Saturday, January 24, 2009

Ten Ways to Green Your Home for Under Ten Bucks

Free. Nothing. Nada.
Things you can do that will make a real difference for no money at all.

Lower water heater temperature to 120°F
Decrease Thermostat temperature by 3°F
Wash clothes in cold water
Air dry clothes during summer
Turn off unneeded lights

Under Ten Bucks

1...Save Heat
Seal your windows with strippable caulk
This is the clear stuff that is designed to peel off when it is time to open the windows again, and seals the gaps that occur at any moving part of a window. This is particularly important if you have old windows where the seals have loosened up a bit.

2...Shrink-wrap your windows Get the plastic films that tape around your windows and then shrink tight under the heat from a hair dryer. They cut heat loss and are almost invisible. Not suitable for houses with cats, as we found out the hard way.

3...Weatherstrip your doors
A surprising amount of air leaks around them. Just be sure that the door will still close properly; I have added weatherstrip and then had to remove it again as the door just wouldn't close properly with the added foam.

4...Get a snake
Or make your own—a door snake stops draughts from under a door where it is hard to weatherstrip.

5...Get some cheap slippers
Or a hoodie. The easiest way to feel warmer and save energy is to wear more clothing. It also keeps your house cleaner and warmer.

6...Change your furnace filter
The furnace has to work harder to push through all the schmutz that gets caught in your filter if it is doing its job.

7...Lose the drips
A dripping faucet can waste 20 gallons of water a day. A leaking toilet can use 90,000 gallons of water in a month. Get out the wrench and change the washers on your sinks and showers, or get new washerless faucets. Keeping your existing equipment well maintained is probably the easiest and cheapest way to start saving water.

8...Add a faucet aerator
Mixing in the air reduces the water consumed. Some aerators have an on/off lever so that you can stop most of the water flow without affecting the temperature, saving even more water.

9...Get a switched power bar
Plug all your wall-warts into the power strip so that it is easy to turn things off when you are not using them.

You can't get them for ten bucks, but there are some very slick power bars out there now.

10...Change a light bulb
Still have any incandescent bulbs lighting your home? Time to change them; they have better color, faster starts and less mercury than ever.

Just be sure to recycle them properly!