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Spring Cleaning – The Green Guide to a Healthy Home

Seems everywhere you turn these days there’s some mention of living a “greener” lifestyle. For many, this suggestion evokes images of outhouses, water catchments, banks of solar panels and shucking of all comforts in the pursuit of going off-grid. That particular extreme may be true for some folks, it’s certainly not the norm when it comes to the simple changes you can make to your own home.

If It’s Green It’s Clean

The big focus of the so-called “green living” movement is on conservation of resources, minimizing carbon footprint, while also working towards an improved environment. This means wasting less water and electricity, selecting recycled and reclaimed materials, as well as removing toxins from the air you breathe.

Many of the household fixes that go along with achieving a greener home are not only inexpensive and easy to implement, they also result in increased house value as well. More and more buyers are looking for energy efficient options that they’re willing to pay extra for a home that has energy-star rated appliances installed.

Green Spring Cleaning Doesn’t Have to Break your Bank, or Your Back

Ban Smoking
Put the kabosh on cancer sticks! I know, quitting is hard so if you, or your guests, absolutely must smoke, then create a designated area outside. Make it cozy and inviting, comfortable and dry, even scenic if you want. I simply ask that you help keep the air inside your home clean for breathing while releasing your toxic cloud outdoors.

Bring the Outdoors In
Plants are Mother Nature’s powerful air purification system. By having several plants around the home you’ll be able to enjoy cleaner air as the foliage converts the carbon dioxide you exhale into clean, fresh oxygen for you to inhale. Some varieties of house plant, such as spider plants, even remove mold from the environment. Green thumb not required, most houseplants require watering as little as once a week.

Lose the Carpet
Wall-to-wall carpet may have been a luxurious must-have a few decades ago, but these plush expanses are often manufactured and treated with harsh chemicals. Not to mention they’re a great place for dust and pet dander to settle and collect, resulting in a whole lot of upkeep with little health benefit. If carpeting is a must, select an option made from all-natural materials such as cotton, wool or jute, and use non-toxic solutions for cleanup.

Install Central Ventilation
Many homes are built to be compact, with rooms huddled closely together. While this is great for retaining heat and energy-conservation, it also leads to stagnant, unhealthy air in the home. If knocking down a few walls isn’t an option, consider installing some central ventilation or a few fans, to keep fresh air circulating throughout the home.

Grow Gardens, Not Lawns
Minimizing environmental impact starts right in the back yard, in the form of a raised garden bed. Plant your favorites, as well as some exotics that would be otherwise hard to find, or expensive to purchase, and literally enjoy the fruits of your labors while watching your grocery bills steadily decline.

Conserve Water
A global water shortage should put us all in the mindset of doing what little we can to help preserve our natural resources. Switching to low-flow plumbing within the home will not only reduce your water consumption, it will also increase the value of your home. Other simple changes, such as filling the sink with hot, soapy water to wash the dishes, rather than just letting the water run, will add up to increased savings as well.

Going Green, Inside and Out

When it comes to energy conservation, take a look around the windows and doors of your home. Small cracks and gaps around duct work equal areas where your heated or cooled air can escape. It may seem like nothing, but those little leaks equate to money down the drain.

Wasteful watering is another consideration, but you should also check with your particular town for any water usage restrictions. I happen to live in an area that does have water usage restrictions, so I have a catchment system established at my home that connects to my seamless gutters. Clearwater, Florida of course may not have the same ideas when it comes to water conservation, and maybe residents there (and in other cities) don’t have to worry about how much they’re using, but keep in mind, even if it’s not a matter of restrictions or saving money, it is kinder to the environment to use what Mother Nature gives us.

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