Green Pages — Warm Tips for Cold Weather

Circa 2008


Baby it’s cold outside, and who doesn’t want to make sure the cold stays there? Yet heating costs can leave you reeling. Besides, doing something really simple, like putting on a sweater or keeping your furnace in tip-top shape, can help put a serious dent in that exorbitant utility bill.

Start with your filter. It’s amazing how cruddy it gets, and the more clogged it is, the harder the furnace has to work to keep you cuddly warm. To check the filter, turn off the furnace’s power source, remove the filter and hold it up to a light to see if light shines through. If it’s fuzzy, it’s time for a little trip to the hardware store.

The good news is that filters are only a few dollars, and easy to install. Just be sure to measure your old filter before you run out, all gung-ho, and buy something that doesn’t fit. Also, since best practices say that filters should be replaced every three months, go ahead, throw caution to the wind and plop down money for a couple extra, so you have replacements on hand.

Keep your thermostat to 68 degrees (or lower) during waking hours, and down to 55 degrees (if not completely off. overnight). As a general rule, every degree you lower a thermostat’s set temperature saves 3 percent of energy costs over a 24-hour period, and setting the thermostat properly can save from 5 percent to 20 percent on your monthly heating bill. If that doesn’t warm you up, I don’t know what will!

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As much as I try to go paperless, between my home and office, I print a lot. Most of the time, it’s just for my reference or for a project I’m working on. Once I’m done, off to the recycling bin it goes. But, wait a minute. There’s a whole other side of pristine, white paper just begging to be used! (Can’t you hear that little whining voice?)

While printing on the backside of paper can be difficult in an office setting (nothing like a perturbed co-worker who goes to the printer, only to find his client’s presentation on the back of a Google map), it’s not so tough at home. So, unless you’re prepping for a business meeting, or plan to hand out print-outs, simply flip the page over and put it back into your printer! It’s a two-for-one deal!

The other thing is that once-used printer stock serves as great scratch paper for your little darlings’ “art projects.” I promise, while you’re busy trying to figure out if the drawing is of a cow or a dump truck—as if there were a significant difference—they’ll quickly move onto the next sheet.

Lastly, it’s really simple to save up a small pile of sheets, bulk cut them into quarters and staple them. Voila! Instant scratch pad!

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Just when you thought there were some things that you just couldn’t recycle, along comes

Yes, folks, once your trusty love rabbit has given you your last thrill, you can help the environment by not burying it in newspaper and stuffing it in the bottom of your trash can!

All you need to do is contact the company, and they will send you a pouch in which you can return your well-loved products. All the company asks is that you tidy up a bit, washing the product before returning it.

For some, this may prove added incentive: For every misfit toy you send back, you get a $5 voucher toward the purchase of your next toy. Ain’t recycling grand?

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