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10 Ways to Make Your Home More Energy Efficient Without Spending a Dime

A common perception of "going green" is that it requires a big investment: either you have to spend a lot of money on something like an energy efficient HVAC system and expensive CFLs for your whole house, or you have to invest a lot of time researching product ingredient lists and do-it-yourself projects. While these things all play key roles in moving toward a more sustainable lifestyle, there are plenty of things you can do in your home right now to make your home more energy efficient that will save you money, shrink your home's carbon footprint, and won't cost you a dime.

You're probably even doing some of these already without realizing how "green" you really are!

1.Let your dishes air dry. A dishwasher uses more energy to dry dishes than to wash them. If your dishwasher doesn't have an automatic air-dry switch, turn off the control knob after the final rinse and prop the door open to let moisture escape.

2.Keep heating vents clear of furniture and clutter, allowing air to circulate freely.

3.Turn off the lights when you're not going to be in a room or when a sunny day makes them unnecessary.

4.Close doors to the outside to keep your heated or cooled air in. It's all too tempting to leave the door open behind you when you're just making a "quick" trip to the garage - but it will take less energy from you to simply pull the door closed behind you than it will take your air conditioner or furnace to make up for the loss.

5.If you have room, hang your clothes out to dry instead of drying them all the way in the dryer. Dryers use an incredible amount of energy (often the second biggest energy hog in your home, after your furnace!)

6.Clean refrigerator coils twice a year, more if you have pets. Condenser coils are located at the bottom or rear of your refrigerator. If they are allowed to accumulate dust and dirt as much as 25 percent more energy is required to maintain proper temperature.

7.Keep your refrigerator and freezer full - less cold air will be lost when the refrigerator and freezer doors are opened if there are plenty of items inside to help retain it.

8.When it's time to give the oven a good cleaning, use the self-cleaning feature right after you've used it to bake something - you will use less energy to get the oven to the necessary temp since it will already be hot.

9.Remove clothes from the dryer as soon as tumbling stops. If clothes become wrinkled from lying in the dryer, extra energy must be used to iron or dry them again.

10.Never turn your thermostat way up or way down to speed up the heating or cooling process. This will force your unit to work harder, stay on longer, and use more energy.

To simple, green living,

Carrie Brusven

Carrie Brusven is an Independent Green Irene Eco-Consultant based out of Moorhead, MN and her website can be found at Carrie offers Green Home Makeovers and "Go Green" Workshops/Parties to help you on your own path to greener living. Contact Carrie to schedule a makeover for your home:

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