Many residents and businesses are compiling spring cleaning lists as most of the nation thaws from one of the coldest and snowiest winters on record. Spring should also trigger energy-efficiency and safety checklists including the often forgot attic insulation. Here are some checklist ideas to consider:
1. Check the insulation in the attics of homes and offices.
This should be first on the list since attics are where the majority of energy waste occurs in homes and offices. Early spring is the best time for this task before summer heat makes it too hot in the attic. Review all areas of the attic to make sure there is proper insulation and everything is sealed tightly. (Learn more about checking attics here and consider having a professional energy audit.) If upgrades are needed get estimates from professional insulation contractors and contract for work now. Costs go up typically in peak summer (and winter) seasons. Consider using the greenest of the green cellulose insulation installed by a qualified contractor for maximum energy efficiency and environmental benefits.
2. Change Smoke Detector Batteries
It is easy to forget and it is best not to wait for those pesky chirps some detectors sound when batteries are low. Change the batteries every spring and fall to keep homes and businesses safer from fire risks.
3. Dust Dust Dust
Dust can inhibit energy efficiencies. Be sure to thoroughly dust light bulbs, electronic devices and vents. The latter should include A/C duct and recirculation vents, dryer exhaust vents and vents for computer and other electronic devices with cooling fans. (This one will also make for healthier home and office environments.) Also, slide out any refrigerators and vacuum the coils on the back.
4. Update Thermostats
The digital age transformation includes thermostats. Chances are homes or offices with A/C systems even just a few years old may not have the latest in energy-saving programmable thermostats. Today’s programmable thermostats are smarter than ever and allow automatic control of air conditioning. These include basic digital models with simple control options to WiFi technology and even models allowing remote control from anywhere on a computer or smartphone.
5. Tune Up A/C System Beyond Changing The Filter
Spring is the time to go above the standard monthly A/C filter check and change. A tune up now can save on energy bills and possibly ward off costly maintenance repairs or even replacement. It is possible to do this as a DIY task for simple cleaning of coils, drain lines and compressors. But as with insulation, hiring a professional will typically provide the best performance and energy savings possible.
6. Clean Sliding Glass Door Tracks
This one is often forgotten and can lead to a surprising amount of extra energy expenses. Dust and dirt in the tracks can damage rollers and ruin seals creating gaps. Use a wire or hard bristled brush to loosen up trapped dust and dirt. Then a strong vacuum to clean out all debris.
7. Reduce Water Heater Temperature
Some homeowners may turn up the temperature on water heaters in the winter. Consider lowering the temperature to 125ºF during the warmer months. This can result in savings and the water will feel hotter since the temperature will be closer to the actual setting than during colder winter months.
8. Reset Light Timers
Homes and offices with lights on timers should take advantage of daylight savings time and change the settings. This is also an important item for second/vacation homeowners. Even if there is just one light burning, over the now eight months of daylight savings time a light set for 5pm can burn up more than pennies (remember: it’s always easier to save a penny than make a buck.)
9. Redirect Ceiling Fans
If you have followed other tips here on the blog then you likely switched direction of ceiling fans for the winter. Be sure to switch all ceiling fans back to force air down. Remember, in most cases, ceiling fans should be off unless there is someone in the room to actually benefit from the air movement. And be sure to dust the blades while you are at it…