February 19, 2009

5 SUPER EASY Ways to Save $$ on your Utility Bill

There are so many great ways to save money while helping the environment too. Here are 5 Really Easy ways to save money on your utility bill without having to invest a dime or sacrifice your lifestyle.

1. Turn down your hot water heater. Your hot water heater should be set at 120 degrees or below. Many are set far too high and in turn require more energy to keep the water heated. This will make a dramatic impact. While you're at it, insulate your heater so that it stays warm and saves even more energy.

2. No need for extra cooking time. When you're roasting meats or baking casseroles, turn the oven off 10-15 minutes before cooking time runs out; your food will continue to cook without using the extra electricity.

3. Clean out dryer lint. Clean your dryer lint screen with every use and don't overload the dryer. You could save up to 5% on your bill since dryers are the #1 energy consumer in most homes. In addition, try to use the washer/dryer during off-peak hours for extra savings.

4. Line Dry your Clothes. Whether you use a clothing line outdoors, hangers on hooks or a drying rack, line drying your garments is the way to go. Not only will they smell wonderful, and preserve their appearance but whites become whiter in the sunshine and you don't use any energy from your dryer. On a hot summer day your clothes can dry in about an hour! What's more is you'll save the cost of dryer sheets too, they won't be needed as your clothes won't be tumbling together creating static!

5. Unplug it! Did you know that a large portion of energy consumed is for items you aren't even using?! That's right, our cell phone chargers, lamps, electronics and appliances still draw energy even when we aren't using them. Unplug anything you don't use daily such as various lamps, a printer, blender, coffee maker and remember to power down your laptop at the end of the day and unplug it too! This one simple change takes a moment to plug something back in and you'll be amazed at how you'll save on your bill and help the environment's resources also!

Of course there are so many ways to save energy that will ultimately be reflected on your bill, but here are just a few to get you started. They might even inspire you to do more!

February 6, 2009

How Much Water do You Consume?

Find out your family's water footprint by using this fun tool designed by Kohler!

It's important to remember that a leaky faucet or toilet not only wastes our precious water resources but also increase your consumption and your overall bill. By how much, you ask?
Repair a leaking toilet and you can expect to save about $30 per year, which may not sound like a lot until you realize it equates to 73,000 gallons or 200 gallons a day! A drippy faucet can waste up to 74 gallons per day!
As a general rule of thumb, look for faucets that use 2.0 gpm (gallons per minute) or less and the standard for toilets is around 1.6 gpm. Some toilets are dual-flush allowing you to use more or less water when needed, which is a great invention I think!

5 Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality

It may be surprising for some to know that the air we breathe inside our own home can often be more toxic than the air outside!

With all sorts of chemicals, glues, toxins, off-gasses, and dirt tracked inside our homes, it's important to consider making a few small changes to make a big impact for you, your family and your pets!

1. Replace Harsh Chemicals with Eco-Friendly products.

With the 'Go Green' movement moving full speed ahead, there are numerous companies creating better products for you and the environment. They do not contain harmul chlorine bleach, sulphates, and other poisonous and toxic ingredients. Most are made from corn alcohol,coconut, plant, mineral salts, citrus fruit extracts and have some wonderful essential fragrance oil blends to boot!

2. Bring some Green INDOORS.

By bringing some plants indoors, you will increase the quality of your indoor air. Plants are also a great way to add some color and life into your home too! Many plants do not require you to be a gardening expert or have a green thumb, nor do they have to be expensive.

3. Go PVC and Vinyl-FREE.

When it comes to shower curtain liners, must people are used to the plastic, vinyl type. Shower liners off-gas some nasty chemical fumes like polyvinyl chloride plastic (PVC). One of the chemical additives, DEHP, a phthalate, is a suspected carcinogen and has been linked to hormonal disruption in humans. An EPA study found that vinyl shower curtains can elevate air toxins in your home for more than a month.

Choose a natural fabric, such as cotton (organic if you can find it) or bamboo, for your next shower curtain and look for liners with the name EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate). They are virtually odorless and much more healthy than PVC and Vinyl and can be found at many local stores including Target!

4. Dual Doormats do Double Duty.

Outdoor welcome mats are a great way to stop dirt from entering your home and contaminating your home. However, adding a secondary mat inside at the front entry will provide double duty. Many Americans wear shoes inside their home, this is a sure-fire way to track in dirt, disease and chemicals like pesticides to a floor/carpet where your baby, child or pet might hang out.

5. Open a Window!

With heating and air conditioning keeping our homes at the perfect temperature, some forget to open up windows. Let the fresh air in! It will make your home smell better, release stale air that has been trapped all winter long and eliminate the amount of toxins in your home as well. Plus, who doesn't love the sound of a singing bird.
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