How to make a good a buyers agency decision

How to make a good a buyers agency decision

The most common error made by house sellers when picking a listing buyers agency is to choose one purely on the basis of two factors: the highest list price for their property and the lowest commission.

A vendor may first inquire, “What is it? Are you insane? “because sellers want to get the best price and pay the lowest commission possible. However, these two characteristics have nothing to do with selecting a professional buyers agency and are often irrelevant. Consider why.

The Most Expensive Suggested List Price

A buyers agency cannot predict the price at which your house will sell. To assert that they can is an erroneous assertion. A listing buyers agency melbourne may provide you with information on similar sales, pending sales, and current sales. However, you set the sales price, and a buyer will determine if the price is reasonable. A buyers agency might recommend a list price that will entice a buyer. What happens next is largely up to the buyer.

How to make a good a buyers agency decision

While setting a listing price may seem daunting at first, it may be reassuring to realize that in 2019, home owners earned a median of 99 percent of their asking price—and their houses typically sold within three weeks.

 This demonstrates that setting an appropriate listing price is attainable if you do sufficient research and collaborate with an experienced buyers agency.

 Here are some pointers to keep in mind when you look for a buyers agency.

  • Some buyers agencies falsify the facts in order to get the listing. Due to the fact that agencies cannot guarantee the selling price, the listing buyers agency who recommends the greatest price may very well be lying. Inquire as to the buyers agency’s justification for the proposed list price. If the buyers agency does not have statistics or if the buyers agency’s home sales are in a different neighborhood, this may be a red sign.
  • Look for a listing buyers agency that can provide you with a selection of pricing options. Often, but not always, there is a pricing range. Numerous variables influence the range, including geography, market temperature, and property modifications.
  • Pricing is a skill. If the house is priced correctly, you will almost certainly get an offer. If you price it too high, you may have no showings at all and may ultimately be forced to cut the price, leaving purchasers perplexed as to what’s wrong with your home.

For comparison, the average time required to close a property in 2019 was between 40 and 48 days, depending on the month. If it takes much longer, your pricing is probably too high.

How to make a good a buyers agency decision

Should You Pick Buyers agency on the Basis of Commission?

Each buyers agency is unique. Each company has its own marketing strategy and advertising budget. By selecting an buyers agency with a sizable advertising budget and matching company funds, you can increase your exposure to a larger number of buyers. This is ideal, as reaching a larger pool of prospective buyers increases the likelihood of receiving a good offer.

Why would a buyers agency work for less money than a competitor? There is always a reason for a broker or buyers agency to reduce a real estate commission. Oftentimes, this is the only way an buyers agency believes they can succeed in a highly competitive industry, as they cannot differentiate themselves on service, knowledge, or negotiation skills. If an buyers agency’s sole benefit is a low fee, consider why. Is the buyers agency in desperate need of business or is he or she unqualified?

Consider the following before making a commitment to work with an buyers agency.

Occasionally, full-service buyers agency will negotiate a lower commission in exceptional circumstances, such as the following: • You’re buying and selling a home concurrently, entrusting both transactions to the same buyers agency.

  • You’re willing to do all of the legwork, advertising, and marketing, as well as cover all of the associated costs.
  • You commit to referring additional business to the buyers agency.
  • You’re selling multiple properties.
  • You lack sufficient equity to pay the full commission.
  • You are accepted as a pro bono case by the buyers agency.
  • Unless the buyers agency matches a competitor’s fee, the buyers agency will lose the listing.
  • The buyers agency desires signage (traffic exposure) over charging a full commission.

If you’re interviewing buyers agencies who provide comparable services and are having difficulty deciding between or among them, request a track record of each buyers agency’s initial list price and final sale figures. The likelihood is that the buyers agency charging the lowest fee will demonstrate more price reductions and days on market (DOM).

How to make a good a buyers agency decision

The Critical Role of Agency Marketing

Marketing is the lifeblood of a successful listing buyers agency. That is because effective marketing of a home is critical to its sale. Inquire about a complete copy of the buyers agency’s marketing strategy. You should expressly inquire about the buyers agency’s strategy for selling your home. For reference, the bare-bones minimum that you should anticipate is as follows:

  • Professional signage, including an buyers agency’s cell phone number • A real estate lockbox • Daily electronic monitoring of lockbox access • Follow-up reports on buyer showings and feedback to the seller • Broker previews • Broker and office preview incentives • Staging advice
  • Distribution to major websites • Four-color flyers, if necessary • Financing flyers for buyers • A minimum of two open houses, if the property’s location qualifies
  • Direct mail to surrounding neighbors and out-of-area buyers/brokers • Exposure at Board of Realtor meetings • Feedback to sellers on buyer sign calls and buyer showings • A 30-day comparative market analysis (CMA) • Email feeds of competing listings

Bear in mind that no single strategy sells homes. It is a combination of all of these methods that results in the sale of a home.

How to make a good a buyers agency decision

The Qualities of a Successful Listing Buyers agency

You will be in contact with your listing buyers agency for approximately a month or two (or longer). Choose an buyers agency with whom you feel comfortable communicating. The following are some of the characteristics sellers indicate they seek in an buyers agency:

  • Experience: You want an buyers agency who has sold numerous homes and has learned from previous mistakes.
  • Education: Inquire about degrees and credentials.
  • Integrity: Have faith in your intuition. Your buyers agencys demeanor should be sincere.
  • Networking: This is a people-oriented industry. Certain homes sell as a result of a buyers agency contacting other buyers agencies.
  • Negotiation skills: You want an aggressive negotiator, not someone who is only interested in making a quick profit at your expense.
  • Effective communication: Sellers emphasize the importance of communication and availability.

Finally, enquire about obtaining a personal guarantee. If the buyers agency cannot guarantee performance and will not immediately release you from a listing, do not hire them.

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Best 10 Outdoor Tiles for Modern Gardens

Best 10 Outdoor Tiles for Modern Gardens

The first impression lasts longer. Yes! That statement is true of your home. Of course, the beauty of a home is the comfort it gives generously to both the inhabitants and visitors. But it doesn’t start from the inside. To make people comfortable in your living space, you’ve got to create a welcome atmosphere in your outdoor area.

It’s a real pity that most people spend considerable money furnishing the interior space to taste, giving less attention to the outdoor space. Little wonder, most homeowners spend much time and money outside visiting gardens and entertainment centers to relax with their family members. Get professional assistance for your home exterior renovation with Tile & Bath Co.

Why not make a nice-looking garden in your home where you can gather friends and family members to turn up after work or during the weekend? It cost nothing. The only thing necessary to spice things up is to use top-quality outdoor tiles to create impressive designs on your garden floor. A stylish garden patio is enough o to make your outdoor space more inviting and accommodating for guests if you get it right. 

As you might have also known, the beauty of a garden is not complete if you don’t have the most suitable outdoor tiles on the garden floor. Meanwhile, choosing the best outdoor tiles for your garden can be a daunting task. There are several attractive-looking outdoor tiles in the present market. You would need a guide from an experienced home designer to make the right decision. That is what this article is offering you exclusively.

