HOME CHECKLISTDo you have an energy hog taking up space in your garage?
Not the car, the fridge! An old refrigerator or freezer wastes a lot of electricity. If you've been thinking about making a change, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District has an incentive that may push that old fridge or freezer out the door.
JACO Environmental, SMUD's appliance recycling partner, offers free pickup of your unwanted appliance. In addition, SMUD will give you a $35 rebate.
The offer is open to SMUD customers, both residential and businesses. Visit www.smud.org/rebates or call (800) 299-7573 to schedule a pickup.
Older refrigerators and freezers use up to three times more electricity than new, efficient models, according to SMUD experts. That adds up to $125 a year in extra energy costs.
"By recycling old refrigerators and freezers, our customers can save money and energy, and help us build a cleaner, healthier environment," said Paula Robertson, SMUD's program manager for refrigerator recycling. "And with free pickup and a $35 incentive, it's also an easy way to jump-start your spring cleaning."
There's a limit of two units per pickup. All units must be in working order and standard size (such as 10 or 27 cubic feet).
At its Hayward plant, JACO Environmental deconstructs old appliances while recycling 95 percent of materials. The process also safely extracts toxic components common in old refrigerators, such as contaminated oils, mercury and chemicals. Those components can leak out of discarded refrigerators in landfills.
"These old appliances are environmental time bombs," said Michael Dunham, JACO's director of energy and environmental programs. "However, by removing them from homes, saving them from landfills and safely recycling them, we create jobs, save money and reduce demand for resources and electricity."
And you get more room in the garage.
Time to start the summer vegetable garden. Plant seeds for lima and snap beans, beets, carrots, celery, chard, cucumbers, endive, fennel, jicama, melons, mustard, okra, potatoes, radish, soybeans, spinach, summer and winter squash, turnips and watermelon.
Start to set out tomatoes as ground temperatures warm. Tomatoes need nights above 50 degrees. Wait a little longer for peppers and eggplants.
In the flower garden, plant seeds (or transplants) for alyssum, aster, celosia, cleome, cosmos, four o'clocks, marigold, morning glory, periwinkle, rudbeckia, salvia, sunflower, verbena and zinnia.
Plant summer bulbs including dahlias, lilies and gladioli.
Weed, weed, weed. Pull them out before they flower. A little work now will prevent major problems later.