The Diamond Certified Tip of the Day series was a big hit with consumers this year, providing useful information and advice for a wide range of topics across many different service industries. The series will continue in 2013 and beyond (with the addition of new media channels!), but in the meantime, here are 5 of the most popular tips from 2012. Look for Part 2 next week!

1. Solar
Before installing a residential solar system, take steps to ensure your home is as energy-efficient as possible. Install weather stripping around doors and windows, add new insulation in walls and attic spaces, switch to fluorescent light bulbs, or insulate your water heater and water pipes. By reducing your energy needs, you can reduce the size and cost of the solar system you’re installing.

2. Cars
Leaving your car idling in the driveway actually wastes more gas than driving it, as it requires the fuel injectors to provide extra fuel to the engine for a longer period of time. When your car’s engine is cold, its computerized sensors tell the fuel injectors to stay open longer, allowing more fuel to flow to the engine until it reaches normal operating temperature.

3. Roofs
When inspecting your roof for general damage, look for excessive amounts of shingle granules (they look like large grains of sand) in the gutters—this is a sign of advanced wear. Also, check for signs of moisture, rot or mold. Remember that wet spots may not be directly under a faulty shingle; water can travel down to its lowest spot before it drips.

4. Lawns
The first days of summer shouldn’t be an automatic reminder to water your lawn. In fact, allowing your lawn to grow under mild drought stress actually increases rooting and can darken the color of the grass. You’ll know you need to water your lawn if you walk across it and your footprints remain (healthy leaf blades will bounce back up instead of lay flat).

5. Cabinets
If you want to avoid a full-scale cabinet remodeling project, consider refurbishing your existing cabinets. In the case of kitchen cabinetry, this can be accomplished by simply repainting and refinishing the wood. Functional modifications, such as replacing deep drawers with roll-out shelves for easier access, can further reinvent your cabinets without the need for replacement.

Find out which 5 tips round out the 10 Best of 2012 next week!

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