16 Jan 2013
With everybody trying to do 'their bit' to help the planet, a few easy changes in your workshop can save money while making a difference.
There are plenty of small changes that have a big impact on your carbon footprint and create a healthier home environment.
Organise your tools
You don't have to leave battery chargers plugged in all the time. Most cordless tools have nickel cadmium (NiCad) batteries, which will hold some charge for up to a year. They lose 15 to 20 percent of their juice each month, but only take a couple of hours to power up again. Newer tools with lithium ion batteries lose 2 to 5 percent of their charge each month, so they'll be ready to go even if you haven't charged them in ages.
The Bosch range of Li-Ion cordless tools are designed to use the same battery, which means you only need a single battery charger on standby to charge up all the tools when you need them.
As an alternative to electric power to charge up your tools, consider installing a DIY solar power kit in your workshop. A small solar power kit will only take a few hours to install and you won't have to worry about power outages whilst in the middle of a project. They are also great for the home.
Light up the space
If you're still using incandescent bulbs, it's time to replace them with a single fluorescent fitting. Not only will you have more light in the space, you'll cut down on costs by replacing energy-guzzling light bulbs with more efficient ones.
The government is looking to ban incandescent and move towards LED lighting, so if you are planning to make improvements in your workshop, putting in a false ceiling and mounting LED down lights is a good idea.
Tip: For work areas that require additional lighting, consider installing LED strip lighting.
Recycle for storage
Plastic containers and tubs are useful for storing nails, screws and leftover paint. It's always a good idea to keep some paint for touch ups and margarine tubs can make good paint pots. If the lid doesn't have a tight seal, wrap some cling wrap over the top before putting the lid on.
Empty glass jars are ideal for screws and nails. Simply screw the lid to the bottom of a shelf so that you can easily see what each jar contains.
Switch to acrylic and water-based enamels to reduce solvents in your home and workshop. These paints are formulated to be as tough as oil-based but they don't contain toxic solvents that can poison the water supply.
If you need to clean paintbrushes or remove paint, choose an eco-friendly paint stripper such as Plascon RemovAll. Alternatively, soak paintbrushes in a solution of warm water and vinegar to remove stubborn paint.
Mix it up
Any leftover paint you have comes in handy for small projects here and there. Even if the colour is wrong, keep light coloured paints for base coats and reduce the amount of paint you need for a top coat.
Recycle lacquer thinner
When using lacquer thinner to clean up after using oil-based paints, allow it to sit overnight so that sludge settles on the bottom of the jar.
Then, carefully decant the clear thinner top layer into a clean jar and reseal it for future use and dispose of the leftover sludge at a hazardous-waste-disposal site.
Rags to riches
No matter what job you are doing, you are going to need cloths to clean up somewhere along the way. Instead of forking out for rolls of mutton cloth or cleaning cloths, recycle old clothes for rags.
Projects for free
More often than not, when buying board products you need to buy an entire sheet. Make it a habit to take home any off cuts you have paid for to use for smaller projects in and around the house. You can ask the supplier to cut larger off cuts into manageable sizes for easy storage.
Article courtesy of www.home-dzine.co.za
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