• Did you know after 400 charges, the battery life of your smartphone begins to degrade by about 20%? That doesn't mean your battery won't charge; it just won't hold onto a charge as long as the first time you used your phone. One way to extend and protect the life of your battery is to avoid chargers that do "fast charging." These devices charge phones quickly, but they also stress the battery. If you can, do a slow charge, like using a USB cord to charge your phone from your computer. The slower charge rate can extend the life of your battery.
• Many kitchen sinks have a garbage disposal, and it's a convenient way to quickly and efficiently dispose of food waste when composting isn't an option. But there are a few organic waste items you should avoid putting down the disposal. Pasta and rice are starchy foods that can expand in your pipes and create clogs. Stringy vegetables like asparagus, corn husks and celery can wrap around the disposal's blades. And keep grease out of your disposal; cooled oil can harden and create serious problems in your pipes and septic system.
• The warm, covered environment of your backyard grill is an ideal place for a wild animal to forage for food or to nest inside. But wild animals and grilling dinner don't mix, so use these tips to keep them away. First, keep the grill as clean as possible, since grease and leftover food can draw animals in. This includes removing the grease tray and keeping it clean. You can purchase a tight cover for your grill as a barrier, too. Avoid wildlife-deterrent chemical sprays; nothing chemical-based should be near something you use to cook food. And if you do find a nest, no worries: Just remove the nest and run the grill on high for 30 minutes to sterilize it before using.
• According to the National Sleep Foundation, the ideal temperature to get the best sleep is 65 degrees. While this may sound cold to many of you, the organization says a room that is too warm can make it difficult to get quality sleep. Fall and winter months are a good time to test this theory; lower the thermostat to 65 degrees and use blankets and socks to stay warm. When you wake up (rested, hopefully!), you can raise the thermostat back to a warmer temperature. You'll achieve a better sleep and save money on your heating costs at the same time, too.
• As the temperatures begin to dip, the cold air can also reduce the air pressure in your tires. Take a few seconds to check your tire pressure and put air in them to get them back to the right setting. If this isn't in your wheelhouse to do yourself, you can also ask for the pressure to be checked the next time your car is in for regular maintenance. You also should ask if the tread on your tires is acceptable. If it's too worn down, they could present problems during the snowy winter months.
• Take a moment to examine your roof and check for "popped nails." These are nails that were used to secure roofing shingles that have popped up over time. Humidity, environmental factors or simple warping can cause a few nails to loosen and raise up. Why is this important to address now? Because a popped nail means there is a small hole where water can seep in and create damage. If you live in an area that is prone to heavy storms, it also could be an area of the roof that "lifts" during a storm, creating even more damage. If you see several popped nails, have a professional fix them.
• Here's a classic Do Just One Thing tip worth repeating: If you have ceiling fans, now is the time to reverse the direction to help keep your home warmer. A ceiling fan that runs counter-clockwise pushes cool air down into a room. When you reverse its spin during the fall months, it'll push the cool air upward and help recirculate warm air in the room. If you don't reverse the direction and keep the fan going, it'll just continue to cool the room, creating a wind chill effect.
Danny Seo is an environmental lifestyle expert. His creative ideas have made him America’s leading authority on modern, eco-friendly living.