Easy Ways to Make Your Home Earth Friendly

By Laura Richter , last updated May 10, 2011

Environmentalists and homeowners alike know that there are plenty of easy ways to make your home earth-friendly. People who make the effort to conserve resources can save hundreds of dollars annually. Going green will also help your health. Household cleaners often contain toxic ingredients harmful to humans. Using resources wisely will benefit everyone, including you.

Recycle and Reuse

Decades ago, recycling meant tying up your newspapers and putting them on the curb for pickup. While you can still do that today, there are more ways to recycle and reuse products than ever before.

Consider reusing glass bottles and newspapers. You can use glass bottles for saving rainwater, mixing lemonade or keeping fresh water in the refrigerator. Whenever you sent a package in the mail, wrap the contents with newspaper. Newsprint can also make fun wrapping paper.

Take your plastic containers, magazines, and aluminum cans to a recycling center. Food stores may accept soda cans and plastic bags.

Remove your address from junk mail. You can reuse any mail pieces for scratch paper. Better yet, ask companies to remove your address from their lists. It will save both of you time and money.

Water

Consider the amount of water you use on a daily basis. You likely run the faucets while doing the dishes, brushing your teeth, and cleaning the kitchen. Homeowners also use water for their laundry and the lawn outside. Water is a valuable resource. Using it wisely will go a long way toward making your home energy efficient.

Take showers instead of baths. Showers use less water than filling up a bathtub. Rather than leaving the water running while soaping up, turn the faucet off. Once you have scrubbed yourself, turn the water on to rinse off. This method of showering is popular in Europe. It will save you money on your water bill.

In the past, people wore clothes once and then laundered them. Think about wearing shirts and pants several times before washing them. If they are relatively clean and have no stains, no one will ever know.

When watering your lawn, only use as much as the soil will absorb. Aim your sprinklers for the lawn and not sidewalks or driveways. Sprinklers and hoses have a habit of leaking. Check to make sure that all connections are solid.

Green Cleaners

Popular store-bought cleaners are usually filled with toxic ingredients and harmful fragrances. These substances are dangerous for children and pets. Many cleaners have lengthy warnings on their labels citing their toxicity. By switching to natural cleaners, you can create a healthier home.

Baking soda has many uses. You can bake with it or use it as toothpaste. It is also an alkaline, slightly abrasive cleaner. Use it to refresh your refrigerator, cat litter box, or closet. Sprinkle it on carpets to remove stains. Adding water to baking soda creates a gritty cleanser that you can use on toys.

White vinegar is another substance people find helpful when cleaning their homes. You can use it to remove sticky stains from counters, appliances, and coffee cups. White vinegar will also help remove odors from clothes. It is a handy mildew remover.

You can purchase other cleaners at health food stores. Brand name green cleaners may claim they are nontoxic, biodegradable, and inflammable. Check the list of ingredients and do your research carefully.

Energy Efficiency

Using fans instead of air conditioners will cut down on your energy costs. Air conditioners may use chlorofluorocarbons or hydrofluorocarbons, which are harmful to the ozone layer of the earth. Ceiling fans should be the first line of defense during the summer months.

The Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy have created efficiency and safety guidelines for household products. If an appliance meets their criteria, it will receive an Energy Star rating. When purchasing appliances, such as air conditioners, televisions or lighting equipment, look for ones that meets their guidelines.

An energy audit of your home will detail the energy leaks in your home. A professional will assess your living areas to determine how you can save money on your energy bills. He will look for air leaks and check insulation levels. The auditor will give you tips on how to save energy through changing your behavior.

While you are at work, adjust your thermostat. In the summer months, consider leaving the thermostat at 78 degrees. In the winter, you may leave it at 62 degrees.

Timers are useful tools for saving energy. If you like to leave the lights on as a theft deterrent, put them on a timer system. This way, you are not leaving them on all day. While you are at home, turn off lights when you are not in the room.

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