Thursday, October 22, 2009

Have a "Green" Fall

Not only is autumn a great time to enjoy the outdoors before chilly weather settles in, but it also provides an opportunity to watch the green hues of previous seasons fade slowly to red and gold. Not all green has to fade, however. The following tips can help you to keep your life and household "green" this autumn, and can even help you stash away some green for the upcoming holiday season.
  • Reuse Your Raked Leaves. Instead of putting the unwanted leaves littering your yard and driveway into a trash bag and dumping them, try starting your own compost pile instead. First, pile the leaves, and then add a layer of dirt in between each one-foot layer of leaves, sprinkling on some lime or ashes from your fireplace and checking the moisture level weekly. With a small bit of effort, these leaves can become great mulch or fertilizer for a spring garden.
  • Organize a Neighborhood Clean-up. When the sweltering days of summer hit, it can be hard to find motivation to clean-up your community, but with the drop in temperature that arrives in fall, it becomes much more pleasant to be outdoors. Consider gathering friends and neighbors, and picking up around your neighborhood. It is a great way to get directly involved in your community.
  • Check Your Tire Pressure. Cooler temperatures lower tire pressure, which in turn, lowers fuel efficiency. Make sure that your tires are fully inflated before hitting the road.
  • Rearrange Your Furniture. Make sure that your couches and chairs are not obstructing any vents, baseboard heaters, registers on the floor or radiators so that air moves freely.
  • Check Your Windows. Make sure that they are properly caulked. If you have single-pane windows, add storm windows. Even a plastic film over windows will reduce heat loss.
  • Keep Your Water Heater Warm. Be sure to wrap your water heater in an insulating blanket to ensure that it does not waste any extra energy trying to keep itself and your water warm.
  • Reverse Your Ceiling Fan. Most ceiling fans come with switches that will reverse the direction of your ceiling fan. Reversing the direction will push the air up against the ceiling and down the walls to gently re-circulate the warm air without creating a cooling "wind chill effect."

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