Outdoor Tiles for Modern Gardens

To save you from the stress and time involved in selecting the best outdoor tile out of the pool of numerous options available, I have helped you to compile a list of the best ten that can work perfectly for your garden. The outdoor tiles below are affordable, versatile to create any design, and easy to maintain. Without further ado, let’s unveil the list in no particular order.

1. Leinz Grey Slab Tiles 

These tiles are not standing at the top of this list for nothing. When it comes to choosing outdoor tiles that can make your garden space look like a mini paradise, Lienz Grey Slab tiles are among your best options. These outdoor tiles are perfect for creating an attractive terrain that draws the attention of every visitor at first glance. 

One of the flashiest advantages of these outdoor tiles is that they are easy to clean. Since their surfaces are highly resistant to stains, you don’t have to spend much time and energy deep cleaning your garden floor now and then. Leinz Grey Slab tiles come with a smooth but not glossy finish. They look good on swimming pool floors.

Best 10 Outdoor Tiles for Modern Gardens

2. Icaria Slab Tiles 

These outdoor tiles allow you to create a gorgeous yet slate effective design to bring out a luxurious feel from your garden space. When it comes to creating a natural-styled patio space in your modern-looking garden, you don’t have many options available in the tiles market. You can convert your garden into a comfortable entertainment space with these nice-looking outdoor tiles. You can relax and unwind when the sun is shining at its peak at the cool of the day. Why? Icaria Slab tiles provide a natural soothing feel to the feet. You will like to walk in your garden barefooted if you have Icaria slab tiles on the floor. 

Icaria slab tiles are made of high-quality materials, making them more durable and easier to clean. With little maintenance effort, your garden can become a lovely reception and private event center for more than a century. Not many outdoor tiles can stand the durability of Icaria slab tiles.

Check out: Best 5 Outdoor Tiles for a Stylish Patio

3. Minster Rustic Slate Effect Tiles 

This list is providing you with another outdoor tile with high versatility. Minster tiles are yet another perfect option for creating a rustic slate effect in your garden. in case you don’t know, the types of tiles you install on your garden floor will determine the extent to which you can flex your creativity muscles in designs. 

Minster tiles come with swirls of russet and greys, bringing a feel and look of luxury to your garden space. Minster tiles allow you to showcase elegance and class in your outdoor area. They can withstand the high pressure of the cold atmosphere during winter and the scorching heat during summer. 

Best 10 Outdoor Tiles for Modern Gardens

4. Planate tiles 

Although planate tiles are perfect for both interior and exterior use, they can be the elements of wonder in your garden. Planate tiles are one of the most versatile home décor materials because they can make your home look outstanding. 

One of the most loved current trends for creating a perfect garden design is integrating your exterior design into your interiors to form an indoor-outdoor space. Have you seen that before? If yes, you would love to replicate that in your home. These planate fossil grey tiles are great options for creating a seamless transition from your outdoor space to your interiors.

5. Calcario Garden Tiles 

Feel free to explore your creative capabilities with these gorgeous-looking outdoor tiles. With Calcario tiles, your garden can become a glowing sensation that will always win the third look. Grey is the new black in modern home design. These grey Calcario tiles can add a lovely calming feel to your garden sanctuary.

6. Trax Tiles 

You need to see how these charming garden tiles look in the shade of velvet moon. Not only you but all your guests will also freeze in awe witnessing the glamour it showcases in the evening. What does that suggest? You can party all night in your garden in a bright atmosphere. These outdoor tiles are simple yet6 luminous enough to brighten your garden all through the night.

7. Medici Natural Slab Tiles 

These outdoor tiles are both relaxing and functional. You can consider them the perfect blank canvas option for your garden space. When it comes to keeping your garden simple, natural, and classic, Medici natural slab tiles are your ideal choice. You can pair them with metal furnishings or nice-looking sofas for a comfortable outdoor space for the best results. Click here to read about growing the market for sustainable.

Final Words 

Aside from fun reasons, the outdoor area of your home speaks much of the property value. If you want to win the best price bargain in the real estate market, you must showcase glamour from your home’s outdoor space. An inviting, comfy garden in an outdoor space is a great selling point that excites buyers to make a reasonable offer. Feel free to pick any of the above-listed outdoor tiles to make the best out of your outdoor space and augment the value of your home. 

Best 5 Outdoor Tiles for a Stylish Patio

Best 5 Outdoor Tiles for a Stylish Patio

As a homeowner, you should see your home as more than a mere living space where you lay your head after work. It is a private world where you enjoy optimum comfort and satisfies your feelings. If you also share that sentiment, you will agree that your home needs to be beautiful both inside and out. 

The idea is to make your home an extension of your personality. At least, that’s how people see it. Whether you agree or not, your guests will judge you based on the look and feel your home showcases. So, you need to strive to make every area of your home look its best. 

Meanwhile, making your home comfortable for enjoyable living is not exclusively interior. It starts from the outdoor space. Your property’s outdoor space is the general reception that suggests what to expect on the inside. Most likely, people will value your entire building based on the outdoor feel and attractions. Hence, creating a welcoming patio will go a long way in projecting a comfy, relaxing mod out of your living space. When beautifying your patio, choosing suitable outdoor tiles is essential. Especially if you want to align with the current trend of creating an eye-catching interior-exterior connection, you must carefully buy terrazzo tiles with good looking designs.

However, choosing the best outdoor tiles out of the numerous options can be challenging and time-consuming. Ideally, you will have to do thorough research to ensure you purchase the suitable tiles for your patio. To save you the tress, here are the best outdoor tiles for the beautification of your outdoor space.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32ZRbJ259Ds

1. Ceramic Tiles 

Ceramic tiles are known for high-quality materials, which enable durability and easy maintenance. Ceramic tiles are made of clay-based materials, making them highly resistant to scratches and cracks. These classic outdoor tiles endure high-temperature baking, giving them enough strength to serve for as long as a century or beyond.

Ceramic outdoor tiles are hard, dense, and nonporous, making them more resistant to moisture. That is one of the reasons they are recommended for outdoor use, where they can withstand heavy rainfall and sunshine without breaking. You already know some of the reasons ceramic tiles are perfect outdoor tiles. Choosing them for your patios will only make your outdoor space more gorgeous and luxurious. 

What makes ceramic tiles an excellent choice for your patio is that they are available in a wide range of available colors, sizes, textures, and designs. Without a doubt, outdoor ceramic tiles allow you to get creative with designs to achieve your intended look and feel. They also come with anti-slip surfaces with rough textures, which allows for a better feet grip.

Best 5 Outdoor Tiles for a Stylish Patio

2. Natural Stone Tiles 

You can make your patio look more lovely with a natural feel with natural stone tiles. They are perfect for beautifying patios with subtle rustic tones that provide a unique finish. Natural stone tiles add texture and warmth to your patio when laid properly by professional hands. 

These outdoor tiles make showcase excellence in any given outdoor space. Suppose you know how to arrange your sofas in a contemporary setting. In that case, you will create a modern-traditional look that your guests will love to see every time. 

One benefit of these outdoor tiles is that they are easy to clean. You don’t need sophisticated cleaning solutions to keep them looking sparkling new all day and night. With ordinary detergent mixed with clean water, you can get rid of every dirt on the surface of the tiles.

