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RachelleW posted a blog entry in Shades of an Apple Green HomeYou do not have to be a diehard environmentalist to want to do your part in preserving resources for future generations and leaving less of a carbon footprint behind. You may be like many homeowners who have a desire to have your home be more environmentally friendly, but you just do not know how to go about it without it costing a fortune or being inconvenient. Here are some easy ways you and your family can make your home more environmentally friendly. LED Bulbs Incandescent bulbs are going the way of the dinosaur. Except for some specific applications, such as oven bulbs, incandescent bulbs are being phased out. California plans to have them phased out, with exceptions, by 2018. You may have noticed how hard it is to find incandescent bulbs in some hardware departments nowadays. Compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs and LED bulbs only use a fraction of the energy needed to power the hot incandescent bulbs. LED lights use the least amount of electricity. You may have had mixed results using CFL bulbs in the past, but new types are available to provide instant full light and will work in the cold for outdoor fixtures. However, LED bulbs are the best at using less electricity. Swapping all the bulbs you can to LEDs can save money on your electric bill, eliminate the need to change a bulb for many years, and be quite earth friendly in the process. HVAC Upkeep Your heating, ventilation and air conditioning system use the most energy in your home. Furnaces often use natural gas or another fossil fuel along with electricity to run a blower or pump, making the furnace the costliest appliance in your home to run. Your AC system is second. Dirty filters, grime on condenser and evaporator coils, corroded burners, and more can cause electricity to be wasted for air conditioning and fuels used for heating. Some companies, like Classic Air and Heating, know that it is important to at least get an annual inspection service and cleaning performed to keep your furnace and central air conditioning system operating at peak efficiency. You save on energy costs and reduce your carbon footprint, which is helpful to the environment. Recycle There are some areas of the country that do not yet have a weekly pickup day for recyclable materials. Many neighborhoods collect recyclables separately, but some people do not participate in the program and throw away recyclables in the regular trash instead. Many people start by recycling aluminum cans and newspapers. A single recycled aluminum soda can saves the amount of energy required to operate a television for three hours. Even if you start small with just recycling aluminum cans or newspapers, you are making your home more earth friendly. Unplug Chargers and Turn off Lights Those power pack chargers that regenerate the batteries in your tablets, cell phones, and laptops use electricity even when they are not connected to the device they are intended to charge. The amount is small, but there are millions of them plugged in all over the country. Connecting them to a power strip that can be physically shut off with a switch can save energy. Turning off the lights when you leave a room is another easy way to save energy. You should also turn off televisions and other appliances that are not being used. Televisions and monitors still use a little bit of electricity in standby mode, but not as much as when they are operating. Imagine the energy savings if every home in the country participated in even casual energy saving protocols and minimal recycling. You may not be able to get all of your neighbors on the bandwagon of becoming more earth friendly, but you can at least motivate your family to take a personal concern for the natural resources we share in this finite world.