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spring energy savings tips

Spring Cleaning to Lower Electric Bills

Spring is a time of renewal. The days are warmer and gradually getting longer.  Trees, shrubs, and lawns, are returning to growth mode.  It is also a time where we do our traditional spring cleaning and invest some time in home projects.  In addition to making sure you have a low electricity rate, adding a few energy-conscious actions to your chore list can go long way to lowering your home electricity costs.

Reverse Ceiling Fan Rotation

In the winter, you want your ceiling fans to push warm air from the ceiling downward. For standard pitch ceiling fans, this means the fan rotates clockwise.  In the spring and summer, the purpose of the ceiling fan is to draw air upward for cooling and circulation.  The fan should rotate counterclockwise.  Remember that ceiling fans only help when there are people present.  The benefits of air circulation are largely lost on an empty room.  Pro Tip:  Be sure to clean the fan blades before reversing the rotation.  Otherwise, any accumulated dust and fuzz will go flying everywhere.

Embrace Outdoor Cooking

Some people cook outside whether it is 0° or 110°F. However, most of us prefer grilling when temperatures are a little more moderate.  Spring is a great time to cook outside.  Besides the wonderful food and getting more fresh air, outdoor cooking can lower your home energy costs.  Ovens and cooktops generate quite a bit of heat in your kitchen.  While this is great during the winter, it can add to your cooling costs in the spring and summer.

Service Your Air Conditioner

The most basic maintenance item for your air conditioner is to replace the filters. This is usually a do-it-yourself item depending on the type of system in your home. Be sure to setup a reminder on your smart phone so that you inspect and change the filters on a regular basis.  In addition to saving on energy costs, it is also a great way to reduce allergens in your home.

Consider having a licensed technician service your air conditioner. Much like going to the dentist, this is should be a semi-annual event. Service the heating system in the fall and the air conditioner in the spring.  This will pay dividends in lower energy bills and help identify maintenance issues early.

In addition, be sure that your outside condenser unit has good airflow around it. Accumulated leaves and spring weeds can make your condenser operate inefficiently and reduce its service life.

Finally, you might want to consider installing a smart thermostat. Prices for these energy-saving devices are lower than in the past and they can make a huge difference in your energy bills.

Refrigerators and Water Heaters

When spring cleaning your kitchen, do not forget to clean under and behind your refrigerator. Dust and pet hair often accumulate on the condenser coils.  This will cause your refrigerator to operate less efficiently.  A quick vacuuming or dusting is a simple way to save electricity.

Check your water heater temperature settings. The US Department of Energy recommends setting the temperature to 120°F.  This setting provides sufficiently hot water for bathing, laundry, and dishwashing while reducing the chance of scalding.  This setting will give you safety and energy efficiency.

There is an old joke that goes something like “How do you reduce your electricity bill? You tear it up into small pieces!” Follow the spring energy tips above and you will see a reduced electricity bill.

About: Charlie Hewitt

Charlie Hewitt has more than 25 years of in-depth energy experience having served in executive and managerial roles at some of the largest retail energy providers in North America.His expertise covers a wide range of retail energy disciplines including pricing, contracting, risk management, and credit. He holds an MBA from UT Arlington, MA and BS degrees in geology from UT Austin, and was a TXU environmental research fellow.

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