8 MORE Things to Make Your Home Eco-Friendly!

First, thank you for the responses you've given Michelle and I regarding out 31-day challenge in January. If you haven't heard, we're doing a spending strike for the entire month, where we don't spend a single dollar. (Catch up on the details HERE.) Eeeeek! It's going to be nuts!

I also want to thank you for your tips, advice, and words of wisdom in response to my post about making your home more eco-friendly in the winter-time. (You can read about that post HERE.) So many of you have commented on, Facebooked, or Pinned this post, and it has really extended our conversation about eco-friendly behaviors in our homes.

Sometimes, I think it is confusing and too time consuming for people to change their 'home habits' to reflect good energy-conservative practices. And, if that's you, I feel ya sister. Or brother. Whoever.

I really do!

The last thing we busy folks need right now is to worry about cleaning out the lint trap in the dryer or filling up that deep freeze to make sure it's running efficiently. We've got places to go!

And people to see!

And city council's to persuade! Oh. Just me? Right.

Yet, in spite of our uber-busy lives, it is our responsibility as global citizens to make sure we're taking at least a few steps to reduce our impact on the earth. We need to reduce that carbon footprint, baby!

For this reason, and because y'all seemed to like the first installment, I am bringing you EIGHT MORE things you can do right now! - this winter! - today! - to make your home more eco-friendly.

Let's do this.

8 MORE Things to do NOW to Make Your Winter Eco-Friendly:

1. Replace your dirty old furnace filter. It's probably been hanging out in your furnace for like 6 months already, right? Mine, too. That's why I just replaced it on Saturday. All by myself, I opened the door to the basement, flipped on the light, and ventured into the far recesses of the cavern that is our basement.

Yes, it's that bad. Don't believe me? Take a look:

This is the place where children's dreams go to die. 

But at least for $4.99 and a minor panic attack, I am now making sure my furnace is running at peak performance. Clogged filters reduce the airflow through the heating system, reducing the energy efficiency. Plus, a fresh new filter can reduce dust, pollen, mold and pet dander in the air. That's an added bonus for us, especially this time of year when we can't have the windows open.

2. Do you have a winter emergency kit in your trunk? You should. And if you don't, read Beth's post about what prompted her to get a kit ready for her family's vehicles ASAP. One thing that should go in your kit is an LED flashlight.

These flashlights produce a strong white light using 90% less energy than a 'normal' flashlight. Best part of an LED flashlight? There is no bulb to worry about breaking or replacing, just be sure to keep the batteries fresh.

3. Don't forget to close your fireplace flue/damper! Right. This is a no-brainer, I get it. Do you want to hear a funny story?

Before we bought our home, we rented John's sister's home for a year. She had a beautiful fireplace, but we didn't ever use it. Neither of us had a fireplace in any home we lived in before, and didn't really care to start a fire. When winter rolled around, we couldn't figure out why the living room was so drafty. Then, when the first heating bill came that winter, I was shocked at the high bill, but figured that's just what we had to pay due to the high cost of heating. The second bill came along, and it was even higher! Holy shit! Why was this house such an energy sucker? One day I came home from work and saw 'smoke' coming from the chimney, and thought John had finally started a little fire in the fireplace.

He didn't. It was actually all of the warm air from the house going right out the chimney, evaporating in the sub-zero temperatures. Quickly we realized the damper was open, letting all of the heat out of our house. That went on for two months. God, we were a bunch of idiots.

Close your dang fireplace damper, would ya?

4. Check the pressure on your car's tires! In the wintertime, the air in your tires condenses. You want to make sure your tires are at the right PSI to increase your gas milage and extend the life of those expensive tires. Plus, in these winter driving conditions, inflated tires will give you better vehicle handing. Unless you like whipping donuts in the school parking lot after a snowstorm. In which case you might be OK with a little less tire pressure. Just sayin'.

5. Warm up your car for a minute - literally - before you put 'er in Drive. There's really no need to crank the heat and let your gasoline-powered car warm up with the heater on full blast for 15 minutes. Yes, it's nice to have a 70* car when you head to work in the morning, but you are wasting gas and getting ZERO miles to the gallon while it warms up in your driveway. A minute or two is all you need to prep your engine for driving in the cold. And, don't worry, it will be a toasty 70* in about 5 minutes anyway.

6. For the love of all things easy, please turn off your computer at the end of the day. Whether it's your work computer or your home computer, shut that bad boy off! There are so many times when I arrive at a teachers' classroom in the morning, and realize they didn't shut off their computer the afternoon before. So, the computer was on (even if the screen was black) for more than 8 hours before I arrived in the morning.

If you are already diligent about turning your computer off, you can set your computer to hibernate or go to sleep after 20 minutes of inactivity. This is what the US Department of Energy recommends, anyway.

7. Turn off the tap when you brush your teeth, wash your face, or shave. You can save 10 GALLONS of water every morning. That's pretty amazing, isn't it? Especially when we have the opportunity to wastefully use 10 GALLONS of water, and there are people in other areas of the world who don't have access to clean drinking water.

8. Recycle your live Christmas tree and wreaths! You can go in with a bunch of neighbors and grind your live tree into mulch for your garden, or take your tree to a compost facility.

Sometimes my parents sink their tree in their pond to create a more diverse habitat for their fish. Regardless, do something with your tree rather than burning it or taking it to the dump.

Join in the conversation, friends! What are YOU doing this winter to be a good global citizen?


  1. Awesome ideas, thanks for posting.All the best in the New Year to you and your family!

  2. Nice list, thanks for sharing these amazing tips doll. So useful.

  3. Thanks for sharing this quality information with us. I really enjoyed reading. Will surely going to share this URL with my friends.
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