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Pollution Prevention Tips

Pollution prevention can be simple. For example:


  • New high-efficiency air conditioners and heat pumps use up to 40 percent less electricity than older models for the same amount of running time.
  • Clean or replace AC filters at least once a month. Dirty filters will make your air conditioner work harder and run longer.
  • Clean AC or heat pump coils at the beginning of the summer. A clean coil will lower your energy costs, extend the unit’s life, and provide cleaner air for you to breathe. The fine coils on the outside AC unit can be washed with a hose. Coils on the inside of the unit may be difficult to get to and might best be serviced by a trained technician.
  • Keep debris, high grass, or other obstacles away from outdoor AC condenser so that airflow to the unit is not blocked. The blockage will make the unit work harder and run longer.
  • Outside air conditioning condensers shaded by trees or other means work more efficiently and use up to 10 percent less electricity.
  • Set your thermostat at 78. Each degree cooler than 78 will increase your energy use by 3 – 8 percent per degree. Setting your thermostat at 72 could increase energy use by up to 18 – 48 percent.
  • The ductwork in the attic of the average home leaks 15-25 percent of heating and cooling. Leaking ducts can affect air quality in your home by sucking in and redistributing pesticides, fiberglass fibers, and dust.
  • Attic radiant barrier, usually made of aluminum foil bonded to paper, helps block heat flow through the roof during the summer. It can be stapled across rook rafters in the attic and can reduce annual energy bills by 3-8 percent.
  • Correctly positioned shade trees can reduce annual household cooling costs by up to 25 percent. Also, tree-shaded neighborhoods stay up to 3-6 degrees cooler than tree-less neighborhoods.
  • More heat is transferred into homes from outside walls painted with dark colors-than those painted with light colors. Dark outside colors absorb 70-90 percent of the radiant heat that strikes the home’s surface.


  • Fans blowing directly on you can make temperatures around feel up to 4 degrees cooler.
  • Fans blowing, but not directly on you, will not produce the same effect. Fans cool people, not rooms.


  • Solar screens on windows can block out 60-70 percent of sunlight/heat.
  • Tint films applied directly to windows can block out 40-60 percent of sunshine/heat.
  • Keep blinds and drapes closed to keep your house cooler.
  • Drapes block out sunlight and heat better than blinds.


  • Next to heating and cooling, electric water heaters use the most energy in a household (14-20 percent.)
  • Lower the thermostat on your water heater to 120 degrees.
  • Wrapping your water heater with an insulation blanket can reduce its energy use by 10-15 percent.


  • Avoid excessively packaged products – single-use products.
  • Choose products with less packaging -
  • bulk produce instead of packaged
  • large sizes for non-perishables
  • bulk products
  • Avoid disposable products like razors, dishes
  • Use sponges, cloth napkins, and towels, instead of paper products.
  • Use reusable containers instead of plastic baggies and wrap
  • Bring your own bags to the store (keep extras in your car for unplanned purchases)
  • Choose containers that can be recycled; check with your recycler
  • Markets for recyclables fluctuate so not all materials will be accepted at all times; buying recycled products opens up markets.