Make your home greener by vacuuming

 

You’ve probably never thought of vacuuming as anything more than something on your housecleaning chore list. It can be an effective tool used to make your home and lifestyle greener and more efficient. A well-made strong vacuum has the power to clean more in your house than simple carpeting. Saving electricity is great for the environment as well as for your budget, and regular cleaning of your home systems can make a big difference.

Air Conditioning

Every year across the country millions of cottonwood trees release their seeds in a flurry of white, cottony fluff. While the downy stuff might seem enchanting wafting on the breeze, to your outdoor central air conditioning unit, it’s its mortal enemy. The cottonwood fluff gets sucked into the condenser coil, blocking the flow of air and making the air conditioning system work many times harder. In years when the fluff is extra abundant, it can block air conditioning units so badly that they burn out and need to be completely replaced. Routine maintenance during cottonwood season can prevent this problem. Vacuum off all four sides of your outdoor unit, removing all the cottonwood fluff that clings to the coils. You may have to do this daily for a couple of weeks, but that little bit of effort will save large amounts of energy.

Dryer Vent

As you wash and dry laundry, you probably clean out the dryer vent located at the top or front of the machine. This removes some of the lint that can clog your lines, but a large amount of lint escapes into the dryer vent hose that aims the hot air outside of your home. This lint builds up inside the vent hoses, creating a smaller and smaller opening in the middle. In the worst cases it can completely close off and may even start a fire in the dryer. Prevent this danger and excess use of energy by vacuuming out the dryer vent once a month. You can purchase vent cleaning kits as an aftermarket add-on, or you can simply bang on the vents to loosen up any lint that may be clinging to the inside walls. Run the vacuum hose as far into the vent hose as possible, and stop to make sure the lint isn’t clogging your vacuum.

Greener Machines

Cleaning your home to make it run more efficiently can make a big impact on your carbon footprint, but using a greener machine makes a difference every time you vacuum. Manufacturing methods and the machines themselves vary widely, so research brands to find the most efficient ones. Use machines like Dyson vacuums sold at Macy’s to cut back on the use of fossil fuels and waste. Look for a vacuum that doesn’t use a disposable bag, has an efficient motor that uses less energy, and that is made durable so less of them have to be manufactured. Smaller, lighter vacuums save on raw materials, as well as contributing less to landfills when they finally break down.

the author

Originally from Virginia, Jennifer C. Sellers is passionate about sustainability and conservation in South Carolina and throughout the world. She earned her BA in English from Coastal Carolina University and her MAS in Environmental Policy and Management from the University of Denver. She is a university sustainability coordinator that implements programs and teaches people about going green and being sustainable. Follow her on Twitter @MyGreenGlasses

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