15 Tips for Getting the Most out of Your AC Without Breaking the Bank
Projects & Improvements
You can stay cool without spending a fortune.
Apr 30, 2024
The Gadgets of ‘Unnecessary Inventions’ Solve Problems You Didn’t Know You HadLife
Have you ever wished you could wear toilet paper rolls like jewelry?
Oct 15, 2020
How To Install a Dimmer SwitchLife
Dimmer switches are great, not only do they provide opportunity for mood lighting and ambiance, but also save money due to reduced power usage. Almost all the lights in my home are on a dimmer switch, except for the bedrooms, where we’d actually like to have them the most.
Jul 18, 2020
The Bottom Line: What It Really Costs to Buy & Install a Water HeaterProjects & Improvements
Last month we asked how much readers spent buying and installing a new water heater in their home. And you told us! We hope this information gives a basic sense of how much this new appliance costs, and how much you can expect to pay when hiring someone. Keep in mind, this is general and prices most likely vary in cities versus more rural locations, etc…Although this gives you a rough idea, you should always seek multiple quotes for any work done in your home.
Jul 16, 2020
Energy Saving Task Lighting in the Kitchen: 10 LED Under Cabinet LightsDesign Ideas
I recently installed under cabinet lights in the kitchen of my rental apartment, and for a relatively small investment, they have made a big impact: They provide lighting for such kitchen tasks as dish washing and food prep, and their ambient glow is a pleasant alternative to the harsh overhead lighting I relied on previously. Fluorescent, halogen and xenonTOP ROW1. NON LED Countertop Light, $20 from IKEA2. LEDme Button Light, $54 from WAC Lighting3.
Jul 15, 2020
How To Beat the Cold: Tips for Making Windows Warmer for WinterProjects & Improvements
Keeping warm in the winter time sometimes requires extra work and some ingenuity. Thankfully, our reader community is a generous one; people regularly share helpful tips and secrets in the comments. Today, I’ve gathered just some of their great ideas on how to seal up windows and deal with drafts — so you can live as toasty (and as cheaply) at home as possible this cold season. gudnis: If you have double hung windows, head to the hardwre store and find some FELT weatherstripping.
Jul 15, 2020
15 Creative Clothes Drying RacksLife
There’s no need for a dryer with these creative and space-saving drying racks! Hang them inside or outside, over the tub or over the backyard, lower them from the ceiling or mount them on the wall. There are options sure to fit any space. So without any further ado, the creative clothes racks:Not all of these racks are made from sustainable materials, but we hope they provide some inspiration for either building your own or as a simply using your dryer less.TOP ROW1.
Apr 9, 2020
Best Indoor Drying Racks: And How To Hang Your ClothesLife
In order to curb her energy use in the winter time, Ashley English of Small Measure (who shared with us her green resolution this past December) has been making use of her indoor wooden drying rack, as she writes today in her weekly Design*Sponge column.
Apr 9, 2020
10 Ways to Save Energy in the Laundry RoomCleaning
Washing and drying clothes uses a lot of energy and water in a typical house. Here are 10 ways you can reduce your consumption of water and energy while doing laundry.Move the dryer closer to an outside wall The farther exhaust air has to travel from your dryer to get outside, the more energy your dryer will use on every cycle. If you can, move the dryer as close to its exhaust port as possible. Can you reduce the number of elbow bends in the exhaust pipe?
Feb 12, 2020
The Best Portable Space HeatersProjects & Improvements
Here’s another way to save energy this winter: try using a portable space heater to heat just the room you’re in, and turn down the thermostat in the other rooms of your house. The New York Times recently tested 10 portable space heaters. Here are the Top 5:Shown above the jump, from left to right:Holmes Ultra Quiet Ceramic Heater ($82.99): At 15-inches high, this model from Holmes produced the hottest air and took only about 20 minutes to warm up the room by 10 degrees.
Jan 26, 2020
Is DIY Spray Foam Insulation a Bad Idea?Life
While I’d love to stick denim insulation in my walls, it’s just not possible without ripping off all the sheet rock. So while the debate goes on for petroleum based insulation products that claim zero VOCs, R-values up to 7.4 per inch, and CFCs and Formaldehyde free, I’d argue that the one-time environmental cost would provide years of environmental savings.
May 9, 2019
Green Building: What Are the Downsides to Adobe?Life
While munching on pizza the other night, conversation drifted to the topic of adobe homes. Living in our hot, dry Texas climate lends itself to homes built from mud. We went over the pros: the bricks can be made on-site with little training, they’re “cheap as dirt,” they offer natural insulation, and the nature of the building material allows much room for creativity. And that’s just what we could think of on the spot.
