By: Brian Schutt
The weather is getting warmer. Trees, shrubs, and lawns are coming to life again. As homeowners, this means spring cleaning is just around the corner. For us, this time of year is also an opportunity to evaluate our environmental impact and clean out the things in our homes that no longer serve us. Sound appealing? The transition between winter and summer is the perfect time to re-energize your home, reduce your negative environmental impact and lower your energy bills. And we’ve put together a list of 10 tips on how to reduce the electric bill of your house.
- Reverse Ceiling Fan Rotation
During the winter months, your fan rotates clockwise to push warm air from the ceiling downward. On the other hand, you want your ceiling fan to draw air upward for cooling and circulation during the spring and summertime. You should have a switch that allows you to change that rotation seasonally, and by doing so, you will reduce the electrical power used by the fans and save up to 10% on your utility bill. Pro Tip: Clean your fan blades before reversing the rotation so that dust doesn’t go flying everywhere.
- Clean or Replace Filters
Extend your spring-cleaning efforts into your filters, and the environment (and your wallet) will thank you. Replacing your filters is a DIY project that helps your HVAC system work more efficiently, reduces allergens in your home, and saves money on your energy bill. We recommend changing the filters every 1-3 months. If you have larger 4-5″ wide filters, that timeline could be 6-9 months.
- Service Your HVAC System
While replacing your filters is something you can usually do yourself, we suggest having a licensed technician service your entire HVAC system. We recommend having your heating system serviced in the fall and the air conditioner serviced in the spring. This will not only lower your energy bills but also help identify maintenance issues before they become a full-blown problem.
- Clean Around Your Refrigerator
While spring cleaning, don’t forget the biggest beast in your kitchen: your refrigerator. Dust, trash, pet hair, etc. often accumulates around the condenser coils, causing your refrigerator to operate much less efficiently. A quick dusting or vacuuming is the easiest way to save on your next energy bill.
- Check Water Heater Temperature Settings
The U.S. Department of Energy recommends setting your water heater temperature to 120°F. This little trick allows for sufficient hot water for bathing, laundry, and dishwashing. while also saving a few extra dollars per month.
- Window Treatments
While cleaning your windows, make sure they close tightly and check for air leaks. Consider using an energy-efficient window treatment that will help keep the intense heat of the sun out. Additionally, installing films or shades helps keep your home cool and reduces energy costs. Stay away from blackout shades though; instead, strive to lower your electricity bill by letting in natural light from outside when temperatures are mild.
- Embrace Outdoor Cooking
Take a break from indoor cleaning and dust off the grill. Ovens and stovetops generate quite a bit of heat in your kitchen, adding significantly to your cooling costs…making outdoor cooking fun and an easy way to lower your home energy costs.
- Dust, Dust, Dust
Dust contamination is not only gross-looking, but it can cause current disruption in electrical contacts. Therefore, the more dust in your home, the less efficient your electronics run. Dust can also cause overheating. The moral of the story, dust is bad! And it isn’t difficult to dust regularly and consider purchasing an air purifier to remove contaminants from the air.
- Clean Your Power Outlets
To do this safely, turn off the power then unscrew the power plate and use an all-purpose cleaner with a Q-tip to remove grease, dust, and dirt. Whatever you do, don’t put the Q-tip inside the outlet! Then screw the plate back on, turn the power on, et voilà! You’ve successfully eliminated fire hazards while keeping those outlets working most efficiently.
- Make Your Cleaning Products
Before buying expensive and unnecessary cleaning products, look into making your own. Using common (and cost-friendly) household items like vinegar, baking soda, ammonia, and running alcohol, you can make a lot of effective cleaning products. Check out this resource for more info and cheap cleaning concoctions.
With just a little bit of extra knowledge and time, you’ll be on your way to reducing your electric bill and energy use this spring!
Got questions about how to reduce the electric bill or need a maintenance check? Give us a call at (317) 458-9255.