Contact: Dan McLean, 651-297-1607 St. Paul, Minn. -- As you get your home and yard ready for winter, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency suggests some ideas to save energy and the environment as you make yourself more comfortable. Save energy by insulating your attic
The single most effective way to make your home more comfortable year-round is to add insulation to your attic. A properly insulated attic reduces your energy needs. If you have less than seven inches of fiberglass or rock wool insulation, or less than six inches of cellulose insulation in your attic, consider adding more. Also, be sure to insulate under floors above unheated spaces, like crawlspaces.
Safely dispose of motor oil, anti-freeze and other chemicals
If you're going to do some routine vehicle maintenance before the snow flies, remember to keep oil, antifreeze and other chemicals out of street gutters. Check with your local household hazardous waste center to find out where you can dispose of these items. Businesses that sell motor oil in Minnesota must either collect used motor oil or post a sign indicating the nearest location for drop-off.
Keep household chemicals from freezing
As part of your fall cleanup, don't forget that some household chemicals will freeze in an unheated garage. If the product label reads "soap and water cleanup" or "keep from freezing," it's probably a water-based product and could be damaged if frozen. Common water-based products include latex driveway sealer, latex paint, paint-related items such as caulks and adhesives, pesticides and herbicides. If you have excess product, consider giving some to a neighbor - otherwise, safely dispose of chemicals at your county's hazardous waste site.
If you heat your home with oil, check your tank for leaks
Keep your fill pipe visible and accessible for the delivery driver. And if you take your tank out of service, remove the tank, lines and fill pipe completely. Many fuel oil delivery companies have accidentally delivered heating oil to homeowners' fill pipes that had no tank attached to the other end, resulting in spills and damage that cost thousands of dollars to repair. After the snow flies, be sure to keep vent lines free from snow and ice to prevent pressure from building up in tanks and piping.
For other ideas on how to lessen your environmental footprint, visit the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's Living Green Web site at www.livinggreen.org/actions.cfm.