A typical outdoor area is expected to experience constant pressure of rays of sunshine during summer and plenty of water drops during winter. There is nothing to worry about if you have natural stone tiles on your outdoor floor as seasons change. Natural stone tiles are highly resistant to harsh weather conditions, which is one of the most beneficial features of outdoor tiles. They also come with a natural grain texture that can make your patio look very attractive and unique. You can read about Also read about complete guide on outdoor tiles by visiting http://lhpowerandlight.org/a-complete-guide-on-outdoor-tiles-in-2022/

3. Paving Tiles 

These outdoor tiles are perfect for creating a bold and funky patio. They look beautiful and can project naturalness out of your outdoor space. Suppose you like to host get-together parties in your home. In that case, you need a welcoming and relaxing patio that can make your guests comfortable. And it does not have to cost you much. All you need to do is find a professional tiles installer to help you create wonders in your home’s exterior space using paving tiles. 

These outdoor tiles come in a wide variety of natural hues of colors. With that generous option, you can achieve your custom design. Paving Tiles have a subtle way of complementing the lush outdoor space. These outdoor tiles are durable enough to withstand heavy feet threading for a long time.

4. Concrete Tiles 

Concrete tiles are ideal for creating a concrete-like look on your patio floor. Indeed, not many of your visitors will believe they are stepping on tiles in your outdoor space if you cover your floor with concrete tiles. Most homeowners prefer these outdoor tiles for their unbeatable durability, resilience, and slip-resistant. These outdoor tiles are also easy to clean and can withstand the high pressure of different harsh weather conditions without cracking. 

You can get concrete outdoor tiles in various decorative options, leaving you ample choices for your custom design. These outdoor tiles are highly resistant to stains, moisture, fungal growth, and dampness.

Best 5 Outdoor Tiles for a Stylish Patio

5. Wooden Tiles 

Most homeowners don’t consider this great flooring option for decorating their patios. That might result from the fear that the pressure of consistent rainfalls will damage the tiles over time. But, interestingly, that’s not correct. Wooden tiles are among the most enduring outdoor tiles that can last as long as the building remains. 

Though wooden tiles are perfect for open-to-sky balconies, that doesn’t mean that they are vulnerable to harsh weather conditions. Using these outdoor tiles to beautify your patio will give you a nice outdoor look. Wooden tiles blend perfectly with a wide variety of outdoor designs.

Final Words 

You can get the best of your outdoor space without spending heavily on expensive outdoor furniture. The best you can do is find suitable outdoor tiles that can bring your envisioned custom look and feel. Choosing any of the listed outdoor tiles can transform your outdoor space into a relaxing event center. You will have to hire a professional tiles installer to make them picture-perfect.

A Complete Guide on Outdoor Tiles in 2022

A Complete Guide on Outdoor Tiles in 2022

There is hardly a way to talk about outdoor tiles without mentioning patios, and outdoor living spaces. These spaces are known for adding significant value to your home and represents the overall theme of what guest should expect to find inside the house. In addition, while taking care of the water features, furniture, fire pits, and all, you should also need to install the floor first. When installing the floor, the question of whether or not to use outdoor tiles comes to the fore. 

You need to decide on the correct type of floor that suits your home needs outside. And if you find it hard to figure it out, you may have to consult an expert or simply ask for recommendations. In response to the needs and requests of our customers, we have compiled a comprehensive guide on what you need to know in choosing outdoor tiles. Let us define outdoor tiles and differentiate between them and indoor tiles.

What are outdoor tiles, and how are they different from indoor tiles?

There are two significant differences between indoor and outdoor tiles: design and durability. Here is a clarification: the creation of outdoor tiles should involve the appearance of stones, decking, concrete, pavement, and other similar elements. Whereas the surface of the outdoor tiles must have a different texture from the indoor tile. The texture must be slip and fall resistant.

In addition, outdoor tiles should also be more durable than indoor tiles since they get exposed to extreme conditions. For instance, they get direct sunlight, direct rain, moisture content, and other harsh weather conditions without damage. Therefore, while you plan to install outdoor tiles, consider these essential factors to not wash your efforts down the drain.

A Complete Guide on Outdoor Tiles in 2022

Essential Tips to Choosing the Right Outdoor Tiles for your Home Exterior

The following are essential factors that can make or mar your installation of outdoor tiles. Mainly, if you don’t know what to look out for, the choice can get a bit overwhelming. For this cause, we have submitted a few tips for perfecting the outdoor tiles. Consider the factors below

What is your Budget?

Your budget is the first item to work out is your budget. How much do you have to spend on the installation process of your outdoor tiles? Can you afford the style of design that you think of doing? For instance, high-quality materials will cost a bit more. So, you can watch out for that. At the same time, costlier materials don’t always mean the best material. The best patio must have full functionality with the right concept and execution.

A Complete Guide on Outdoor Tiles in 2022

Where and how to use outdoor tiles?

Outdoor tiles should have enough strength and durability to withstand unfriendly situations, including specific elements. Similarly, outdoor features can be tougher to handle. But they must not be prone to cracks, scratches, or any other damage for it to last. Then, the application of these outdoor tiles must also involve the pattern of installation and use on the wall and ground. Similarly, certain outdoor tiles work much better on walls than on the floor.

The weather condition of your area

As we mentioned, environmental factors affect outdoor tiles, including weather conditions. Depending on the harshness of these conditions, you may need to get the kind of outdoor tiles that can withstand these issues. So, the questions are: what is the weather like in your area? Is the weather mild or harsh? Is there snow during winter? How high or low does the temperature go?

Therefore, you should handle these requirements by buying suitable outdoor tiles. Meanwhile, a tile that can hold up heat may not be perfect during winter. On the other hand, if your area has a lot of rain, the right outdoor tiles for you may not be suitable during the winter. Therefore, the kind of weather you experience in your area determines the type of outdoor tiles you choose. 

How much light gets on the outdoor tiles?

Another essential factor is the light intensity on the surface of the outdoor tiles. For instance, if a set of outdoor tiles falls under the shady area, usually darker, you should install dark tile colors there. On the other hand, sites that experience bright light may require light-colored surface tiles to reflect the light. 

In other words, the visual effects that you get from these tiles concern the color or contrast of the outdoor tiles. Moreover, if your patio gets direct sunlight, you may also use a dark tile instead to tray the light. Visit http://lhpowerandlight.org/5-cheapest-outdoor-tiles-that-you-need-to-know/ to read about 5 cheapest outdoor tiles that you need to know.

A Complete Guide on Outdoor Tiles in 2022

Outdoor tiles must fit into your overall style and color

If a set of outdoor tiles do not align correctly with the overall theme or style of your home. Otherwise, you will experience a clash between these themes, or your outdoor tiles feeling disconnected. You can also make the interior decorations as a reference point so that both interior and exterior elements can resonate with each other. 

For instance, a rustic outdoor tile can look out of place with a sleek modern home. Therefore, you should find items and tiles that complement your overall house style and not distract away from them. Color is an essential factor in causing the themes to resonate with each other. Colors can be blended into each other or form a contrast. 

