9 No-Cost Ways to Green Your Home
Happy St. Paddy’s Day! If you’re looking to lower your household’s energy use, what better time than St. Patrick’s Day? Spread some of that green to your home and tip your hat to the environment with our easy, no-cost ways to green your home (and your wallet).
1. Install and Set Programmable Thermostat
There are many different models on the market today, including “smart” thermostat which allow you to remotely control your thermostat from your phone r computer. In order to receive the savings promised by programmable thermostats, you’ll need to set it properly.
A good guide to follow is 68°F in the winter while at home and 7-10°F down while away from home. In the summer, set the thermostat to 78°F while at home and 7°-10°F up while away.
2. Air Dry Clothes and Dishes
Air dry your dishes instead of using the hot-dry cycle. If there isn’t an air-dry setting, open up the door after the final rinse to speed up the air-drying process. Still, dish washing machines use less water than hand-washing so continue to use your dish washer.
In addition to air drying your dishes, consider air drying your clothes as well. Not only will you not use any energy in the process, you’ll also reduce the risk of color fading and shrinkage. Additionally, you’ll expedite the drying times for the items that need the drying cycle.
3. Turn Off Lights and Devices
Did you know that plugged-in devices continue to draw small amounts of energy even when turned off or in standby mode? It’s called phantom or vampire energy and accounts for a lot of wasted energy every year.
There are three ways you can avoid phantom loads:
- Unplug the cord from the wall.
- Flip the on/off switch on your power strip when not in use
- Purchase “smart” power strips which automatically turns off power when devices are idle
In addition to unplugging electronics when not in use, remember to turn off lights when you leave the room. Contact your local electrician for information on whole-home surge protection which stops powerful surges at the source to protect your expensive appliances and electronics.
4. Lower Water Heater Temperature
Lower your water heater temperature from the standard 140°F to a safer and more efficient 120°F. You’ll still get plenty of heat, but your water heater won’t have to use as much energy. For every 10°F that you reduce the temperature, you’ll save around 3-5% in energy costs.
For extra precaution, turn off power to the water heater from the breaker box before adjusting the temperature. Next, locate the temperature adjustment knob. It may be behind a metal plate held in by screws. Once you find the temperature dial, it should be fairly easy to adjust, although you may need a flathead screwdriver.
After you turn the temperature down, don’t forget to screw the cover back on and turn on the power.
5. Change Water Habits
Try taking shorter, colder showers instead of long, hot ones, or baths. Cold water has many health and rejuvenation benefits, so if you want tighter skin, more energy, less stress, and lower energy bills, switch to cold showers.
Speak with your plumber about low-flow showerheads and faucets. And consider turning the water off while you lather up to save even more water. Turn off the water while brushing your teeth and washing your face as well.
6. Wash Only Full Loads of Laundry and Dishes
This is pretty self-explanatory. Wait until you have a full load to wash clothes and dishes. Additionally, you want to try to air-dry your clothing and dishes as much as possible.
If your dish washer doesn’t have a air-dry setting, just open up the door when the rinse cycle is finished.
7. Close Windows and Doors While HVAC is On
You don’t want to heat and cool the neighborhood! Make sure all windows and doors are closed when you are heating or cooling the home.
8. Buy Energy-Efficient Appliances
You can save a lot of money and energy by switching to energy-efficient machines. To make it easy, look for the ENERGY STAR label. ENERGY STAR-qualified appliances must meet the stringent energy efficiency requirements set forth by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Purchasing a new heating and/or cooling system is a little more complicated than a new fridge or washing machine. Here’s what you should know before installing a new HVAC system.
9. Reuse & Recycle
Don’t throw things in the trash that could be recycled. Recycling saves energy, conserves natural resources, reduces pollution, and helps create new well-paying jobs in the recycling industry.
Either donate your old items or recycle them. Common recycling items include:
- Used Oil
- Household Hazardous Waste
You can even make a little extra cash on the side by taking in your recyclables to the local recycling center. The key is to have clearly-marked recycling bins, which you can purchase at your local home improvement store. Click here to find a recycling center in near you.
More easy energy-saving tips:
- Everyday Tips to Save Money & Energy at Home
- New Year’s Resolutions for the Home | Cleaning & Energy-Saving Hacks
- 10 Ways to Slash Your Energy Bill
- Better Water Heating: 10 Energy Efficiency Tips
- How Zoned HVAC Improves Comfort and Gets Rid of Cold Spots
- How to Prevent Hot & Cold Spots | Alternatives to Closing Vents
May the luck of the Irish be with you!
Call Pacific Heating & Cooling for professional HVAC and indoor air quality solutions. Reach us 24/7 at 253.292.3995.
Since 1984, we’ve been proudly serving our communities in Federal Way, Graham, Spanaway, University Place, Steilacoom, Sumner, Lakewood, Puyallup, Tacoma and Gig Harbor.