Makeover your home, makeover your lungs

Spring has sprung, and as Valley residents brace themselves for triple digit temperatures, many are completing home improvement projects while the weather is still enjoyable. Whether it’s spring cleaning or ongoing upkeep, keeping it environmentally friendly often means cost savings—and Earth savings. Consider implementing the following tips and “spring” toward cleaner air!

  • Install only CFL (compact fluorescent light) bulbs in your home—Did you know that CFL bulbs have an extremely long life? Some users report CFL bulbs lasting for as long as five years! Take the time to install CFL bulbs in your home now, and say goodbye to dragging out the ladder every month to change that ceiling fixture bulb. Plus, CFL bulbs use less electricity and are often brighter than incandescent bulbs, resulting in lower bills and brighter lights. Some electric/energy companies even offer rebates for free CFL bulbs.
  • Install timers on outdoor lights and thermostats—Home is where the heart is, but for many hours throughout the work day and at night, home doesn’t need to be where the heat (or cool) is. By installing timers on lights and thermostats that turn off those features when they’re not needed, you can cut down on your electricity bill and minimize your energy output foot print.
  • Use low-VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) or water-based paints, stains, finishes and paint strippers—Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOC, contribute to ground-level ozone and are present in the vapors from many household chemicals/solutions, including paint, stains and strippers. Do your part to decrease air pollution by purchasing low-VOC or non-VOC paints, stains, finishes and strippers when taking on your next painting project. Many home improvement stores display environmentally friendly products together or with special signage, so they are quickly and easily located.
  • Purchase ENERGY STAR lighting and appliances—Products featuring the ENERGY STAR label have met the energy efficiency requirements set forth in ENERGY STAR product specifications, established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Since these products use less energy, they save you money, and help protect the environment. Additionally, some ENERGY STAR products qualify for federal tax credits. For complete information, visit
  • Swap wood-burning chimineas and fire pits for gas or electric ones—Nothing is more comforting than the glow of a warm fire on the cool nights we are occasionally treated to in the desert. Unfortunately, the smoke resulting from those wood burning fires contribute significantly to particulate matter, which are tiny particles that can get stuck deep in the lungs and cause a number of health complications. Opt for a gas or electric powered fire pit that offers the same warmth and ambiance without the air pollution.

Home improvement projects are fun to undertake and even more fun to recognize as a job well done when completed. Give yourself an extra pat on the back the next time you complete a project in your home by keeping the environment in mind. Want to learn more about how you can improve air quality in Maricopa County? Become part of the solution at today!