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Eileen O'Shanassy

Everything a person does can have an impact on the environment. Even actions like moving, which rarely get much attention from environmentalists, can make a difference. That means the best way to help the environment is not by making a single massive change, but by trying to make everything a little bit greener. It's particularly useful in the case of moving, since most of the ways to go green can also save time and money.

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Shipping Cars

Cars have a reputation for hurting the environment, but shipping a car doesn't have to make things worse. There are two ways to help the environment when shipping a car, and the choice between them depends on the scale of the move.

If you are shipping your things by truck, try to use your car instead. If your car can take the place of one of the shipping trucks, then one less vehicle is on the road and burning gas. Shipping the car separately would still consume some fuel, which is also saved by using it for the move.

If you aren't using trucks to ship your possessions, try to avoid driving. Using a mass freight ship or other option to get the car most of the way to your destination will almost always be more efficient. It may also be cheaper, since the freight company can spread their fuel costs among many customers and because ships and trains tend to be more fuel-efficient than cars. 

When in doubt, try to minimize the number of vehicles involved in the move. If a car or truck needs to be on the road, use it to carry as many of your things as possible. This saves on fuel, which helps the environment, but it will also reduce your odds of misplacing a box as you move. You can use sites like these for getting a quote to ship a car which will tell you if it’s in your budget to try.

Salvage Boxes

Moving means packing, and packing means boxes. Some people purchase boxes for the move, but that wastes money and puts more strain on the environment. The best way to protect nature is to use as few resources as possible, and that means reusing things whenever you can. Most stores will be happy to hand out old shipping boxes to anyone who asks. The boxes are usually getting thrown away anyway, so it doesn't cost them anything to do it. For best results, try to ask at a small grocery store. They get regular shipments and are the most likely to have a lot of boxes on hand. Bubble wrap and packing peanuts are sometimes available as well, but they can be a little bit harder to find for free. The worst that can come from asking is getting a polite refusal, while the best is saving money and protecting nature, so there's no reason not to ask. 

Downsize

Most people have a lot of stuff that they never use or even look at. Those objects take up space during the move, and there's often little to reason to bother bringing them to the new home. Looking through all of your possessions before the move and getting rid of the ones that you no longer want or need can be a great way to make things go easily and save resources. The environmental benefits come from reducing the need to ship items. Weighing down a truck will reduce its fuel efficiency, so bringing fewer objects can save a small amount of gas. Leaving enough items behind might mean reducing the number of vehicles involved in the move, which will have a much bigger impact. It also means spending less time packing and unpacking, which will make the moving process much easier to manage. Be sure to donate gently used items, or make them available for people to pick up. That is much better for the environment than throwing them away and having those people buy something completely new, and it can also raise a little bit of money to help with moving expenses. You shouldn't get rid of anything that you want to keep, but there's no better time to get rid of unwanted possessions.

Moving will always be stressful, and it will always involve some pollution. Even so, using these tips can help to reduce those problems to the greatest extent possible. Even a small change can make a difference, so you should give them a try the next time you move.

Eileen O'Shanassy

In today’s world, keeping costs down is important and this is especially crucial for new homeowners. If the utility payments get out of hand, it is very easy to fall behind on all your bills. To alleviate some of the utility costs, consider what you can do and what tools can be used to make your home more energy efficient. Here are some tips for cutting back on energy use and how to make life at home a lot easier.

Energy Audit

Every homeowner who wants a more energy efficient home should consider a professional energy audit. While you can conduct one yourself, the professional may hit on areas you have overlooked. They start by checking your home for air leaks and making sure you have the proper insulation installed. While doing this, they will be certain that the home is ventilated properly to prevent harmful toxins from getting back into your home. Further study will be done on all systems in the home, including appliances, the heating and cooling system, and lighting. 

Energy Star Appliances 

Should you choose to not have an energy audit done, the first step in using less energy is to install Energy Star certified appliances in your home. This includes the refrigerator, freezer, washer, dryer, stove, and dishwasher. Many homeowners tend to forget about the hot water tank as they often do not think of it as an appliance. Appliances with the Energy Star certification will operate on the lowest energy possible. Appliances on receive this label if they pass the government standards for energy use. 

Heating and Cooling System

Outdated systems or systems that are not properly maintained will use more energy. Anything over 15 years old, you may want to consider replacing. However, even a new system must be properly maintained in order to be at its most efficient. Filters should be cleaned or replaced regularly and ductwork cleaned prior to using at the beginning of a season. This can be done by scheduling an inspection of your system by a professional. 

The above steps are a great start in making sure your home is energy efficient. You may also wish to replace lightbulbs with Energy Star certified ones and after putting all the time and effort into making it efficient, protect your home and investment with an ADT security system. Your home should be considered like a business. Keeping the costs low will put more money in your pocket and allow you and your family to spend it on the things you enjoy. Make sure the investments you put into yours are worth it.

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Eileen O'Shanassy

Keeping a home up to date and preserved can be a pricey endeavor for any homeowner. From lawn care and utility costs to regular maintenance and repairs, taking care of a home takes a lot of work and money. Make sure you're not overpaying for unnecessary expenses as you do these tasks. Here are some ideas to save more money on your home energy costs and keep your home running smoothly.

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Seal Up Any Leaks
Leaky windows and doors can let your air conditioning escape in the summer, and let in icy breezes during the winter. Consider replacing any windows that are beyond repair and add a weather seal to those that can be fixed. Put weather stripping around leaky doors to seal out bad weather as well. Insulating your house is the best way to keep your heating and cooling bills lower.

Adjust Your Water Heater Temperature
Most people need their water heater kept really hot during the winter, but many forget that they don't need those hot temperatures when the weather outside gets warm again. Consider lowering the temperature of your water heater to save significantly on electricity costs. Most likely, you won't even notice the temperature difference.

Get a Programmable Thermostat
Keeping your home set to one temperature can be wasteful, especially if your house sits empty all day. Get a programmable thermostat to automatically adjust the temperature during hours you know you won't be home. When you're gone at work, set the thermostat to drop the temperature a few degrees, and program it to bump the temperature back up shortly before you return home. If this is a project you don't feel comfortable tackling on your own, consider hiring professionals to install these systems for you. Little changes can make a big difference on your utility bills bottom line. 

Get Energy Efficient Appliances
As your appliances break down, replace them with energy efficient models. You can even shop for the most energy fficient models by comparing the annual energy use on the yellow energy guide tags. Modern appliances are required to be more energy efficient, as well as water efficient. Even if the new appliance is slightly more expensive, it will save you on your monthly utility costs.

Swap Out Light Bulbs
Incandescent light bulbs can use up to ten times as much electricity as newer, low energy bulbs. Multiply that usage by every light bulb in your home, and you'll see how quickly your electricity usage can add up. Talk to an Electricity Match professional to see other ways where your home might be lacking in efficiency. They can even Compare Electricity Rates for you to help you make the best decision for your house.

Maintaining a home can cost a lot of money, but you can keep home maintenance costs down by being smart with your utility usage. Follow the tips above to minimize your utility waste and get the most bang for your buck out of your utility bill.

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