As the weather warms with the return of Spring, Wilmingtonians are swapping sweaters and jackets for shorts and colorful dresses. Spring is in the air, and with a new season comes a new opportunity to re-evaluate your home energy usage and prepare for the warmer months ahead. To help kick off your eco-friendly home makeover, here are 8 tips to curb your energy use and ultimately save you money.
Give Your AC a Tune-Up
When the temperature starts rising, air conditioners start working overtime. Give your air conditioner a tuneup early to ensure it runs efficiently, economically, and safely throughout the season. When servicing an air conditioner, the filters should be replaced, refrigerant levels checked, and evaporator coils cleaned. You may want to schedule an inspection and maintenance visit from a certified HVAC technician. Albritton Heating & Air can make sure your system is up to speed and catch problems before they become major expenses. Routine maintenance can reduce your AC energy consumption by up to 15 percent.
Check Your Water Heater
We may not need to heat our house during the Spring, but most of us will continue to use hot water to shower and wash dishes. To avoid costly repairs in the future, drain a quarter of your water heater tank to remove sediment and debris at least once a year. Adjust the thermostat to 120 degrees, and you can avoid scalding temperatures while cutting down energy costs.
Clean Out Your Fridge
It’s one of the biggest energy hogs in your whole home, with the average refrigerator using nearly 14 percent of a household’s energy. By properly cleaning out your refrigerator, you can reduce its energy consumption and cut down on your electricity bill. Start by rolling your refrigerator away from the wall and using a duster or vacuum hose to clear the dirt and dust from the coils. Remove old and unneeded food from your fridge to allow air to circulate and increase efficiency. You shouldn’t leave your fridge completely empty, however; by keeping it about two-thirds full, you can prevent air from leaking out when you open the door. If your fridge is located near the oven or is in direct sunlight, you may consider moving it to a cooler location to make it easier for the appliance to maintain cold temperatures.
In warm weather, cool air can escape through the cracks and openings in your home as hot air leaks in. If you uncover sources of air leakage, you can seal the openings with a clear or paintable caulk. By sealing the air leaks in your home, you can cut energy costs by almost 30 percent while creating a healthier living environment and boosting the durability of your home’s structure.
Be Smart With Your Thermostat
Most experts agree that 78 degrees is the ideal temperature to save on energy costs while maintaining comfort during warm weather. For every degree you set your thermostat above 78 degrees during warmer weather, you could save an estimated 6 to 8 percent off your energy bill. When you leave your house, it’s an energy-smart move to raise your settings so that cooling will only occur if the temperature exceeds 88 degrees.
Embrace Natural Ventilation
In the springtime, you can often create a cross breeze that flows through your house for a natural cooling effect. Open your windows in the evening to flood interior spaces with cooler air, then close them in the morning before the day warms up to keep the cool air inside. You might also consider installing insulated, thermal-back window coverings to keep heat from coming in through your windows.
Stay Out of the Kitchen
When you cook with a stovetop or oven, you end up heating your kitchen and adjacent rooms by several degrees. Conserve your AC from having to work overtime by cooking with a microwave or grilling outdoors whenever possible.
Invest in ENERGY STAR® Appliances
If you are planning to purchase new appliances this Spring, be sure they are ENERGY STAR® qualified. ENERGY STAR® refrigerators, dishwashers, and heating and cooling systems run more efficiently than older models and can reduce your home energy use by up to 50 percent. Not only do these appliances help you save on your energy bill, they can also help reduce water consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. When you choose ENERGY STAR® appliances, you’re not only saving money, you’re helping to protect the environment.
Contact Albritton Heating & Air if you have any questions about getting your system ready for the Spring. We suggest seasonal HVAC maintenance as the best way to get the most value out of your system. More importantly, though, regular inspections help to protect the future of your air conditioning system, extending its lifespan and reducing the odds of an expensive repair in the future. With good maintenance, you may be able to take an extra vacation or invest in a home renovation project instead of having to replace an AC unit a year or two earlier than anticipated. Taking these steps now to maintain your heating and cooling system won’t just help you save money and live more comfortably; you’ll be making a real investment in your quality of life.