Spring Energy Saving Tips
Thanks to the mild temperatures, most homeowners already use less energy in the spring than during other times of year, so we don’t necessarily pay attention to ways we can make our homes more efficient during this time. However, there are ways to maximize your spring energy savings. Plus, spring is a great time to prepare for saving energy in the hot summer months ahead.
Use Your Ceiling Fans Wisely
Springtime is a great time to have ceiling fans in your home. Because ceiling fans can make a room feel up to eight degrees cooler, using your ceiling fans can help you delay turning on the air conditioner.
Before turning on your ceiling fans for the first time (or before switching their direction, if you’ve been using them during the winter), be sure to dust them. Otherwise you could end up with a mess.
Once the fans are dusted, turn them on and check that they’re turning in the right direction. During the summer, fans should run counter-clockwise. When you stand directly under the fan, you should feel a breeze.
One word of warning, though: Fans cool you down by creating a wind-chill effect, but they don’t actually have any effect on the temperature of a room. So it’s a waste of energy to leave a fan running when no one is in the room to feel the breeze.
Be Smart About Windows
On cooler spring days, open up blinds and curtains to let the sunshine in and reduce the use of energy for heating. Alternatively, on warm spring days, you can open the windows themselves to bring in fresh breezes that cool your home. This will be most effective if you can create a cross-breeze between windows on opposite sides of the house.
However, if you or your family members have pollen allergies, don’t open the windows for ventilation, especially during the morning hours when pollen counts are highest. Better to run the air conditioner or use a mechanical ventilation system than have to deal with allergy symptoms!
Warm spring days are a perfect time to fire up the grill. It’s much more comfortable to cook outside now than during the peak of summer (and mosquito season), and you’ll avoid using the stove or oven indoors, which can heat up your house.
See Also: Keep Your Energy Bill Down in the Winter
Spring Clean for Energy Efficiency
When you’re doing your spring cleaning, don’t forget to clean in ways that can improve your energy efficiency. In addition to dusting your fans, take the time to clean out behind your refrigerator.
Dust, dirt, and pet hair that accumulates behind your fridge can decrease airflow past the coils, forcing your refrigerator to work harder to keep your food and drinks cold. Since a refrigerator uses up to 10% of all the energy consumed by the average household, helping your fridge be more efficient can make a real impact on those monthly energy bills.
If you have sliding glass doors, clean out the tracks of those as well. Dirt and debris in the tracks can create spaces for air to leak through. And while you’re cleaning, you might want to consider caulking and weather-stripping around your doors and windows as well.
See Also: Taking Care of Your Home’s Crawl Space
Get Your Air Conditioner Serviced
Don’t wait until the heat of summer to have your air conditioner serviced. Instead, have it done in the spring so everything will be ready to go by the time summer’s heat arrives.
Regular maintenance including cleaning the coils and checking the refrigerant charge will help to ensure your air conditioner runs as efficiently as possible. And it will help you avoid breakdowns during the heat of summer, when going without air conditioning isn’t just uncomfortable—it can be bad for your health.
Take Care of Your Ducts
Spring’s mild temperatures also make it a great time to have your ducts cleaned and sealed. Clean ducts are more energy efficient because there isn’t dust and debris blocking airflow through them.
And sealing ducts makes your whole system more efficient because conditioned air won’t be leaking into your attic or other unconditioned spaces. This will avoid wasting energy and keep your home’s pressure balanced, which will decrease the amount of hot, humid outside air being pulled in through every tiny opening.
Upgrade for Energy Efficiency
If you’ve been thinking about purchasing a new HVAC system or other major appliances, spring can be a good time to do so. HVAC contractors aren’t generally as busy during the spring and fall as they are during the peak summer and winter months. Plus, your home will stay more comfortable while your system is being replaced.
Whether you’re replacing your HVAC, refrigerator, water heater, or other appliance, look for products that are Energy Star certified to help maximize your energy savings. Making these upgrades now can help keep those energy bills under control all year long.