It seems all year we are reminding our children to study their lessons, do their homework, and get good grades on their tests. This month many of them have just completed final exams and some may have celebrated graduation. It may be fitting then, that I found this interesting “green” quiz on the National Geographic website. It tests your knowledge on the energy efficiency of your home.

It seems all year we are reminding our children to study their lessons, do their homework, and get good grades on their tests. This month many of them have just completed final exams and some may have celebrated graduation. It may be fitting then, that I found this interesting “green” quiz on the National Geographic website. It tests your knowledge on the energy efficiency of your home. Take a few minutes and see how you do:

1. What is the best way to cut down on air leaks in your home?

• Adding more insulation
•  Caulking and sealing

2. What is the optimal temperature for your water heater?

•  120 degrees
•  140 degrees
•  160 degrees
•  180 degrees

3. How often should you check your air conditioner and furnace filters?

•  Monthly
•  When it gets warm or cold enough to turn them on
•  Annually
•  Every other year

4. True or False: Raising or lowering your thermostat a degree or two doesn’t have that much impact on your energy use.

•  True
•  False

5. What in your house uses the most water?

•  Washing machine
•  Toilet
•  Dishwasher
•  Sink

Answers:

1. Caulking and sealing: Air leaks can increase your heating and cooling bill by 10 percent. Caulking and sealing them can cut your carbon footprint by 865 pounds per year.

Check especially around windows, doors, and other openings. Do not forget to look around spaces where pipes and wires enter the house.

2. 120 degrees: Lowering your water temperature prevents scalds and reduces carbon emissions by almost 480 pounds.

Because I had children, I always kept my hot water at this temperature. To this day, I tend to get scalded at other people's homes because I am not used to people keeping their water so hot.

3. Monthly: Checking air conditioner and furnace filters monthly to be sure they are clean improves the efficiency of your heating and air-conditioning systems and can save anywhere from 5 to 15 percent of your heating and cooling bill.

To make it easy, pick one time of the month to change your furnace filter, or wash it out (depending on which kind you have) every time that month. I always take care of it the first of the month, then it is easier for me to remember. Before they had the washable type, I would buy a year’s supply of filters from the hardware store. They are not expensive and it made it so much easier to take care of since they were right there.

4. False: You can shave 5 percent off your energy bill every degree you lower your thermostat below 70 degrees in winter and two percent for every degree above 72 degrees in the summer (even more if you raise it above 78 degrees). Make it easy on yourself by installing a programmable thermostat.

 Do not forget to use your ceiling fans to help push the hot air down from the ceilings in the winter, and to cause a cooling effect in the summers. Also, once you turn your air conditioner on, try raising the thermostat in the summer higher than usual. This will still remove the humidity from the indoor air; then use fans to help create a breeze,

5. Toilet: Flushing generally accounts for more than a third of home water use. New and improved high-efficiency toilets use less than 1.3 gallons per flush, using 60 percent less water than older models.

Do not forget that adding a 2-liter pop bottle, or milk jug filled with water and placing it in the back of a toilet tank can greatly reduce the amount of water used with each flush.

Most toilets do not require the amount of water in the tank reservoir to work properly.

I liked this quiz because it was quick and easy; plus, it covered a lot of bases. I hope it helped you get an overall view of improvements you might be able make to save some GREEN – energy and in your pocketbook! Keep on living the GREEN life!

Happy Trails!

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Find the online quiz here