1. Simple Ways to Boost the Condition of Your Home
  • Simple Ways to Boost the Condition of Your Home

    Provide a healthier refuge for your family and the environment.

    Simple Ways to Boost the Condition of Your Home

    We've rounded up five smart ways to boost your home's green factor, and not a single one will require you to sacrifice the comfort and style that makes your house a home.

    • Properly Manage hazardous household materials:

      Pesticides, cleaning products, paint thinners, gasoline: these are just a few of the typical household hazardous products that can negatively affect your family's health and the environment if handled or disposed of improperly.

       

      • First, contact your local household hazardous waste facility for guidelines on properly getting rid of the products that have been collecting in your home.
      • Going forward, you can reduce the amount of hazardous chemicals you bring into your home by looking for products labeled with the "Design for the Environment" logo. These products have been evaluated by the Environmental Protection Agency on a strict set of criteria and are labeled by the EPA as containing the safest possible chemical ingredients.
      • Experiment with natural cleaning products. Inexpensive ingredients—distilled white vinegar, baking soda, borax, lemon juice and castile soap — are surprisingly effective, less toxic to the environment and easier on your budget.
    • Reduce VOCs In Your Home

      Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are routinely found in products that exist in and around your home—adhesives, carpet and upholstery, composite wood products, paints and varnishes, sealing caulks, solvents and vinyl floors. Reducing VOCs can help improve indoor air quality and keep potentially harmful substances out of your home.

       

      • Allow for ample ventilation when using items high in VOCs. Open doors or windows and run fans.
      • Keep your home's humidity level between 30 to 50 percent. Because products tend to off-gas more in higher humidity and warmer temperatures,managing these factors can help reduce VOCs. Lower humidity has the added bonus of helping to inhibit mold growth. You can purchase a hygrometer, which measures humidity, online or at home improvement centers for around $15.
    • Keep Heating and Cooling Systems in Good Condition

      When your heating and cooling system is in tip-top shape, it’s easier on your household budget. Regular maintenance is key.

       

      • Have your heating and cooling system cleaned and serviced in the spring and fall to check for cracks and wear that could cause carbon monoxide leaks or other system malfunctions.
      • Change your furnace filter at least every three months to ensure the best air filtration.
      • Replace your regular filter with a Filtrete™ Healthy Living Filter, which uses exclusive Filtrete™ Brand 3-in-1 technology from 3M to pull in and trap unwanted particles while letting cleaner air flow through. It is three times more effective* than basic pleated filters at reducing small particles, bacteria and viruses from your home's air.
    • Maintain Household Appliances for Safety and Savings

      Before you rush out to purchase a new appliance when an old one breaks down, it’s wise to weigh the environmental impact of repairing verses replacing. Repairing an existing appliance keeps it out of the landfill and may actually save you money over the long term.

       

      • First, check to see if your appliance is still under warranty. If it is, repairing it is a no-brainer. If it’s not, an independent repair technician can give you an estimate for what it will cost to fix. The widely accepted rule of thumb is that you shouldn’t spend more than 50 percent of the cost of a new appliance to repair the existing appliance. If you do opt for buying a new appliance, be sure to research the most energy-efficient options.
      • To ensure your appliances run at maximum efficiency going forward, check for frayed plugs, loose hoses and wires and other signs of deterioration and wear. Also, appliances and exhaust fans should be vented to the outside to prevent moisture, odor-causing particles and other irritants from adversely affecting your indoor air quality.
    • Insulate and Weatherize for Energy Efficiency

      Don't go to the expense of heating and cooling your home only to needlessly lose that energy through leaks in your windows and walls. A few basic changes will help you go easier on the environment by conserving energy.

       

      • Caulk around doors and window frames and add insulation in leak-prone areas. Unseen gaps around windows and doors can create nearly as much airflow as an open window, making your heating and cooling system work harder than it should. Attics, as well as walls and floors adjacent to unheated areas (think the garage or basement), are common culprits.
      • Weatherize your home by installing storm doors and windows. Innovative 3M™ Window Insulator Kits can be easily applied to windows to seal drafts and cut down on heat loss.

      *Compared to non-electrostatic pleated filters for the capture of 0.3 to 1.0 micron particles