A Complete Guide on Outdoor Tiles in 2022

Famous Types of Outdoor Tiles

You have learned all the necessary tips to increase your chances of creating beauty in your home exterior. But then, we need to look at some options of the most popular tile materials in use. 

  • Ceramic tile
  • Porcelain tiles
  • Quarry tiles
  • Slate tiles
  • Granite tiles
  • Concrete tiles
  • Soapstone tiles
  • Limestone tiles
  • Sandstone tiles

Conclusion

In conclusion, outdoor tiles occupy an integral part of your home formation. Whereas you should patiently choose the best matching set of outdoor tiles. Considering the factors mentioned above, you should find the best outdoor tiles you need. Meanwhile, if it is still a tough decision, we will be delighted to help. Click here to read about Home Improvement: suburban works-in-progress.

5 cheapest outdoor tiles that you need to know

5 cheapest outdoor tiles that you need to know

Recently, I noticed several writings about outdoor tiles being expensive. Some writer has gone to an extreme by cooking up fake essays about outdoor tiles to generate traffic on search engines. I was shocked when I saw an article pointing directly at outdoor tiles as one of the most expensive. Those writers even go to the extent that these unique tiles are meant for first-class people. Then, I asked myself, how about people of the middle class? Are they not entitled to living a good life? Are they not allowed to make their homes a comfortable place? So, I began to do some research secretly to know if outdoor tiles are not expensive yet of good quality. Dear reader, I found countless of them. 

Immediately I found what I was looking for, then I thought about what those writings about expensive outdoor tiles would have caused people. Some people would have made their home a more comfortable place, but they see themselves as someone that cannot afford to terrazzo floor tile in their homes. However, this article is not meant to blame anyone, but it aims at passing out the correct information to people of the middle class. I comforted myself with the fact that everyone is entitled to their opinion. But I want to charge you and encourage you to come out of the mentality that you cannot make your home like heaven on earth. 

5 cheapest outdoor tiles that you need to know

 So, I won’t be like those writers that left some people comfortless by giving them incomplete information due to their inability to do proper research. While I was searching to know if there are cheap outdoor tiles, I found out that there are countless them. Then, the struggle continues on picking out the most affordable of them and yet of good quality.

All you need to do is pay attention, then go straight to any tile store to pick up your tile. Hence, below are the quality and the cheapest outdoor tiles that you need to know;

  1. Botanique brunia porcelain paving slabs: This unique tile will fit in the exterior part of your house. It can be installed on walls and floors of the exterior part of the house. It is so cool and beautiful. It is 600 x 600 x 20 mm. Today, you can see this awesome outdoor tile in the range of 29.95 pounds per square meter. Isn’t that amazing? This tile is one of the cheapest tiles and yet a quality one. For those who are scared of visiting a tile store, I want to encourage you to go today and ask for Botanique brunia porcelain paving slabs.
  2. Lakeside blue-grey slate effect porcelain paving slabs: This excellent outdoor tile is 595 x 595 x 20 mm. It is easy to clean and easy to maintain. Even in some of the so-called rich men’s houses, I have seen it. You can also afford and install it to either your pool area or every other exterior part of your house. Water does not penetrate it easily. It has a smooth surface that will add more character to other outdoor materials in your home. 
5 cheapest outdoor tiles that you need to know
  1. Medici plus natural porcelain paving slabs: This unique outdoor tile is gorgeous. This porcelain tile is now 26.95 pounds per square meter. Its size is 595 by 595 by 20mm. It is easy to clean and maintain. Medici is a tile that can be installed either on the wall or floor of the exterior part of the house. What else are you waiting for? You can go on search engines and check out some of its features. You can see this tile on Amazon and every tile store in Australia. Therefore, for those of you that have been willing to see or know an outdoor tile that will fall within your budget, Medici plus natural porcelain paving slabs is what you need. 
  1. Material Perla porcelain paving slabs: Do you want a cheap, beautiful tile of good quality? Material is what you need to consider. This porcelain tile should be around 36.95 pounds per square meter. It is easy to clean and maintain. It is a type of tile that is also suitable for walls and floors of the exterior part of the house. Honestly, I want you to trust me on this that you can never regret using this excellent outdoor tile in your home. Its size is 610 by 610 by 20mm. Isn’t that lovely? 
5 cheapest outdoor tiles that you need to know
  1. Calacatta gold porcelain paving slabs: This unique tile has almost the same features as the Materia Perla porcelain paving slabs. This porcelain tile is also 610 by 610 by 20mm. One can get this tile in the range of 36.95 pounds per square meter. It is easy to maintain and clean. It is different from other tiles with a smooth surface that can cause an accident in the home. Calacatta gold has a rough surface that can prevent slipperiness. Therefore, you won’t regret using this fantastic tile for those of you who want something beautiful. You will also like to read! Best 10 Outdoor Tiles for Modern Gardens

Closing thought

You might be wondering where and how to get the above-listed outdoor tiles. They are all easy to get. You can get them in any tile store around you. Also, you can get them on Amazon. Please permit me to chip in something significant quickly. Please ensure that you are hiring a competent tiler to do the work for you. One thing is to get cheap material, and another thing is to get a qualified installer that will do the exact picture of what one has in mind. Do your research before concluding on who to hire. Finally, I want to tell you that I am always open to answering questions regarding this topic. So, don’t hesitate to drop your question in the comment box if there is any. You can read about 12 home improvement projects you should never, ever DIY by clicking here.

How Does An Led Light Bulb Work

How Does An Led Light Bulb Work

We all know that LED lights are really economical and last a lot longer than any other light. However, do you know how does an LED light bulb work, and what LED actually stands for?

There is much interesting information about LED lights that you might not know about. One of them is how they are actually working and why you should rather consider this type of light instead of the normal lights.

What is a LED light?

Did you ever wonder what LED stands for? What this type of light actually is? LED stands for Light Emitting Diode. This is actually just a semiconductor that can fit into an electronic circuit, and transport an electrical current in just one direction. Causing it to glow. The more LED lights there are, the brighter they will shine.

How do They Work?

It is interesting how they are working. People think that the LED lights are working the same as the normal bulbs, but that the globes are just smaller and put more into one bulb to generate better light.

However, this isn’t the case at all. They are working completely differently than normal light bulbs, and this is also the reason why it lasts a lot longer than normal light bulbs. Here is a quick explanation of how it works exactly.

The LED lights are made with 2 types of material, the (N and P) types material. The N-type material is the material that is containing extra electrons for an extra charge. The P-type material has extra holes in, which is collecting the extra charge. This causes the holes to start glowing. Making it light up. This is an easy way of getting light. And, this also explains why the LED lights are lasting so much longer and why they are more economical.

Benefits of LED Light Bulbs

Now, you know how LED lights work, and why they are getting so popular all over the world. But now, you might want to know if there are really any benefits of the LED lights and not the normal light bulbs that we all know. We all know that LED lights are more expensive, but are they worth paying more for it?

The first benefit is that it is lasting 100 times longer than normal lights. Meaning that even if you are paying more for the LED light, it is still going to be cheaper in the long run. And, then you are saving power with it as well. Making it double as economical as the normal light bulbs.

