Spring is right around the corner; you were good all winter and followed all the energy-efficiency tips you could find, but a change in weather means you’ll need new ideas for top efficiency. The warmer weather means you’ll be concentrating more on keeping cool than keeping warm.
Most importantly, prepare for hot days earlier rather than later. Get your air conditioner checked and tuned-up. Do it in March. If you wait until June, you’ll be getting in a very long line to wait for an appointment. Don’t forget to change your air filter monthly.
Other things to consider include:
- Take advantage of the beautiful, sunny weather. Open the drapery to let in some sunlight and you won’t have to turn on lights. On the other hand, close the blinds against strong, direct sunlight to avoid getting the house too hot and creating the need for the air conditioner.
- Fresh air is good for everything in your home, from plants to animals to people. Open the windows when weather permits, and you’ll be spending no money to improve the air quality of your home, which is actually more polluted than the outside air. On warm days, the breeze will help cool your home as well.
- Don’t forget that just a few weeks ago, you were trying to get warm. Setting your thermostat at 75 or above is comfortable on all but the hottest day, and will keep your cooling bill comfortable as well. You’ll use three to five percent less energy for each degree over 75. Use your programmable thermostat if you have one to regulate your temperatures for day and night.
- Use your ceiling fans. It’s time to turn them to the forward position to push cool air down to you. Use them to allow you to turn your thermostat up and save energy. A tip most people don’t know: Ceiling fans create a wind chill to cool people, not rooms; turn them off when you leave.
- Since you’re doing your spring yard work anyway, plant some shrubs around your air conditioner; giving it some shade will increase its efficiency by up to 10%. Just be sure to leave a little room for adequate airflow.
- Start grilling! Nothing’s better on a warm day than food on the grill…except the energy savings from not using your oven or stove.
- Dry your laundry outside. Smells great and saves energy.
- Use the exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathroom to pull hot air out of both rooms.
- Spring cleaning is a great time to remove dust buildup from registers, allowing clean air to flow freely.
- Your refrigerator can account for up to 11 percent of your energy usage. Clean the coils and seals to ensure top efficiency.
Anytime there is a season change, there are new things to think about around your home. Spring brings with it the return to warmer temperatures and beautiful weather. Start thinking about the small things you can do to keep your home energy efficient now, and you’ll be well on your way to a lazy summer.