Not sure where to start to get your home ready for warmer weather? Think it’s going to be a big, inconvenient mess? Think again! Here’s a list of SMALL & EASY energy efficiency tips every homeowner can use to help create a cool home all summer long.
1. Your Air Conditioner
Try these 3 suggestions for basic maintenance for your home HVAC system:
- During winter, dust, leaves, and other debris can clog or block the cooling fins on the outside condensing unit of your air conditioner. One yearly task to help it work more efficiently is to hose out and tidy the outside condenser unit. Be sure to turn off the power first at your inside circuit breaker box or the condenser’s outside breaker.
- On the inside of your home, replace the air filter and remember to change it every three months (or more often if you smoke, have allergies, or own shedding pets).
- Heating a home causes duct work to expand and contract, allowing ductwork to gradually pull apart. Take time to inspect your ductwork for loose connections. Reattach any that you find and tape over them with aluminum-duct tape (not the vinyl stuff) . If you have ductwork in your attic, look for kinks in flex duct work where it may have settled and straighten these out.
2. Doing Your Laundry
Warm air in spring and summer can make laundry even easier and help you save money. Use these two simple tips to take advantage of the weather.
- Wash your clothes in cold water. Back in the day, laundry was done in warm or hot water because detergents dissolved easier. Today, detergents dissolve equally well in cold water and perform just as well. By using less hot water to do laundry, you save energy. Also remember that by doing your laundry in full loads that you reduce the amount of water you use, too.
- Line-dry your clothes. An average electric dryer uses about 1800 to 5000 watts.In terms of running it for one hour to dry one load, you may use 1 1/2 to 5 kWh. If you’re washing and drying several loads every weekend, that’s going to increase those dollar amounts quickly. But line-drying clothes doesn’t use any electricity, and depending on the weather, it can be faster, too.
3: Ceiling Fans
Make sure your ceiling fan’s direction has been changed so that it blows straight downward. During the winter, ceiling fans are set to spin clockwise and draw cool air up from the center of the room and blow warm air down to circulate evenly around the room. In the summer, set the ceiling fan to spin counter-clockwise, which allows the fan to blow and make your room feel cooler.
Important Tip: Be sure to clean the dust caterpillars off the blades before you turn the fan back on after you switch it’s direction. The falling dust can get a little messy if you don’t.
4: Water Heater
Spring is a great time to flush sediments from your water heater because you can leave a door open to run the drain hose outside. During the course of a year, lime, rust, and other deposits settle out in your water heater tank. In electric water heaters, these can coat heating elements and reduce energy efficiency. In gas-fired heaters, a thick coating of sediment on the bottom can also reduce heating efficiency. The sediments can also accelerate corrosion of the tank. An easy way to maintain your water heater afterwards is to drain a quart of water from the bottom every three months to keep it clear of sediments.
Take a gander a these 4 recommendations for proper window treatments:
- Clean your doors and windows jams to make sure they close snugly. Also look for torn or missing weatherstripping and replace it.
- If you have older windows, check the glazing for any loose or broken sections. Though broken glazing should be re-glazed, you can seal over it with silicon caulk as a temporary water-tight fix.
- Winter sunshine helps warm your home but during the summer it can turn it into an oven. Start closing the curtains on windows facing southeast, south, southwest, and west to keep out the sun. You may find an added savings in replacing your current drapes with thermal-backed curtains. These curtains have extra insulation to keep your rooms comfortable no matter what the season.
- If your home isn’t shaded by trees, consider planting some. Carefully positioned trees as well as other plantings can help reduce a home’s energy costs by 25%.
Hopefully, we’ve provided you a wealth of ways that you can increase the energy efficiency of your home this spring before the summer heat arrives. Do you have any suggestions of your own? Please share them in the comments!