It is also shining much brighter than normal light bulbs. And, without it use more electricity. So, you can basically purchase a strong LED light, without the worry that your utility bill is going to be higher than normal.

Replacing Your Normal Bulbs

This is just a fact. Replacing all your normal bulbs with LED bulbs, it will be the best thing you have ever done. You might think that this is going to cost you a lot of money to replace the light bulbs, but in the long run, you are going to save a lot of money.

They don’t need to be replaced as often, meaning that you won’t be without light in a room until you can get to the shops for purchasing a new light bulb, very often. The light won’t fade as it is getting older and you will pay lower utility bills. If a normal light bulb breaks, it can cause glass scattered everywhere. Something that won’t happen when a LED light breaks. There isn’t glass that can be scattered everywhere. And, the heat of the LEDs won’t be as hot as normal lights that will burst.

Now, you don’t only know what LED stands for, you will also know how they work. And, the best part is that you will learn more about the reasons why this is something that you should consider buying. In the long run, you will benefit a lot, and you will even not have to worry about a room that is left in the dark, because of a faulty light bulb ever again.

Check out: Backyard Composting

Order Compost For Your Gardening Or Landscaping Needs!

Order Compost For Your Gardening Or Landscaping Needs!

Compost is a  soil amendment  DO NOT PLANT DIRECTLY INTO THIS OR ANY OTHER COMPOST. COMPOST SHOULD BE BLENDED THOROUGHLY WITH SOIL AND/OR OTHER NON-COMPOST AMENDMENTS.

PRICING

Compost ($16.00/cubic yard)

Garden Blend mixes 45 percent compost, 45 percent black dirt, and 10 percent sand to help ensure beautiful gardening results. ($21.00/cubic yard)

50/50 Compost Blend mixes 50 percent compost and 50 percent black dirt to grow vibrant plants, trees, and shrubs. ($18.00/cubic yard)

Topsoil contains highly-concentrated organic matter to ensure the greatest growth results. ($20.00/cubic yard)

Rain Garden Blend is a mix of 70 percent sand soil and 30 percent compost. Used to filter water before it leaves job sites. ($23.00/cubic yard)

DELIVERY OR PICK UP: Delivery is $110 dollars. For soil and compost, the maximum load is 15 yards. For mulch, the max load is 25 yards. They will not deliver mixed loads. Pick up with your vehicle in Burnsville. For more information please contact the Mulch Store online or call at 952-946-6999.

http://www.mulchstoremn.com/mulch.html 

Mulch. Click here for photos and prices on mulch.

Use the compost calculator to calculate how much compost you need.


COMPOST CALCULATOR

This simple calculator will tell you how much compost you need to amend or top-dress your project.  Simply (1) enter the length in feet, (2) enter the width in feet, (3) select the depth you’d like and (5) press Calculate. Your answer will appear under the calculate button.

Soil Amendment: 

Compost used as an amendment is typically incorporated into the soil anywhere from 1″ – 6″ deep or more, depending on need. The typical application rate to amend soil is 3 CY / 1000 sq ft at 1″ deep.

Top Dressing:  Compost used as a top dressing is applied to the top of the ground from 1/4″ to a maximum of 3/8″ in depth. The typical application rate for top dressing is 1 CY / 1000 sq ft at 1/4-3/8″ deep.

For Vegetable Gardens and Flower Beds: 

Blend compost with the existing soil. Use between 3 cubic yards per 1000 square feet (1” thick) to a maximum of 6 cubic yards per 1000 square feet (2” thick). Roto-till, disc, or manually blend this layer of compost with 6” of the existing soil. It is best to mix soil first, then apply compost, then mix compost and loosened soil again.

For Bedding Plants: 

Spread 1/8 to ¼” of compost evenly on top of the soil, mix into the soil, and then water thoroughly.

For House Plants: 

Spread 1 tablespoon per 6” pot or about 1/8” of compost evenly over the top of the soil and water. Repeat every six months or when required.

For Sod Preparation: 

Blend compost with the existing soil. Use between 3 cubic yards per 1000 square feet (1” thick) to a maximum of 6 cubic yards per 1000 square feet (2” thick). Roto-till soil, disc, or manually blend this layer of compost with 6” of the existing soil. It is best to mix soil first, then apply compost, then mix compost and loosened soil again.

For Seed Bed Preparation:

Blend compost with the existing soil. Use between 1-1/2 cubic yards per 1000 square feet (1/2” thick) to a maximum of 3 cubic yards per 1000 square feet (1” thick). Roto-till, disc, or manually blend this layer of compost with 6” of the existing soil. It is best to mix soil first, then apply compost, then mix compost and loosened soil again.

For Backfilling Trees:

Mix one part of compost with 3 parts of native soil and backfill around the root ball.

Why Is Composting Good?

By Nacy, eHow Contributor

Compost is one of the most beneficial soil amendments, and adding it is one of the easiest ways to improve the health of your garden. The byproduct of organic materials decomposing, compost is an excellent way to recharge the soil.

Multivitamins:

Compost delivers a balanced blend of the nutrients plants need to grow. Unlike fertilizer, which acts quickly and can burn plants, compost is a gentle, slow-release vitamin.

Improved Soil Structure: 

Compost adds bulk to sandy soil and helps it retain moisture. It loosens heavy clay soil so it drains better.

Earth Movers: 

Beneficial soil organisms, from earthworms to microscopic creatures, live in compost and give it vitality. The worms tunnel through the soil to aerate it and boost its nutrient value with their waste. Soil organisms work like pro-biotics to keep the beneficial bacteria flourishing.

Improved Resistance to Pests and Diseases:

Just like people, plants are better able to fend off diseases if they are healthy. In addition, botanists have found that pests are less likely to attack healthy plants. Since compost-fed plants are stronger, to begin with if they are infected or attacked they recover faster than plants growing in soil without compost.

Mulch: 

When applied in beds, compost makes an excellent mulch. It keeps weeds down and helps the soil retain moisture.

Composting on the Farm:

Farmers have been composting for centuries by plowing their fields under at the end of the growing season. Add some compost to every planting hole you dig. Spread it around established plants. Sprinkle it over newly seeded patches of grass. Grow potted plants in it. Once you start using black gold, you will find more and more uses for it.

Check out: Donate Hl Power & Light

Why Composting Can Help Mitigate Climate Change

Why Composting Can Help Mitigate Climate Change

The decomposition of organics in landfills produces methane, a greenhouse gas that, according to the EPA, is 70 times more effective at trapping radiant heat than carbon dioxide. As a result, landfills have become the third-largest source of human-caused greenhouse gases in the US. In contrast, composting this material creates a valuable soil enhancer that replenishes depleted soils, protects against erosion, can replace synthetic fertilizers, and helps retain water. Composting our organics protects air, water, and soil quality.

