How to Stay Cool, Save Money, and Save the Environment

For many homeowners, summer is a mix of leisure and labor: picnics, pool parties, lawn care, and home improvement projects. Summer also often means a battle between you and your utility bill, thanks to those rising temperatures outside. This summer can be different, however, with these suggestions on how to make your home more eco-friendly and cost effective.

Replace Old Items

Old equipment can be costly, both for the environment and your wallet. Switch to an Energy Star–certified washer and dryer, and you’ll use 25% less energy and 33% less water. If you’re not looking to replace those appliances now, consider investing in new lightbulbs instead. Switching from incandescent to CFL lightbulbs can save 400 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions a year. Additionally, replacing old bathroom fixtures with low-flow shower heads and faucets can save plenty of water and money.

Use the Right Technology

Solar panels are not the only eco-friendly gadget out there, so don’t worry if that option is out of your budget. Programmable thermostats and other smart home devices are useful and affordable tools for any home, and using additional basic fixtures such as ceiling fans will maximize your comfort while sparing your utility bill. Even using a power strip can make it easy to turn things off and save energy.

Keep Things Running Right

Even the most energy-efficient machines will fail to do their jobs if they’re not properly maintained. First, inspect your air conditioning unit and replace its filter. Next, walk through your home and ensure your vents are free from dust. Then, increase airflow by rearranging furniture that blocks vents.

As for your other appliances, remove dryer lint after each load, and watch carefully for leaky sinks, toilets, pipes, and showers. Even a small leak can waste five gallons of water per day, so don’t underestimate the importance of basic maintenance.

Watch Your Hygiene Habits

Small changes in your routine can have a surprising impact on your utility bill and your overall home environment. Experiment with a few simple tricks to make your toilet more efficient, and consider taking a shower instead of a bath. Depending on your shower head’s efficiency, a five-minute shower uses up to twenty-five gallons less water than the average bath.

Instead of shaving with a running faucet, minimize your water usage and rinse your razor in a cup of water. You could even switch to eco-friendly cleaning products, such as vinegar, since they tend to be cheaper and healthier for your home environment.

Eat Smart

Summer barbeques aren’t just fun—they’re economical. The more appliances you run in your home, the warmer it gets, and the more money required to keep it cool. When you do cook inside, use the stovetop or microwave to limit energy usage. On the days you do need the oven, bake multiple items at the same time, and resist the impulse to open the door to peek. After you’re finished, cool your leftovers to room temperature before placing them in the refrigerator, thus maintaining the cool temperature and saving your refrigerator from working too hard.

Your summer bills don’t have to break the bank. With these tips, you can keep your utilities under control and enjoy the satisfaction of being more eco-friendly.

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