A few good excuses to break out the toolbox
If you’re looking for a fun project to build your handyman chops, we’ve rounded up a few of the best green DIY projects that can make your home more sustainable. None of these projects cost more than $50, none will take more than a few hours, and all of them will save you money on your next utility bill. These are only summaries, but each one links to a more comprehensive step-by-step guide.
Your shower head can be one of the biggest offenders on your water bill, especially if you don’t have a lawn or garden. A water-saving shower head can make a big difference both for your bills, and your community’s water supply; and this fix is almost as easy as screwing in a light bulb. With only an adjustable wrench and some thread tape, you can get this job done in five minutes.
You may have noticed that older faucets produce a clear stream of water, while newer ones produce a white one—that’s because new faucets usually have aerators that lower the water output of the faucet while still maintaining good pressure to keep the stream usable. If your faucet is rated at more than 2.75 gallons per minute, you should install a faucet aerator. All you need is pipe tape and pliers, and you can have this job done in a minute.
Dust bunnies and buildup can be a big drain on your heating and cooling systems, preventing air from circulating and forcing your furnace or AC to work longer. With nothing but a vacuum and a garden hose, you can clean out your condenser in a few minutes, and make your entire home more energy efficient. The link above is a comprehensive DIY furnace repair guide; you can pick one or more of these mini-projects to implement, or do each one for an energy-saving furnace overhaul.
Good weather stripping can make a huge difference in your annual heating and cooling costs, and, if you have wall-unit heating or cooling, it can help maintain a comfortable equilibrium in every room in the house. This project is a great idea for beginning DIYers—it’s very simple, and you don’t need an extensive toolkit. However, because you need to strip all the windows and doors in your house, it can be time-consuming. If you have a large house, you might want to dedicate the better part of a Saturday to get it done.
The cost of a leaky faucet can really add up, especially if it’s leaking hot water; but for most leaks, all you need is an adjustable wrench and a screwdriver, and with a little guidance, you can identify and stop the leak in ten minutes. Check out the above guide for tips identifying your faucet type.
Running toilets happen when the float mechanism in the tank is not applying pressure to stop water from running through the toilet. Over time, they can be a much more expensive waste than a simple faucet leak. Fortunately, toilets are a relatively simple mechanism, so diagnosing and fixing the problem shouldn’t take more than a few minutes. Depending on the problem, you might need pliers, a hacksaw, and one or two replacement toilet parts.
[About the author: Katie White is a freelance blogger and DIY enthusiast who is passionate about sustainability, and loves taking things apart to see what makes them tick. She lives in Dallas, Texas with her husband and two children. Image: stevendepolo]