 “The only effective method to prevent methane emissions from landfills is to stop biodegradable materials from entering landfills. The good news is that landfill alternatives such as composting are readily available and cost‑effective. Compost has the added benefit of adding organic matter to the soil, sequestering carbon, improving plant growth, and reducing water use ‑ all-important to stabilizing the climate. Composting is thus vital to restoring the climate and our soils and should be front and center in a national strategy to protect the climate in the short term.” 
-BioCycle magazine, August 2008

Significantly decreasing waste disposed of in landfills and incinerators will reduce greenhouse gas emissions the equivalent to closing 21% of U.S. coal-fired power plants. This is comparable to leading climate protection proposals such as improving national vehicle fuel efficiency. Indeed, preventing waste and expanding reuse, recycling, and composting are essential to put us on the path to climate stability.

www.stoptrashingtheclimate.org

Robert Watkins, the co-chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Third Assessment, recently wrote:

“T(he) Copenhagen talks focused on the leading climate change culprit: CO2. But reversing global temperature increases by reducing carbon emissions will take many decades, if not centuries. Even if the largest cuts in CO2 contemplated in Copenhagen are implemented, it simply will not reverse the melting of ice already occurring …The most obvious strategy is to make an all-out effort to reduce emissions of methane. Methane’s short life makes it especially interesting in the short run, given the pace of climate change. If we need to suppress temperature quickly in order to preserve glaciers, reducing methane can make an immediate impact. Compared to the massive requirements necessary to reduce CO2, cutting methane requires only modest investment. Where we stop methane emissions, cooling follows within a decade, not centuries. That could make the difference for many fragile systems on the brink.”

Robert Watson and Mahamed El-Ashry, “A Fast, Cheap Way to Cool the Planet,” The Wall Street Journal (December 29, 2009).

ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS OF COMPOSTING

Composting benefits the environment in many ways. When you compost your food scraps, you produce nutrient-rich soil that is needed to maintain healthy and productive farm fields. This closes an important loop and completes the cycle necessary to grow more healthy food. When it comes to global warming, composting directly reduces carbon dioxide (CO2) and other powerful greenhouse gases, like methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O).

Composting is an effective way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Many people believe that throwing food scraps and paper products into a landfill is harmless because the materials biodegrade. However, most people are surprised to learn that when these materials break down in a landfill they rot anaerobically (without oxygen) and become powerful contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. When food scraps are thrown in a landfill, the degrading material creates methane, a greenhouse gas that is 70 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

While it is true that some landfills try to capture the methane and use it as energy, many studies have shown that most of the methane gas from landfills is released before it is captured, and then more is released when they dig the trenches for the capture pipes. Capture rates are at most 46% in the best-case scenario (Institute for Local Self Reliance, Environmental Protection Agency). Landfills are the single largest human source of methane emissions in the world. Even with the best technology, most of the methane from landfills is released into the atmosphere.

By composting, the generation of greenhouse gases, particularly methane, is avoided. A well-run composting operation will produce negligible greenhouse gas emissions, mostly from the operation of tractors and other equipment.

Compost improves the quality of our soil and reduces the need for chemical fertilizers and pesticides. The end product of your efforts to compost food scraps and paper products is nutrient-rich soil. When this compost is used on fields it has many benefits:

  • It replaces chemical fertilizers and pesticides, avoiding greenhouse gases related to their production. The application of synthetic nitrogen to fields is a significant portion of nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions. N20 is a powerful greenhouse gas, about 310 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Compost reduces the use of NO2 and other energy-intensive fertilizers and pesticides. “In fact, a single 40-pound bag contains the equivalent of 2.5 gallons of gasoline. In addition to their oil base, synthetic fertilizers are spiked with concentrated forms of nitrogen and phosphorus, which are harder for plants to absorb than their naturally occurring counterparts. The excess phosphorus and nitrogen not absorbed by plants runoff into a storm drain that feeds into rivers and streams, contributing to algae blooms that deprive waterways of oxygen and kill off aquatic life.” From the Green Guide, National Geographic http://www.thegreenguide.com/products/print_pr.mhtml?id=308
  • It improves the tilth and workability of soils, resulting in less fuel consumption to the soil.
  • It helps soils hold or sequester carbon dioxide.

In addition to significantly reducing the production of greenhouse gas emissions, compost replenishes and revitalizes exhausted farm soils by replacing trace minerals and organic material, reduces soil erosion, and helps prevent stormwater runoff.

Not all composting is the same….there is no place like home to compost. Composting your materials at home in your backyard or right at the source are the best ways to get the most environmental benefits from composting. Collecting and hauling compostable materials, and processing them at a facility, requires fuel and energy. How much this offsets the environmental benefits of composting can only be calculated using the specifics of a particular program. However, that said, the overall environmental benefits of composting compared to the alternatives of burning or burying compostable material as waste are far superior.

Compost collection is an excellent supplement for at-the-source composting and allows for more materials to make their way from the waste stream into the soil. For people who cannot compost at home (because they have limited space or no yard, for example) curbside composting provides the opportunity for them to compost, too. Composting on-site at businesses is rarely feasible, so compost collection provides a way for restaurants and grocers to reap the environmental benefits of composting. Large-scale commercial composting facilities are carefully monitored and can handle materials that we would not easily compost in a backyard compost pile. For example, sustained high temperatures allow for the safe composting of meat and dairy products, as well as non-recyclable food packaging like waxed boxes, egg cartons, cotton balls, paper plates, and more.

NEED MORE BENEFITS?

A recent waste audit showed that of the material we throw away 34 percent is easily composted organic material and another 33 percent is paper, a substantial portion of which could be recycled or composted.

Taking organic material out of the waste stream has several benefits.

  • Hennepin County’s incinerator (HERC) is at processing capacity.  Garbage continues to increase, so HERC is currently turning away solid waste to landfills both in state and out of state. Organic matter in landfills is a prime cause of emissions of methane into the atmosphere (23 times worse greenhouse gas than CO2). If garbage production increases, as anticipated, Hennepin County will need to build a new incinerator. (Millions of dollars and not very effective at collecting greenhouse emissions.)
  • HERC operates more efficiently with the “wet stuff” removed (an analogy –“Try burning noodles on a campfire”) and releases less methane.
  • Recycling organics would boost the recycling rate from about 25% to 50- 70%. Increasing the recycling rate should negate the need to build another incinerator and paying to transport and tip at landfills. A side effect of collecting organics is that other rates of recycling increase also.
  • Organics are removed from the waste stream and composted, providing an earth-friendly end-product.
  • The tipping fee for organics is less than the tipping fee for solid waste ($15 per ton vs about $41.85 per ton). Source Separated Organics (SSO) is also exempt from the county solid waste fee of 14.5% and a state solid waste tax of 17%.
  • Instead of taking up space in a landfill or being burned in the incinerator, they are recycled into compost a valuable resource used in landscaping and road construction projects.

This valuable compost can be used to:

  •  Replenish our soils
  •  Reduce soil erosion
  •  Prevent polluted stormwater runoff from contaminating our wetlands, lakes, and streams
  • Capture carbon dioxide for climate protection

What is NOT compostable?

There should be very little in your regular black trash cart apart from plastics (plastic wrap, plastic packaging, non-recyclable plastic bags) and broken glass, ceramics, rubber, leather, non-recyclable metal, diapers, and pet feces.

Where is our organics material being taken? Will it be burnt?

The organics will be taken to a facility to be turned into compost. It will NOT be burnt. The trash from your black cart will continue to go to the HERC burner and be burnt, as is done currently with all our garbage. The material in the green cart is diverted from this regular process which is much better for the environment. Click here for photos of the compost facility.

