What You'll Learn

    Little ways to go green in your...
  5. Entry, Basement & Laundry
  6. Living Area
18. Wipe your feet. Equip your exterior doors with a series of mats—or one long "walk-off" mat—so everyone enters with clean shoes. As long as there's room for five steps on the mats, you'll drastically reduce the amount of grime tracked in. That means fewer pathogens that cause disease and less chemical cleanup. It will also mean improved indoor air quality, since dirt embedded in a carpet can become airborne when it's tromped on or agitated by a vacuum.

19. Reach behind your clothes washer. Turn down the hot water tap for the washing machine so less goes into the warm-water cycle. Perspiration and most other dirt dislodge best at body temperature, so you don't need water that's warmer than 100 degrees. Since most washers simply open both the hot and cold taps to make "warm" water, it may take longer to fill the machine. But you'll save about $40 annually on your water-heating bill.

20. Spend more time in the basement. Make sure furnace filters in forced-air systems are clean. Dirty furnace filters restrict airflow and increase energy use. Cleaning them, or swapping them out each month during the winter, can save you up to 5 percent on your heating costs. Also schedule an annual checkup before the heat comes on to see that the furnace is properly calibrated.
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