Room-By-Room Green Home Guide
We all know that we can save energy, money, and help the environment by limiting our consumption and improving the energy efficiency of our lives and homes, but some of us feel that we don’t have the time. No more!
These green tips are for the modern, busy homeowner. Not only will they help the environment, they’ll help your bank account too. Some suggestions are one-time things, while others require ongoing effort. Nevertheless, they are all easy changes that any one of us can accomplish.
Room-By-Room Green Home Guide
Fix the Leaks
The average home has at least one plumbing leak in the home, whether it be from toilets, sinks, or other areas in your plumbing. This could mean thousands or tens of thousands of wasted water every year.
A quick way to test if you have a toilet leak is by placing a few drops of food dye into the tank (remove the tank lid) and observing if any of the color makes it into the toilet bowl.
If you want to tell if you have any leaks in your plumbing system at all, find your water meter. It should have a "low flow indicator" (a.k.a. the leak indicator) which tells you if there are any low flow leaks in the home.
If the leak indicator is not moving, that doesn't necessarily mean you don't have a leak. Write down the odometer reading and then check back in about 30 minutes to see if there is any difference in the numbers (don't use any water during this time).
While fixing leaks may be as simple as replacing the flapper in your toilet or the washer in your faucet. If you can't fix the problem yourself, call a plumber right away. You'll quickly make the money back from your water bill savings.
If you have an older toilet, you are probably using 3.5 gallons or more per flush. Fortunately, modern toilets and retrofits enable you to save up to 18,000 gallons of water every single year.
Ask your local plumber about your green toilet options.
Take Short, Cold Showers
This may sound crazy, but cold "Navy" showers have many health and environmental benefits. Learn why you should start taking cold showers.
While you may enjoy your long, hot showers, they could be doing more harm than good. A short cold shower will wake up your skin cells and give you that extra boost of energy you need in the morning.
You may also want to think about the fact that showers consume about 1/5 of your home's total water usage. Even if you don't take the cold shower route, consider turning off the water while you are lathering up. This will also save you on soap and cleaning products.
Low-Flow Faucets and Aerators
Speak with your plumber about installing water-saving devices in the bathroom, especially if you don't have a faucet aerator. Aerators and low-flow regulators can help cut your bathroom usage by up to 50%. Learn how to clean or replace your faucet aerators.
Don't Treat Toilet Like Trash Can
Keep a trashcan in the bathroom so you don't ever throw anything in the toilet. This includes diapers, feminine hygiene products, floss, hair, and wet wipes. Yes, wet wipes!
Despite what you may think, it's NOT a good idea to flush wet wipes. In fact, there are several ongoing lawsuits to change the packaging on these products. Some still say that they are flushable. These so-called "flushable" wet wipes have been causing huge problems at sewage plants around the globe. Since they don't break apart like toilet paper, they can combine with fats, oils, and grease to create what are known as a "fatberg." These fatbergs are costing cities, such as London and New York hundreds of thousands of dollars to fix. Just don't do it!
The only things that should be flushed down the toilet are toilet paper and human waste.
To avoid toilet clogs, only use the amount of toilet paper that you need. Let the toilet paper absorb the water before flushing it down.
Wash Loads in Cold Water
Wash your clothing on the cold setting. This uses about 85% less energy than hot water loads. Only use hot water for towels and getting rid of stains.
Wash Full Loads
Unless you really have to, wait until you have a full load of laundry before running the washing machine. If you only have one set of towels or bedding, consider purchasing an extra set so that you don't have to run small loads all the time. You'll make the money back in your water savings.
Switch to Earth-Friendly Brands
This green tip applies to everything in your home, not just the laundry room. There are many websites that tell you which are the most green, environmental cleaners.
Buy Energy-Efficient Appliances
You can save a lot of energy and wear and tear on your clothes by switching to an energy-efficient machine. 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.
Air Dry Clothing
If you are sick of your clothing fading and shrinking in the dryer, it may be time to switch over to air drying your clothing. You can use a drying rack, hangers, or a good old-fashioned clothesline.
Leave the heavier fabrics in the dryer, but by taking out the lighter clothing, you can help quicken the drying times. Hang drying your clothing not only saves money and energy, it also helps your clothing retain is colors and shape.
Turn your water heater temperature down from the typical 140 degrees Fahrenheit to a safer and more energy efficient 120 degrees.
Keep Fridge and Freezer Full
Your refrigerator and freezer will use less energy if they are full. Since food retains cold better than the air, an empty refrigerator has to work harder.
Clean Refrigerator at Least Once a Year
Ideally, you should be cleaning the gaskets regularly and the condenser coils on the back of the fridge twice a year. Just like the condenser coils on your heat pump, a good cleaning will help your fridge run more efficiently and use less energy.
Use the Microwave
If you can, use the microwave. It uses a lot less energy than your stovetop or oven, reducing your energy use by around 70% or more. Also, you'll want to use the toaster oven in place of the full-size oven if you can.
Turn Hot Water Temperature Down
Most water heaters are set to about 140 degrees Fahrenheit, however, this is too hot for the average use. In order to prevent scaldings and lower your energy consumption, lower your water heater down to a more manageable 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you have a dish washer with a booster heater, it will heat up the water to the proper temperature at the source, so you can still leave the water heater at 120 degrees.
Use the No-Heat Setting on Dish Washers
Many dish washers have a no-heat setting. Heat drying your dishes isn't necessary. Instead, use the air-dry setting or open up the door after the final rinse to let it air dry.
Take Advantage of Off-Peak Hours
Your utility company probably offers off-peak rates, which are normally from around 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. Running your appliances during these off-peak hours can greatly reduce your energy bills. Call your utility company to find out if they offer off-peak rates.
BEDROOMS & LIVING ROOMS
Look up the contents of the cleaners you buy before spending your money. Many cleaners are not only bad for the environment, they also contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can build up in your home and make you sick.
Consider making your own natural cleaners or purchasing no-VOC cleaners. Clean with reusable cloths and try to cut down on the amount of bleach, detergent, and other cleaning products.
Seal Air Leaks
Seal and stuff up the air leaks in your home, especially drafty windows and doors. In addition to caulk and weatherstripping, we also recommend door sweeps or draft stoppers underneath your doors and windows. You can make your own or purchase them at a local store.
Reclaim Your Furniture
Instead of purchasing brand new furniture, use recycled furniture from thrift stores, estate sales, and antique stores. Help save our forests by using wood from sustainable sources and not using tropical hardwoods.
Switch to LEDs
Switch to LED (light emitting diode) bulbs wherever lighting is required. While the initial price is higher, they are around 90% more energy efficient, have no heat output, and are much more durable and longer lasting.
Other green lighting tips include switching to dimmers, only using light when you need,
Learn more about winterizing your home and saving energy and money.
Top 5 Ways to Green Your Home
- Stop the water leaks.
- Change your light bulbs.
- Seal and insulate your home.
- Reuse, recycle, shop local, and buy green.
- Schedule annual HVAC, plumbing, and electrical tune-ups.
Schedule an energy audit with Gold Medal Service to learn more about your home’s energy consumption and how to cut energy costs even further.
Give us a call today at (732) 365-3199