Effective weather stripping

Effective weather stripping and caulking can mean the difference between an environmentally-friendly, energy-efficient home and one that leaks heating and cooling efforts resulting in increased energy costs to the homeowner and a severe detriment to the environment due to increased consumption demands.  While much of the weather stripping and caulking in the home is usually done by professionals, there are plenty of places that the average homeowner can address with the right materials and a little “do-it-yourself” enthusiasm. 

Weather-stripping is typically used to form a seal between two materials that ordinarily don’t create a seal.  For example, weather stripping is the perfect answer to seal off the small cracks between wood doors (or doors made from any material) and door jams.  Weather stripping is a standard addition to windows as well.  When you consider purchasing and installing weather stripping in your home, consider the instructions for installation, its estimated life span, and how much it costs.  Often, slightly more expensive materials can save you big bucks down the road due to its increased effectiveness at retaining that energy-conserving seal, drastically cutting down on energy costs over the lifetime of the weather stripping. 

All weather stripping is not the same in terms of how it’s used, as well.  For instance, some weather stripping is used for lighter applications and there is heavier-duty weather stripping as well.  To maximize effectiveness, always install weather-stripping at a temperature above 20 degrees Fahrenheit.  This ensures that the soft components such as rubber will not be contracted and thus cause problems when it becomes warmer.

In addition to doors and windows, basements and crawlspaces can be exceptionally prone to energy loss due to small openings and cracks, especially when they are unfinished.  Paper-faced insulation works very well in these places as does expanding foam when appropriate.  Attics account for a surprising amount of cooling and heating loss unnecessarily in many homes but, luckily, are among the easiest places to insulate since they are generally easy to access and maneuver within.  A good rule of thumb for attic insulation is to have at least twelve inches of insulation.  If your attic has less, you can buy paperless rolls of insulation on top of the existing insulation.  This needs to be checked periodically, as this type of insulation tends to compact over time, which serves to reduce its effectiveness.  Weather stripping can be applied in attics as well, particularly around areas such as windows and eaves.

Eco Friendly Kitchen

Considering that it is among the most-used room in any house, the kitchen is a great room to concentrate your efforts in making your home more energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly.  There are plenty of ways to reduce waste and conserve energy in the kitchen that can be implemented easily and effectively.

Reducing waste is one of the main ways that you can become more energy and ecologically-friendly.  By using reusable napkins and dish towels, you can save money and reduce waste that is generated by piles of napkins and paper towels.  Use dish towels and reusable napkins whenever you wipe wet hands or clean up spills.  This is not to say that you should get rid of paper towels and napkins all together, but by making the conscious effort to reduce your dependency on them you will find that the waste that they generate can be greatly reduced.

Plastic bags and Saran Wrap account for a surprisingly large amount of waste that is accumulated each year.  Fortunately, both of these waste products can be eliminated simply by using reusable Tupperware containers instead.  These containers are often affordable and better at sealing off food from the atmosphere, thus retaining freshness, anyway.

Styrofoam is one of the most senseless materials that exists, in terms of environmental waste management.  Styrofoam takes thousands of years to biodegrade and cannot be recycled.  Before reaching for a Styrofoam cup for your morning cup of coffee at the office, try brewing your own at home.  By brewing your coffee at home you will save the money spent on stopping at a gourmet coffee shop and it will probably taste better than the coffee brewed at your office.  Find a reusable container to put it in and you have saved money and helped lower your total waste output.

Finally, waste management in the kitchen includes managing our consumption of one of our most precious resources – water.  Never walk away from the sink with the water running – even for a few seconds.  It never costs more to turn the faucet on or off and putting yourself in this habit can save hundreds or even thousands of gallons of water over the course of a year or two.  Take a look at how your appliances use water and electricity as well.  Dishwashers can vary greatly in the amount of water they use per cycle – from four gallons to in excess of twelve gallons!  Be sure to check the label before purchasing new appliances and use them sparingly, perhaps no more than once per day.


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