5 Easy Eco Upgrades for Your Home

ECOS 02/03/2017

You might dream of having a roof covered in solar panels, a solar water heater, and a gray water system that irrigates all of your landscaping with your waste water, but if that’s not in your budget right now there are still simpler things you can do to save you money and make your home more eco-friendly. What can you do right now? Here are 5 easy eco upgrades for your home. Let us know which one of these tips you want to try in your home or share another tip, and you'll be entered in this month’s giveaway for $200 in ECOS Paints!

#1 Unplug.

In a New York Times article entitled “ Just How Much Power Do Your Electronics Use When They Are “Off”?” reporter Tatiana Schlossberg tested electronics to see how much electricity devices used even though they were turned off. The results may shock you. Now that so many devices are connected to the internet, they are essentially always on. Your smart tv is waiting for the remote to bring it back to life, and is always hooked up to the internet, so it’s using power every minute that it’s plugged in. Your router and modem for the internet never stop draining power. Even the cable box uses almost the same amount of power when it’s on as when it's off.

What’s the best solution? Do a whole house assessment of your devices. Do you have a computer that’s rarely used, but always plugged in? Do you have a charging station that could be unplugged much more often that it is right now? After making the assessment try to create a schedule for cutting the power off to most of your electronics. Nighttime is the first obvious time that you don’t need most of your devices to be using power. Putting most of these electronics on a power strip that is easily shut off at night is an easy step to cut down on the amount of energy your household is wasting every day.


#2 Get Smart with Heating & Cooling.

We may have far too many devices sucking up electricity in our home, but technology has also brought us an ally in our attempts to save energy - the smart thermostat. Energy.gov states that heating and cooling accounts for about half of all the energy used in a home so this is something we could use a lot of help with! You no longer have to remember to turn down the heat before you go to bed or before you go on a vacation. Now, your thermostat knows when you aren’t home and even remembers that you like the temp lower while you sleep. If you’re returning from that trip and don’t want to enter a cold and uncomfortable house, you use your smartphone to tell the thermostat to raise the temperature before you step in the door. We’re at the beginning of seeing huge leaps forward in smart home automation technology, and it should do wonders for those of us who are trying to decrease our carbon footprint and stop wasting energy. Check out this article in CNET to learn more about some of the best smart thermostats on the market.


#3 Get Smart about Lighting.

Speaking of leaps forward, can you remember being told to turn off the lights every time you left the room when you were a kid? In a few years, this may be as archaic as a corded telephone. LED lightbulbs now come in integrated systems that are programmable and able to be controlled by a smartphone or tablet. The lights can still be turned off and on using a switch, but you don’t have to check to make sure they’re off at night because they automatically turn off. These lights will even turn off when you leave the room, so you don’t even have to think about it. This article in PC Mag reviews the best smart lightbulbs of 2017 and will be a good introduction to these products so you can decide which one is best for you.


#4 Find Leaks and Drafts and Seal Them Up.

This tip is a lot more old-fashioned, but it’s a tried and true way to use less energy. If you have too much air coming in from outside your furnace is working harder than it should to keep your home a comfortable temp. According to The Washington Post,  a ⅛ inch gap under a 36-inch wide exterior door will let in as much cold air as if you had a 2.4-inch hole in your wall. You definitely wouldn’t be okay with drilling a hole in an exterior wall, so filling that gap under the door should be a priority. Hold a lit candle next to doors and windows to see what kind of drafts are coming in. It’s that easy. For older, single pane glass windows, a plastic sheeting kit from the hardware store will help you out during the coldest months. The rest of the leaks around doors and window trim should be sealed with weatherstripping or caulk.


#5 Conserve Water.

Energy.gov reports that a drip per second on a leaky faucet will waste 1,661 gallons of water in a year! It’s clear that wasting water is a huge problem for how it negatively affects your finances, but just think how many leaky toilets, sinks, and shower heads are depleting the planet’s freshwater supply. Luckily, stopping the leaks and using less water is actually a very easy and inexpensive thing to do. A low-flow showerhead can be purchased for as little as ten dollars and can use about forty percent less water than a traditional one. Faucet aerators can cost less than a dollar and they too can have water savings of up to forty percent. According to Treehugger, putting a brick in a ziplock bag (so it doesn’t disintegrate) in the back of the toilet saves half a gallon of water per flush. Since the toilet uses 27% of the water in your household every day that half a gallon will add up fast in water savings. With very little cost you can drastically reduce the amount of water your house wastes on a daily basis.

Know what else could be an easy eco upgrade? Using ECOS Paints for your next painting, staining, or refinishing project! Enter our giveaway for a chance to win $200 for any of our products.

Here’s how to enter:

UPDATE: Congratulations to Colleen Trevizo for being our lucky winner!!


In the comments below, let us know which of these tips you've already taken or which one you're most interested in.

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  • Tweet about the Giveaway and use the hashtag #ECOSGiveaway
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For each additional entry, leave a separate comment letting us know what you’ve done (and what your profile name is where relevant). If you’ve already done one of the actions, feel free to leave a comment letting us know you have previously. You can enter up to 9 times by taking all of the actions listed above and the more entries you make, the more chances you have at winning!

One random winner will be selected on February 28th, 2017!

Good luck!!!

No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Participants must be 18 years of age or older and must be U.S. residents. Click through for full sweepstakes rules.

CATEGORIES home energy saving tips|home heating and cooling tips|home water conservation tips