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Eco-Friendly Tips for Winter

October 28, 2013

eco-friendly tips for winterEco-friendly Tips for Winter. (Yes, it is THAT TIME OF YEAR again!  )Time to pull out the sweaters and gear-up for snow. But, it is also time to add a little green to your winter as well with these eco-friendly tips for winter:

1. Heading out to camp or do a little skiing?  Be sure to not impact Mother Earth while enjoying her beauty! Dispose of human waste properly. Pack out all trash and don’t litter. Use designated trails to preserve the beauty of the parks and wild lands. Do not drive off-road vehicles through streams or rivers, as this can damage gravel beds and cause suffocating erosion down stream.

2. Planning a bonfire or using your fireplace? Here are some eco-friendly tips for winter:

-Be sure to burn only dry wood. Wet wood burns incompletely and releases more pollutants into the air that can drift both into your neighbors house AND yours!

-According to the Environmental Protection Agency, you should also never burn:

  • Never burn household garbage or cardboard. Plastics, foam and the colored ink on magazines, boxes, and wrappers produce harmful chemicals when burned. They may also damage your wood-burning appliance.
  • Never burn coated, painted, or pressure-treated wood because it releases toxic chemicals when burned.
  • Never burn ocean driftwood, plywood, particle board, or any wood with glue on or in it. They all release toxic chemicals when burned.

-If you have a wood-burning fireplace, save your cooled ashes in a tin instead of throwing them away. Cold wood ashes can be mixed in your compost heap to create a valuable soil amendment that provides nutrients to your garden.

3. Have a fireplace inside your home? Here are a few eco-friendly tips for winter:

-Reduce heat loss by opening dampers in the bottom of the firebox (if provided) or open the nearest window slightly- about an inch- and close doors leading into the room.

-Keep it clean by hiring a chimney sweep to inspect your chimney each year. And keep ash and soot from collecting in the fireplace to improve efficiency.

-Install tempered glass doors and a heat-air exchange system that blow warmed air back into the room.

-Check the seal on the flue damper and make it as snug as possible.

-Use grates made of C-shaped metal tubes to draw cool room air into the fireplace and circulate warm air back into the room.

4. Does your car sit outside on cold winter days?  Skip the chemical window de-icer . Here’s a little trick that might save you some time and cold hands! Prevent ice from covering car windows by rubbing the inside of the glass with a saltwater-soaked sponge, then dry with a clean cloth.  An invisible residue from the salt will remain to ward off frost. Also try spraying a solution of three parts white vinegar and one part water on the outside of the glass, then wipe dry. (We suggest trying a small area first to be sure it does not damage anything!)

5. Keep the sidwalks clear AND chemical-free. Having a clean driveway and sidewalks are important for safety reasons during the snowy winter months, but try and steer clear of rock salt (sodium chloride) and urea-based de-icers. They not only pollute habitats with plant-killing runoff, but they can also corrode concrete, destroy your lawn and contaminate water supplies. Try sand instead. It will provide traction without damaging salt-sensitive landscapes. Remove snow with a hand shovel or electric-powered snow blower instead of a gas-powered blower.

6. Check your windows, doors and outlets for drafts.  According to Scientific American, if the average home in a cold climate reduced its home energy usage by just 15 percent it would save the equivalent of 500 pounds of coal a year. And one of the best ways to reduce your home energy usage is to seal up those drafts!

Not sure if you have any leaks? Try this trick: hold a lit incense stick next to doorways and windows and watch the smoke, or walk around with a damp hand to feel for air flow.  Once you have identified where you have drafts, use caulk or weatherstripping to seal the leaks on doors, windows and exterior walls. Install electric outlet and switch sealers  to prevent drafts from exterior walls. Also make sure all your ductwork is properly sealed.

It’s also time to take down those light, airy sheers and replace them with a heavy- duty curtain or drapery. A heavier drapery around the window will keep out the cold air. So be sure to close them at night and when the temperatures get extremely cold.

7. Spring cleaning in winter? You bet!  Now that you have sealed your house from top to bottom to create a more energy efficient home, it is extra important to be sure the air INSIDE is healthy and clean. Did you know that recent research has found that air inside homes can be more polluted than the air in the largest, most industrialized cities?  Indoor air pollution can lead to more frequent colds, respiratory problems and other aliments and diseases. But, how do you avoid this?

-Be sure you are using natural cleaning products like baking soda, vinegar, lemons and water that won’t pollute the air.

-Clean humidifiers regularly. We all like to add moisture to the dry, winter air, but these can be a breeding ground for biological contaminants that can cause illnesses.

-Thoroughly clean and dry water-damaged carpets or consider removing or replacing them. Wet carpets can harbor mold and bacteria. It is very difficult to completely rid them of contaminants once they’ve grown.

-Be sure to carefully follow instructions for the use of home chemicals such as solder, spray paint and paint stripper. And remember to dispose of them properly as well!

-Have you ever cleaned and disinfected the basement floor drain? Most of us probably said “No.”. But, this simple task can help minimize pollutants in the basement. Also consider investing in a dehumidifier to keep relative humidity levels between 30%-50%.

What are your eco-friendly tips for winter?

ABOUT THE GOGREEN WEB DIRECTORY:

On the GoGreenWebDirectory.com you will find local eco-conscious businesses, will learn about green events in your community, and will connect to green living information and news. Rest assured that that those listed and advertising on the directory meet green standards for their type of business. While individuals should always ensure that the green businesses they support are taking acceptable measures, all of the businesses listed on GoGreen have been vetted.

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