It’s been a year, which means it’s time to start asking yourself a few questions. In the last 12 months, have you worn those bright red skinny jeans? How many times have you used two blenders at the same time? Did you change your furnace filter? When you think spring cleaning, you typically imagine going through closets-full of clothes and any overflowing cabinets. But if you aren’t thinking about cleaning up your home’s energy usage, you’re falling short.
As you overhaul your home this spring, think about these four energy-saving tips.
Tip 1: Dust it Off
Dust balls don’t just make you sneeze. Even a thin layer of filth can inhibit the performance of your computer, ceiling fans, light bulbs and air vents. When your light bulbs are crystal-clear, they provide more light so you may not need to turn on as many. Energystar.gov estimates that just one extra bulb left on for eight hours a day can cost you $20 per year. Meanwhile, PC World says the buildup of dirt, hair and other debris can affect your computer’s cooling fans, or even push components out of place. This could not only cause your computer to run slowly, but possibly not at all. Take a minute to clean up your electronics before assuming they’re better left for the trash.
Tip 2: Filter Through Filters and Bulbs
While you’re dusting off light fixtures, replace any incandescent bulbs with compact florescent light (CFL) bulbs that last much longer and pay for themselves in just over a year. Though you won’t be replacing CFL bulbs as often, you’ll still need to change furnace and air conditioning filters regularly. Otherwise, a dirty HVAC filter weighs down your system and makes it work harder than usual.
Tip 3: Plant a (Money-Saving) Tree
Plan to spruce up the outside of your house, too? Well, you should. Sunnier days and spring showers offer an opportune time to plant trees and flowers that will ultimately cut down on your home’s energy consumption. On the south and west sides of your house, plant a few trees that will lose their leaves in the fall. This smart and simple landscaping will shade your home in the summer and allow the sun to shine through the windows in the winter – it’s like free solar heating.
Tip 4: Seal the Deal
While washing windows and sliding glass doors, check to see if any of them could use weatherstripping or even just a good cleaning. You may have already sealed their edges, but this is a good time for a status update. The weatherstripping may need to be replaced completely, or the tracks may need to be wiped down. Clean tracks will help keep the seal tight, so air doesn’t escape or come in. According to Energystar.gov, you could save up to $200 annually by sealing air leaks and keeping your home well-insulated.
With a completely cleaned-up home, you’ll feel productive, your home will run more efficiently and your bank account will relax – at least until summer vacations start.