Has this been done before?

Hennepin County has sponsored pilot organics collections in Minnetonka, Wayzata, and Orono. It has also been city-wide and ongoing in Hutchinson MN. In fact, until the 1950s, organics were collected throughout Minneapolis-St Paul. Linden Hills will be the first Minneapolis neighborhood to re-start collecting.

What about yard waste?

At this stage, the city will NOT be collecting yard waste.

What about in the kitchen-is there anything I should do to prepare for the organics collection?

The organics cart from the city can be kept outdoors, wherever you keep your regular black trash cart. You may want to consider switching to a smaller black cart after a few weeks of the pilot if you find yourself having very little non-recyclable waste. As far as in the kitchen, there are a number of options. 1. Convert your usual kitchen trash can to biodegradable only, and place all the plastic/non-recyclable metal, etc elsewhere in a smaller receptacle; 2. Consider a pull out “trash drawer” for trash with multiple compartments so you can have the organics in one compartment, recyclable paper in another, non-recyclables in the third to fit your needs. Or 3. If you don’t have a lot of food waste you might consider a countertop compost container, however, these won’t fit fridge and freezer packaging and will need to be emptied more frequently. In all cases, just be sure to wrap your food scraps in newspaper or place in a compostable bag, so they don’t stick or freeze to the sides of the outdoor cart.

Check out: Your mode of transit affects your Carbon Footprint

Community Solar

Community Solar

Linden Hills Power & Light and Sundial Solar Energy, LLC are in the process of creating a unique Community Solar Project (CSP) program based on the Xcel Energy Solar Rewards Community Program and rates approved by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC).

WHAT IS COMMUNITY SOLAR?

A shared, centrally-located solar array system that provides electricity to participating subscribers.

BECOME A SUBSCRIBER! Subscriptions in the CSP are estimated at $1,650 per kilowatt of capacity for qualified subscribers. This pricing includes a reduction in costs based on federal tax incentives for solar energy that Sundial will pass through to subscribers. A typical MN home uses 800 kWh per month or 9600 kWh per year. A 4 kW subscription could provide half the electricity used by the average MN home. Solar power production from your shares is shown and credited on your monthly Xcel bill.

Subscribers pay an annual fee of 12 percent of the credits they received in the previous year. This annual fee is used for operation and maintenance expenses. Each year, CSP members will receive a report that details the total amount of electricity generated, total credits paid by Xcel Energy and any unsubscribed or unallocated credits, and all actual expenses for maintenance and administration of the membership base.

WHAT IF I MOVE OR NEED TO SELL? 

Unlike solar panels on your own roof, the electricity credits move where you move. As long as you have an Xcel energy bill and live in a county contiguous to the CSP, the credits will transfer to your new bill at your new home. Subscribers have the option to sell their subscriptions to another qualifying subscriber or to Sundial at any time based on the formula over the 25-year life of the CSP contract with Xcel Energy.

BENEFITS

  • The ability of renters or others whose roof is unsuitable for solar to participate in a solar array
  • Energy cost offsets move with you even if you move homes
  • Estimated 8-year Return on Investment (ROI)
  • Subscriptions can cover up to 120% of your annual electricity usage
  • Electricity costs are locked in for 25 years
  • Quality assurances, turn-key maintenance, and energy guarantees
  • Minnesota-made and other high-quality solar energy systems
  • Sundial is a leading provider of solar in MN, including The Will Steger Center in Ely, the largest Minnesota-made array in MN (in Lakeville).
  • LHP&L is an award-winning non-profit dedicated to sustainable energy, waste reduction, and energy conservation

Check out: COMPOST CAPTAINS

Easy Energy Efficiency

Easy Energy Efficiency

A super-easy way to decrease your electricity bill is to switch all your incandescent lights to CFLs. Change 10 or more frequently used lights and chances are you will see an immediate impact on your bill.

Steps you can take to seriously reduce your energy use.

Many families could achieve the first 1,000 kwh/year of savings by washing clothes in cold water (770 kwh/yr); placing several major electronics, such as video and stereo systems, on a surge protector that can be switched off (47kwh/year); and brushing of their refrigerator’s condenser coils twice a year (392 kwh/year). Many families could get another 1,000 kwh/year reduction by replacing half of their incandescent lighting with compact fluorescents (440kwh/year), letting the dishes in the dishwasher air dry (404kwh/year), and enabling the “sleep” function on their computer and printer to go on after five minutes of non-use (259kwh/year).

Level 1:

Simple Things You Can Do Today

Take these actions and save up to 33 percent of your energy use!

Turn Off Lights You’re Not Using

Take the step: Make a pact with your family to be extra mindful about shutting off lights when they leave a room. A good rule of thumb is that there should be a maximum of one light on in your household per person at any given time. You can even put little reminders around your switchplates–For a switchplate reminder, download here from Co-op America. Or, install motion sensors (about $20 each) that turn the lights off after a room has remained empty for a certain amount of time.

Why: lluminating rooms that aren’t in use is a huge waste.

Schedule an Energy Audit

Take the step: Get an energy audit performed on your home.

Why: Get expert advice to help you identify ways you can use less electricity and plug energy leaks in your home. You’ll get the most cost-effective and useful steps that will help you reduce your energy use, lower your home’s global warming footprint, and lower your energy bills, too. Your local utility will probably provide an energy audit for free, but you may get a more comprehensive audit—allowing you to save even more money in the long run—by paying for a whole-house energy audit.

The big picture: Taking all of the most cost-effective strategies for energy efficiency can cut your energy use in half, save you 50 percent or more off your energy bills, and halve your household global warming emissions, too.

Let Your Dishwasher Breathe

Take the step: Skip the energy-intensive drying cycle on your dishwasher and choose the “air-dry” option, or open the door overnight for some zero-energy dish-drying action.

Why: The drying cycle uses up a lot of energy and money, while just letting dishes air-dry will accomplish the task for free.

Shift Your Load to Off-Peak Times

Electricity demand goes down at night and begins rising in the morning, peaking at mid-day before falling back down at nightfall again. Because power sources have to produce the electricity around the time of its use, without any capacity for long-term storage, it is our peak demand that determines the expansion of dirty coal-fired power plants and other polluting forms of energy generation. Someday, utilities may use smart meters to help us even things out, but until then, you can do your own private “load shifting” by trying, whenever possible, to wash laundry or run the dishwasher at nighttime and as far possible from mid-day. “Delay” settings on appliances sometimes make this easy to do—many dishwashers, for example, can be set after dinner to go on in four hours and wash the dishes while you sleep.

Bonus: Your utility company may shift to time-of-day metering in the future, so you’ll actually pay less when you use electricity at night.

Don’t Heat or Cool Empty Rooms

Take the step: If there is a room in your home that is largely unused, close the vents to save on heating and cooling costs. Always turn off room air conditioners as you leave a room. When you go on vacation, set the thermostat at least ten full degrees below (in winter) and above (in summer) where it’d be if you were home; no need to heat or cool a house when no one is home.

Why: Heating and cooling rooms no one is in wastes energy (and money!) and generate needless emissions.

