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With springtime warming up our side of the planet, everything is coming back to life, including our mood. The combination of fresh air and renewed energy is why spring cleaning is such a popular activity this time of year, but clearing out your attic and balancing your finances aren’t the only way to clean up your household this spring. Why not celebrate the budding trees with a few ways to both save money for your household, and save the planet from some waste and litter?
Here are just a few ideas that can lower your power bill, water bill, and weekly expenses while also doing Mother Nature a favor.
1) Program the Thermostat
Your HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) system is one of the most power-hungry parts of your home. Helping it work easier to heat and cool the building can save a lot of power. Program your thermostat to be cooler in the evening and warmer during the day to make it easier on your unit to keep up when the natural temperature changes.
2) Clean the Air Filters
Air filters keep the air pumped through your vents clean, but a dirty filter means it’s harder for the air to get through. This, in turn, clogs the HVAC system and makes it use more power to do less work. Change your filters every 2-12 months, depending on the filter type.
3) Switch to LED Light Bulbs
We all know about turning off lights, but it turns out you can benefit much more from using new lightbulbs altogether. LEDs burn with much less heat and a lot less power, so even if you leave them on, they use less energy than the conservative use of incandescent filament bulbs. As a plus, they’re also much safer for kids.
4) Fight Phantom Load
Phantom load is the power some appliances use up when they are officially ‘off’. Unplug appliances when they’re not in use.
5) Insulation and Weather Stripping
Another way to help out your HVAC energy efficiency is to trap the conditioned air inside your home. With insulation in the attic and walls and fresh weather stripping on the doors and windows, you can be sure your power is dedicated to keeping you comfy, not cooling the neighborhood. You may want to insulate your pipes and ducts as well.
1) Install Aerating Faucets and Shower Heads
Aerating faucets and ‘low flow’ shower heads inject bubbles of air into the flow of water, effectively slowing it down while keeping the stream of water wide and steady. This means you can still bathe, cook, and wash your hands comfortably but at the same time, you’re using much less water.
2) A Two-Mode Commode
The most efficient kind of toilet has two modes, a low-water conservative flush and a heavy-duty flush for those necessary occasions. Of course, if you don’t want to replace the toilet or mechanisms, simply place a few bottles of rocks in the tank to artificially raise the water level and cause it to use less water per flush.
3) Garden with Local Plants
Watering the grass and gardens can take up a lot of water which can easily be saved with one simple step; only plant things that can survive with the natural rainfall. Plant a local grass type for your lawn and sturdy local bushes and flowers for the flower beds and you won’t have to water nearly as much.
4) Point of Service Water Heaters
Ever spend one to five minutes waiting for the water to get hot? Necessary though it may seem, this is pretty wasteful of fresh water. Instead, try installing point of service water heaters that heat up the water on-the-spot. This can also save you money on constantly running the water heater.
5) Run Full Loads of Dishes and Laundry
Running a full load of dishes is actually more water-efficient than washing them by hand. If you run laundry or dishes, make sure the machines are sufficiently full to use water efficiently. If you do run a small load, look for the option on the controls to note that the load is small and therefore, use less water. Some modern washing machines will sense the load size and take care of this efficiency for you.
6) Bath or Shower
Know when to bathe and when to shower. A 5-minute shower is more efficient than a bath, but a 30-minute soak is more efficient than a long shower.
1) Buy in Bulk
Rather than buying individually packaged boxes of things like pasta or cereal, buy in bulk. This will save the planet by using less disposable packaging and help your budget because buying in bulk is more economical.
2) Personal Water Bottles
Speaking of disposable packaging, ditch the plastic water bottle habit and instead get everyone in the family their own unique reusable water bottle. You can use your own filtered water at home.
3) Grocery Totes
For our final tip, save the plant from being choked in plastic bags by remembering to bring your reusable grocery totes to the store. You (like most of us) have probably already bought them and don’t want to spend another $15 on a new set, so keep them in your car where it is convenient to grab when you’re headed into the grocery store.
Saving money for the family doesn’t always mean cutting corners. Instead, find ways to both save the household budget and reduce the amount of power, water, and disposable packaging you use from week to week. With the right green attitude, you might soon find yourself composting and growing your own vegetable garden with the kids.
Information appearing in this article is obtained from sources we believe are reliable. The information may not be a complete statement of all available data and is not guaranteed as such. Marine FCU is not responsible for the contents of this article and advises its membership to investigate claims before following the information provided.