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August 23, 2009 – Are you conserving energy at home? It really comes down to a matter of habit, one that we all need to form.

All the light bulbs in your home should be compact fluorescent by now. I know, I know: so many of today’s light fixtures require specialty bulbs, which aren’t made as CFL’s. Do what you can: remember your garage lights and your outdoor lights. Turn the lights out when you leave a room (turn off everything electrical when you leave a room!).

As you replace worn out appliances, replace them with energy star models. The biggest “gas guzzler” in the house is your refrigerator. Take the time to ask questions when you buy a new one, and make sure the salesperson understands that energy consumption is a major consideration, as far as you’re concerned. Don’t’ put your old model in landfill! Vietnam Vets, or a similar organization, will find it a good home.

Don’t use the A/C on days you don’t need it. Some folks just close up the house once it gets hot and don’t think about it again until fall. Ceiling fans can be very useful in making you more comfortable on a hot day. Obviously, a floor fan helps, too. As for the wintertime, don’t crank up the thermostat before you try putting on a sweater instead. Electric blankets and/or mattress pads can help keep your feet warm so you can sleep. A cup of hot chocolate or apple cider tastes even better when you drink it because you need it to stay warm!

I’m not a wood stove expert, but if the thought appeals to you, check one out. The new ones have EPA approval and can be fairly economical to run. However, anyone who explores energy conservation with only the thought of saving money in mind will be disappointed. You have to stay in place for quite some time to get your money back. This is not just true of wood stoves, but of many renewable energy mechanisms. This is one time we need to do the right thing because it’s the right thing.

Proper insulation is, by now, a well-known energy saver. If you’ve been meaning to take this vital step, now would be a good time. While you’re at it, how about installing those water-saving shower heads? Low-flush potties are another effective conservation measure. If you suspect a leak in your plumbing, have it looked into – there’s no sense in paying for something you can’t use.

Finally, give some thought to how you’re caring for your lawn. Cut the grass as infrequently as possible, leaving it as long as possible so it won’t dry out easily.

Don’t use chemical fertilizers or pesticides: the more you use them, the more you have to use them. The reason pets and children shouldn’t play in the yard after you use pesticides is because they’re poisonous. Stay away from toxins! A weedless yard just isn’t worth the risk. If your yard is quite small, switch to a person-powered lawn mower. Lawn mower engines are notorious polluters.

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