Thursday, August 4, 2011

Some quick green tips for summer

    Photo by Petr Kratochvil
    Did you know a dirty lawnmower has to work harder and use more gasoline than a clean one? That's why you should always clear the underside of any grass/leave clippings after you're done mowing your lawn. Or, if you really care about greening your lawn care, why not switch to a hand pushed lawn mower? In this heat, it will be a good workout and you can skip the gym! Don't you love multi-tasking?! Here are some more ways you can live a little bit greener during these hot summer months:
  • End of season savings are often found at your local greenhouse and garden centers. Grab some vines and shrubs to plant close to your house. They will actually help cool your house on these brutally hot days, as well as keep things a bit toastier in the winter. Natural insulation. Who knew? Of course, you don't want vines climbing the siding on your house, as that can cause some damage.
  • Purchasing an Energy Star dehumidifier or two and running it/them on hot, muggy days can keep your house feeling a bit more comfortable. If you use AC, you can even hike the temp up a bit as the dehumifiers suck the moisture out of the air.
  • If you have electrostatic filters on your AC system, make sure you clean them monthly. Simply use cold water and a soft brush or run them through a gentle cycle in your dishwasher. Do not dry in the diswasher, however!! Air dry the filters before replacing them.
  • Continuing on the AC route ... schedule an appointment with your HVAC guy (or gal) to recharge and recycle the refrigerant in you AC system every 2 years.
  • If you have vents in your basement, close them during the summer. Why cool an area that's naturally cool already? If the basement is damp, this is a perfect instance where a dehumidifier would be helpful.
  • Is your upstairs considerably warmer than your first floor? That makes sense, since hot air rises. With my second-floor office simply not cooling down enough, we ended up hanging an insulated curtain at the top of the steps. It really helped in cooling the upstairs. Also, if you have ceiling fans, set them to rotate counter-clockwise. This will draw the warmer air upward and away from you.
  • There's no doubt you already know to clean your lint catcher in your dryer. But how often do you clean the vent leading outside your house? A cleaner system leads to more efficient operation. Of course, hanging laundry on the line is the greenest option, you know : )
  • Other than running errands around town, it is more efficient to run your car's AC than it is to drive with the windows open. Why? Simply because the open windows increase drag. The result? A loss of up to 10% in your mileage. Ouch.
Okay, time for me to get to work. Hope you found these tips helpful.

Keeping it green,


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