Simple Ways to Live Greener

Trying to live an environmentally friendly lifestyle does not have to be a stressful life-changing experience. You can reduce your carbon footprint and lower your energy bills by following some simple tips in your everyday life.

In The Workshop

  • Unplug – Many home workshops are stocked with cordless power tools and chargers that stay plugged in round the clock. Determine which ones are used the most frequently. Leave those chargers plugged in and unplug the rest. Over a month’s time, the power tools not charging will lose about fifteen percent of their charge so you can charge them every four months or so.
  • Watt Up – If you have multiple incandescent bulbs try using only one central fixture with a single 100 watt bulb. A single 100 watt bulb is brighter than two 60 watt bulbs and uses about fifteen percent less energy. So, if you have a centrally located fixture that can handle a high watt bulb, turn up the light level as high as you can go.
  • Recycle – Solvent is often used to clean oil-based products from tools and brushes. Recycle used solvent by letting it sit overnight which will allow the sludge to settle at the bottom. A clear layer of solvent will appear above the sludge. Carefully transfer the clear solvent into another jar, seal and set aside for future use. Properly dispose of the sludge as you would any other hazardous waste.
  • Combine – Recycle leftover paints by mixing together and using to paint areas like the garage or the workshop.

In The Kitchen

  • Dial Up – Use an appliance thermometer to check the temperature of your refrigerator and freezer. Refrigerator temperature should be around 37-40 degrees F. Freezers should be kept at 0-5 degrees F. By adjusting the settings you can save a lot of energy. For every ten degrees energy consumption changes by about 25 percent.
  • Check Seals – An easy way to determine if the rubber gasket seals on freezer and refrigerator doors are sealing properly is to close the doors on a dollar bill. Give the bill a tug. If it resists and stays put, you’ve got a good seal. If it doesn’t, it’s time for a new gasket. Don’t forget to check all four sides of each door.
  • Move It – Unfortunately many kitchens are designed with refrigerator space designated adjacent to the range. The heat from cooking can cause the compressor of the refrigerator to use much more energy than necessary, up to two and a half percent more power for every degree rising above 70 degrees F. It’s then easy to see why your refrigerator and range should break up their close relationship. Heat through a sunny window in the summertime can also create the same effect.
  • No Dishpan Hands – Washing a full load in the dishwasher is much more energy efficient than washing dishes the old fashioned way. The average energy efficient dishwasher will use about four gallons of water per load. Washing dishes by hand can use up to twenty gallons of water.

In The Bathroom

  • Dye It – Add food coloring to the toilet tank. Wait a couple of hours and see if there is any color seepage into the toilet bowl. If there is, it’s time to change the tank flapper. Toilet leaks can waste up to one gallon of water every minute. That can give you a monthly grand total of over 40,000 gallons of wasted water.
  • Showerhead Check – Use a one gallon bucket and time how long it takes to fill from the showerhead. If it fills up in less than twenty seconds, replace it with a more efficient one that sprays the same gallon of water in the time span of about a minute. That could save you over 14,000 gallons of water every year. Go even greener by trying to keep shower times to about ten minutes.
  • Cool It – Dial back the water heater temperature to 120 degrees F. This will save energy and prolong the life of your water heater tank.

In The Den

  • Add Layers – In cool weather, wear a sweater. By doing so you can adjust your thermostat by about five to ten degrees, depending on your cold tolerance. This is a very simple thing with significant results.


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