Spring is nearly here, and while you might be most excited about the warmer days and the return of a green landscape, a few of you may also be looking forward to the ritual of spring cleaning.
Tidying up your home after a long winter can be a major chore, but the fresh smells and feelings order are always worth it. And if you’re thoughtful about your spring cleaning checklist, you can even improve your home’s energy efficiency.
It takes a little extra effort to ensure your appliances and major home systems are operating at peak performance, but it can add up to big savings on your utility costs throughout the year. Add these tasks to your to-do list to make spring cleaning really pay off!
1) Clean Your Refrigerator
The coils and vents on the back and bottom of your refrigerator are essential components responsible for expelling heat, so when they’re dirty from dust and grease, the fridge has to work harder to keep your food cold. Pull the refrigerator away from the wall and use a vacuum wand attachment to clean the back. For the bottom, use a long, flexible bristle brush to extract long-ignored dust bunnies.
2) De-Lint the Dryer
You probably clean your dryer’s lint trap with every load, as doing so maintains efficiency and helps with fire prevention. But stray particles of lint travel and can build up over time. Pull the dryer away from the wall and use a vacuum attachment to clean the entire exterior, especially the vents. Remove the lint trap and clean the space inside with your flexible bristle brush. Keeping it clean can make a big difference in energy efficiency.
3) Change Your Furnace and AC Filters
Different heating and cooling systems have different sizes, configurations, and locations of filters, and even the filters themselves vary. Some are reusable and designed to be cleaned and replaced, while others are disposable and designed to last for intervals that vary between one and six months. It’s important to know the exact maintenance routine for your system and to follow it. If you’re uncertain, consult your system documentation or call an HVAC technician for help.
4) Upgrade Your Appliances
Spring cleaning is an ideal time to evaluate the age, condition, and performance of your household appliances. If you have one due for replacement, you may be able to get a boost in household energy efficiency with the right model. The federal ENERGY STAR program tracks the most efficient models of various household appliances, making it easy to search for the models that could save you the most on monthly energy costs.
5) Change the Direction of Your Ceiling Fans
Ceiling fans can increase your home’s energy efficiency by making rooms more comfortable with less climate control. In winter, fans should rotate clockwise to push warm air near the ceiling into the center of the room. When the weather warms, they should rotate counterclockwise to create a cooling downdraft effect. Flip the switch so you can set the thermostat a few degrees higher later in the spring.