When it comes to your home, there are numerous expensive ways to become more eco-friendly. Start with replacing old appliances with new ones that use less energy. Then install double or triple glaze windows. Buy some heavy drapes for your windows to keep winter cold and summer heat outside. You can even install solar panels if you have enough sunshine.
All those things are wonderful, but they might not be in the budget.
The good news is, you CAN save money and become more eco-friendly simply by changing some habits.
In the kitchen –
Clean your refrigerator coils. Dust and grime build up, preventing the refrigerator from working at peak efficiency.
Use your dishwasher – but wait until it’s full to run it. Experts say it takes about half as much water to run the dishwasher as it does to wash dishes by hand.
Keep your freezer full. A full freezer uses less energy to stay cold than a half-empty one. So buy in bulk (which saves money) or cook in batches and freeze dinners for fast meals on your busiest days.
In the bathroom –
Turn off the faucet. If you generally leave the water running while you brush your teeth – stop it. Turn it on and off as needed.
Fix the leaky faucets. That steady drip, drip, drip is using water like you wouldn’t believe.
Open the window after showering. Let the excess humidity out, so it can’t stay in the room and turn to mold.
Throughout the house –
Switch to natural cleaners. Harsh chemicals are no friend to the environment – or to your own health. In addition to purchasing natural cleaners, you can save money by making your own. You may be amazed at the good job that combinations of baking soda, vinegar, olive oil, peroxide, and lemon juice can do. Also – Switch from chlorine bleach to peroxide to sanitize counter-tops, cutting boards, etc. (It also works as an inexpensive, invigorating mouth-wash.)
Unplug. Did you know that your televisions, games, phone chargers, etc. are all drawing power even when they’re not in use? Get in the habit of unplugging them when you’re not using them.
Opt for a sweater or a cozy throw before turning up the heat.
Change out to LED lighting. Yes, this one does cost a few dollars, although the price has been coming down over the past year or so. Start with the lights you use most often, and keep going until you get through the house. A bonus – better light with less energy use, and you won’t have to keep changing light-bulbs and adding to the land-fill when they burn out. Those LED lights last, and last, and last.
John Schink is a real estate broker in the St. Louis metropolitan area who specializes in full service listings and buyer agency. He is a member of both the Saint Louis and Jefferson County Boards of Real Estate. If you are looking to buy a home for sale in Saint Louis, Missouri or the surrounding metropolitan area or considering selling your home, or for general real estate related inquiries, he can be reached at 314-707-4821 or [email protected]