5 Projects Under Fifty Dollars: Improvements so easy, you have no excuse not to make them

1. Install aerators on faucets.
These screw-on mesh screens break up water dropĀ­lets, so you use less water but get just as much rinsing power.

2. Clean your refrigerator coils.
If they're coated with dust, refrigerator coils can't transfer heat efficiently, so it takes more energy to cool your food. Get at them (they're usually found underneath or at the back) with a long-handled brush.

3. Replace weatherstripping.
Over time, the seals around windows and doors wear out, letting in chill winter air and prompting you to crank up the thermostat.

4. Reduce light pollution.
Put a motion sensor on your all-night garage floodlight. Not only will you save electricity, you and your kids will get to enjoy one of early fall's greatest pleasures: a clear view of the night sky.

5. Clean green.
You don't need dozens of toxic products. Soap, baking soda, and vineĀ­gar or lemon juice can take care of most household cleaning needs. For recipes, get the book Clean and Green, by Annie Berthold-Bond. To compare the contents of common household cleaners, check out the Household Products Database at householdproducts.nlm.nih.gov
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