Green Laundry Tips

Energy-efficient washing machines are a good investment to conserve power and save water.  However, the products you put into your washing machine can have just as big of impact on the environment.  Most run of the mill laundry soaps contain surfactants and chemicals, many of which are derived from petroleum.  Here are a few green living tips for cleaning up your act in the laundry room.

When You Need Bleach: Let’s face it, green laundry isn’t worth it if your clothes don’t come out clean. Sometimes you need some serious cleaning to get out grass stains or foods like tomato sauce.  Ever had a kid in soccer?  Here’s the tip:  avoid chlorine bleach.  There are many bleach alternatives available like oxygen boosting products.  Here’s  a large selection of “oxy” cleaners.  I use one scoop of an oxy booster with almost every load of laundry.  The trick is to put the oxy powder in the washing machine first, let the water fill, and then add clothes.

Fabric Softener Alternative: A scoop (1/4 to 1/2 cup) of baking soda added to the rinse cycle is a natural way to soften clothes.  Here’s another chemical free fabric softener.

Stubborn Stains: Soak resistant stains overnight in a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water.  (8 parts cold water, 1 part peroxide)

The front loading washing machine above is an LG Energy Star washer, and it is available at HomeClick.

October 31, 2008   2 Comments

Beware of ‘Vampire Power’

Are there vampires sucking the energy right out of your home?  There probably are, and the problem is not one that can be fixed with a handful of garlic.  Vampire power refers to the energy your home appliances, computers, and other gadgets consume when you aren’t even using them.  According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 75% of the power consumed in the U.S. is used when electronics and appliances are turned off.

Here are some likely spots to look for wasted, ‘vampire’ power:

  • Televisions
  • Rechargeable power tools
  • Coffee pots
  • Rechargeable vacuum cleaners
  • Cordless phones
  • Baby monitors
  • Stereo systems

If you want to rid your home of vampires, conserve energy, and save a buck, simply unplug anything you aren’t actively using.  If this seems like an inconvenience, plug as many of your home electronics as possible into power strips.  Then you can cut the power to multiple items with just one switch.  Source:  What’s Wasting Energy in Your Home Right Now.

If all this talk about vampires has you thinking about Halloween costumes, the vampire costume above is available at Webhats.

October 21, 2008   No Comments

LED: A Green Lighting Choice

With all the recent publicity surrounding CFL light bulbs, it’s easy to forget about LED lighting as a green choice for environmentally friendly homes. Thanks to advancements in technology, LED lighting is becoming more affordable and used in more household light fixtures. Here are just a few of the benefits of LEDs (Light-Emitting Diodes).

Longer-Lasting: LED lights blast the competition when it comes to longevity. According to some reports, LEDs last 10 times longer than CFLs, and last more than a hundred times longer than incandescent light bulbs. In addition, LED light fixtures can help you save money by conserving energy in your green home.

Cool to the Touch: LED lights, including LED flashlights and LED Christmas lights, operate on very little power, allowing them to burn cool and reduce the risks of children being burned and accidental fire.

Compatible with Solar Panels: If you’re making the green energy switch to a solar-powered home, you may want to consider LED lighting. Because they use such little electricity, LEDs are a great option for use with solar panels.

See more information about LED lighting.

August 26, 2008   No Comments

2 essential items for every green home

Conserving energy for a green home is truly a constant battle that must be fought diligently to be effective. If you’re home doesn’t include these 2 quick and easy energy savers, you’re missing out on some simple ways to conserve power and live green.

Programmable Thermostat: A programmable thermostat for controlling the temperature setting on your heat and air conditioning will elminate the possibility of forgetting to turn the temperature down when you leave or before you go to bed, and prevent energy-guzzling fluctuations in home temperatures. Programmable thermostats begin around $40- a cost you’ll quickly recover in energy bill savings.

Water Heater Blanket: Another energy saving tip for your home is to wrap your water heater in an insulated water heater cover. These things are a snap to install- simply wrap around and tie the laces. Insulated water heater blankets help prevent the escape of heat from your water heater, allowing you to conserve energy, live green, and save money.

July 25, 2008   No Comments