Tips and Tricks for a Greener Home
April 22nd is Earth Day! Show a little love for our planet by implementing some of the following Earth-friendly tips around your home.
Time to upgrade your appliances? While you’re browsing through the appliance section, look for Energy Star labels. New energy efficient appliances may cost a little more to purchase, but you’ll get that money right back with the dollars you’ll save on your utility bills. That slightly higher price point also gets you an appliance that is more durable and easier on our planet.
Nearly 10% of your home’s energy usage comes from lighting. Bring that electricity bill down by replacing any old lightbulbs with LED bulbs. LEDs last longer than incandescent bulbs, and they emit less heat, which can help your air conditioner not run quite as hard this summer.
Speaking of your air conditioner, the average AC unit lifespan is 10-15 years. If your unit is somewhere in that age range and it starts acting up, you may be better off replacing it instead of repairing it. When picking out a new AC unit, look for those Energy Star models, which can lower your cooling costs by 30-50%!
Keep the cool air in and the hot air out this summer. If you’ve got old, drafty windows, look into replacing them with new energy efficient ones. New windows not in the budget right now? Pick up some weather stripping and install it around your windows or doors to seal any gaps until you’re ready to replace.
Low-flow shower heads can cut your water usage by 50% or more! They release less than two gallons of water per minute, compared to standard showerheads, which can release five gallons per minute. The average family could save 2,700 gallons of water per year by installing low-flow shower heads. This will lower your water bill, ease demand on your water heater, and help conserve our planet’s water supply.
After you’ve installed your low-flow shower heads, how about some low-flow toilets? 30% of the average home’s indoor water usage comes from toilets, and older toilets can use up to six gallons of water per flush. Installing low-flow toilets could help you save up to 13,000 gallons per year, slashing your water bills.
Leaking faucets and toilets can allow tons of water to go to waste. An average household’s leaks can waste over 10,000 gallons of water in a year. Leaks that are left ignored can increase your water bill too, so address them as soon as possible. A fixture or pipe may need to be fixed or replaced.
The water that falls on a rainy night can flow into the streets, gathering pollutants that eventually end up in our waterways. Collecting rainwater helps prevent that. You can do this by simply setting up a rain barrel next to your house, or you can hire a professional to clip your gutters, directing them to pour the water that falls on your roof into a barrel.
Get into the habit of hitting the light switch on your way out the door, especially if you won’t be back within 15 minutes. This will help with extending the life of your lightbulbs and saving on your energy bill. You can also save a bit on that energy bill by unplugging electronics and small appliances when they aren’t in use.
Drinking water is obviously good for you, but if your household is drinking from single-use plastic bottles, it’s not so good for the environment. While these plastic bottles are supposed to be recycled, an estimated 80% of them end up in landfills and oceans. Consider switching to reusable water bottles, and you can help out the environment while saving yourself some money. Re-filling reusable water bottles is cheaper than regularly buying plastic bottles and could save you an average of $1,300 per year!
Upgrading to a smart thermostat can help save energy while saving you money on your heating and cooling bills. Smart thermostats allow you to monitor and adjust the temperature in your home while you’re on the go, and you can program the thermostat to turn the heat or AC up or down depending on whether or not someone’s home.