The weather is warming up and Texas is preparing for spring, which means spring cleaning is right around the corner. Whether you are counting down the days or dreading the thought of tidying up, spring cleaning can have positive impacts on your home’s energy efficiency. The spring cleaning tips below include five things you can do this spring to save money and improve the comfort of your home.
Start with your air vents
Air vents may not be the first thing you think of when you think of cleaning, but it is a great place to start. Cleaning your vents can make a big impact on your heating and cooling systems overall, allowing the air to circulate more efficiently and effectively throughout the house. Check through air ducts and vents for accumulated dust and grime and wipe them down. It is also a good time to take a look at your air filters to see if they need replacing. Keeping your air filters clean will not only improve air quality, but will ensure your system is working as efficiently as possible, according to MN Energy Smart.
Double-check ceiling fans
Since air conditioning is usually the highest energy user in spring and summer months, many rely on ceiling fans to keep energy costs down. Ceiling fans typically should operate clockwise in the winter to push down the warm air, but in the spring and summer, fans should go counterclockwise for the opposite effect. Typically there is a switch on the fan where you can change the direction, but if you can’t find it, user manuals can be found online. But before you turn the fan back on, make sure you wipe down the blades to keep any accumulated dust from getting back into the air.
Clean in and around door and window openings
While most people clean the glass on their doors and windows, they don’t always think about the tracks or screens. If sliding door tracks get filled with enough dirt and grime, it can get in the way of sealing the AC in during the warmer months. Other doors to consider are refrigerator doors. Keeping seals clean will keep food fresh longer. Additionally, as dust builds up on your refrigerator coils it forces the fridge to work harder to keep things cold. If you can access the coils, vacuum or dust them to save some energy.
Check lighting and electronics
Spring cleaning is a good time to do a run through of all of the light bulbs and lighting in your home. When light bulbs and light covers are dusty, they keep light from getting through and reduce the overall energy efficiency of your home’s lighting. Wipe down bulbs and rinse out light covers to eliminate any waste. Swapping out your incandescent bulbs for compact fluorescent (CFL) or light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs is another way to improve your lighting efficiency. These bulbs will not only keep your home cooler but will save energy and money over time. ENERGY STAR-rated LEDs use at least 75 percent less energy and last 25 times longer than incandescents. While dusting your light fixtures, dust your electronics as well. Dust prevents electronics and other infrastructure from running at maximum capacity. Make sure to dust off all office equipment and electronics.
Inspect your washing machine
You may view your washing machine as something that does cleaning for you, but it is important to keep the machine itself clean as well. When your washing machine is dirty, it doesn’t run as efficiently, and an inefficient machine impacts both your wallet and your clothing. Some newer, high-efficiency washing machines have a special setting for cleaning and disinfecting. If you have an older model, you can disinfect your machine using common household items. To do so, fill the machine with hot water and add distilled vinegar and baking soda. Let it sit for 30 to 60 minutes, restart your machine to drain it, and wipe it dry.
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