After a mostly mild winter, the weather is beginning to improve even more. Put the mild temperatures to work for your energy bill.
Here are 10 easy ways to save energy this spring:
1. Hire a heating and air conditioning pro to check out your air conditioning system and window a/c units. Annual spring maintenance can keep your a/c running smoothly and catch any problems-in-the-making. Ask the pro to change or clean the filters while he’s there.
2. Open the windows. As soon as it’s warm enough to feel comfortable indoors without heat, turn the heat off and invite the warm, outdoor air inside. The natural breezes will freshen a stuffy house that’s been closed up all winter. And keeping the heat and a/c turned off for a few weeks—or longer—will save you a bundle on energy.
3. Let the sunshine in. Throw open the drapes or blinds during the day to let bright, warm sunrays into your rooms on mild days. Then, turn off the lights and the heat. When summer arrives, close those drapes during the day to keep the sun from overheating your house.
4. If you have a programmable thermostat, use it to its potential. Set it to automatically lower the heat before everyone leaves the house in the morning and again when the family turns in for the night. Once air-conditioning season starts, program it to conserve the a/c in the same way.
5. Switch the direction of ceiling fan blades. During the spring and summer, the blades should pull warm air up toward the ceiling—rather than push it down into the room. Using ceiling fans will allow you to lower your thermostat setting by up to 4 degrees.
6. Have a cookout. Prepare dinner on your outdoor grill on nice evenings rather than using the stove or oven. Appliances that create heat tend to heat up the whole house.
7. Run the dishwasher and clothes dryer after dark. No need to add that heat to your home’s air during the day when it’s warm outdoors.
8. Caulk and weatherstrip windows and doors. You read about this every spring because you should do it again every spring. Caulking doesn’t last forever.
9. Dress for the weather. Shed the sweaters and socks when it’s warm outside so you can delay the start of air-conditioning season inside.
10. Turn down the water heater. If you snuck it up a couple of degrees during the winter to make your showers extra-steamy, it’s time to lower it to 120 degrees. Not only is that hot enough, it’s a safer temperature than anything higher, especially if kids or older family members are showering in your home.