people find that making small green changes around the home is fairly
easy, and definitely more forgiving towards your wallet than, for
example, a fleet of expensive solar panels. From the kitchen, to
the bathroom, and everywhere else in between, the green possibilities
vary by the room. Sometimes though, this can prove to be
overwhelming, conjuring up concerns of where to start (especially if
you have a larger-size home). Not to worry though, just break
your house down room-by-room, tackling each room from start to
completion, making sure you accomplish all the changes you set out to
accomplish to begin with.
consumption were a party, the kitchen would be the place to be.
This is where all the energy-sucking appliances gather, including the
refrigerator, dishwasher, oven, microwave, and even smaller appliances
such as mixers, toasters, and can openers. It seems apparent
that this area of the house could use all the help it can get in terms
of reducing energy use.
Your refrigerator may not be as cold as you think…
effectively chill food and drinks at an optimal temperature, while
fending off bacteria at the same time, the temperature in your
refrigerator should be between 35 and 38 degrees F. Bacteria
will grow eventually—it’s inevitable—however, the role of a
refrigerator is to slow down the growth of bacteria, prolonging the
life of perishables for as long as possible.
are suspicious about the temperature of your refrigerator, grab a
basic thermometer meant for appliances and a glass of water.
Simply insert the thermometer into the glass, and place it as close to
the center of the refrigerator as possible. Allow it to sit
there overnight, checking the temperature the next morning.
find that the temperature is too warm or too cold, locate the
temperature setting knob and adjust it accordingly. A
refrigerator that is too warm will promote the growth of bacteria,
causing your food to spoil more quickly. On the other hand, a
refrigerator that is too cold means your refrigerator is working
harder to maintain that colder temperature. This can lead to a
considerable increase in energy consumption.
sitting atop the refrigerator, is the freezer which also needs to be
set to a certain temperature setting in order to function optimally.
The ideal temperature for a freezer is between 0 and 5 degrees F.
While the temperature of a refrigerator slows down the growth of
bacteria, the temperature of a freezer is supposed to be cold enough
that bacteria growth ceases completely.
refrigerators are in operation in your household? If you answer
that you have more than one refrigerator, then it might be time to
consider a reduction. You’re not alone though—several households
have a second refrigerator or freezer plugged up in the garage or
have a legitimate need to have two refrigerators or two freezers, then
you can’t help it. However, if you open the door to the second
refrigerator only to find a few cans of Pepsi, then it may be time to
give the spare refrigerator the boot; especially if it is old.
even find that there are utility companies, charities, and other
organizations in your local area that will arrange to pick up any
unwanted appliance, as well as dispose of it properly; this could be a
recycling center, a needy family, etc.
It’s getting hot in here…
solar technology creating quite a stir over the past few years, it
might be hard to believe that the sun can actually promote
inefficiency. Take a look over at your refrigerator periodically
throughout the day. Does the sun shine directly on it for
extended periods of time? If so, then your refrigerator might be
working harder than it has to.
sunlight, when applied directly to the metal surface of a
refrigerator, can cause that surface to heat up exponentially.
In order to maintain a stable temperature internally, your
refrigerator will have to work harder, consuming more energy than
may not be the easiest method, physically, moving the refrigerator out
of direct sunlight would be the easiest thing to do, logically.
However, if your kitchen is similar to many other kitchens, then there
may not be any other locations to where the refrigerator to be
relocated. Should this be the case, all you need to do is hang a
curtain across the window to shield your refrigerator from the bulk of
Seal em’ up…
refrigerator and freezer rely on a rubber gasket to create a tight
seal between the door and the rest of the appliance. A proper
seal is vital; otherwise the cold air contained within will leech out
through the breached seal. Therefore, a visual inspection of the
rubber gasket is necessary every once in a while to ensure the gasket
is not worn, torn, damaged, or breached in any way.
the adequacy of the seal, all you need is a dollar bill. With
your freezer or refrigerator door open, place the dollar bill in the
path of the door and then close the door on it. Now, give the
dollar bill a slight tug. Were you met with any resistance, or
did the bill slip right out? If the bill came right out with
ease, that is an indicator that there is not a tight seal occurring,
and you should probably look into replacing the gasket.
dishwasher saves the day…
to popular belief, the dishwasher can actually be much more efficient
than washing dishes by hand. However, that concept only applies
to full loads of dishes, not a few plates and a glass. Doing
dishes by hand, on average, consumes more than twenty gallons of water
(probably because most people tend to leave the sink running the
entire time to rinse dishes).
dishwasher, on the other hand, consumes far less. In fact, if a
dishwasher is Energy Star rated, then it may use as little as four
gallons of water to thoroughly clean a load of dishes. Besides,
who likes doing dishes by hand anyway?
Yes, even the bathroom can cause your home to be more
wasteful than it has to be; especially with water consumption.
Leaky faucets and faulty toilet components, among other things, can
waste more than 5,000 gallons of water every month depending on the
frequency of the leak.
Drip, drip, drip…
We’ve all heard that sound before. It can only
mean one thing—a leaky pipe or faucet. Even the tiniest leaks
can have a dramatic effect on water consumption.
Sure, a slow drip might only increase your water bill
by a few dollars, but if left unattended, those drips can add up.
In the long run, the water produced from a leaky pipe can build up on
the floor below. Mildew, rot, and decay ensue, taking the meager
fifty-cent cost of the washer the pipe needed to be replaced, and
turning it into a pricey repair job.
Nothing like a long, hot shower…
Who doesn’t enjoy a long hot shower on a cold winter
day? While simple pleasures like a hot shower do not seem like
much, the fact remains that a sizable amount of water is used with
each and every shower. Common sense would tell us that if we
wanted to be more efficient in terms of water consumption, we should
just take shorter showers. While that is an easy option, most
people would rather take a pay cut than give up their lengthy showers.
An alternative to cutting the length of showers would
be to replace your standard showerhead with a low-flow showerhead.
Some showerheads are capable of producing four gallons of water per
minute; therefore, a ten-minute shower would consume forty gallons of
water. Some might call that overkill.
When looking for a low-flow showerhead, look for one
that produces only 1.5 to 2 gallons of water per minute. Doing
so can lead so substantial savings with regards to water consumption,
as well as cut down on the cost required to heat the water.
I smell something burning…
That may be because the temperature on your water
heater is set entirely too high. The default temperature that
most water heaters are set at is 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Instead
of keeping it set to that high, try reducing the temperature setting
to around 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
Chances are good that you won’t even realize the
change, at least not until you see the financial savings such a simple
change can have.
Lowering the temperature setting of your water heater
can actually work to prolong the overall life if the unit. The
lower temperature effects how the mineral deposits build up, slowing
down the process, ultimately slowing down the corrosion process as
Shut your flapper…
If your water bill is running higher than normal this
month, perhaps you have a leaky toilet. Should your toilet be
leaking, depending on the size of the leak, you could be wasting a
gallon or more of water every minute.
The usual culprit behind a leaky toilet is your
toilet’s flapper. The flapper is located within the tank of the
toilet, and allows water to flow from within the tank into the bowl.
They are made of rubber which, over time, can begin to deteriorate;
usually due to exposure to toilet-cleaning liquids.
There is an easy way to tell if you need to replace
your toilet’s flapper—all you need is a bit of food coloring.
Pick a color you like and squeeze a liberal amount into the tank of
the toilet. Run some errands, watch a movie, do whatever you can
to occupy two hours. After two hours have passed, check to see
if any of the food colorings have leeched into the bowl of the toilet.
If any has, then that usually is an indicator that you should replace