May 9, 2019
How To: Insulate with Bubble WrapProjects & Improvements
We’ve blogged about a bubble wrap “stained glass window” before, but bubble wrap also works as a great insulator when it’s cold. See how to use leftover packaging to decrease your heating bill, after the jump…According to Build it Solar, bubble wrap is often used to insulate greenhouses during the winter — so why not use it at home, too!
May 8, 2019
Zip-A-Way: Removable Window SealantProjects & Improvements
Just the other day we were starting to think about winterizing our home for the season, when we got a great tip from one of our favorite home improvement gurus, Lou Manfredini. Lou suggested that as an alternative to covering drafty windows with plastic, caulk them with a temporary and removable sealant such as Zip-A-Way.
May 8, 2019
5 Ways To Recycle Your Old Digital CameraLife
Our digital camera died the other day, and after saying our tearful goodbyes, we started to wonder what we should do with it. Throwing electronic waste in the trash or even our curbside recycling bin is a no-no. Fortunately, we found lots of other ways to recycle a digital camera.• Donate it: If the camera still works, consider giving it to a school, youth program, animal shelter, nature center, or another organization.
May 7, 2019
5 Questions for Sizing Your Rain BarrelLife
No matter where you live, capturing rain to water landscaping or wash cars is a good way to use less potable water. However, depending on where you live, your rain water catchment system should be sized accordingly. Here are five questions to help you decide how big your rain barrel should be.If you can collect rain water from 1000 square feet of roof and a typical rainfall is one inch then a 623 gallon barrel will capture most of the typical rainfall. (1000SF x 1/12 feet = 83.
May 6, 2019
The Pros and Cons of Switching to a Tankless Water HeaterProjects & Improvements
If the idea of constantly heating your water in a big tank sitting in your basement sounds mighty inefficient and wasteful to you, then a tankless water heater may be the right option for you. I’ve researched some of the advantages of a tankless water heater system, alongside some of the compromises that come with the compact, more energy efficient option. There are many advantages to going with a tankless water heater.
May 5, 2019
Time-Saving Tip: How To Quickly Dry a Load of LaundryCleaning
Doing laundry is a time-consuming and never-ending chore. But since it is a necessary evil, the only solution is to find ways to make the job easier and faster. This summer, I seem to be doing laundry more frequently, with smaller loads, and yet those smaller loads seem to take as much time to dry as my larger loads, even when set to the same exact settings. Boggled by this reoccurring conundrum, I asked my grandmother for her sage advice.
May 4, 2019
5 Draft-Stopping Home Solutions that Aren’t UglyDesign Ideas
Chilly winter weather is starting to blow in, and with it comes the annual war we wage against our thermostats. If you’re tempted to turn up the heat, but are scared to open your heating bill at the end of the month, invest in one of these draft-stopping solutions that will help warm up your space, saving you money in the long run. There’s no unsightly bubble-wrapped windows here—these 5 solutions will make your home look as warm and cozy as it feels.
May 3, 2019
This Weekend: Don’t Let This One Thing Slip Through The CracksProjects & Improvements
I know, I KNOW. I hate to even bring it up. But soon it will be winter, your joints and dry skin will hurt, and you’d rather cozy up in bed instead of fiddle with your drafty windows and doors. Take advantage on this transition period by prepping your home for the cold to come. You’ve totally got this! If You’re a Renter: Even if you’re not responsible for the building itself, you can still amp up your home’s efficiency and reduce your own heating bills this winter.
Apr 30, 2019
Drafts No More: How To Add Weatherstripping to Your DoorsProjects & Improvements
Keep the cold out (and the heat in) with these simple tricks!
Apr 30, 2019
Green Tour: A Future Forward Four-SquareDesign Ideas
Location: Chicago, ILSize: 3600 sq/ft >> window is located in the dining room to show off super efficient foam insulation used throughout house.
Apr 17, 2019
How a Thermometer Can Actually Save You Money Around the HouseProjects & Improvements
We’ve explained why you should keep a thermometer in your fridge, but temperature monitors can actually save you money in other parts of the house as well. And, honestly, who doesn’t want to save money on bills? Drafty windows and doors are often the biggest culprit when it comes to allowing air to seep in or out—a definite no-no when it comes to household energy efficiency—particularly during the sticky summer and colder winter months. Here’s a trick.
Nov 30, 2018
Tesla’s Solar Roof Is Actually Cheaper Than a Normal RoofProjects & Improvements
Just under six months after announcing its Solar Roof, Tesla has finally put a price tag on those eco-friendly solar tiles that look like the real thing — and they’re actually really affordable. Orders are now being taken for the Tesla Solar Roof at a price of $21.85 per square foot, which is nearly 20 percent less than the cost of a normal roof — even without factoring in the energy savings.
Jul 29, 2017