seal any leaks.
- Switch out your lightbulbs to CFL or LED bulbs. They use 75% less energy and last at least 10 times longer than standard bulbs. You’ll also knock off about $30 from your electric bill over it’s lifetime. Also, if you like using outdoor lights go for the solar-powered ones.
- Get a few doormats outside and leave your shoes at the door. You’ll prevent the outside from coming inside, and things like pesticides, chemicals, and residue won’t be tracked all over your home. This also helps with improved air quality inside your home since dirt in carpet can become airborne when agitated by a vacuum.
- Use your dishwasher. Doing a full load in your dishwasher is far more efficient than washing the same number of dishes in hot water by hand (especially if you already have an Energy Star dishwasher). You could save over 20 gallons of water each time you do dishes! It also helps to set the timer and run it in the middle of the night during your electric company’s “off-peak” hours. This will reduce peak energy and demand on the electric grid (and hopefully will be a little cheaper too).
- Turn down your thermostat. Heating and air conditioning account for nearly half of the energy used in homes. Every little bit helps, so try and lower the temperature a degree or two in the winter and raise it a bit in the summer for at least eight hours of the day. And when weather permits, open the windows and doors. You could even opt for a programmable thermostat if it’s in your budget.
- Add some air purifying house plants. You don’t need to invest in expensive air purifiers when you can just buy a few houseplants that are capable of cleaning your air naturally and inexpensively. For example, one 10 or 12-inch plant is needed per 100 square feet. Some great suggestions for plants that work wonders are: Aloe Vera, Boston ferns, Gerbera daisies, moth orchids, mums, and ficus trees.
An eco-friendly home doesn’t have to cost a fortune (or be hard to maintain). It also doesn’t happen overnight. By reducing waste, decreasing toxins in your home, and making your overall environment healthy you’re changing your home for the better.
Click here to find out 4 things smart homeowners do every year to make sure you’re keeping your home in tip-top shape!