15 money-saving tips for your home in celebration of Earth Day

Happy Earth Day Everyone! Now is a good time to put some energy and Earth-saving tips into practice.

Not only will these tips help the Earth by saving energy, it will also help you save money by cutting your utility bills. These are small, simple changes that everyone can do.

Rainbarrels.info will show you how to make your own rain barrel out of a trash can.
Rainbarrels.info will show you how to make your own rain barrel out of a trash can.

1. Turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth. Faucets spit out at least 2 gallons of water a minute. So each person who runs the faucet while brushing twice a day is estimated to waste about 8 gallons of water, according to an article from the Middletown Journal.

2. Ditch the water bottle, install a water filter instead.  Install a refrigerator, faucet, or undersink water filter and skip the bottle.  In 2006, nearly 38 million disposable plastic water bottles ended up in landfills according to the Website Earth911.com.  Not only do plastic water bottles fill our landfills, they also require petroleum to be produced.

Sign up for a water filter subscription, and new replacement water filters will be sent to you in the mail when you need them.

3. Always run your dishwasher and washing machine on full loads.

4. Turn off the drying cycle on your dishwasher and let the dishes air dry.

5. Hand your laundry out to dry instead of using the dryer.

6. Fix your leaky faucets by replacing worn out washers. If you think dripping faucets are not costing you much, check out the water drip calculator from the United States Geological Survey Website. The water drip calculator provides an estimate on how much water you are wasting due to leaky faucets.

7. Check your refrigerator door gasket for leaks. Your gasket is the rubber-like strip surrounding the door of your refrigerator. It helps to keep cold air inside your refrigerator. Cracked or broken gaskets should be replaced, as cold air can seep out.

8. Clean your refrigerator’s condenser coils. Clean coils help your refrigerator run more efficiently, saving you money.

9. Clean your clothes dryer’s vent work. The exhaust for your dryer becomes stuffed with lint over time. Not only does this make your dryer work harder, it also takes your clothes longer to dry, and could possibly lead to a fire.

10. Install a hot water dispenser. If you drink hot beverages a lot, a hot water dispenser could save you some money. A hot water dispenser uses an insulated hot water tank under the countertop, so very little energy is lost to the surrounding environment.  It also uses less energy because it does not cool incoming water from the water line; it keeps a reserve amount of hot water in its tank.

11. Limit the time the stove/oven is used during the summer months to help keep you cool.

12. Recycle your old appliances. Check with the company that collects your garbage to see if they offer any recycling programs. Some disposers will also pick up your appliances for free.

13. Buy an energy-efficient appliance. Even though it will cost you money up front, you will receive savings down the line in terms of electric, gas and water bills. Some utility companies are also offering “rebates” to customers who buy qualified energy-efficient appliances. Check with your utility company.

14. Unplug unused electronics. Plugged in electronics that are not in use, still consume some energy called “vampire power”. Purchase a Kill-A-Watt energy strip that automatically turns itself off.

15.   Install a rain water barrel to catch water runoff from your gutter. A plastic barrel with a spigot at the bottom will allow you to use the barrel-water to water your lawn and flowers, or to clean your driveway.

Learn  how to make your own rain barrel, courtesy of  the University of Florida’s IFAS Extention.

You can even make a rain barrel out of a trash can!

For more tips, read the Middletown Journal’s story on 99 tips on things you can do to help save the planet.

The Conscious Consumer Blog has a great article about the top “green activities” that you can do that will make the biggest difference to our planet. Read “Pick your green battles.”

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