Spring is here. The weather is getting warmer, and the days are growing longer. It's the perfect time to start those outdoor projects you've been planning and explore new ways to make your home more energy efficient. The following home improvements and lifestyle changes will help lower your energy bills and reduce your environmental impact.
1. Spring cleaning
While you're chasing those dust bunnies around, look for ways to save energy. Clean under and behind your refrigerator to keep it operating efficiently. Dust light bulbs to get more light for your money. If you have a sliding glass door, wash the track. Dirt buildup can damage the door seal and create gaps where cool air can escape.
2. Check your cooling system
Hire a qualified professional to inspect and clean your air conditioning system. Replace the system's air filter and adjust thermostat settings for warmer weather. If you haven't done so already, install a programmable thermostat. It will optimize savings and add convenience by adjusting the temperature to fit your schedule — automatically!
3. Install ceiling fans
Ceiling fans circulate the air, making rooms feel cooler, which means you can raise the temperature setting up to 4°F without compromising comfort. Remember that ceiling fans only make you feel cooler, not the room. Turn them off in empty rooms to avoid wasting energy.
4. Seal air leaks
Gaps and cracks in doors and windows send conditioned air, and your energy dollars, outside. Weatherstrip exterior doors and seal windows with caulk. Check for any gaps around outdoor plumbing and wiring access and seal with expanding foam insulation.
5. Plant some shade.
Arbor Day is coming. Celebrate by planting a shade tree along the south- or west-facing side of your home. Trees help shield your home from the sun in summer, keeping you cool and reducing your energy bill. They are good for the environment, too. Remember to call 811 before you dig and consider the mature height of trees; select a location away from power lines.
6. Live greener
Spring is the perfect time to renew your commitment to living a greener lifestyle. Walk or ride a bike instead of driving a car whenever possible. Start a compost bin for recycling kitchen and yard waste. Install a rain barrel to save water for landscaping. Also, remember to reduce, reuse and recycle whatever you can!
By taking these steps, you can save energy and live more sustainably this spring and all year long.