In the Home Survey, you will discover your and your family's impact on the environment by investigating:
- your habits and behaviors (e.g., taking short showers)
- your household conditions (e.g., type of light bulbs)
After submitting your answers online, you will receive personalized recommendations that explain what you can do in your home to help:
- conserve energy
- save water
- reduce waste and pollution
Download, print, and complete the survey; then return to enter your answers
Enter your answers now.
Directions to Enter Your Answers
1. First, enter the information below:
2. Click below to enter your answers to each question. (You can skip questions if necessary.)
3. When you're finished, click "Submit Survey" to receive recommendations that explain what more you can do to "Think Earth."
At what temperature is your heater thermostat usually set on cold days?
Is your heater thermostat turned down or off at night when people go to bed?
Are heater vents closed in unused rooms?
Is the furnace filter changed or cleaned periodically?
At what temperature is your air conditioner thermostat usually set during hot weather?
How much insulation is in your ceiling or attic?
Are windows and outside doors kept closed when the heater or air conditioner is on?
Does air leak in or out of any windows or doors even when they are closed? (Not sure? See the Draftometer Test help box.)
To check windows and doors for leaks, conduct the following test:
- Cut a piece of thin plastic food-wrap about 4 inches wide and 6 inches long.
- Tape the short edge of the plastic along the edge of a pencil.
- Hold the draftometer near the edges of closed doors and windows. If the plastic moves, then air is leaking in or out.
Are the windows on the sunny side of the house shaded during hot weather, either by trees or blinds or other window coverings?
At what temperature is your water heater set?
What type of light bulbs are in most of the light fixtures or lamps in your home? (Not sure? See the Light Bulbs help box.)
Are home computers, monitors, and printers turned off when they are not being used, such as when the family goes to bed?
How many energy "vampires" are in your home? (See the Energy Vampires help box.)
Energy "vampires" are appliances and electronic equipment that constantly draw power when plugged in, even if turned OFF. Look for appliances/equipment that have remote controls and that feature a continuous digital display, such as glowing clocks or “on” lights. Energy vampires can include:
- DVD players
- cable boxes
- audio equipment
- coffee makers
- computer equipment
Are lights, televisions, stereos, and other electric appliances turned off when they’re not being used?
How are small meals and snacks cooked or heated?
How old are your major appliances (refrigerator, water heater, furnace, air conditioner)?
How many miles per gallon do most of the cars in your family average?
Do family members leave the water running when brushing teeth, shaving, or doing dishes?
How long do family members spend in the shower?
Are the showerheads in your home low-flow, putting out less than 2 ½ gallons per minute? (To find out, see the Showerheads help box.)
Here’s how to find out the water output for your showerhead:
- Get a bucket, a watch with a second hand, and a measuring cup.
- Hold the bucket under the showerhead and have someone turn on the water at full pressure for 15 seconds.
- Measure how many cups of water are in the bucket and multiply the number of cups by 4 (to calculate how many cups per minute).
- Convert the number of cups to gallons (16 cups in a gallon) to determine how many gallons flow per minute.
- Go water some plants so you don’t waste the water!
Is trash (e.g., tissues, hair, paper scraps, etc.) sometimes flushed down toilets?
What type of toilets are in your home? (To find out, see the Toilet Type help box.)
First look under the tank lid or just behind the seat. If the toilet type ("low" or "ultra-low" or "high-efficiency") or the gallons-per-flush ("gpf") is not indicated, here’s how to find out:
- Get a pitcher or bucket that shows measurement in cups/quarts/gallons.
- Turn off the incoming water behind the toilet.
- Mark the water level in the tank with tape or a grease pencil.
- Flush the toilet.
- Use the pitcher to refill the tank (not the bowl) to the mark you made, noting how much water is needed (16 cups = 4 quarts = 1 gallon).
- Add ½ gallon to the total (the amount that fills the toilet bowl).
- If your toilet uses fewer than 3 gallons per flush, it is a low-flush, maybe even an ultra-low flush or a dual flush/high efficiency toilet, which uses only about 1.5 gallons. More than 3 gallons indicates a regular older toilet.
- Don’t forget to turn the water back on.
Are the dishwasher and clothes washer used only when full most of the time?
When does the lawn or garden usually get watered?
If sprinklers are used—either built-in or attached to the
hose—does a lot of the surrounding pavement get wet?
If you use automatic sprinklers, what type are they? (Not sure? See the Sprinkler Type help box.)
Is the time spent watering the lawn or garden changed depending on the season and weather?
Do most of the trees and other plants in your yard have mulch around them? (Not sure? See the What's Mulch? help box.)
How often is the hose used to clean driveways, patios, sidewalks, or other pavement areas?
When you wash a car at home, is the hose turned off when the water isn't needed?
Is the swimming pool and/or hot tub covered at night and at times when it isn't being used for extended periods?
Do any faucets, pipes, or toilets leak? (To learn how to check for leaks, see the Leaks help box.)
There are several ways to check for leaks. Before doing any of them, turn off all faucets.
- Find your water meter and watch the dial or the small triangular flow indicator for 5 to 10 minutes. If the meter moves, you’ve got a leak.
- Look at all faucets and pipes, inside and outside your house: Are any dripping water? Are there any damp spots underneath them?
- Put a few drops of food coloring in the tank at the back of the toilet; wait a few minutes to see if any of the color appears in the bowl. If so, you have a toilet leak.
Reducing Waste & Pollution
How often does your family use disposable “throw away” products (paper or plastic plates, cups, utensils) instead of ones that can be reused?
When you use paper towels and napkins, do you usually take only as many as you really need?
What does your family do with usable items that you no longer want (clothes, books, toys, furniture)?
Does your family recycle used newspapers, metal cans, plastic and glass bottles, cardboard boxes, etc.? (See the Ways to Recycle help box.)
Ways to Recycle
You can recycle by:
- putting trash in separate containers for recyclable and non-recyclable waste for your trash company to pick up.
- putting all waste in the same container if your trash company sorts and recycles your trash.
- saving recyclable materials and taking them to a recycle center.
What does your family do with grass clippings and other yard waste?
Does your family use products (e.g., cleaners, polishes, paints, solvents) that are safe for the environment? (Not sure? See the Environmentally-Friendly help box.)
How does your family usually dispose of hazardous waste products? (See the What’s Hazardous? help box.)
Hazardous waste includes products that can harm people or the environment. Look for labels that have warnings or cautions, or for words such as “hazardous,” “toxic,” “poisonous,” and “dangerous.” Hazardous waste includes:
- used motor oil
- cleaners and solvents
- ink cartridges
- electronic equipment
Do you or any family members ever throw trash—including food wrappers, paper, straws, drink cans—on the ground?
Do members of your family carpool or take public transportation to school or work on most days?
How do family members usually get to places that are close to home?
Do you combine several errands into one car trip instead of separate trips?
What type of yard equipment does your family or gardener use?
What type of barbeque does your family have at home?
Does your family burn wood in a fireplace or wood stove?
Submit your answers for recommendations that explain ways to "Think Earth."