We do our best to find new tips that will help you save on your next electric bill. My goal is to find those tips that we tend to overlook, small changes in our daily routine that have a direct impact on how we use energy. We are fortunate that in our region, the winter season is not so brutal as in other parts of the United States. However, we tend to procrastinate in completing some projects at home, waiting for the warmer temperatures of spring and early summer. Well, since warmer temperatures are here, how about if we share with you a few simple things you can do to improve the energy efficiency and comfort of your home as we welcome warmer temperatures:
- Service your air conditioner. Easy maintenance, such as routinely replacing or cleaning air filters, can lower your cooling system’s energy consumption by up to 15%. Also, the first day of spring could serve as a reminder to check your air conditioner’s evaporator coil, which should be cleaned annually to ensure the system is performing at optimal levels.
- Open the windows. Opening windows creates a crosswise breeze, allowing you to cool your home naturally without switching on air conditioners. This is an ideal tactic in spring when temperatures are mild.
- Use ceiling fans. Cooling your home with ceiling fans will allow you to raise your thermostat 4 degrees, helping lower your electricity bills without sacrificing overall comfort. Don’t forget to redirect your ceiling fans. Ever notice that tiny switch on your ceiling fan? It does have a purpose, and it’s one that can save you energy – and money. Flip that switch while you’re dusting to send your fan counterclockwise, so you’re not wasting that much-needed A/C in the summer.
- Change air conditioning filters. While you’re wiping down your vents, take a few extra minutes to check out your filters. If you can’t remember the last time you changed them, take the time to do it now. Not only will it improve air quality, but it will make sure your system isn’t wasting energy. Changing air filters every two months is a good rule of thumb to save on energy costs.
- Deep clean your refrigerator. This one is one of my new favorite tips. Your refrigerator uses up to 14% of your home’s electricity, so upping your fridge’s efficiency can make a big difference in your electric bill. Start by cleaning off the seals around the door to keep cold air from escaping. It’s also a good idea to clean out your fridge’s contents while you’re at it. Get rid of those old condiments and questionable Tupperware containers, and restock on just the necessary supplies. Keeping your fridge two-thirds full is ideal for improved circulation and energy efficiency.
- Vacuum the refrigerator coils. Have you looked behind your refrigerator lately? If you haven’t, let us warn you: it might not be pretty. But if you’re back there cleaning anyway, make sure to dust that buildup on refrigerator coils. The dust forces the fridge to work harder to keep things cold, so it’s worth a few minutes to wipe it down.
- Inspect sliding doors. If your home has a sliding glass door, take a few minutes to get all the grit and grime out of the track. The buildup can ruin the door’s seal and create gaps where heat or cold air can escape.
- Make the switch to LEDs. While you’re dusting off lamps and changing light bulbs, why not make sure that all your lights use LED bulbs? LED bulbs use 80% less energy than incandescent bulbs. While they’re a little pricier, the investment pays off in the end. Replacing incandescent bulbs with LEDs can save you $7 per year on reduced energy costs.
- Air dry. Air drying your clothes and dishes keeps your home cooler on hot days and reduces the amount of time your dishwasher and dryer are on.
- Install window treatments. Energy-efficient window treatments or coverings such as blinds, shades, and films can slash heat gain when temperatures rise. These devices not only improve the look of your home but also reduce energy costs.
We post several energy-saving tips on social media. To learn more, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter and Instagram @opd5. From all of us at OPD5, we would like to wish you a fun-filled energy-saving spring and summer.