Go Green! How To Cut
Costs Around Your Home
There's a reason why "Going Green" has become so popular in American households. For a lot of families, it has less to do with saving the environment and more to do with saving money. Cutting expensive energy costs, developing frugal daily habits and implementing cost-effective methods to solve everyday household issues is something just about every homeowner can accomplish by going green. Sometimes it means spending some money up front to save more money in the long run. Sometimes it's as easy as learning how to repurpose, what to clean or how to compost. Try out a few of these household solutions and simple alternatives to start saving money right away.
One of the easiest ways to cut down on heating costs in the winter or cooling costs in the summer is to swap out your window treatments for energy-efficient options. Blackout curtains are better than blinds at shielding the interior of your home from heat caused by direct sunlight. In colder months, the same curtains can also prevent heat from leaving through your windows. Remember to hang these curtains as close as possible to the window surface and surrounding walls for the most efficient performance. If you're ahead of the game with energy-efficient shades, be on the lookout for other easy energy-efficient fixes, like replacing refrigerator gaskets that are worn out.
Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle
Just about everything we throw away in the trash has the potential to be reused, repurposed or recycled. Repurposing old materials isn't always the best solution, but there are many times that a little creativity can save us some extra cash. For example, if you're making the switch to energy-efficient shades, you might be wondering if there are any creative ways to repurpose old curtains. All it takes to start repurposing is a shift in your mindset. Instead of throwing something away or even throwing it in the recycling bin, take a moment to think about whether or not the item will be useful in your home or around your yard. If not, always try to recycle before using the trash.
Lunch Totes & Water Bottles
Repurposing old materials is a great ?go green? habit, but in some cases there's an even more efficient way to save money, and it starts with having the right equipment. Water bottles and lunch totes are two examples of energy-efficient items that cut down on daily trash and help eliminate the necessity to recycle. For school lunches, it's not just about the carrier itself. It's also about the individual packaging. Washable food storage containers are a nice alternative to plastic lunch baggies, especially because schools are slowly trying to cut down on their carbon footprint by heavily discouraging disposable lunch items and in some cases actually enforcing restrictions.
Houseplants That Purify
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average American spends over 90% of their life indoors, including time spent in automobiles or public transportation. A majority of this indoor time is unavoidable, such as in the winter months, making it even more important to make sure the air quality in your home is as clean and fresh as possible. One easy alternative to expensive air purifiers is to fill your house with more air-purifying house plants. Spider plants, peace lilies, ferns and ivy help purify the air by removing toxins like benzene, formaldehyde and ammonia. Plants also make great decorative accents that can refresh your home for any season.
Always Dress In Layers
Turning up your heat by just a single degree has been proven to increase your monthly energy bill by up to three percent. Turning your heat down just a few degrees can really add up no matter what the size of your home. If you want to trim down your energy bill, try throwing on a sweater, slipping on a warm pair of diabetic socks, or bringing a few more blankets out of the linen closet for the living room. It might take a little time to adjust to the temperature change, but you might find that the satisfaction you get from seeing your energy costs reduced is the warm feeling that really matters. The spring and fall seasons are better suited for trying out this energy-saving tip.
Keep Everything Clean
Regular cleaning can also have a big effect on your home's energy-efficiency. When dust, dirt and debris accumulate in filters and around appliances like refrigerators, these appliances are forced to work harder in order to do the same job they did before. Remember to regularly change air conditioning filters in the summer, furnace filters in the winter, refrigerator coils at least every six months, and check vents for buildup on a monthly basis. Also, it's a good habit to start dusting more frequently, including light bulbs and household electronics. And to save a little extra money on heating bills, reverse the direction of ceiling fan blades to push more warm air around rooms.