With the switchover to Daylight Savings Time on March 10
and the first day of spring on March 20, make time now for spring cleaning
before you get too busy enjoying the outdoors! Consider these 10 changes
that will keep your home more comfortable and energy-efficient in coming
1. Considering a new refrigerator or washer/dryer? Choose
ENERGY STAR-rated brands, which use up to 40 percent less energy than older
appliances. If you’re happy with your current models, dust the refrigerator
coils and clean out your clothes dryer’s outside exhaust vent.
2. Cleaning your windows? Now’s a great time to caulk any
leaks and make repairs before
“air-conditioning season.” Consider updating your drapes or blinds with
UV-filtering models that, when drawn, help block heat from the sun’s rays.
3. While dusting ceiling fan blades, flip the directional
switch to make sure the blades are rotating for optimal cooling — in the
summer months, this means blades should turn counterclockwise so that you
feel a cool breeze when standing directly under the fan.
4. Storing holiday decorations and other items in your
attic? Check the level of insulation — it may have packed down over time and
you can add a second layer to help keep your home cool this summer.
5. Clean leaves and lawn debris from around your outside
HVAC equipment and schedule a tune-up of your system.
6. Swap out incandescent bulbs with CFL or LED bulbs that
use a tiny fraction of the energy while producing 90 percent less heat,
helping reduce home cooling costs.
7. Replace traditional landscape lighting with solar
accent lights that “charge” during daylight hours and require no
Showerheads showing signs of age? Unscrew and replace them with
low-flow models than can save you about five gallons of water during a
10-minute shower — and up to $200 a year on water-heating costs.
9. If you can, put up and use a clothesline. If you need
to use a clothes dryer, then only dry full loads and make sure the lint
filter is clear.
10. Invest in power strips and plug your home
entertainment and computer center devices into these; they can be turned off
with one switch to reduce “phantom load” costs.