March 12th, 2015
Spring means more than setting your clocks forward and enjoying the sunlight. It's also a season to revamp your home to better face the new weather conditions. As the winter blues make way for the welcome trappings of spring, take this time to upgrade your home and make any necessary adjustments to ensure you're not losing money on monthly utility bills.
Not only can you reduce your electricity and water consumption, but you can also make your home more efficient in the long run, especially if you consistently perform routine maintenance throughout the year.
Here are six tips you can employ to make your home energy efficient:
1. Use natural ventilation
You probably stayed tight in the comfort of your home for much of the winter, with the fire burning and your home's heating system on full blast. But with the coming of spring, you can do away with this strategy in favor of a more eco-friendly cooling process. By opening your windows at night to let in the cool fresh air, and keeping them shut during the daytime to prevent heat from infiltrating your home, you are essentially creating a self-monitoring HVAC system.
Adjusting the level of ventilation throughout your home periodically during the day allows you to be more responsive to the temperature levels of your home by coordinating both indoor and outdoor temperatures. In the process you rely less on electricity to cool or heat your home, and you can rest assured knowing you are breathing fresh air and saving money on your energy bill.
2. Optimize your thermostat
In regions that are especially prone to spring showers, leaving windows open isn't always an option. Further, some locales still experience frigid temperatures for several months after spring has officially begun. That's why it's still necessary to utilize your heating system.
However, you should do so in accordance with the realization that thermostat levels should be kept within optimal ranges to save money. Even a one degree change can directly impact your monthly energy bill. By combining the advantages of both natural ventilation and electric heating controls, you can keep your electricity consumption in line.
3. Clean AC units
Whether it's a window unit or central air, your AC is poised to get a lot more action during spring. But it's still important to keep in mind that an AC unit that is dirty or past its prime will sap electricity relentlessly. To prevent this from happening, you should replace all filters to improve airflow and air quality, and wipe away any dust, dirt, mold or buildup present inside the system itself. You can do this by removing the back panel or unscrewing the vent.
Once the AC is free of debris, it requires less energy to power, which makes it much cheaper to run during spring.
If necessary, a technician can take a look at your air conditioning and decide if you could benefit from replacement parts.
4. Check all appliances for buildup
It's not just your AC that needs closer inspection, as refrigerators, freezers, stoves and water heaters all have the habit of creating a flurry of buildup. Over time, particles can actually interfere with electrical wiring, causing corrosion and forcing appliances to work harder to provide a minimal amount of function.
This creates health hazards as well as the potential for house fires if appliances are not properly cleaned and maintained. By removing these obstructions, the units run more efficiently and require less energy.
5. Seal all cracks around doors and windows
There's nothing that will cause your energy costs to soar like leaks. Whether it's a crack in the foundation, plumbing flooding water into your home or a gap between the door frame allowing air to pass in and out, the need to plug these holes is crucial. With a simple caulking, you can trace along the rim of the window, sealing all cracks. Further, apply weatherstripping around doors to prohibit the loss of air.
If you notice problems with your plumbing, such as high water bills, a serious issue could be on your hands. In many cases, it's usually best to call for backup, as a professional is much more capable of preventing water leaks.
With leaks plugged, your home is inherently more secure and structurally sound, providing you with greater savings on your monthly utility bills.
6. Lower water temperature
Because many people enjoy a nice hot shower to get away from the brutal winter cold, they increase the setting on their water heaters. But with spring arriving, you should take another look at your water heater to lower the temperature so you're not paying for water to be constantly heated to a high degree.
While you'll still get the benefit of hot water, just a minor setting adjustment can lead to real savings.
After completing all these tasks, you can speak with your insurance provider to see if you qualify for energy efficiency discounts on your home insurance.
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