As you’re doing your spring cleaning and getting your air conditioner, as well as your house, ready for the hot weather, consider making some changes around the house that will help save energy dollars this summer.
When cleaning windows, check to see if they’re in good condition. Loose, leaky or single-paned windows allow heated or cooled air to escape, taking hard-earned dollars with it. Repair existing windows or replace them with energy-efficient models.
Clean/replace the air conditioning system’s filter. And if you have a programmable thermostat, set it to 78 degrees for times when someone is home and at 85 degrees when the house is vacant.
If you leave your windows open to enjoy the weather, remember to shut off the heating or cooling system. A thermostat will call for heat or cool air when it’s set to a temperature higher or lower than the outside air.
Clean under and in back of the refrigerator. Dust can build up in those hard-to-reach areas, causing the refrigerator to run less efficiently. If you have an old refrigerator that is more than 15 years old, consider replacing it with a new Energy Star-qualified model that uses one quarter the energy.
Thoroughly dust computers, CD/DVD players and TVs. Connecting them through a power-strip enables you to turn them on-and-off more easily when not in use (the programming settings on some appliances may be affected).
Dust or wipe light bulbs and lamp shades. Clean bulbs provide more light for the money. Install LED light bulbs.
When washing clothes, adjust the water level to match the load size, and use cold water whenever possible. Use the dryer’s moisture sensor option that automatically shuts off the machine when the clothes are dry, and clean the lint filter before every load. Consider hanging clothes outside to dry instead.
If you have a swimming pool or hot tub, set the pool filter and sweeper operations for early morning or late evening hours. Also, consider replacing pool pumps and motors with energy-efficient equipment.
Set the thermostat in your water heater back so that the hot water is at exactly the temperature you want for a shower. Dish washers have their own water heating elements so the water heater can be adjusted downward.