With Earth Day festivals getting bigger and bigger, you can’t help but get caught up in the excitement. Details on the latest wind farm technology are all over, and reusable shopping bags are at nearly every booth – yours for the taking. April is a celebration of all things conservation, but don’t forget that with a few simple steps, you can be thinking “Green” all year.
And luckily, doing your share each day won’t require taking out a loan for that new Tesla you’re drooling over. In fact, you don’t have to spend much at all to begin in the space where you have the most control: your home.
You can get started by making sure everything is running efficiently, beginning with regularly switching out the filter for your heating, ventilation and air conditioning system. You can also make efficient use of your heating and cooling systems by setting your thermostat properly. A good guideline is 68 degrees in the winter and 78 in the summer.
It doesn’t hurt to check your water heater’s temperature settings as well. While most come out of the factory at 140 degrees, a majority of homes would be served perfectly well by 120 degrees, which would of course save on some energy costs.
A professional should periodically inspect these gas burning appliances, as they do need replacing over time. These appliances not only account for a big part of energy bills, but they can also produce dangerous levels of odorless carbon monoxide.
You should additionally keep an eye out for cracks, gaps and openings throughout your home, as these let dust, allergens and other pollutants in – along with drafts. Some common places you’ll want to check include electrical outlets, doors, window frames and baseboards. You’ll be able to take care of the easier ones using a caulking gun, but a contractor can help you find the trickier ones and properly seal them. Having better control of what’s coming in and out of your home is going to keep the use of your heating and cooling systems in check year round.
If this all sounds like more than you can bite off this month, don’t be ashamed to start small. Next time you’re at the hardware store, pick up a few LED lightbulbs to replace those out-of-date incandescents or the twisty fluorescent bulbs. LEDs are the latest energy-efficient lighting technology and use 75 percent less energy than traditional incandescents. Switch them out in your lamps and you’ll be doing your part for the life of the bulb, which is in the thousands of hours.
Even if a racy, new Tesla is out of grasp, there are still plenty of energy efficient upgrades that will keep your house moving like a racecar all year.