Turn Off Your Electronics

Take the step: If you’re going to be away from your computer or other appliance for more than an hour, turn it off as you leave the room.

Why: Some people mistakenly think it takes a giant burst of energy to power up a television, computer, or game console, and so they leave these electronics on continuously. However, even on an “energy-saver” setting, a computer, game console, or television wastes much more energy when it’s on all day than if you really turn it off.

Eliminate “Phantom Load”

Take the step: Many electronics use electricity even when they’re turned off—so your best bet is to unplug electronic devices and appliances when they’re not in use. Or, plug your TV and accessories into one power strip and switch off the whole strip to eliminate this “phantom load.”

Why: At least five percent of the average household’s monthly utility bill goes towards powering devices that are turned off. TVs, DVD players, computers, printers, and cell phone chargers are just some of the devices that leak power even when they aren’t on—in fact, a quarter of the energy used by your TV each year is consumed when the TV is off.

Eliminate Your Second Fridge, and Show the First One a Little Love

Take the step: If you’re paying to power a second refrigerator or freezer in your basement, try to make do with one fridge in the kitchen and unplug the extra one.
You can help your first fridge function more efficiently by placing jugs of water in any empty space inside (water retains cold better than air does), and by taking some time once every six months to pull the fridge away from the wall and scrub down the grime that accumulates on the coils. (One of our editors found that her fridge was so much more efficient post-scrub that she could set the thermostat higher for the same chill!)

Why: The refrigerator is often the biggest energy-using appliance in a home. A typical refrigerator uses more than 1,300 kWh a year and costs the average American household $120 a year in electricity.

Wash Clothes in Cold Water

Take the step: Turn the knob on your washing machine to “cold/cold” today, and leave it there. If you use a laundromat, post this flyer from the Center for a New
American Dream
 to spread the word about washing in cold.

Why: With modern washing machines and detergents, washing your clothes in cold water gets them just as clean as washing in hot water, but it uses half the energy. In situations where you
do need hot water—for example, to kill dust mites in bedding— choose cold water for the rinse cycle.

Give the Dryer a Rest

Take the step: Consider skipping the dryer and hanging your clothes to dry on a rack or a clothesline. (For support in line-drying your clothes and to help fight anti-clothesline ordinances in your neighborhood, join Project Laundry List.) You can avoid wrinkles by using your dryer for five minutes, then hanging clothes on the line. Please note that if you have pollen allergies, you’ll want to skip the outdoor clothesline and use an indoor drying rack instead.

Why: It takes a huge commitment of energy to run a dryer— all to do something that the air, given a little more time, will do for free. Many households spend more than $100 a year on the energy used by their dryer.

Level 2:

A Little More Time, A Lot More Savings

Take these actions and save up to 56 percent of your energy use!

Replace Your Light Bulbs

Take the step: Replace the incandescent light bulbs in your house, even if they haven’t yet burned out, with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs).

Why: You’ve been hearing about the wonders of CFLs for years now—they last ten times longer and use one-fourth as much energy as incandescent bulbs—but you might still have some old incandescent bulbs around your house. Incandescent bulbs are inefficient because they give off 90 percent of their energy in heat—while CFLs give off little heat. Don’t let the higher price of a CFL stop you—because CFLs use so little energy and last so much longer, a CFL bulb will save you $30 or more over its lifetime.

Please note that CFLs do contain a small amount of mercury. However, CFLs still result in fewer mercury emissions than incandescents. The average coal-fired plant spews about 13.6 mg of mercury to power an incandescent bulb, while it only emits 3.3 mg to power a CFL. Add that to the 5 mg of mercury the average CFL contains, and you still come out ahead. Be sure to dispose of CFLs properly: call your local solid waste authority for local options, or take them to your local hardware store (some may charge a small fee). CFLs must be recycled properly, please DO NOT place it in the trash.

Light-emitting diode, or LED, lights are also becoming more widely available for uses around the home. A mercury-free LED light lasts about 50 times longer than an incandescent bulb. You can now find LED reading lamps and LED Christmas lights. A strand of LED Christmas lights uses 90 percent less energy than incandescents.

The big picture: If each home in America replaced one bulb with an Energy Star CFL, it would save enough energy to light 3 million homes for a year and prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions from 800,000 cars.

Resources: The Energy Star program’s page on CFLs includes information about clean-up and disposal of broken CFLs, as well as energy-saving calculators and purchasing tips.

Plug Your Air Leaks

Take the step: Plug the energy leaks in your home. Call your utility for a free energy audit, or call an energy auditor in your area—they will be able to find the air leaks in your home and assess how you can fix them. A local contractor can help you plug those energy holes, or you can seal leaks around windows and doors yourself with weatherstripping or caulk available at your local hardware store.

Why: Investing in energy-efficient heating and cooling systems will only take you so far if your home is leaking out the cool or warm air you’re putting in it. The EPA estimates that properly sealing and insulating the “shell” of your home—its outer walls, ceiling, windows, and doors—is often the most cost-effective way to improve energy efficiency in your home. By properly sealing and insulating your home, you can save anywhere from 5 to 50 percent of your energy bill each year. Only 20 percent of homes built before 1980 are well-insulated, so if you own an older home, you should assess if you need more insulation.

The big picture: If one-fourth of US households weather-stripped and caulked their doors and windows, it would save enough energy in heating and cooling costs to prevent 8 million tons of CO2 from being emitted.

Resources: The Energy Star program’s Do-it-Yourself Guide to sealing and insulating your home includes step-by-step information on how to find and plug air leaks. Find nontoxic insulation made from recycled cotton; ask your local hardware store, or look in the “Building—Supplies/Kits” category of our National Green Pages™.

Reduce Your Water Use

Take the step: Reduce the water you’re using. Simple ways to save water include fixing any leaks around your house and replacing faucets and showerheads with low-flow alternatives.

Why: According to the EPA, American public water supply and treatment facilities consume enough electricity each year to power more than 5 million homes. So think of turning off your faucet when you don’t need it as you do turning out the lights when you leave a room. In fact, the energy used to transport and treat the water that runs out of your tap for five minutes would power a 60-watt light bulb for 14 hours. Additionally, water shortages are becoming a harsh reality for many communities—a recent government survey found that at least 36 states are anticipating water shortages by 2013.

The big picture: If just one out of every 100 American homes changes to water-efficient fixtures, we would avoid adding 80,000 tons of greenhouse gas to the atmosphere, says the EPA.

Resources: The EPA’s WaterSense program has information about installing low-flow water fixtures, low-water-use landscaping, and more.

Cut Waste Through Windows

Take the step: Plug window leaks: Make sure that the edges of your windows are properly sealed. Fill any gaps with caulk (find no-VOC caulk from AFM Safecoat) to stop air leaks.

Cover up in winter: By covering windows with heavy curtains or drapes, you can greatly cut down the heat loss. You can also purchase storm-window kits from your local hardware store. These kits come with plastic film and a special tape and will cost you about $3–$8 per window. Reflective “Low-E” films are also available, which reduce the amount of heat that escapes through windows while still letting light through.

Check out: How Does An Led Light Bulb Work