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Carrie S. Brusven, Areavoices.com blogger, Published January 30 2012

Areavoices: 10 ways to make your home more energy efficient without spending a dime

A common perception about “going green” is that it requires a big invest-ment: either you have to spend a lot of money on something like an energy efficient HVAC system and expensive CFLs for your whole house, or you have to invest a lot of time re-searching product ingre-dient lists and do-it-yourself projects.

While these things all play key roles in moving toward a more sustainable lifestyle, there are plenty of ways to make your home more energy efficient that will save you money and shrink your home’s carbon footprint without costing you a dime.

You’re probably even doing some of these already without realizing how “green” you really are.

1. Let your dishes air dry. A dishwasher uses more energy to dry dishes than to wash them. If your dis-hwasher doesn’t have an automatic air-dry switch, turn off the control knob after the final rinse and prop the door open to let moisture escape.

2. Keep heating vents clear of furniture and clutter, allowing air to circulate freely.

3. Turn off the lights when you’re not going to be in a room or when a sunny day makes them unnecessary.

4. Close doors to the out-side to keep your heated or cooled air in. It’s all too tempting to leave the door open behind you when you’re just making a “quick” trip to the garage – but it will take less energy from you to simply pull the door closed behind you than it will take your air conditioner or furnace to make up for the loss.

5. If you have room, hang your clothes out to dry instead of drying them completely in the dryer. Dryers use an incredible amount of energy. It’s often the second biggest energy hog in a home, after the furnace.

6. Clean refrigerator coils twice a year, more if you have pets. Condenser coils are located at the bottom or rear of your re-frigerator. If they are allowed to accumulate dust and dirt as much as 25 percent more energy is required to maintain prop-er temperature.

7. Keep your refrigerator and freezer full – less cold air will be lost when the refrigerator and freezer doors are opened if there are plenty of items inside to help retain it.

8. When it’s time to give the oven a good cleaning, use the self-cleaning fea-ture right after you’ve used it to bake something. You will use less energy to get the oven to the necessary temperature since it will already be hot.

9. Remove clothes from the dryer as soon as tum-bling stops. If clothes be-come wrinkled from lying in the dryer, extra energy must be used to iron or run them in the dryer again.

10. Never turn your thermostat way up or way down to speed up the heat-ing or cooling process. This will force your unit to work harder, stay on longer and use more energy.

Carrie S. Brusven is an Eco Consultant who maintains the “Color Me Green” blog at colormegreen.areavoices.com.