With winter on its way, so are higher utility costs, bigger energy bills and environmental concerns aren’t that far behind these issues. As parents, we want to teach our children the importance of things like recycling and other ways we can reduce our carbon footprint on Mother Earth and finding ways to save energy is one important place to start.
While we can show our kids that plastic water bottles are recyclable, but their lids are not, or that things like aerosol cans are actually hazardous waste, we can also teach them about how replacing traditional incandescent bulbs with CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lights) and LED (Light Emitting Diodes) lighting will not only help us to save money, but they are also much better for the environment.
SAFER & MORE EFFICIENT
We’ve likely already seen the comparisons on how much longer these newer lights can last, how they’re more efficient by producing more light with less wattage, greatly reduce carbon dioxide emissions and don’t contain harmful mercury that ends up in our landfills, which can cause mental retardation and birth defects in our future generations.
But as an added bonus, especially when it comes to children, they produce practically no heat as compared to their incandescent counterparts, which reduces the risk of burns. They’re also much more durable and don’t break anywhere near as easily as traditional bulbs that could prevent unnecessary injuries.
Check out some other ways you and your kids can perform some simple tasks around the house to cut down on costs and help to protect our environment.
WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE
Most of us are aware of this wet phrase from the Rime of the Ancient Mariner, “nor any drop to drink.” Some states like California, who are ending their fourth year of a record-breaking drought and feeling this painful sting. But even if you don’t live in the Golden State, people should still be doing their best to conserve this important natural resource.
Using low flow water fixtures can greatly reduce a family’s water usage while saving money on their utility bill at the same time. If you have an older shower head, installing this new device is not only quick and simple, it can drop the rate of water flow from 5.5 GPM (gallons per minute) down to 1.5 on some newer models.
KEEPING THEM WARMER
Every mother will remind their child at some point to wear their jacket, and this also rings true for one of our major appliances – the hot water heater. An inexpensive cover or jacket, available at almost any home improvement store, is another quick and easy install that allows water to be heated faster, stay warmer longer and reduces the reduction of temperature when it’s in standby mode. When replacing an older hot water heater, consider purchasing one of the newer tankless varieties for even more savings.
When it comes to staying warm, most of us already know we should be keeping our thermostats set at 68° during the day and 55° at night, this temperature may be uncomfortable for some children. Instead of turning up the heat, bundle them up with more blankets at night, try flannel sheets for more warmth and suggest they sleep with their socks on for added warmth.
During the daylight hours, make sure there’s plenty of throw blankets and fuzzy pillows around the house, especially on the couch, for a sudden chill. As another added bonus, you can spend some time cuddling with your children while saving money in the process.
— Born and raised in Austin, TX, Hilary Smith is a free-lance journalist whose love of gadgets, technology and business has no bounds. After becoming a parent she now enjoys writing about family and parenting related topics.